food school and what I learned… Pauls caul

Food school and what I learned…

For those who know me (lucky bastards you are) know that I have been lucky enough to part of opening up a brand new cooking school here in WA. In fact its in a small country town called Fremantle to be exact, Fremantle is a place where it’s normal to live in a house that is covered with grass and where small people with really hairy feet run around searching for talking trees…wait a minute that’s the shire…no hang on I had it right. That actually is Fremantle. But hippies aside it is a beautiful community (did someone say cult?) and the markets in which the school is placed is a historical gem, its always busy has so many characters and just hums with life.

The school is quite frankly the best thing to happen to the area since the America’s cup in the 80’s, its not only the coolest looking kitchen you could imagine it has magical cupboards filled with fairy’s and chef’s that look like movie stars there is even talk that a unicorn was spotted making a curry paste last week… point being the school is cool!!!!

Now I have the pleasure of teaching at said school and I love it, I learn as much as any student and I have an attentive audience which actually listen to me, this place is heaven. We are currently running a class called explore and create which consists of me taking the class around the veg markets and them choosing 7 vegetables/fruit for me to create dishes from. I’ll give you an idea of what they pick, today they picked
• Persimmon (WTF)
• Pomegranate
• Eggplant
• Asparagus
• Mushrooms
• Chilli’s
• Fennel bulbs
• Beetroot

Ok I know that’s 8 items, but I’m like that totally crazy off the wall kinds of shit always happens in my class, we start off in search of 7 and end up with 8…I know, completely mental.

So as you can see that’s not your usual bag of items to cook dinner or maybe it is, if it is then piss off and read another blog because on this one this shit is strange.

Persimmon…really? I had no real idea what to do with it other then make a nice chutney. But what I ended up doing was this;

Persimmon what ever…
Quartered then sliced 3 persimmon
2 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon rose water
½ cup fresh coriander
I fried the persimmon off in the oil then cooked it for 5-10 minutes with the rosewater then tossed through the coriander.
It was actually very tasty I served with salmon and asparagus… BAM!!!

Fennel, pomegranate and blue cheese
3 fennel bulbs, quartered, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 tablespoons of blue cheese
2 pomegranates
Fry off the fennel in the butter and oil until it browns and tastes delish (add a little salt to make this happen)
In the meantime cut pomegranates in half and remove seeds by tapping scrapping or any other method you know.
When fennel is delish add the blue cheese and stir through, place on plate and top with pomegranate seeds.
This is very nice by it self or can be a side to many thing including lamb, chicken or fish.

Chilli mushrooms with pork shin
• Basically I pressure cooked the pork shin in star anise coconut milk and cinnamon.
• Cooked the mushies in chilli, coconut cream, miso and basil.
• Drained and shredded the pork and mixed through the mushie mix.
• Checked seasoning and BAM another dish…

Eggplant & chocolate
• Simple you salt the sliced eggplant to remove the bitterness
• Wash and dry said eggplant
• Fry said eggplant in cornflour (that is coated in cornflour and fried in oil, for all the slowies out there)
• Drizzle dark chocolate all over the eggplant and serve… BAM!!!

Beetroot, goats cheese and vincotto
• roast or pressure cook beetroot with rosemary, balsamic and love for either 1-2 hours or 15 minutes according to method of cooking
• peel the cooked beetroot
• slice and place on plate
• sprinkle with crumbly goats cheese and drizzle with vincotto
• BAM!!!

So as you can see this is all a little bit different then normal but as Graeme and I are always banging on about, that is what food is all about, doing something different and taking risks… little risks are ok, eggplant and chocolate= little risk, having sex with a lady with an adams apple= big risk, so either get funky with some new ingredients or come visit me at the school.

I have seen with my own eyes the cupboards filled with fairies. And I saw with those same eyes the unicorn making curry paste… this man speaks the truth. Also, the fruit guy who lives on a farm down the road from where I work, bought in a load of said persimmons this week. At least I know what to do with them now… but that’s the glory of sharing, eh. Someone will always be there to steal your idea and call it his own… and the lady with the adams apple. It was just the once… I swear. G

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