Monday, December 6, 2010

Miscellaneous clean up 2

"Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."

It certainly is frightful outside here in Sydney, though I'm sure some in the northern hemisphere were wishing that it wasn't quite so cold. Festive season is upon us (and was in shopping centres two months ago), and as things start to get frantically busy, here's some miscellany for the Christmas stockings.

Lemon and herb ricotta stuffed chicken
Dinner parties, lunches, picnics - whatever the occasion, the humble chook can always take its place at the table (or picnic mat). These chickens, lovingly washed and patted dry, were carefully stuffed with flavoured ricotta between the skin and flesh - surprisingly easier to do than MasterChef makes out.

The result is beautifully moist chicken with the added bonus of cheese that's fragrant with lemon, thyme and rosemary. Alongside duck fat roasted potatoes, it's a simple roast meal made a little special.

Drinks served in jars at Grasshopper,
Temperance Lane, Sydney
The coming months and indeed year have been touted as the time for Sydney's small bars. With apparently 80 small bar licenses granted in the last six months, we can expect to see them popping up soon all over and around Sydney town. My liver cautiously says "Bring it".

Already served up with awards and accolades is Temperance Lane's Grasshopper; a hidden bar in a similar vein to Melbourne's laneway bars, incorporating a small restaurant too.

Quirk seems to be the name of the game, with drinks served in jars, wine measured in beakers and bar tabs on old cassette tapes. I'll be back for the Argentinean wine I tried, and to sample the restaurant.

Scallops, chorizo and asparagus
This dish shall be called 'A few of my favourite things on a plate'. Really. Grilled slices of a spicy chorizo, blanched green asparagus spears and lastly, seared scallops. This was a random dinner when all that was in my fridge was a few of my favourite things.

Japchae from MillioRe, Capitol Square, Haymarket
Favouritism makes life hard, for some anyway. Madang is undoubtedly my favourite place for Korean in the city and is my benchmark  for all other Korean. Some individual dishes can be better elsewhere but on the whole, I find Madang unbeatable.

MillioRe in Capitol Square unfortunately doesn't have a fighting chance, although there's absolutely nothing wrong with the japchae of chewy potato starch noodles with loads of vegetables. I found the banchan at MillioRe inferior in flavour, presentation and variety.

Pork bone hotpot
I also found the hotpot unexciting and expensive for what it was: bones, rice cake, herbs and vegetables in spicy stock; especially as I'm not a fan of the bland and gluggy sticks of rice cake. But then again, perhaps I was having an off day or just missing the familiarity of my favourite place and dishes. Darn that comfort zone.

Savoury muffins
Carbs, vegetables, cheese - I may well like savoury muffins more than their traditional sweet counterparts. Perfect for snacking or picnics, this batch had green capsicum, parmesan cheese and chilli, topped off with slices of a lonely gourmet sausage found in the freezer.

Whatever your heart desires
Much like sweet muffins, the flavour combination of the savoury versions can be just as flexible. Other ingredients I'll be trying include: corn kernels, sundried tomato, bacon, pineapple, chutney, pine nuts, pumpkin, goat's cheese and whatever else I find in the freezer next time.

Homemade pizza with button mushrooms, tomato and mozzarella
I'm pretty comfortable with making pizzas at home now, though I still have trouble memorising Pete Evans' dough recipe. It works well for thin bases and even very thin, near biscuit bases, and is do-able as long as you have some kind of sauce for the base (or go bianco), some kind of nicely melting cheese, and for me, some kind of vegetable/s.

I think my preference would be vegetables over meat, although I admit carrots and Chinese vegetables are a bit tougher to deal with pizza-wise. Fresh basil leaves from the new outdoor pot are also going to help, as are the tomatoes if they ever ripen. All I need now is a bocconcini tree - please Santa?

Grasshopper on Urbanspoon

MillioRe on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

chocolatesuze said...

lol @ bocconcini tree! that would be awesome!

MelbaToast said...

I'm with you - I think savoury muffins are the best! Your roast chook looks lovely - did you just mix the ricotta with the herbs; or is it more complicated than that?

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I like the idea of stuffing ricotta in the chicken-never thought to do that! :)

Tina said...

Hi suze - With a big burrata on top?

Hi MelbaToast - Yep, ricotta, salt and pepper, lemon zest and herbs of choice :)

Hi Lorraine - I think it's 'inspired' by a Bill Granger recipe :)

Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said...

Tina, my liver is here saying "bring it" with your liver! Gotta love all these small bars and can't wait to visit grasshopper - do youbthink I can smuggle out the cocktails if I brought some jar lids?? Haha

Tina said...

Hi Gianna - lol, didn't think about jar lids :D But quite possibly!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

I agree, you can't beat the simple pleasures of a whole roast chook! The homemade pizza looks awesome too.

Tina said...

Hi Helen - Thanks :)

Miss Feathers said...

I love Grasshopper. I want more small bars in Sydney like this. I'm so sick of those horrible Sydney super bars/ pubs.

Tina said...

hi Miss Feather - Yep, I think this is the year for them!

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