7.21 pm, Internet Cafe, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
The quiet weekend – eye of the storm in this program, and no jobs! So it’s back to the catchup and domestic stuff. Done the washing, and the ironing is to come tonight whilst I’m watching the second-last episode of “Castle” for this season. I’ve also completed some running repairs on my trusty hard shell ‘can’t kill it’ Samsonite suitcase Big Blue. It had a minor injury during the Canadian leg of the last job, which completely gave way on the last flight from Armidale through Sydney to Melbourne. But looks like this combination of superglue and duct tape should get me through the next month and home. Whether it makes the August trip to New Zealand or the September trip to the UK remains to be seen.
I’m staying in the heart of Melbourne – an excellent location, half way down Little Bourke Street in Chinatown. This is pretty handy when you want to duck into one of the best shops around – Maxim’s Cakes, “classic Hong Kong style cake shop.” Everything is good from the savoury buns to my personal favourite that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else – the pictured jam basket. It’s a sponge column split an inch up from the base with a skinny layer of cream, the whole thing coated in coconut and filled with excellent apricot flavoured jam. As good as it sounds! And yes I had one yesterday – just to make sure they’re still as good as I remembered.
I nearly forgot the last job of last week – a lunch for a long-time Barossa Valley and Yalumba man Peter Marr and his clients. This time we set up in the back room at Cecconi’s Cantina in Flinders Lane. During most of this trip, we’ve seen variations on a beef theme for the big reds as a feature, but on Friday we got right away from that. Chef Michael Fox (from Adelaide originally and ex Vue du Monde) did pork as an interesting contrast. ‘Slow roasted pork rump with crispy belly, eggplant agrodolce, fried sage and frizze salad’ to be exact – check out the picture, and you can see the reds of the eggplant underneath.
I got to Cecconi’s early to open the wines and was able to have a chat with the chef. There’s an open kitchen in the centre of the restaurant, and the tray of eggplant happened to be sitting there. I had no idea what the ‘agrodolce’ treatment was. Turns out it’s an Italian version more or less of the sweet & sour idea. The eggplant slices are salted for an hour, then soaked with roasted cherry tomatoes, cabernet vinegar, coriander seed, honey and caramelised onion. Perfect for the pork! And it worked with the Cabernet Shiraz treble of the FDR 1A, The Signature and The Reserve. There is no end to what we learn on tour, and that’s one of the great things about the job. Now we know exactly what ‘agrodolce’ is.
Talking about great things about the job …
***Hey Sportsfans, the Saints machine is on the way back! They slipped nicely through the gears against a gallant Adelaide Crows, but the result never seemed to be in doubt. My best players? Brendon Goddard – solid and kicks straight for goal and seems to be everywhere; and the made-of-rubber rebound defense man – young Zac Dawson. The spies tell us that Nick R is running out his hamstring injury, so as long as we hover about the top 6 – looking good for finals time in Saintstown. Let’s see how we go against the Richmond boys next Friday night to see if we can get two wins in a row. It’s always dangerous to be playing teams that aren’t travelling well, as you never know when they’re going to stand their ground and explode once for pride! See ya at Etihad again for that one – I’m going with the lads from work.
Time to tackle the ironing.