Archive for the ‘Slow Food’ Category

17
Aug
2010

Slow Food Perth: Food sovereignty discussion

Slow Food Perth will join with Christ Church Grammar School’s ethics centre to present a forum entitled ‘Food sovereignty: what’s on your plate?’ at the school in Claremont on 24 August 2010 at 7.30pm

The panel will include:
Frank Sheehan – Priest & Christ Church Grammar School chaplain
Anthony Georgeff – Journalist and editor of Spice magazine
Dr. Felicity Newman – Academic, lecturer in food and culture at Murdoch University
Annie Kavanagh – Farmer, from Spencers Brook farm in the Avon Valley
Max Trenorden – Parliamentarian, Nationals leading Member for the Agricultural Region & chairman of the Australian Landcare Council
Kim Chance – Former Labor minister for Agriculture and Food (2001-2008).

Food sovereignty’ – the right of local people to decide what they grow and eat.

A burgeoning interest in knowing where your food comes from – who grows it, is it local, and how it’s grown – together with a heightened awareness of the cost of ‘food miles’ and the effect of genetic modification in staple crops, is encouraging support for local farmers’ markets and prompting questions at the local butcher

Date/Time: Tuesday 24th August 7.30pm- 9pm

Venue: Christ Church Grammar School, Chapel

Costs: Gold coin donation to Anglicare

03
Sep
2009

Mundaring Truffle Festival : Slow Food Perth


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Slow Food Perth - Truffle LunchSlow Food Perth - Truffle Lunch

Truffles are not just for culinary elitists and food wankers. That was hopefully the message put across by Slow Food Perth’s down the road lunch at this years Mundaring Truffle Festival held a few weeks back. Of course if you call yourself a culinary elitist or frequently get called a food wanker, then you’ll also fit right in.

Being a Slow Food Perth member, and sometime committee meeting attendee, I was very proud to see such a great response to the lunch from people of all walks of life, interested in trying some truffles for themselves in a setting that isn’t necessarily anything to do with haute cuisine.

Slow Food Chef extraordinaire Vincenzo Velletri once again crafted a simple, honest, but delicious meal based around the now famous Manjimup Black Truffles, which the festival celebrates. We started with truffled bacalau (salt cod) balls, then bruschetta with truffled mushrooms and roast capsicum, moving onto an epic truffle (stirred by these very arms) risotto with shavings of fresh truffle over the top.

The main dish for the day was a whole wood oven roasted pig, boned out and stuffed with herbs and more truffle shavings. It was served with oven roasted potatoes, mushrooms, and a roast capsicum salad. A truffle sauce, a sprig of rosemary, and another good shaving of fresh truffle over the top completed things.

Finally poached pears with a berry sauce and truffled cream finish what was a wonderful meal. Though not one I actually could partake in. As a committee member I was up the back, stirring risotto, shaving truffle, taking photos, getting in peoples way, and generally making a nuisance of myself. Whilst this mean I couldn’t sit down and enjoy the meal in the comfort of the marquee, what it did let me do was create the mother of all staff lunches.

truffle pork sandwich poached pears

A thick piece of fresh bread, layered with roast pork, crackling, truffled gravy, and shaved black truffle over the top. Not too shabby a snack by any stretch of the imagination, and perhaps one of my favourite truffle experiences to date.

It was a great day, and thanks to the many volunteers it came together nicely. Overall I was very impressed with the whole festival, which to me did a lot to further the appreciation of truffles and the burgeoning industry in WA around them, to the general community. There were many options over the course of the weekend for people to smell, touch, and taste truffles in a way that didn’t cost them the earth. Be it a truffle risotto or a pizza with truffle shavings.

It’s definitely the kind of event I enjoy going to, In a beautiful setting up in the hills with locals and travelers all enjoying something new and different.

Make sure you book your tickets for next years lunch, and make time to check out the festival yourself. Also do check out Aun’s fantastic blog over at Chubby Hubby. He’s based in Singapore and made it down to the truffle festival recently too. His photos and words are a wonderful summation of the event.

29
Dec
2008

Slow Food: Oysters and Sparkling Wine

Slow Food Oysters & Wine Slow Food Oysters & Wine

If ever you needed an event to tell you how great an organisation Slow Food is, this was it. Slow Food Perth recently hosted a fantastic event featuring freshly schucked oysters courtesy of the oyster man himself Jerry Fraser, paired with two stunning local sparkling wines, The Sparkplug Riesling from Oranje Tractor and Cosham Method Champenoise Pinot Noir Brut.

There’s something about the combination of oysters and sparkling wine that just works. The fresh zing of the wines, and the soft effervescent bubbles are a great counter point to the lush creaminess and briney essence of the sea of the oysters.

Along with a bit of a chat about the wines, Jerry gave us a breakdown on why you should never order pre-schucked oysters, and how best to appreciate them. Cooking is definitely out… Kilpatrick sympathisers should stick to cheese on toast as far as Jerry is concerned, and to fully appreciate the flavour they should first be swirled around your palate and then pushed to the roof of your mouth, much like a good wine might be. The difference in flavour when you do it this way is remarkable. The creaminess coats your mouth each time and lingers long after, til the wine works it magic.

Oyster virgin Jon came along and was hooked after the first one. Deciding eventually that a squeeze of lemon juice was the perfect accompany for him, to which I’m inclined to agree. A zest edge to the oysters creamy salt. We ate and drank our fill for as long as we could keep it together, before going out to continue the festivities.

Now having acquired an oyster knife and with Jerry on speed dial, I know how I’ll be seeing the New Year in. For a bit of help as to how the man himself schucks, check out the pictorial below.

Oyster Schucking Pictorial

Oh, and join Slow Food. You don’t need to be an activist to enjoy great food and wine with like minded people. Thanks must also go to Rochelle Adonis for offering her beautiful new nougat studio in Northbridge for the event, and for letting Jon and I sample her wares ;)

08
Sep
2008

Slow Food – Asado las ovejas

Lamb The matriarch of cool

Take one ram lamb in the prime of it’s youth, one fire stoked up and a pile of hot embers, combine with rosemary and about 5 hours worth of cooking, and you have a recipe for deliciousness.

Add to that a group of wonderful food loving people who all bring things to eat and drink that they’ve either made or produced and you have the makings of a great day.

I’m very lucky to know some wonderful people. People that have introduced me to many great moments of eating pleasure. Ranking high on that list of late are the wonderful people at Slow Food Perth, and in particular their illustrious leaders Jamie Kronborg and Pauline Tresize.

I’ve lately enjoyed a day of truffle extravagance as Slow Food Perth hosted a truffle lunch at the Mundaring Truffle Festival, and then today was fortunate to be invited along for an Argentinian bbq up in the Perth hills.

No words and no time to describe it all, so take a look at the photos for what can only be described as a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Great food, great wine, great people… and 84 year olds wearing novelty glasses who give you hope that maybe you’ll be as cool as them one day :)

My next update will be from Europe… the countdown has begun.

17
Aug
2007

There’s a buco in my osso

Osso Buco - slow cooking Osso Buco with Sweet Potato mash

Osso buco, that perfect slab of unctuousness coaxed into melt in your mouth tenderness by a luxurious slow cooking. Would you believe that up until a few years ago I had no idea what it even was ? I assumed it was one of those things on the menu at an Italian restaurant that I would never order. Much like gnocchi and saltimbocca (not that I have anything against them, I just haven’t had a good one).

So it wasn’t until I started getting interested in the slow food movement, and slow cooking specifically as a means to softening up less appealing cuts of meat, that I decided it was time to try making osso buco for myself. I’ve had some success with my oxtail dish – coda alla vaccinara, which ranks on my list of tastiest dishes I’ve made in recent times, so I was hoping that the marrow would work it’s magic in this too, and I haven’t been disappointed.

Now normally my recipes on the site are pretty slap dash. Yes they work, and most of them I’d be happy to cook again… but for whatever reason I don’t. I get bored, I wander off, I forget. My attention span is about as short as a three year old in a cafe drawing pictures with colouring pens (actually probably less, because she was good Ed :)). So it’s a testament to taste if I write about something more than once, and if it gets adopted into my regular stable of dishes, then it’s pure gold.

So clearly risotto in it’s many forms is on that list… as is anything containing chorizo in it, and poached eggs. A chorizo risotto with a poached egg on top may just my ultimate mash up dish, but now I’m getting distracted again…

Back to the Osso Buco.

The recipe I based mine around is a simpler version of the common ones, with a few small twists. I personally don’t think carrots and celery add much to the flavour (well they do, but not in a good way), and I much prefer red wine to white wine for the cooking. This is for once something that I’ve taken to refining a little over the many times I’ve made it now. So you my appreciative audience can benefit from my willingness to rinse and repeat this one a few times over to get it just right.
You still don’t get exact measurements though… they’re for the weak :)

Osso Buco alla Matt

The ingredients

  • 4 chunky pieces of osso buco – Veal seems to popular but if you’re a little different you can think outside the box and take the hole in the bone definition to whichever kind of meat you like. Other examples would be venison, or a very tasty lamb osso buco, that I tried recently after asking the boys at “Meat The Butcher” (still love that name) in Dog Swamp Shopping centre to slice up some lamb shanks for me.
  • flour for dusting
  • 2 onions – chopped finely
  • 4 – 5 cloves garlic – chopped finely
  • 2 cans tinned roma tomatoes (home made if you got em), and extra passata
  • a bottle of red wine (you won’t use it all, but it’s good to have while you’re cooking)
  • sea salt and cracked pepper.
  • some parsley if you like

How I make mine

So dust the osso buco in flour and shake off any excess, then in a hot pan fry them in olive oil until they’re a golden brown colour all over. Then take them out of the pan to rest a bit and wait for their time back in the sun.

Now add some more oil to the pan and throw in your chopped onions and a little garlic. Cook them slowly down until they’re soft and then bring back the osso buco, laying them on top of a little onion bed, and dousing thoroughly with red wine (1 or 2 cups), pureed tomatoes (1 or 2 cans), and a sprinkling of garlic.

You now turn the heat right down on the pan, making sure that the osso buco are arranged so that they lie flat in the pan, and are mostly covered by the liquid, adding more tomato passata or wine to bring the level up. This is where the magic happens.
Try and find something productive to do for the next few hours while the wine and heat work their way into the sinews and activate the marrow in the middle of the bones. Personally I don’t think you can cook this for long enough (given that you have plenty of liquid so it doesn’t dry out). The longer you cook it, the more mouth wateringly tender it will become.

Along the way, you may want to give it a season with salt and pepper, and somewhere towards the end sprinkle over some more garlic and parsley, give that another half an hour and you’re done.

Be careful taking them out of the pan, as by this stage (2 hours + later) they should be falling away from the bone without you doing anything.

I’ve served mine over a variety of side dishes, a sweet potato mash, a regular potato mash, a pearl barley risotto alla milanese (not as great as it sounds), and I’m also thinking polenta would be fantastic.

Traditionally in Milan it’s served over the risotto alla milanese ( a rich saffron risotto ) with gremolata on top. Not that I’m much of one for tradition, but they are seriously onto something with this combination.

Give this one a shot, it’s 2 hours of your life you won’t get back, but the 30 minutes of eating it afterwards will totally make up for it :)

Lamb Osso Buco - Pearl Barley Risotto alla Milanese
26
Jul
2007

The Sausage King of Perth

So... who ordered the whole side of pig ? Meat Lovers Paradise

Vegetarians… I’d advice you to stop reading right now… Vegans… run for the hills. The rest of you carnivores… carry on.

Is there anything quite as wonderful as a well made sausage ? I think not… Well ok, maybe a couple of things… but good sausages are definitely up there. Top 10 for sure. So it will come as no surprise that when I heard Slow Food Perth were planning a day of old school sausage making, I jumped at the chance.

I’ve got to say I’m really starting to like these Slow Food events. A bunch of people who love food and wine as much as I do all getting together to learn about it and enjoy themselves, and possibly devouring vast sums of magnificent produce. What’s not to like ?

The title of this event was “The Best Cuts”, the setting was the home of chef Vincenzo Velletri, Slow Food chef extraordinaire, and one of the W.A representatives at the Terra Madre, Slow Food’s international conference, last year.

So our task was to turn a 120 kg pig into as many sausages as possible. A specially slaughtered pig was obtained from Spencers Brook Farm, an organic pig farm specialising in Berkshire pigs. Although ours was a large white pig formerly named “Chubby”, who we were told had led a happy life out on the farm for many years. So with knives and cutting boards at the ready, we filed into the kitchen at Vincenzo’s house in West Swan to begin the work.

These were no ordinary sausages to be thrown into a grinder and spat out the other end. But hand cut and mixed sausages of Monte San Biagio. Made as true to the origins as possible.

The Monte San Biagio sausage is now a part of the Slow Food presidia, which means they are actively being preserved and protected. So making them wasn’t simply a case of throwing a bunch of random ingredients into a grinder and spitting sausages out the other end.

Vincenzo cut sections of the meat into large chunks and then a production line of people helped to work it down into tiny cubes small enough to look like mince meat, but with much more body and texture than you’d gain from grinding it. The cutting took all morning. Which is why I suppose Italian families might only do this a couple of times a year, and why you’d get the whole family involved. It’s a lot of work. But short breaks for coffee (with maybe a little grappa), and marmalade crostata, made things fly by pretty quickly.

Then finally the cutting was done, and it was time to mix. Sea Salt in large quantities is added so the meat cures properly. Then it’s just crushed coriander seeds, dried chilli, and white wine. Mixed through the pork and combined well by the hands of a bunch of enthusiastic slow foodies.

So while we let the sausage mix settle, it was time for lunch. Another helping of the wonderful polenta with sausage mixture poured over the top. But this time I got to help make it :) A team of strong armed helpers took turns stirring a massive pot of polenta until it was just right, while I cooked down some of the sausage mixture in a pan with a little olive oil and white wine.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, another team of helpers were making fresh pasta using biodynamic flour and semolina from Dayle Lloyds Eden Valley Biodynamic Flour. Dayle had happily driven the 3 hours to Perth from Dumbleyung that morning to be a part of the day and bring some wonderful flour to use.

Lunch was again a sumptuous feast. Polenta and sausage, Fresh fettucini and passata, Italian broccoli, salad, fresh bread, wine, and when we thought it was all finished, more pork steaks seared on the bbq and drizzled with home made olive oil.

Our bodies rested and our souls restored, it was on to finish the job. Another group of likely ladies (Sharon included) took hold of the intestines that were to hold the sausage mixture, and squeezed all the air out of them (sadly I missed out on this bit). Then still more teams of people fed the sausage mixture into the funnel that pipes it into the intestines. The interesting thing being how easy Vincenzo made it look, and how hard everyone else did :)

Still, it was a great learning experience, and a lot of fun. We ended up the day with 4kg (count em!) of sausages to take home, which I promptly hung in the laundry to dry out. Being over two weeks ago that we went, I’ve since started using them to great effect… slicing pieces on their own for antipasto, and using it much like my beloved chorizo (which has taken a temporary backseat), in an arrangement of pasta and omlette style dishes.

How do they taste you ask ? Fantastic… Very spicy from the amount of chilli that went into them, and with a robust coriander flavour that becomes more or less intense depending on which piece you bite into. I’d highly recommend anyone give it a try. Just find your nearest Italian family and get stuffing !

Many thanks again to Slow Food for organising the event, and here’s looking forward to the next one :)

Vegan Hell Italian Sausages - Fonti Style