Saturday, 13 December 2008

I still exist

I'm currently eating lunch: rye & caraway sourdough bread from That Bagel Place; smoked ham from Meatways; with Dijon mustard, mixed lettuce, yellow baby capsicum, and kumato. Kumato is an odd brown tomato variety, it's quite small and very sweet. You can often get them from Woollies, though I got mine from Wiffen's at Fyshwick.

Life ended up being rather fraught last week, and probably will be for a while. I'm not sure how regularly I'll post. Though there will be a holiday soon, and I do have a couple of alphabet posts underway: I & K, but I must do an H first! My main challenge for today is to see what I can rescue from the fridge. Last week I did a big shop, and then didn't use most of it because I ate out nearly all week. It may not be very exciting, but feel free to click for more details.

What & where did I eat?

On Sunday we ate at home. I made a beef & bok choy stir fry, with Ming's Mum's Satay sauce from Ming's EPIC market stall.

On Monday I had lunch with Beth at the Studio cafe of the Film & Sound Archive. Dinner was burger & beer at Sub-urban, the new incarnation of Belluci's at Dickson. The chicken burger had good chook & bread; so-so chips.

On Tuesday I was at home, and it was just me since the bloke had to go to Melbourne on business. I had a vitello tonnato - with salad for lunch, and with hot roast vegetables for dinner.

On Wednesday I had more vitello tonnato salad for lunch, and at night I went to Wagamama with Belinda. I had some nice but unremarkable noodles, and an interesting black sesame icecream. Belinda recommends the ginger cheesecake.

On Thursday night I had a cheese sandwich for lunch (cumin-spiced Dutch gouda). Dinner was at the Gods - they're not usually open for dinner but this was a private function. It was the end of a day of celebration for my once & former boss Sue Wilson. Lovely meal, lovely people. I love the Gods. Yay!

On Friday I had a terrific Brunch with Belinda & Beth at Bruno's BTruffels in BMawson. At night I was going to go to Mecca Bah with the bloke's workmates, a sort of informal Xmas party. But I was too tired from sleeping badly and dashing about in the rain and stress and stuff. I ate a small serve of, err, surprise! - vitello tonnato.

What have I cooked and what's leftover?

As for the leftovers, I now have the week's tomatoes in the oven to roast. I did have a chicken, but I froze that as soon as I realised the bloke was going away. I do have a fair chunk of the poached veal left, but I am so over it right now that it's going in the freezer. I managed to eat all the cherries and quite a lot of the salad vegetables - lettuce, golden grape tomatoes, asparagus, cucumber - but there are some wilted things, including herbs. I'm going to try to rescue most of the basil in a pasta sauce with the roast tomatoes. There's some bacon that really needs using - that can go in too. I suspect some of the lettuce will be compost, but luckily most of the rest is carrots and apples and such firm things that keep quite well.

If you're curious about vitello tonnato, I do suggest trying it out this summer. It's a classic Italian dish of cold poached veal, served with a very potent sauce made of tuna, egg yolk, capers and anchovies. Eat as antipasto, or with a salad. Or even eat it with hot veggies on the side, an English approach that I'm quite fond of for the less balmy spring days.

If some of your friends or family is opposed to fish, they can have mayonnaise. I was going to do a basil mayo for the bloke, until I found out he was travelling. But I think the tuna version is delicious, or at least my version was. Yes, even though I'm over it now. Well, maybe just one last go tonight - there's a bit of sauce left which I mustn't waste.

I've never eaten this dish in Italy, or even a restaurant, so I don't know how authentic it was. I found a squillion recipes on the net. This Jamie Oliver blogger site has a sauce almost identical to the one in Il Cuccaio Argento, the Italian classic. So that's pretty much what I did. Though I had a much larger piece of veal - free range organic, if you please, no inhumanely crated beasties for me. The veal I poached according to the method here.

The other thing that I cooked was a roast cauliflower. While the result was tasty, it really didn't work as advertised. It was this recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini, and the saffron did not work. The oil stayed mostly pale, the colour really didn't come out. I am wondering why. Was my saffron a cheap knock-off? Does it have to be infused in water, as most recipes say, and not oil? Or does my oven simply pre-heat too quickly, so it didn't have enough infusion time?


Anonymous said...

Hi Cath! i dont eat veal but the tuna mayo (sirena is good) on poached chicken breast is sooo good! With the saffron, i was always taught to infuse it in water or stock to release colour&flavour& aroma. Maybe you could do a reduction of sorts? :P

Cath said...

I also wondered about the difference between infusing the saffron in oil and in water. But I was following a specific recipe, which said to infuse it in oil. Next time I'll try water.

I like the idea of the tuna sauce on other things. Eggs strike me as a good idea, too. Or as a dressing for a nicoise-like salad.

clotilde said...

Hello Cath!

I'm sorry the cauliflower didn't turn out as expected. Can I ask what you mean by "the saffron didn't work"? Do you mean that the result did not taste like saffron?

The reason why the saffron is infused in oil here rather than a liquid (as is indeed more customary) is that it is a roasted dish that doesn't call for any liquid ingredient: if you were to infuse the saffron in a liquid and add that to the cauliflower, the liquid would just evaporate in the oven and would be of little use. Hence the infusion in oil, which won't go anywhere.

But I've actually made this on a couple of occasions by simply tossing the saffron with the cauliflower (skipping the infusion step) and the flavor came through very well, too.

Could it be that the saffron you used was somewhat past its prime?


Cath said...

What I meant was that the saffron did not release very much of its colour into the oil, and there wasn't any noticeable saffron taste. It was still nice, because roasted cauliflower with Ra el Hanout is a good thing, even without saffron. So it worked in that sense.

I am indeed wondering if it's bad saffron.

Thanks for stopping by, I'm going SQUEEEEE like a fangrrrl :) Clotilde noticed me! *swoon*