Monday, 3 September 2007

Tha Jerk Chicken

Barb is a project woman!! She had last Thursday off work and she decided to make jerk chicken.I firsted tasted this dish at some of the carribean shops that served homestyle food in Neasden in the UK. Barbara and I lived here when we went travelling in 2000.

"Jerk" style cooking comes from Jamica, with two key spices: allspice (Jamician pimento) & Scotch Bonnet peppers. The latter are a bit tricky to find in Sydney so Barb used red ball peppers and red chillies. Jamican food has Chinese and East Indian influences.

Have a look at and if you want to see Tracy cook some jerk chicken go to:

As you can see by the photo below we all loved the jerk chicken!

My Ma's Fish Molee

My good mate Renjit texted me one arvo,"Would u like 2 invite me over 4 dinner 2 night?". My response was "sure thing mofo" and I returned home from work to cook a traditonal Kerala style meal, featuring a fish curry cooked in coconut milk broth. This dish is usually served with lace appam (fermented rice pancake).

This recipe comes from "A Treasure Chest of Recipes". This book was put together by the Marthoma Church in Sydney. It is a pucka Kerala dish:

1/2 kg Spanish mackeral sliced 2 onions thinly sliced
1 inch ginger, chopped 6 green chillies thingly sliced
4 cloves garlic chopped 1 sprig curry leaves
1 cup thin coconut milk 2 tomotoes sliced thick
3 tablespoon oil

Spice mixture:
1 teaspoon corriander powder 1/4 teaspoon pepper powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin powder 1/4 teaspoon tumeric powder
4 cloves garlic

Heat the oil in a flat pan with lid. Fry the sliced ingredients until light brown. Add the ground spices and curry leaves and stir on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Using a spatula push the mixture to one side of the pan. Place the fish pieces in a single layer in the centre*. Put the mixture (masala) over the fish and add the coconut milk.

Sprinkle salt then place the sliced tomotoes on top, simmer till fish is cooked through and remove from fire.

This dish is best eaten using your hand.

*The fish can be fried in a spice mixture before adding the coconut milk.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Cricketer's Arms

I know this is food blog but I had to include this picture of my mate Slem as Jesus. Aaron, who is animator, created this picture following Slem's amazing century during winter cricket. The Cricketers Arms went on to win this semi and the final.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Weekend's Away

Following the death of Maya last year Barbara and I have made the decision to take weekend's away as often as we can. This has been helped by the gernerosity of family with holiday homes.

Barb and I took a spontaneous trip to Bilipin in March to stay at an orchard. It was lovely because they provided local produce from their farm.

We ate, talked, swum, bushwalked and rested. We also had to place a vote at the local school hall.

Dr Proctor

Here is Ali nd Barb enjoying some local chinese take-away (roast duck) in Canberra. Ali is an flamate of Barb's when she used to live in Ultimo. Ali's a top chick who loves life.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Yum Cha

For Barb's older sister Liz we celebrated her birthday (36) at a chinese restuarant. It was the usual suspects: Jake & Barb, Carol & Rob, Sister Jo, Liz, Al, Ameile & Kataya and Al's lovely parents, Roger & Robyn.

I love the chaos of yum cha. Everyone says at the start, "Hey you can choose" but as soon as the silver carts go by everyone is is yelling out for this dish or another.

What I aslo love about these occasions is how the Nance gene is never too far away. Carol brought along a delightful Margaret Fulton classic desert. It was great!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Manu & Lisa

Barbara and I finally caught up with Manu and Lisa. They got married in India last year and spent some time in Harvey Bay, where Manu was working before moving to Sydney in Jan. Lisa is someone I have known for several years through the Marthoma crowd. Lisa went to the trouble of cooking a lovely indian meal.

I value these types of relationships as there is a boat-load of cultural and religious dilemmas that we can share and explore when we are together. (BTW Lisa was the chick in the stunning yellow sari at our wedding).

Braised Oxtail

I saw this recipe on the SBS Food lovers Gude to Australia. I couldn't resist. I think i was drawn in by the use of 2 litres of wine.

2 kilo oxtail
extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots,sliced
1 ½ -2 litres red wine
2 large oranges, juiced
water or beef stock
Orange zest

Trim off excess fat from the oxtail.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan, add sliced shallots and brown the oxtail.
Remove the browned oxtail to a deep saucepan.
Deglaze the pan with some of the red wine and pour over meat. Add the remainder of the red wine, juice of 2 oranges and enough water to cover the meat. Bring it to boil and simmer for about 2 hours.
Add the zest of 2 oranges and simmer for a further hour.

At this stage the oxtail and sauce can be put into refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
While chilled, skim off the fat then bring meat and sauce back to simmering point.
Remove the oxtail and place in oven to keep it warm and reduce the remaining sauce.
An option is to stir a dollop of butter into pot to enrich the reduced sauce before serving.

Serve with lightly cooked asparagus and crusty bread.

Well as you can see by this recipe I am still struggling with my cholestrol situation. Well everyone enjoyed the meal.

Good Cholestrol, Bad Cholestrol

I've got high cholestrol. Bugger! Well Jenny, my GP, said it was good that i have found out about it now. Well as you can seen by the entries on this blog eating is one of my hobbies. I've struggled with choosing poached organic chicken breast over caussoulet.

My dad died in his early 60's of a heart attack so i'm learning to be careful. I have to go back to the GP and get re-tested. Well it's put the fear of ignorance into a couple of my mates. Please just one more piece of duck confit. Please.

Thirty Five

I was spoit for my thirty fifth birthday this year. Barb reprised last years family Xmas dinner of roast pork. It's a recipe from the bible (Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion), called Justin's wonderful rack of pork". Watching Kate savour the crackling was a real joy. She was formerly a vego a couple of years ago. Entree was seared scallops, on the shell with avacado salsa. Desert was a poached pear in saffron and vanilla, followed by a french goats cheese and pettite fours from Adora hand made chocolates.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Sugar Anyone?

My friend Renjit took this picture when he was in India a couple of years ago. It reminds me of the a story I heard recently of a jalebi eating contest. A jalebi is like eating deep fried orange sugar, soaked in sugar syrup. I think they ate over 20 jalebis each.

Here is a jalebi recipe for you to try at home from

200 gms. plain flour (maida)
20 gms. gram flour (besan)
200 gms. sugar
few drops yellow colour
2 tbsp. milk
ghee to deep fry
a plastic easy squeeze bottle


Sieve 100 gms. maida and besan together.
Make a batter using warm water.
Keep aside for 24 hours.
Add remaining maida and food colour and more warm water if required.
The batter should fall easily when poured - Not too thick not too thin. Keep aside.
Make syrup of the sugar by adding water and boiling.
Add the milk and all the scum to form while boiling.
Make one string syrup. Strain.
Fill bottle with batter. The nozzle should have a hole the thickness of a knitting needle.
Heat ghee well in a shallow frying pan and form jalebis in the form of concentric circles about 2 inches on the outside.
Fry till crisp, drop into hot syrup. Drain with a perforated spoon, serve hot.
Makes: 30-35 pieces

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The Harp

This is me sharing a beer with my missus at our local, The Harp in Tempe.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007


There exists an unspoken social contract when you visit a restaurant that promotes itself along the lines of a specific culture. When I visit the local German club I expect to see leather clothing, drink wheat beer and eat pork sausages. The service should be efficient yet indifferent. Only Thai restaurants are exempt from this rule.

Recently FAG visited the Russian Coachmen. A Surry Hills institution located on the tree lined Bourke St (East Redfern side). I actually lived about a block away in 1996 and have longed to visit this place. It didn't disappoint.

The visit started without Emily's booking being recorded in the rather large but sparce diary. The fit dude with short cropped hair said it wouldn't be a problem as the restaurant was empty. A falsehood as later in the night was to prove.

As you can see from photo above, the place had a sort of boudoir quality about it. There was a lot of red velvet to recline against. The lighting was non existent and I think they were trying to save a few rubles by not heating the place. The live entertainment was not provided, "not enough bookings". So we were entertained by the ambience created by the giant plasma screen blaring out indian pop and our own stumble towards drunkness.

We debated the economics of buying a bottle over individual glasses of vodka. It cost about the same either way but the opportunity to order a bottle of vodka seemed to match the spirit of dinner at a Russian-themed restaurant. The order was made and a second request by the reluctant Phil saw the crisp bottle of Polar Bear vodka appear.

We encouraged from the bar to our table by the lovely, yet laconic waitress from Odessa. Her response to "How's the veal come?" was "Veal. It's veal.".

The food was salty and rich in fat. Entrees of pickled herring, with roasted potates, vegetables drentched in mayo/cream and a lovely smoked salmon salad. Sorry I can't forget the meat dumpling dolped with cream.

Meat filled main courses were consumed. A couple of people had the beef stroganoff (yes more cream and meat!), Renjit and Mitch had the meet and cheese. Another bottle of vodka was downed. Desert was either bavoiris or crepes. We were kinda sloshed now. It's seemed that the contract with Russian Coachmen had been fulfilled. The bill was paid.

Nearby a bunch of Russian youngsters, enjoying a banquet, turned their attention from becoming well-pickled to us. Words were exchanged, tomotoes were thrown, Boris Yeltsin and Putin were used to insult and inflame. Biffo was barely avoided.

Standing outside the gaudy facade of the Coachmen the mood of the Fagsters had changed. Reminiscences were quickly shared. Hurried farewells were said and taxi's were jumped into. What a night.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Sailor's Thai

This photo was taken at Sailors Thai Restaurant. My good friend Renjit gave my wife Barb a gift voucher to this restaurant in December 2005 for her 30th Birthday. It was a very thoughtful gift as Renjit and I had shared a couple of meals upstairs at the Canteen before he moved to Sydney. Sailor's Thai sort of signified all that Melbourne was not. Barb was part way throught the pregnancy of our daughter Maya, who was born on 16 May 2005 and died 5 days later, when we shared this meal together.

This was the desert.

Justin's fatherdom dinner

Late last year I organsed a dinner at the fantastic restaurant at the Three Weeds Pub for my mate Juzzy who was about to become a dad. It was a dinner for roasting Justin's fears of fatherhood while eating sublimly rich food and NZ vino.

Fresh made sourdough bread rolls kept us full until entrees of cured ocean trout with avacodo icecream followed by perfertly cooked and tender fish mains. Wow. I can remember that each time I took a mouthful of the fish I was hoping there was still some left.

It was at the 3 weeds, about a decade ago, I enjoyed hearing Deb Conway and her band while eating fish and chips. Thing's have changed.

Pink Sugar

Here's my missus, Barb and good friend Vicky enjoying fairy floss at our local primary school fete. No dagwood dogs (a battered & deep fried hot dog) in sight!!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Meat Feast

Every few months a goup of friends who have a love of food, both kitsch and ethnic, get togther. We are known as FAG or Food Appreciation Guild. The last FAG outing was at the family run La Parrillada, Leichhardt. A group of 6 shared about 3kg's of bbq meat, Peruvian style. A mixture of pork, beef and lamb served on a hibatichi. Unfortunately La Parrillada's "All You can Eat" special ($19.90) had run out so there was no deliciously succulent chicken. This was the main meal, after we had consummed a bowl of deep fried chips and deep fried sausages. I highly recommend this restaurant.