It’s Challenge Day!

For the first challenge of 2013, I’m taking on two dishes from Gary Mehigan and George Colombaris’ cookbook, “Your Place or Mine?”  For those of you who don’t know Gary and George, they’re two of Australia’s three Masterchef judges which means they’re pretty much everywhere when it comes to TV, Food, and Australia.  As a religious Masterchef watcher, there was no way that I wasn’t going to buy this cookbook.  Last year, in Melbourne, The Runner and I went to George’s restaurant, The Press Club.  It was good, highly overpriced but I’m glad we went (just to say we had gone really).  By the way, we’re back in Melbourne next weekend if anyone has any restaurant recommendations!

Their cookbook is organised into four sections- Providore, Green Grocer, Butcher, Fishmonger, with each section divided by ingredient- Bread, Cheese, Saffron, Asparagus, Rabbit, Lobster, Squid, just to name a few.  Each ingredient has a recipe from George and a recipe from Gary.

I’ve honestly never cooked anything from this book.  It’s one of those books which is lovely and has great pictures but is a little bit intimidating– because the pictures make the food look too good to replicate.   The photography is lovely, which isn’t surprising considering how many times on Masterchef George and Gary talk to contestants about “eating with the eyes” and presentation of dishes.  

For this challenge, I’m making the “tabbouleh with preserved lemon” on p.7 (under the ancient grains section) and “broccoli and egg” on p.37.  Yes, I know it does feel like I’m copping out a bit by making things that are on the easy side but…..  hopefully they will be tasty!   Not having an oven fully functioning and not quite being back into the full swing of things means that I am not quite at the height of my cooking powers!

p.7- the Tabbouleh mentioned above

p.27- the start of the Dried Bean chapter, two good recipes there- Grilled Quail with Braised Cannellini Beans and Chili Salted Beans.  Both required soaking beans for 5 hours or overnight.  WHY??????  Why would anyone do that when they could open up a tin of beans and toss them straight in?

p. 33- the start of the Egg chapter, so I’m making the Broccoli and Egg dish

p.47- Rhubarb and Melomakarona Crumble- I can’t pronounce it so I didn’t really want to make it.  (it’s in the Honey chapter if you’re curious)

p.69- The start of the Rice chapter- options were Saffron Risotto with Clams and Lemon Marscapone or Habibi Rice- two good options, although the risotto involves making stock and which I’m too lazy to do…

p.77 Escabeche of Mackerel- yuck.  mackerel, gross.  not going there.

p.87- the start of the Green Grocer chapter- pass!

p.101-the start of the Beetroot chapter- two options here but considering I nearly failed my Aussie citizenship test because I don’t like beetroot, I have no real desire to cook it.

p.185- a picture of the Beef Carpaccio With Flavours of a Hamburger… now this was a close one.  I was very tempted to make this one, but it was one of the recipes that looked amazingly well presented and gorgeous, so I was a bit hesitant.  Plus, it has beetroot in it….. so a big fat no for today.

So that’s how I came to the Tabbouleh and the Broccoli and Egg, it’s not glamorous but hopefully it will be tasty with some lamb chops and good company!  Also, our oven door is STILL broken!  So annoying!  The landlord says it will be fixed soon, but I’m not holding my breath…. it’s just very frustrating to try to juggle hot food, a hot oven, and a wonky door whenever we use it….. oh well…

Stay tuned for the Your Place or Mine Challenge!


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