Last night Diane made us a cracker of a diet menu although a person would never know that it was a low-cal meal.
She started the meal with an old favourite: asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. The prosciutto imparts a delicious flavour to the spears as well as giving the asparagus a little moisture from the small amount of fat surrounding the meat pieces. She very lightly fried the wrapped spears.
The salmon was poached in a light Vegeta stock which made the steaks very moist and very tender (even for salmon pieces.)
As a wine we enjoyed two glasses of local Swan Valley Chardonnay which is, in my opinion, under priced for its quality.
Last evening Diane fixed a delicious meal: Nodini di vitello con sughetto di acciughe. We had gone into Perth that afternoon and she stopped at Torre Brothers Butcher in Northbridge and purchased some of their great meat and last night it was as good as their reputation.
This is a Marcella Hazan recipe whose origins, as you probably have already guessed, is Sicilian because anchovies are favourite ingredients in southern Italy, particularly in Sicily. The sauce for this recipe is those Sicilian favourites: garlic, anchovey fillets and chopped parsley.
As an primo piatto Diane made up a serve of sauteed mushrooms followed by cubed sauteed pumpkin.
As a wine that befitted the Italian food, she served a robust Pasqua Valpolicella from Verona, Italia.
This place is always good for a satisfying meal especially on a cold, crisp winter’s evening like tonight.
To begin we always have six Fried Wantons and two pieces of Prawn on Toast accompanied by two generous dipping sauces.
Our mains were Ga Xao Lang (Chicken in Red Bean and Coconut Milk) and Diane had Thai Green Currry Chicken. We also ordered a bowl of steamed rice to marry with the ample sauce served with both dishes.
We had a bottle of McWilliams Chardonnay to complete a delicious meal.
FOOD DIArY: first evening back, Tomato Salsa
Our cruise to Indonesia ended early yesterday morning after three weeks of modest over-indulgence resulting in several extra kilos as well as a desire for Diane’s Leeming cooking. This desire for the simplist of meals resulted in her Tomato Salsa which was the perfect counter to the rich onboard food available on the Dawn. She paired this spaghetti with a full refreshing salad so back to normal!
We have had to slow down with our cooking because we will not be doing the diary for some time and in recognition of that fact last night was a simple affair. Diane just made a pantry (fridge) meal using a sugo that we already had in the freezer; it was just a simple affair of Italian canned tomatoes with chopped black olives plus the juice of the can: simple yet so good on a winters evening.
With this we had the usual salad plus some dregs of wine unfinished from previous meals.
Friday night is Party Night around here.
We tend to eat similar meals fairly close together and we do that because buying our meat at the Fremantle Market means that the packets are larger than normal supermarket packaging. About the smallest that we buy contains enough for four portions over two meals. Therefore, last night Diane used what was left of the package so all of it is now finished and we will be ready to buy more when we restock the fridge later. Here in Australia what the Americans call Round Steak is termed Rump Steak and after all these years I had not worked out where I could find the Round Steak that used to be a standard for college kids and later those of us who love Steak Diane.
As hors-d’oeuvres Diane fixed a little plate of pickled mushrooms, toasted bread and crackers spread with tapenade; all of this was to accompany a perfect Rye Manhattan.
After this delightful entrance into the home of her great evening meal, Diane served us delicious Roasted Fennel topped with a sprinkling of bread crumbs and parmesan.
The next course, because both of us enjoy eating one thing at a time rather than having a plate filled with different items, was a serve of cubed fried pottoes (my Irishness comes out because I love this dish.)
Now the main course: Steak Diane. Diane said she was diosappointed in the finished taste but you could not verify it by me: it was delicious.
Our wine was another West Australian wine from the Great Southern; Old Kent River ’09 Pinot Noir. We bought a few bottles at the winery which is also the local marron restaurant. For those that don’t know, marron are a fresh water crayfish found only in Western Australia and they are superb. It is worth the trip down to Walpole just to enjoy them at this restaurant.
Diane is still on a cooking binge and I an certainly not objecting. Last evening she made an old favourite: Salmon Linguine. I am sure that other areas of this planet have the same product available, salmon off-cuts or small pieces that do not fit in any other product marketed by the company. These pieces are perfect for making a delicious pasta sauce which is exactly what the resident chef made.
We are trying to eat up the bits that are in the fridge before our little holiday and this was a perfect example of what a good chef can do with a minimum of available ingredients. Diane can make this dish blindfolded: she just adds the salmon pieces, saffron and a touch of cream to make the sauce.
We enjoyed, because this is quite a rich dish, the accompanying cleansing salad.
As a beverage we enjoyed a Western Australian wine from the Great Southern: a “He Said She Said” wine that was purchased at the Lake House winery in Denmark this past summer. Denmark is right on the south coast and therefore quite temperate because of its proximity to the winds coming up from Antarctica so their whites are particularly tasty. They call it a Premium White and it was an excellent accompaniment to Diane’s wonderful meal.