SUMMERTIME, SEGUE DINING AND SALMON DIP

Here you are at the beach just after Christmas. You are so beautiful I could eat you.

Here you are at the beach just after Christmas. You are so beautiful I could eat you.

Dear Amelia,
Here’s the big tip: one of the next big things on the food scene according to today’s Sunday Times Magazine is segue dining.
Basically, segue dining is all-day dining, as in your breakfast will segue into lunch, which may then segue into dinner etc.
Back in the day if lunch segued into dinner, it was called “Getting drunk and forgetting where you live” dining.
But then back in the day I thought segue was pronounced “seeg” (it’s SEG-way), précis was pronounced pressiss (it’s PRAY-see) and oregano – well, it was a word I avoided like the plague because whichever way I pronounced it there was always someone on hand to correct me (which is called patronisation – patt-ron-eyes-AY-shun).
The Sunday Times Magazine devoted 15 of its 32 pages today to a Hot 100 list “of the hottest people, events and trends set to rock 2013”.
Basically, they listed 100 things that are going to make early adopters cringe and encourage middle-class aspirants to listen to Biffy Clyro, who have been around for about 15 years now but who knew? (apart from several million people in the rest of the world)
It’s funny to think that by the time you’re 35 and old enough to read this blog, Biffy Clyro will probably have been relegated to the CD racks out the front of newsagents, and segue dining will be old hat.
Speaking of which (hats, I mean), here’s a picture of Anna Dello Russo, who’s the editor-at-large and creative consultant for Vogue Japan and is placed at number 62 on the STM Hot 100 list.
If I had known that all it took to be hot was some fake apples on my head and a dress that looks like a Cath Kidston doona cover, I would have tried it years ago.

Anna Dello Russo
Here is some more interesting information about Anna:
She is a passionate fashionista who wore Dolce & Gabbana to her wedding in 1996, and Balenciaga for her divorce six months later.
She keeps all of her clothes in a separate apartment that’s next door to the one she lives in.
Her boyfriend doesn’t live with her – there’s no space because of the clothes.
Here is some interesting information about me:
I love reading this shit.
Also, even though I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’m secretly pleased that Anna has saggy knees (this is because she’s 50 – it happens to the best of us).
Seeing as Anna is almost vegetarian but likes to eat fish, my recipe today is for something she might like to dip her ciabatta into when she invites a few “super chic party guests” (number 59 on the Hot 100 list) to a soiree at her Milan apartment.
In Italy it would be called Salsa Salmone but here in Australia it’s just called good old Salmon Dip.
Either way, it’s really delicious – much nicer than shop-bought and easy to make.
The recipe is by a food stylist called Janice Baker and is from the book Sheridan Rogers’ Food Year.
You’re supposed to cover the top of it with a thick layer of chopped walnuts and snipped chives.
Feel free to do so if the thought of chopped walnuts with tinned salmon doesn’t make you want to be sick.

salmon dip

SALMON DIP

Makes enough for 3 small-ish bowls (as in the picture) or 1 big one

250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese (I use the low-fat one)
210g tin of good red salmon, drained and boned
a good squeeze of lemon juice
Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper
chives

Mix the cream cheese and salmon together with a spoon or fork until well combined.
Squeeze in some lemon juice and add five drops of Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix it all together, taste it, then add more lemon juice and/or Tabasco sauce, according to how lemony and hot you like it.
Snip chives over the top and serve with crackers or pide, which is what Turkish people call Turkish bread.
In case you’re wondering, I believe pide is pronounced pee-da.
But don’t quote me. I’m the person who used to pronounce pot pourri pott POO-ree.

salmon dip2

 

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SAY CHEESE

Dear Amelia,
Here at party central we’ve been looking at interesting things to do with cauliflowers.
They are very cheap at the moment, it being almost winter, and Nanna feels compelled to make the most of them.
It’s strange this compulsion – new and a bit unsettling.
When Nanna was younger she really couldn’t give a rat’s what was in season, or even what was on special.
But then round about the time she bowed out of full-time work, she started going home with things she didn’t need.
Things like seven kilos of gravy beef, or ten bottles of Omo Sensitive, or 36 rolls of Sorbent.
Or four really big cauliflowers.
Laugh if you like, but since 2007 Nanna’s had very real problems walking past “Special Offer” signs.
Obviously this has got something to do with age.
You get older, you turn into your mother, you suddenly see a strange sort of sense in buying 27 jars of marmalade.
But when it comes to blame, we also have to look at the Lifestyle channel, to which Nanna is addicted – especially the food shows.
And seeing as Nanna is pushing 60, she tends to sit in front of them in a state of high anxiety, hyperventilating and thinking, “So many recipes, so little time.”
If you’re not into food shows – as Grandpa isn’t – watching lots of them is about as much fun as grating your face off.
But he puts up with them because he’s made Nanna sit through so many war programmes on the History Channel, she can now speak German.
That’s the way it is when you’ve been together for a long time.
One of you understands what Himmler is saying to Hitler in the snow at Berchtesgaden and the other knows his wife will never cut it in the food world if she doesn’t slice her limes vertically.
As for the cauliflowers, Nanna decided to start slowly and build up.
Past attempts at Mustard Pickles have been very successful.


But after the making of the Lilly Pilly Jam and the ensuing 12-hour recovery period, preserving wasn’t really the preferred option.
Nanna was knackered after the lilly pilly business and needs to keep her strength up for the Rose Hip Jelly she intends to make when her rose bushes bear fruit.
In the meantime, good old Cauliflower Cheese is an excellent option.
Make it with onions and mustard and you won’t know yourself. It’s really delicious.

CAULIFLOWER CHEESE

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium cauliflower (or half a big one)
1 small brown onion (or half a bigger one), chopped finely
30g butter
2 level tbsp plain flour
1½ – 2 cups milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
grated cheddar cheese (your choice how much or how little)

Preheat oven to 200C.
Cut the cauliflower into small florets and cook in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes or until just tender.
Drain and tip into a shallow ovenproof dish.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low-ish heat and cook the onion until it’s soft, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t brown.
Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the flour.
Put it back on the heat and cook the flour/butter mixture for a couple of minutes, stirring.
Turn up the heat a little and tip in 1½ cups of milk, stirring like a mad thing (you can use a wooden spoon or a whisk).
Your sauce won’t go lumpy. For some reason, when you cook onion in the butter before you add the milk, you always end up with an un-lumpy sauce.
Cook the white sauce over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it bubbles and thickens.
If it’s too thick, add more milk and cook for another minute or so (you don’t want it really runny but neither do you want it so thick you can suspend the pan over your head a la uncooked pavlova meringue).
When the sauce is thick but pourable, take it off the heat and stir in the mustard and a small handful of grated cheese.
Pour or spoon the sauce over the cauliflower, making sure all the florets are covered, then sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until it’s bubbling and golden brown on top.


CHANNELING ELVIS: YORKSHIRE LASAGNE

Dear Amelia,
Grandpa is eating leftover Yorkshire Lasagne as I write this.
It smells heavenly but I can’t eat any because I’m having a colonoscopy on Wednesday and today I have to eat what’s called a “low-residue diet”.
So far I’ve had five cups of black tea and a jar of Heinz Smooth Summer Fruits Gel, plucked fresh from the baby food aisle at Woolies this morning.
According to the label on the jar it’s suitable for “ALL ages over 6 months”, so this will be good practice for when my teeth fall out.
For dinner tonight, I’ll have strips of skinless chicken breast poached in Campbell’s Chicken Consomme with some pasta thrown in for good measure.
Yum.
(And I mean that sincerely – Campbell’s consommés are tops.)
Tomorrow I’ll move on to the serious bit, referred to around here as Hello Sorbent.
No food to be consumed AT ALL (there are lots of capital letters on the instruction sheet) and from 4pm I’ll drink a glassful of ColonLYTELY™ every 15 minutes until all three litres are consumed or until I fall off the toilet and drown in my own vomit, whichever comes first.
ColonLYTELY™ cleans out your insides and tastes vile – like seawater with half a lemon squeezed in.
The person who invented it wanted to call it ColonFUCKINGAWFUL but wasn’t allowed.
Wednesday at 6.30am I will venture into the non-luxurious surrounds of Albany Regional Hospital and shortly thereafter have the old telescope-up-the-bum procedure.
Après colonoscopy (that’s French for “no longer shitting”), I will be given a sandwich by a nurse and it will be one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted in my life.
I know this because I’ve been après colonoscopy twice before.
Moving on: Your Uncle Paul came to stay on the weekend and it was lovely.
Yorkshire Lasagne is his favourite meal, so I cooked it on Saturday night.
I only cook it on special occasions because it takes forever to make, but believe me, it’s worth it.
It’s called Yorkshire Lasagne because I don’t think they cook it like this in Italy.
Whatever. It’s delicious. And rich enough to bring Elvis back from the dead.

YORKSHIRE LASAGNE

Serves 6-8

1 x 375g packet of instant lasagne
lots of grated cheddar cheese (as in, when you think you’ve got enough, you haven’t really)
lots of grated parmesan cheese

For the bolognese sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
450g lean minced beef
1 big clove of garlic, crushed
1 x 140g tub/tin of tomato paste
1 cup red or white wine (I use leftover Yellow Glen, such is my level of chic-ness)
water to cover
2 tomatoes, chopped up
½ tsp dried oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the white sauce
60g butter
3 tbsp plain flour
3 cups low-fat milk (to make up for the rest of it)

To make the bolognese, fry the onion in the olive oil in a big saucepan over low-ish heat until the onion’s soft but not brown.
Increase the heat and chuck in the mince and garlic and cook, stirring with a fork, until the mince is brown and no longer lumpy.
Stir in the tomato paste and white wine.
Pour in enough water to cover (you want a runny sauce) and then stir in the tomatoes and oregano.
Season with salt and lots of pepper and simmer, partly covered with the saucepan lid, over low heat for 1-1½  hours.
Let it cool.
While it’s cooling, make the white sauce by bringing the milk to just below the boil in a small saucepan.
Have a balloon whisk handy and melt the butter over low-ish heat in another saucepan.
Off the heat, stir the flour into the butter with a wooden spoon, then increase the heat slightly and let this mixture (called a roux) cook for a couple of minutes.
Pour in the hot milk all at once and whisk like buggery with the metal whisk.
Doing it this way, you never get lumps in your white sauce.
Bring to the boil and let it simmer until slightly thickened.
Turn off the heat and stir in a handful of the grated cheese.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
To assemble the lasagne, put a ladleful of bolognese sauce and half a ladle of water in the bottom of the lasagne dish and mix them together.
Put a single layer of instant lasagne sheets on top.
Cover the lasagne sheets with some bolognese sauce, top this with a layer of white sauce, then sprinkle grated cheeses over the top.
Continue layering in this way until all the sauce is used up, finishing with a layer of bolognese on top.
Sprinkle cheeses on top of the bolognese and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until tender when pierced in the middle with a knife.
Let the lasagne sit on the bench for five minutes before serving.