MissDissent (missdissent) wrote,

This Week's Column - Mayday!

Mayday! Mayday! My partner is seriously considering having a Man Vs. Food moment at Essen Restaurant this month, during their Schnitzilla Challenge…

Don’t be looking sideways at me; I don’t eat anything bigger than my head. However if you think you can down three and a half kilos of chicken schnitzel, roesti and cabbage salad with Jaeger sauce in forty-five minutes, it’ll be on the house! Best have some coffers in your pocket though – even series host Adam Richman rarely cracks anything over six and a half pounds (that’s just under three kilos of food).

Seems big is the order of the day, with Max Mex (who have just opened a new store in Newtown) also offering up an oversize (one kilo) burrito challenge, available for the what little there is left of this merry month of May. Gobble it down, and you’ll get yourself a limited edition t-shirt designed by Sydney based illustrator Alex Lehours. The t-shirt design will only be revealed if you manage to down the $19.95 burrito…

I’ll visit you all in Casualty, right after I fit in another meal at Monkey Magic. I managed to sneak in there not so long ago for a gander at the food under the stewardship of Chef Hideaki Matsumoto. You might have tasted his French/Japanese fusion at Galileo at The Observatory Hotel. Here he’s got a bit more liberty to be wild. I enjoyed his delicate chicken and prawn shu-mai with fresh bamboo, water chestnut and ginger dipped in spicy ponzu dressing. It’s also one of my favourite places to eat soft shell crab (Matsumoto serves it with green papaya, roasted peanuts, mint and green beans). Matter of fact, I’d like a reasonably sized serve of it now.

From the bleating of chefs in the Twittersphere, I am guessing that like me, you’ve been doing some cooking at home this month? I’m working my way through Lyndey Milan’s latest book, Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece [RRP $39.95]; knee-deep in gloriously shiny silverbeet making spanakopita. I’m also considering tackling the braised goat with eggplant, because my favourite providore (Feather and Bone) currently has some free-range Boer goats from Berry. It’s all thanks to the book, which is actually one of the most easily approachable cookbooks on the market – a textural, tapestry of Greek-inspiration. And what good is discovering food without matching drinks? I was chuffed to see the book included the all-important drinking notes about Greek wine, meze and ouzo and even a range of modern cocktails inspired by the late Blair. After drowning in the Blood of Hercules, a smoky tequila and pomegranate concoction that also includes an approachable dry Greek red called Agiorgitiko, I’m ready to expand my Greek wine horizons...

One product I am cheating with in my kitchen is The Stock Merchant’s Sustainable Crab Stock [RRP $12.95]. I used mine to whip up a pot of fat, juicy mussels, and it worked a treat, inspiring my dinner guests to get their hands dirty with crusty wedges of French bread. I’m already planning my next dinner party – I’m thinking a crab risotto, perhaps with some Pepe Saya butter and a liberal dash of cream? Considering it’s made exclusively from the happy blue swimmer crab residents of the World Heritage area of Shark Bay, ergo my risotto will be totally guilt free…

The folk up north at the Hunter Valley Chefs & Co group would have me match my crab risotto with Semillon: “The vibrant citrus flavour and dominant acid structure of semillon make this food and wine match a classic.” If you need more advice in this area, I suggest you do some hands-on eating and drinking during June, the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Month. Having recently been up to stay at the Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens, I’ve had the pleasure of dining at The Hunter Valley Steakhouse. That’s why I’m making their Steak and Shiraz Matching Challenge my favourite event from this year’s extensive program. If you’re willing to throw down a measly fifteen bucks (it’s free if you stay and dine) every evening in June from 5.30pm - 6.30pm, you can sample Hunter Valley steaks against Hunter Valley Shiraz. Yep – it’s the bargain of the century.
Tags: events, food, wine
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