Happy New Year!
Yes. I realise it’s the end of January. And yes I realise I haven’t posted anything since before Christmas. Maybe I’m playing hard to get. Or it’s been hot and the beach doesn’t have a power plug. So anyway…. have you missed me? Between the family, eating, drinking, eating, road trips, eating, I have been thinking and planning my 2016. Well, my Foodie 2016 that is.
This is my list of food related things that I want to conquer this year. YUSSS. So without further ado, welcome to my 2016 The Enthusiastic Cook Foodie Bucket List.
I will kick this off with the first one I’ve ticked off just to start the ball rolling:
- Shucking Oysters. (and not slicing off a limb)
We spent a few days in Waiheke last week and it was beyond beautiful. One of my favourite restaurants in Oneroa is The Oyster Inn, and when we visited, I was so temped to snatch up a dozen Te Matuku Bay oysters in the half shell. Instead I ordered prawn cocktail (excellent) and we drove to visit the actual Te Matuku Bay location since it was a mere ten minute drive from where we were staying in Onetangi. Two dozen oysters for $14. WHAT. Now here’s the catch: You shuck them yourself. Bam. Challenge accepted.
Conveniently enough, we have a shucker (although I’ve been told a flathead screwdriver also sort of kind of works). I decided to watch a two minute YouTube tutorial first which was really helpful because I wouldn’t have had a clue how to start. Here’s the jist of it:
Take a towel and lay the oyster in it, but also create a barrier so your hand is protected. Or, wear a gardening glove, or a mountain bike glove (dual purpose) if you have one available (less chance of puncture wounds). Take the pointy bit of the knife and carefully sort of jam it in the base of the hinge, twist the knife using pressure, lever it upwards and it should pop open. Then, GENTLY my oyster lovers, take the knife and run it along the top of the shell being careful not to cut into the oyster, and open that baby up. THEN EAT IT AND REPEAT.
It’s so easy. I couldn’t believe it. Here’s video proof.
SHUCKING A MOTHER SHUCKING OYSTER. CHECK.
Here is the rest of my bucket list:
- Learn How to Make Pastry (all the pastries)
I sort of learned how to do this on Christmas morning, in a hot kitchen with a time limit because I like to put myself under pressure. It was a nice flaky pastry from Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich’s Middle East cookbook Honey & Co (highly recommend), that was surprisingly simple: 150g cold butter diced, 150ml double cream, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, 300g plain flour and 1 egg yolk. Mix it well with your hands but you still want to see flecks of butter. Form into a ball, wrap in glad wrap, stick in the fridge for an hour and then roll out to use. It turned out really well, or so says the family. But they also said that about my kumera gnocchi and that was super gross. What I’d really like to do is learn how to make all the pastries: shortcrust, choux, puff and nail the flaky one cause I think I could do better. Figure out the secrets to rolling, resting, blind baking or not, etc. Become the pastry queen of the world.
- Make my Own Cheese
I might ask my food blogger friend Bri (from Bri DiMattina) for advice since I’ve eaten her homemade cheeses and they are incredible. Check out her recipe for Dulce – Crema di Ricotta here. She is the queen of cheese. I’m just hoping someday I’ll be like one of those peasant girls who is somewhat capable of making the cheeses, after completing all the castle chores.
- Host a ‘Round the World Food Party
I’ve had this idea for awhile that I’d like to host a dinner party where each guest brings a dish from a particular country and pairs it with some sort of drink, also from that country. Think Confit Duck and Chablis, or Tamales and Margaritas but picking less obvious countries and doing a bit of research sounds appealing to me. Like making Ethipoian injera. Might avoid the raw lamb specialties though.
- Buy a Sashimi Knife and Learn How to Cut Fish so it Doesn’t Look like Cat Food
If anyone has recommendations, send them my way. If I could source relatively cheap fish and cut it like the Gods at Masu, I would never eat anything else ever again. Until I was sick of sashimi.
- Take a Butchery Class
Is this a thing? A few of us bloggers were talking about this, and we might need to get a meat expert to create a bespoke class. I am really keen to learn more about cuts of meat, how to break down a beast properly, and to be honest actually just see if I am strong enough to do it, because I know it’s hard work. I can do chicken and rabbit. I want to do beef and pork.
- Vineyard Hop in West Auckland
Did you know there’s a boat that will pick you up in the CBD and take you all the way up to Riverhead Tavern? This seems appealing to me. But what would be even better, is if someone met you on the other end and drove you to all the wineries. I don’t need a tour. I’m familiar with West Auckland. I just want wheels and a semi capable driver so I can explore. Kumeu River, Soljans, Matua, Coopers Creek, Kerr Farm, West Brook and then maybe capped off with dinner at The Tasting Shed.
- Pizza Crawl
I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile because I’m a glutton, but I’m glad I held off because there are so many good pizza places around now. Off the top of my head: Farina, Dantes, Il Buco, Sals, Prego, add to the list and you can join me on the crawl. Note: We will need to walk to each place to make it calorie neutral. Obvs.
- Homemade Bread
I’m so unfamiliar with how to make bread, so I’d like to get better at this. Like, I didn’t even realise yeast expired. doy. I made hotdog buns years ago, that were like little cylindrical rocks (hence the yeast discovery) and I can make a mean spring onion pancake but a fresh focaccia or fluffy slice of white bread slathered in peanut butter would be rad. I’d rather try and do it from scratch instead of with a bread maker. My terrine tin would double as an ace bread tin.
- Buy a Smoker and Smoke all the Things
Pretty self explanatory. Mostly keen to use on seafood. Eel. Salmon. All the things.
I could definitely keep adding but to keep it realistic I’ll stop there and reassess in a year to see how I’ve done. Anyone else have foodie bucket list plans for 2016? Share below!