Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chef crush

I have a new chef crush.  Yes, move over Jamie, Bill, Hugh and Nigel.  Dan Barber is my new man and I have no idea what his cooking is like.  You need to get to know him.  With any luck this man will have a huge influence on the future of food, agriculture and sustainability.
Read this article
Watch this video
It will make you think twice about which fish you buy.

Organic farming is tough, we have seen many farmers come and go: on a large scale the farms are mostly too expensive to run.  We all so want it to succeed.  Tim always says that to be green you need to be in the black.  That is sadly why our food is grown the way it is today: it's cheaper and measurable to farm in monocultures but the cost is the depletion of resources, particularly the soil.  I'm not quite sure how Dan Barber intends to feed the world, but there is no doubt he is on the right track and you've got to love his vision.
In our own small way, we are trying to do the right thing.  We are regenerating the soil by using a specially developed calcium rich, molasses based liquid fertilizer.  The improved quality of the pasture has significantly reduced the use of herbicides or pesticides, the sheep are happier, fatten well and cut more wool.  And it is brilliant on the vegetable garden, I'm growing mega veg, even in my slightly clay soils, and the soil is improving all the time.  So we can at least be self sufficient to a point.
On the menu in the past week....
which has also been going in the lunch box:
I saw some lovely sardines at the local fish shop on Monday and just had to get them for lunch.  They were topped with a mix of breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice and parsley, then flashed in the hot oven of the Aga (220c) for about 10 minutes.
Brain food in a good way..
There was also a ripping fish pie:
FISH PIE  Serves 4

2 nice sized pieces of fish of your choice.  I used some lovely boar fish.
8 green prawns
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 slices of lemon
40g/ about a tablespoon butter
1 leek, rinsed and chopped into rings
150 ml white wine
1 tblsp flour
chopped spinach or sliverbeet, lightly steamed
Puff pastry

Put the milk, water, bay leaf and lemon slices in a saucepan and bring gently to the boil.  Chop the fish into chunks and add to the simmering milk with the prawns.  Cook for 2 minutes, then remove the fish with a slotted spoon and put on a plate.  Set aside the liquid in the saucepan, leaving the bay leaf and lemon to infuse.

In a sturdy pan melt the butter and cook the leek for about 5 minutes until it is soft.  Add the white wine and let it sizzle and cook down for a few minutes.  Add the flour and stir for a minute.  Strain the milk onto the leek mix and stir in with a whisk until smooth.  Stir until the sauce thickens and comes to the boil.  Simmer gently for a minute or two.  Add the fish, spinach or silverbeet and parsley and season to taste.  Put it into a pie dish and either cover with a sheet of puff pastry or do what Sophie did and make some pastry shapes instead.  Just brush the pastry with some beaten egg and put it in a hot oven till it is puffed and golden.


  1. I like how this guy thinks..
    Pop on over when you've a minute,as I'm having a giveaway for Aussie bloggers..xx

  2. I'm thinking a research trip to NY might be on the cards. x AV