Archive for the 'links' Category

Lunch and linkitude

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

I just ate an awesome lunch of broccoli rabe and sourdough with grilled goats cheese. Let me tell you about it!

I’ve been going to one or other of the farmers’ markets around town every weekend for the last couple of months, having rediscovered how much happiness they bring me. My instinctive Saturday morning laziness has so far been regularly trumped by getting all enthused about vegetables and getting a bit of fresh air. At the West End markets yesterday I gathered a back-strainingly heavy load of fresh vegetables, including this bunch of I-think-it’s-broccoli-rabe. Not sure of the ID as the seller didn’t have a lot of English, but it looked and tasted like the internet tells me broccoli rabe should.

To cook it, I first cut off the leaves and chopped the stems into 2 cm pieces. I simmered the stems for a couple of minutes, added the leaves and continued cooking for another two minutes, then drained it all and set aside. In a separate pan, I slow-cooked a quartered and finely sliced onion in a dash of olive oil until soft and silky; added 4 jarred anchovies and cooked until they dissolved; then added 5 finely minced cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of chili flakes, gave them a minute, and finally threw in the drained broccoli rabe. I let it cook down on the stove for another five minutes or so, until everything was combined and the stems were tender. While that was happening, I toasted a couple of slices of sourdough, then topped them with thin slices of aged goat cheese (from the Gympie cheese stall at the markets) and toasted under the grill until the cheese was slightly melty and touched with gold. I ate a pile of the broccoli with the cheesy toast on the side.

Oh yeah. Man, what a delicious combination. The slow-cooked onions and anchovies added a sweetness to the very slight remaining bitterness of the leaves, with the goat cheese giving a bit of savoury bite. I’m so glad I stopped and bought the mystery broccoli-like greens even though my bags were already bulging.
And now, a few other fascinating food-related things!

◊  Why were my market bags so heavy? Because I have a stack of recipes lined up to try this week, including savoury pumpkin cakefarro salad with roasted red grapes and greens, and beetroot and lime soup.

◊  I am also planning a scientific assault on the question of why my poached quinces sometimes turn pink and sometimes stay the colour of bandaids. My current theory is that a squeeze of lemon juice is required for the colour change, and I will be testing this (and if necessary other theories) by cooking halves of single quinces in different ways and observing the outcomes. Yeah science.

◊  I have been totally rocking the cooking recently, at least in terms of variety and enjoyment. Check out the Eating notes for details. Recent highlights: Molly Wizenberg’s leek confit, which is spectacularly good when slightly warm and eaten piled onto toasted sourdough spread with soft goat cheese; a parsnip, pear and thyme soup; boudin noir with apples; pear and gruyere toasted sandwiches; lentil, roast tomato and rosemary soup; and smoked salmon with roasted potato, parsnip, shallots and horseradish.

◊  The boudin noir of the previous paragraph came from the Eumundi Smokehouse, which has a stall at the West End market and Powerhouse market. It’s been too long since I ate a proper French boudin to be able to say exactly how authentic it was, but it tasted pretty damn good to me. Air-dried saucisson from there was also good.

◊  We’ve had a couple of great dinners recently with Ian and Lisa at China Kitchen (High St Toowong) – the chili soup, dry-fried intestines, and chili and sour potato have been standouts. Recommended.