Homestyle Osso Bucco

As winter approaches here in Australia slow cooked Osso Bucco is a great recipe to warm the soul. Osso bucco is the cross-cut shank of veal featuring the marrow bone. You can use beef osso bucco but they tend to be much bigger and take longer to cook. I really prefer the smaller veal osso bucco. Order from your butcher if you need to. The meat in this recipe is slow cooked until tender and just falling off the bone and the marrow becomes soft and adds great flavour to the sauce. sucking the marrow out of the bones is not elegant but highly recommended! Served with a zingy gremolata, creamy mash and a fresh rocket and fennel salad, this a fabulous one pot wonder dish that will impress family and friends. It is very simple to cook and is economical as well with a short, sharp ingredients list.

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cooking time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
12 small veal osso bucco (about 1.5kg)
1 cup plain flour for dusting osso bucco
100 grams unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions diced finely
2 carrots diced finely
2-3 cloves of garlic very finely chopped
3 stalks celery diced finely
400g of canned diced tomatoes
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
salt and black pepper to taste
half a bunch of parsley finely chopped
Fine zest of 2 lemons preferably microplaned or vey finely chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large heavy based casserole pot, big enough to fit the osso bucco and other ingredients in.

Roll the osso bucco one by one in flour and then brown well in the butter, doing this in small batches and adding more butter to pot until all the osso bucco is browned. remove from pot and set aside.

Add olive oil to pan, heat and then add onions, half the garlic, carrots and celery, Cook gently until onion is golden and soft.

Add the osso bucco to the pot, then tomatoes, white wine and chicken stock. Add 1 tspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1.5-2 hours until osso bucco is tender. If required carefully remove osso bucco from sauce and allow sauce to reduce to a tick gravy consistency, then return osso bucco to sauce and reheat before serving.

While osso bucco is cooking prepare parsley, lemon zest and half the garlic and mix together with a pinch of salt. This is the gremolata for sprinkling on  the osso bucco when served.

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Homestyle osso bucco with gremolata and creamy mashed potatoes

Osso bucco is great with creamy polenta, risotto to mash. I serve it with a sharp green rocket and baby spinach salad with finely shaved fennel – all gorgeous Italian inspired flavours that compliment the rich main course perfectly.

 

 

 

Review: New York Nuance at Jean Georges’ Nougatine

It seemed only apt in the midst of the US primaries and all the hype about Donald Trump’s candidacy that we vist Jean Georges at the Trump Hotel on West Central Park. Recommended by friends and heralded as one of the best restaurants by Michelin judges and the foodie community, Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten’s stunningly located and beautifully designed restaurant is not short of acclaim.

Adjacent to the formal Jean-Georges restaurant is the more casual but still very elegant Nougatine dining room and outdoor Terrace dining. We had heard about the very reasonably priced Prix Fixe lunch menu – 3 courses for USD38 , so we made sure we booked in ahead of time.

Arriving on a crisp, New York early Spring day for lunch, we were welcomed by the equally crisp(but warm) and professional Jean Georges reception staff. We were privileged to have General Manager Phillipe Vongerichten, Jean Georges’ brother, supervising proceedings on the day we visited – watching the floor like a hawk and elegantly keeping an eye on the dishes emerging from the immaculate open plan kitchen and the seamless service. You certainly never feel like you are getting “second best” being in Nougatine rather than the main restaurant.

The wine list is of course extensive but includes reasonably priced wines to complement your meal as well as out of this world offerings!

We were both in the mood for salad to start so chose the Shrimp Salad with avocado, tomato and Champagne sauce and the Warm Duck Confit Salad with Spring greens and grapes. The salads had similar crisp, leafy lettuces as a base but the individual combinations of sauces, herbs and accompaniments were deliciously different to each other.

For mains, we just couldn’t go past the enticing fish combinations on offer and chose two types of fish we don’t see that much on menus in Australia- Crispy Black Sea Bass with caramelised cauliflower and a poppyseed, buttermilk vinaigrette and Roasted Hake with avocado, black beans and “cilantro “. The combinations of ingredients with  each of the unique fish flavours was delicious and perfect for lunch.

We finished with the Citrus Pavlova with Satsuma cream and a brilliant blood orange sorbet which was stunning – citrusy, light and refreshing!

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Nougatine’s Citrus Pavlova with blood orange sorbet

Each course featured divinely balanced flavours and textures, featuring the freshest seasonal ingredients that Jean Georges is famed for. Throughout the meal you are aware that this is dining at it’s finest, yet being totally at ease. The lunchtime crowd, a buzzy mix of locals and tourists, adds to the atmosphere as you enjoy views across to Central Park. I think this is a must-visit experience in New York, whether you decide to blow the big bucks at Jean Georges or go for Big Bang for your buck at Nougatine. (Thanks Marie for suggesting we try it out.)

Review: Super Catch in Meatpacker’s District NYC

Catch is one of the super trendy restaurants in Meatpacker’s featuring all-the-rage Asian fusion in a souped up warehouse like space over 3 levels in the Meatpacker’s district in New York City. With a wide ranging menu, and an expectedly seafood focus, menu decision-making is difficult but the over the top pricing for some offerings helps to cut down the options if you’re not straight from Wall Street.

Originally opened by by US Top Chef program winner, Hung Huynh, the menu features Raw Bar with Seafood Towers, rolled, cold and hot selections as well as US “entrees” and extensive sides. Here’s the current Dinner menu

We sampled the Tartare Trio of salmon, hamachi and tuna served with American Caviar and a wasabi creme fraiche, Crispy Prawns with a tangy mayonnaise, Chicken San Choy Bow, Wagyu on a Rock and the Charred Cauliflower. We also had a special on the night a “pizza” with figs, proscuitto, rocket and quail eggs and Parmesan which was super good. (The low key lighting makes it a bit challenging for good blog photos.)

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Tartare trio of salmon, hamachi and tuna with American caviar at Catch NYC

All the food was deliciously fresh with well balanced flavours and very reminiscent of Australian Asian-fusion cooking which we had been missing in our 3 weeks of travel in the US. The atmosphere and supercharged vibe however is definitely 100% NYC!! It is like having a great meal in a nightclub. Afterwards we wandered up to Level 3 rooftop bar for views over the Manhattan skyline. A great place to really feel you are in the Big Apple that’s for sure! Make sure you book.Visit Catch NYC

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Rooftop bar at Catch in NYC

Review: Posh Indian at Bombay Club Washington DC

The Bombay Club is right in the heart of Washington DC’s executive quarter, just a few blocks from the White House. Frequented by American Presidents and Hollywood stars this is not your everyday Indian restaurant. It was rated by GQ India as the third best Indian restaurant in the world. (Read full article http://www.gqindia.com/live-well/food/7-best-indian-restaurants-across-globe/ ).

Intrigued by what we had read and heard about the restaurant we saved it for our last night in DC and we were not disappointed.

From  the plush padded seats, starched linen tablecloths and the tinkling from the pianist in the corner, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a Raj-era exclusive club.

For entree we chose the highly recommended Spicy Duck Kebabs- Minced duck, chilies, ginger, nutmeg and garam masala and the Dum Ka Shrimp marinated in black pepper, saffron, yogurt, cardamom. The kebabs were divine and spicier than we expected which to us bode well that the Bombay Club hasn’t “dumbed” down the spicing for Western palates too much. The prawns were more subtly flavoured and delicious too.

For mains we ordered an “unabashedly Indian curry” – Lamb vindaloo and Bhindi Do Piaza (okra), Dhal Makni, naan, basmati rice and lemon chutney. The lamb vindaloo was redolent of the aged vinegar, onions, chilies, cinnamon and cardamon it is cooked in with a perfect balance of tanginess and spicy warmth. The Dhal Makni is cooked for 16 hours and it tasted smoky and rich, like it had been cooked overnight in the tandoor. The okra is cooked with pickled onions, tomatoes and chilli and was an ideal vegetarian accompaniment to our meal, along with one of the best pickled lemon chutney I have ever tasted. Wish I could get the recipe for that!

Treating ourselves to dessert, we loved the Gulab Jamun served with cardamom gelato and the mango kulfi.

The entire meal was one of the best Indian epicurean experiences we have ever had and I would highly recommend eating at Bombay Club if you live in or visit DC. Here is the link to their website for more pictures and information http://www.bombayclubdc.com

 

 

Soulful style at Marvin in Washington DC

Marvin’s is a very cool bistro, bar and nightclub in Washington’s happening “U street corridor” on 14th Street NW. Established in 2007, the food is inspired by Marvin’s Gaye’s travels to Belgium and southern “soul” food he grew up with in America. The decore is contemporary but comfortable, making you feel instantly at ease. Understandable why it is such a favourite with the locals.

 

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Marvin restaurant inspired by Marvin Gaye

We had come to eat like the locals so started off with Chicken fried oysters and Shrimp ‘n Grits. The oysters were fried in a spicy batter and came with a remoulade, mayonnaise. They were crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside making for a delicious contrast. The Shrimp had been cooked in tangy spices and were served with cheesy grits, jus from the shrimps and scattered with toasted almonds. (Grits are small broken corn grains that when are well are creamy almost like polenta.) The flavours from the shrimp enlivened the grits and made the dish extremely more-ish!

For entrees (mains) we chose the Pepper Crusted Hanger steak with green beans, shiitake mushrooms and  bordelaise sauce and Chicken and Waffles which was served with gravy, syrup and collard greens. I never thought I’d ever be caught eating waffles for dinner but I have to say the pairing was divine, especially with the sweetness of the accompanying sauces and the bitterness of the collard greens. The steak was very Belgian French in style, spiced with pepper and cooked perfectly to medium rare as requested.

Once again we had no room for the tempting dessert menu but I took a photo so you can see the delicious choices on offer.

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Dessert Menu at Marvin in Wsahington DC

After dinner we wandered upstairs to catch some tunes on the rooftop deck which was filled with a hipster crowd enjoying the cool sounds from the DJ.

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Excellent evening of food and entertainment. Plan to spend longer than you expect.

St Patrick’s Day at The Roger and Molly’s Bar NYC

Arrived in New York after 26 hours of travelling from Sydney at 4.30pm on St Patrick’s Day.

We were staying at The Roger, a boutique hotel on the Corner of Madison and East 31st, in the area still known as Nomad(north of Madison park). I remember staying in mid-town years back when I visited New York and it is certainly changing with many more trendy bars and restaurants and a much more vibrant and a far less grungy atmosphere.

The rooms are very spacious by New York standards and ours even had a seperate walk in wardrobe. Anyway, impressed as we were with our digs, we wanted a true New York Irish experience to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. After some quick online research, Adrian suggested Molly’s Bar about 15 minutes walk down in Gramercy, on 287 3rd Avenue just down from East 23rd st.

 

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Queues to get in at Molly’s Bar in New York on St Patrick’s Day

The tiny bar,established in 1960 and known to be New York’s most authentic Irish bar in New York, with sawdust on the floor and a log fire, was packed to the rafters with New Yorkers of Irish descent and every other descent celebrating St Pat’s Day – raucously! As loud as it was, we got there around 8.30pm and managed to avoid any queues and even to get a booth. Somehow  the noise seemed to diminish when we sat down and it was still fine to talk and enjoy our delicious meal of Irish favourites – corned beef served with cabbage, vegetables and mash and of course, Irish Lamb Stew.

We knew we were in the US of A when the gigantic main  courses arrived, but just like the noise, the size of the dishes diminished when we tucked in! Both meals were delicious and served with complimentary traditional Irish Soda Bread. (Excuse the poor quality of the food pics but it was pretty dark in the booth!) Accompanied by Irish Harp Lager and a delicious glass of red wine from Washington State. Prices for meals and drinks are reasonable and tallied up to about $80 including tip for 2 of us, without an entree(appetiser) or dessert, but including more than 1 round of drinks!

Great green atmosphere on St Pats Day but I think it would be just as much, or even more fun, on a normal evening.