Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Global Gobbler guest #15 - A cast of 4

L to R: (Princess Jasmine, Mt Everest, JennaAlyce © and a random, malnourished skinhead)

A night in Chad was enjoyed by a full-time fairy, a Casanova, a fashionista and sailor who survives on cod and cereal.

An eclectic group who survived a journey to the heart of Africa

And the stellar review can be viewed below although I am not sure if the meal deserved such generosity - particularly my failed attempt to cook a soft-boiled egg!

Until next time. Stay Global and keep Gobbling.

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

RIP Chomping on Chad - 18 October 2008

A great way to start the feast on a cold Melbourne night. Piping hot shards of crunchy bread matched the curry butter and the honey and mint balanced the spicy flavour. Making the bread a little softer would have allowed the butter mix to soak through the bread and given the teeth a break.

Are soups just a ‘course filler’? The flavour was interesting – three was a crowd though – needed to match peanuts with either tomato or sweet corn. And definitely overdid the garnishing – the squash gave the dish a sweetness but the cashews were a mistake and nigella seeds were simply wrong. Maybe I don’t like soups because you lose the individual flavours?

Easily my favourite for the night. The subtle flavour of millet combined perfectly with the mix of spices, fresh sage and sweet currants. Salty silverbeet drenched in olive oil was the perfect base and lemon yogurt gave the palate a break from the mild heat. Onto the egg…not too hard to cook a soft-boiled egg right? Sadly yes, two minutes too long yielded a tasty, yet decidedly firm egg….tail firmly between the legs.

Never quite worked this out in my head. Would it be a cold/hot/creamy/crunchy dessert? And the lack of clarity showed – the pistachio, clove and honey slice had an intense flavour and would work somewhere else – but not with the pear and mint and definitely not with frozen mandarin yogurt (which was ok alone). Joel + dessert in Chad = FAIL. No good having components that work if they don’t sing together.

A great crew was on hand for some traditional Chadian cuisine – as always, the company made up for gaps in taste. I promise to make it to Chad one day to test out the melting egg idea with the locals.

What next for Global Gobbler? Perhaps another journey to the Mediterranean… stay tuned. GG

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chomping on Chad

Shards of millet, poppy and sesame seed sour bread served with curry and date butter, torn mint and drizzled honey.
Tomato, peanut, sweet corn and coriander soup served with floating grilled squash, circled with nigella seeds, roasted cashews and chives.
Castle of millet with sage, currants, sage, ras-el-hanout inspired spices filled with a melting yogurt egg and served on salted silverbeet and lashings of olive oil.
Grilled pistachio, pecan, walnut, clove and honey slice served with stewed brown pear, mint and lemon zest and frozen mandarin yogurt.
Time to hit the great continent of Africa up for some inspiration. And a chance for millet to make an authentic appearance at the table. I have heard good things about Chad - maybe a stop over next trip overseas. And I was best friends with a Chad in high school.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Global Gobbler guests #14 - Josh, Meryn and Annie

L to R: (Josh, Meryn, Annie)

A vet and a couple of auditors - awesome guests and plenty of passion for lycra and fairways.

Thanks for review - improvement opportunities a plenty and plenty of positive reinforcement - that's what you pay consultants for...

Monday, September 1, 2008

RIP China - Year of the Rat - 30 August 2008

Shot of lychee blended with vodka, lime, mint and sugar syrup.

Chef Notes
Not too sure about this one. Sadly not in lychee season - teach me for not following the 100 mile rule – and it was too early for shot glasses anyway. Vodka, lime juice, mint, sugar syrup and pureed lychees – mix with crushed ice and soda water once lychee season is here.

Rice vermicelli, shaved daikon, broccolini, garlic shoots, red peppers, shitake mushrooms, coconut omlette, red onion and black sesame seeds with a sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, chilli and lime dressing.

Chef Notes
Lack of experience with rice vermicelli shone through – don’t think I hit it with enough heat, marinade, and chilli (for my tastebuds anyway). Serving the vermicelli and stir-fry separately didn’t work – what happened to a steaming ‘out-of-the-wok’ experience I had in mind… Less palm sugar, more lime and bok choy - and a rethink on the coconut omlette.

San Choy Bao of black rice star anise, lime, cinnamon, ginger, soy and honey and encased in wombok wrappers and steamed and served on crushed roasted peanuts.

Chef Notes
Star anise and black rice – competing for flavour rather than complementing - should have gone with barley as initially planned. It wasn’t delicate but it did challenge the palate. Presentation worked after the swift insertion of rice paper rolls. I think more lime, honey and soy and less star anise will make this dish – roasted peanuts gave it a crunch but could have played a bigger role. Wombok was the star.

Crispy fried spring rolls filled with caramelised oyster mushrooms, roasted cashews, chilli, toasted sweet corn, water chestnuts, spring onion, and red peppers and served with a soy sauce, Chinese chive and sesame oil dipping sauce.

Chef Notes
Spring rolls fried in coconut oil – made for a fresher result than the deep fried version. The filling was a hit – toasted corn, cashews and creamy oyster mushrooms worked together and the tangy soy, lime and sesame dressing provided the required salt. Perhaps lacking the addition of an animal…

Dumplings of sweet potato, red bean paste and Chinese five-spice rolled in coconut and served with coconut custard.

Chef Notes
Another first time experience – red bean paste…surely food science can create something a little less bland? Chinese spices lifted the overall result but the sweet indistinct red bean flavour remained. Coconut custard made with egg yolk and agar-agar wasn’t quite right – possibly firmer and definitely warmer. Flavour also needed a boost – Vanilla? Dates? Alcohol?! As noted by one of the astute guests – “Could have done with some salt.”

Thanks Annie, Meryn and Josh! I know I was a week late for the closing ceremony...

Heading into the depths of Africa next - Sudan, Nepal, Mali or the powerhouse that is Chad?? African menu will be unveiled shortly - if you want to score a corruption-free invitation, email globalgobbler@gmail.com for details. GG

Monday, August 11, 2008

China - Year of the Rat

Rice vermicelli, shaved cucumber, daikon radish, bitter melon, broccolini, shaved mushrooms, sweet omlette and black sesame seeds with a sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and lime dressing and served with lotus root broth.

Crispy fried spring rolls filled with caramelised oyster mushrooms, celery, roasted cashews, chilli, water chestnuts, spring onion, bamboo shoots and roasted yellow peppers and served with a palm sugar, soy sauce, Chinese chive and sesame oil dipping sauce.

San Choy Bao of barley, shitake mushrooms and peanuts slow cooked in a star anise, citrus, ginger, soy and honey glaze and served in steamed wombok wrappers

Dumplings of sweet potato, red bean paste and Chinese five-spice served with coconut and cardamom custard and fresh lime.

China has been a while in the making - I think the Games of the XXIX Olympiad provided the inspiration. I expect the review to contain some reference to Juan Anotonio Samaranch, maybe "the best meal ever"...? Any feedback on the menu or to recieve an invite to the dinner - globalgobbler@gmail.com

同一个世界 同一个梦想

Monday, July 28, 2008

Global Gobbler guests #13 - Grace, Meg and Amy

L to R: (Amy, Grace and Meg)

20-something trend hunters coming to a mobile near you soon.

Style to burn and ideas a-plenty.

A love for the flavours of Asia. Indian butter chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls, Japanese sushi. How would these distinct and delicate tastes go up against the untested and potentially over-bearning flavours of Argentina?

The Review
Setting a new benchmark for reviews - I was in awe after watching this. Wouldn't it be great if this formed part of a series designed for a mobile platform...?!

Check out the video above for the 'review' (doesn't do it justice!)

Thanks Amy and Meg and Grace for coming along. Glad you liked the food and hope to see you around some day.

And news just in - Chinese menu is on the verge of completion - stay tuned. GG

Monday, July 21, 2008

Next menu - China

Dumplings? Dim Sum? Wontons? Spring roll?

What will it be?

Stay tuned for a pre-Olympics MSG-free menu - only at Global Gobbler.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

RIP Aiming for Argentina - 5 July 2008

I think this may have been more Mexican than Argentinean… Great colours though and once again, presentation using the shells of ingredients worked. Yogurt pip anyone? Polenta chips could have done with a touch more queso but flavours seemed to blend well – with the required kick from the dried (a surprisingly different flavour to fresh) chilli salsa.

A personal achievement – being able to use molasses in an edible dish – the tomatoes had a rich ketchup-like flavour which tasted better than it sounds. The cannelini beans with green olives and oregano had a nice clean flavour but just didn’t quite fit with the rest of the meal – too flat and not enough colour/heat.

The empanadas didn’t turn out quite as planned – not enough elasticity with spelt flour (or maybe I just need to invest in a rolling pin rather than relying on a half-full bottle of wine) – chickpea or buckwheat flour might be better substitutes. The filling was interesting and the flavour was difficult to place but it didn’t combine into the taste I imagined. Maybe the potatoes absorbed the flavour or perhaps some chilli was required. Chimichurri was refreshing and gave the dish some colour but I need to think of a new presentation method rather than relying on the pour-over.

My favourite of the night and the one dish which returned completely empty plates (doggy-bag included). It took a while to create the yolky dulce de leche but the end result was unique – “glue”-like was one description… But the flavour worked and the roasted almond biscuit was the perfect base although slightly thinner next time. The chocolate shots tasted amazing (although 82% cocoa only tastes amazing to certain people I guess...) with the hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla – I certainly didn’t expect them to be referred to as “refreshing?!” Lemon chaser was tequilla-inspired and...amusing

A challenging cuisine and plenty to work on next time but a few keepers – still no match for the several kgs of Argentinean flesh. Thankyou Amy, Grace and Meg for being very cool guests and for the very classy and authentic Argentine wall-hanging…

Next menu on the way – China – pre-approved by the Chairman Mao and the cultural revolution. GG

Monday, July 7, 2008

Aiming for Argentina

Roasted sweet corn, queso and polenta chips coated in paprika and served with citrus yogurt and guacamole filled avocado shell and a roasted capsicum, dried chilli and lime salsa.

Oregano, green olive and Argentine onion flavoured cannelini beans served with baby spinach and slow cooked paprika and molasses spiced tomatoes.

Spelt empanadas brushed with a paprika egg yolk glaze and filled with roasted hazelnuts, crispy paprika roasted potato skins, red and green peppers, mushrooms, oregano, cinnamon and clove powder and served with chimichurri dipping sauce.

Roasted almond biscuit filled with Dulce de Leche and garnished with lime zest. Served with a shot of spiced bitter chocolate and lemon wedge chaser.

Argentina, the European capital of South America - tango, steak and football. A menu with no meat - surely not? Global Gobbler - making the impossible possible. Email globalgobbler@gmail.com for details.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Global Gobbler guests #12 - Renae and Sansy

Name: Renae
Age: 19
Occupation: In the court room by day - treading the boards by night.
Favourite food: choc gelato
Why she deserves the Global Gobbler experience: Innovative car-parking techniques deserve reward…

Name: Sansy
Age: 19
Occupation: Ripping it up at St Js
Favourite food: a double strength latte
Why she deserves the Global Gobbler experience: She wears her boyfriend's shirt to dinner - hard to beat.

The Verdict (John Lethlean eat your heart out...)

(Entree - Sides
Main - Dessert)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

RIP Crazy for Caribbean - 21 June 2008

Chef Notes
Too sweet was my first impression and getting through two of these was an effort. Definitely not enough contrast between the two elements – the carrot flavour was right but needed something sour/bitter/neutral – pistachio? Steaming was a hit – with the right flavour mix this one will be a keeper.

Chef Notes
What does okra taste like? Well, okra. A completely unique flavour closely linked to a traditional Caribbean dish with the refreshing addition of lemon and coconut. Combined with the sweet corn and tomato elicited plenty of confused palates. Fried okra gave it away in fine style.

Chef Notes
Black bean-pumpkin-buckwheat ratio was a little out (too many black beans) but the lemon grass cut through it all. The last minute fry in palm sugar and coconut oil gave it a caramel-like crust and the ‘heavy’ taste was knocked out by the spicy daikon, coconut and chilli dressing. Some finessing needed but fundamentals are there.

Chef Notes
Presentation let me down – the rich pineapple flavour combined with creamy coconut and palm sugar was perfect but once it was served over the pineapple arch it resembled a steak of salmon. A smooth and sweet way to finish though. Passionfruit liqueur soaked raisins and toasted coconut – what were they? A distraction.

A review from the guests will follow shortly - albeit in a slightly different format... Thanks for some great company Sansy and Renae – plenty to live up to for the next reviewer!

Next menu on the way – Argentina – without using meat! GG

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Crazy for Caribbean

Medjool dates filled with grated carrot sautéed with bay leaf, cumin and poppy seed then steamed and served with cos dressed in olive oil and cumin.

Okra, roasted tomato and sweet corn soup cooked with brown onion, lemon juice, lime zest and coconut cream then topped with salt and pepper fried okra.

Caribbean style pumpkin, black bean and buckwheat cakes flavoured with lemon grass and turmeric and rolled in polenta and crushed coriander seeds then fried in coconut oil and palm sugar and laid to rest on shaved fennel. Topped with a daikon radish, coconut cream, lemon zest and red chilli dressing and fresh coriander garnish.

Pineapple arches slow baked in coconut cream, palm sugar, mint, lime zest and cinnamon and served with pineapple spikes filled with passionfruit liqueur soaked raisins and dusted with toasted coconut.

Feeling loco? If you are crazy for Caribbean send me an email with your name, age and favourite food and an invite to dinner may follow. GG

Friday, June 20, 2008

Menus on the way...

The next dinner will be on the 28th of July so get your name down for one of these creations pronto. Stay Global and keep Gobbling.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Global Gobbler guest #11 - Sayher

Name: Sayher
Age: 22
Occupation: Photographer – get his autograph now
Favourite food: Ice cream
Why he deserves the Global Gobbler experience: I’ve always wanted to get my lens over the plate.

The Verdict (tasting and photographic notes)

Meal 1
This meal was pretty tasty, however I think that serving it in a smaller size would be a better idea as the beetroot was quite hard to eat. However the horseradish cream that was in it broke up the flavour. It was a little spicy but wasn't too bad.

From a photographic point of view this wasn't my favourite, I think because the colour of the beetroot didn't come up as well and compared to the other dishes it didn't have as much colour. However the simplicity of it is pretty cool.

Meal 2
This dish would have to have been one of my favourites, the avocado, and rye and poppy seed loaf was really nice. The avocado was really good with the tomatoes as it made them less intense.

From a photographic point of view, this was probably one of the better dishes to shoot as the colours were so nice. The greens from the avocado, the tomatoes and the finish on top really looked nice. The layout of the meal looked really cool as we.

Meal 3
The potato balls were pretty nice. I liked the way they were cooked and the look of them. I think there were a lot of flavours in there and there were some I wasn't a big fan of however it all worked ok.

From a photographic point of view this dish came up really well, the layout of the contents was really nice, and the colours worked well. The purples, greens and orange looked really nice.

Meal 4
This dish was pretty nice. The base was quite cool; and the texture was really different. I liked the chestnut and the overall taste was pretty nice. I am a big fan of ice cream so I think it would have been nice to have some with it.

From a photographic point of view the colours were nice and the presentation was good. I think that maybe the chestnut could have been placed somewhere different as it sort of sat weird on the top of the dish.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finnish Fling - RIP 7 June 2008

Chef Notes
Slow cooking the beetroot most of the afternoon paid off. The sweet earthy flavour was almost too much until the horseradish mayonnaise became involved. Such a refreshing sharp kick. Could have left the beetroot to cool a little longer to avoid a slightly melting stack.

Chef Notes
Rye and avocado works well any time and not quite sure whether the fennel added anything other than texture. The rye loaf turned out well - dense and wholesome. Red peppercorns – almost edible alone with that fruity flavour. And the pickled onions – you’re either a lover or a hater…

Chef Notes
For some reason this felt Finnish to me. Standard mashed potato highlighted with salty capers, spicy mustard and the unique flavour of sour cherries. Grilled with poppy seeds gave it a crisp crunchy seal. Great textures and for a fairly unassuming dish performed well.

Chef Notes
Had plenty of fun working with chestnuts – luckily kept one intact for the photo! The chestnut and honey base gave the dessert some nutty sweetness. Mint added some freshness. And raspberries some juice. Everything pulled together and a spoonful with all three components was moving – really.

What do you get when you invite a talented and creative photographer over for dinner? Photos which make the food look a whole lot better than it was… A review including a photographic critique of each dish is on the way.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Finnish Fling

Stack of roasted beetroot layered with a horseradish mayonnaise and garnished with basil leaf.

Rye and poppy seed loaf ringed with cherry tomatoes and pickled onions and spread with a grated fennel and avocado smash then topped with ground pink peppercorns.

Sebago potatoes mashed with sour cherries, seeded mustard, capers and poppy seeds then grilled and served on wild rocket and spiced with sweet paprika.

Chilled slice of ground chestnut and honey slice topped with fresh raspberries and mint wings dressed with a palm sugar, white wine and lemon syrup and finally topped with a honey and lemon glazed chestnut.

Finland - i'm thinking pink pepper corns, freshly ground dark rye, bitey fresh horseradish, red berries and buttery chestnuts. High-tech, high-tax and high standards of living but a terrible reputation for food. Undeserved.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Global Gobbler guest #11 - Janne

Name: Janne
Age: 23
Occupation: Student of the arts
Favourite food: Chocolate and coffee.
Why she deserves the Global Gobbler experience: I have travelled from Canada and I like trying new things.

The Verdict

I was not ready for four courses and the first dish was too many flavours I think to start with. I did like the presentation of the lettuce parcels and slice of apple. Maybe it would have worked better with a few less flavours. Sometimes less is more.

The second dish was a lot better and I think and was beautifully presented. Even if the pumpkin filled my plate! The pumpkin was very sweet and soft and I liked the herb (I can’t remember its name?) I don’t think I have tasted fennel before but it was very good with lots of lemon juice.

The red pepper soup was very tasty. I thought it was tomato to start with but the flavour was very strong and sweet. The salty bean bread was good as well. I think to improve this dish maybe you could add some sour cream or cheese and more herbs. The presentation was great again and perfect for the cold temperature.

I have never tasted truffles like this before and Joel assured me that they were good for you – I find this hard to believe! The cocoa coating made me think they were chocolate truffles but once I bit into one I could taste the crunchy pecans and maple syrup. I liked the wine cherries as well and felt like licking the plate.

I am glad I came to try Joel’s food and think that if he ever opens a restaurant I will have to visit. Good luck with this experiment!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Canada - A Mouthful of Maple - RIP 24 May 2008

Chef Notes
Was Romaine too bitter? It might have been without the apple and raisins. A combination which definitely challenged the palate with pungent mustard and sweet fresh basil. Textures worked well thanks to the crunchy walnuts and creamy avocado.

Chef Notes
I was looking forward to both making and tasting this. Slow cooking the pumpkin over 2 hours with the regular baste of maple marinade created the sweetest of flavours while the sage added some herbal subtlety. The fennel coleslaw was a continuation of the maple/pumpkin theme and added a fresh and sour crunch to the dish.

Chef Notes
The roasted flavour of the soup was incredibly rich but perhaps needed tomato to really complete it. Cannelini bread worked as a visual but the softness of the cannelini beans was lost during the cooking transformation and ended up a little too salty and dry. Caraway seeds were the right flavour though.

Chef Notes
My favourite of the evening. The buttery maple flavour of the truffles lifted by creamy pecans was decadent and completely Canadian. Shiraz cherries gave the dish some juice and the sour yogurt flavour was a perfect foil for the diverse flavours of sweet.

My research into Canadian cuisine was not extensive – does it show?! I loved working with these flavours though especially as the days get colder. A review which is set to once again expose my lack of portion control – “It is a whole plate of pumpkin!”

Monday, May 26, 2008

Canada - A Mouthful of Maple

Romaine lettuce parcels filled with coconut sautéed red cabbage, grated red delicious apple, crushed walnuts, seeded mustard, avocado, fresh basil and raisins and spiced with cinnamon.

Butternut pumpkin basted in sage, maple syrup and olive oil and served with a coleslaw of shredded fennel, olive oil, lemon juice and maple roasted pumpkin seeds.

Sweet red capsicum, brown onion and oregano soup served in flasks to be poured over a cannelini bean, caraway seed and rosemary flat bread and garnished with fresh flat leaf parsley.

Pecan, sage and maple truffles with a roasted pecan centre rolled in a mix of nutmeg, cloves cinnamon and cocoa and resting atop lemon zest then served with minted red wine cherries and natural yogurt topped with micro sage.

A menu which will hopefully be impossible to confuse with the cuisine arising from neighbours to the south. Canada - a menu for the winter with the warming flavours of pumpkin, pecans and sage with the unique addition of maple syrup. A seat at the table (indoors now!) beckons. Email globalgobbler@gmail.com for details. O Canada...