Victor Churchill started the trend - Harris Farm Follows! Colin Fassnidge and Mike McEnearney Are long time addicts of these "Curious cuts" of Meat...
Update on July 4th: Anthony Puharich - the owner of Vic's Meat Marketdid a demo of these "Curious Cuts" at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont today, explaining how to use them, cook them and where they were from in the animal. Great tutorial. Here are some photos of this event. He also cooked some braised beef cheeks...Looked delicious
After promoting the "Imperfects Picks" for vegetables, Harris Farm now jumps on the band wagon of "head-to-tail" philosophy started here by Colin Fassnidge, the cheeky - some say feisty - Chef behind the success of 4 Fourteen in Surry Hills and Four in Hand in Paddington. Brisket, hanger, offals including ears & tail - a delicacy in Spain where they are reserved for the winning toreador - which are common in France's butcher shops and beyond, are becoming more popular in Australia, in part because of their cheaper price, but also because of their heightened taste.
Victor Churchill in Woollhara and Vic;s Meat Market at the Sydney Fish Market were also early promoters, as well as Mike McEnearney from Kitchen by Mike and James Viles from Biota Dining.
The good news, for me at least - is that one can now afford a "Bavette à l'échalote" and shared with friends and family a cut of meat which is rare but not dear here. In Europe, it is the opposite as price follows the rule "what is rare is dear", hence veal liver is almost beyond reach, but here it is -still - affordable. So, go and eat your hearty content of "Curious Cuts" or offals or other delicacies.
The new promo for "Curious Cuts" from Harris Farm Markets
And if you want to try my recipe for "Bavette ou Onglet à l'échalote", check my online recipe book!
As a food blogger, it seemed like a "have to go and report" kind of event, if one just looks at the impressive list of Chefs and providers, wineries and entertainers listed on the website. It was great to mingle with a youngish crowd, all obviously here to have a good time, and not worried about spending their well earned cash. And cash, you will need a plenty: before you can even taste anything, you will have to fork at least 60$ for entry for two and two mandatory, non-refundable plastic glasses costing 5$ each. Then you have to buy food and wine and this can easily turn into a 100$ bill or more. The first taste at Taste was quite a bad one, as I could have spent the same money for a proper dinner in some of the featured restaurants...
having said that, we had great fun talking to a few people we know, like Frank Camorra who generously gave us one of his fabulous "brochettes" of lamb, or watching Colin Fassnidge butchering a piglet on stage and having the crowd in hysterics over his constant jokes and finally getting introduced properly to the lovely Kate Gibbs. We loved the brochettes from Frank so much, that we returned to buy some more and try his fabulous ice-cream. We drank a GSM from Tobreck & Vintners and Billi Billi Shiraz from Mont Langi Ghiran, a winery I had discovered at last Designex .
There was great frustration in accessing the restaurants we would have like to taste, due to long queues and time constraints, as each session last really only 4 hours and you may have to wait a good 20mms at each stall. Besides we privileged watching Colin Fassnidge show.
Some of the people we visited
Some of the places we would have liked to try out
And now onto the Colin Fassnidge Show
I don't think I need to present Colin Fassnidge to my Australian readers, but maybe I need to do it for my international readers (yes, all of you over in America, Asia and Europe...).
Dublin born Colin Fassnidge has been Head Chef of The Four in Hand Dining Room since October of 2005. Since starting at The Four in Hand, Colin’s unique style has seen the Four in Hand hold one Chefs Hat for four years and adding the prestigious second hat in 2010.
He has since opened a second restaurant in trendy Surry Hills 4Fourteen with Carla Jones.
Learning very early that he had a passion for cooking, Colin moved to England where he did his apprenticeship at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons under Raymond Blanc in Oxford. Blanc, a self taught Chef instilled in his staff a sense of seasonality and also tasting at every stage, a trait Colin uses in his kitchen today.
With a passion for travelling Colin arrived in Australia in 1999 working at some of Sydney’s most acclaimed Restaurants, including Liam Tomlin’s celebrated institution that was Banc.
Colin’s Nose to Tail philosophy and his diligence for sourcing the best local ingredients has seen him turn the most undesirable off cuts into beautiful, delicious dishes. He is also now a -sometimes controversial - judge on My Kitchen Rules, together with French Chef Manu Feidel and Aussie paleo diet ambassador extraordinaire Peter Evans, " bringing sexy back to TV on My Kitchen Rules". He seems to have a great female following as well, and is a great bloke.
Kate Gibbs is a Sydney-based journalist, food writer and author. She has written two cookbooks and her first non-fiction book will be released in 2015. She has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Wall Street Journal, Sunday Style magazine, Sunday Life in The Sun Herald, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Broadsheet Sydney, The London Evening Standard, frankie magazine and Cosmopolitan magazine among others. She also happens to be Margaret Fulton's granddaughter, not a mince feast, as Margaret is a a Scottish-born Australian food and cooking 'guru', writer, journalist, author, and commentator. She was the first of this genre of writers in Australia.
Her early recipes encouraged Australian housewives (!) to alter the Australian staple of "meat and three vegetables" and to be creative with food. She 'discovered' food from exotic places such as Spain, Italy, India and China and as Cookery Editor, 'brought these into Australian homes through her articles in the Woman's Day magazine'. Fulton realised that chefs who did television shows tended to lose their audience. Accordingly, she remained a writer who regularly appeared only as a 'guest' on various TV shows. Her early recipes encouraged Australian housewives to alter the Australian staple of "meat and three vegetables" and to be creative with food. She 'discovered' food from exotic places such as Spain, Italy, India and China and as Cookery Editor, 'brought these into Australian homes through her articles in the Woman's Day magazine'.
A bit of video action - Not for the faint hearted...
James Viles the youngest Australian Chef to receive two hats for his locavore restaurant Biota Dining in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, was the guest of honoour at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont for this month. He was there (very...) early to start the fire and slow roast a whole 10kgs pig in time for the first demo at 8.30am. I was not there and almost missed the 10.00am session as I was recovering from two nights of debauchery, including first screening of son Grégoire first film as a director (Summer Nights) and another one as DoP (1919) , part of the Break program of Metroscreen, and family reunion with the Scottish side of the clan...
I made it just in time to catch some leftover bits of this deliciously slow cooked cochon
James Viles explains to us and host PoRkStar Marketing Manager Mitch Edwards how the pig was cooked
James went on to prepare blood sausages - boudin noir - to an attentive but somehow bewildered crowd who were told that they could make this at home... A lot of collateral damage, including the host Mardi Gras outfit, happened, as fresh blood ended up splattered every where on stage and beyond. All this happened as a very cool and collected James was crumbing bread into a bowl, adding various spices and plenty salt, while telling us the story of his (young...) life and the genesis of Biota Dining. I have already reported on this, so I will refer you to my restaurants review page.
Over time, James and myself have built a friendship based on a common passion for local produce and food. He has pushed the "locavore" concept to the hilt, as he grows his own herbs and vegetables on the 4-acre property and sources most other ingredients within a 25kms radius around Bowral. Exception are the selfish he brings from the South Coast and some wines, although most of them are from the region (Centennial Wines and Far Ago Hill, just to name the two I know personally). We have been foraging together and I have been gently threatened with an invitation to go hunting hare together... He is a passionate individual and very hard working Chef, who also treats his personnel very nicely, taking them in turn to such event, like Joel today, his Executive Chef. The boudin noir was absolutely stunning, one of the best I ever tasted, including the divine apple and boudin noir feuilleté at La Tassée in Lyon, a must go to place, and the black pudding experienced in Scotland, another outcome of the Auld Alliance...
Somebody asked about the recipe for boudin blanc instead, and nobody on stage had a real clue, so I was asked to step in...You will find a good recipe by clicking the image above. Let's just say that the blood is replaced by white meat (pork, veal or chicken), the finest result coming from using veal ( not yearling...) and add cream to gel the ingredients together. When well made, this is a delicacy usually enjoyed as a second course (after oysters) for Christmas. It was invented in Champagne. Find the complete story by clicking the image below. A fish version and a specialty of Lyon is called quenelle and is even finer in texture and taste, best if one can find brochet a carnivorous river fish.
I did find the time after tasting the roasted pig to have a quick run through the market andd say hello to my good friends Steph Gourmet Foods, roi du saucisson, the Ocellos and their beautiful cheeses, Grower2u and their fabulous vegetables next to the Leppington Valley Farm who still had beautiful figs, Pepe Saya butter, Gina from Sweetness The Patisserie, Gilles Bonin Monsieur Garlic and in the process met Jenny and Cathy from new stallholders Garlicious Grown, sharing with Gilles and Victoria. I am sure we will see more of these nice ladies and great products.
Next week, we will revisit the EQ (fox Studios) and Riverside Organic Markets, and we are also interviewing James Viles at Biota Dining over tapas tomorrow and Clément Chauvin at Les Bistronomes in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, and staying for dinner and a review...Busy week!
SMH Pyrmont Growers Market - 04/10/2014
Being the launch of Good Food Month in Sydney, and the theme being the BBQ, it was no surprise to find a number of stall holders bringing their own barbie and recipes to feed the masses...
There were also a few newcomers as well as most of the regulars and the seasonals like Gilles Bonin with his fresh garlic. So here are a few photos to illustrate the event. Luckily the weather was clement!
Biota Dining and Cloudy Bay at the Everleigh Markets and a few others - 11/10/2014
Well, when I heard that James Viles would bring some his crew to cook a storm at the Everleigh Markets, I had to get up early and get myself there in a hurry! I was not disappointed as I had a chance to taste again his fabulous mandarin sorbet, with a twist this time: peach sorbet and jelly and cryogenic roses and a glass of Sauvignon blanc from Cloudy Bay NZ, way before 10.00am...
You can also read my review of the restaurant in Bowral here:
The life of a food blogger requires a stainless steel lined stomach and a galvanised liver!
A few people are returning regularly now like Oysters Unplugged and Pasta Emilia that I have not covered before. Music was provided in a better location than before by no other than cello master extraordinaire called Haydn (His mum was a piano teacher...). Again a few photos for your enjoyment!
Orange Grove Market - 11/10/2014
We have revamped our "Restaurants Reviews" page to help with Search Engine Optimisation and harmonising the look of these pages with the rest of the site. We have also removed temporarily reviews of restaurants that have recently closed like Tastevin but kept the one for Guillaume at Bennelong which is now reopened in Paddington as Guillaume, which we have not had a chance to try yet. Each review has its own page, so it is easier for you and Google to find them.
We currently have only three reviews:
Biota Dining - Bowral - Southern Highlands of New South Wales
Guillaume at Bennelong
You will find mention of other restaurants we have had the privilege to dine at over the course of my gastronome life. You can use our "Search" function to find a short description of our culinary encounters. Over time, we will endeavour to blow up these snippets to a full blown review.
Your feedback will be most appreciated
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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