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    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Bluff Oysters, The Ultimate

    It is May and that is the season for Bluff Oysters.
    These oysters, if not the best in the world….are in the top three.
    As in the rest of world, they are now amongst the most expensive foods
    When I was small, my father would buy them in 5 dozen lots from the Oyster Man
    Every Friday he would come home with them, we ate them au naturale, fried, oyster soup etc.
    By the end of the season you would be getting sick of them

    Now we buy them by the dozen and savour them.
    You can of course buy much cheaper oysters, Pacific, Rock Oysters (cooking only)
    Bluff are the crème de la crème.
    Normally I serve them with thinly sliced Vogels bread (another wonder of the world) with freshly ground black pepper, a touch of Tabasco perhaps.
    Definitely a little squeeze of lemon juice. Sometimes balsamic. Pretty plain really.
    But this time I decided you try out these Potato Blinis that Richard Corrigan (Michelin Star Chef) cooked for the Queen’s 80th birthday.
    If they are good enough for the Queen!!!


    85g Plain Flour
    1 teaspoon Salt
    Pinch of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
    1 Free-Range Egg
    1 Free-Range Egg Yolk
    150ml Milk
    115g Cooked Mashed Potatoes
    knob Butter
    25g St Killian Cream Cheese (Or Other Similar Soft Cream Cheese
    Put the flour in a bowl with the salt and the nutmeg and stir in the egg and egg yolk.
    Whisk in the milk, then fold in the cooked warm potato and the cheese.
    Cover and leave to rest in the fridge until ready to cook. To cook the blinis, heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan.

    Add spoonfuls of the blini batter and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
    This will make eight blinis so they said in the recipe.
    Well I made tiny blinis and this mixture made 24

    The actual reason I was making these blinis was a trial for a dinner we are having next week.
    I shall be serving them with hot smoked salmon and a dill and horseradish mayo I think
    But enough of the future meal…here are the oysters in full bloom
    Divine and Delicious.
    To complete our dinner I roasted this beautiful piece of Hapuka/ Grouper
    According to my fishmonger it was a female fish, it was so beautiful and white.
    So season and oil both sides of the filet and pop it into a very hot pan
    Cook till golden brown just a minute or two, flip it

    Add the juice from the oysters
    Bring the juices to the boil and place the whole pan in the oven for about 6 minutes
    Remove the fish and set it aside to rest
    Reduce the juices and add a knob of butter to emulsify the sauce plus a handful of parsley finely chopped A beautiful dinner
    Served with a simple crisp salad
    Iceberg lettuce
    Cherry tomatoes,
    Blue Castello cheese,
    Parsley and a
    Simple vinaigrette

    A Footnote

    Up till Saturday night we had a red letter box
    Good sturdy box. Practical.

    Obviously someone else lusted after it.
    When I went outside to farewell the family on Mothers day
    Suddenly something is missing!
    Some little w***er had carefully unscrewed it during the night and took it away.
    We are now the proud owner of a green letterbox.

    Anali of Anali's First Amendment one of my first blogging friends has been tagged with a book meme
    I like this idea I think I will email a few friends for their thoughts.

    1. Pick up the nearest book.
    2. Open to page 123.
    3. Find the fifth sentence.
    4. Post the next three sentences

    Lorraine my provider of Pear Cognac, has lent me a sensational book called “Shantaram”
    And if you haven’t read it, yet you must.
    So to complete the meme.
    Here are my 3 sentences.

    They sat on the ground around my low bed, Prabaker and his parents and his neighbours, keeping me company in the warm dark cinnamon-scented night, and forming a ring of protection around me. I thought that it would be impossible to sleep within a circle of spectators, but in minutes I began to float and drift on the murmuring tide of their voices; soft and rhythmic waves that swirled beneath a fathomless night of bright, whispering stars. At one point Prabaker’s father reached out from his place at my left side to rest his hand on my shoulder.
    As I write I am listening to Robert Plant and AlisonKrauss Lovely.

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    The Sensational KD Lang and a Beautiful Salad for a Beautiful Autumn Day

    Only 3 days ago it was cold and very wet.
    Not only that, it was a disaster for Joseph and Sophia
    A week earlier they had been given a guinea pig complete with run and little hutch.
    Weather turned nasty and dear me, one guinea pig down.
    Much distress, and a funeral in the garden
    A quick trip to the pet shop and along came Nisha
    2 days later yet another death and another funeral.
    We didn’t get to meet either of those little souls.

    It was family lunch and we were introduced to Elvis, guinea pig number three
    Apparently according to the Pet Shop owner the other two must of died of the cold.
    So the hutch was moved into the car port and another really cosy home for Elvis

    He really is he is with his teddy.
    Sophia covered up the run with a quilt for extra insulation.
    I am please to say at this time of writing he is still alive

    Anyway the weather is back to really nice again. Lucky Elvis.
    Our friend Lana came over for to share our lunch and mutual euphoria from last night’s KD Lang concert
    She was superb. What a voice, so melodic, an incredible range and none of the screeching that seems to be so popular with pop divas.
    There were more than a few tears shed from the sheer beauty of that voice and passion

    As I write this I am listening to the Watershed album
    Currently playing “The Valley” written by Jane Siberry.
    Such a beautiful song

    Anyway I whipped up this colourful salad for lunch today.
    Accompanied with my quick, easy and fab pizza bread
    A lovely lunch for a lovely day
    I used the very crisp iceberg lettuce as a base
    ¼ papaya peeled seeded and sliced
    3 hard bold eggs peeled and quartered
    1 red chili finely chopped
    3 radish sliced
    5 rashers crisy bacon
    1 avocado peeled and sliced
    1 tomato chopped
    Basil chopped
    Parsley chopped

    And a simple vinaigrette drizzled over the top

    1 part white balsamic
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    Sea salt and black freshly ground black pepper
    Mix well
    Add 3 parts extra virgin olive oil
    Mix again

    Just like that so so simple

    For the pizza bread recipe click here

    Just before popping the bread in the oven
    Brush with the Simply Ming Coriander Oil
    In November when Dale and I had our Fab and Gay Adventure, driving through New Zealand…we stayed at Evington Gardens with our friends Lorraine and Derrick and I helped Derrick tie a bottle onto a pear bud.
    Thus supplying us, with a Pear in a Bottle, in order to make Pear Cognac.
    Well the pear has grown and we are now proud owners of our own bottle
    Beautifully packed by Lorraine complete with the twig once attahced to the pear
    It will need at least 6 months to mature, so watch for a drunken post at the end of the year.
    Anniversary of our stay at Evington I think.
    Shall have to compose a menu for the occasion.

    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    Coriander and Basil Infused Oil

    When we were planning our last boat trip, I wanted a solution for fresh herbs
    Chef Ming Tsai from the programme Simply Ming made this coriander/cilantro oil which I thought could solve my problems.

    This is an excellent idea.
    It’s not overly flavourful, you could say subtle, and it has lasted in the fridge for a couple of months which is just what you need on the boat.
    I used it for cooking and also it made a superb drizzling oil for pizza, pasta, chicken anything else you fancied.
    I also made a basil oil.
    Very easy as well

    · 3 bunches coriander, washed, spun dry and leaves picked
    · 1/2 cup packed spinach leaves
    · 1 tablespoon sugar
    · 2 cups rice bran oil
    · Sea salt to taste
    Prepare an ice bath with a strainer.
    Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, then salt the water until it tastes like sea water. Add the coriander and spinach and blanch for 2 minutes until soft but still very green.
    Immediately, transfer to an ice bath and chill.
    Squeeze out all excess water and transfer to a blender.
    Add sugar and blend on high speed, adding the oil in a steady stream.
    Purée should be green and smooth.
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and check for flavor.
    Store Coriander Oil in an airtight jar.