Tag Archives: chicken




Hi Tony,

Sitting in hotel room looking over a building site to Ginza. Before I even talk about food, there is the Japanese way of doing things. It is a fascinating thing watching the site. Everything is immaculate, right down to the guys hosing the tyres of the trucks as they leave, in case they were to drop dirt on the road. I’m now wondering if the building will be finished at a certain time on a certain date. Reckon I could set my watch to it.

If only I could bring these guys over to build our place?! Maybe even entice them to a tropical island to build something for you?

I had most of a day to fill in before Julia arrives, so I headed up to Kappabashi on the advice of a well researched, passionate knife collector colleague of mine, Justin. He armed me with just enough information to ensure I bought something pretty good, but avoid the exquisite ¥50,000+ works of art. So, I’ve ended up with a 210mm wa gyuto aogami with a kasumi finish. In short, I bought a very nice kitchen knife. Pic to follow (the thing is wrapped so carefully, I can’t open it until I get home).


We’re delighting in the Japanese food, as per usual. Alright, breakfast isn’t on our list of special cuisine, but the rest is just sublime.

Old dear friends of mine, Atsushi, and his wife Yumiko took us out to Soregashi in Gotanda. A favourite of theirs. While chicken is the theme and highlighted in many ways, it wasn’t all we ate. There was a healthy chunk of delightfully seared fois gras on a carefully constructed chicken rissole, for example.


Atsushi explained Soregashi over a few glasses of sake, which I will get to shortly. Soregashi is an old samurai word meaning ‘me’, or ‘I’. It is not a word used in today’s language and was really only ever used by a Samurai when speaking with a Lord or Shogun.


Every time we catch up with Atsushi and Yumiko we are treated to superb out of the way places. The sort of place that unless you knew about it…you get my drift. But not only is it a case of finding these gems (I’d never be able to locate it again without help), it’s the food and drink ordering that takes a seasoned expert. I can’t even tell you what we ate, but the chicken sushi, yes raw chicken, was delectable as was the celery sorbet to help close the night off.


What continues to surprise and impress me is the complexity and versatility of sake. Even here Atsushi sought advice of the “sommelier”. We drank a variety of sake, some of which could easily have been mistaken for some slightly obscure white wines.

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The final sake was rich, sweet, but with a clean acidic finish. The sort of thing I would expect and get from a Auslese Riesling from the Rhine or a late harvest Semillon from the Hunter Valley. Which would I chose to finish a night off? Damned if I wouldn’t chose the slightly nutty hint in the sake. The name of it? Just grab it off the handmade paper label below…


After piling into a cab at 1am, not a bad effort given that Julia flew in from New York at 5:30pm and I had been on the go for about 40 hours, we remembered our deep fondness for this city.

We have pretty much opted for ‘fast food’ for lunches, which usually consists of ramen, katsu or ramen. Even better, wander off one of the main streets for 50m and you’ll find somewhere with a menu with pictures and a startlingly good feed for $6-8. Who knows what’s in it, but there is a reason there are a bunch of locals there.

We’ve got another day off tomorrow before we have 3 days of trade show goodness to get stuck into. Not sure what our diet will look like during those days…

Better kick this off to you.



Summer sausage

Xmas cupcakes

Hi Tony.

Ah, ok, so it’s about 2 months since the last blog. My fault! I know I wanted to. I intended to, but stuff got in the way. The festive season for one. Speaking of which, happy new year!

So, we ended up having a quiet Christmas. No travelling this year, just time to catch up on overdue things and spend a little time getting fit and losing the “post-wedding/honeymoon, I ate too much good food” extra weight.

Despite the promise of summer, Melbourne has had a mixed bag of weather. Only some of which has been BBQ worthy. Not letting some rain and thunderstorms dent my enthusiasm, I’ve made another batch of sausages. Every batch seems to get a little better. Or more to the point, I seem to learn a little more.

Thai fixings

I thought back to when we made a batch of Thai chicken sausages and thought I had better give that another crack. Here’s something I learnt this time…mincing chicken in a domestic style mincer…doesn’t work for sh*t. Not sure if you will detect any frustration there, but there was plenty! Tip for young players…buy minced chicken!

Ok, another thing I learned. I bought some collagen casings from my butcher about 9 months ago and kept them in the fridge. Who would have guessed, but they dried out a little much and became fragile. So I had to adapt. I figured out a way to still use them (winning)! Easy as it turns out, simply fill them to ½ to ¾ what you would normally do and after a few mins the mix will soften the casing enough that you can squeeze the mix down further and properly fill the casing. Eh, voile!

Thai chicken sausages

So here’s what I made this time:

  • Pork, sage, apple and brandy;
  • Trusty Italian (pork, sherry, fennel seeds and parsley);
  • Pork, dried apricot, pistachio and saffron; and
  • Thai style chicken (chicken, ginger, garlic, chilli, fresh turmeric, lemongrass, kafir lime and coriander).

Italian sausages

The favourite? The Thai chicken. Pity I can’t do it anymore, but chicken, roast garlic and aged cheddar is pretty tasty too.

I really need to write down the quantities I use as I do the typical thing and play each by ear. I got the chicken and the Italian ones right, but more apple and brandy is needed and heaps more saffron.

All in all, that is about 6.5-7kgs of sausages. Freezer is full again!

Home made

Have you tried out your mincing/sausage machine yet? I would think with the abundance of interesting flavours you can get to, there would be some pretty fun options? I’m keen to try some duck based ones. The extra fat in the duck would help them hold up nicely I would think.

Don’t forget, get the leanest pork you can find and then add about 25% by weight of pork backfat. Even add some of that to the chicken sausages. Any less than that and the sausages dry out too much when you cook them. Oh, and I know I am preaching to the converted, but only ever BBQ them and on low heat. Slow is best.