Breaking Bread

So, this is Christmas. And what have you done? If you’re anything like me, you’ve been run off your feet with Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping, planning, cooking, shopping, drinking more shopping (what is with all these little last minute presents?!) and a million catch-ups.

It’s well documented that I’m a grinch, however, I can’t hate everything about this time of year. I mean, it’s the best time to get out and try all the places that you never got to during the year, under the guise of merriment and quality time with friends and family!

The one place I still haven’t gotten to is Fremantle’s Bread in Common. The brain child of Nic Trimboli (you might of heard of him – his other ventures include Balthazar, Duende, Gordon St Garage – oh, and a little place called Little Creatures) is buzzing on Packenham Street, away from the myriad of fairly average cappuccino and pizza/pasta tourist pleasers that has rendered Fremantle a culinary wasteland for far too long.

The hero dish (aside from the bread) that I’m dying to try are the mint lamb ribs with black garlic; there is nothing about that dish that doesn’t sound amazing to me. Luckily, I happened across the recipe in the current Delicious Magazine, and was ecstatic that I don’t have to wait to try them!

Lamb ribs are all kinds of fantastic. They’ve been living in the shadows of the more popular pork and beef ribs; but are increasingly taking centre stage on restaurant menus. The good news is, lamb ribs are a ridiculously cheap cut of meat (unlike pork and beef), and you can buy a kilo of ribs for around $10, making this a great dish to make for a group of people, or maybe even leave out for Santa! Actually, don’t do that. If you leave meat out overnight for Santa, you might just kill him.

Black Garlic & Herb Lamb Ribs

From Delicious Magazine

1.2kg Macabee Dorper lamb ribs
3tbsp peanut oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1tbsp chopped thyme and rosemary
375ml white wine
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
6 cloves black garlic
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
Coriander leaves, to serve
Marinade
1/2 bunch each of mint, rosemary and flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 long green chillies
2 tsp each coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and whole black peppercorns
3 garlic cloves
Blitz the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor with 2 tsp salt until coarsely chopped.

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Rub the marinade into the ribs, then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight if time allows.

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Heat your oven to 140*C. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat in a roasting pan. Add the carrot and onion to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the ribs, thyme, rosemary and wine to the pan, then add enough hot water to cover the ribs. Bring the pan to a simmer, then remove from heat and cover with baking paper and foil and place in the oven for 3 hours or until the meat is tender.

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For the dressing, mix together mint, black garlic, chilli, sugar, vinegar and last 2 tbsp oil until combined.
Remove the ribs from the roasting pan, and discard the liquid. Season the ribs and char-grill in a pan over high heat, for 6 minutes or until golden.

Place the ribs on a plate and serve with dressing and coriander.

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Black garlic can be bought in tubs from supermarkets, and is simply fermented garlic cloves. They’re sweeter, less pungent than regular garlic and the dramatic colour adds interest to the plate. If you can’t find it, substitute roasted garlic cloves.

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Everything you see, I owe to pasta.

I mean, who’s going to argue with Sophia Loren?

There is no magic in this world quite like pasta. A staple of the family dinner table; the quickest dinner in any of our repertoires; the first thing we learn to cook. For something so simple (eggs, flour, salt, traditionally), you could go your whole life without making the same recipe twice.

Although I eat very little pasta in my day to day life, I get a kick out of making it when cooking for others. I weirdly feel the need to prove myself, that I can make more than mac and cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with mac and cheese!), or fusilli with a jar of pasta sauce and tinned tuna; my go-to uni student meal.

This is total restaurant quality stuff. It’s incredibly flavourful and moorish, and a great thing to plate up when you’re wanting to impress someone. Yeah, I’m calling it. Date food. Write it down.

Beef Short Rib & Mushroom Orecchiette

From Delicious

20g dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup sunflower oil
2.5kg beef short ribs (I only used 1.5kg)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
400g orecchiette
20g butter
200g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
Parmesan, to serve

Heat the oven to 180*c.

Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2/3 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, keeping the liquid, and halve the mushrooms if they’re large.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large flame proof and oven proof dish. Season the ribs really well with salt and pepper, then add to the dish and cook for 12 minutes, turning until well browned. Place the ribs on a plate and set aside.

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Add the carrot, celery and onion to the dish and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until soft.  Turn down the heat to medium and add the garlic and thyme. Cook for a minute, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, cooking for a minute.

IMG_7997Add the wine, stock, bay leaves, porcini and the reserved liquid. Add the ribs and resting juices to the dish, then bring to a simmer. Cover the dish and place it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

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Remove the dish from the oven, and remove the ribs. Leave them to one side to cool slightly. Place the dish over medium high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens a little.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions in a pan of salted water. Drain.

In a large frypan, heat the butter, then add the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes until golden.

Remove the meat from the ribs, throwing away the cartilage and bones. Tear up the meat into small pieces, then add the meat and mushrooms to the sauce, along with the pasta. Toss together thoroughly, then season with salt and pepper.


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West by Southwest

(yes, Dad, I know it’s not a real direction)

The Lone Star state may not be quite as lonely as it thinks. I kind of feel like we in WA may have a kindred spirit with the second most expansive state in the US of A.

REASONS WHY TEXAS AND WA SHOULD BE FRIENDS:

1) We are both a little on the large side. Hey, everything is bigger in Texas, and I don’t think this is a bad thing!
2) Famous for deserts, though contain everything from mountain ranges to forests to beaches
3) Totally awesome at drilling stuff out of the ground
4) We have similarly snazzy head wear. Though Akubra > Stetson
5) We both appreciate the deliciousness that is a good cow
6) Our respective governments are totally mooching off our productivity. It’s not our fault we are better than you, Victoria New Mexico EVERYONE

Now that we have cemented our new BFF status (the friendship necklace is in the post!), it’s time we share the love. When it comes to sharing food love, there is no one I love to share it with more than my favourite cousin, Keaton, who writes over at Bubblegunperth – he’s seriously talented and clever and all round awesome and I refuse to believe that we share DNA. He doesn’t judge the terrible music in my iTunes (even though he should) and teaches me about many sweet tunes what make me look cool. Sharing is caring.

For this recipe, I used (and LOVE) Gingin Beef ribs – they are so unbelievably delicious, and the team are so friendly and happy to answer my stupid first-thing-in-the-morning-and-not-yet-capable-of-coherent-though questions.

Texan-Style Beef Ribs

From Donna Hay

3/4 cup tomato puree (passata)
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 cup malt vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 cup water
2kg beef ribs
salt and pepper, to season

1) Heat the oven to 180*c. Throw everything minus the ribs into a deep, large roasting dish and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ribs, and turn to coat thoroughly.

2) Cover the tray with foil and slowly roast for 2 hours, turning half way through. Take off the foil and roast for another 35 – 45 minutes, turning once again, to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken.

Serve the ribs with these:

Paprika and Beer Battered Chips

From Donna Hay

1/2 cups plain flour
2/3 cup cornflour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp salt flakes
2 cups pale ale beer
600g starchy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
vegetable oil, for frying

1) Mix the flour, cornflour, baking powder, paprika and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the beer, until a smooth paste forms.

2) Heat the oil in a deep saucepan until it reaches 180*c. Dip the potato into the batter, and CAREFULLY drop into the oil one by one (so they don’t stick together), frying in batches for a couple of minutes, until golden. Drain on kitchen paper.

I served the chips with mayo with a clove of finely diced garlic to make a cheating aioli – and it was good.

Also, in the interest of balance, please serve with an actual salad. I chopped up lettuce, tomatoes, spring onion and threw in some feta. Easy.

Tastes like home

What food did you love growing up?

I was always really jealous of the kids around me who came from different backgrounds. I grew up surrounded by Italians (I believed their pigeons were pets – silly me!), my friends were Thai, Serbian, English and Indian. They had family trips back to ‘The Home Country’, interesting relatives in return. They had special days off to celebrate holidays and festivals.

I mean this in the nicest way possible, but I’m painfully Australian. I got zip, zilch, nada of these fun things. All those fun foods? I didn’t get those either.  But, before you start playing the tiny violins for me, don’t worry. The flavours I grew up loving were a little less traditional Australian, but good none the less.

I loved the sweet and salty balance of char siu sauce, usually used to marinate chicken skewers for barbecues. I’d plead with mum to make them for me whenever she could. The second they came off the grill, there I was, getting in the way of anyone who dared thought they could have one. They were my precioussssssss.

The marinade is traditionally paired with pork, and makes these gorgeous organic pork ribs amazing. You should get some. Really.

Char Siu Pork Ribs

From Not Quite Nigella

Ingredients:

300g Pork Ribs
4 tablespoons of Lee Kum Kee Char Siu sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons white sugar
3-4 garlic cloves chopped
4 tablespoons honey

1) Mix together char siu, salt, sugar and garlic in a ziploc bag. Add the ribs to the bag, and carefully smush the marinade around the ribs to coat. Marinate overnight if you have time, or for at least an hour.

2) Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Bring the ribs to room temperature. Put the ribs on a rack over a baking tray of water. Cook for 30 minutes, turning halfway.

3) Increase the temperature of the oven to 200c. With a pastry brush, baste one side of the pork with the honey, cooking for 5 minutes, then turn over baste other side with more honey and cook for a further 5 minutes.

4) Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
Serve with steamed rice and Asian greens.