Putting the finishing touches on an 18th Birthday cake. The client was looking for a realistic looking adult cake for her son’s 18th. The cake is a traditional Mississipi Mud with Bourbon. The neck is made from solid chocolate, blended white, milk and dark create a woodgrain appearance. the Body and neck are iced with Fondant and the string made with Sugar Veil. I also sprayed the silver design with food safe color and created the design myself incorporating 18 and vampire or wolf teeth. When delivered the customer was stoked and could not wait to show her son at the celebrations.
At Christmas I decided to freeze the hambones from our fridge and mums. So time to make pea and ham soup.
Step one sauté onion and garlic in a large pot. When golden brown add the ham bones and top with 3 litres of water. Simmer for some time.
Step 2 after shopping for 2 hours come home to the intoxicating smell of smokey ham stock mmmmmmmm.
Step 3 wipe the druel from your lips.
Step 4 carefully remove the ham bone and meat. Try to resist eating some of the beautiful ham, I never can. Allow what’s left to cool.
Step 5 add one packet of green split peas( not frozen green peas) and simmer until mushy and thick. Make sure you stir lots to ensure no burning to bottom of pot. About 2 hours again.
Step 6 strip the meat from the bones and cut into smallish pieces( this will make sure no bone or cartliage will sneak into the soup.
Step 7 make you dogs day. ‘Good boy, you want a bone, yes!’
Step 8 pure the stock and pea mix and add the chopped ham, fresh chopped thyme and pepper to your taste(no salt as the ham has added enough. thin with water if needed.
step last serve with a dollop if cream and fresh turkish bread.
at this stage u sat down and savoured the mouth watering aroma, the fantastic flavour and warming feeling all over when you eat such hearty foods. the savouring lasted all of 30seconds before my guests revolted.
Child 1 “what’s this, it looks yucky and green”(with wrinkled up nose)
Child 2 “it makes my tummy funny, I don’t like it”(after one spoon full)
Grrrrrrrrrr one day they will appreciate, I did. On the positive side I enjoyed 2 bowls, half a loaf of Turkish bread and a full tummy. Mmmmmmmm what’s for dinner tomorrow.
Oh crap I got a phone call back to attend an interview. Little did I know the position was apprentice chef to the governor of Queensland. I sure noticed when I was dropped off at the security building just past the massive ornate white gates. Ok a little more nervous now. An interview for a job with the governor is like being in a police line up(I think) you keep running the thoughts through your head about what they will find with security checks ready to say I didn’t do it.
The formal interview went well though and I was invited with the head chef to have a tour. Wow people live like this noooooo I though it was just on tv. What an eye opener, opulence like I had never seen and that was just the staff only areas, I was not cleared to see private rooms. The head chef though was to me a food god in clean pressed whites with an aura that was immediately humbling. I got the job. Why, not because of the interview but my reaction to the centre piece sculptures and vegetable carvings that chef showed.”amazing I want to learn to make these”
Next – first day – meeting the staff
Last Night I decided to cook up some duck. Now the duck I had in the freezer from an unfortunate incident with a fox just after easter. I really wanted something warm, hearty, easy and super tasty. So que the music and away. After boneing out the Duck and leaving heaps of Meat(been year since I boned anything). What do you do with Duck bones covered in meat, yes make stock yum yum. Duck Bones, Star anise, onion carrot and pepper corns shoved into a pot with water and simmer for about that long. The Duck meat trimmed up beauitifully into a nice dice, saute in my favorite Le Creuset Casserole pan until brown and remove. Add onions, carrots both fine slices, Shiitake mushrooms sliced, garlic and some olive oil. Once brown a spoon of flour over the top and mix in. then strain stock and add slowly while mixing until a smooth soup consistency ooooh! smells so good. add a swig of rice wine, star anise Salt and pepper. return the duck and cover with the lid and place in hit over for 20minutes ish. Now the smells in the house remind me of days cooking Duck Confit, basically you render down duck fat, then slowly cook marinated duck thighs in the fat until starting to fall of the bone. One of the best ways to eat duck. After 20 minutes I ripped it out of the oven added a cup of rice and 2 more cups of stock and back to the oven for 25minute. I am telling you it was just perfect, warm, hearty, tasty, earthy and never enough. Hope your not to hungry now.