28 December 2013

Christmas Day Lunch (25 Dec 2013)

Christmas feasting at home

Christmas Day for me usually consists of a casual lunch with the family at my brothers place with a spread of seafood, smoked ham and salad followed by a pre-made pavlova base that we dress ourselves with fresh fruit and whipped cream. This year I got some unshucked oysters from the Sydney Fish Market for the first time. Thankfully they weren't too hard to open but I think I was lucky with the variety I bought which were Pacific Oyster Moulting Bay from Tasmania. I was a bit apprehensive about the best way to store the oysters for the 36 hours leading up to Christmas Day after I bought them. I kept them in the fridge vegetable chiller wrapped loosely with a wet tea towel. Seemed to work OK and the oysters were still alive when it came time to shuck them. The How to Shuck an Oyster video from the Sydney Fish Market was also helpful. I think I've now found a new appreciation for shucking my own oysters rather than buying them pre-shucked which tends to wash out all the lovely brine when they use water to clean the shells which you can see in this video of Lucy the oyster shucker at Sydney Fish Market.

PROS: Quality time with the family
CONS: We always prepare too much food
MUST TRY: Shucking more oysters in the future
VERDICT: I love my seafood
Henkell is one of my all time favourite sparkling
Tried my hand at shucking oysters this year
Successful oyster shuck of Pacific Oyster Moulting Bay TAS ($16.90/dozen) from Christie's Seafood Excellence 
Pre-shucked oysters in case my shucking failed me — Christie's Seafood Excellence Sydney Rock Oyster Corrie Island ($19.90/dozen), Pacific Oyster Island Inlet ($17.90/dozen) 
Simple salad
Prawns, lobster and alaskan king crab legs from Coles
Potato salad by mum
Smoked ham
Dad's soy chicken wings
Boston Bay Mussels in white wine
Lettuce and stuffed olives
Always have to have a bit of bread at the table
Table spread
Dessert time with pavlova
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
Coles pavlova
BiteRiot! cherries — so good

14 December 2013

Product Test: Global Cooks Knife 20 cm and Stanley Rogers Acacia Butchers Block from Kitchenware Superstore (14 Dec 2013)

Feeling like a MasterChef

Thanks to Elle O'Connor from Kitchenware Superstore for inviting me to receive some products of my choosing to kitchen test. After checking out the extensive website of pretty much everything and anything you'd want for a kitchen I decided on the Global 2pc Starter Set ($109.95) and Stanley Rogers Acacia Butchers Block ($55.95). I've never had a knife that I've been completely happy with so was hoping the Global Cooks Knife 20 cm would do the trick since it's the same one they use on MasterChef which the contestants keep cutting their fingers with. I don't do a lot of home cooking but since using the Global knife and block it's made it a more pleasurable experience having a knife that actually feels good to hold and is so sharp compared to everything else I have. I was actually quite scared at first time I'd be cutting my fingers like the MasterChef contestants but so far so good and I'm getting more used to using it now.

The knife has performed well in general fruit and vegetable cutting but there's one test that seems to beat all knives I've tried it with and that's when you very slowing press the blade down on a tomato without a slicing motion. It must be something about the skin of a tomato that's resilient to knife blades when you're not using it in a slicing action. Eventually it did slice through and did it quite cleanly. I'm thankfully very happy with the Global Cooks Knife and Butchers Block which have performed well to my expectations and have become a great asset to my kitchen. I could probably put away all my other knives and just use this one with the block for most tasks. I find the block is a good size, not being too small or too large to be able to pickup and wash. It's also very sturdy having four rubber feet. I've yet to try the Global minosharp water sharpener because the knife is still sharp and I'm also scared I might blunt my knife from using it which I guess is a silly thing to think. My philosophy is if it ain't broke don't fix it but perhaps I should be using the sharpener all the time to help maintain the sharp edge better — any advice?

PROS: Knife is very sharp, well designed and comfortable to hold. Butchers block is sturdy with rubber legs, has a large surface area, handy grooves on side for picking up and holds up well to cutting.
CONS: Butchers Board can be a little heavy to lift and awkward to wash down in a small sink but it's built to last.
MUST TRY: Testing the Global minosharp water sharpener but I'm fearing I'll do it wrong and blunt my knife
VERDICT: Would definitely recommend the knife and butchers block. Would make a great Christmas present for any foodie that loves to cook at home.
 Global 2pc Starter Set ($109.95) and Stanley Rogers Acacia Butchers Block ($55.95)
Global Cooks Knife 20 cm — responsible for all those bleeding fingers on MasterChef
Global minosharp water sharpener 
Stanley Rogers Acacia Butchers Block ($55.95)
Handy side grip for picking up and moving around the bench
Rubber feet make it very sturdy to cut on

Apparently natural wood can kill bacteria — how's that work?

Back edge of knife flat making it suitable for scraping cuttings off board
Passed the paper test
None of my knives have ever cut an apple this fine before
Cleanly cuts and doesn't squash bread. So sharp it left the paper underneath sliced up

Good sized board to work with cutting up watermelon
Lots of area for cutting

Try the tomato test on your knives

After a bit of pressure the knife followed through and cut cleanly

Who else cries when they cut onions?

Suitable for my magnetic wall holder and a great addition to the kitchen

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