Sometimes, it is easier to tell a story and describe a recipe by photos.
Goat or kid if you can get it has been available for a while this season (Autumn in Australia). The mint on my balcony is doing well, celeriac is in season, the last of the red tomatoes also and there is a glut of carrots in Victoria at the moment. And all of these ingredients, cooked on low heat and for a long time made a fabulous ragout (ragù in Italian). On this occasion I used the braise as a pasta sauce. Good quality Pecorino cheese is a must.
Goat cut into cubes – you can tell that it is not an old goat by the pale colour of the meat. It is trimmed of fat.
The usual onion , part of the soffritto in most Italian soups and braises.
Add a chopped carrot and instead of celery I used some celeriac and some of the inner leaves of the celeriac.
Remove the soffritto, add a little more extra virgin olive oil and brown the meat.
Add the herbs and spices. Recognise them? Salt and pepper too.
A couple of red tomatoes.
Top with liquid. I added a mixture of chicken stock (always in my freezer) and some Marsala, to keep it in the Sicilian way of things. On another occasion I may add white wine or dry vermouth.
Cover the pan and braise slowly.
It does not look as good as it tasted…the perfume was fabulous too.
Serve with fresh mint leaves and grated Pecorino.
N.B. Real Pecorino is made from pecora (sheep)..i.e. sheep’s milk. I used a Pecorino Romano. See how white it is in colour?
One week ago today I was having lunch in Templo, an Italianate, very small restaurant in Hobart.
Duck Polenta. On the side some pickled red radicchio.
Twelve days before that I was in Berlin. Four days before Berlin I was in Rome and before that Sicily, and prior that London and Nottingham.
And why go to Tasmania three days after I returned to Melbourne after seven weeks in Europe?
Tasmania had been arranged before Europe because our friend Valerie Sparkes was part of an exhibition curated by Julianna Engberg called TEMPEST at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). It was part of MOFO. Two whole walls of this type of imagery – wallpapers.
I ate well in Tasmania, but I manage to eat well wherever I go.
I work hard at it – researching via books and web (I do not take much notice of Trip Advisor), taking note of restaurants I pass that look as if they may suit and looking at menus displayed, but most of all taking advice from others whose opinions I think I can trust (strangers as well as friends).
I feel that I should start with Nottingham, my first destination, but I have decided to start with Tasmania – my most recent experience.
View from Mt. Wellinghton.
The evening before I had lunch at Templo in Hobart, I was at Aloft, that has an Asian inspired menu and is a totally different dining experience to the Italian-ate Templo.
I am not a food critic and as you may have noticed in my posts I do not elaborate or philosophize about what I eat, but I will say that although I enjoyed the ambiance, service and some of the food in Aloft, I often thought that some of the dishes were overwhelmed by strong, salty flavours, whether they were garnishes, pickles or sauces.
I like robust flavours and certainly I had some at Templo but the flavours were well rounded…. the varioustastes are balanced. Check the wine list too!
The food originated from humble beginnings – regional Italian on this occasion – but was adventurous, modern in taste and presentation. And not at all fussy – whether in name/ description or presentation.
Templo is a very small restaurant with only one engaging waiter – very personable and knowledgeable . As you can see by the menu on the board, there is little choice.
Below, Broccoli and Bagna Cauda. (Recipe below for Bagna Cauda).
This was described as Beef, celeriac…. I picked what type of cut the beef was as soon as I cut it and put it in my mouth – heart!!! Fantastic stuff… lean, great taste, all muscle. Waiter was impressed that I knew what it was. My father used to cook it for me- how could I forget!
We ate other stuff but how many photos can I include!
I love Tasmania – the scenery and the bountiful produce.
I did eat and drink well at other places in Hobart and on Bruny Island.
And, as on any trip I cooked in the places I stayed in , in Tasmania.
I appreciate the high-quality fresh produce along with the locally-produced meats, cheeses and fish.
I ate so much cheese.
And there is MONA. I could go on and on.
Bagna Cauda (it is Piedmontese)
I am amazed that I do not have a recipe for Bagna Cauda on my blog.
Bagna Cauda, translated as “hot bath,” is a dip for any combination of firm vegetables- cooked or uncooked.
A fondue-style fork will help. Slices of quality bread can be held underneath to catch the drippings and eaten also, if liked.
Here is a very simple recipe:
2 heads of garlic – separate cloves, peel
enough milk to cover garlic cloves in a small saucepan
about 25 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
300g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
300ml extra virgin olive oil
about 1 tablespoon double cream
Place the garlic cloves into a small pan, cover with milk. Gently simmer on very low heat until the garlic is soft.
Crush/mash the garlic into the milk (I use the back of a spoon), add the anchovies and dissolve them in the milk and garlic over gentle heat, stirring all the time. Add the butter and olive oil, bits and slurps slowly and stir gently to combine (without boiling).Take off the heat and mix in the cream.
Pour the mixture into a fondue dish or similar container that can be kept warm over a lighted candle or an appropriate burner.
I use this. I have a choice of two containers.
Place in centre of the table and dip in the vegetables.
How I love winter vegetables. Come to think of it, I love all vegetables!!!
These are some of the seasonal vegetables I bought last week from the Queen Victoria Market and I always make the most of them.
Although the seasons have become blurred and are becoming even more so (changes in climate, new strains of seeds, faster and better refrigerated transport) I still look forward to seasonal vegetables and tend not to buy them out of season.
What I did with the above vegetables and the recipes (click on the links)
The Friséewent into a mixture of leaves for salad.
I used half of the Celeriacraw with some rocket (dressed with homemade mayonnaise) and the rest I cooked and made a mash with cooked potatoes (Ratio: more potato than celeriac- I used 3 medium cooked potatoes and ½ cooked celeriac, butter and milk or cream, salt and pepper).
With the left over potato and celeriac mash, I added garlic, extra virgin olive oil and a little warm vegetable stock and made a Skordalia with a difference. There is no celeriac in skordalia and I am probably offending many fine makers of skordalia (those from a Greek culture), but it tasted great. The pink peppercorns I grounded on top also made a difference. I presented it with Sardinian carta di musica (music sheet)- a yeast-free, paper-thin bread. It is called pane carasau in Sardinian.
The red radicchio was made into a salad with canned tuna, cooked borlotti and red onion (Recipe from my book: Small Fishy Bites).
Other purchasers usually ask me this question when I am standing at a stall at the Queen Victoria Market buying a celeriac. I am usually asked the same question when I buy cavolo nero, kale, artichokes and fennel – but not as frequently for fennel these days.
Sedano rapa (celeriac) is more common in northern Italy and here are a few ways that it is eaten.
In Trieste, we used to eat it bollito e insalata – peeled, cut into quarters, boiled in salted water and then dressed with a simple drizzle of oil and lemon (or vinegar) and extra seasoning.
In Verona celeriac is made into a soup with borlotti beans, onion, carrot, beef or veal stock and fresh pork sausages.
In Piedmont (close to France) it is made into a much lighter soup, once again using broth, but it is served over slices of good quality bread topped with grated cheese.
In Australia, I do make a celeriac soup and I also like to eat it cooked with a dressing, but I particularly like it raw in salads.
Peel it first, to remove the knobs – it becomes quite attractive peeled, it is dense and fragrant.
Because celeriac discolours easily when cut, I leave handling the celeriac till the last minute and eat the salad soon after. I cut the celeriac ‘julienne ‘ and dress the salad quickly. (Dressing made with extra virgin olive oil salt, pepper and lemon juice). I usually like to add apple. Watercress is also a favourite.
I also like to present celeriac raw as one of the vegetables for bagna cauda –a dip of anchovies, butter, garlic, and olive oil. It is served warm as an appetizer with fresh vegetables . This is a recipe originating from Piedmont also.
See TASMANIA, FOOD, ART, HOBART and Bagna Cauda
I always buy my celeriac with leaves – an indication of how fresh the bulb is. And besides, I use the leaves in soups and the small, tender, centre leaves in salads. “Us Italians’ (or at least this Italian), does not throw much away.
My father who spent his youth in Ragusa (Sicily) before moving to Trieste, said that his mother boiled celeriac and then dressed it with a drizzle of olive oil. Apparently my grandparents grew it in their mulino (a water mill) close to Ragusa Ibla. There are quite a few mulini in the region of Ragusa which were used to mill wheat. The family kept their dogs there and grew a few vegetables. As a child I visited Sicily every summer and we used to go there often; it was a place to go especially in summer when their apartment in the city was too hot. A couple of these mills have been turned into restaurants. In fact, in one of the Moltalbano episodes he goes to one of these restaurant and I thought I recognised it as the one my grandparents used to own. My relatives in Ragusa disappointed me when they told me that that it was not the one – I have since visited this restaurant.
During my last trip to Sicily I visited an old water mill that has been revived to grind organic wheat into high quality flour.