Saturday, June 18, 2016

Eat, Pray, Love.

Each day I do the rounds of the rooms in the Tavern and join the staff in preparing for the day and evening. One of the 'stops' I make for at least half an hour is the Restaurant kitchen. There is nothing quite like the kitchen for getting in touch with the meanings of Life, except for the Crypt of course, down below the Tavern, just off the Cellar through a door barely noticeable.

Today I took a friend to the Kitchen to do a bit of penance. Work is good for the Soul and for making good the mistakes of the past.

My young-gun friend had got a little plastered in the US Room the other evening and had fallen over after making an intemperate comment on the previous post. My lady of the Tavern, the Southern Gal had been a little upset and the young chap was apologetic. I had the Bouncer put him to rest in the stables over-night and today I put him to work.

We got to talking of recipes and it transpired that he likes to listen to music as he cooks. I do too, although it is often just an accompanyment to praying as I cook. Remember the phrase...
Give us this day our daily bread.....

....we take it to heart here.

The young gun had some culinary advice for other young guns, single chaps who might otherwise neglect themselves, getting pissed and falling over. They need their sustenance. He had found a recipe while travelling around Washington on his grand trip up from Oregon recently.
Russian Pelmeni
(with an American twist) 
I am going to show the Tavern Keeper my first take at a somewhat traditional Russian Pelmeni 
This is the ultimate single mans meal.
The $25 a week meal plan.
this will take several hours , but will save you dozens of hours in the long run and hundreds of dollars and it will be pretty healthy for you.
We are always interested in economy in the Tavern ! 
First you put.....
1 whole white onion
4 cloves of garlic
4 inches of diced green onion
4 tbsp olive oil a skillet until slightly brown.
Then you take 1LB of meat - i used ground buffalo, 
but you can use ground beef/pork/turkey/chicken.
It might work with Roo, too. 
1 cup of cooked rice .
2 tblespoons peppar
1 tblespoons salt
2 teaspoons tony chacheres original  (its an american creole spice popular here.  it should be available anywhere , i saw it at a grocery store in france) but whatever spices thet you fancy will do.
Mix all together in a large bowl.
(i suggest tasting your spice mix with everything but the raw meat ,  to get it to your liking)
Next , you can either roll your own wraps , which is easy , but may be beyond what a single man can do. 
Unless he is an unmarried Knight. There is nothing a Knight cannot do ! 
So the other option is buying “pot sticker wraps” or egg wraps , from the asian section of your market.
Crack two egg whites into a bowl -
Use a brush , or something to coat all the way around the sides of the wraps as shown in the picture. (usually they sell the premade sheets by 25 count , so buy 4.)
Place the filling in , fold them and press with fork.
begin to line on trays and put in the freezer.
With the mix , you should be able to get 80-100. Although for about 100  I would use 1.5lbs meat , not 1lb and  1.5 rice
Once they are frozen put 6 or 7 into individual bags in the freezer.
To cook, there are many options.
You can boil them in chicken broth, serve with sour cream on top, rye bread and a garnish (like blackberries as i did)...
or after cooking , you can put in fridge , and serve them chilled on top a nice tomato salad with vinegar.
You can also serve them hot with your choice of tomato based sauce and hot bread.
For me it was about $25 for all ingredients today , and it will be enough for me for a week of dinners. (i don’t usually eat breakfast)
He calls it his 'Mystical Supper' after the music he liked to play while working on the dish.

We shall try that out this evening in the bars. (Food and Music). I can see such mouthfuls as bar-snacks or on plates on the tables for folk to just take.

I had one of the fine chefs here show him my 'weekly' dish. Tasmanian Salmon

Being a trying-to-be-good Catholic Knight I have fish on Fridays - of course - and we grow the very best Salmon in the world here just down the river in the D'Entracasteaux Channel's small bays.

Personally I prefer nice fat fillets, de-boned and with the skin remaining on. One can make the skin 'crispy'.

It is easy to make a mess of Salmon. Buggered if I know why but so many folk just cannot get it right. My visiting Chef, Gordon, can show what he does. It is quite a good way but 'fussy'. I shall tell you my way after. 

The Tavern has the only kitchen in the entire world where Gordon is not allowed to swear.

The Bouncer is always at hand when he visits us.

That looks fine, and many customers enjoy a fine dining 'experience' when Gordon is visiting, but I like my salmon a little different.

What you need is a fine, thick piece of Tasmanian Salmon. Dry it and rub a little olive oil top and bottom. Let it sit for an hour with some parsley and black pepper on the top. Chopped, dry parsley will do, as it moistens in the olive oil.

Put the Rosary on.

Prepare, by chopping small or into strips...
*some red and green capsicum, as much as you like - I use maybe a quarter of a pepper of each.
*A modest sized onion
*two modest sized mushrooms.

This is for just one person. OK, one rotund Knight.

By the way... the prep time and the cooking time together takes about the same time as saying the Rosary. 

Make a small amount (say 2/3 of a cup) of white parsley sauce ( I use a 'packet' sauce mixed with milk).

Heat a small pan large enough for all the ingredients and a little room to spare. A bit of olive oil helps.

Put half a cup of rice on to boil (or as I do, in a rice cooker in the microwave).

Put your Salmon in the pan 'meaty-side' down, for about one minute to brown the top. Turn it and put the skin-side down for about one minute.
Call that thick !??

Add the ingredients you prepped - the peppers, mushrooms and onion - either side of the salmon. Let them lightly fry for about one minute.

Add the sauce. Lower the heat so that the sauce just gentley 'moves'. Cover for five minutes or so.

Put the rice on a plate. Take the salmon off the pan with a spatula and put on the middle of the rice. Spoon the veggies beside it. Spoon the sauce as desired, dribbling (as some say) some onto the fish and the rest onto the rice.

By this point you are well into the final prayers of the Rosary and can offer it all up. Sit and enjoy. Perhaps have a glass of Tawney port at hand.

Eat up. Drink up.

It is good for you.

Say Grace before your meal, or do as I do and say the Rosary while cooking it.



  1. There are so many ways of preparing salmon to taste ;-)

    One of my favourite ways of preparing salmon is with a chilli/brown sugar/white wine vinegar glaze. This is cooked in the oven for around 10 minutes.

    My favourite accompaniment is Boulangiere potatoes and a green veg. It also works well with a Hassleback potato.

    1. Yummm. I must let you loose in the Kitchen some day :)

      Salmon is such a nice fish. On the plate that is. I am fortunate to have the most excellent stocks very close by. And I am the Fisher King, after all.

  2. "Next , you can either roll your own wraps , which is easy , but may be beyond what a single man can do. "

    bad choice of wording on my part , I meant to say "may be beyond what a single man would WANT to do after a hard days work"

    but if have weekend free'd up by all means buy a roller , boys and get at it!

    1. Hahaha. There is hope for you young Squire.

  3. also , the salmon.
    my god. heavenly.

    great food does not have to be beautiful , just as great people do not.
    BUT , a little effort in presentation goes a long ways on these plates.
    same goes for people.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..