When it comes down to living the good life, you don’t have to spend up large.
One of my favourite things about having been a dishpig or assorted-kitchen odd-body for a number of years is that you soon learn that the most expensive foods are often the crappyest.
So, to help you all out, here’s a few pointers about surviving on a partial-gourmet diet in Wellington. Now, all of these photos were taken at gourmet and sometimes 4×4 central, Moore Wilsons.
A kilo of pork belly for a miserly $12. There’s a bit of fat on there, but nothing you can’t handle.
Of course, you don’t want to go overboard. Too much pork makes Che a rather fat boy. But everything in moderation, no?
So, I mention the pork belly because it’s a main ingredient in cassoulet, something I’ll be discussing in more length over on Object Dart. Sooner or later.
But, there’s heaps of stuff you can find at Moore Wilson you can’t find easily anywhere else. So here’s a few more
Braatwurst is a kind of German sausage made of… yup, pork. It’s light and delicious, and is good in a cassoulet, but better with something like a farmer’s platter. These things aren’t so expensive when you consider how many you get in a pack. Plus you’re doing your bit to reduce the porcine problem. We all know there are too many of the little bastards in this world…
They’re extremely delicious, especially if you caramelise them in the oven. They’re one of those vegetables no-one really things about. But even if you’ve cooked the bejesus out of them the keep a remarkably sweet flavour, and always have that fresh aniseed zing about them.
Duck fat is useful for just about everything. Be warned though, it has a very particular odour, and will probably keep your kitchen smelling like an avian butt for days… All is forgiven when your roast potatoes are golden brown and charming the Joneses though.
OK. Back to pork. Kassler is a type of smoky bacon used in a lot of European cooking. It’s one of the ingredients of both the cassoulet and the farmers’ platter, and the best quality I’ve seen in town is definitely here at Moore Wilsons. You can buy it from the supermarket, but the fat on it just doesn’t have the light “fluffy” white colour that good pork fat should. If your fat looks discoloured, it is not good for you.
And that means both people and their foods…
OK. Let’s wind this up with this picture. These olives are about $20. The thing to note is that they’re kalamata olives. Most people have differing tastes in this regard, but kalamata are the olives of choice in my mind.
Normally I’d buy these from the Mediterranean Warehouse, but that’s another post. The trick in this instance is to tip all that brine off the olives, and put them into a container like this one here. These green containers keep the sunlight off your olive oil and stop it going bad. You can always start out with black olives (pictured), and slowly add green, kalamata, whatever.
The trick is lose the brine by tippingthe whole shebang out into a colander. Make a bouquet garni of some rosemary, some thyme, maybe some whole chilis, and some whole garlic cloves. Tie them up in some cheesecloth, and leave it in the bottom of the now-empty olive container. Put your olives back in, and top up the container with half-olive half-salad oil.
Voila. You’ll have the best marinated olives in all of Wellington. Bar my house, of course.
Just top up the oil as it gradually runs down (keep it above the level of the olives each time you refill the container), and the flavour will improve over time.
And say you read about Moore Wilsons here. You’ll get a 10% discount. Maybe. If you do, tell me.