Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekly Menu, 28 April - 4 May 2012

Saturday 28 April: Sous vide quail, cumin beef and pandan trifle
Sunday 29 April: Fried rice
Monday 30 April: Tomato and egg on rice
Tuesday 1 May: Ham hock and winter melon soup
Wednesday 2 MayGyudon with daikon
Thursday 3 MaySteamed egg and greens Leftovers
Friday 4 MaySteamed egg and greens

Monday, April 23, 2012

Footscray Milking Station - Footscray, Victoria

35 Bunbury Street, Footscray, Victoria, Australia (03) 9029 9240
Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday - Sunday, 7am - 3pm

omelette with prosciutto, asparagus, tallegio cheese, toast

Footscray Milking Station on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekly Menu, 21 April - 27 April 2012

Saturday 21 April: G&A Wedding (catered by Euroa Butter Factory)
Sunday 22 April: Silken tofu and eggplant
Monday 23 April: Butternut pumpkin risotto
Tuesday 24 April: Beijing style tomato and egg noodle soup
Wednesday 25 AprilCauliflower and potato soup
Thursday 26 AprilFish flavoured eggplant and green beans
Friday 27 April: Sous vide salmon with cauliflower mash, broccolini and sweet potato chips 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sous Vide in a bucket

Tonight I’m cooking Sous Vide (SV for short) Lamb fillet, served with with cous cous, roasted vegetables and goats cheese.

I am becoming obsessed with cooking meat this way.  Mainly because cooking meat is something that I always used to fuck up.  Trying to cook steak or lamb chops would always result in a raw interior and a burned exterior or just dry, rubbery bullshit.  I even made fish tough once.  How. The. Fuck.

So learning how to cook SV at home has been really worthwhile for me.  There are machines that you can buy now for a few hundred dollars but really, for me at home playing around, I can do without the machinery.  It comes out so perfectly it’s almost like cheating.

A quick google of “sous vide at home” will provide a number of links to home-made machines and alternative solutions to playing with your food and having it turn out amazingly well.

There are two things you need to properly sous vide meat: a zip lock bag and water at a constant temperature.  Professionally you would have the meat vacuum sealed in plastic however you can get the home 90% version by filling a large bowl with water, placing your meat inside the ziplock bag, half sealing the bag, then nearly submerging the thing into the bowl.  The water will force the majority of the air out of the bag.  Once it is almost entirely submerged, seal the bag then take it out of the bowl.  Done.

In the past I have cooked Salmon and duck breast SV at home.  The Salmon was the easiest to cook.  I read about this method on a couple of places online but I couldn’t say where it originated.  All you do is seal your salmon in a zip lock bag and then turn your hot water tap on.  Once the water is as hot as it’s going to get, fill your sink up with water. Place the Salmon in the sink and wait for 16 minutes.  That’s it.  You can then just sear the Salmon in a hot pan and serve it as you like.

The Duck breast I made was a little more involved – it needed to cook for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 hours) at 60 degrees.  This involved me getting a kitchen thermometer and measuring the temp constantly as time progressed.

All I did was bring the water to 60 degrees and then turn the heat down until it was able to maintain that temp for a couple of minutes.  Then place the bag full of duck in there and hope for the best.  I had a pot of cold water next to it and would scoop out some hot water and add some cold every couple of minutes.  Checking with the thermometer this seemed to work pretty well.  It did need to be checked every couple of minutes and so you can’t really leave the kitchen if you use this method.  I had some WTF podcasts to listen to on my ipod, which helped.  I cooked the Duck for about 75 minutes in the end and the fat under the skin didn’t have time to properly render down.  It is recommended that Duck breast is SV’ed for a couple of hours at least to allow for the fat and sinew to soften and melt away.  The meat was good but the skin was way too chewy/fatty.

Sous Vide Duck breast

So today I read about the Serious Eats method of using the thermos like qualities of an esky (or ‘beer cooler’ if you’re American) to maintain heat for long periods and SV’ing meat this way. So not quite a bucket but near enough.

There are cuts of meat that are supposed to be SV’ed for 24-48 hours and if you were going to do something like that you would need to go ahead and buy a machine – but for me tonight, I’m going to be testing out the esky and seeing what kind of results we get.

The thing I love about the idea of using an esky is that it means that anyone can cook meat using this method.  It becomes a big ‘fuck you’ to any kind of exclusivity around SV purely due to the cost of machinery or time standing over a pot.  Basically fill your esky with the right temperature water, throw your meat in, place the lid on top and Serious Eats reckons you are good to go.

Everyone has an esky.  Everyone likes perfectly cooked meat.  This is the kind of set up they make romantic comedies about.  The thing that is missing from this is getting the right temperature.  I have a cooking thermometer ($15 online) now but a lot of people might not.  What I am going to try and see is if there is a ratio of hot and cold water that will provide the right temp to start off with and then I will gauge how long the temp lasts for in my esky at home.  The lamb is going to cook for about an hour so let’s see how it goes.

Okay, with a bit of further googling I found this page which details a mathematical method of estimating water temp by mixing hot and cold water. 

If we’re using water from a freshly boiled kettle we’re looking at this being at around 95 °C.  The tap water is more of an issue – it should be around 20 °C but I’ll add a bit of a range of temps into the calculations below.

Cold water temp
Hot water temp
Ratio (rounded up)
Litres cold water
Litres hot water
End temp
15 degrees
95 degrees
58 - 60 degrees
20 degrees
95 degrees
58 - 60 degrees
25 degrees
95 degrees
58 - 60 degrees

If you’re unsure of your tap water temperature, leave it on your kitchen bench for an hour or two before you need to use it then check what the current temperature is using BOM or your in house gauge if you have one.  Maybe a fridge magnet from Bali or something.  Otherwise just take a guess at 20°C.  Really this going to be a little hit and miss but should work out okay.  I’ll be testing this out a bit more and will see what results I get.

So I was using about 600 grams of Lamb fillet.  This will easily serve 5 people.  The meat had been marinated for a couple of days in garlic, basil and olive oil, inside the zip lock bag.  I left the meat out of the fridge for an hour or so to get closer to room temp  Then the zip lock bag went straight into the esky full of 60 degree water. 

After about 30 mins I tested the water and it had dropped a couple of degrees, which is actually what I wanted (57 degrees for medium rare – assumed that the meat would lower the temp of the water).  I had a kettle boiled and poured a little water in every 15-20 mins to keep the temperature stable.  About a cup each time.  The lamb was in there for about 80 minutes in the end.  I checked on it about 4 times.  It came out really beautifully and using this method it really wasn’t that hard at all.

After it was out, I browned the outside a little by searing it really quickly in a hot pan.  It was served with cous cous and some vegetables, some goats cheese crumbled on top.

I really enjoy cooking with this method – I don’t think überjoi really cares how it’s cooked just as long as it’s not tough but using the SV method you are guaranteed tender, perfectly cooked meat.  It is so easy to do that it seems stupid not to do it like this as long as you have the time.

The next time I’m using steak or lamb chops and will probably use the esky method again.  I’m keen to even try cooking meat like this for a stir fry or for cumin lamb.  For tougher cuts of meat I’ll probably still go with my pressure cooker but nicer cuts of meat, breast, etc are going straight to the esky from now on.

- words by pisso | image by überjoi.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekly Menu, 14 April - 20 April 2012

Saturday 14 April: M&J Wedding (catered by Peter Rowland)
Sunday 15 April: Chicken stir fry
Monday 16 April: Lamb and cous cous salad
Tuesday 17 AprilMelbourne Dae Jang Geum Korean BBQ
Wednesday 18 AprilSalmon pasta
Thursday 19 AprilLemongrass chicken wings
Friday 20 April: Flam Shan Chinese, Euroa

Thursday, April 12, 2012

His Top 5 - Westside

Pisso Possum's current Top 5 in the West (in alphabetical order):
  • Ricotta cannoli - Dolcetti, West Melbourne
  • Mixed ham banh mi - Nhu Lan, Footscray
  • Chicken and chicken organs pho - Pho Tam, Footscray
  • Sultana loaf - uberjoi's Kitchen, Home
  • Toasted rice and coconut salad - Yim Yam, Yarraville
Last updated: 12 April 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Her Top 5 - Westside

überjoi's current Top 5 in the West (in alphabetical order):
  • French-style croque monsieurHausfrau, Yarraville
  • Roast duck and roast pork - Hong Kong BBQ, Footscray
  • Mixed ham banh mi - Nhu LanFootscray
  • Bánh Canh Tôm Thit: Rice starch noodles with sliced pork, minced pork, tiger prawns, pork blood jelly, chives - Pho TamFootscray
  • Freshly shucked oysters - Sea Bounty, Williamstown
  • Pistachio and pear (or peach) pastry - Dolcetti, West Melbourne
Note: Sorry Hausfrau, but you've gone and changed the way you make the french style croque monsieur! Now it's just a toasted ham and cheese sandwich :(

Honourable mentions:
  • Cheese kransky - Andrew's Deli, Yarraville
  • Cannoli - Dolcetti, West Melbourne
  • Cakes - Hausfrau, Yarraville
  • Lobster noodles with ginger and spring onion - Hong Kong BBQ, Footscray
  • Do fu fa - Gold Leaf, Sunshine
  • Broken rice dish - Pho Tam, Footscray
  • Beef special pho - Pho Tam, Footscray
  • Chicken pho - Pho Tam, Footscray
  • Vietnamese white ice coffee - Pho Tam, Footscray
  • Massaman curry - Yim Yam, Yarraville
  • Egg tarts - Yummie, Footscray
  • Wontons - Yummie, Footscray
Last updated: 5 January 2014

Chicken Soup, Pho, The Soul

7/9 Leeds Street, Footscray, Victoria, Australia (03) 9687 2680 
Open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Moving house is shit. Actually losing twenty dollars is shit.  Moving house is the emotional equivalent of telling someone you love them only to then have them laugh derisively then start making out with the person you hate most in the world then returning home to find that your dog has died from explosive diarrhoea whilst being trapped in your bedroom and Arrested Development has been cancelled again.

We recently received a letter from our estate agents saying that we have sixty days to vacate, so this has been weighing on my mind.

The worst move we had was when we first moved to Footscray.  We had spent three years in our previous house and over that time had accumulated a lot of detritus.  The hallway cupboard alone when unpacked, seemed to possess tardis like dimensions as box after box was filled with cat toys, sewing equipment, towels, eskies, a large bicycle pump as well as a maddening number of still unopened boxes from the last time we moved.

The day prior to the move I came down with the flu.  The day of the move it rained.  Not heavy rain, just enough to keep me constantly cold and wet without having an excuse to stop.  It was that move that made me buy a kindle.  After the twelfth trip back to the van loading up boxes of books I had either read or had no real intention of ever reading, I was firmly on the side of the digital revolution.

The house we were moving into was one we had chosen in a spur of the moment decision.  The real estate agent had been late to the viewing.  We had almost left. It was a six pm showing and it was already dark.  A few other people had stuck around to view the property but we were the last to leave.  The agent was nice to us.  We had pre-filled applications and were excited about the place after our three minute viewing.  The owner had moved interstate after a bad divorce.  For some reason the wood floored living room was filled with row after row of shining red and silver gum ball machines.  Each one sparkling clean and completely empty. They were obviously something to do with the business of the owner and it was weirdly funny at the time.  Looking back the omen of these empty shells devoid of any joy giving properties should have been more obvious. We submitted our applications and left unaware that the mould was already starting to push its way back through the fresh coat of paint that had just been applied to the walls.

We moved into the house over a period of three days.  Trip after trip as more useless junk came pouring out of the built-in storage it had occupied for the past three years.  I remember walking into the new place to find überjoi quietly crying in one empty corner.  The gum ball machines were gone now.  They had taken everything they owned and left in its place, for whatever reason there would be to do this, their final unflushed faeces floating in the toilet.  In the light of day the place looked different - run down and dirty.  Still, it was ours and we now filled its halls with our own collected excreta.

After three days we were tired and cold.  My flu was fighting the adrenaline in my system and starting to win. Late on the second day hunger had won and we ate Hungry Jacks burgers on the floor of our new gum ball free living room while I attempted construction of an Ikea flat pack. We were run down and worn down.  We had moved from a house we loved to one we were very quickly learning to hate.  We were now noticing the peeling paint, the water stains on the outside of the back door.  Signs and portents of what was to come.  In all truthfulness what I had noticed was that there was an avocado tree out the back and this was overriding any unpleasantness in the house but überjoi was not enjoying the new environs.

We managed to get all of our belongings in to the new place.  We set up the bed and slept as though we had been anaesthetised. The next day we had to get back to the old place and clean out every dirty corner and hiding place we had just emptied.  We were spent and we were broken.  Auto pilot had already been switched on and was the only way this was going to work.  There was only one thing that could help us finish this job.  One small reward, one island of hope in this sea of dirt and cold and god damn Ikea instruction manuals.

I hold open the door and überjoi walks through.  It's cool and still raining outside so the windows of Pho Tam are steaming up through the consumption of hot noodle soup by its patrons.  We are greeted and sat down at our usual table.  We're each handed a worn brown plastic menu even though we already know exactly what we are ordering.

Pho Tam's menu is more extensive that it has any right to be.  The range of beef and chicken noodle soups are complimented by a host of rice dishes, stews, vermicelli salads and other specialty noodle soups.  Over the years we have tried the majority of their menu and seriously, everything has been good.  überjoi loves their broken rice.  Often I will get the diced beef or vermicelli with pork chop and spring rolls.  Their iced Vietnamese coffee is mandatory. Still, their Pho is the standard and is the reason we are here today.  They prepare two different broths - one for their beef and one for their chicken.  They care about the preparation of both of these and they care about the accompaniments.  Bean sprouts and herbs, lemon and chilli, pickled slices of onion are placed in small bowls on the table.  All fresh and crisp, generous amounts of all.  The bowls of Pho arrive and it is such a regular sight, such a familiar, welcoming smell that we can for a short while forget that we are moving into a cold, damp, falling down house.  Forget that we have a day of scrubbing floors and cleaning walls ahead of us.  As I swallow the first spoon of chicken broth I feel a warmth spread through my chest.  überjoi is starting to smile again.  I sigh internally and my thoughts start to clear.  We can make this work.  We will clean and unpack and make the best of this new house.  Things will be okay.  This chicken soup is fucking amazing.

- words by pisso | images by überjoi.

Pho Tam on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 9, 2012

Weekly Menu, 7 April - 13 April 2012

Saturday 7 AprilOutback BBQ and Grill
Sunday 8 April: Montes
Monday 9 April: Roast duck and roast pork take away from Hong Kong BBQ
Tuesday 10 April: Co Do
Wednesday 11 AprilKatsu curry
Thursday 12 AprilHam hock and winter melon soup
Friday 13 April: Fish pie Miso fish with noodles

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekly Menu, 31 March - 6 April 2012

Saturday 31 March: Hellenic Republic
Sunday 1 April: Beef cumin ribs
Monday 2 April: Spanakopita
Tuesday 3 April: Kokoro Ramen
Wednesday 4 April: Beef with egg and tomato
Thursday 5 April: Spaghetti pie Donwoori
Friday 6 April: Fish tacos