A few days ago, I – literally – stumbled across some Porcini: Boletus edulis, cep, the King Bolete. Highly prized across the culinary world ($100/kg is not unreasonable!), the Porcini originates from Italy and the south of France, where it’s foraged for in the mountains. I was, therefore, understandably ecstatic about my finds. Before these, the only mushrooms I’d been game enough to even try cooking were some I thought to be regular field mushrooms. They turned out to be the hospital-disinfectant A. xanthodermus – I’m just glad it hasn’t put me off wild mushrooms for good.
Satay Celup at Capitol Satay in Melakka is a coveted meal, even by Malaysian standards. Satay Celup (pronounced che-lup) is one of the many hotpot-style, cook-it-yourself experiences very popular in that part of the world. From Korean barbecue to Japanese Sukiyaki (hotpot) to traditional Chinese steamboat, we ate this way more times in a month than I have in probably my whole life in Australia.
I suppose there’s something appealing about seeing the fresh, raw ingredients in front of you and being in complete control of your food. At least, that’s what it seemed like. Personally, I’d rather have the chef cook it the way he wants us to eat it – whether it’s smothered in ghee or glazed in a special sauce or seared for just the right amount of time. Anyway, you might as well just buy the ingredients yourself and do it at home, right?
I think I’m about to eat my words, or at least my thoughts: Satay Celup is the best cook-it-yourself experience I’ve had yet, and it’s utterly impossible to imitate in your own home. Continue reading
I find that one of the combined ah… side effects of procrastination and holidays is the development of strange new hobbies. During the summer I decided to pick up knife throwing. Neither mum, the cardboard box used as a target nor the thrown $5 IKEA knives were very happy. I was, though. The holiday before that I spent far too long watching other people play games live online. Strange community, that.
These holidays just gone, though, I’ve become obsessed with mycology (the study of mushrooms). Boredom does funny things, eh? Thankfully, this coincides with autumn and winter here, prime mushroom picking season.
At the most basic level, mushroom picking falls into the ‘foraging’ category of activities, which, for many people, is immensely appealing given the world of cellophane beef and pre-sliced vegetables so many of us live in. Foraging – believe it or not – is anything from trapping rabbits to picking blackberries to fishing. It’s living off the land and rejecting the norm, something which is becoming increasingly fashionable. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing yet, but I’m glad to live in the Hills, where it’s still something done by grandmothers and grandchildren alike; solidly unpretentious.