Fennel and Vodka Risotto

Fennel and Vodka RisottoThis is perfect for the Inebriated Epicurean! The vodka is added at the end of the cooking process and provides a nice, boozy, bite to the elegant risotto. The key to making a good risotto is to ensure the liquid is added gradually and each addition is absorbed before you add the next. Once all the liquid has been added and absorbed you should be able to bite one of the rice grains in half and see a pinprick of white in the middle. Your risotto is perfect! Of course, drinking a glass of wine while making risotto is key to a successful outcome! Continue reading

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Prawn Wonton Soup

516Growing up in Australia you develop an appreciation for good Asian cuisine. It is abundant and most Australian families will enjoy Asian meals as part of their everyday food choices.  Do not be intimidated by the wontons in this soup. They are deceptively easy to make and the reward is a silky, delectable morsel. You can make your own chicken stock, but a good quality store-bought stock works fine. Continue reading

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Crab Souffle

The souffle is a classic French dish and it intimidates many home cooks. It should not. To quote from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (co-authored by Julia Child)…”The glory and lightness of French souffles are largely a matter of how voluminously stiff the egg whites have been beaten and how nicely they have been incorporated into the souffle base.” Folding the stiffly beaten egg whites into the base gently is key. There is a fabulous restaurant in San Francisco where the only menu items are souffles…..if you love souffles you must try Cafe Jacqueline when you are next in SF.  Do not be intimidated by the souffle…..it is surprisingly easy to make and always a crowd pleaser! Continue reading

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The Rise of Craft Distilleries (out of the bathtub and into polite company!)

I am a gin snob and proud of this! If you had told me a year ago that I would be extolling the virtues of a gin produced deep in Daniel Boone country I would have pronounced you crazy. However, I have become a fan of a Missouri gin produced by Pinckney Bend Distillery, a beautiful blend of 9 botanicals with fresh juniper and complex citrus notes www.pinckneybend.com. This discovery has opened my eyes to the myriad of craft distillers who have moved far beyond producing moonshine in their bathtubs to being artisans producing small hand-crafted batches of exquisite spirits. I have long been a fan of San Francisco Anchor Steam’s Junipero Gin http://www.anchordistilling.com/spirits/junipero-gin and I will always enjoy Junipero in a dry martini. While I am not a huge vodka fan I really enjoyed tasting www.mastermindvodCraft Ginka.com, a clean-tasting vodka produced in Southern Illinois, recently. As well as supporting our local vintners and brewers, let’s also support our local craft distillers who are honing their craft and producing fabulous results. Next time you are purchasing your gin/vodka/bourbon, look past your usual drop and branch out and try one of the hand-crafted spirits being produced locally one batch at a time.

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Bourbon BBQ Steak with Peaches

Bourbon, beef and peaches – what is not to like! And, this is such an easy dish to make.  Just marinate a large steak in equal amounts of bbq sauce and bourbon for about 30 minutes. Grill for 5 minutes each side for a medium/medium rare steak. Slice it and serve on a bed of greens and peaches. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the steak and serve. Serves 2.

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Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Tomato

Our kitchen benches are overflowing with tomatoes from Scot’s garden this weekend. This breakfast pairs a Sunday morning staple, scrambled eggs with creamy goat cheese and fresh tomatoes. Don’t cook the tomato, the fresh taste and texture of the tomato is a nice counterpoint to the creamy eggs

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese (creamy if you can get it)
  • 2 slices tomato or olive bread, toasted
  • 1 large tomato

Scramble the eggs and milk together and cook over low heat until just cooked. Add the goat cheese and fold gentle through the eggs allowing the cheese to melt slightly. Arrange the tomato slices over the toast and serve the eggs on top, or to the side.

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Zucchini Bake

With our garden producing a plethora of summer veges we have lots of zucchinis to find creative and interesting ways of cooking.  I remembered this recipe my Mum used to make and decided to make it last week. (If you have to eat zucchini you may as well have it with cheese and bacon, I say!) It was as good as I remembered it. It is also suitable to freeze and this recipe makes great savory muffins and is pretty much dummy-proof it is so easy. Continue reading

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Favorite Bars!

Ok people, a subject close to the heart of every Inebriated Epicurean! A list of my favorite bars. This is a subject many an Inebriated Epicurean can spend numerous hours debating. The idea to include this list on my blog came to me when Scot and I were in the new fabulous bar in Sydney – Eau de Vie – conveniently located in our hotel! Yeh! We may have frequented the venue a couple of times during our visit. Of course, this list is a work in progress and I welcome your contributions. This list is in no particular order as that would be simply way too hard!

  • Eau de Vie, Sydney- voted the “Best New Bar in Australia” – an awesome bar where the bartenders are craftsmen and the atmosphere is like that of a speakeasy.
  • BIX, San Francisco – I went here my first night in SF and the ambiance is pure 1930’s San Francisco.
  • The Campbell Apartment, Grand Central NYC – old style cocktail bar at Grand Central Station.
  • U Maleho Glena, Prague – a cool jazz bar in a basement – we tried to spend $20 each every night we were there and could not do it! Clearly great value.
  • Tosca, San Francisco – My friend, Mark, introduced me to this North Beach institution, located next door to Larry Flint’s Hustler Club. I had my first Negroni here…..memories!
  • La Bar du Plaza Athenee, Paris – Martinis here back in 2000 reconciling with my husband (then boyfriend). I recall not only the martinis but how he waxed lyrical about the beautiful redheads he saw ‘everywhere’ on his recent trip to Prague. Strange that that I recall this!
  • Salon de Ning, Hong Kong – We were ‘stranded’ in Hong Kong one weekend when my husband was not able to enter Australia – apparently he was on some pesky ‘watch list’ – so until that snafu was resolved we consoled ourselves with cocktails here. We are nothing if not resourceful!
  • Le Jardins De La Koutoubia, Marrakech – My sister, Karina, and I went into seclusion at this hotel after traveling through Morocco and needing a little vacation. The ambiance in the bar and restaurant was what you would expect from a luxury hotel in Morocco, but it was surprisingly affordable. My sister actually wasn’t speaking to me when we arrived due to an unfortunate ride on a bus across the desert which involved goats. Our hotel was pretty basic so I found this one and moved us, hoping to inspire some conversation from my sibling traveling companion. She finally thawed after an afternoon by the pool with cold cocktails. I believe her words were along the lines of  “you fell off the pedestal when you put us on that bus but you are clawing your way back, can you get me another cocktail, please?”

Cheers!

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Seafood, wine and good friends

I was recently in Australia visiting friends and family and enjoyed many great meals. All these meals were very simple, using fresh, local ingredients and keeping to a minimum of fuss. One of my favorite dinners consisted of fresh prawns and mud crab ( a Queensland delicacy that tastes a lot better than it sounds), fresh bread, lemon wedges, cracked pepper and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc enjoyed on our balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While not everyone has the luxury of enjoying fresh seafood with stunning ocean views I think the ‘keep it simple’ message can apply wherever you may be. Sometimes we get too caught up in preparing the ‘perfect’ meal rather than enjoying the company of family and friends. Choose fresh, local produce and let it stand on its’ own rather than smothering the flavors with sauces and other stuff! 

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Tuna Nicoise

This is a classic dish. When my sister and I traveled through Morocco some years ago we ate this for lunch many times. My friend, Deb, and I also enjoyed many fabulous variations on this recipe when as wild, young women we spent a month driving through the French countryside in our sky-blue deux chevaux. When we delivered our little deux chevaux back to Paris at the end of our adventure it did look a tad different thanks to a crazy Italian woman who rear-ended us in the South of France. The French Gendarme who arrived at the scene made quite an impression on us….Ah memories.  But, back to the Tuna Nicoise. This recipe is easy and always sure to impress! Continue reading

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