Saturday, September 19, 2015

Perth is Worth It!

Apparently, as it is on the far west of Australia, most folks don't head to Perth. And that's ridiculous!

I've had the best time with Denise and John. And hanging with Denise's crew of ladies for walks, bike rides, dim sum and cooking classes got me out, about and moving!

 The Mexico in Perth cooking class was a big success! Denise and I fell right into our rythym from when we worked together at acooking school in Colorado. We made Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, fresh Corn Tortillas, Refritos and a Zacatecas Lamb Mole. I truly believe that this is my best recipe...so far.

Zacatecas Lamb Mole

Serves 8

Ingredients:
4 each                Ancho Chiles
4 cloves         Garlic
¼ tsp.                 Cumin
½ tsp.                 Oregano
½ tsp.                 Marjoram
¼ tsp.                 Ground cloves
½ tsp.                 Ground Cinnamon
¼ cup                 Canola Oil
2 lbs.                 Lamb Shoulder, cut into ¾ inch pieces
½ cup                 Onion, minced
2 each                 Bay Leaves
2 tsp.                 Cider Vinegar
2 tsp.                 Sugar
                Salt and Pepper to taste
1 TBS                 Bittersweet Chocolate, cut into small pieces
3 tsp.                 Grated Orange zest

Method:
1. Toast the chiles on an ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat for 20 to 30 seconds on both sides, but do not allow them to burn. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, rinse them, and remove their stems, seeds and veins, tear them into small pieces, and place them in a blender. Add 3 cups of boiling water, cover the blender and allow the chiles to rehydrate for at least 20 minutes. Pour off the soaking water, but leave the chiles in the blender.
2. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, marjoram, cloves, cinnamon, and 1 ½ cups water to the blender and blend for at least 1 minute. Add ½ cup water and blend a few more seconds to mix thoroughly.
3. Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium high to high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil, and when it just begins to smoke add ½ the meat. Allow the meat to sizzle and brown without touching it for 20 - 30 seconds, turn it and repeat the process, then stir fry it until the meat is just browned but not cooked through. Remove the meat to a bowl and reserve. Brown the other half of the meat in the same manner, adding a little more oil, if necessary, and remove it to the bowl with the first batch.
4. Turn the heat to medium, add a little more oil, if necessary, and sauté the onions until they are golden brown, but do not allow them to burn. Return the reserved meat to the pot, add the contents of the blender, bring it to a simmer, cover the pot and continue simmering, adjusting the heat as necessary, for 45 minutes. Remove the top of the pot, turn the heat up until the contents come to a fairly brisk simmer, and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens to the consistency of a thin milk shake and begins to glisten. This usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. 
5. Stir in the chocolate and orange peel, and serve with hot corn tortillas.

Did I mention we made Churros and Chile Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate for dessert? 'Cause we did!

There is a lot to love here.
  1. Great Public Transportation-bus, train or even ferry! Get just about everywhere easily.
  2. Caramel Slices-I've never seen them in the States, but damm they are good! A shortbread like base, caramel middle (made from sweetened condensed milk) and chocolate top.
  3. GST-the Sales Tax is included in the price of everuthing.  If the menu or price tag says $20, you pay $20. Genius!
  4. No Tipping-wait staff are paid a fare and decent wage.
  5. Cafe's-coffee/tea shops with toast, brekky and baked goods, like the Caramel Slice.
  6. Footy-I don't understand it all, but two West Coast teams are favored in the Grand Finals and athletic strong men play it. Yes please!
But...there are just a few things that just aren't right.
  1. Target-their version is tiny and doesn't carry everything anyone could possibly want ever! 
  2. Pharmacy (Chemist in Aussie)- same as Target
  3. Cafe's-close at 5pm and often aren't open on the weekend.
  4. Chocolate Chip Cookie-nope, nope, nope...just stop it now.
  5. Milkshakes- chocolate milk does not a milkshake make.
  6. Chips-they taste wonderful, but they're fries people!

    I've also been extremely lucky that I had Gavin to drag about for food adventures. He's brother to the crew of 4 kids I watched about 20 some years ago. He's doing a semester at Uni here and was open to trying new things. Like handmaid noodles at Noodle Forum. The noodle dough is kneaded the traditional way, via bamboo rod riding noodle chef. How cool is that?

    All in all, Perth is a great place to be! I'm on to Singapore and Malaysia on Monday!