Thursday, November 17, 2011

The beginning - Breakfast!

Hello world! 
Tomorrow I embark on one of the biggest adventures of my life and I sit here wondering how I will share my experiences with my friends and loved ones!  I have packed up shop in Perth - leaving many of my valuables in the hands of trusted friends and some of my remaining affairs with my flat mate Robina, and flown to Canberra before I head off overseas for... I'm not sure how long.

So, I was chatting to a new friend of mine, Jason, whose mother is a chef.  Before I left Perth we spent a bit of time together as he was going through a not very nice break up and I had some spare room where I let him stay for the week prior to leaving.  During this time, we got into the habit of not only drinking the last of my wine (there was a lot to get through, and we didn't succeed), but we made an effort to go to a different style of restaurant every night.  Italian, Greek, Australian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Lebanese, French... and as I was spending this week with amazing food and brilliant company I realised what I miss most about traveling - the people and the food!  Gosh I always miss the food!!!

I love the simple clean tastes of chilli and lemon grass in authentic Vietnamese, The delicious fresh taste of fish in Japan, the unique blend of chinese, indian, and malay foods that bring the unique malaysia cuisine to life, and don't even get me started on Europe... tapas, cheese, breads, cured meats.. pastas... wow!!

So I thought, it is very easy to send a little blog with photographs an descriptions, but I really wanted some of my friends and loved ones to experience another element of my travels - the food.  

This is what this blog is about.  While I travel, I am going to try to find recipes of local cuisine and post photo's, videos, and recipes so that if anyone is interested they can make these meals at home and try them for yourself.  You will be able to buy, cook, smell, serve and share different places of the world with your friends and family!

I will try as hard as possible to find recipes as authentic as possible but if I cannot do this I will search the internet with recipes/ingredients I think will be similar. So no hating!!

Remember - buy the freshest ingredients, learn about the food, play with it, smell it, and share it! And Never, ever, ever, eat alone!!

Anyway, to begin with, I want to share with you my favourite meal of today, the day before the start of my trip.  It was a simple breakfast that I love to enjoy when in Canberra from a local bread and cheese house called "Silo Bakery".  I had the privilege of dining with two old Perth friends, Amanda and Tristan and delighted in recommending a dish that Tristan loved and changed his opinion of the restaurant!  I'm not sure why but I think of Europe or Melbourne every time I see Silo's.  Its a really small quaint restaurant in the suburb of Kingston in the ACT full by 7:15 am, with a line of people wanting to get in.  Clientele range from public servants, to professionals, to cyclists enjoying a post ride coffee, all there to experience the high quality produce and coffee.  The restaurant does takeaway as well as dining in, with an array of beautiful sandwiches and tarts, a cheese room to select a cut away portion of delicious cheeses and breads, while also offering their own jams and chutneys.  Not the cheapest, but definitely worth it (I bought a jar of the chilli jam for $20).

The breakfast I always love to order is their chilli eggs.  I love, love LOVE that shit! A simple meal comprised of two slices of sour dough bread - toasted, two softly poached eggs, a good dollop of thick chilli jam and some roasted tomatoes.

Scouring the net, I wanted to find a recipe I thought would taste as similar to this as possible.  I felt the jam definitely had an Asian taste to it, a hint of lemon grass perhaps, and it reminded my of the chilli paste Sambal from some Malaysian dishes I have eaten, but maybe not as spicy.  So a sambal recipe my well serve as a good substitute to this jam.  I found a Thai Chilli Jam, which doesn't have any lemon grass in it, but you could easily add it.  The Jam was quite thick in consistency, nearly a pizza paste consistency, and worked well with the poached eggs.

So, for Chilli eggs:
Two slices of Toasted Sour Dough Bread (get from a reputable bakery - many supermarkets serve Sour dough flavoured bread in place of Sour Dough).  
"To qualify as a sourdough, the bread must contain a portion of wild yeast starter.  Otherwise it's just traditional, commercially leavened bread.  Long-period, cold fermentation is really tangental to the definition, as it's a technique used with both sourdough and commercially leavened breads, the purpose of which is to give bacterial and enzymatic activity time to work, in order to improve flavour depth and complexity (and in the case of sourdough, to enhance sourness)." - Definition sourced here 

Two Poached Eggs
The trick to good poached eggs seems to be the use of vinegar and salt in the water.  If you are unsure of how to properly poach eggs, try this recipe.

One good scoop of Chilli Jam (this will need to be made in advance)
A recipe I found for a chilli jam is here, feel free to alternate and adjust, potentially adding lemon grass or other flavours to your liking.

Optional: roasted tomato

Place the two poached eggs onto the two slices of toasted sour dough bread. drizzle of of the chilli jam oil over the eggs and place the Chilli Jam and optional tomatos on the side.

This is how mine was served from Silo's Bakery. My apologies for the image quality, its from my iPhone3.

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