Sunday, August 31, 2008

Moroccan Lamb & Chickpea Broth

Barbara served up this delicious soup at a recent celebration of Tim's 'significant birthday' (one of those with an 'oh' in it...), while Tim's latest Jazz recording was playing in the background.

Tim and his friend John can be found early on any fine Tuesday morning, playing Saxophone and Double Bass outside Sydney's Central Station at the Elizabeth St entrance, before they both go off to work for the day. They were 'discovered' one recent morning by the manager of a recording studio and invited to cut the CD we were listening to, which I have to say sounds HOT! The CD will be available in the near future - I'll keep you posted when they release it. Knowing I live in a world where people still play great music in the streets for the love of it makes me - and a lot of other lucky Sydney-siders - feel filled with joy. Thanks Tim - and Happy Birthday!

This photo was taken by photographer Marc Burlace, for a Penguin Books street-theatre promo that was going on outside Central at the same time as Tim and John were playing, with three people dressed like 1930's characters handing out old Penguins to celebrate Penguin Books' birthday.

The recipe for Barbara's Morroccan Lamb and Chickpea Broth is a two-step, requiring some preparation the night before the day that you want to serve it.

The-Night-Before: Prepare the Lamb Broth
500g lamb neck
4 tablespoons olive oil
100g onion
100g carrot
100g leek
2 tablespoons cumin seed
4 sprigs of thyme

Brown the lamb neck in oil, adding the onion and cumin seed, frying until fragrant. Add the remaining vegetables and the thyme and cover with water, simmering two-and-a-half hours until tender. Cool and strain the broth, reserving the lamb-meat and the broth. Dice the meat into bite-sized pieces. Refrigerate the broth over night and skim off any fat the next morning.

Also, cook 2 cups chickpeas in boiling water until tender. Strain and cool, refrigerating until ready to make the soup the next day.

The Next Day: Cooking the Soup
250g onion
250g carrot
250g leek
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/1/2 tablespoons turmeric
2 tablespoons cumin
1/1/2 tablespoons coriander
1/2 tablespoon cayenne
2 litres of lamb stock
2 cups cooked chickpeas
juice of half a lemon
1/2 wedge of preserved lemon, rinsed of salt and slivered
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot and sweat the onions and garlic. Add the diced vegetables and stir-fry for 10 minutes. Add the spices and cook three minutes until fragrant, stirring to prevent burning. Add the lamb stock and simmer for 1 hour. Add diced lamb meat, slivered preserved lemon rind and chickpeas. When ready to serve, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Hungry for Vegies!

This week I've developed a hankering for vegetables - can't get enough of them! IKU Wholefoods, the iconic Organic Vegan diner at 612A Darling Street Rozelle seemed the answer to my prayers. They also have shops in: Glebe, Darlinghurst, Waverly, Neutral Bay, several City stores and Bondi Beach - full of fresh, wholesome, lush Vegan food.

Their Gluten-free Vegan Lasagne is second to none!


Monday, August 04, 2008

Sydney Seafood School - Christine Manfield

When my sweet friends Ordette and Paul and Carol and Greg and Karen and Faith asked me what I wanted for my birthday earlier in the year, I said: "Please, no more THINGS! I've got more than enough 'stuff' - it's experiences that I treasure most..."
And their response was perfect: a gift voucher to the
Sydney Seafood School at the Fish Markets in Pyrmont.

So I had a look at the program for the year and the selection of fine chefs they have on rotation, settling at last on Christine Manfield. Her unique style of international cuisine was especially appealing to me - she has taught cooking and created exemplary restaurants in both Europe and Australia and h
er latest venture is Universal Restaurant, situated in East Sydney - at Republic 2 Courtyard in Palmer Street (between Burton and Liverpool streets) Darlinghurst 2010.

For bookings, Phone: 02 9331 0709.

The Seafood School class was excellent. Christine Manfield's presentation was very smooth and professional - as you'd expect from a chef of her calibre - and her good relationship with a great team of support staff was very evident. The kitchen auditorium and cooking stations were very well laid out - I think there were about 40 people in the class, but it didn't feel crowded at all. The demonstration took about two hours where Christine cooked each of the dishes, explaining the ingredients and methods, with a few tips and trade secrets thrown in. The demonstration kitchen in the auditorium had mirrors over the bench, so it was easy to watch all stages of the process clearly.

After the Demo, we progressed into the kitchen, forming groups of five around island benches dotted around a big open room, with each member of the group electing to cook one of the dishes, making enough for all five members.

Drum-roll pur-leeze! - here's what we made:

Garlic Saffron Mussel Soup

Oyster and Soba Noodle Salad

Palm Sugar and Green Mango Fish

Deep-Fried Fish pieces

Crab Fried Rice

Comprehensive notes and recipes were provided, so we can reproduce these gems at home.

When we had co-ordinated getting all dishes to peak at the same time, we proceeded to the dining room to enjoy the fruits of our labours. The dinner was complimented by a $100 bottle of fine champagne, which was lost on me as I don't drink alcohol - but they also had bottles of Perrier freely available.

In summary, I have to say the whole experience was an absolute delight - I can definitely recommend doing a class at the Sydney Seafood School - and THANK YOU to my beautiful friends for thinking of sending me on such a sumptuous experience!


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