June 2nd, 2007

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Product Review - Picanha

Diary of a Picanha addict: We bought our first Picanha nearly a fortnight ago, and last weekend we had to make another one! I think we might be addicted to them - after all, they represent 'beefiest' beef we've ever tried!

We marinate the meat in red wine and rock salt, rub it with garlic, and then roll and truss it so we can slowly roast it on the spit over our Beefeater BBQ. With the lid down, and the flame on low, it takes close to two hours, we like turning up the heat at the last five minutes to cook off a bit of the fat, and get it that lovely caramelised edge you normally enjoy with pork. Then you rest it for 10 minutes, slice, and throw the slices back onto the BBQ grill plate for a minute or two. The resulting beef makes the best beef rolls you've ever tasted - no sauce required, just a white floury roll, some Lescure Butter, and eat.

If you try a Picanha, I guarantee, it will be your beef roast of choice from then on. They're addictive!

As you can see from the pictures above, the Picanha is an unusual cut of beef, basically the tip of the rump, but 'skin on' like you would normally see pork. In Australia, they are rare because of the way we generally cut a carcass up, so if you are on the hunt, you need to look for a butcher that serves the Brazillian or Portuguese community. We found one at Petersham, and asked for a freshly cut Picanha ($21.40). (They also have them vacuum sealed in twin packs.) We find that they easily feed 4 people, or make 2 big meals for a couple. The meat is also lovely cold on sandwiches the next day, or slices up to serve with a cheese platter too.

Spanish Portuguese Butcher
83 New Canterbury Road, Petersham   
Ph: (02) 9569-3573
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Product Review - Chipotle Sauce

The most used condiment in our fridge (which sometimes groans under the weight of our condiment fetish) is a Chipotle Sauce. It is an ideal every-day hot sauce, rich with the taste of wood-smoke dried jalapeno chillies (called Chipotles in Mexican cuisine).

It is produced by Disaster Bay Chillies, in Eden on the far south coast of NSW. Apparently they organically grow about a dozen different types of chilli, from Jalapenos to the world's hottest - the Habanero Chilli. For this particular sauce, the combine the chillies with organic tomatoes (which they also grow), onions, lemons, smoked garlic, malt vinegar, treacle, vegetable oil, black strap molasses, brown sugar and salt.

You can purchase direct from their website ($9.00/250ml jar) or they have a comprehensive list of retail outlets state by state, which include Harris Farm at Broadway.

Funny factoid:
Capones are a rare and quite expensive sort of smoked red jalapeño without seeds. Capones translates roughly into "castrated ones" which is funny, since they have removed the 'seeds'. He he he.

Disaster Bay Chillies
PO Box 513, Eden NSW 2551, Australia
Ph: + 61 2 6496 4145
Fax: + 61 2 6496 1117
Email: info@disasterbaychillies.com
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Rack of Lamb

Tonight my partner made his first investigation into a rack of (milk-fed) lamb. Our latest step in the best Australian lamb quest was from Young, NSW, and we purchased it from AC Butchery.

It was a beautiful looking rack of 12 lamb ribs ($21.00) which I suspect from the size and taste, were from a lamb rather than an adult sheep.

The method of cooking involved seasoning with my partner's secret cracked pepper mix (hint: it is green, white and black peppercorns in equal proportions) and sea salt. He also tried out a new technique of slamming the lamb into the chopping board. Not only did it slightly impregnate the seasoning, it apparently also breaks up the fibers a bit, ensuring that the meat is not tough.

In a cast-iron skillet, he then browned the lamb in Joseph Olive Oil and duck fat (also from AC Butchery). He separated the rack into two pieces. In future I would recommend making them all into double cutlets, to increase the amount of edge, but still have a center in each serve.

Using the cast iron skillet still, he finished them in the oven at 200C for 18 minutes. The beautiful thing about the iron skillet is not just that you can use it on the cook-top and in the oven - you can also use it to rest your meat in, retaining much of the heat. He rested the lamb for 10 minutes, with foil over the top to keep it warmer still.

The end result, served with roast vegetables (potato, onion, garlic, parsnip, pumpkin, kumera, beetroot and zucchini) was superb. We shared a half-rack between us - so this whole rack would have fed four people.

AC Butchery
174 Marion Street, Leichhardt NSW 2040
Ph: (02) 9569-8687