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Month: June 2018

Slipper accuser seeking secrecy

Slipper accuser seeking secrecy

IN another twist to the sexual harassment case against Peter Slipper, his accuser wants to keep secret his reasons for why the Speaker’s attempt to have the matter thrown out should be dismissed by the Federal Court.
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Justice Steven Rares had ordered James Ashby to file by today a response to the ”points of claim” documents submitted by the Commonwealth and Mr Slipper as part of their application to have the case struck out as an abuse of process.

Mr Ashby, who is suing Mr Slipper and the Commonwealth, claims the stood-aside Speaker made unwelcome advances and sent him sexually suggestive text messages after Mr Ashby joined his staff in December last year.

Mr Slipper and the Commonwealth allege Mr Ashby’s case was intended to ”vilify” Mr Slipper and ”destroy or seriously damage” his reputation and career. They are seeking an order that proceedings be stopped as an abuse of process.

Mr Ashby wants the sexual harassment case to go ahead. The argument over whether it will is scheduled for July 23.

If Justice Rares grants Mr Ashby’s latest application, the Commonwealth and Mr Slipper will have to present their case in court on July 23, before Mr Ashby has to file any response.

Meanwhile, Mr Slipper has amended his points-of-claim document to remove an allegation that News Limited could only have got Mr Ashby’s application – which details the harassment allegations – from Mr Ashby or one of his contacts and that no journalist accessed the documents via the court before the story appeared on April 21.

He said a reporter accessed the documents from the court on April 20, but only after Mr Ashby or a contact told the newspaper the application had been filed.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Horror moves as carbon tax battle becomes a song and dance show

Horror moves as carbon tax battle becomes a song and dance show

WHYALLA, poor Whyalla. Sources confirm the carbon tax, introduced on Sunday, has not (yet) wiped it off the map. But now the South Australian steel city has bigger problems than the prospect of annihilation.
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As the unlikely pawn in the epic carbon tax battle between the government and the Coalition, the town was yesterday subjected to one indignity too many.

The Trade Minister, Craig Emerson, sang about it on national television. His song, accompanied by a jig that was more convulsive than it was rhythmic, was scarier than any carbon tax-related price rise could ever be.

In an interview with the ABC’s Mark Simkin, Emerson, who visited Whyalla on Sunday, was asked what the mood was like there.

The Trade Minister paused in a stagy manner as his media advisor cued the music and then sang: ”No Whyalla wipeout, there on my TV /Shocking me right out of my brain / Shocking me right out of my brain”.

It was a less-than-tuneful re-working of the old Skyhooks number Horror Movie.

There were other signs the world had gone mad. Julia Gillard did an interview with her radio nemesis, 2GB, home to her tormentor Alan Jones. Meanwhile, Tony Abbott spoke to not one but two ABC radio stations – Radio National and Melbourne’s local ABC. The Opposition Leader usually avoids the public broadcaster.

Both leaders were desperately peddling their versions of the carbon-tax future. They dashed from youth-focused commercial stations to morning television and then to press conferences.

Abbott tweeted and Gillard bantered with Kyle Sandilands, who invited himself to her place for a barbecue, the sausages for which may or may not be more expensive now, depending on whom you believe.

Gillard did more than 10 daytime media calls. She said the Clean Energy Future would create jobs, not cost them. She emphasised the tax cuts and compensation with which the government is showering lower-income earners.

She argued the difference between a ”price” and a ”tax” with broadcaster John Laws. Whatever you wanted to call it, individuals wouldn’t pay it, she said.

Abbott, who had around seven media engagements during the day, said ”millions of Australian households will be worse off”, according to the government’s own figures.

He said the tax wouldn’t even achieve emissions reductions.

Where Gillard uses averages (the cost-of-living increase will be a teensy 0.7 per cent), Abbott uses specifics (just wait till you open your electricity bill).

It remains to see which tactic will prevail, and whether or not Emerson’s creative use of song will prove an effective weapon against Abbott, or what the military euphemistically calls ”blue on blue”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Power bills to include price rise ‘facts’

Power bills to include price rise ‘facts’

IN A bid to deflect anger over rising electricity prices, the Gillard government has persuaded utility companies to enclose in household power bills a flyer explaining the role of the carbon price.
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Most of the bills mailed out for the rest of the year will include a double-sided sheet explaining that for each $100 in electricity costs, the carbon price makes up $9, compared with $51 for the network of poles and wires and $20 each for wholesale electricity and retail services.

The move – which will cost taxpayers nearly $130,000 – reflects government concern that the carbon tax is being unfairly blamed for the broad rise in power bills, which has overtaken petrol prices as a lightning rod for consumer price concerns.

It came as left-leaning think tank the Australia Institute released a table that showed the $10.10 a week that the carbon price will cost the average household – even before compensation – is less than the money they waste each week by throwing away food.

It is also less than the average household spends on sweets and chocolate and tobacco and barely a third of the money dished out for fast food or alcoholic drinks.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said 19 utility companies had agreed to include the government flyer, with just three refusing – Synergy and Horizon Power, both owned by the West Australian government, and Ergon, owned by the Queensland government.

”The government is determined to ensure households get the facts about electricity prices instead of the myths they have been fed by the opposition over the last 16 months,” he said.

He also took a dig at the Coalition WA and Liberal-National Queensland governments, suggesting they were ”afraid of people hearing the facts about electricity prices”.

Richard Denniss, executive director of the Australia Institute, said the comparison of the carbon price impact with other household costs showed that the fear about rising prices was blown out of proportion.

”I hate to say it, but I think this whole debate shows that the issues most Australians worry about are discretionary. Clearly as a proportion of our household budget, this is a very small issue, especially once household compensation is factored in,” he said.

But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said people would find that the heftier power bills to be sent out soon were just the start in a likely series of rises.

”Every cost in our economy embeds power and transport and the whole point of a carbon tax is to make power and transport more expensive because power and transport use fuels that emit carbon dioxide,” he said.

A report released last week by the Australian Energy Market Operator found that energy demand was falling – partly because of rising prices and the uptake of rooftop solar power – which could check the steady rise in power bills of recent years.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

PM rejects suggestion of leadership trouble

PM rejects suggestion of leadership trouble

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard dismissed suggestion that the bad result in The Age/Nielsen poll, with only 33 per cent supporting the carbon price and the government trailing 42-58 per cent in the two-party vote, would put more pressure on her leadership.
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”I’m not … going to engage in all of that,” she said, as she and her ministers blitzed the airwaves.

Ms Gillard once again insisted she had not intended to mislead people when she promised before the election there would be no carbon tax, and she maintained the Coalition would not try to repeal the tax if it won the election.

Interviewed by John Laws on Sydney radio, Ms Gillard was pressed on why she called it a ”price” rather than a tax.

”Call it a carbon price, call it a carbon tax, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter”, she said. The government, meanwhile, continued with its attacks on Tony Abbott, with Trade Minister Craig Emerson performing a ditty about the ”Whyalla Wipeout”, based on the Opposition Leader’s claim about the effect of the tax on that town.

Ms Gillard said that with all the doom the opposition had spread about for months, it was appropriate for the government to say ”look the doomsayers were wrong”. Mr Abbott visited the Liberal Party faithful in Geelong yesterday, warning the carbon tax was ”anti-Victoria”.

”Victoria is great because of manufacturing on the back of the La Trobe Valley power stations,” he told the crowd. ”They are all going to go if Labor has its way.”

Mr Abbott said he was a ”profoundly committed conservationist … but there are smart ways and dumb ways to protect the environment.”

He was endorsing the party’s candidate for the marginal seat of Corangamite, former ABC journalist Sarah Henderson, admitting: ”I’m not normally an enthusiast for ABC journalists.”

Ms Henderson said 40 per cent of the local workforce was employed by manufacturing, including 14,000 workers employed by heavy industry such as Alcoa and Shell.

A protester in a chicken costume called out to Mr Abbott, wishing him a good day ”under the sky that hasn’t fallen”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Albury woman linked to Mexican bombings

Albury woman linked to Mexican bombings

Mexican authorities were seeking an Australian citizen in connection with orchestrated bombings, Mexican media reported.AN Albury woman has been linked to bombings carried out by a Mexican anarchist group.
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Mexican media reported that Felicity Ann Ryder had been arrested in Mexico City along with a man suspected of planning three bombings.

The alleged bombings occurred in two separate boroughs of Mexico City on June 27.

Ms Ryder’s family told The Age that they did not believe she had been arrested but that Mexican authorities were trying to find her. ”We have been unable to contact Felicity, so we are not even sure if she is involved in the incident,” a family member said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Australian Embassy in Mexico would provide consular assistance if requested. ”We are aware of media reports that Mexican authorities are seeking an Australian citizen, alleged to be connected to those who orchestrated explosions in Tlalpan and Coyoacan in Mexico,” a spokesman said.

Ms Ryder had been connected to the bombings by Mario Antonio Lopez Hernandez, who was arrested when he was injured by one of the bombs, according to news reports. Police said Mr Hernandez, 27, was found with clothes matching a description of the bomber and with a bomb in his backpack.

The reports say Ms Ryder had arrived in Mexico City as a tourist on December 6 last year.

Mr Hernandez had admitted to being a member of an anarchist group and learning how to build the bombs on the internet, the reports state. He reportedly bought bomb components from street vendors and supermarkets.

Police allege a bomb detonated outside the Federal Electricity Commission and two more explosions were planned, including one at the Federal Electoral Institute. Pictures of the commission published with the story show several windows shattered in the blast.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The way to sangiovese

The way to sangiovese

Giovanni Manetti in his Fontodi vineyards in the heart of Chianti. French oak barriques.
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IT’S one of the most prized vineyard sites in Tuscany, evocatively known as conca d’oro – or golden shell – with its south-facing slopes perfectly formed and framed by its natural amphitheatre shape. At its hill’s crest, old stone buildings, including the majestic 11th-century Panzano castle, are a reminder of the area’s history and its ancient dirt.

And that free-draining soil, called galestro, a friable schist-based compound of marl and clay, is scattered throughout Tuscany, especially the Chianti region, wedged between Florence in the north and Siena in south. However, conca d’oro stands alone because it’s mostly galestro. And that suits sangiovese perfectly.

It’s one of the reasons, explains Fontodi winemaker-owner Giovanni Manetti, why his flagship wine, Flaccianello della Pieve, has always been a 100 per cent sangiovese sourced from the best parcels off the conca d’oro vineyards his family have owned since 1968. Yet, Fontodi’s Chianti Classico is also 100 per cent sangiovese – although Italian wine law permits 20 per cent of other red grapes to be added.

”Panzano is regarded as the heart of Chianti, admired for centuries for its vines, and this parcel of land is right in the middle. It’s made for sangiovese,” Manetti says. ”There’s lots of light; it’s cooler between 450 to 520 metres; and it really has a unique microclimate with its galestro soils, so it’s dry and not so fertile and the vines’ roots go down deeply. That’s why the flavours of the territory come out in the wine.”

He believes the region’s wine laws should be stricter. ”Some people say the 80 per cent sangiovese rule is too much but I want it to be more. Then people say, ‘Ah, but you are in Panzano, you’re lucky; in some areas we need to add merlot.’ I don’t agree with that. If winemakers are looking for quality and spending time in their vineyards doing the right job, they can make beautiful sangiovese everywhere in Chianti.”

There are many wonderful sangiovese blends made, with the best allowing the sangiovese to shine. Yet Flaccianello, which has been produced since 1981, is the essence of the variety. It has astonishing energy and definition, yet is fine and subtle, given that it spends 18 months in new French oak barriques. Few can match that refinement.

So how does Fontodi achieve that? It’s all about the minutiae – starting with the detail in vineyards.

The Fontodi estate covers 130 hectares, with about 80 hectares under vine (of which 95 per cent is sangiovese), plus there are olive groves and a herd of magnificent Chianina cattle, all farmed organically and sustainably.

Between every second row of vines, Manetti grows barley to reduce the vines’ vigour, and in turn the crop is harvested in July and fed to the cows, along with legumes, to return nitrogen to the soil, which smells sweet and alive.

”The soil is breathing,” Manetti says. ”It’s never compacted. With organics and this natural approach, we are seeing a self-sufficiency of the vines; they are most resistant to extreme conditions. We are working on the health of the vine.” During vintage, the marc is also fed to the cows, with their manure returned to the vines as compost.

Manetti is mindful that a few decades ago, chemicals were used to achieve the goal of quantity rather than quality. No herbicides or pesticides are used in the vineyards, and since 1990 Fontodi has been organic. The wines are also treated naturally in the winery – no added yeast or enzymes, no fining, just a gentle filtration before bottling.

Now, Manetti is moving into biodynamics. Panzano is a hub of organic and biodynamic practices and Manetti says about 80 per cent of growers employ those methods. He believes that in a few years, the region will be entirely organic.

The movement has been spearheaded by the Unione Viticoltori di Panzano, of which Manetti is president, a group of 20 like-minded growers determined to eradicate synthetic herbicides and pesticides and ensure the region embraces sustainability.

Part of the group’s charter reads: ”Talking about quality, we are convinced that quality wine or excellent wine is, and will always be, one that represents its terroir.”

There’s no better expression of terroir, of conca d’oro, than in Flaccianello, tasted through a bracket comprising the 1981, ’86, the 2001 – the first vintage in which top fruit selection became the focus and has remained so – the ’06, ’07, ’08 and finishing with the beautiful ’09, Fontodi’s best vintage to date.

The 1986 was stonkingly good – medium-bodied, savoury with fine tannins and lovely pure acidity. It has years ahead of it. The ’01 was definitely several steps up in quality and beautifully balanced, with the ’09 promising to be equally long-lived.

Fontodi’s 2008 vintages are due in Australia in September. Try Prince Wine Store in South Melbourne.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The pursuit of XO-lence

The pursuit of XO-lence

Chef Kylie Kwong.FIFTEEN years ago, Kylie Kwong tasted a sauce in Hong Kong that she says changed her cooking forever. She was on a trip with then-boss Neil Perry when they ate at the famed Spring Moon restaurant at the grand Peninsula hotel. An impeccable maitre d’ wheeled out a beautiful rosewood trolley; there was bird’s nest soup and ”incredible, expertly carved Peking duck”. Most impressive, though, was the lobster, served with thin egg noodles and the Spring Moon’s XO sauce.
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XO sauce, Kwong says, is a relatively recent addition to Cantonese cooking and one she never stumbled across growing up with a Cantonese mother who did not like chillies.

The sauce originated in Hong Kong in the 1980s. Its name comes from XO (or extra old) cognac, considered supremely luxurious. Kwong researched the sauce when she returned to Australia and has served her own version since opening her Billy Kwong restaurant in Sydney 12 years ago.

Good XO sauce, she says, is like having ”money in the bank”. One of the main ingredients, dried scallops, can cost up to $300 a kilogram and the sauce can be labour-intensive. But Kwong insists it is worth making from scratch: ”Yes, it’s expensive but it’s versatile. All you need to do is fry an egg and steam some rice and put a dollop of XO on it and you’ve got a million-dollar dish.”

Kwong uses the sauce to elevate simple dishes such as fried rice, salads and stir-fried calamari.

While the dried shrimp, dried scallops, garlic and chillies are integral to produce the sauce’s intense flavour and the ”chewy” texture so loved by Chinese cooks, Kwong says chefs have always put their own stamp on XO.

Traditionally, XO sauce has used pork to impart a smoky flavour. Melbourne chef Tony Tan uses Iberico jamon because it’s the closest he can find to the Jinhua and Yunnan ham used in Hong Kong.

The Flower Drum’s Anthony Lui opts for Italian prosciutto, saying its nuttiness is similar to that of hams used in Shanghai.

Among Kwong’s Sydney clientele are many who don’t eat pork, so Billy Kwong’s chefs opt for dry salted fish.

Her new book, Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking Class, provides home cooks with an accessible recipe calling for smoky bacon.

Kwong remembers eating at Flower Drum when Gilbert Lau held the reins: ”He was always so proud of his XO. Gilbert would ask if you wanted to try some of his XO sauce, then he would disappear and he would come back with this amazing little ramekin of yumminess.”XO Sauce

THIS is an oily, powerful-tasting, intensely textured, garlicky chilli paste. The small dried red chillies are optional, but I like the extra heat and the smoky, dark quality they add. Do take care when blistering them – they turn black quickly, and must be removed at once. If they blacken too much, simply discard them and start again. I serve a small bowl of XO sauce alongside meals; it also makes a good dipping sauce for boiled dumplings.

INGREDIENTS

55g dried shrimp

80g dried scallops

250ml Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

11 large red chillies, roughly chopped

7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 large red shallots, roughly chopped

375ml peanut oil

3 dried small red chillies

55g smoked bacon, rind removed, finely diced

3 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

METHOD

■Place dried shrimp in small bowl and cover with half of the wine or sherry.

■Place dried scallops in a medium-size bowl and cover with remaining wine or sherry. Liquid must completely cover the shrimp and scallops. Cover with cling wrap and leave in refrigerator overnight.

■Drain shrimp and reserve liquid. Drain scallops and reserve liquid. Mix shrimp and scallops together, and process until finely shredded. Remove and set aside.

■Place large red chillies, garlic and shallots in food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove and set aside.

■Heat peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add dried chillies and cook for 30 seconds each side to blister and slightly blacken. Remove chillies with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Reserve oil in wok.

■Reduce heat to medium, add chilli, garlic and shallot mixture and bacon to oil. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 3 minutes to cook out the flavours.

■Next, add shrimp and scallop mixture and cook for 6 minutes, stirring regularly – the oil should leach out at this stage.

■Add reserved soaking liquid from both the shrimp and scallops. Stir gently for 3 minutes to cook out the wine, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

■Add soy sauce, sugar and the blistered dried chillies and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Makes 3 cups

 Note: The XO sauce can be used straight away or cooled and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month (the flavours will intensify over this time). If serving as a condiment, be sure to remove required amount from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

Crispy soy-roasted pork belly

EVERYONE I know just loves pork crackling. To get good crackling, it’s important to follow the steps here closely, especially the initial scalding of the skin, and then allowing the pork to thoroughly dry out, uncovered in the refrigerator, after it has marinated.

INGREDIENTS

1×800g piece free-range, boneless pork belly, skin on and scored (ask butcher)

500ml boiling water

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp salt flakes

For the marinade:

2 tbsp brown rice miso paste

1 tbsp five-spice powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp light soy sauce

METHOD

■Place the boneless pork belly, skin-side up, on a wire rack over the sink. Pour over boiling water to scald the pork skin – this will help the skin crisp up properly.

■Pat rind thoroughly dry with kitchen paper and place pork, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

■Remove pork from fridge and place, skin-side up, on a chopping board. Using the tip of a sharp knife, stab the pork skin until the surface is covered with holes, being careful not to go all the way through. Turn the pork over and make cuts about 2 centimetres apart and 1-centimetre deep.

■Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub marinade evenly over flesh side of the pork (not the skin) and massage into the cuts.

■Place pork, skin-side up, on a wire rack (this rack will be used for roasting the pork, so make sure it is ovenproof and fits inside a roasting tin) and place over a tray or large plate to catch any drips. Put in refrigerator and leave pork uncovered overnight, during which time the skin will dry out.

■The next day, bring pork to room temperature and preheat oven to 150C.

■Transfer pork and wire rack to a roasting tin. Rub skin well with the sesame oil, then scatter salt all over.

■Roast for 1½ to 2 hours or until tender (pierce the meat with a skewer – there should be no resistance).

■Increase oven temperature to 220C and continue roasting for 15 minutes. This final blast of heat will crisp up the skin, turning it into crackling.

■Remove pork from the oven and rest, uncovered, in a warm place for 15 minutes. To serve, cut into 1-centimetre-thick slices.

Serve as part of a banquet for 4 

Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking Class, Penguin, $59.95.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The cook’s companion

The cook’s companion

The element of supplies … there’s not much Christopher Hazell doesn’t stock in his Chefs’ Warehouse.’I love selling stuff and I’m so lucky there are enough people who like the same stuff as I do,” Christopher Hazell says.
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The tall, slightly rumpled-looking Hazell is being modest. He does more than sell stuff. He has been equipping Sydney’s best kitchens for more than 30 years, supplying Neil Perry, David Thompson, Tetsuya Wakuda, Serge Dansereau and Christine Manfield, among others.

He has advised apprentices and home cooks about everything from pasta-making paraphernalia to ceramic-coated induction-ready frying pans. He has even found a blood-sausage funnel for Romeo Baudouin who works at Victor Churchill.

Hazell’s Chefs’ Warehouse is stuffed with this kind of stuff and more. Looking around just makes you want to cook. There are books for recipe nerds and nozzles for piping pastry, French earthenware and flavoured essences, sieves and stemless wine glasses, bins of wooden spoons and shelves of baking moulds. It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

The fun starts even before you go in, as you walk under the giant whisk hanging outside the 1930s building, once used as a technical college. The ”Trade Only” sign above the door is to let customers know this place is for serious cooks. ”We’ll take money from anyone,” Hazell says.

At the top of the stairwell, decorated with handsome copper bowls, you hit the heavy-duty utensil action straight away. High-powered Hamilton Beach blenders, paella pans large enough to feed a small village, retro-style KitchenAid mixers and a $795 machine with a wicked looking bread-dough hook are intended for commercial kitchen work.

For the home cook, Chefs’ Warehouse is the place to learn about handy tools such as knife sharpeners, bread-proofing baskets, ribbed beechwood gnocchi boards, kiln-fired and salt-glazed confit pots, and 10 different types of skimmers – mesh, wire, perforated, brass, square – you could have in your kitchen.

Hazell presides over this orderly, fascinating array – check out the antique sea-urchin cutter for sale or the lovely 1950s Tournus nickel saucepan – while his business partner, David Furley, is the buyer out the back.

Furley, who joined Chefs’ Warehouse in 1988, became indispensable after Hazell’s wife died in 1989 and fire destroyed the Chefs’ Warehouse Surry Hills premises the following year. A blackened Savoy tin set hanging on the wall is a souvenir and poignant reminder of how the business nearly burnt out.

Hazell honed his kitchen equipment selling skills at The Bay Tree, the Woollahra shop his mother, June Hazell, opened in 1969 which became a Sydney institution (and still is). He grew up in a food-loving household with his businessman dad who adored restaurants and his housewife mum who fell in love with London’s Soho kitchen shops in the 1960s and Elizabeth David’s ”perfect taste” in her Pimlico store.

Young Christopher – his mother hated people calling him Chris – remembers eating at Prince’s Restaurant in Martin Place and Natalino’s in Kings Cross when he was about nine. He didn’t go into the food ”trade” as an adult but studied arts and commerce, then worked for an insurance company.

He took off to London and lived there for three years. He began cooking in corporate dining rooms and, when he returned to Sydney in 1972, did a very short stint cooking in a wine bar.

”It cured me,” he says. ”I was exhausted. I never wanted to work in a restaurant after that.”

Instead, he joined his mother and sister at The Bay Tree. In 1980, he took over a long, narrow shop in Liverpool Street, crammed it with commercial cooking equipment and targeted restaurants. In 1986, he moved to the first Surry Hills site.

In the years since, Chefs’ Warehouse has serviced soup kitchens and pastry shops, celebrity chefs and the Salvation Army. Hazell still trades with suppliers whom he first met more than 30 years ago.

”I recall meeting Monsieur Renault in the mid-’70s, wearing the traditional plus-four like breeches of his region, striding though his paddocks, checking the kilns, the ‘green’ pottery within,” Hazell says.

You can buy gratin and terrine dishes made by Poterie Renault near Orleans in France from Chefs’ Warehouse and have a slice of history yourself.Chefs’ Warehouse

111-115 Albion Street, Surry Hills, 9211 4555, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm

Best buysPaderno ceramic-coated induction-ready frying pan, 28 centimetres, $78.75 European bread-proofing basket, one kilogram, $16.88 Smith’s Jiffy-Pro hand-held knife sharpener, $14.63

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Five ways with sweet potato

Five ways with sweet potato

Versatile … sweet potatoes are great in soups.1. CARAMELISED SWEET POTATO AND ORANGE PUREE
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Peel and dice two large sweet potatoes. Squeeze enough fresh orange juice to cover. Set juice aside. In a saucepan, melt 200 grams butter, add sweet potato and stir over medium heat. Once the sweet potato starts to go golden brown, add one tablespoon honey and a cinnamon stick. Stir for 20 minutes. Add juice, cover saucepan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat or until potato is soft. Puree and serve with duck breast.2. SWEET POTATO AND DESIREE POTATO GRATIN

Preheat oven to 190C. Butter a casserole dish and add alternate layers of thinly sliced sweet potato and desiree potato to desired depth. In a saucepan, mix cream (enough to cover potato layers), one teaspoon paprika, a pinch cumin, salt, pepper and a garlic clove. Infuse cream for three minutes on low heat. Do not boil. Strain and pour over potatoes to cover. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, cover with foil and bake for one hour. Remove foil. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.3. SWEET POTATO AND LEEK CREAMY SOUP

Wash and slice one leek (white part only). Poach in water with one chopped garlic clove until tender. Drain. Dice two medium-sized sweet potatoes. Saute in olive oil with poached leeks (stir occasionally) for five minutes. Add four cups chicken stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Drain excess liquid and mash vegetables. Stir on medium heat until slightly thickened. Add 100 millilitres evaporated milk and chopped fresh coriander leaves.4. SWEET POTATO AND PUMPKIN DUMPLINGS

Boil six cups water with one cinnamon stick, three cloves and two star anise for 10 minutes. Strain and use liquid to cook 500 grams each of chopped sweet potato and pumpkin until soft. Strain, reserve two cups of cooking liquid and allow to cool slightly. Add three tablespoons active yeast and three tablespoons sugar to warm cooking liquid. Let stand 15 minutes. Place sweet potato and pumpkin in a large bowl, mash and add two eggs, pinch of salt and yeast mixture. Whisk by hand until blended. Add 500 grams self-raising flour, stirring vigorously until dough is soft, elastic and does not stick to fingers. Place a damp cloth over the dough and rest for one hour or until doubled in volume. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet. Take a small piece of dough, dip in salt water and drop into the pan, forming a hole in the centre (like a doughnut). Cook until golden brown and turn. Serve hot with honey.5. SWEET POTATO DESSERT

Boil one large sweet potato in its skin. Once cooked, peel and puree the flesh. Boil four cups water with three teaspoons sugar, add mashed sweet potato and cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Soak two gelatine sheets in water until softened, then stir into the puree, sheet by sheet, until it forms a fairly thick consistency. Pour into a rectangular container (15 x 25 cm), cover with foil and cool. Refrigerate for four-five hours until firm. Cut into pieces and serve on a cheese plate – I recommend manchego or pecorino.

Ideas from Alejandro Saravia, Morena restaurant, Surry Hills.

Follow Cuisine on Twitter @Cuisine

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

A sauce of inspiration

A sauce of inspiration

Extra texture .. Kwong’s home-made XO sauce elevates a simple dish of fried eggs, rice and tamari.Fifteen years ago, Kylie Kwong tasted a sauce in Hong Kong she says changed her cooking forever. The 28-year-old was on a trip with then boss Neil Perry when they ate at the famed Spring Moon restaurant at the grand Peninsula hotel. An impeccable maitre d’ wheeled out a beautiful rosewood trolley; there was bird’s nest soup and ”incredible, expertly carved Peking duck”. Most impressive, though, was the lobster, served with thin egg noodles and the Spring Moon’s XO sauce.
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XO sauce, Kwong explains, is a relatively recent addition to Cantonese cooking and one she never stumbled upon growing up with a Cantonese mother who did not like chillies. The sauce originated in Hong Kong in the 1980s. Its name comes from XO (or extra old) cognac, considered supremely luxurious.

Kwong researched the sauce when she returned to Australia and has served her own version since opening her Billy Kwong restaurant in Surry Hills 12 years ago.

Good XO sauce, Kwong says, is like having ”money in the bank”. One of the main ingredients, dried scallops, can cost as much as $300 a kilogram and the sauce can be labour intensive. But Kwong insists it’s worth making. ”Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s versatile,” she says. ”All you need to do is fry an egg and steam some rice and put a dollop of XO on it and you’ve got a million-dollar dish.”

Kwong uses the sauce to elevate simple dishes, such as fried rice, salads and stir-fried calamari.

While the dried shrimp, dried scallops, garlic and chillies are integral to produce the sauce’s intense flavour and the ”chewy” texture so loved by Chinese cooks, Kwong says chefs have always put their own stamp on XO. Traditionally, XO sauce has used pork to impart a smoky flavour. Melbourne chef Tony Tan uses Iberico jamon because it’s the closest he can find to the Jinhua and Yunnan ham used by top chefs in Hong Kong. Flower Drum’s Anthony Lui opts for Italian prosciutto ham, saying its nuttiness is similar to that of hams used in Shanghai.

Among Kwong’s Sydney clientele are many people who don’t eat pork, so Billy Kwong’s chefs opt for dry salted fish. Her new book, Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking Class, provides home cooks with an accessible recipe calling for smoky bacon. Attempting to explain XO’s hold on Cantonese chefs, Kwong says: ”It’s the complexity of the flavour – this mysterious sort of smoky, spicy sort of seafood flavour … What I love most is the chewy bits. It’s the texture.”

Kwong remembers eating at Flower Drum in Melbourne when Gilbert Lau held the reins. ”He was always so proud of his XO,” she says. ”Gilbert would ask if you wanted to try some of his XO sauce, then he would disappear and he would come back with this amazing little ramekin of yumminess.”

Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking Class, Penguin, $59.95.Crispy soy-roasted pork belly

To get good crackling, it’s important to follow the steps here closely, especially the initial scalding of the skin, and then allowing the pork to thoroughly dry out, uncovered in the refrigerator, after it has marinated.

1 x 800g piece free-range, boneless pork belly, skin on and scored (ask butcher) 500ml boiling water 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tbsp salt flakes

For marinade:2 tbsp brown rice miso paste 1 tbsp five-spice powder 1 tbsp brown sugar 1 tbsp light soy sauce

Place pork belly, skin side up, on a wire rack over the sink. Pour over boiling water to scald the pork skin – this will help the skin crisp up. Pat rind dry with kitchen paper and place pork, uncovered, in refrigerator for two hours.

Remove pork from fridge and place, skin side up, on a chopping board. Using the tip of a sharp knife, stab the pork skin until the surface is covered with holes, being careful not to go all the way through. Turn the pork belly over and make cuts about two centimetres apart and one-centimetre deep. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub marinade evenly over flesh side of the pork and massage into the cuts. Place pork, skin side up, on a wire rack (this rack will be used for roasting the pork, so make sure it is ovenproof and fits inside a roasting tin) and place over a tray to catch any drips. Place in fridge and leave pork uncovered overnight, during which time the skin will dry out.

The next day, bring pork to room temperature and preheat oven to 150C. Transfer pork and wire rack to a roasting tin. Rub skin with the sesame oil, then scatter salt over. Roast for 1 1/2 hours to two hours or until tender. Increase oven to 220C and continue roasting for 15 minutes. This will turn the skin into crackling. Remove pork from oven and rest, uncovered, in a warm place for 15 minutes. To serve, cut into one-centimetre thick slices.

Serve as part of a banquet for 4XO sauce

This is an oily, powerful-tasting, intensely textured, garlicky chilli paste. The small, dried red chillies are optional but I like the extra heat and the smoky, dark quality they add. Take care when blistering them – they turn black very quickly and must be removed at once. If they blacken too much, simply discard them and start again. I serve a small bowl of XO sauce alongside meals; it also makes a good dipping sauce for boiled dumplings.

55g dried shrimps 250ml shao hsing wine or dry sherry 80g dried scallops 11 large red chillies, roughly chopped 7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 2 large red shallots, roughly chopped 375ml peanut oil 3 dried small red chillies 55g smoked bacon, rind removed, finely diced 3 tsp light soy sauce 1 tsp brown sugar

Place dried shrimps in small bowl and cover with half the wine or sherry. Place dried scallops in a medium-size bowl and cover with remaining wine or sherry. Liquid must cover the shrimps and scallops completely. Cover with cling wrap and leave in refrigerator overnight.

Drain shrimps and reserve liquid. Drain scallops and reserve liquid. Mix shrimps and scallops together, and process until finely shredded. Remove and set aside. Place large red chillies, garlic and shallots in food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove and set aside.

Heat peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add dried chillies and cook for 30 seconds each side to blister and slightly blacken. Remove chillies with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Reserve oil in wok. Reduce heat to medium, carefully add chilli, garlic and shallot mixture and bacon to oil. Simmer, stirring regularly, for three minutes to cook out the flavours. Next add shrimp and scallop mixture and cook for six minutes, stirring regularly – the oil should leach out at this stage. Add reserved soaking liquid from the shrimps and scallops. Stir gently for three minutes to cook out the wine, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add soy sauce, sugar and the blistered dried chillies and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Makes 3 cups

Note: The XO sauce can be used straight away or cooled and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month (the flavours will intensify over this time). If serving as a condiment, be sure to remove required amount from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.