Harry presents: Impressing the Hot Interior Designer Marinara

(This post is the final in a series which begins here and continues here and here.)

On Friday I visited my delightfully mad aunt who totally rocks. It was my turn to cook, so I brought the ingredients for the second version of a Italian seafood dish with which to impress the Hot Interior Designer.

My aunt is an avid cook and generally awesome woman for whom I acted as chauffeur and butler on a two week driving holiday/seafood odyssey into Victoria last October.

We discussed many recipes on the way including many she disparaged.
Aunt: I mean, look at this! Fennel and Rocket Salad!? Easy! And yet there’s a recipe for it.
Nephew: Yes, it’s hardly Fennel and Rocket science.

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Harry presents: Vivid Dream Lasagne

(This post is part three of a series which begins here and continues here.)

(Note: very rich, and you will have really vivid dreams that night.)
(Note 2: I tried this initially as a cannelloni, but stuffing the bastards is too annoying, but if you have OCD it will work fine.)

This recipe emerged from a misguided attempt to make two styles of mushroom-and-nut pasta. Forest-nymphs were involved in the plan, but the pasta making was a complete failure and there was no preying-on-the-earth-children for me. After trialling the salvaged remains I took the best bits of both to make one Ultimate Dish.

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Harry presents his drunken figs

(This post is part two of a series, the first of which is here.)

So why was I buying dried white figs in the first place?

Harry’s Drunk Figs

The little white figs are very versatile. They are great as a healthy snack that softens with your own saliva. In this guise they are good for hiking and invading Germany.

The dude I bought them off recommended soaking a bunch overnight in a bowl of water and eating them (drained) in natural yoghurt for breakfast, but since I am only slightly sexually ambiguous I have not done this.

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Harry presents: (the first in a series)

I was walking up Spadina St, which is where much of Chinatown is in Toronto, looking for bits for a ‘thank you’ dinner party for my Canadian hosts.

Many of the grocers have baskets of produce out the front and one shop owner had to periodically wipe the snow off piles fruit and veg. It was all pleasingly charming and disorientating (no pun intended).

Anyway, one of these baskets was full of small, dried, white figs of the same type that I had discovered back home in Sydney earlier that year. They come from Iran and are often labelled as “Iranian figs”.

I bought a bag and popped one in my mouth for the walk home which, when I almost broke a tooth, was how I discovered I’d actually bought several handfuls of dried chestnut kernels.

Taking them back with me to Halifax I sought a recipe. And there in my sister-in-law’s collection was a doozy.

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Introducing Harry

I first encountered Harry’s writing at the now-defunct Back Pages blog during the 2004 election, and have been a fan ever since. He is very handsome for a nerd, which may explain his current employment as a part time scrotum model. Or not. I feel it’s proper to disclose that I have met him in person and, as it happens, have seen him with his trousers off. While I am able to vouch for his general good looks, I must confess to have paid inadequate attention to vouch for his employability.

He blogs at The Adventurerer, a travel blog about a boy who came home, where the following post first appeared, and also at the marvellous group blog For Battle! I would like to apologise for the number of commas in that sentence, but I’ve had some wine (like you hadn’t guessed that by now!) and it isn’t immediately apparent to me how to do it better. Suggestions gratefully accepted. Youse know who youse are.

Harry presents: Tapas in Sydney

Overpriced and crap.

Is there a tapas place that actually embodies the spirit of what tapas actually is, ie cheap finger food while you drink and chat?

I don’t think so. For some reason everyone thinks tapas should be overpriced and an all hoitytoity playground for self-consciously dressed people to dick swing.

Last night I went to Subsolo at 161 King St, Sydney.

$30 each got four people:
A beef skewer with five bits. Not top grade beef. Some marinade.
A chicken skewer of six bits. This was quite nice.
Two very small slices of french stick.
A small bowl of salad leaves presumably so we could put meat bits on-a-bed-of salad. Also included was one half artichoke and ONE green olive.
Good sized platter of indifferent paella including four mussels and about six prawns.
Bowl of green beans with onion.
Bowl of potatas bravas (chopped baked potato with a chili tomato sauce).

What a bunch of cheap-skates. The cheapest vegetables in the world, and not even lots of them (to paraphrase a Woody Allen joke).

As bowls were being cleared we started asking if the main was coming.
No, that was not the entree. It was the whole meal.

What sort of a tapas place does not have:
a) bowls of a variety of olives
b) bread and oil to dip it in
c) chorizo
d) mushrooms for anybody but particularly when we requested vego options.
d) something fancy that makes you go “ooh! Haven’t had that before”?

I’ll tell you what sort of place: a shit one.

Don’t go.

Hopefully the new winebar licenses will see real tapas come to Sydney instead of this overpriced crap. It’s meant to be seasonal peasant/fisherman’s food you bunch of pretentious dickheads!
if you don’t have salt and pepper whitebait (the fish is $6 a kilo) when it’s in season then you deserve to be firebombed.

Unimpressed, Marrickville.