Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Blogging with Benjamin Christie and Vic Cherikoff

I know I get a lot of visitors to this site so I'm going to keep adding to my blogs by referring to two other websites with which I am associated. My main website is where I have recently added blogs on the following:

ANZAC biscuits on Anzac Day

We are now seeing what a foolish effort the attack on Gallipoli really was from a military standpoint and in order to shift blame from the generals who should be despised and publicly damned. Instead, we applaud the heroics of those soldiers they condemned to certain death and of those lucky enough to have survived. To me, it's just twisted that our government promotes a cute recipe for Anzac biscuits in honor and remembrance of those that died and legislates that the recipe can't be changed.

Unnatural Acts at The Natural Products Expo

The Natural Products Expo West saw record-setting crowds of up to 43,000 retail buyers, media and industry members who were barraged by more than 3,000 exhibits at this year’s wall-to-wall industry event, the top healthy food and lifestyle products. And I can assure you that the bull-sh_t meter went wild on numerous ocassions.

Wattle We Eat Now? (that's the Royal 'We')

Queen Elizabeth and many of her household are no strangers to authentic Australian flavours. Like many official functions for all types of heads of state, politicians, royalty, sheiks, religious leaders and so on, this week’s event featured Cherikoff ingredients …

Some recent NPD - not just a big cheese

Part of supplying the best authentic Australian ingredients available is my new product development (NPD) for companies wanting to gain a significant competitive edge in their market.

There’s a strategy of pre-eminence in what Cherikoff Rare Spices does in that new products introduced to market by most companies are merely more of the same.

The other site is that of my good friend and colleague, Benjamin Christie. Benjamin has just started a subscription drive for his e-zine and I strongly recommend subscribing to it if you are at all interested in any or all of the following: building networks and contacts, restaurant marketing, good food, Australian recipes, happenings in the global food industry and more.

Benjamin and I have run our Dining Downunder , Australian cuisine promotions together for some years and I know many chefs and food writers around the world, often refer to his blog, which is also his website.

The topics Benjamin addresses are very broad and will help chefs, restaurateurs, foodies, student chefs and food marketers along with hotel GMs, F&Bs and manufacturers keep their fingers on the pulse of food issues.

Benjamin also loves to cook and write about his creations and so there are a plethora of recipes. Take these as an example:

▪ Kangaroo fillet with Yakajirri rosti, aniseed myrtle mushrooms, quandong confit and crispy enoki
▪ Lemon Aspen Sorbet
▪ Cauliflower soup with marron scented with Ferguson’s lobster oil and Oz Lemon
▪ Petuna ocean trout with riberry confit and macadamia cream sauce
▪ Australian Wildfire Clam Chowder - Bulk
▪ Sydney Rock Oysters with Glacé Wild Limes
▪ Gumleaf Scented Crème Caramel
▪ Grilled barramundi with Oz Lemon mash and quandong confit
▪ Australian Wildfire Spiced Wontons
▪ Squid, corn and asparagus cakes with rainforest herbs

Sure, they are all Australian and come with a good story to entertain, edify and entice. For example, imagine slicing easily through the marla steak (kangaroo if you will) knowing the rare-cooked meat will be tender and juicy. The morsel of game on my fork is accompanied by a portion of rosti with its rich tomato seasoning made even richer by the spices in the Yakajirri, one being the bush tomato spice the Yunkatjatjara call akudjura. This more than makes up for the low fat of the meat and the spice notes complement the Maillard products in the seared protein expanding the 250 tastes to probably half as much again.

Then come the highlights of aromatics and soft textures with the earthy mushrooms enhanced naturally by the aniseed myrtle or forest anise as its heady kaleidoscope of essential oils, from a delicate, slightly fruity aniseed to green tea and cut grass provide for the mid to late palate. There happens to be more roasty toasty notes from the splash of Wattleseed extract in the mushrooms for those attune to the chocolate, coffee, hazelnut of this incredible flavour enhancer. Benjamin left this ingredient out to simplify the dish but I always use the combination of forest anise and Wattleseed for stir-fried mushrooms. Try it and be amazed. It leaves your taste buds begging for the next mouthful and almost cleans the tongue's receptors and heightens the organo-leptic experience of this meal. And still, there's more...

To make the dish even more addictive, a hint of sweetness tempered with the peachy, apricot and caramel characters of the slightly chewy strips of quandong confit along with some extra textural crunch and character from the crispy, coated enoki.

If only all experiences in life were so rich and rewarding, there'd be no time for war, terrorism or other of society's vulgarities.