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Vibrant, Sappy and Complex

Our specialty is seafood where we take a pared down approach. Less is better. And over the last decade we have been working out how to best cook freshly gathered funghi. Then there are recipes which we have used successfully over many years. These are adaptations of recipes we have taken from books and we will give you our source. Mostly these will lead back to another book.

Our Recipes

The Use of Decanters to Create Theatre at a Xmas Lunch
Friday, 6th October, 2017 - David Farmer

You can find great food in humble restaurants and spotting these places before the crowd arrives is most satisfying. In general though the great restaurants of the world, though I only know France and Australia well, are not modest in appearance. It seems success at the highest level of cooking is associated with creating a similar level of ambience, even luxury, as after-all the clientele are wealthy. more...

All About Chinese Tea, Part 2
The Famous and Special Teas of China

Wednesday, 2nd March, 2011 - David Farmer

I was fortunate to spend time in China in the late 1970's and early 1980's which came about from one of the poorly thought out business ideas of my brother and I to import tea from China. What follows comes from notes I took during an extended stay in June, 1980. I believe this information will prove quite useful to those who love tea and its many types. more...

All About Chinese Tea, Part 1
Thursday, 16th July, 2009 - David Farmer

I was fortunate to spend time in China in the late 1970's and early 1980's which came about from one of the poorly thought out business ideas of my brother and I to import tea from China. What follows comes from notes I took during an extended stay in June, 1980. I believe this information will prove quite useful to those who love tea and its many types. more...

A Fish Sauce and Tony Bilson's Whiting Quenelles
Sunday, 28th June, 2009 - David Farmer

Elizabeth David

Catching and eating fish is the ultimate life's pleasure. I seldom use a sauce as the approach to fish is cook them when fresh and keep it simple. With that said for a number of years I have experimented with a recipe of the great Elizabeth David which was published in The Complete Imbiber, No. 6. (Vista Books, London, 1963). more...

- Rabbit Pie with Pine Mushrooms

Friday, 5th June, 2009

- Mark Lloyd of Coriole Talks About Olives and Oil

Friday, 28th March, 2008

- Tales about Oysters, Opening and Eating

Thursday, 6th December, 2007

- Yeast Leavened Pancakes

Thursday, 22nd February, 2007

- Peasant Mushroom Soup

Friday, May 26th, 2006

- Fish, Eggs and Steaming Bream

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

- Cheong Liew's Steamed Eggplant with Tomato Chilli Sauce

Tuesday, 28th February, 2006

- Time for Saucing

Friday, 24th February, 2006

- Slippery Jacks in August?

Wednesday, 17th August, 2005

- Lentilles du Puy

Friday, 5th August, 2005

- A Delightful Warm Vegetable Salad

Wednesday, 20th April 2005

- A Tasty Fish Soup

Friday, 28th January, 2005

- The French Pizza from Provence - Pissaladiere

Friday, 28th January, 2005

- Another Broad Bean Option

Wednesday, 3rd November, 2004

- A Good Recipe for Broad Beans

Saturday, 30th October, 2004

- The Collection and Smoking of Mussels

Sunday, 18th October, 2004

- Cooking East Coast Whiting

Thursday, 14th October, 2004

- A Great Yabby Recipe

Saturday, 17th October, 2004

- The Perfect Fish Batter

Friday, 8th October, 2004

- Flathead Sushi

Wednesday, 15th September, 2004

- A Classic Carp Recipe

Wednesday, 4th August, 2004

Mark Lloyd of Coriole Talks About Olives and Oil
Friday, 28th March, 2008 - David Farmer

At the Vic Market today the pine mushies were $55 per kg, over the road - free. Note the slippery jack also (lots of these about actually but pines were the focus for today - you can only eat so many)

Coriole the well regarded McLaren Vale winery dates from 1967 and produces a range of the traditional district varietals as well as pioneering new varieties such as sangiovese. Less well known is their leadership in re-invigorating the olive and olive oil business in McLaren Vale and for that matter South Australia, a business that dates back to the nineteenth century.

In 1989 Coriole and Joe Grilli of Primo Estate released their first bottling of olive oil, a novelty then but now standard in many cellar doors. Mark Lloyd recalls overhearing a young woman in the cellar door in 1990 who upon being asked by a friend what was the use of olive oil commented that her vet said it was good for putting in her dogs ears. The public quickly embraced the home grown product and olives and olive oil are now a thriving business and are sold at many cellar doors.

Why did it take so long to revive an industry that had started with such promise in N.S.W. and South Australia in the nineteenth century and had spread naturally with the growth of vineyards? Olive oil was being exhibited in London in 1851 where it was well received. Over the next few decades a thriving oil business developed and a tourist book from 1908 mentions being entertained at McLaren Vale and after visiting Upper Tintara returning to Tintara for a taste of the wonderful olive oil. Somewhere it faltered and while oil production probably never entirely stopped it was very minor by the 1950ís. Mark makes the point that the oil made in the 1960ís was very poor and not as good as that made in the previous century.

In the mid 1970ís Mark was in Greece at the height of the olive producing season and later went to Crete and worked in olive oil factories. With interest pricked he began researching the industry in Australia and recalled that in the late 1970ís the most recent reference he could find to growing olives and producing oil was dated 1888. This book incidentally turned out to be an excellent guide which they followed. At the time an olive oil factory was operating in McLaren Vale and was run by Emmanuel a Greek from Samos who was to be a mentor to Mark and his brother. He was responsible for importing the important Kalamatas variety in 1968. When Emmanuel retired Markís brother bought the olive grove and the press. The quality breakthrough that gives us the clean oils we consume today did not come till later with the use of new European technology based on centrifugal presses with the first of these being imported in 1993. The old grinding presses often produced rancid oil while the new centrifuges produced a fresh, pure, grassy oil with fragrant aromas and vibrant tastes. The fact that Australian producers and Europeans both began using the new presses at about the same time is used by Australians to argue that the Europeans have no real advantage as little tradition is involved in making the oil.

Tips on Buying Olive Oil

Australian olive oil in supermarkets is pretty good and Mark believes because they are made and processed in a controlled manner not unlike how we make wine they are fresher than the imported oils which are often rancid. Indeed he does not have a lot of kind things to say about imported virgin oils. The new centrifugal methods make the local product fresh and appealing although he believes that while most of our oils are sound they are seldom great. [I buy a lot of oil and have stopped buying expensive extra virgin imported oils and have moved entirely to the local products paying more when necessary. At the Barossa markets I take along a two litre flagon to be filled.]

Mark does though like the imported Extra Light oils and others that have been altered by chemical processing as they are better for it. I did not understand all that was told to me but rancid flavours that interfere with food tastes are connected to a high, free, fatty acid content.

Cooking with Olive Oil

Sometime ago Mark tested a range of prepared and cooked foods with three different oils to see how they affected food flavours. These were Coriole, imported Extra Virgin and imported Ultra Light Olive Oil, the later being chemically altered to lower the fat content. All the foods cooked with the Extra Virgin had the food flavours spoiled not enhanced due to the rancid oil. [You get the same rancid off tastes when you use truffle oil]. The Coriole gave the food a grassy flavour while the ultra light did not alter the food flavours but also did not assist the foods. Thus the ultra lights he believes are better buying than the Extra Virgin oils. Surprisingly he found the Coriole fresh oil to strong for Aioli which was better with light oil proving that the use of oil in cooking must be matched to the required end taste.

For example Elizabeth David always uses olive oil for deep frying chips and this is what I followed for years. Now I find the flavor a bit obtrusive and have moved to deep frying fish and chips with peanut oil as it leaves no residual flavor.

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