Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Does nobody make their own brioche any more?

It’s my mum’s birthday tomorrow, and I’m cooking the “Mildy Wintry Dinner for 8”, with a Moorish Cake instead of the suggested pudding. So today Mum and I went all over town to try and find supplies.

Today was sooooo rough!

First, it’s cold. I mean really cold. In Melbourne, “cold” means a bitingly icy wind which will penetrate any number of layers of clothing, dry out your skin and turn your fingers blue.

Secondly, no-one in all of Melbourne seems to stock a full-sized brioche tin, let alone a non-stick one! (You need a brioche tin for the Moorish Cake, to make it look fancy). We started off in all the homeware shops in Camberwell, then in Hawthorn, then finally we went to Cuisine World in the city. They all only had these poncy little tins, and all the shop assistants looked at me strangely when I asked for a large one. By the time we left Cuisine World, still tin-less, I was almost in tears, and thinking despondently, "Does nobody make their own brioche any more?". I think now, that I will use one of those fancy ring tins that my mum has had since the seventies. Either a rose jelly mould or a rum baba tin.

Then we went to Victoria Market – none of those fishmongers have monkfish! Again, I got funny looks when I asked for it. On the plus side, though, I stumbled across blood oranges! (These will make an “impossibly scarlet syrup” for the Moorish Cake). And more importantly, I also found SEVILLE ORANGES! I had no idea we could get them here! Any Nigella fan will know why I got so excited, because Nigella is obsessed with them. I immediately snapped up 2.5 kilos.

Grocer: Er… do you know what these oranges are for?
Me: smiling and nodding extremely enthusiastically YES!
Grocer: You know, not for eating, for making jam and stuff.
Me: still smiling nodding extremely enthusiastically… YES!
Grocer: Ok sweetie! I just didn’t want to get into trouble.
Me: No worries! still smiling, but thinking, "JUST GIVE ME THE DAMN ORANGES!"

He also told me that they’re only in season for a month… so stay tuned for a Seville orange cooking bonanza!

I did feel a bit Nigella-like as I was walking through the market, because I happened to be wearing a long black skirt and sneakers. (Of course, wearing the skirt-sneaker combo was all about getting in the cooking mood, and had nothing to do with the fact that my jeans are getting tight...)

Then we went to Canal Fishmonger on Nicholson Street in Fitzroy. Still no monkfish, so I took the fishmonger’s advice and got rock ling as a substitute. We stopped off at Laurent on the way home and I picked up some sourdough baguettes (for crostini) as well.

Phew! Ok, so here’s my lunch. As soon as I came home, I made a coffee, and then lunch for my mother and I. Nigella says that leftover upmarket mushy peas make a wonderful soup, and she was right. I added some boiled water from the kettle and half a stock cube to the peas, heated them up, and slurped it down hungrily with some of that baguette.

Soup + Baguette - yes, that IS a red kitchen aid and two Living Kitchen 3L storage jars in the background

After lunch, I walked up to the corner store, got some porcini mushrooms and some more almond meal, because when I went to Nut King yesterday, they, despite their name, only had 218 grams of the stuff. Hmph! Nut "King" my butt.

Well, now the shopping’s done… all I’ve got to do now is actually make the stuff! Sigh…


domesticgoddess said...
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domesticgoddess said...

oooh, i feel for you with the unavailability of EVERYTHING...i think it was a sign that you couldn't find a brioche mould, let alone a non-stick one, because perhaps the same scenario of tear-inducing cake-sticking that happened to me could have happened to you.
good luck for tomorrow, i'm sure the menu will be fab-ul-ass!!! :)

Ilana said...

i laughed out loud over the conservation you had with the grocer. doesn't it feel sooo good when you know exactly what you want and what an ingredient can do, and they think you have no idea... i feel like such a foodie at those times. can't wait for the seville orange-athon and your lovely dinner review.

Ilana said...

sorry about the 'conservation'... feeling dislexic today.