And here are the fore-said Hereford cattle, lingering by the gate.
There really was some awesome sky (and country) that afternoon at Rawdon Vale.
I loved the undulating (currently green) hills of Rawdon Vale. The valley is an established Hereford cattle property since 1845, and even has a few National Trust buildings on site (a 19th Century red brick mansion being one of them). For me, the landscape reminded me more of the hills and plains of Wyoming, a la Legends of the Fall.
We’re starting a little journey today – on a weekend camping trip to the Barrington Tops. I’ve visited this area only a handful of times over the years, but never went right across it until this trip.
We started on the eastern side of the range. Having left Gloucester, we made our way down the backroads into Rawdon Vale – the foothills to the Tops. You can see how much rain they’ve had – everything was green.
Here’s another Asian favourite of mine, this time from the South-East. Kangkung, or water spinach, is a very tropical plant. It actually grows in water – I’ve seen whole strands of them growing wild in the Top End!
My favourite dish is kangkung cha terasi (or kangkung belachan in Malaysian) – kangkung stir fried with shrimp paste, garlic, and of course, lots of chilli. It’s eaten as a vege side dish, perhaps with satay, a curry or two, and lots of steamed white rice. Eating it brings me back to my childhood…
Now this is a dish that I can actually cook well. No weird sauces, just timing and technique. I like Bill Granger’s technique (although there’s way too much cream in that recipe for my liking), because I like my scrambled eggs soft and fluffy. Some chives and parsley folded into the eggs and fried tomatoes and mushrooms on the side go down well too.
I really do like a burger every now and then, with a side of hot chips, but in this age, what really defines a burger? Meat-wise, it seems like any mince/spicing combination goes these days. Moroccan lamb, Thai chicken – they’re not really burgers, are they?
Personally, I still like the ‘traditional’ Aussie burger, the kind that they make (made?) at milk bars way back when. Beef patty, cheese, fried onion, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, and tomato sauce on a spongy bun. No pickles, no mustard, no rocket, no sourdough roll. Just the basics.
Given my specifications, the burger below, although served at a cafe, is just about acceptable.
Another Japanese favourite. Sushi is actually just any little morsel that uses sushi rice – steamed Japanese short grain rice dressed with mirin. It’s the toppings that vary. Traditionally, the Japanese use raw seafood, vegetables (pickled or fresh), egg, or tofu. Now that sushi has gone completely global, anything goes.
Here is some homemade sushi, ‘California’ style: crabstick, omelette, cucumber, carrot. There is also an inari (tofu pouch filled with sushi rice).
A sushi platter I had in Tokyo – for breakfast, no less.
But best of all was the ginormous sushi and sashimi platter I shared at Masuya, Sydney.
This is a relatively new favourite, but I’ve had quite a few smashing scallop dishes in the last year or so that I would now order scallops anytime that it appears on the menu.
Given that it’s such a delicate shellfish, it is more versatile than you might think. I had this scallop dish at the Golden Century, a good Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown. It’s very simply stir-fried with snowpeas and carrots, and a little seasoning.
I had this dish at Char, in Darwin. It has the fashionable paring of scallops and pork belly. Being Darwin, it was served with a south-east asian accompaniment of crunchy salad and peanut sauce. Luscious!
Last but not least, a more simpler take – but just as delicious as the two above – scallops wrapped in bacon, with aioli. I had this at Pearsons, a little bistro-style restaurant in Mortdale.
I discovered the recipe for this cake in an ‘older’ (that is, early nineties) all-purpose cookbook. It uses a combination of semolina and almond meal instead of flour, and orange rind and juice for the flavouring. The cake itself comes out rather dry and crumbly, however when soaked with orange syrup in becomes luscious and more-ish. Whipped cream is a must.