I?ve been really behind in blogging, like stories from over a month ago sort of behind, and I have only the end of classes and dissertation preparation week to blame. Its been school, school, school, so after doing the occasional fun thing with the class, I had no time to actually write about it. Thus, the newly patented Leena?s blog squishie, in which all of these lovely events get squished into one blog for your reading enjoyment. Also named for the beverage sold by Apu on the Simpsons, pretty much the only role model Indians have on popular American television today. This one?s for you, Apu. Get excited people. When you get a bunch food lovers together in a room, you know there is about to be a whole lot of good eating and some food porn to boot. First, we had volunteered to help out at a lecture on molecular gastronomy that really turned out to be a lecture on food science. Its a good thing we all love food! We served appetizers (or entrees to Aussies) and wine prior to the lecture, so of course, we needed some people to make the food. Meat was donated by a graduate?s family meat business, Olga Fine Foods I believe, and we had wagyu burgers and lamb kofta lollipops with tzatziki dipping sauce, and also a few vegetarian ones that I think had cheese and roasted capsicum (red bell pepper) on it. It was a lot of little food, so we put them together in an assembly line, something I have done before while catering. All the meat was cooked, the condiments made and the bread crostinis were baked in advance (toast made with olive oil), so we literally just put the food together?and tasted a few?or a lot? Here are the veggie ones. They remind me of some old school culinary arts book/garde manger type stuff. I love it!
The burgers, with salad and beetroot on top (an Aussie classic).
Here?s Linda putting together the lamb lollipops with and dipping sauce.
And here are the kitchen helpers: Bonnie, Diana, Myself, Linda and Susie (who also made a bunch of the condiments).
Other people helped out by taking money for the lecture at the door or serving wine (in the background of this picture). The bonus about events like this is when there is leftover food or wine?we give it a good home. This is Selina, Joanne and Kristen taking tickets, and in the background, Andrew and Niki are serving wine.
The next event we had was an end of class barbecue. What I love is that because we all are from different countries in my class, we always have such a wide variety of food at our events. We started off?with a lot of food on the table. There were Italian quesadillas, fondue, salads, crackers and dips, green papaya salad, and I think a bean salad. And of course, wine and beer.
Look at all these happy people eating and drinking. How can you be sad with food and booze, huh?
Well, Kristin was maybe a bit TOO happy.
Our happy host was so stoked to have the party?he forgot to buy fuel for the grill. And if I didn’t make fun of him for it, I would not be a good friend.
But he made up for it by cooking up a storm.
Like extra fatty lamb chops (thanks, Selina!) and pork ribs with homemade barbecue sauce, wagyu beef sausages, fish packets with vegetables, and even mushrooms. So the middle of the party was filled with food.
These were ribs made by Niki with a homemade barbecue sauce…which I believe had chiles, coffee and other goodness within it. I liked it because it was not too sweet with just a hint of spice, and the sauce really let the meaty juicy good stuff come out.
And of course we ended with a plethora of desserts: Linda brought this rich death by chocolate cake.
I decided to go retro and make a pineapple upside down cake, using a combination of my mom’s recipe and an Alton Brown recipe.
There was also truffles, fruit and cheese, and later a kiwi pudding. This is Jesse’s avocado milkshake.
There was also plum wine floating around somewhere. It was a fun, slightly chilly but still delicious evening. But the good thing about this group? One party is never enough. I think we are all too social to not hang out. We had a class dinner at the end of dissertation week at Mapo, a Korean restaurant in Chinatown (Adelaide). The front of Mapo is a straight forward, nice restaurant. But in the back, it is loud, smoky and fun. The tables have individual charcoal grills in them, and a buffet of raw meat and seafood. Here is the buffet:
You pick what you want along with the condiments, and cook it at your table. YAY! This is what the tables look like:
Here is some of our meat in action:
I had my first taste of kim chee ever (a spicy Asian pickle condiment), which I wrapped in some lettuce with grilled beef. Since I was a kid, I have loved the combination of pickled veggies and beef, something about the salty, crunchy pickle and the savory and sweet beef that just rocks my mouth a little, so I was in heaven with this. I love interactive food. Here is Diana, a lovely Aussie from my class (and a hottie that night!), doing what she does best?making us some yummy mummy food.
I sat next to my friend Joanne (from the US), who trusted me to properly crisp up our meat. This is not a joke?the proper crisping of meat should only be handled by trained professionals, especially since a lot of smoke tends to follow proper crisping. Joanne doubted my crisp a bit, but once she tasted it, she immediately knew: I am the crisping queen. Never doubt my crisp. NEVER. This is Joanne, myself, and Jesse in the middle.
Jesse got so many good shots that night of our class and since my camera died shortly after dinner started, she has been kind enough to let me use her pictures. Thanks Jesse, you rock! So just how diverse are we? This is Kristin (from Hawaii) and Max (from India…duh).
This is Jesse in the middle (from Malaysia) with Mel (from South Africa, she’s Andrew’s partner, and Andrew is an Aussie in the program), and our teacher Rachel (from the US) is on the other side.
This is Jesse with Susan (an Aussie) and another teacher, Roger (from New Zealand).
Some of the meat and seafood were seasoned, and others were not, but they had plenty of condiments for you to experiment with. My favorite was the marinated pork belly?if you left it on the grill just long enough, it got crispy and tasted a bit like unsmoked bacon. By the end of the night, our grill was the last one still cooking meat. Everyone else had thrown in the towel, but not my grill! We grilled until the cows came home, then we threw the cows on the grill and only stopped when the dessert showed up. Cuz thats how we gastronomes roll. You might be wondering what a Korean restaurant in South Australia serves for dessert…good question! We ordered one of everything and ended up with: This sundae
A chocolate tart and lemon pie (which was sadly eaten by the time a picture was taken…probably by me…)
Green tea ice cream with sweet red beans
Baily’s ice cream
And this is why I should never be left alone with food.
Here?s the whole group!
Thanks for a great time to my entire class. I have really enjoyed getting to know this diverse group of food lovers, and I know I will miss them, classes and the crazy adventures we?d get into after class. But hey, at least I will have a couch to crash on in homes across the world. I hope you enjoyed my first blog squishie. Thank you, come again! ~LTG