Hard News by Russell Brown


Kitchen Hacks

You may recall that I looked at starting a food blog last year. We even got as far as crowdsourcing a name: Feed (h/t Sacha Dylan), but it became clear to me that it was going to be hard to achieve the kind of revenue that was going to justify the effort and expense of doing it properly.

But I've been thinking, perhaps I can take a different approach. My sense is that plenty of you care about food and want to talk about it, so what I'm doing here is writing a food post and having a lick of the spoon to see where that gets us.

The opening theme is: Kitchen Hacks.

That is, tips and tricks that make life easier for ordinary people making dinner for their loved ones (or even just for themselves, which is of course the great love of all, like that lady said). I am not at all averse to hacks that involve shortcuts and named commercial products. I'm emphatically a realist rather than a purist about these things.

Here are some examples from the kitchen at Dubwise Towers:

Raymond's BBQ Gourmet Rub: Italiano

I'm not really sure what makes this Italian, let alone "Italiano", but I've found an absolutely killer use for this stuff. It makes great roast potatoes. Just parboil your spuds, coat them in the fat or oil of your choice, toss them in a bit of Raymond's rub and whack it all in the oven. It never fails. I suspect the tapioca is the key to it. I was bereft when the place I bought it took at out of stock, and delighted to later discover Farro Fresh carries the whole range.

Pizzas with Circulon

I have a chef's pan that predates the current Circulon range stocked by Stevens and others and, to be frank, it kicks the arse of the current Circulon consumer range. I own a couple of the newer pans, but the old one is harder and better. It's my top cookware item of all time.

But you know what's good? Circulon bakeware. The range is often on special at Stevens, and the baking trays are superb for pizza -- not as good as hauling out the old pizza stone (and I wouldn't put them in a proper-hot pizza oven), but handy and more effective than any other kind of pan I've tried.


Not a recipe -- that's up to you. These days I usually have a little pot of home-made pesto in the fridge for BLTs, poached eggs on toast or whatever. But how to keep the top of the pesto fresh and green in storage? Coating the top with more olive oil kinda works, but has drawbacks. Just putting an airtight lid on doesn't do the trick. So what I do is store the pesto in a small bowl and cover it with clingfilm -- not just across the top of the bowl, but pressed right down on the surface of the pesto, so it's completely sealing it off from the air. Also: pinenuts. Always lightly toast your pinenuts, even if it's not called for in the recipe -- it improves both the taste and texture of the finished product. And if you don't want to pay through the nose for your nuts, go somewhere like the Chinese supermarket at Mercury Lane, where they're much cheaper. In season, there's a lady at Avondale Markets who'll sell you a big bag of fresh basil for for, like $3.

Okay, that's me for now. I'm sure I'll think of some more. But, hey, chip in and share your own, friends ...

UPDATE!!! There's a prize! The PA readers who submit the best two Kitchen Hacks will receive an awesome Selaks Roast Day goodie bag each. These things are choice as, and include Selaks reserve wines, a Scanpan utility knife, Moroccan spice goodies, a branded apron and chopping board, Purple Passion potatoes ... and a big chunk of Green Meadows Beef rump roast.

Selaks Roast Day is on August 4 this year, and you can find out more about it here.

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