Monday, July 21, 2008

You Drive Me Crazy.. Oops I Did It Again

I've resigned, and it's about time too. This job has been slowly driving me ever so close to teetering on the proverbial brink of insanity. Every single day consists of the same routine. I get up at half past 7, shower, run to the station, ride the train into the city, work from 10 in the morning until 11 at night, go home, sleep and get up again. 5 days a week, sometimes 6. The people I work with.. God don't even get me started! I don't work my ass off so those lazy bums can go out for smoke breaks every 20 minutes. I refuse to respect chefs regardless of skill (or in this case lack thereof) if they cannot give others the same respect and I certainly will not share my recipes with a boss who has never ever bothered to say a simple thank you for all the extra work that we've put in for him.

The season is upon us and it is worse than ever. I tried to deep-fry my chewing gum the other day. I'm wishing now that it was someone's face. Honestly though, I don't know why. It's absolutely riveting when the restaurant is only at half capacity on a Friday night, sport or no sport on telly.

When you think about it, everything can be thrown in the deep-fryer one way or another. The quantity of hot oil in which items are submerged in completely envelops all surfaces to the same degree and provides the most even form of cooking. Of course, depending on what you would consider to be a successful result, the thermostat would have to be adjusted accordingly.

Thinly sliced crisps are best at 140ºC to dehydrate and crispen without fear of burning. Hand cut chips need to be cooked twice to be completely cooked through before being made crunchy with the former being achieved at 150ºC. The latter, along with most other things from the humble fish finger to fancy fried eggs are best done at 180ºC - hot enough so that the oil will not be absorbed into the food but not so high that it will begin to burn.

This is a simple yet incredibly easy recipe for something which seems to have become a 'signature' of sorts. It was one of the dishes featured in the Gourmet Traveller review back in January of this year and despite good quality zucchini flowers being harder to find this time of year, it still has its place on the menu. For the uninitiated, female zucchini flowers are bigger, more beautiful, with less wastage and are easier to clean. Male flowers are a little smaller, have no bulbous stems like their female counterparts but are generally cheaper. When eating flowers, all stigmas, sepals and filaments should be first removed.

Tempura Batter

60 g cornflour
40 g flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
105 ml carbonated water

Combine all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Add a little water at a time, stirring to prevent lumps from forming.
Goats Cheese Mousse
Remove hard rinds and combine all cheeses until soft.
To assemble, place soft cheese mix into a piping bag and fill zucchini flowers. Give each flower a gentle twist to prevent the cheese from escaping. Dip flowers one by one into the tempura batter and immerse in fryer at 180ºC. Remove when crisp and serve drizzled with organic orange blossom honey.

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