※ Interview A Foodie (Michael V)

   
Thought I'd start a new section called "Interview A Foodie" so here it is, self explanatory really.
The interviewee is Michael V. 


1. What's your worst food memory
It's actually quite embarrassing.  I was 19 at the time and I had someone take me out for sashimi and I was trying to show how worldly and educated I was so I ate (without realising what it was) the whole ball of wasabi.  It's fair to say I had fire coming out of nostrils.  It actually put me off wasabi for a very long time!

2. Best food memory
This is a two-parter.
My mother would ask us what we wanted for our birthday dinners and I was always after roast pork (with crackling) and appelmoes (dutch apple sauce).
The other is related to our trip to Vietnam in 2007 which is when I learnt to really appreciate savoury breakfasts (and I loved that all the hotels we stayed at had a pho bar for breakfast!)

3. My signature dish is.
Prawn tacos - there was a recipe I found in a magazine years ago and Larry (my partner) loves mexican food and seafood so it seemed like the perfect idea.  It's actually become his favourite dish.  And also tied into this is my guacamole... it's amazing how when you find a recipe and you make it often enough it actually becomes your own - I have had a few people ask me for my guacamole recipe and I take that as a huge compliment.

4. One of my favourite food photographs.
(See bottom of page)
This was actually quite tough! And funnily enough it's for one of my easiest recipes.

Really simple:
Ingredients: Prosciutto slices & Asparagus

Method:
Snap the woody end off the asparagus spears.  
Wrap with a prosciutto slice (you may need two per spear).  
Place on baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season.  
Be sparing with the salt as the prosciutto is quite salty.  Bake in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about 10 minutes.

5. Ingredient I'm currently obsessed with is:
As weird as this is going to sound - meat.  All shapes, forms, varieties.  We've just recently gone from being a vegetarian household (apart from our twin daughters - they've always had meat in their diet) to a household that eats meat.  So I'm finding myself slightly out of my depth in some regards but it has opened up so many new avenues to explore and investigate - there's been a few disasters (even last night - I made a lamb and sweet potato casserole, the lamb was melt in your mouth gorgeous but the sweet potato was almost raw) but that's cooking isn't it?

6. Worst kitchen injury:
I'm forever burning myself.  I'm a completely and absolute klutz.  The most recent was from about 2 months ago - I was making pizza and I managed to burn my arm on the element so it's just another scar to add to the list!


7. Cake I ask for on my birthday:

Chocolate Mud Cake.

8. Favourite Chef:
I watch a lot of cooking shows but I do tend to steer towards Giada De Laurentiis (I used to watch her everyday when Louise and Olivia were really little!).  I also have no end of admiration of Jonathan Waxman - I saw him in a series of Top Chef Masters and he was just humble and congenial and just absolutely brilliant!

9. Share with us one of your favourite recipes:
Carmelised red onion & goat's cheese tart

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 (600g) red onions, peeled, halved & sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs white sugar or brown sugar (brown is probably best)
  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 sheets (25 x 25cm) frozen shortcrust pastry, just thawed
  • 4 eggs (large - 55g+)
  • 300ml carton thickened cream
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 120g goat's cheese

METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 200C.
  • Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  • Heat oil in a fry-pan over medium heat, add onions, as onions start to soften add brown sugar.
  • Cook stirring occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes until caramelised.
  • Lightly spray a 4cm-deep, 23cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin, with removable base with oil.
  • Line the tin with the pastry sheets, overlapping slightly, and trim any excess.
  • Press the pastry sheets together to seal.
  • Cover and place and the fridge for 15 minutes to chill.
  • Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice (dry beans also work very well).
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the paper and the pastry weights or rice.
  • Bake for a further 5 minutes or until crisp and golden.
  • Set aside in the tin for 30 minutes to cool completely.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 180C.
  • Place the tin on a baking tray. Whisk the eggs and cream in a bowl.
  • Season with salt & pepper.
  • Pick the leaves from half the thyme sprigs and finely chop.
  • Add the chopped thyme to the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  • Pour into the pastry case.
  • Top with onion and crumble with goat's cheese.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining thyme sprigs.
  • Serve warm, or at room temperature, with mixed salad leaves.
I also tend to serve this with chips as I'm a chip fiend!

10. Favourite kitchen appliance and what I make with it most often
My blender... and generally soups or pestos.

11. If you were on death row, what would your final meal request be.
Onion rings from Burger King! Not sure how that would work if I was on death row here in Australia! (The Onion Rings in the US are actually different).

12. What did you learn from you mother/grandmother that you use often in the kitchen.
I didn't see much of my grandmothers when we moved from the Netherlands to Australia.  Although from one Oma I did learn - don't get up at 6am to prep the vegies for dinner that's going to be served at 6pm...
My Aunt was actually my greatest cooking inspiration.  I have no end of admiration for her.  She worked full-time and as a single parent still managed to find time to come home every night and cook dinner for her son (and every now then all of us) and some of the most important things she taught me were don't be afraid to try new things and don't worry if you make mistakes (or a bad dinner!).

13. What the name and address of your blog (if you have one)
A Man in His Kitchen  I really need to update it more regularly... I have a bit of a backlog of stuff I want to post 

14. What are five things you can’t live without?
1. My family.  My partner Larry and our twin daughters Louise and Olivia.  There was something a friend of mine said a while ago (namely as I wasn't the greatest cook) that food is about love... I love my family and I think that's why my interest in food has increased.
2. Music. I love music - I'd be lost without out.  Although if I hear "hey mickey" one more time! (my daughters are obsessed with it!)
3. My phone!  Strangely I use it more as a camera/music player/social media outlet than I do as an actual phone...
4. Instant Ramen.  It's my one absolute disgusting guilty pleasure and it has been since I discovered it!
5. The Internet.  I'm a junkie!

15. What are your favorite cookbooks that you would recommend every home cook own and why?
I have 4. I guess like a lot of people I have a LOT of cookbooks. The amount I own at times staggers me - I think I have a problem to be honest! (and I keep buying more!!!!)

Maeve O'Meara's Food Safari.
I think it's a fabulous book and it makes accessible for so many different cuisines. Not to mention the series is pretty entertaining. The only real challenge I have found is trying to source some of the ingredients.

Pushpesh Pant's India Cookbook . This brick of a book has a 1000 recipes that covers all regions of India. It's
comprehensive, it's brilliant and it's very easy to make most of the dishes. It's the best Indian cookbook that I have actually come across and I use this a lot! The recipe for Paleek/Saag Paneer which is one of Larry's favourites is actually better than what a lot of restaurants serve (even if I do say so myself! Also a friend of ours who's a Malay Indian - her mother was impressed by the Saag Paneer, so I'll take that as a massive compliment).

Marge Poore's 1,000 Mexican Recipes.
Larry loves Mexican food he really does, so when I saw this one day on Amazon I thought it would be perfect and it is. It's such a great introduction to Mexican food and Mexican cooking. And it's another brick! It's easy to understand, she makes everything seem so effortless which for the most part Mexican cooking is!

Roberto Santibanez & JJ Goode's Truly Mexican .
Firstly, it just such a beautiful book. Secondly, they explain so many aspects of Mexican cooking from frying chiles to chopping coriander the Mexican way. And the recipes are just gorgeous - most of them are not traditionally Mexican per se but it is Mexican cooking (if that makes sense). I think why I love it is that gives you a "more" gourmet view of Mexican cooking that and the recipes are just truly gorgeous! There's a cucumber salsa in it that's just out of this world and it goes perfectly with guacamole! (I can give you the recipe for my guacamole if you want!)


One of my favourite food photographs.
Prosciutto slices & Asparagus

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