Unlike most of you spineless ‘social justice’ bleeding-heart whingers, I am feeling much restored by the Budget. The Sydney Morning Herald’s letters pages, of course, have been offering succour and a splendid sense of solidarity, as the silver fox and I partake of our first lethal cocktails of the evening after a day at our respective unentitled coalfaces. Indeed, my relationship with my liege grows ever stronger, as we lean in together, spectacles brushing, poring over those letters and opinion pages, searching for meaning. And oh how we talk, long into the night – until the start of QI sometimes – about honesty, about morality, about freedom, about justice, about opportunity. Ah yes, comrades, plotting the overthrow of a government while tightening one’s belt is a heady mix, and cheaper than a $200 relationship counselling voucher.
When not breathing deep of the scent of revolution that hangs seductively in the air and, occasionally, on the bus, I am busying myself with the making of some pretty excellent food, even if I do say so myself (which is the whole point of a vaguely food-smeared blog such as this, obviously). I find I cook better when I’ve come over all Vanessa Redgrave in Julia. And how could I not, when our current political grist is so damn millable.
Inspiration has come from many quarters of the culinary, if not fiscal, kind. The Budget is the antithesis of inspirational, whatever that word is. I’ll leave it at ‘f**ked’ – much like that odious car rental ad – and move right along.
To wit, to coq au vin, inspired by a top young fellow by the name of Warren Mendes, assistant food editor at ABC delicious. magazine, who’d been messing about in the test kitchen and come up with a cracking, speed-freak version.
It took me back to the good old days of MasterChef Magazine, when George Calombaris looked more like Mumble in Happy Feet than Crush from Finding Nemo, and Matt Preston looked like Dame Widow Twankey in man drag (and still does, which is why I’ve always liked him, by the way – he reminds me of childhood pantomime outings at Golders Green Hippodrome in North London). So, pumped with adrenalin and moral outrage, I thought I’d do it the hard way, The. MasterChef. Way.
This recipe’s owner is Dominic Smith, another top young fellow, who was the assistant food editor of that briefly lived, even more briefly mourned food magazine. His coq au vin is a corker, too, even though my finished beeeeeautiful dish didn’t quite have the glossy, coppery loveliness of the shot you’ll see when you click on the link or rummage feverishly through your back copies for (it’s in August 2010). My fault, entirely, of course, because wrath got the better of me and, as so often happens on a Saturday arvo, I was too busy spitting political vitriol with my beloved to concentrate on the recipe, thus missing out vital elements – the caramelised eschalots, for one. But, like all good recipes, it was forgiving enough to shoulder the burden of a few omissions. Unlike Greg Hunt.
And, due to my small-‘L’-liberal use of a feisty Barossa red rather than the required pinot noir, the result was deeply and audaciously winey.
Much like I’ve been all week.