Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Sunday Lunch

One of the few things Gordon Ramsay and I agree about is the importance of the Sunday Lunch. Thanks to Ed I now have my very own copy of Gordon's wise words on this subject.

Last spring my better half and I made a bit of a habit of Sunday Lunch. Each week we made a variation of the season's best produce- Spring Lamb, combined with a salad and vegetables made from whatever took our fancy at the market that morning. Accompanied by a nice bottle of white and finished off with fresh fruit, a light cake or just a few truffles from Monsieur Truffe at the Prahran Markets, this is a habit I am happy to keep.

I also agree with Gordon that the Sunday lunch can be a simple family affair and need not be on a Sunday. Even a Friday night will do so that's exactly what I did. Note that I have warned you, in the title no less, that I am an amateur cook. Nevertheless, as a lover of food, like all good food blogs, this one will of course have the obligatory recipe posts. This menu features the lesser known but magical variety of Surf and Turf- seafood and charcuterie.




After a gruelling week of law firm interviews a Friday night pottering around the kitchen was just what I had in mind.

Menu
Pancetta wrapped scallops with rocket salad
Steamed black mussels with tomato sofrito and chorizo
Cheese platter, quince paste and a bottle of sticky


Pancetta wrapped scallops with rocket salad

3-4 large scallops per person
1 coil of (pepper crusted) pancetta per scallop
1 handful of rocket per portion
freshly shaved parmesan
1 lemon
olive oil

Cut the pancetta into strips and wrap around each scallop. If you want to turn this into finger food you can pierce them onto a rosemary twig (leaves removed)

Brush with a little olive oil before grilling for a couple of minutes each side.

While scallops are cooking, dress the rocket simply with olive oil and lemon juice and season well. Place a small pile on each plate and top with scallops and shaved parmesan.

Steamed black mussels with tomato sofrito and chorizo

(from a Gourmet Traveller Fare Exchange circa 2005)

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
2 chorizos quartered lengthways and coarsely crumbled
1.5 kg black mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
125 ml dry sherry
2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Crusty bread, to serve

Tomato sofrito
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
6 vine-ripened tomatoes peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tsp sweet paprika
1⁄2 tsp smoked paprika

Method

For tomato sofrito, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan and cook onion and garlic over low heat until soft and beginning to caramelise. Add tomatoes and simmer for 4 minutes or until pulpy, then increase heat to medium and simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until thickened. Add sweet and smoked paprika and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, add chorizo and fry over high heat until golden. Add mussels and sherry, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook, shaking pan continuously, over high heat for 3-4 minutes or until mussels have opened. Remove lid and stir in parsley and tomato sofrito, then serve immediately with crusty bread.



Dessert
While I had picked out a lovely assortment of cheese during my Fitzroy and Carlton stops we decided something sweet was also in order and finished the night at Gelobar on Lygon Street. There is no better place to be on a summer night.



Produce

Seafood-
I generally trek out to Springvale for all my fishy needs although I do have a few good spots in Richmond as well. There is nothing I detest more than being stuck next to some Armadale housewife at the Prahran markets insisting she needs fish X because Jamie Oliver said so although the wise fishmonger is telling her it has been frozen and fish Y is far fresher. Yes I'm a terrible person. This time I tried Canals on Nicholson Street, Carlton. The variety isn't huge but the staff are honest and helpful which I appreciate.

Cheese, Paprika and Chorizo - Casa Iberica for a basque blue and queso manchego and of course the quince paste. They have several chorizos on offer and I have never been disappointed by their spice range. Milawa Cheese Shop on Nicholson Street is also worth a stop.

Bread-
a pasta dura from the Nicholson Street Bakery.


Pancetta-
I didn't need to buy any but the IGA on Sydney Road is where I go. The staff aren't terribly knowledgeable but the variety of cheese and charcuterie is better than most delis. It's not surprising giving the demographic they are catering for and freshness is guaranteed. Best of all the staff are used to my better half and I having out weekly conflict over how many slices of proscuitto we need and take my side without fail.

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