Cheeseburger Gothic

Madame Quokka's cheesecake (UPDATED with recipe.)

Posted June 16, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

I repaired to a local noshery on Saturday, bleary and sleep deprived from supervising a tween-grrl sleepover, and then tidying up after said event. Luckily Mme Q was there (along with Lord Bob, Morgana and some architect). I soothed my frayed nerves with a few glasses of pedestrian rosé, a kilo of Lamb Iskander and two slices of Mme Q's cheesecake.

I am a fan of cheesecake, and especially the variety baked in New York or the New York style (as Murph will attest). This was a fine example, with rum-soaked raisins and a crumbly dark biscuit base, about which there was, I believe, some controversy.

It seemed the very exemplar of a cheesecake base to me and I am nothing if not a professional in these matters.

Apologies for the poor focus. I was distracted by the prospect of eating the subject.

I believe I may have had two slices, and no dinner that night.

Mme Q has kindly graced us with her recipe.

Rum & Raisin Cheesecake

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Total cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves 10 – 12

BISCUIT BASE:
400 gm biscuits (1 ½ packs of butternut snaps or gingernuts)
60g chopped butter, melted

FILLING:
750gm light/low fat cream cheese, softened
½ cup castor sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum (may need extra)
¾ cup raisins
3 eggs, separated
300 gm sour cream (light/low fat)
1 tablespoon plain flour
Ground nutmeg

METHOD
1-2 days before baking, soak the raisins in rum. Seal bowl in cling wrap. Splash a bit more rum in each day till raisins have reached optimum saturation.

BISCUIT BASE
• Grease a 23cm round springform tin with melted butter.
• Line the base with non-stick baking paper.
• Crush the biscuits, mix in melted butter.
• Press biscuit mix into base of tin and refrigerate till firm. (tip, use disposable gloves or a layer of plastic wrap to press it down and push the mix 3cm or so up the sides to create a pie shell)
• Preheat the oven to 160C.

FILLING
• Beat the cream cheese till soft.
• Gradually beat in the sugar and 2 oz rum. (unless there is still this much swimming around in the raisin bowl)
• Separate the eggs. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
• Beat in the sour cream and the flour. Mix should be the consistency of thick cream & be lump-free.
• Fold in the raisins.
• In a clean, dry bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. (Do this last as once beaten they break down quickly)
• Whisk the egg whites lightly into the cream cheese mix.
• Pour the filling over the prepared crust.
• Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.

BAKING
• Bake in a 160C oven for around 1 hour 10 minutes or until firm to the touch.
• Allow cheesecake to cool in the oven then refrigerate.

NOTES:
• I cook this on fan-bake, in the centre of the oven. It will crack but it will also rise and be very light. Cook on Classic Bake for a denser non-cracked cake.

70 Responses to ‘Madame Quokka's cheesecake (UPDATED with recipe.)’

Spanner would have you know...

Posted June 16, 2013

Where is Spanner's cheesecake?

Yes where. Is. Spanner's. Cheese. Cake?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted June 16, 2013

I ate it.

Spanner puts forth...

Posted June 16, 2013

Touché JB. Touché.

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tqft has opinions thus...

Posted June 16, 2013

Unacceptable. No samples for the masses.

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Dino not to be confused with puts forth...

Posted June 16, 2013

And one for the Missus?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 16, 2013

Gone.

Quokka would have you know...

Posted June 16, 2013

Khan Greybeard just ate the last of it. With clotted cream and fresh raspberries.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted June 16, 2013

It is occasionally difficult to express oneself fully in text. So in order to properly express my appreciation you'll have to imagine me with my shirt pulled up over my face an running around with my arms outstretched.

I wish I could do my famous "I got cheesecake & You didn't" dance for Khan Greybeard's benefit, but it would seem Aunty Q is a sucker for decrepitude.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted June 16, 2013

I ate it for breakfast. And still feel sick.

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BigWillieStyle is gonna tell you...

Posted June 16, 2013

Bloke I work with bakes cakes as a bit of a hobby. Per my request, he made a chocolate cheesecake on my birthday last year, and I kindly consented to letting the rest of the staff have a glimpse before repairing to my office and eating it. I was still having sugar-induced hallucinations a week later.

I like cheesecake.

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beeso mumbles...

Posted June 16, 2013

I find baked cheesecake like Star Trek, boring and unsatisfying.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted June 16, 2013

Ah, you speak of that which you do not know. Is this normal for the internet?

beeso puts forth...

Posted June 16, 2013

Have you tried the other kind?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted June 16, 2013

I am friend to all the cheesecakes.

Timmo has opinions thus...

Posted June 16, 2013

I'm with ya Beeso - I much prefer the rich stickiness of the unbaked kind than the baked ones.

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BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted June 16, 2013

Hang on. She took her own cheesecake to an eatery? How did that go down with the owner?

Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted June 18, 2013

It was smuggled in as Birthday Cake. They were really very obliging, especially given the mess we left behind us. It's a very messy cake.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted June 16, 2013

Crazy Turk owner was past out on home brew Arak so didn't care. Waitress was so slow she may not have noticed.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted June 16, 2013

I bribed them. With cheesecake.

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Darth Greybeard reckons...

Posted June 16, 2013

It was a very good cheesecake. Right down to the last (the very last) crumbs. But I must respond to Aunty Q with my signature dish, the salted caramel brownies. Prepare yourself Q!

Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted June 17, 2013

I get the bad feeling that preparation involves 3 weeks on the treadmill and 100 situps a day.

Coriolisdave would have you know...

Posted June 17, 2013

This thread is useless without recipes.

USELESS.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted June 17, 2013

And now you have a recipe

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted June 17, 2013

I see we are now out of the closet about it rather than drenching it with blueberry sauce and calling it a serving of fruit.

My own digestive problems make cheesecake consumption problematic but just before our lunch with Birmingham back in 2009, Cindy and I shared a bit of cheesecake in Central Park, right by the memorial to the USS Maine. Not only was it the best cheesecake I'd ever had, it didn't tear up my stomach either.

Birmingham, having missed out, got his at Carnegie Deli after a mountainous pastrami on rye.

The texture on the above subject is different from what I am used to. I wonder why that is? I'm used to seeing something more solid, creamy whereas the above looks more cake like in texture.

This is not meant as a criticism (I'm half a planet away so it is not like I can sample it) but an honest question.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted June 17, 2013

Murph - this is probably because I share Beeso's opinions of baked cheesecake, and this one seems to be lighter and has more flavour than the traditional NYC. I like eating it hot out of the oven when it is still light and fluffy and the rum is still steaming out of the raisin's engorged bellies.

I used Arnott's Butternut Snap biscuits for the base (with some grumbling from The Bloke that I did not use gingernuts, his personal fave) and I think the texture arises from separating the eggs. You whisk the eggwhites until stiff peaks form (meringue consistency) and swirl that through the philly cheese, sour cream, sugar, egg yolk & raisin mix at the very last. Not that I passed high school chemistry, but I think that helps to aerate the mix so it comes out very moist and light and fluffy.

I usually start soaking the raisins in rum 2-3 days prior to cooking. Recipe calls for 3 oz rum but I just keep topping it up each day until the raisins have reached their capacity with sucking it all in.

My only sorrow is that I'm reduced to using Bundy Rum. We had a friend who lived in Fiji who used to visit sporadically, bearing gifts of Bounty Overproof 60% alcohol dark rum. You could probably run a lawn mower on it but wow, it made the best R&R brownies and cheesecakes that I've ever done. I miss that stuff.

Murphy asserts...

Posted June 17, 2013

Wow, thanks for the response, Quokka.

I'm so used to eating cheesecake chilled.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Quokka mumbles...

Posted June 17, 2013

No worries, Murph.

I compared notes with my NYC recipe (which may not be what you guys are used to but seems similar to what I've eaten in cafes here) and my recipe uses half the quantity of sugar, 3 eggs instead of 4 and twice as much sour cream. NYC uses normal cream, I think.

Also only 1 oz of flour, so it gets more of the texture of a light quiche or a custardy thing when it's hot. It's definitely not as solid as a NYC when it's chilled and while it's still good, its an entirely different beast. It's not as sweet, you can taste the rum & the sour cream. Normally I'd use Light (low fat) cream cheese but unfortunately for all our waist lines, the store was out when I did my pantry stocking.

I don't think I could make it, much less eat it, in one of our tropical summers.

If anyone wants the recipe I will charge Khan Greybeard with the task of posting it. You've all heard the tales of my Tech Destroying Force Field. No need to explain my relationship with the scanner, surely?

UntamedSnark is gonna tell you...

Posted June 17, 2013

Yes please to the recipe!

I am always looking for a good baked cheesecake recipe, my grandfather (Hungarian) used to make a wonderful one with a the boozy rasins and a shortcrust latice over the top, sadly I don't have his recipe and the ones I have made up or found just don't compare.

The one in the picture looks texturally the same as his

Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted June 17, 2013

Aunty have you tried CSR Inner Circle rum OP much nicer than Bundy. Thanks for the recipe.

Madam Morgana ducks in to say...

Posted June 18, 2013

This was an outstanding cheesecake. I wish I could eat it again. Oh, and thanks everyone for a delightful lunch.

Disclaimer: that attending architect was not the shaven-legged arrow wielding scourge of the bikeways. It was some other dude.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted June 17, 2013

The baked New York style cheesecake is uniquely American and worthy of jingoistic pride. Bravo, Q.

I know what I want when I return your way. I'll trade you a neck tie I borrowed from some punter.

The classic crust is a combination of butter and what we call Graham Crackers. I'n not sure what a dark biscuit is but it sounds like the title of a really awful science fiction space horror movie ("In space no one can hear you ask for a glass of milk").

"I ate it for breakfast. And still feel sick."

That is because you ate too much (understandable) and probably didn't include strong black coffee.

Quokka reckons...

Posted June 17, 2013

PNB I only ever make this in winter as the temps allow for weeks of loose clothing to disguise the inflation of the inner tubing that goes hand in hand with baked cheesecake.

In summer I make a cheesecake slice which has three layers - a shortbread-like pastry, cheesecake filling and a passionfruit jelly on top. Which means you can delude yourself you've consumed a light dessert of tropical fruit.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted June 17, 2013

Unacceptable. I want what those pictures show.

The raisins are optional.

Lulu asserts...

Posted June 17, 2013

Uniquely American, you say? Yet somehow that picture up there looks a lot like the cheesecakes my (late) German grandmother used to make. I think NYC must have a large population of Central European grandmothers who brought their recipes with them.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted June 17, 2013

Okay, perhaps I exaggerated. But only a bit. New York style cheese cake riffs off of German Käsekuchen just as American fruit pies descend from strudel. The result is reminicent of the European original but very American in the final analysis.

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 17, 2013

So sorry we weren't able to make it, sounds a pleasant day. I feel another expeditionary incursion to Redcliffistan is in order; perhaps a handful of weekends from now.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted June 17, 2013

Ah well, sick elderly relatives trumps cocktails and cheesecake. You were very good to go visit the old timer. And think of the suffering you've been spared on the treadmill, burning it all off.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted June 17, 2013

I am just about to hit that treadmill.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted June 17, 2013

Give it a sucker punch from me.

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Brother PorkChop has opinions thus...

Posted June 17, 2013

It looks divine. Baked cheesecake has to be the winner. Does it work well with Ginger Nut biscuit base? And boozed up raisins!!

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted June 17, 2013

It would work great with a ginger nut buscuit base.

Quokka reckons...

Posted June 17, 2013

Definitely. It's just that I vaguely recall a conversation at Blunty where someone was dissing gingernuts and for the life of me I cannot remember who. So I deemed it safer to use the butternuts.

These are close in flavour to what we here in Oz call an Anzac Biscuit. The gingernuts are much sweeter and they pack a punch but they're a lovely contrast with the sourness/rumminess of the filling. Hence my spouse's whining. If his body floats in on the tide, he had it coming.

Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted June 17, 2013

Done. I was going to do steamed golden syrup pudding this weekend but it is now going to be an attempt on the Mme Quokka cheesecake deluxe with boozy fruit and gingernut biscuit base.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted June 17, 2013

Make sure you let us know how it turns out.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted June 17, 2013

drool. I love cheesecake as well. I interviewed my now mother-in-law to make sure she was able to pass the cheesecake test (you can't be too careful). I also bake a controversial cheesecake - the chocolate biscuit base has a liberal mixture of a cocoa/chilli mix.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted June 17, 2013

What the...!

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted June 17, 2013

What an interesting concept. Chocolate and chilli is a great combination. It just has to go well with the creamy goodness of cheese cake.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted June 17, 2013

The trick is to not overdo the chilli (powder).

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insomniac reckons...

Posted June 17, 2013

Chocolate + Chilli + Cherry + Cheesecake/Cupcake = C4

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Quokka mutters...

Posted June 17, 2013

Right. I just sent JB the file with the cheesecake recipe, dumbed down (or made clearer) from the original Family Circle recipe that I modified - becoz the one in their book didn't FKN work.

Hopefully there's no typos. If so I blame sugar burnout.

Being as school holidays are upon us I've adapted it to make it easier for junior master-chef practice. And for those of you who are likely to absorb more rum than the raisins do, and who are as such at risk of becoming mildly addled.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted June 17, 2013

I have my mum's handwritten notes somwhere for a polenta fruit cake that I think would appeal to cheesecake fans. This thought is based mostly around texture and a sort of sensibility around flavor. As I recall (it's a few years since either of us made one), it's deceptively healthy.

Will dig out one day, the old Robert Carrier book it's stuck in is on one of the shelves down in the hold.

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Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted June 17, 2013

Thanks Muchly,

I have made 1 cheesecake in my life so far.

Gonna have a go at dis one!

It looks beautiful.

Thank You

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AuntyLou asserts...

Posted June 17, 2013

Wow! Madame Quokka is most generous! Not sure that I would do the same...assuming that I ever made anything that was worthy of the expressions of delight that this cheesecake has elicited. Thank you so much. I have always been a bit scared of having a bash at baked cheesecakes...but I think the said dumbing down may be sufficient to tempt!

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted June 18, 2013

I am a great believer that if you can read, you can cook. My mother died when I was 6 and Dad's repertoire extended to fry ups for breakfast, ham sandwiches with a thick layer of tomato sauce for lunch, and chops for dinner. Unsurprisingly I became a vegetarian at 15.

I am a self-taught cook, with some gracious input from my grandmother, who came from a family of bakers and whose cakes and biscuits were legendary, and some hippy house-mates who passed on the art of making lentils edible.

So as much as I would have loved to grow up under the guidance of 3 generations of CWA grand poobahs, truly, I'm evidence that it's a skill you can learn from reading, practice, and having no irate mother to scream at you when you fuck up and burn holes in the kitchen lino. All things considered, Dad took that rather well.

Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted June 18, 2013

This weekend's mission is to try the new recipe. Much appreciated!!

Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted June 18, 2013

Bon Appetit, Brother Porkchop.

It was interesting to hear those of you with German/Eastern European heritage saying that the recipe looked familiar. Ages ago, before West End became yuppified, there was an annual multi-cultural festival in Musgrave Park. I remember spending an inordinate amount of time at the Russian Cake Stall where they had the most fabulous array of exotic and unfamiliar baked goods. I ate my way through many samples and what I couldn't eat I took home. I think that might have been what drew me to this cheesecake recipe, I thought I'd seen something similar before.

AuntyLou swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 19, 2013

Sorry Quokka...I penned a long and erudite missive of solidarity re the untutored cook...& the interwebz ate it! Suffice to say, despite my advancing years, I am totally invested in the advancement of experimental cooking - & I now have a hubby who is happy to dispose of the most astray of the results. Hence your lovely recipe will probably get a guernsey in the near future. Wish me luck :)

Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted June 20, 2013

Good luck!

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NBlob mutters...

Posted June 18, 2013
WAIT A MOMENT.

Security. SECURITY.
Someone let a leaf & twig muncher in here. After all her talking up of salty porcine goodness she accidently outs herself @ 50+ comments as, as a, I barely have the courage to whisper it; a vego.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted June 18, 2013
Relax Nblob, it didn't stick beyond the 7 year itch point. At which point I got glandular fever, became very thin & anaemic & had to be re-issued with my Carnivore Badge. Still not a big fan of meat but will put it in my body 3-4 x pw, just enough to keep my iron count. Bacon is the only animal product I would genuinely miss if I were to go all tofu & betel leaf again. Oh wait, they're still some of my favourite things.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted June 18, 2013
Whew. You had a fella worried. I had wondered how you keep your girlish trim figure in the face of bakery noms. When you said the V word, it all fell into place. V's beong all undernourished & such. Now the Most Likely Hypothesis is something the Coven cooked up; Eye of Newt type business.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted June 18, 2013

As if I'd let one a them in here.

Quokka would have you know...

Posted June 19, 2013

Ah, Nblob, I would cite decades of consistency with clean living and regular exercise but none would believe me. So yes, its the Dark Arts and a diet of small unruly and unmissed children.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted June 19, 2013

I am a baco-vegan (a vegan who eats bacon). Is my status here in jeopardy?

w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted June 20, 2013

"flexitarians have the best of both worlds – vegetables all week, then a bacon sarnie at the weekend. What’s not to like? "

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Quokka asserts...

Posted June 18, 2013

Oh yes. The same high level security system that took nearly a year before you lot figured out I was a GRRRRRL.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted June 18, 2013
After the "unfortunate sequence of assumptions" with (surprisingly) Brother Enjoy Medway " gender asignations were verboten.

damian mumbles...

Posted June 18, 2013

On the internet, no-one knows that you're a dog.

Bangar mumbles...

Posted June 18, 2013

Until the web cam comes on ;)

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Respond to 'Madame Quokka's cheesecake (UPDATED with recipe.)'

Bungalow's one pot breakfast

Posted June 8, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Bungalow 4171 is a reasonably recent addition to the southside's meagre list of decent cafes. It's telling that it's a few minutes drive away from Oxford Street. Far enough to insulate it. There's something about that strip that... Oh, that's right. It sucks.

Apart from a couple of stand out venues, like the Oxford Street Bakery, home of the Portuguese custard tart we discussed a while back, and Mugged or The Deli for a coffee or quick bite, it's dire. So dire I wonder why so many people drive all the way over to drink and dine here. Especially if they go past Bungalow 4171 along the way.

Hit the brakes, stop to a screeching halt and back the fuck up, people. Especially if you're in the way of needing breakfast. This quiet little shack is one of best suburban secrets in Brisneyland. They do pretty much everything in house, including the sweet treats (below).

The huge tectonic slabs of golden buscuity goodness you can see there are actually scones, althought they remind me of old fashioned tea cakes. They're fresh baked each day in the back room kitchen and thump down in front of you with enough of a thud to know you're not going to need anything but a bevvy to knock them down. The coffee is always expertly done, and arrives with a little Hershey Kiss, just to make you feel that little bit guiltier about blowing your calorie count.

The breakfast menu ranges a lot wider than up market, remimagined egg-n-pig, but the up market, remimagined egg-n-pig is pretty fucking good. It's called the Bungalow one pot breakfast and reminds me of something you might get in First Class when you fly. (It's why I didnt include it in my review for Qantas. Might incite a riot down in cattle class.)

I believe I've already shared my philosophy about breakfast sausages. They are the standard by which you judge a cafe, and these are magnificent; slightly fiery chorizo chipolatas. Warm enough to wake up the taste buds, but not so spicey as to overwhelm the rest of the dish. There's a little pot of thick relish hiding between the cherry tomatoes and the milk jug in that photo, again made in-house. It really lifts the egg and bacon while the spinach lets you imagine you've done something good for yourself.

I'm kind of curious about how they pull all these elements together at once, because they'd cook at different rates. I'd place a small bet on the snags being part way done before their added to the mix, for instance. Possibly the bacon too, because it comes with a nicely crisped rind, while the eggs remained soft and even a little runny in the centre.

It was a hefty feed which left no room for one of those monster muffins. I suppose I'll have to go back.

10 Responses to ‘Bungalow's one pot breakfast’

Dino not to be confused with has opinions thus...

Posted June 8, 2013

Ha JB,

I beat ya this morning.

Hads me a 'Brekky wrap' from the local already.

I am quite full now.

I'll be sure to eat a substantial breakfast Saturdee Mornings before peering in here.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted June 8, 2013

Heh heh. I almost held off publishing this until early tomorrow. Next time i will.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 8, 2013

Damn your eyes Bongingham. @ Breakfast O'Clock I was already working in the boat. As the southerly change came though I caught a teasing tantalising whiff of N**sa's Premier Nosheries. Did I stop for some much needed fortifying Pig & Egg (with a side of crispy fried breakfast spud) No, I grit my teeth & girt my loins and soldiered on. Now the proverbial horse has bolted. It is far too late in the day for any self respecting individual to sup on beans, bacon and other breakfast beneficence. Even your late rising urbanistas have moved from brunch-stadt into lunchville.

Another breakfast gone forever which will never plaque my arteries and elevate my blood pressure.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted June 8, 2013

So this is good for Brisbane, or just good?

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 8, 2013

Gold.

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Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 9, 2013

Is this place walking distance from the Hawthorn ferry stop?

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted June 9, 2013

About 10-15 mins at a guess. I walk the dog around there.

Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted June 9, 2013

Cheers, Guv.

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted June 9, 2013

Why are there VEGETABLES touching the good stuff on that plate? And where is the pecan waffle, maple syrup and sweet tea?

I've seen cooks shot at the Waffle House for using parsley as a garnish. No lie. And it was ruled justifiable homicide.

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The reasons you don't microwave your cup of tea

Posted June 6, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Nobody does. Not twice anyway. The resulting brew tastes thin and underdone, no matter how well the water may have boiled in the nuclear oven. There simply is no way to make good tea in a microwave. Boiling the water to pour over leaves, be they in a bag or strainer, or even in a pot, doesn't help. I've idly wondered why for years. After all it'd be so much more convenient.

Slate has answered the question with an unexpectedly detailed post:

Because a proper cup of black tea must be made with water that’s come to a rolling boil... Heat at the bottom of the kettle... The hot water rises and the cool water falls in a cyclical fashion, which uniformly heats the contents of the kettle to a boil ... But microwaves don’t heat water evenly, so the boiling process is difficult to control.

Having surmised as much myself in the days when I used to heat milk for younger children – the top of the milk would be scalding, and the lower depths lukewarm at best – I'd once or twice tried stirring the cup of boiling water to see if that helped. Not a bit. But now I know why.

When tea leaves meet hot water, hundreds of different compounds that contribute flavor and aroma dissolve and become suspended in the water. Black tea contains two kinds of complex phenolic molecules... These are responsible for the color and the astringent, brisk taste of brewed black tea, and they are extracted only at near-boiling temperatures.

Water also cooks certain volatile compounds, chemically altering them to produce more nuanced flavors and aromas, such as the earthy, malty, and tobacco notes in black tea. When the water isn’t hot enough to instigate these reactions and produce these bold flavors, tea tastes insipid.

If that's not bad enough, superheating the water, which is always a risk with microwave cooking, can destroy the oxygen normally found in water. "The longer water boils, the more dissolved oxygen it loses—and tea experts say that dissolved oxygen is crucial for a bright and refreshing brew."

There's more, but by now I've heard enough, not just about the perils of nuking tea, but of reheating soup in the microwave. I gave up on that particular fool's errand many years ago, preferring to use a stovetop pot. Or rather, not preferring to, but choosing to because there seems no way to ensure a uniform heat when nuking a bowl of leftover soup from the fridge. I guess what happens is that significant chunks within the soup retain their chill, making the whole exercise pointless.

27 Responses to ‘The reasons you don't microwave your cup of tea’

Trowzers has opinions thus...

Posted June 6, 2013

People put tea in the microwave...

...

...

Just no. No. NO! That is just awful! And in the age of electric kettles, it doesn't even save you time! I could understand doing this if you (like me) grew up in a house that did not have an electric kettle until the age of 16 (but did have a micrwave- that seems weird to me now in retrospect), where if you wanted to make tea, you did not have to flick a switch and wait a few minutes, but toil down the backyard for firewood to light the convection stove, then wait an age for the fire to heat up enough for the kettle placed on top to whistle.

But unless your electric kettle has broken - tea in a microwave is just unacceptable! Sacrilegious! It's like gargling the contents of the dentist's chair drain! Horrible!

(Says me, who drinks her cola watered down, likes boring cheese and puts milk in all the kinds of tea that aren't supposed to have it)

Murphy puts forth...

Posted June 7, 2013

For the longest time I did that, mainly because I couldn't afford an electric kettle at work. The results were never terribly good. But once I got an electric kettle, things got better.

But yeah, Americans especially do that with their tea.

Another horror to relate to you.

Sometimes Americans have been known to brew tea up and either let it go cold on purpose or, horrors, chill it for iced tea.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted June 6, 2013

Yes, the oxygen factor is also the reason for the imperative that the water should only be boiled once. Do not commit the tea atrocity of just reboiling the leftover water in the jug. Oh, the horror!

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sibeen puts forth...

Posted June 6, 2013

be they in a bag

Be they in a bag?

Fucking bogan!

Tea is made in a fucking pot using fucking loose leaf fucking tea, and none of the aromatic Eglish fucking breakfast muck either.

Stomps off

Bangar mutters...

Posted June 6, 2013

So where do you stand on "Earl Grey Hot" ?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 6, 2013

I don't make it in a bag you old fool. But if you want to stay head in the blogging in this modern world of ours you have to be able to connect with the youth of today.

Shell is gonna tell you...

Posted June 6, 2013

There is no getting ahead with the youth of today Jabe. Getting ahead is forbidden isn't it. Isn't it.

Ippy Percival mumbles...

Posted June 6, 2013

Steady on there old chap. Tea bags are proof that technology will save us. Maybe not in the way we'd like to be saved, and what you make with a teabag is a substance almost, but not quite, completely unlike tea, but nonetheless, for what it's worth, in your own time and all that.

I'm with you on the various Greys though:

As though his only plot,

To plant the Bergamot.

HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted June 6, 2013

Ya both fkn pussies as ya drink FKN TEA FFSAKES

Murphy asserts...

Posted June 7, 2013

Loose leaf tea might partly explain why the Limeys have such bad teeth, what with bark and leaf and shit getting jammed up in there.

Give me a bag or a sachet anyday.

As for my father, he used to dump a half inch of instant tea into a large mason jar, throw in some water, stir it around and call it good.

That was tea for Dad, drank it by the gallon and it is probably one reason he lingered for seventeen years after he was diagosed with three forms of Agent Orange related cancer.

Of course, being a dickhead might be another reason he lingered as long as he did.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Lulu has opinions thus...

Posted June 6, 2013

I don't boil water in the microwave because I don't want it tasting of whatever has been in there before. I do heat soup, but with a break for stiriing half-way.

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted June 6, 2013

Microwaves are solely for partially defrosting meat and cooking instant porridge, and maybe experiments involving cockroaches or zombies

Murphy mumbles...

Posted June 7, 2013

They actually make a fair scrambled egg.

Just sayin'.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Singo is gonna tell you...

Posted June 6, 2013

Making a cup of tea and being in a hurry seem mutually exclusive.

Can't say I've had any trouble heating soup though - maybe try stopping it half way and giving it a quick stir?

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Coriolisdave swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 6, 2013

Microwaved tea? Abomination.

However.

One suspects a bit of unScience being committed there. If you "destroy" oxygen, you'd be left with... hydrogen. Which could, I guess, bind to any random chlorine sitting around in your cup (woo hydrochloric acid!) but would more likely, I reckon, just.. bubble away. Handy for any depleted Zeppelins you might have lying around, I guess.

Either option seems unlikely, although I'm willing to experiment on my coworkers. In the name of science.

Yes. Science.

Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted June 6, 2013

I believe they mean remove in as allow to escape, the disolved oxygen, Commnader Barnes please confirm.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted June 6, 2013

Well I'm not really sure why ya don't just add fkn chlorine!!!!!!!

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JG puts forth...

Posted June 6, 2013

I like herbal tea. Yes, I buy herbal tea bags, but I also grow my own herbs and dry them for tea. Why I've just finished a homegrown cup of oregano tea. Earlier I had a cup of my homegrown stevia tea. I also had freshly squeezed lemon in boiled water. refreshing.

My favourite bought herbal teas are Rooibus, licorice root, and lemongrass. I also like peppermint, ginger and lemon, cinnamon and orange.

i used to be a black tea drinker but used to have too much of it, so now I only have it and real coffee (nice!) occasionally.

Water, of course, is the best drink.

Bangar would have you know...

Posted June 6, 2013

Water is the best drink ... after the correct and proper treatment of course ... mine ends up pleasently discoloured.

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Menaj would have you know...

Posted June 6, 2013

Surprised am I at the lack of vitriol associated with the question of... milk. And to throw the hand grenade out there, what about HEATED milk?!

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted June 6, 2013

I love science and I feel obligated to stand up for microwave heating, an outstanding example of pure science developed with no intention of practical application turned into a remarkably useful and ubiquitous tool once cheap cavity magnetrons were constructed..

Firstly regarding microwaves and heating - not sure what type of microwave ovens you have, but the principle is simply that it heats the water by electromagnetic radiation that is at the right frequency to be absorbed by the water molecule. Therefore it is efficient, it is ONLY heating the water. Yes it heats in waves, but that is due to the wavelength of microwaves about 12cms so that’s why the surface has to rotate.

Yes the solubility of oxygen in water is dependent on temperature so as the temperature increase the amount of dissolved oxygen is driven off, however as the water cools it will reabsorbed the oxygen from the air, so the only reason you won't have the dissolved oxygen back to around 10ppm is if you place it in an environment absent of air.

consider how long it took for the perfect brew to evolve through human history, we have had microwaves ovens for only 50 years give it another 30 and I am sure we can breed the perfect tea in a microwave.

Personally I like the steampunky process involved in a good espresso coffee.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted June 7, 2013
Tea. Pfft.
Wiki:
An adequate consonant. Although W is obviously far betterer.
An interesting golf shot.
An abbreviation of Tera as in one trillion.
An impressive mass- roughly one fifth of a Greybeard,
The symbol for "True" in logic. Thus the inverse of Greybeard.
Symbol for period, the reciprocal of frequency.
Tesla (unit), the SI unit of magnetic field. Ooh Tesla mmm geekalicous.
The symbol for torque. Paging Havoc.
"t, the angular coordinate of the polar coordinate system is usually denoted by θ or t." I'm not sure either, but it sounds good.

Or a completely farcical drink, made and consumed by those without the capacity to grok complex concepts like coffee.
"ooh temperature And pressure? too sciency for me gov, I'll just bung some twigs in tepid water.
A gateway Drink to slouchbiking herbal vegetarianism.
As Comrade Murph points out even known to be drunk cold, at approximately 50% water %50 sugar, by mouthbreathers and Walmart shoppers.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted June 7, 2013

"Or a completely farcical drink, made and consumed by those without the capacity to grok complex concepts like coffee" couldn't have expressod it better myself.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted June 7, 2013
Again with the loss of format!

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andyf mumbles...

Posted June 7, 2013

a decent cup of tea is a thing of beauty..

heated milk ? sacriledge!

when travelling abroad amongst t'foreigners I drink coffee, because the poor buggers havent a clue about tea.

they bring you hot water in a cup

of course the 2 questions remaining are.

milk in first? nope

and what is this shit about us english having bad teeth?

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Blake is gonna tell you...

Posted June 7, 2013

I stopped by a small coffee outlet in South Yarra to meet a friend last week. The establishment boasted its coffee creditentuals loudly and I was expecting to be tossed out for asking for an Earl Grey.

To their credit they not only supplied a leafy pot, but a stopwatch as well!

I was pretty impressed that the tea came with a timer and instructions.

I'm lucky to get anything fancier than a dilmah in a mug in qld.

derlengrek is gonna tell you...

Posted July 12, 2013

I have like coffee” hi it is an excellent distribute. I’m expected to mail this fastidious to our associates. I stagger on this at the same time as browsing on all I’ll be in no doubt you come back. For coffee thanks for sharing.<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml><w:WordDocument>
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Respond to 'The reasons you don't microwave your cup of tea'

"Moisture-wicking socks, digital camouflage, and caffeinated meat."

Posted June 3, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

I've been buried by paper work today. Actual paper work, thanks to the tax office. So it's been quiet around here. I've just filed tomorrow's rather long Blunty, which required a couple of hours research, and in ditzing about looking for stuff to blog about here tomorrow I came across this really lovely piece in the Atlantic. A real ode to the army cook. Well worth reading the whole thing at the end of the link:

I don't know what goes into the job of Army cook. I don't know the baseline for success, nor what failure would look like, aside from food poisoning. Observationally: Cooks seem to put 10 or so basic meals into rotation, changing up the sides on occasion, and incorporating whatever new item is sent from wherever it is the Defense Department finds food. (Boxes are marked with labels as "Pork, imitation, pre-formed" or some such.) In other words, no Army cook ever had an aneurysm from thinking too hard about his or her job.

But John seemed to come close. Watching him, he seemed like the kind of guy who wanted to do something big, something meaningful, but was worried about the consequences of even asking for permission. The start of his reign as midnight cook involved reheating lunches and dinners that weren't appetizing even when they were fresh. It was obvious this pained him, and next to the giant ashtray, he talked a lot about this chili he wanted to cook. It was a family recipe. He talked about the ingredients, and about scaling the recipe for a company-sized crowd and how great the response would be.

His enthusiasm seemed weird, and borderline delusional. When finally he worked up the courage to ask for permission, and later received it, all anyone heard about for what seemed like weeks was this chili he had planned... When the big night finally came, two things struck me: A lot of people showed up for midnight chow, and the chili was really, really good.

6 Responses to ‘"Moisture-wicking socks, digital camouflage, and caffeinated meat."’

tqft mutters...

Posted June 3, 2013

I could go a bowl of chilli right about now.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted June 3, 2013

I really liked the comment "Soldiers in World War I would have really enjoyed antibiotics"

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted June 3, 2013

Caffeinated meat could change my life, both essential major food groups in one chewy bar...

i still remember the horror of the area 24 hour rat packs.

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sibeen puts forth...

Posted June 4, 2013

Bugger. What is the word limit in a comment thread? I could really go to town on this one, as I'm sure a few other's could as well.

In the nine years I did wearing a fairly non descript daggy green thingy for a day job, there were two cooks who stood out like shiny glints of gold amoungst the dross. The first was at a very samll base, and I mean very small. Total manpower of around 30 and only about 10 of us lived on base. This bloke made an effort. Actually asked us what we'd like a day or two ahead and then try to arrange it under the obvious restrictions he was placed under. He actually gave a shit. Morning tea was produced for the whole base and ther was no running off to get any local take away muck. It was a time when all got together, over a brew and some munchies, and could talk about what was going on without rank being a huge issue.

The second bloke was way better. This time I was again posted to a small unit,around 70 odd, but in this case within a reasonable sized base. 'Junior' was the cook who was allocated to our small unit. We were field force, whilst the rest of the base was static. This meant that he worked in the big mess when we weren't out playing at soldiers in the scrub. The statics hated when we did that. They didn't give a flying fuck what we were doing, but they certainly missed jJunior. No matter what meal he was doing, it was the better for him being there. He was a corporal, but made his senior cooks listen and improve, and provide better service. If he was rostered for Sunday lunch - a meal that the Army actually gave a bit more interest too (money) but the hungover troops rarely did - there would be a queue. Many in the queue wouldn't actually have mess privlages for the day, but Junior had one major defect; he was a tad colour blind and couldn't tell the difference between a mess ticket and a can of VB.

It was out in the bush that this bloke, and us, thrived. We used to get what was called a 14? man ration pack (someone please correct me if I' wrong there - it has been a while) which was filled with the normal army muck. Dried fucking potato, pork beans, spam lookalike etc. Junior would always make sure that he bought a briefcase of his secret herbs and spices. Every tea time was different., and when you're covered in crap, fucked out like all arse, and could eat a boot, turning up to see his smiling visage was a treat.

He just made life better. He was a cook. He was also a champion soldier.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted June 4, 2013

During the Gulf War, our cooks tried twice to come up with something special. One special treat was the shrimp gumbo, which on the first serving wasn't bad. Someone had managed to come up with a lot of dehydrated shrimp.

A LOT of dehydrated shrimp.

We ate that meal five days straight. By the fourth day we were going back for seconds and thirds, not to eat it, but to carry it out to the burn pit to get rid of it.

The other special meal was a ham and cheese omelette, which was more like scrambled eggs with ham and cheese in it. Someone had cut a deal with the 1st UK Division to get some cheese and ham.

That meal was indeed special. The rest were serviceable meals and forget about midnight rations, there were none.

During my eleven months in Korea (I left 42 days early on terminal leave, not soon enough given the extremely fucked up unit I was assigned to) our messhall had Soul Food Tuesday (at least I'm fairly certainly it was Tuesday). I'm not a hog knuckle and collard greens type myself but that meal was immensely popular. Soldiers from all over Camp Casey would line up down the block for it. Those of us who wanted something else, went somewhere else.

The only other memorable, non-holiday meal, was the steak and potatoes we received prior to the start of the ground war. Not only was the steak well prepared, the meal came with fresh salad, something we had not seen in weeks. Of course, it was all sort of dampened by the fact that we knew the shooting would soon start given the quality of the meal.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted June 4, 2013

Good article.

And there, on the sidebar to that Atlantic article, the second top story is their weekly roundtable on the latest episode of Game of Thrones !!
Flipping heck!. There is something going on with this show that I have never seen before.

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Respond to '"Moisture-wicking socks, digital camouflage, and caffeinated meat."'

Stokehouse. The best bowl of chips in Brisbane

Posted May 30, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

... possibly Australia.

(Throws hands up).

I know, I know. It's a big call.

But look at these babies. Long golden spears of crunchy, perfectly spiced goodness. Not so thin as to be nothing more than potato prezels. Not so chunky that the pillowed fluffyness inside becomes tedious. A perfect balance in fact between crunch and softness.

The little bowl of aioli is lovely, although I will admit there are other dips that would work as well if not better. But we are not here to talk about dips. We are are here to discuss matters chiptastic. And I say there is nowhere you will find a more awesome fried potato product than Stokehouse on the river in Brisneyland.

27 Responses to ‘Stokehouse. The best bowl of chips in Brisbane’

TIFFINbitesized would have you know...

Posted May 30, 2013

I look forward to reading more about this in the July edition of the QANTAS inflight....

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BigWillieStyle is gonna tell you...

Posted May 30, 2013

My Mum's place.

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted May 30, 2013

A truly great chip.
Is there really such a thing?

People have made promises to me before, but it has ended up being all herbs and salt. And when people say, it comes with aioli, that is like a knife through the heart.

I’ve learnt not to miss chips. I just miss what I thought chips could be.

You say that Stokehouse has a chiptastic chip.
I hope you are being honest with me, JB. I’ve been hurt before.
Can I risk being hurt again?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 30, 2013

I speak the Truth.

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Vovchara swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 30, 2013

aww.... *driving to airport, to buy a ticket to ... possibly australia" :D

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yankeedog mutters...

Posted May 30, 2013

There is an art to the french fry, or chip to y'all. Too thin and they get cold right away, and cold fries? No, not good, not good at all. Too big, and as you said, sort of mushy. Not many restaurants do them right. Sometimes the best fries are at little holes-in-the-wall that cut their own spuds to make them. I'd hesitate to name a chain that has 'the perfect chip'.

Aioli with fries? Interesting, but I think that's for you elitist types. People have using ketchup with fried 'tater products for years, because it works.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 30, 2013

The best chips I ever had, ever, and I mean chips not fries which are thinner and 'stringier', came from a hole in the wall around the corner from the old Rolling Stone offices in Sydney. They were amazing. Especially since this place was a greasy spoon that served mostly homeless guys. In fact we thought the secret of their chips was that they'd rendered down a few hobos for cooking oil.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted May 30, 2013

I'm glad to see chips taken seriously and given their due study.

Currently the chicken joint on Brisbane Rd. Mooloolaba, across the road from the dive shop has my personal blue ribbon.

There is a distinct poultry fat - spud nexus. Generally BBQ Chook shops do better chips than Fish & Chiperys, perhaps the oil stays cleaner longer.

Best National Chip - USA Fries. Worst National Chip - Scotland.

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted May 30, 2013

What the hell. I'm willing to give chips another go.
I am in Mooloolaba at the moment, so I will give the Mooloolaba Gourmet Chookhouse a go tomorrow. That can give me a quality benchmark before the Stokehouse tasting.

A mate, who lives in the Kimberley and spends a lot of time in remote aboriginal communities, reckons cooked witchetty grubs are, in all seriousness, the perfect chip. Potato is the inferior substitute. He is probably right.

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Albion Love Den reckons...

Posted May 30, 2013
Pfft. Meet you at Lord of The Fries at 1am to fight you about it.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted May 30, 2013

Damn now I want chips.

Dave W has opinions thus...

Posted May 31, 2013

Barnesm, it's now 8 in the morning and now I need chips.

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cletus swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 31, 2013

Andrikos Seafood in Bardon (Macgregor Tce) - best beer battered chips that I have come across in Brisbane.

NB: seafood and burgers are pretty good to.

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Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 31, 2013

Best chain chips I have found are at Grill'd, nice burgers too. Stokehouse chips are indeed chiptastic - I would attest to this fact. And Mooloolaba chicken joint will certainly get a visit soon.

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Lulu asserts...

Posted May 31, 2013

*Googles Stokehouse location/s in Melbourne*

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Peter Bradley puts forth...

Posted May 31, 2013

In his book "The Man Who Ate Everything" New York Times food critic Jeffery Steingarten has a chapter about the pursuit of the perfgect french frie. It is highly entertaining and involves such experiments as using horse fat. He is silent on chips though. We all know that ther chip is superior to the frie.

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theangrywarden would have you know...

Posted May 31, 2013

Price?

I still have not got over Aria's chips. They were fine chips, don't get me wrong. Might even have been the best I've ever had. They were at least thrice cooked. Matt Moran probably peeled the spuds himself. The frying oil was probably from the moon. However...

A bowl of eight chips cost TEN DOLLARS.

That's more than a dollar a chip. It still leaves me flabbergasted.

Brother PorkChop has opinions thus...

Posted May 31, 2013

Wow!! That is awesome!! Never been to Aria as I couldn't justify the prices at all, nevermind the chips. $105 for a small Wagyu steak. And I was told that it was actually priced higher than Aria in Sydney.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 31, 2013

Now I want those chips.

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w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted May 31, 2013

I have now been to Nblob's Mooloolaba Gourmet Chookhouse.
A very welcoming, old school takeaway. Amongst other items, they do offer marinated chicken. While I was there, their burgers and their chips seemed to be the popular items. I wasn't the only person who came in and just asked for chips.

The chips. You place your order, your allotment of chips is put in a deep fryer basket and popped into the deep fryer. All chips orders seem to be freshly cooked. I just went for the small serving ($3.50). The serving could have been a large snack for the average eater. Definitely more than a cup and definitely chips, not french fries. The plain or chicken salt option is offered.

These were not gourmet chips. Gourmet chips tend to be a bit fatter and are herbed. However, I preferred them to most of the gourmet chips I have had as they are normally soft and lukewarm. These were hot and crisp. They are the good chips I remember from my teens in the 70's. Not fancy, just good old fashioned chips.

They tasted as good as they smelt. Which is fine praise for a chip.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted May 31, 2013

On my to do list.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted May 31, 2013

Thankyou W. You appear a consonant of taste &/or distinction.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted June 1, 2013

I'm trying to think of a place in Kansas City which produces a consistently decent batch of fries/chips. . . .

.

.

.

.

. . . still pondering the matter.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

P.S. Now, if you want what we Americans call potato chips and are looking for some home made kind, Harry's Country Club on the River Market does an excellent batch with french onion dip. Starve yourself for a week and come with a wheelbarrow and a coolie to push you home in it after the meal.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted June 1, 2013
@ Murph.
Nomenclature.
In Oz 'chips' can describe hot or cold slices of fried potato. Fries exclusively describe the hot variety, mostly in a transnational burger joint context. It surprised me in the US to order burger & chips and get a little bag of fritos in a basket beside my plate. I've never seen such a meal served in Oz. In the UK 'crisps' describe the cold variety.

As I said above, I take my potato products seriously. After careful and comprehensive research I believe the standard Fry in the USA to be superior to the standard fry in Oz. Portion size, individual fry dimension, crunchiness, potato flavour, all contribute. I may be an extremist, but I maintain if you cant hear a chip crunch as you eat it, it aint crunchy enough.

While I'm on my hobby horse, who told Fish & Chip shops to put orders in plastic bags? Seriously it's like chaining cement blocks to a Ferrari or putting bikini models in a fridge box.

Prepare yourself; In Scotland I found it standard practice for Fish & Chipperys to cook their chips a whole (5kg) bag at a time, resulting in catastrophic cooling of the oil (which was invariably stale). They were then shovelled into a steam-saturated display case where they wait for the unwary customer, slowly liquefying. Oh god the horror. This was not isolated, I researched far & wide and this seems industry practice.

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Boscolamb reckons...

Posted June 2, 2013

But I wanna know who makes the best onion rings?

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 2, 2013

Better photo!

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w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted June 2, 2013

My daughter said,
"Chips!" Her face took on a dreamy faraway look.
"Carraway Pier. They know their chips! The best."

Carraway Pier, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane. A fish, chips and burger place.

I see the comments on Urbanspoon include
"awesome crunchy chips"
"The best chips and aoli around Brisbane."
"Fantastic chips!"
"the beer battered chips are crisp and addictive."
"The beer battered chips were awesome."
"the (to die for) chips"
"Seriously the BEST chips i've EVER had! "

Seems definitely worth an investigation for serious Brisbane chip fanciers.

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Respond to 'Stokehouse. The best bowl of chips in Brisbane'

Sardines and salami

Posted May 25, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

I know, right? Eeww. And yet it totally works. At least the way they're serving it up over at Sourced in New Farm. I'm pretty sure these are the guys responsible for making sardines cool again. Or maybe just cool. I don't know that there's ever been a time before now when sardines were considered anything other than poor man's sandwich filler. They were a cheap source of protein when I was a kid and I don't recall any fond memories of them.

So maybe it was just perverse nostalgia made me try the La Cuca sardines on toast the first time I saw them on the menu here.

Turned out they were awesome. Nothing like the stinky garbage fish of yore. Two lighty toasted slabs of sourdough, a green salad and a cup of coffee. Breakfast of champions.

Next time I went, however, the menu had changed and the leaf was gone, replaced by a salsa verde. Or maybe pesto. It changes all the damn time. Damn them. The latest incarnation arrived with a strangely familar paste that I thought might have been some sort of capsicum dip.

Nope.

It was a skinless salami. In fact the skinless salami I'd first tried over at Enoteca and which I'd seen subsequently at half a dozen other, mostly Italian, joints around town. Think of a hot, spicey salami that hasn't 'set' hard and isn't fashioned into a sausage. It usually comes in a little bowl and you spread it on chunks of bread, maybe dabbed with a little olive oil for moisture.

I would never, ever have thought of putting it together with sardines. But these guys did. (Tossed a little pot of confit garlic and some cherry tomatoes in for good measure, too). Thinking I was smearing a sort of pepper dip on my toast, I wasn't surprised by the spike of heat, but the 'meaty' flavours and mouthfeel did provide a momentary WTF interlude.

And then I inhaled the lot.

It was such a mammoth meal I didn't need to eat again until dinner. Only one caveat. The salami paste does not play well with white coffee. I'd have water or a long black if I was doing this again. But given how often Sourced switch out the elements of their sardine toast, I probably won't get the chance.

11 Responses to ‘Sardines and salami’

kardiac mumbles...

Posted May 25, 2013

I remember my Dad eating sardines right from the can. He grew up poor in Pittsburgh and they were a treat for him when he was a kid. I watched him slurp those things down using his fingers. Pretty much put me off on them.

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Monster Yuppy mumbles...

Posted May 25, 2013

Looks like I shall wander down there for breakfast this morning....

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 25, 2013

I'd bet the salami paste is exactly the same one they serve at Bucci.

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted May 25, 2013

Uncooked sardines, butterflied, a few herbs thrown on top, a drizzle of olive oil, cooked for a minute or so on the barbie. Quite a feature of a backyard barbecue circuit I enjoyed back in the 90's. Delicious!

There were a few sardine providers in Brisbane. You had to be quick because their stock would disappear so quickly.

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sibeen asserts...

Posted May 25, 2013

That sort of meal cries out for a large mug of decent tea to be the accompaning beverage.

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted May 25, 2013

An ice cold lager for me. Breakfast of champions.

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Bunyip asserts...

Posted May 25, 2013

I must admit, I've sometimes used sardines instead of minced meat to make a Scilian instead of a Bolognese sauce with pasta.

BTW that Salami spread sounds fucking yum.

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Trowzers mumbles...

Posted May 25, 2013

I'm a thirtysomething female, and I've often had sardines on toast (with a little cheese lightly melted on the top, and basil pesto on the toast). Only when I'm in the mood for it, mind you. But yeah, I can totally see how this could be a thing. When you're up for it, it's awsm.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 25, 2013

Cheese and sardines? Wow.

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Conspiracy Cat ducks in to say...

Posted May 26, 2013

I saw an episode of Iron Chef a few years back, where the Ingredient-Of-The-Day was sardines. Man, by the end of that episode I was drooling for little fishies!

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Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27, 2013

Sardines + salami sounds great. My favourite tinned sardine choice is the Santamaria in hot sauce. Mmmmm ...

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