Wednesday, August 10, 2005

i'm hungry

who’s killing the great chefs of europe
was a movie that impressed me muchly when i was young. it was about food, it featured several beautiful european cities, and best of all it had jacqueline bisset* in it.

bits that I remember:

* the bombe alaska that exploded
* the pressed duck

that’s it. and the chefs were being assassinated one by one, dispatched in the manner of their signature dish. hence, whichever chef it was who did the pressed duck had his head crushed in a, yep you guessed it, a duck press.
the bombe alaska was jacqueline’s signature dish, plus I seem to remember she was a tv cook? [a forerunner of today’s tv chefs]. and the murderer had planted a real bomb somehow in it while she was cooking on camera. not sure how that happened come to think of it, because i think she made it from scratch on-air.

anyway this movie perhaps sparked my interest in all things food.

while thinking about preparing a list of 10 turn ons and offs all to do with food, I realised it was too one-dimensional and would be an absolute insult to food to take such a simple approach. food demands better treatment. what you find sexy in someone I can just about squeeze into ten, but not food. no, THAT’S serious.

therefore I have taken a different approach and made groupings:

items I truly love, though not necessarily on their own

oysters – tasmanian not sydney rock. the latter can be too high in toxins.

ice cream – current fave is the streets traditional choc chip


blue castello cheese

danish feta cheese

spring onions

red onions

real bagels

good olives, be they kalamata, green, stuffed, etc. cannot stand spanish olives.



cherries but only from a certain tree on the mornington peninsula

good italian cheese, like Grana Panado or Parmigiano Reggiano
[see this cheese place]
red chillies
greek-style yoghurt, plain, thick and creamy

tinned RED salmon. forget pink, and medium-red or whatever it is.

almost all vegetables except not that fond of okra

continental parsley

freshly-made popcorn

heavy-duty, grained or sour-dough bread


vodka [oh sorry, that’s not a food. luckily I am creating a subgroup of alcohol. food and alcohol go together. just like alcohol goes with talking, sitting, watching tv, going out, having fun with friends and family. breathing.]

now some subgroups:

processed foods I love:
* kettle plain chips
* potato gems
* flakey sea salt

foods I love which require some preparation:
baked beetroot
nicely cooked fresh fish [white flesh] or salmon. but the fillets, not the steak cut.
mushrooms cooked in butter with a little salt

now the neutral foods:
I know you’ll think I’m crazy but I am not that partial to pizza. sorry.

also curly parsley. it’s alright, but prefer the flat-leaved.

another one you won’t believe. chicken breast. to me it’s just the rubbish part of a chicken.


some meals I love:

> soft poached eggs on good toast
> spaghetti marinara [a really good seafood pasta is to be had here]
> a really good salad is hard to find when out, the best are made at home. they are heaven, for example salade nicoise, or a green salad with fetta cheese [danish] tossed through, a good rice salad…

> soups of all descriptions. love them with some cheese stirred through.

> Turkish food

> Japanese food

> Italian food

> a roast chicken with all the trimmings. [yes, and use of the indefinite article ‘a’ here DOES mean one whole one for myself. No only joking, I will share. You can have all the breast. Just an aside, one of Nigella “Use heaps of oil and butter, don’t worry about your hips, thighs and tummy, but I’m a goddess with a beautiful face so it doesn’t matter if I happen to be fat” Lawson’s mini-recipes is this:

> cook some plain spaghetti which you toss through all the scrapings and herbs and hot fat that you find at the bottom of your roasting pan once the chicken is cooked. You take out the chicken first obviously. Add some parsley and salt, or not. Eat. I have done this once. Gloriously decadent, but again, not something you do every week. [Or month. Or year even.]

> bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers and thinly-sliced red onion. oh my god, if I could, I’d be getting a stiffy right now.

> bolognaise sauce cooked my way on pasta or sometimes on rice. with a dollop of greek yoghurt. it is heaven. sheer heaven.

> a good steak – mignon or porterhouse [a rare treat]

> a tray of vegies baked in the oven with whole garlic in the casings and lots of olive oil. then tipped over rice. sea salt. eat.

> the best pasta – spaghetti, olive oil, garlic and parsley. and the variations, a bit of blue grenadier and chilli. or some prawns. or some flaked fresh salmon.

> a good spaghetti carbonara. definitely a rare treat but so decadent.

carbs in order of preference [these are my friends] :
1st best-friend = pasta
2nd best-friend = rice
3rd best-friend = bread
4th best-friend = potatoes

restaurants I want to eat at before I die:

food I want to try before I die:
truffles in some form

what I don’t need to eat before I die [ie, ever]

witchetty grubs
deep fried tarantula [ I was considering it before I saw it on Survivor. That made up my mind]
honeyed ants/grasshoppers
and finally the hates:
> bad potato or pasta salads, you know the ones with the cheap mayonnaise. I just will not eat them.
> the orange part of scallops.
> badly-cooked eggplant
> badly-cooked rice
> offal of most descriptions
> margarine/soft spread butter
>overcooked pasta

PS You’ll notice an absence of sweets. I also appreciate a good baked cheese-cake, plus other desserts. And there is no chocolate listed. That is because desserts don’t rule my life. For me it is savoury all the way.
And finally, the faithful companion to food:
martini – vodka only. gin makes me cry. plus a tiny bit of dry vermouth, shake and pour into the largest martini glass available. there have to be as many olives on the tooth-pick as you can get on. I have found four is usually the max. and they have to be stuffed. the can’t ever be stone ones.

wine – usually white

champagne - not too cheap but to tell the truth i can't taste the difference between the really expensive stuff and the $15 bottle

beer – just the local stuff

coffee – espresso or percolated or plunged. café au lait is wonderful. heat the milk in a pan and add to the strong coffee. this is the only coffee I have with sugar and it has to be partnered with a sweet pastry of some sort. for me, coffee is never, ever of the instant variety. I can do without. yes, I’ll put up with the headache, thank you very much.

* check here for jacqueline's impressive movie list. she was a '70s darling with this one being the best one.
** check here for a nice site on movies that feature food. something that really appeals to moi. though they could have included the thief, the cook etc, chocolat, oliver, 9 1/2 weeks, Tess of the d'Urbevilles.


Fluffy said...

♥ ♥ ♥ Melbourne Girl, be mine ♥ ♥ ♥

also loved jaqueline building the bombe layer by layer from scratch using those huge patissier spatulas to smooth out the merangue, icecream, cream, etc.

le sigh

Fluffy said...


Cape Man said...

Hey, bring some of that food round behind the shelter shed next time.

Jaqueline, she of the great high cheek bones.

I like cherries too, wonder if there'll be a good crop this year?

I also like home made salami, dad's second batch this year was better than the first.

Feeling a bit peckish now....

Melba said...

oh fluffy


can't believe someone else saw that movie. yes, the spatulas. yes, the layers of ice cream. yes, the meringue.

and weren't there three colours, my memory is of a neopolitan-type affair?


capey, no carbs after 8pm!

PiesFan90 said...

I don't see Pies on your list.

Pie with sauce. Can o' VB and standing in the outer at Vic park, mmmmmm.

Cape Man said...

PS: Fix the cheese link, she no work.

DJ said...

So you'll be participating in A taste of slow?

mj said...

This one is looooooong, I'll have to absorb it in a couple of sittings MG!

Anonymous said...

....writes...first off this is the sweetest food blah blah I have have read in Yonks... Fluffy is fucking ace but is also a food snob from hell and a grammer freak - (aint nobody can drink pots and finish a crossword like fluff), canned Salmon, fuck that .. smoked salmon for few bucks from V market (can ham spam).. Coffin Bay oysters-start there-ligurian black olives-gorganzola-meredith dairy goats argghhhhh Martini 'G' - oj bitters. rich reserve Verve.....we out we fluff.....

Melba said...

hey anon, don't diss the canned salmon. has to be red i said. and it is foine. yep smoked is good. yep fresh is good too. but canned has it's place.

along with frozen peas.

and canned tomatoes.

i am also a grammAr freak, and a spelling freak. typos are my enemies.

but thanks for what i THINK was a compliment?

capey - will check that link. thx

surlysimon said...

I could start here with my own list but it would be too long. Just a few notes:
DUCK, Mr Duck is SO much better than chicken and forget that health shit about taking the skin and fat off, both chicken and duck taste sooooo much better with the fat and skin.
FRESH TUNA, enough said, in fact my dinner tonight is tuna burgers amde with fresh naturaly
VU DE MOND is a must followed by a trip to sydney for dinner at the temple of gastronomy TETSUA'S aside from a couple of restraunts (one in spain, the other in california) this is the best period.
BAKED BEAN, heinz of course and on sourdough bread or bagels (i also love tinned procesed peas, i am sick i know)
CALVES LIVER don't turn your nose up this is fine stuff (in fact include duck liver and of course foi gras)
SALTED RICCOTA better than parmesean on pasta (best from the pasta shop at the QV markets)
please forgive any spelling or grammer mistakes, i draw pictures for a living and words aren't my thing.

Melba said...

hey surly, isn't the ricotta soft or is it dried?

that place in spain, bullios? or something like that? that's the foam guy

tetsuya's i'm sure would be an experience. are you saying he's the best after the other two? i've read about the calif one too.

i do love pate.

and good duck is hard to find but it is delish. and i'm with you about the skin and the fat. what's the frigging point if you pull all the best bits off?

can you recommend a good duck place in melb? there's a good chinese restaurant that does the peking duck pancakes in china town [maybe called peking duck, it's upstairs and it's a funky old dining room overlooking the intersection]

where else is there?

Gill Stannard said...

Don't you just hate the skinny little carb nazis! Life is too short to eat crap bread, or substandard pasta for that matter.

Am with you on the tinned salmon, especially the 'wild alaskan' red, which has to be better than the farmed stuff (however deliciously fresh or smoked) fed on ground up animal products. Yes some salmon now contains saturated fats instead of all the good oils.

One needs a nice vodka martini after that shocking bit of information.

Fluffy said...

who was that anonymous? someone who knows or stalks me well enough to remember a time when I had crosswording and beer drinking leisure time...

Melba said...

have no idea who that anon was. seemed to know you though fluffy

i'll say it now, bigoted though it might be.

i don't like the anonymous people

god even a fake name, which we all have, is better. put out, a bit, anonymii of the world!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what she said!


Darcy said...

Oh! Good food!!!

I could go on for ever about it.

I have eaten witchetty grubs. Filth. I cooked mine buried in the hot ashes of the fire and it went all crispy on the outside like a burnt marshmallow (actually how I like my marshallows) then when I bit through that crispy layer, a slimy rush of goo exploded into my mouth! Just don't do it.

I've also eaten paddy melon, (or rather tasted it because I was told how bad it tasted and couldn't resist - don't do that either!), crocodile, goanna, kangaroo, venison and Bengali Tiger Fish.

"Excuse me sir. What, pray tell is a Bengali Tiger Fish?"

"Well madame," he replied with a head wobble and an Indian accent, "actually it is a fish. And actually it is a Bengali Tiger Fish."

"Ah, I see," I said. "I'll have one of those."

Here's a good mix of things you love: Good fresh olive bread, perhaps litely toasted ot warmed, with blue castello cheese/fetta, flat leaf parsley and olive oil. Mmmmmm.

Have tried truffles too! Not to mention blogged about the first ones to be harvested in our very own state. Yum.

Some friends and I once made a four course meal based on figs from their garden. It included walnuts from their garden and truffle oil (left over from the truffles that we had there one night) and...ok, I'll stop now.

Let us just agree that food provides an endless topic of conversation and stimulation for those lucky enough to have it.

We are truly lucky.

Darcy said...

Oh and I've worked with Jacquleine Bisset as well.

Cape Man said...

Darcy sounds like you had an episode of The Iron Chef.
"The secret ingredient is --- Figs"

PS: show off... Does Jaq have the high cheek bones still?

Melba said...

darcy, i'll see your crocodile, kangaroo and venison and raise you turtle [yes i hang my head in shame]

i also had a near miss with some dog. it was beijing, when i was 17, and the only way we could know what we were eating was for the waiter to "act it out". Needless to say, his dog charade was perfectly clear. the meat looked very grey and gristly anyway, so no one was going there to start with.

i clip articles on truffles for some reason. i clip articles on lots of food and other stuff. it's [one of my] obsessions.

LadyCracker said...

Marvellous list Melbourne Girl.

Having eaten at flower drum I can tell you - the seafood taste like it was plucked from the ocean immediately before cooking.

Save $10 a week til Christmas and let's go...

Anonymous said...

Man, I'm hungry. Curse you all.

Anonymous said...

I just ate a mugful of M&M's. Now I feel all light-headed and weird.

Melba said...

oh my a whole mugful, surly? that will give you a rush for 30 secs then make you feel sic

ok lc, we'd need to book now though? i wonder if it's a good since the head chef/owner has left. the man who'd been there 30 years or something... but i read he still keeps an eye on it, i don't think he sold his share, just semi-retired...

Cape Man said...

I had some 'gator in the states, it tasted like chicken.

Darcy said...

Everything tastes like chicken!

I forgot to say that I'm a vegetarian. Well, a vegquarian. Do the math.

Morrocan Soup Kitchen: do it! I did it tonight.


Gianluca Di Milano said...

I'm not read evrything because is a little boring by the begining but I'm like mushrooms to much.

surlysimon said...

the riccota is hard due to the salting, the best is from the pasta shop at the queen vic where you will also find fine duck at the poultry pantry, johnathons duck is even better but supply is erratic (their duck and shitaki pie is to die for)as for peiking duck i am not so sure, it isn't my thing though i do like it.
untill i eat at E Bulli (the spanish one) or the french laundry (the californian one) i can't really make a judgment but based on one meat at tetsuyas and comaring his cook book to the french laundry i would say it would be a close run thing, tetsuyas is regularly voted as one of the top 10 restraunts in the world. here in melbourne aside from vu de monde (18 out of 20 in the age last week!) i reckon pearl is pretty good i want to try the flower drum may be soon.

la nadine said...

great post.

now i'm hungry too.

mmmm...grana panado...


LadyCracker said...

right looking into lunch at flower drum in november.


Melba said...

surly - i went to pearl about 18 months ago, took my daughter there for lunch. it was divine.

la nadine, you have recently discovered cheese i believe.

LC omigod better get saving now!

might have to take a trip to Sydney to go to Tetsuya's as well. start saving for that too....

oh shit, so much to eat and so little time

oh and gianluca - mushrooms are good

Aleks - Anarcho-Syndicalist said...

Melbournegirl, where art thou?

Melba said...

hi aleks

i'm here i've been sick as well as trying to get work done.

blogworld can suck so much of my time

thanks for noticing

Melba said...

This is my future self coming back to leave a comment. I am going to Flowerdrum next Friday.

9 Nov 2012

Sarah Saad said...