Monday, December 22, 2008

Oysters South Carolina

Oysters straight off the beds.

If the oyster was a prettier creature, it might have appeared on the South Carolina flag. As it is the SC flag is beautiful, displaying a crescent moon and the palmetto palm depicted in white over a deep blue background.

Oysters are visible all along the Intracoastal Waterway, especially through the low country of South Carolina. In fact, oysters grow all along the East Coast and just as wine takes on flavor notes from the earth, oysters exhibit flavors that come about from the environment in which they grow.

Fernandina Red Fish

During our stay in Fernandina Beach, Florida, we cooked a piece of freshly caught Red Fish, purchased from the Atlantic Seafood "shack" at the waters edge. This was a quick and easy, thrown together meal. We made some coconut basmati rice as a bed for the fish. Robert brushed the fish in melted butter and coated it with Chef Paul's Blackened Redfish Magic. The fish was barbecued on the grill. We steamed some fresh asparagus spears and drizzled them with a pomegranate glaze, imported from Greece. The result was a fresh mix of Indian and French/Cajun flavors.

Memories of Grandma's Christmas Pudding

Grandma Edna Budd's Treasured Plum Pudding Recipe
(See recipe below)
Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without pudding and egg custard. At least that's how it was when we were growing up and we still crave for those rich Christmas dishes; roast chicken or turkey with stuffing and all the trimmings, baked ham and cranberry sauce, a host of vegetable dishes, glazed fruits and muscatels, assorted nuts in hard shells i.e. brazilnuts, walnuts, macademias, hazelnuts, and almonds, plum pudding to top it all off and of course the family favorite fruit cake.

Remember all those hours Mum slaved over the stove to prepare a traditional "hot" Christmas dinner? Remember too, those bon bons or "Christmas crackers" with little toys (party favors) and paper party hats folded up so tight. You and your partner had to make the double-ended bon bon "crack" when pulled it apart or it was a disappointing dud. When the paper hat, joke and toy tumbled out, you donned the hat and told the joke, drole as they were!

No-one, adults and children, seemed to mind how silly we all looked in our party hats. In fact, the sillier the better. It truly made for a very relaxed atmosphere, in contrast to the very "formal" traditional Christmas meal being served at the time. It took a while for Aussies to wake up and realize that Christmas time is too hot to be slaving over a stove in an un-air-conditioned kitchen.

We've finally recognized that Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy the wide array of fresh produce available to us from land and sea. After all, Christmas does fall in the summer! These days, Australians have reinvented Christmas dinner to reflect the culinary delights of the "Sunburnt Country"; seafoods of every kind, salads, fresh fruit salad and ice cream, etc. Mediterranean and Asian influences have taken over the traditional English cooking habits of Aussies over the past 30 to 40 years, and mingled with unique Aussie ingredients and culinary expertise to create a fusion copied by chefs more recently in England and the U.S.

Australian Christmas dinner is more likely to be prepared on the barbecue at home or at the beach than in the kitchen. Even so, memories of Grandma's Christmas Pudding can never be replaced! Grandma Edna Budd's pudding included silver sixpences and threepences. Never mind the choking hazard, kids were much tougher in the old days! If you were lucky enough to get a coin in your mouthful of pudding, you got to keep it or in later years after decimal currency came in (1966), Grandma would exchange it for a 50 cent piece or dollar coin.

And in case friends in the U.S. are wondering, I'm pleased to say the typical Aussie Christmas Cake bears little resemblance in flavor or texture to the typical fruit cake most Americans despise and dread receiving at Christmas time. To enhance the flavor, Aussie fruit cakes are often drenched in rum or brandy, straight out of the oven. That can't be bad! Made weeks before, they usually don't last until Christmas, but are enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee at any time!

So here's Grandma Edna Budd's Christmas Pudding recipe. I doubt you'll find a better one. Enjoy!

1/2 lb butter
1/2 lb sultanas*
1/2 lb raisins*
1/4 lb currants
2 oz figs chopped
2 oz dates chopped
2 oz almonds
2 oz glace cherries
1 tsp mixed spice
6 oz soft breadcrumbs
6 oz plain flour, sifted
1/2 lb brown sugar
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
5 eggs
3 tbsp rum or sherry
A large square of raw cotton cloth
Extra flour for dusting cloth

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beat thoroughly.
Add prepared fruits, nuts and spirits, alternating with sifted flour, spice, bicarb soda and breadcrumbs.
Dip cloth in boiling water then dust with flour. Place mixture in cloth. Pull corners together and tie securely.
Boil for 4 hours
Hang in a dry place until day of serving. Boil 2 hours before serving.
Serve with custard
Tip: Place the wet cloth in a colander before dusting and adding mixture.
*Note: Australian sultanas are dried white sultana grapes. Raisins are dried, dark, flavorful, red grapes. In the U.S., "raisins" are made from the white grapes. and are less flavorful than their Australian namesakes.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cooking aboard a sail boat.

We have all the comforts of home aboard Bristol Rose.  Ordinary porridge is a treat with this topping of blueberries all the way from Argentina.... the best and plumpest blueberries we've ever seen.
Here's our stash of some of the canned food we've stowed aboard.  Even though we have opportunities to purchase fresh food along the way, we are limited to what we can carry a short walking distance from marinas or anchorages.  Some marinas offer courtesy vehicles but we plan to anchor out most of the time and only go into marina slips when we need to.
Trish appears from the galley with freshly baked cranberry & orange bread.

Thanksgiving in North Carolina

On Thanksgiving we motored most of the day from Oriental to Beaufort in North Carolina, on the Intracoastal Waterway.  The Force 10 oven aboard Bristol Rose is petite although perfectly in scale on a 43ft sail boat.  While Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, we scaled down appropriately and cooked a Cornish hen with all the trimmings.  Our bountious meal included pecan pie - the best store-bought pie we've had in ages.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Farm Boys, Belhaven NC

Bristol Rose is on the move, heading to Florida and islands beyond. Could not resist posting a good find as we travel down the Intracoastal Waterway. We spent a couple of nights in the small town of Belhaven, NC, perhaps known best for the beautiful manor house at the River Forest Marina. We found a "Burger joint" packed with the local fishermen. Were else can you find 2 double cheese burgers and fries, wrapped in paper, for $6:10? Only at Farm Boys!

The stay was worth it for the authentic burgers as well as the trip to the supermarket, made possible thanks to the marina lending their golf cart for the 2 mile round trip. Additional treat for the evening was an impromptu meal of tacos prepared by Philip of Southern Cross II.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chicken of the Woods

This week Owen came home from the woods with a fungi called Chicken of the Woods. (Laetiporus sulphureus)

I sliced the mushroom close the the ends, I am told the thicker parts are woody. Sauted them in butter. The texture and taste is like chicken.

When in Maine

Trish and I took vacation in Maine in September. We were not disappointed with the abundance of Lobster and Clam Chowder (White, Not Red!). Maine Lobster Recipes

Maine lobster fishermen bring in their catch.

Lobster rolls everywhere, you can get them from road side vendors when you need a quick lobster fix.

Lobster and Chowder from Cappy's Chowder House

Lobsters, steamed claims and fried calamari on the water front restaurant

Lobster Stew cooked with Sherry! A real treat worth looking out for.

Steamed Lobsters on the beach, dont get much better.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Catonsville Gourmet

The Catonsville Gourmet should be on your list of restaurants you just gotta visit. Firstly it is BYOB. The seafood is fresh, excellently prepared and presented. The service excellent with bright, clean decor.

Be warned you will find the restaurant busy and they dont take bookings. There is a wine shop opposite with a resonable range of wines, however they have very few wines cold.

Try the Oysters, Prince Edward Island Mussels, Fish & Chips, Boullabaisse, or select from the fish of the day with Mango and Avacado Salsa, I promise you the wait will be well worth it.

The only criticism is that they serve Sea Bass - the name given by an LA businessman to the Patagonian Toothfish.  This fish gets lots of attention around the world due to illegal fishing practices.  After reading the book Hooked: Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish about illegal fishing practices in the southern oceans to the point of likely destruction of this species, it's hard to accept the sight of "Sea Bass" on a menu.

Check out the
Baltimore Sun review

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Aussie Liquid Gold

In North Eastern Victoria, Australia, is a little town called Rutherglen. This part of the country was home to infamous Bush Ranger, Ned Kelly and is also home to truely unique wine - Rutherglen Muscat.

Made from the Muscat a Petit Grains Rouge, or Brown Muscat, it is fortified, so there is alcohol to enhance all that sweet richness. Defined by age and residual sweetness into 4 wine styles, this is one of the great wines of the world and ridiculously inexpensive for the time and labor involved.

These wines are well worth seeking out.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bananas Caribbean

For those times when too many bananas is barely enough

  • 6 medium bananas
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • grated rind of 1 orange
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 4 oz butter
  • 2 tblspns rum

Peel bananas and place in a greased shallow baking dish.

Cook brown sugar, orange juice and rind, spices and sherry in a small heavy pan, stirring, until heated through. Pour over bananas.

Dot with butter and bake in a moderate oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven. Heat rum, ignite and pour over bananas.

Serve with whipped cream.

Flambe Fruit

An oldie but a goodie

  • 1 Small pineapple
  • 1/2 papaw
  • 1 mango
  • 2 Kiwi fruit
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4lb butter
  • 1/2 cup Orange and Mango juice
  • 2 tblspns brandy or rum
  • 2 tblspns orange liqueur

peel pineapple and remove eyes, cut into chunks. Peel paw paw and remove seeds, cut into chunks. Peel and slice mango. Peel and slice kiwi fruit and remove hulls from strawberries.

Cook brown sugar and butter over low heat in a heavy fry pan, stirring all the time until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until mixture bubbles.

Stir in juice, cook over moderate heat until mixture has reduced by half. add brandy and liqueur. do not stir. Cook for 1 minute and then set alight.

Stir in fruit and coat well with syrup. Cook fruit until heated through.

Serve with whipped cream

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mama's On the Half Shell

We tried this restaurant last night. Mama's is located in Canton Square, 2901 Odonnell St Baltimore. It is a very short walk from the Anchorage Marina. This restaurant has a pub like atmosphere and a menu dominated by seafood. We tried the Oysters in the half shell, Tuna Salad and Fish and Chips.

The Oysters were excellent, The cod was deep fried with a crispy batter and interesting variation on chips.

Worth a visit when visting Baltimore, decore is interesting and always seems busy.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Maryland Blue Crabs

Every place I have lived offers some culinary delight that is unique to the area. Here in Maryland USA the folks have a great tradition of steamed blue crabs from the Cheaspeake Bay. Come summer and the the water starts to warm up we are ready to steam-up some crabs.

During the Summer months the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) moves into the Chesapeake Bay. This crab is found along the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of America. Anyone boating in the Chesapeake Bay during summer will see thousands of crab pots, in the early morning fisherman also use Trot Lines to harvest the Blue Crabs.

As far as crabs go the blue crab is small and it is not uncommon to steam up a dozen or so crabs and white corn, line the table with paper, pour the crabs on the table and have a feast with friends.

In Maryland crabs are steamed, not boiled. My steamer is in 2 parts, water is in the lower part and the crabs in the upper part. The live crabs are placed in the steamer with generous amounts of seasoning (Old Bay, Salt, local blends are worth looking for). Bring steamer to boil over high heat and steam untill crabs turn red, around 10-15 minutes.

Line the table with large sheets of paper, pour the crabs onto the paper. This can get messy and there is a technique you need to learn to get to the succulent meat but they taste so good everyone gets into the swing of things and before long you are pickin crabs with the best of them.

Good friends, Summer, Maryland steamed crabs and ice cold beer. Doesn't get much better.

Some of our favourite Crab Houses are:

  • Harris Crab House - 433 Kent Narrows Way North, Grasonville
  • Canton Dockside - 3301 Boston Street Canton
  • Ships Cafe & Pub - Fredrick Rd, Catonsville

Monday, March 3, 2008

Robert's Blackened Tuna

My Dad considered Tuna only good for Bait. This childhood experience resulted in me never having the pleasure of eating fresh Tuna until I visited California 10 years ago. Seared on the outside, and sushi red at the center may not be everyones cup of tea but I was hooked.

It was not long before I started experimenting at home every time I saw those red tuna steaks on display.

  • 1 tuna steak per person, check for quality. Sushi quality is expensive but worth it.
  • Chef Paul Prudhammes Blackened Redfish Magic
  • Melted Butter
  • Julienne Vegetables (Leek, Red Pepper, Carrots, snowpeas - whatever's in season)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Enoki for garnishing
  • fresh limes
A word of warning - turn off the smoke detectors, open the windows, turn on the fans and turn up the heat.
Prepare the Tuna steaks, wash, dry and place on a plate.
Brush each steak with butter and generously apply Blackened Redfish Magic on one side
Keep some butter and Blackened Redfish Magic for the other side.
Peel and cook pototoes in salted water
Prepare vegetables
Set the oven to 350F
Heat a heavy cast iron pan on maximum heat, get it nice and hot.
Sear the Tune steaks, buttered side down.
While steaks are cooking, brush top side with butter and apply Blacked Redfish Magic
Turn and cook.
By now the steaks should be well cooked on the outside and rare in the center. Put the pan with the steaks into the Oven. If you prefer red centers skip the oven step. Please dont over cook.
Mash the Pototoes and make a bed in the center of each plate
Saute the vegetables in butter, don't over cook, they should be crisp and color vibrant.
Place the vegitables on top of the Pototoes, then the Tuna steaks on top
I garnished with Enoki mushrooms, quickly sauted but you could use green onions
Season with fresh pepper, sea salt and lime

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Easy Peasy Ginger Beer

Easy Peasy Ginger Beer
Recipe courtesy Jamie Oliver, shared by Randy, S/V Homeward Bound

Ginger beer, always handy for a Dark and Stormy, but wait there is more. Ginger is also useful in reducing the effects of sea sickness. I tried this recipe today. Not too bad! I could imagine myself in the tropics although I was a little heavy handed with the ginger.


5 ounces (140 grams) fresh ginger
4 tablespoons muscovado sugar
2 to 3 lemons
1 3/4 pints (1 liter) soda water or sparkling mineral water
Sprigs of fresh mint

Okay, so I didn't have muscovado (brown) sugar and I had to use white.
Grate the ginger on a coarse grater -you can leave the skin on if you like.
Put the ginger with its pulpy juice in to a bowl and sprinkle in your muscovado sugar.
Remove the rind from 2 of your lemons with a vegetable peeler, add to the bowl, and slightly bash and squash with something heavy like a rolling pin or a pestle. Just do this for 10 seconds, to mix up the flavours.
Squeeze the juice from all 3 lemons and add most of it to the bowl.
Pour in the fizzy water.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then taste. You may feel that the lemons are slightly too sour, therefore add a little more sugar; if it's slightly too sweet, add a little more lemon juice.
Pass the ginger beer through a coarse sieve in to a large jug and add lots of ice and some sp
rigs of mint.
Great for those dog days of summer!

Texas Caviar

TEXAS CAVIAR (Provided by our friend Dawn, in Minnesota)
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Black Eyed Peas
1 Can White Shoe Peg Corn

Drain, rinse In a large bowl toss with 2T olive oil

1 Finely chopped red onion
1 Cup finely diced celery
1 Finely chopped Green bell pepper
2 Chipotle Peppers (canned in Adobo sauce)
Jalapeno Peppers to taste
Drops of liquid smoke to taste
2 Diced Roma tomatoes

Mix and Chill

Serve with crackers
Use to top morning eggs or crepes
Top sandwiches/tortillas

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Green Tomato and Lime Jam

Many years ago I enjoyed an appetizer of Parmigiano Reggiano, served with a green tomato preserve, at a restaurant in Darlinghurst, Sydney. This recipe is our attempt to recreate that memory. There's nothing quite like the taste of home-grown tomatoes. A green tomato jam is the perfect way to use up the end of season fruit still on the vine as winter approaches. If you can't wait, pick through the summer, before they ripen - these preserves are worth giving up a few of the red ripe ones!

2lb small green tomatoes
1 fresh lime
1lb 12oz white sugar
vanilla pod
glass jars with 2-piece lids for preserving (Ball brand)

1. Wash, wipe and slice the tomatoes thinly. Place in a bowl in layers with the sugar and leave for 24 hours.
2. Wipe the lime and slice it thinly removing pips.
3. Place all ingredients in a stainless steel pan and bring to the boil.
4. Simmer very gently, stirring occasionally until jam is golden, cooked and a set is obtained. This will take approximately 2 hours. Color should be a gorgeous green/gold.
5. Remove valilla pod and allow jam to cool slightly before filling steralized jars.
6. Seal and process 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
7. Excellent served with thinly sliced Parmigiano Reggiano and water crackers.

Chicken with Scallions

This chicken recipe comes from one of our most treasured, out-of-print books, Cooking With The Young Chefs of France, published in 1981. Author Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz selects favorite recipes on her journeys through the provinces of France, crediting the generosity of the chefs who shared their recipes with her. She also offers her own adaptations and includes recipes like this one, inspired by the sight of "very fat, fresh green scallions in the market".

1 whole chicken breast, boned and halved.
1 sweet potato roasted in the skin, in a moderate oven for one hour
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
4 tablespoons butter
2 bunches of scallions, trimmed, keeping 2 inches of the green part
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream

1. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.

2. In a heavy skillet with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and saute chicken breasts until they are lightly browned on both sides, about 4 minutes.

3. Add the scallions and saute for about 2 minutes longer.

4. Pour in the white wine and stock, cover, simmer until chicken is done, about 10 minutes. Chicken breasts are done when they are firm and springy to the touch. It is important not to overcook them as they lose their juiciness.

5. Lift chicken breasts and scallions to a serving dish and keep warm.

6. Over high heat, reduce pan juices to half. Beat in remaining butter, cut into bits, and stir in the cream until heated through. Spoon sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables. We chose young zucchinis and roasted sweet potato.

Tip: In the USA, we find the chicken from the Asian stores is more flavorful (actually tastes the way chicken should, tastes like chicken!). If limited to "supermarket" choices, look for chicken grown without antibiotics or hormones and other "additives".

Friday, February 8, 2008

Potato Soup

Winter is a great season for soup and this is one of my favourites. It is easy to make and a hit at any dinner party. Try this soup with a glass of Wolf Blass Gold Lable Riesling.

1/4 lb salted butter
4 leeks, wash well and finely chop
1 large sweet onion, fine diced
sea salt
Pinch of sugar
4 cups Chicken Stock (canned works well)
1lb russet potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
chives for garnish

1. In a large, saucepan heat butter and add leeks, onion, sugar and salt to taste. Saute, stirring from time to time, for 5 minutes.

2. Add chicken stock and potatoes. Bring to simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour

3. Lift out potatoes and puree in blender adding a little of the soup as needed. I like to leave the leek and onion diced to add texture to the finished soup. Nice contrast to the creamy pototoes.

4. Return the pureed potatoes to saucepan and bring soup just to boil, take off the heat then stir in the cream. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with chives and serve

Tip: Leeks often come with "complimentary" dirt! Cut the leeks along the length within an inch of the base, fan out and wash under running water and you'll avoid a mouthful of grit.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Taste for Life

$60,000 for the benefit of the American Cancer Society, that's the Goal for 2008. If you like great wine, great food and a great cause make your plans now to attend this years Taste For Life

What Would Aussies Know About Chilli

Robert is fascinated with Chilli Cookoffs. He's entered a couple but has one thing working against his success; What would an Aussie know about Chilli?! This small problem, however, does not deter him from constantly experimenting. And yes, he is particular about the level of spiciness. So here goes, in honor of the Super Bowl.

2 lb top round steak, (I prefer to very finely chop the steak, rather than buy ground)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 large onions, fine dice
6 garlic cloves
2 dried Anaheim chiles
2 Poblano chiles
2 tablespoons Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 tablespoons Coriander
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Basil
2 bay leaves
2 cans of diced tomatoes and green chilies (I recommend Rotel)
Sea salt
1 cans butter beans
1 can corn niblets
Tobasco Sauce, to taste
1 large Red Pepper, julienned

For Serving: large soft tortillas, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and red onion, grated cheese (Mex mix), chopped cilantro, sour cream, sliced avacado.

1. Place dried chiles in a sauspan, cover with water and bring to boil. Let soak for 15 minutes till softened.

2. In a large cast iron dutch oven, saute Onions in Olive Oil. Add finely chopped beef, cook until browned.

3. Remove chile stems and seeds, puree chiles in a blender using water used for soaking. Add to meat mixure along with canned tomatoes, dried herbs and spices. Add salt to taste. Add additional water if needed. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour.

4. Add Tabasco and adjust seasonings to taste. Add drained, canned beans, corn and red pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Serve wrapped in large soft tortilla (warmed in microwave for 10 seconds) with your choice of lettuce, avacado, tomato, red onion, cheese, cilantro and sour cream. Pyromaniacs can liven it up with extra Tabasco.

Sydney Sunday Crepes

Over the 11+ years we've spent in the USA, we've continued a tradition the family enjoyed at our home in Sydney. On Sunday mornings the children awoke to the unmistakeable aroma of butter browning in the crepe pan. Robert's crepes are a great brunch treat for friends and family.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter
Fresh fruit; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, any berries.
Whipped cream
Maple syrup; the real stuff!
extra butter for the pan

1. Combine flour, sugar and salt; mix well. Add milk and eggs; whisk until batter is smooth. Cover; let stand 1 hour. Melt butter over low heat until it just begins to brown. Stir into batter.

2. Heat a small amount of butter in crepe pan or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons batter into pan; immediately rotate pan until batter covers bottom with a thin layer. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Run spatula around edge; turn crepe (or if you are feeling lucky, toss crepe). Continue cooking until bottom is browned. Remove; keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with berries, whipped cream and maple syrup.

Byerly's Wild Rice Soup

When we first moved to the USA we lived in Minneapolis. You don't have to be in Minnesota for too long before you are introduced to wild rice soup. The local supermarket, Byerly's, is famous for this unique Minnesotan dish.

6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1/3 cup diced ham
1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
3 tablespoons chopped slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of half-and-half
2 tablespoons dry sherry
snipped chives

Melt butter in saucepan; saute onion until tender. Blend in flour; gradually stir in broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in wild rice, ham, carrots, almonds and salt; simmer about 5 minutes. Blend in half-and-half and sherry; heat to serving temperature. Garnish with chives.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup:
Reduce chicken broth to 2 1/2 cups. Substitute 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken for ham. Omit salt. Substitute 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated skimmed milk for the half-and-half. Prepare as directed.

Windows On The Bay

Windows on the Bay is rated one of Maryland's Top 10 Chesapeake Bay area restaurants. The casual atmosphere overlooking the sailboats bobbing in their slips at White Rocks Marina is almost at odds with the top notch dishes created here. This is no casual waterside crab shack. It's an oasis in the desert of crass and culinary-deficient dining experiences currently available in Pasadena. Free transient slips are available for those arriving by boat.

We had no idea when we rented a slip for our first sailboat, Sandpiper, that we had stumbled upon award winning owners/chefs Dennis Walz and Mark Morgan, quietly serving up such dinner delights as
Johan Black Steak, a marinated NY Strip served with a zinfandel sauce, Veal Bearnaise, scaloppini of veal, sauteed and topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, mushrooms and asparagus; and Windows' Seafood Pasta with grilled scallops, shrimp and mussels in a red peppercream sauce.

All of the appertizers are great, especially Monday to Friday when they're half price during happy hour! Sit at the high stools in the bar for
Grilled Scallops with basil and sun-dried tomatoes; Portabella Imperial stuffed with jumbo lump crabmeat and topped with imperial sauce; and Trish's favorite, Classic Quesadillas. Robert says the Oysters are great!

On weekends, don't be surprised to find that the restaurant is booked out for a wedding party.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

True Blue Aussie Meat Pie

Mention the word "pie" to an Aussie and he or she will be thinking about meat pies. The Aussie meat pie is equivalent to the American hamburger as the classic fast food. Gourmet meat pies include "steak and onion", "beef and mushroom", and the ever popular "South Sydney" (pie, peas and ketchup) named in honor of the South Sydney Rugby League footy team for their green and red jerseys. We've developed a family-size recipe that is the closest we have come to that classic Aussie flavor.

(photos l-r: wikitravel "Sydney at Night", wikipedia "Australian Meat Pie")

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup stout or dark ale
1/2 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
1/4 teaspoon oinion salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 beef bouillon cube
Grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup water
1 pie pastry (shortcrust) for 10 -inch pie
1 sheet puff pastry

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat; add onion. Cook until onion begins to soften; add beef. Continue cooking until meat is browned. Add stout, ketchup, onion salt, celery salt, beef bouillon cube and nutmeg to taste. Bring mixture to a boil; cover. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes. Spoon flour into cup and add water, mixing well. Stir into meat mixture. Continue cooking until meat mixture is thickened. Remove from heat; refrigerate 2 hours or until chilled.

2. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line 10-inch pie pan with shortcrust pastry; brush edges with water. Add meat mixture. Cut 11-inch circle from puff pastry; place over meat. Press edges of pastry to seal; cut vent hole in center. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Serve with mashed potato, mushy peas and ketchup.


A simple Hungarian peasant dish from "The New Gourmet" by Guy Deghy. This book was published in 1980 and is now out of print however, the recipe is a family favourite.

1 lb Onions, sliced into fairly thin half-circles
2-3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
Olive Oil
3 teaspoons Paprika (scharf or hot)
1 lb Beef, diced reasonably large
2 teaspoonfuls of Caraway seeds
1 lb Potatoes, peeled and medium diced
1 tin of peeled tomatoes
Salt (not sea salt)

1. Fry Onion and Garlic in Olive Oil until translucent. Take off heat add 1 cup of water and stir in 3 teaspoons of Paprika.

2. Fold in diced beef and allow to cook without lid until water shows signs of having evaporated.

3. Add 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds and 1 cup of water, allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Add tomates, potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt and enough water to cover well. Cook with lid on over low heat for an hour.

5. Serve in a bowl with a dollop of Sour Cream and Polish or Hungarian pickled gherkins.