Thursday, April 26, 2012

6 Degrees of Bush Tucker

It's been some weeks since the event, but the delicious taste of 6 Degrees of Bush Tucker is still almost as vibrant as that night.

The team at 6 Degrees of Preparation brought it, big time.

Contemporary Australiana fare at its interpretative and experimental best.

This time with increased numbers both in attendance and kitchen staff. I suspect that sooner rather than later, they'll have to take the events to a different location, or at least open up the partition that keeps the current crowd separated from the stacked up chairs from Rosebud's day trading.

I brought my two girlfriends and we brought two bottles of wine. It's handy to note the event is no longer BYO, so we parked our bottles for another time. With a great wine selection on offer, affordable drinks prices (approx. $5 or $6 per wine glass and we paid approx. $20 for a bottle) and with the night's signature cocktail (Arnhem Land Mule) on offer, it works so that there really is no need for BYO. Plus it's handy for a wine rookie like myself having the team recommend matching wines that complement the dishes.

1: Barramundi Goujons marinated in Bush Tomato Chutney wrapped in thin pastry served with Lime Aioli. I'm a fan of fish, a big fan, especially of our native Australian varieties. How do you explain to people overseas what they're missing out on? This dish was a hit.

2: Pumpkin & Bunya Nut Soup with Herb Damper. Sweet, sweet pumkiny goodness, it went down a treat, so smooth, (actually) sweet, creamy, with a crunchy nut finish. Great contrast in texture.

3: Paperback Grilled Queensland Trout Salad with Lemon Aspen and Warrigal Greens. See dish one: big fan of fish. Another hit.

4: Surf'n Turf: Kangaroo Loin, School Prawns, Mountain Pepper Leaf and Berryfgh Jus served with Mash. Tender, succulent, delicious kangaroo meat. I had the misconception that due to its "gaminess", kangaroo meat needed to be cooked long and hard. These pieces were seared lightly and contained a juicy, soft, melt in your mouth tenderness.

5: Old Man Salt Bush & Lamb Pancakes. Probably my least favourite dish of the night, not to say that it wasn't good though. I reminded me of the "pitta" (in Greek) or "bourek" (in Macedonian) that my mother and mother-in-law respectively make. A round dish of pastry filled with either cheese or a combination of cheese and spinach. This was the Aussie version! Not as refined as its Greek of Macedonian counterparts, after all they've had thousands of years to get that pastry just right.

6: Pavlova Roulade with Wattle Seed Cream, Kiwi Gelee & Autumn Fruits. Pavlova: the classic all-Australian dish. Add a splash of fresh, tangy, colourful fruit and you have a home run.

Following the footsteps of 6 Degrees of Goat, it was yet another well executed night. The 6 Degrees crew were on the money with capturing and show casing native Australian food. Yet again they managed to take me back to my childhood: reminiscent of coming to a foreign land with such vastness and diversity. Strange animals such as never-before-seen fish and that strange marsupial hopping around on two legs, which would later become a favourite pet (yes I had a kangaroo for a period during my childhood). They also taught us about, and gave us a taste of what the indigenous ate and lastly tied it into contemporary culture with what has become to be identified as one of the true Aussie dishes (pavlova, in case you've been living under a rock). Awesome. Who said we had no culture?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Nothing says Happy Easter better than a Greek Feast

It's Orthodox Easter weekend, Kalo Paskha everyone! Something to do with the religious calendar and moon, that's why it's on now and not last week (to coincide with Catholic Easter).

My friends and I have been discussing taking it in turns to host dinners with the focus being on our cultural background.

It was time I got back to my roots. I pulled out the big guns a couple of weeks back and got the party started.

Welcome to Angie's Greek Feast.

What better time to share it than Greek Easter?! Six guests in total, six bottles of wine ready to be decanted and four courses served.

  1. Hors D'Oeuvres: platter of olive tapenade, goats cheese and fresh organic sourdough bread
  2. Entree: Organic zucchini and haloumi fritters served with Greek yogurt
  3. Main: Lamb lemonato with chunky soft roasted lemon potatoes
  4. Dessert: Galaktoboureko
Lamb is the perfect Easter meat.

I marinated that puppy overnight with lemon, dried oregano and olive oil. The oregano and olive oil were  both from my mama's farm in South Australia (sourced via care package on my last trip to Adelaide).

In Greece the season is spring, so lots of fluffy little lambs are primed for slaughter (after they've grazed pastures and hopped along wide open fields and pranced around mountains of course) and the Easter feasts.

The olives had been picked in the winter just gone and would have had plenty of time to marinate. For this olive tapenade, I used Kalamata olives from my mum's farm. Yeah baby!

During spring, the goat's and sheep's milk is also the best and tastiest, so although our seasons here in Australia are opposite, I used this as inspiration for serving the goat's cheese, making the haloumi and zucchini fritters and serving the yogurt.

The galaktoboureko is the perfect finishing off dessert, which is predominantly an egg, milk and semolina custard, with flaky filo pastry and a sugar syrup.

It cuts the extreme lemoniness of the lamb and potatoes deliciously. Plus its my second all time favourite childhood sweet (the first being walnut and honey cake) that my mum made, so I was determined to perfect it. Mission accomplished. Fuck yeah I rock.

Happy Greek Easter everyone, get it in ya!