February 16th, 2009

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Truffled Asparagus

Tonight for dinner we began with an entree of Truffled Baby Asparagus with a poached egg, grated Parmesan Reggiano and shaved black truffles. If you're thinking we're rich due to the excessive amount of truffle shavings, the answer is sadly no, we're not. We just were trying out a new product - Chinese Black Truffles. They're quite inexpensive, however they lack the punch of the European offerings, hence the effusive use!

The gorgeous baby aspargus came from Antico's Fruitworld over in Northbridge - yes, I know, a bit of a drive, but the quality of their produce often warrants the trip.

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Pork Loin - Two Ways

Our main course tonight just arrived - pork loin two ways. On the right the pork loin (from Craig Cook's Prime Quality Meats at Northbridge Plaza) is treated to a coating of Moroccan spices. On the left the same loin is treated to a Mexican spice mix. The mound of vegetables in the centre is a bake of broccoli and fresh, sweet corn cut off the cob (both from Antico's Fruitworld).

If you've noticed the better plates of late in my photos, they were a wedding gift from Craig's family. We got a wad of cash to go and spend at Victoria's Basement, and chose a great set of square white plates in small and large sizes, with matching square white bowls. It certainly makes photographing the food a much easier task.

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Blancharu

We're at the old Sebel Townhouse site, which used to be home to Simmone Logue (and her wonderful Brioche French Toast with Honeycomb Butter, whose loss I sadly mourn). We're waiting for two friends to join us for dinner. The draw card here is the chance to experience the cuisine of Chef Haru Inukai in a less formal bistro setting. If you don't know who he is, among his many claims to fame, Inukai has cooked alongside Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai at his old haunt Galileo, and worked under the famed Joël Robuchon.

We opted for the eight course Degustation Menu ($75) which is a great way to sample the menu, so do remember that despite me indicating the menu prices for the full sized dishes, the photos you are seeing are of the degustation portions. First up is the Sashimi style Scampi with vinaigrette Japonaise ($22) and it was nice, but I personally prefer my scampi delicately cooked rather than raw.

Don’t miss the delicately seared ‘Aburi’ Ocean Trout ($17) with spinach and white sesame sauce - it was easily my favourite dish. By the way, the cuisine here is French/Japanese fusion.

The next dish, the Pork Rillettes with toasted walnut bread ($15) was also lovely, and obviously quite labour intensive.

Next up was a nicely done Soup of the Day ($12) - in this case it was a chilled carrot and cumin soup.

The gorgeous hand-made Fettuccine alla Carbonara ($22) with raw egg sauce is my pick of the pastas. The pasta itself is al dente, the sauce is rich and eggy, and it goes down a treat.

Of the mains I found the Fish of the Day ($26), pan-roasted Moonfish to be both flavoursome and texturally interesting but I wasn’t fussed on the accompanying sautéed vegetables and ginger infused tomato sauce.

I wasn't very enamoured with the Ragoût of Lamb ($27) with crumbed zucchini and curry aroma.

The degustation dessert is the pleasant 'Peach, Peach, Peach' ($15) - a trio of peachy pleasures including a peach jelly, peach sorbet and a poached white peach

But if they give you the option as they did with our lucky table as the restaurant was emptying out by the time we got to this course, then leap to include the light, fluffy Coconut Soufflé ($14) with mango sorbet instead!

One of the most pleasant surprises was finding a great, easy drinking Spanish import, the 2007 Torres Vina Esmeralda Moscatel/Gewürztraminer ($28) for under thirty dollars. Chef Inukai works the floor frequently too, which is nice to see.

Shop 1, 21 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay
Ph: (02) 9360 3555
Japanese/French  $$$-$$$$

Blancharu on Urbanspoon
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Valentine's Day Present

Butter, lard, beef dripping and ghee - because I love him and he loves me! 

This was my Valentine's Day gift to my significant other this year - Jennifer McLagan's new book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes.

Naughtily I used it in my column this week too, because I had to share with my readers that there is at least one book on the market that reminds us that fat is “critical to the flavour of our food: without it, meat has no real taste.

One of the first questions I asked the author was how scary it was to release a book about the dreaded 'f' word in today's market? Jennifer replied: “I didn’t think a book on FAT was that crazy and I was never scared by the idea. I knew it would be controversial but I didn’t realise that it would meet with such resistance especially in the world of New York publishing. The book took a long time to sell but finally the Canadian publisher then the US publisher (in California) came on board and FAT will be published in the UK next month. Many people are now saying what a timely idea – if only they had said that three years ago.

Jennifer goes a step further and suggests that if you eat “the right fats, and you’ll probably lose weight.” She's saying this because fat is satisfying, and digests slowly, so you’re less likely to snack between meals.

The recipes seem great, though he's yet to try one. He's very excited by the Braised Oxtail, which I duly hunted and gathered for him today at Craig Cook's Prime Quality Meats .

I can hardly wait for the results... the chapter headings should give you an idea of what's to come: ‘butter: worth it’; ‘pork fat: the king’; ‘poultry fat: versatile and good for you’; ‘beef and lamb fat: overlooked but tasty’. Apart from all the recipes, there are lots of sidebars, quotes and asides that help explain the history and culture surrounding our favourite fats.

Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes
Jennifer, McLagan
RRP: $44.95
Simon and Schuster