Monday, October 31, 2011

Peach and Rhubarb Crumble

Spring fruits! I've missed them. I've been suffering under apples and pears for far too long and it's getting stale. Give me somthing juicy!

My family eats a lot of crumble. It was the first dish my mum taught my sisters and I to make. When my friend Georgie and I were about 10 years old, we used to secretly make a bowl of crumble mix and sneak up into my room to eat it raw. Butter, flour and sugar... raw. Pretty gross. But pretty good, too. Georgie's a chef now, I like to think of those days spent spooning raw butter mixture into our mouths were the real beginnings of her cooking/eating talent.

Ordinarily, in our kitchen, we mix the rhubarb with apples, but we had a bowl of new-season peaches in the fridge last week and I had just started reading The Help (yes, like the movie) and one of the characters (Minnie, for those who've read it) spoke about peach cobbler, and thus the cravings ensued.

I like to peel my peaches, some people like to keep the skins on, but I find them a distraction. The fruit bubbles and softens as the crumble grows crisp in the oven, all craggy and golden and smelling incredible. The rhubarb keeps a little of its tartness, which sharpens the jaminess of the softened peaches. All in all, this dessert is winning at life, and so will you when you take your first bite.

Peach and Rhubarb Crumble
an original recipe
Serves about 5-6

1 bunch rhubarb, washed and chopped into 2cm chunks
4-5 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 6ths
2 tbs raw sugar
1 cup unsalted butter and room temp
1 1/4 cup plain flour (plus some extra if you need it)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats or toasted muesli
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a baking dish (approx 20cm in length), combine the rhubarb and peaches. Add raw sugar and stir to coat the fruit. Set aside while you make the crumble.

To make the crumble topping, rub the flour into the butter until you have a breadcrumb consistancy using your fingers, try not to overwork the mixture or it will become cakey. Add a few pinches more flour if you need it. Using a fork, stir through the brown sugar, oats and cinnamon until combined. Top the fruit with the crumble mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crumble is golden and you can see the fruit bubbling around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes in the serving dish, then serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of creme fraiche.

The Bon Chovie - Brooklyn

The Williamsburg food market, aptly named Smorgasburg, is run every Saturday down on the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn and overlooks the towering Manhattan skyline. After a night spent swerving from shrimp 'n' grits to spontaneous live music bars to house-partyesque rooftops to balcony beers, these babies were a fitting breakfast in between celebrity spottings (totally scouted Maeby from Arrested Development, we recognised her freckles and she had pretty amazing wedges on, too).

Anchovies are slowly amassing a following in Australia, but they are yet to become a full-blown obsession as they are in NYC. Fresh anchovies, not those brown furry things you get in jars, are incredible. They're salty but not unbearably so, and their bones are so fragile you can crunch right through them. On top of all that, they're actually a really environmentally friendly and sustainable little fishy, and are seriously misunderstood. I only have two or three friends who truly appreciate the anchovy and these friends are kept close, for people who don't appreciate the anchovy probably don't appreciate pickles either, and I DON'T have time for people who hate on pickles.

After wandering around the market snacking on fish tacos with coriander mayonnaise and hot sauce and to sipping on Kombucha - a cool and spicy fermented ginger tea - we stumbled across the Bon Chovie, a rock 'n' roll stall with a line as long as the day was hot. I ordered a plate of original-style 'chovies and they came dusted in a crisp swathe of crumbs, a little pot of pink paprika aioli on the side and a pile of pickled red peppers. The fish were small enough to eat in one bite and were fresh and spicy and crunchy and juicy all at once.

Why hasn't anyone done this in Sydney yet? Would you eat it? I would be there every weekend.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Humphry Slocombe - San Francisco

Before I tell you about this ice cream, I feel like I have to tell you about what it took to get there. It was hot, unusually so for a September day in that part of the country, or that's what everyone kept telling us anyway.

It was our last day in San Fran, and that morning we'd sat bolt upright in our bed whilst the fire alarm screamed outside our door. I yelped to grab our passports and even thought to put on closed-in shoes, I can't believe I thought of that. Something from school obviously sunk in, what a fire-safety lame-ass. Amy was trying to decide which camera lens to take, which was a pretty stressful decision, i'm pretty sure she managed to stuff them all into her bag at once. We ran down the stairs and stood bleary-eyed on the 7am San Fransisco streets until they told us it was steam from a shower that set off the alarm and we could go back inside.

We wandered down to the castro, I kept trying to tug my $10 vintage shorts down to an appropriate cover-up length whenever we walked past the 'Political Nudes'. Not to sure how stripping down to just your beard and your backpack is helpful in the political realm, but we just made sure we avoided the park benches their bare bottoms had touched.

We hopped on a bus to take us down Mission St just as the sun had started its fiery descent into the mid-afternoon sky. It was hot, it was sticky, and the bus was full. A man with a wheelchair the size of a small compact car had parked himself in the centre of the aisle, his ten bags of shopping were hung off the arm rests, and were swinging back and forth as the bus lurched down the road. An old, desperately thin woman with next to no hair and wandering eyes pulled herself into the corner seat. Little kids were screaming, and I was trying so, so hard to breath as shallow as possible so to escape the stench of the obese man next to me with his arms outstretched dressed in a canary yellow t-shirt and those sunglasses with holograms of dinosaurs in the lenses that change colours as you tilt your head. A young couple next to us were hysterical with laughter at the situation. The girl was covering her mouth with her hand, trying to stifle the gasps of giggles at the unfolding situation. The bus was so packed that when the man in the wheelchair arrived at his stop, he had to perform a hair-raising 24-point turn as the other passengers pressed themselves against the greasy glass windows to make room.

We burst out of that bus like bats out of hell. There were groups of people sitting in gutters listening to music blasting from battery-powered stereos and I kept stretching my shorts to they would at least keep my upper thighs out of clear view. We walked one block over and the noise stopped. The houses changed from smog-covered grime to lined-up chocolate boxes of yellow, pink and blue, all with those beautiful round bay windows that are seen all over San Francisco.

We rounded a corner and a blue awning swaying breezily. Ice cream it said, we had finally arrived.

We practically tried everything. Cinnamon brittle, black sesame, cornflakes and rum-spiked milk, salted liquorice and honey dew. I bought a scoop of Vietnamese coffee, and another of brown sugar fennel and we sat in the window licking it all up.

Humphry Slocombe is an incredible place, just like their city, not unlike Darlinghurst's Gelato Messina, but a little more gung-ho. They're out of the way but they're worth it and they'll let you try everything before you buy, even if there's a line of 20 waiting behind you. Next time you're in the City by the Bay, seek them out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


This list was inspired by this post by Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks. Heidi is scarily organised for travelling, she even prepares whole meals for the plane ride! I can't believe that! What kind of a Wonder Woman is this?
I didn't even know you could bring your own food on-board planes. Perhaps it's different in the US, or maybe I've been put off by all those Airport TV shows where misty-eyed grandmothers from Asia are pulled up by Customs for filling their suitcases with home-dried shrimp and other packets of foreign 'unmentionables' they just couldn't travel without.

Here's my most common travelling situation:
  • Food-wise, it's not pretty. From the shitty Gloria Jeans coffee to the $11 greasy-yet-strangely-dry ham and cheese croissant (if you've ever wondered if something could be greasy and dry simultaneously, it can), it's a terrible time, and that's even before you've stepped on the plane.
  • Ever since I got CHEAP! tattooed in Helvetica across my forehead, it's rare that I get to recline in the plush comfort of Qantas' Byron Bay cookies and iced G&T's (unless mum is paying, thanks mum) Those pre-heated, foil-covered food packs they hand out for dinner give off the worst stench. Oddly, It's exactly the same smell as my boarding school dining hall which reeked of onion and powdered eggs, no matter what they were cooking that day. The smell would soak into the wool of our school jumpers and would stay there into the afternoon until you doused it in perfume. What I wouldn't do to be organised enough to make dumplings for the plane! Neatly tucked into a collapsible silicone lunchbox! WITH SAUCE! A girl can dream that her future self will be dumpling-travel organised can't she?
  • To make matters worse, on top of all the congealed eggs and limp lettuce, is a niggling fear of flying that I try to ignore, yet which always manages to settle itself right in the middle of my chest whenever the plane jolts. My friend Camilla loves turbulence. "It's like a riding a rollercoaster!" she squealed mid-way to Vietnam, her face spread with a wide, manic smile. "A ROLLERCOASTER THAT ISN'T ATTACHED TO ANYTHING, MILL! NOTHING! THIN AIR!" I barked back, sucking on the straw of my bloody mary from a can.
Thanks for the tips Heidi, travel goddess. I bow at your feet. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Avocado Toast

I'm giving up bread.

Not for long, just two weeks, which is pretty much a yeastless eternity because I've been eating toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pizza for dinner, biscotti for dessert... get it? This nonsense has gotta stop.

It's not going too well. Bread is really hard to escape. Crispbread doesn't count, right? And I can't eat hummus with a spoon, I'm not a baby. I keep making excuses, and I can't stop thinking about this simple little breakfast we had at Cafe Gitane in The Jane Hotel in New York's West Village. It was avocado toast, but it was zingy and jumped up with lemon, drizzled with olive oil and flecked with dried chilli and sea salt.

It was so green on top of the grainy rye bread. The avocado was layered on thick and perfectly ripe. The cafe was beautiful, too although there was a couple sitting next to us, they must have been newly married, who waited so long for their cups of coffee I thought the dainty girl with the delicate bone structure and pixie haircut might just melt into thin air if she had to wait any longer. They stopped talking to each other after a while and just stared off into the corners of the room, wide eyed and solemn. I couldn't tear my eyes away.

We ate so many incredible things in the US, we walked up hills and rode on buses and drove over water to eat eat eat. It was all delicious, but this dish stood out, and it's my new favourite breakfast. You don't need a recipe, just mash some avocado onto some lightly toasted bread, drizzle with your best olive oil and drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle with chilli flakes and a pinch of sea salt. Devour.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dude Food

This recipe came into my life through Ed, who got it from his mate Waz, who in his life has done a whole lot of things, one of them being the largest distributor of Chiminea ovens in Australia*. A chiminea is a sort of wood-fired, clay, outdoor Mexican oven thing. I guess it would have the same effect as grilling something over a fire pit, but more mystical because it's Mexican. If you have a BBQ you're set.

Waz has also dabbled in catering and has made this chicken dish for a group of beer-soaked boys a heap of times according to Ed. It was also dead easy, apparently, not that I was the one cooking it... The only task I was assigned was to whack the flat bread in the oven. Oh, and make this corn, which blew my mind, you MUST make it if you ever cook up a batch of chima chicken, or anything chicken in fact. It has lime, it has cheese it has chilli, and your life can't go on without it. It's a slutty side dish, and will happily sleep with anything, and especially anything barbecued.

Chima Chicken is spicy and a little sweet with a wallop of garlic nestled in nicely, oh, and a beer is compulsory.

In other news, I'm back from the US with plenty of delicious things to show you! Stay tuned.

Chima Chicken
Thanks to Waz

1kg boneless chicken thighs
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 large tablespoons of sambal olek (a chilli paste you can find in any supermarket)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Heat Barbecue plate (not grill) to medium heat.
Place chicken thighs in a large mixing bowl. Add soy sauce, Sambal Olek, oil and
garlic. Mix with hands, make sure the chicken is evenly coated.
Place chicken on hot plate, smooth side down first, cook for about 4 mins, turn when ready

*Fact police, you have Ed to chase for this gem of a fact which is yet to be confirmed.