Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Smoke on the water.

Foghorns could be heard from the bay most of last Sunday, a mournful sound that bounced off the dead flat sea and echoed up the hill. The Port of Melbourne must be a busy place. Everything we buy comes from China and it comes by ship and they don't stop on Sundays.

Despite the haze, there was a warmth in the air. In the early afternoon, we went down the hill to the beach. You couldn’t see twenty yards out to sea or up or down the beach. A thick, swirling pale yellow mist was rolling off the water and breaking up through the ti-tree like dry-ice smoke in an amateur stage production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, assisted in this imagery by continued foghorns.

Then the fog was gone, exiting stage south, and the sun came out of the yellow, and the stage was restored to its proper size. Two ships were passing each other on the horizon.

The boys were in the water now. Baby Alexandra crept through the sand and down to the water's edge and then straight in, just like her brothers had done. She turned one a fortnight ago.


Coriander in the garden has shot to three feet. Quick! Pick it! What can you do with so much coriander? Turn it into a paste, like pesto. A bunch of the stuff blitzed with three large cloves of garlic, half a cup of pine nuts, olive oil, hard cheese, salt and pepper made a fragrant and delicious paste that can be dipped with hot roti, stuffed into chicken breast fired in ghee or stirred through basmati rice and served as a side with an inexpensive beef vindaloo made from that most underrated cut, chuck steak*.

For dinner I placed a generous amount of coriander paste into several upturned large 'plate'(portobello) mushrooms and dotted them with crumbled paneer and served these with the beef curry below and rice.

*Brown chuck steak in ghee and seasoning, then bake slowly – very slowly, up to eight hours – in a casserole with quartered potatoes and a paste of spices that you have toasted for thirty seconds in a pan (half teaspoon each black seeds, chilli powder, two teaspoons ground coriander, couple of pods of cardomom, an inch of ginger (grated), two large garlic cloves, a pinch of asafoetida). Top up with water and adjust throughout.

And, and here's one I took the other week of the boys hamming it up.


jo rosenblum said...

Sounds delicious, especially right now with the rain pouring outside and still a wintery chill.
The children are beautiful,
I have my own Alexandra , she is
actually Alexandra Isobella Lucia,
(I decided as there were only two I'd give them all the names I liked.)

kitchen hand said...

And why not, Jo? The more names the better. And they are all regal.