Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cooking Gear

I could email this. I'm not gonna, because it's fun to do it in public.

Okay, folks - by now you're all getting geared up and ready for our tete-a-tete in sunny Queensland. Everybody's packing their toothbrushes, their jim-jams, and lotsa copies of various manuscripts. Knives are being sharpened... and speaking of knives, herewith is the Tale of the Cook.

I had a good time cooking at the last ROR in Taswegia, and I expect to enjoy myself this time around as well. Of course, prices have risen fairly dramatically since then, so I don't suppose I'll be able to replicate the Miracle of Loaves, Fishes, Wine and Pizza quite so effectively -- but with a bit of help from the audience, I reckon we'll come through okay.

Marianne, Rowena, Trent -- you lot are proper Briz dwelling Queenslanders. That means bringing a few extra bits of cooking gear won't terrify the Air Transport Security Mob, the way it would if, say Max or myself were to start lugging chef's knives in our carry-on. Therefore I feel it falls to you three to help stock the kitchen with usefuls. I'm very much hoping for the following items:

1) A stock-pot. About ten litres size minimum. If you provide me with this, I will make Chinese-style stock, and treat you to the best won-ton soup, the finest chicken-and-sweet-corn soup, and a truly excellent risotto. Stock is just one of those things you really must have if you're going to cook properly, and commercially available stock does NOT cut it.

2) A whisk. Please?

3) Anybody got one of those whizzer-on-a-stick Bamix kinda things? Blenders are great, but I don't think we need to get that carried away. But if you can get me a Bamixy stick-whizzer thing, I'll make you a roast capsicum dip, a mediterranean chickpea spread, a salmon/basil/feta spread that you'd kill for, and maybe even a serious chocolate mousse. If you're good.

4) A wok would be pretty cool. Aside from stir fries and nasi goreng, a wok allows you to make beautiful, thin, lacy, perfect French crepes.

5) A stone, for sharpening. The place will have knives. They all have knives. But the knives will be grotesquely blunt. I don't mind putting an edge back on the knives, but I need a stone to do it with.

6) Does anyone have a cleaver? I love cleavers. You can throw away half your knives if you've got a good cleaver. Find me a good cleaver, I promise you the most melt-in-your-mouth delectable Chinese-style barbecue pork ribs you've ever encountered.

7) I admit I'd like a zester. Pathetic, isn't it? And yet... a hint of blood orange in a rich, dark chocolate mousse...

Offhand, I think that's about it. The rest of the kitchen requirements are pretty pedestrian. If they aren't in place already, I can probably improvise.

While I'm here: I recall that none of you has any serious food allergies or horripilations. But not everyone has the same broad-ranging tastes. Why don't y'all nominate a few favourite dishes? I'm not saying for sure I'm gonna produce them - but you never know. I'm always looking for new recipes to mess with...


TansyRR said...


no food allergies but please to remember am pregnant lady :D You probably know the strictures better than I do (I seem to remember that from last time). Also I'm not keen on anything too chilli-hot.

the wonton soup sounds amazing, guys, get this man a stock pot!!!

I'd love to see what you did with fried rice, which is the dish I'm craving most these days. Basically little kick is after many, many starches. Anything with cheesy potatoes and I'm there. Will we have a barbecue grill? Those barbecued vegetables you did last time were amazing.

i will shut up now...

TansyRR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flinthart said...

I don't know what facilities are available on-site. You're right: a BBQ would be nice, and if you want to request the smoky BBQ veg again, I'll be right with you. Love that dish.

Fried rice -- I work Indonesian-style there. Nasi goreng (bahasa for "fried rice") is a favourite here, and you can use it to clear up all kinds of leftovers, as long as you're careful not to overcook your veggies, and ensure you treat your rice nicely.

Pregnancy: no worries. I have... experience cooking for the gravid. No soft cheeses, no raw fish, beware of certain deli lines of preserved meats.

Chili: everyone's tastes vary. In Malaysia, you get a little bowl full of soy sauce with lots of sliced super-hot chillies in it. That way, you can spoon out chili-soy onto your own meal to suit yourself. I find that quite civilised.

Won-ton soup is a favourite from my own childhood. And since my children and my wife all love it too, I've spent a lot of time getting it right. Now that won-ton wrappers are available in Woolworths, it's a simple affair. But just to be sure, maybe somebody from Briz could swing through one of the big Chineses supermarkets in the Valley or Sunnybank, and get half-a-dozen packets of won-ton wrappers?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

I'll bring a stock pot, Dirk.

I try to eat everything as close to raw and unprocessed as possible. So I'm easy.

Flinthart said...

Rowena... you do realize Marianne is going to look for dessert again, right? There's only so much raw fruit I can get away with.

And I'm not feeding you raw chicken. Tansy rules out sushi... but I think you'll really like the soup process. Making Asian-style soups, I usually don't cook the veg. They get sliced, and put in the bowl, and then the hot stock gets poured over them, and that's it for the cooking.

TansyRR said...

Heeee Tansy totally rules out raw chicken too.

And I'm voting for desserts! Marianne and I can gang up on the rest of you and wrestle you into submission.

Trent... you're on the dessert side, right?

(makes banners and campaign slogans)

Anonymous said...

WAH! I want cheescake, or lemon tart or pudding.

Flinthart said...

Cheesecake: no sweat. I'll check some lemon tart recipes. Pudding... doubt we'll have steaming facilities. How do you feel about profiteroles?