Serious barbecue

The Serious Eats Barbecue Style Guide

This slideshow of amazing barbecue is very inspiring. I'd love to do a road trip through the BBQ states of the US, though tourism in the USA isn't very appealing given you stand a good chance of being sexually assaulted in an airport checkpoint.

Yay for babysitters

We got to have an adult night out thanks to Grandma. Dinner at Spice Temple then Holy Fuck at Sydney Festival's Becks Festival Bar.

Spice Temple was fantastic. The only baseball bat in the arsenal seemed to be Szechuan pepper and chilli, but what a nice bat to whack you upside the taste buds!

Holy Fuck, also excellent. More exciting in the tiny, sweaty Annandale last time we saw them, but still great.

Pulled pork

This weekend I made pulled pork again. It's such a great treat and uses insanely cheap meat.  I pretty much followed this recipe from Kidspot, with about $15 worth of pork shoulder and a bit of a mixture of BBQ sauces, since I ran out of one and had to crack out the Daddy's brown sauce.

The key ingredient to this recipe is time. It needs the full 10 hours in the slow cooker to soften all those nasty stringy bits of well-used muscle in the shoulder. This can be difficult to arrange if you're planning to eat it the same day, though if you have little kids it can be less difficult to arrange as you're up early.  Mine wasn't ready until 22:00 last night, so we didn't eat it until today.

Chilled, the pulled pork is a bit like lean rillettes. Shredded pork in jelly, juices and a little fat.  Nothing like as salty though.  I was an exchange student in Le Mans, which is famous for pork rillettes as well as a car race, so I have a bit of a soft spot for them.

This morning I had a bit of a treat breakfast.  Toast, a little pulled pork, eggs and some habanero sauce. Delicious!

Tonight we used it for dinner.  Burritos with some pulled pork and a heap of salad, all the greens from the garden. Again, divine.

There's still stacks left. At least enough for another burrito meal and a few smaller packs in the freezer to be used for pizza toppings.

I do love this dish!  Highly recommended.

Baking with hefeweizen yeast

Wheat beers such as hefeweizen, weissbier and wit are all light beers made from a mix of malted barley and wheat. In southern Germany the typical hefeweizen is fermented with a non-flocculating yeast, and it is not filtered before bottling. This gives the beer a yeasty, bread like flavor accompanied by aromas reminiscent of banan, cloves (we’ve encountered that combo before), coriander and citrus. I’ve just begun to read up on brewing and my first batch of a partial mash hefeweizen is bubling along. As I pitched the liquid hefeweizen yeast into the wort I decided to keep a tiny amount for baking. If hefeweizen beer is reminiscent of bread, why not use the yeast for making bread? In particular I was curious whether some of the aroma top notes characterizing hefeweizen beer would stand out in bread made using the same yeast.

Hefeweizen is my favourite style of beer, and I've brewed with this specific White Labs yeast. Baking with it isn't something I'd ever considered but I'm sure the results would be amazing. Sounds wonderful!

Fat Man in a White Hat

I discovered Bill Buford having watching Fat Man in a White Hat, a seemingly-truncated BBC4 series broadcast earlier this year. It featured a passionate and highly-articulate American guy who'd thrown in his job and moved his family to France to learn all about being a French chef.  I enjoyed the two episodes and looked the guy up to find more.  Turns out he's an amazingly good writer in the headlong experiential gonzo style.

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My first stop was Heat, following his journey to learn Italian cooking. He starts out at Mario Batali's restaurants working his way up from dish pig to ever more important stations. It's a fascinating account of the life, the culture and the flavour of high-end kitchens, from the perspective of an enthusiastic outsider. The man clearly has a saint for a wife, obvious when he talks about how he brought a whole pig carcass home to his small New York apartment to process.  The book is excellent, and the man is an amazing journalistic talent.

Next I read his account of English football hooliganism, Among the Thugs, which is slightly less accomplished but still an excellent experience. Buford has a great way of describing the scene and everything he experiences in it that places you right in the action. His conclusion about football hooligans is depressing, but likely very true. His descriptions of life in English terraces pre-Hillsborough are enlightening.

Strongly recommended.

Uncle Arch's Cookbook

One for the breakfast menu:

 

Banana Rolls
Cut bananas and peel, wrap each in a piece of bacon and dip in eggs and crumbs
Cook in a quick oven for 10 minutes.
From a sister housewife in NZ.

 

I managed to score a copy of Uncle Arch's amazing cookbook, a collection of clippings from 1930s-40s womens' magazines compiled by a bloke who enjoyed cooking and had to feed his family. It's fantastic! Susan is now exploring the cookbook and blogging about it on her new blog.

One of these days I'm going to make the Pea Pod Beer recipe.

To Enhance Flavor, Just Add Water

Just to see what spirits themselves are like with no alcohol burn at all, I diluted a number of them with plain water by three to one, to cut their alcohol levels to the equivalent of a low-alcohol wine. All of them remained plenty aromatic, a couple of English gins spectacularly so. With a bit of lemon juice and sugar, they made an odd but pleasant drink: an aqua-gin.

Food nerd guru Harold McGee on diluting for more flavour.

I've never been a fan of brewed coffee but maybe that's just because the kinds of places that serve it (business hotels are the worst) use terrible beans and bad technique. I might try one next time I'm at Mecca.