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  • Local sharemarket upbeat despite Wall Street gloom

    The mostly upbeat tone of domestic company reporting season overcame a shaky lead from the US and concerns about liquidity in China as local shares edged higher.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index eked out a gain of 1.5 points, or 0.03 per cent, on Monday to 5440.2, closing higher for the seventh-straight session. The broader All Ordinaries Index added less than one point to 5450.1.

    Local shares had a weak lead from Wall Street, which closed lower on Friday after a National Association of Realtors report showed sales of previously owned properties in the US fell by 5.1 per cent in January, against expectations for a 4.1 per cent fall.

    Falls in big Asian markets applied further pressure on the local index in the afternoon. China's Shanghai Composite Index lost more than 2 per cent following reports Chinese banks were tightening property lending.

    Sentiment got a boost that world financial leaders gathered at the G20 summit in Sydney at the weekend had agreed on a target to lift global economic growth - as measured by combined domestic product - from 3 per cent to 5 per cent over the next five years.

    ''Generally speaking, so far reporting season has been slightly better than expected,'' said Jamie Nicol, the chief investment officer at Dalton Nicol Reid.

    ''We are likely to see some decent earnings growth this year for the first time in a number of years, which is a real positive.''

    Transfield Services was the best-performing stock in the ASX 200 on Monday, climbing 24.5 per cent to 99¢ on the news it had won a $1.2 billion contract to build asylum seeker offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Avatar actor Sam Worthington arrested for assaulting photographer

    Australian actor Sam Worthington asked police if they were familiar with "that movie Avatar?" before they bundled him into a police car in New York.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Worthington, 37, who starred in Avatar, was arrested for allegedly assaulting photographer Sheng Li on Monday outside Cubbyhole Bar in West Village, after the photographer allegedly kicked model Lara Bingle in the shin as he tried to photograph them.

    Bingle, Worthington's girlfriend, alleges that the photographer had trailed her "on a public street for approximately four hours" before the confrontation occurred, according to court papers seen by the New York Daily News.

    Footage of the scuffle obtained by Channel Nine shows Bingle, whom Worthington refers to as his "wife", attempting to grab the photographer's camera before Worthington intervenes.

    "You f---ing kicked my wife," Worthington is recorded as yelling.

    He is alleged to have punched the photographer in the face. Police said that Bingle had a bruise on her leg, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

    Later, to other photographers and onlookers, Worthington yelled: "He kicked the girl, man, he kicked the girl."

    Bingle is seen to yell at the photographers, calling them "parasites" and begging them to leave her alone.

    As he spoke to officers, Worthington appears to reveal his fame.

    "You know that movie called Avatar?" Worthington is captured in the the footage as saying.

    NYPD officers charged him with assault, and released him on bail. He is due to face court on February 26.

    The photographer was also charged with assault, reckless endangerment and harassment.

    Li spent the night in custody before appearing in Manhattan Criminal Court overnight.

    According to the criminal complaint, Bingle told police that Li "kept getting in her way as she was walking down the street and was trying to trip her", the New York Daily News reports.

    But Li's lawyer, Ronald Kuby, claimed that Li was attacked by Bingle and that he did not retaliate.

    "He was there taking pictures - that's his job," Mr Kuby said, according to the New York Daily News.

    "I recognise that's annoying but that's the price of celebrity.

    "He wasn't chasing her through moving traffic. He was just stagnant here taking pictures of her and Worthington."

    Li declined to comment after he was released from custody. He is due back in court on April 1.

    This is the second time Worthington has been arrested. He was charged with disorderly conduct when he was denied entry to a restaurant in Atlanta in 2012, but charges were later dismissed.

    Several reports this year suggested Worthington and Bingle had married secretly in Western Australia, and they have since been seen wearing matching rings on their wedding fingers.

    But they have not publicly confirmed any marriage.

    Several people who saw the attack on Sunday afternoon described the scene on Twitter.

    "Pretty sure I just saw Sam Worthington getting arrested in Greenwich Village. Definitely in a cop car. Ok. #nyc #samworthington @OmiScott," wrote @MiriamEliseMP.

    "Just saw Sam worthington and Sara (sic) bingle get in physical fight with paparazzi outside cubby hole... Cops just got here," tweeted @[email protected] wrote: "Just saw Sam Worthington get arrested. Hashtag New York moment."

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Transfield Services shares soar after it wins offshore detention centre contract

    Tents at the detention centre on Manus Island. Photo: Jason SouthInvestors in Transfield Services have turned a blind eye to political risk attached to a $1.22 billion immigration detention centre contract, sending shares in the facilities management group soaring.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Transfield shares climbed 24.5 per cent to 99¢ in heavy trade on Monday after the company said the Abbott government had granted it a 20-month contract to operate a centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea that has been beset by deadly violence.

    The new deal expands on Transfield's existing contract to run the government's other offshore detention centre, on Nauru, and increases the amount the government will pay to run the two centres from about $39 million a month to about $61 million a month.

    Transfield, which was until October chaired by Tony Shepherd, who is heading the government's Commission of Audit, replaces UK-listed G4S. Violence at the centre last week claimed the life of one detainee and forced the Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, to admit he had initially provided incorrect information about the fracas.

    G4S is to be investigated by the Immigration Department over its role in the deadly violence. It faces a separate criminal investigation in the UK for allegedly overcharging the British government.

    Simon Fitzgerald, an analyst at Moelis & Company, said the Manus Island contract was ''very politically sensitive and controversial''.

    ''This is where companies can get into a lot of trouble, because there'll be a lot of scrutiny of how smoothly it operates,'' he said.

    But he pointed to Transfield's work cleaning up the government's troubled pink batts program as evidence it had experience working on politically sensitive projects.

    Transfield said the increased cost of the contract was due to higher security costs, more complex travel needs and tax rates in PNG being higher than in Nauru.

    Spokesman David Jamieson said Mr Shepherd's role at Transfield had nothing to do with it winning the contract. ''We believe our success on this bid was due to our ability to rapidly mobilise for Nauru and our ability to manage that facility to the department's satisfaction.''

    The company will subcontract security on Manus to Wilson Security, as it already does on Nauru.

    It will continue to use some PNG locals as security, even though G4S local staff have been accused of perpetrating some of last week's violence.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • ‘No Wimp’ Morrison a man of few words in Manus death climb-down

    Federal politics: full coverageMark Kenny: Plain speaking on Morrison becomes nonsensePolitics Live: Judith Ireland from Parliament
    Nanjing Night Net

    The measure of a modern minister is the number of words he or she expends in the effort to avoid revealing anything of substance.

    Minister No Wimp Morrison was able to get away - Scott free, you might say - with the daily double on Monday: offering few words and almost no insight on his amazing slow-motion reversal last week on the matter of who did what within or without the Manus Island detention centre on the night one man died and scores were injured.

    Mr Morrison's great good fortune was that his inquisitor - Richard Marles of the Labor Party - didn't seem to have his heart in it.

    This may have something to do with the fact that Mr Marles is the immigration spokesman of the party that, in its desperate dying days of government last year, tried to save itself by re-establishing Manus Island as a detention centre. Prime minister Kevin Rudd, it might be recalled, reportedly wanted at the time to create ''an island from hell''.

    It's difficult to climb on to a high horse when you have chosen the slippery slope and come a gutser.

    Nevertheless, Mr Morrison had managed to draw a bullseye on his own head by declaring within hours of an Iranian man dying at Manus Island that it appeared the death had occurred outside the centre. The unmistakeable sub-text was that the man had escaped and thus, somehow, had contributed to his own tragedy.

    Bit by bit, Mr Morrison was required to inch away from his initial declaration. But how did it take almost five days to perform the full climb-down; the admission that the deceased died in the centre and presumably had not escaped at all?

    Despite four questions on Monday from Mr Marles, we still do not know how Mr Morrison got his first and subsequent information, who he might have spoken to during that time or how a minister of the Commonwealth could have been so spectacularly misled for so long.

    Having failed to get anything useful out of Mr Morrison, Mr Marles wanted to know who was in charge of the Manus Island centre, and how often Mr Morrison had spoken to him before and after the asylum seeker's death.

    Mr Morrison, possibly sensing this was getting close to the nub of the matter, employed the avoidance skill of a stunt driver and the guile of a conjurer.

    The operations manager, he said, was an appointee of the chief migration officer of the Papua New Guinean government.

    He had met this (unnamed) operations manager when he had visited the centre from opposition ''and I met him personally when I was there and visiting that centre in September of last year and on a regular basis my offices and my department regularly engage with that operations manager and I maintain that contact through the department …''

    And then the minister veered from the question altogether.

    ''This centre is run by the government of Papua New Guinea,'' he declared a touch triumphantly. ''The Australian government supports the government of Papua New Guinea in running that centre through the arrangements which were established under the former government and we work within those arrangements.''

    With that, he sat down.

    And Mr Marles couldn't, apparently, think of another thing to ask. Nothing at all.

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    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Choice lifts veil on snack food star ratings

    Food ratings revealed: Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash. Source: Choice.
    Nanjing Night Net

    PM stands firm on Nash quit call

    It's a glimpse at the ratings the government didn't want you to see.

    Consumer group Choice has used a new healthy food star rating system - controversially pulled from a federal website by Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash - to uncover surprisingly large differences in the nutritional content of seemingly similar snack foods.

    Choice campaigns manager Angela Cartwright said consumers would be shocked by the results, with a full 2½ stars out of five difference between similar products.

    "It often comes down to whether they are cutting corners and using more saturated fat and sodium," she said. "These are products that kids are eating in playgrounds around Australia every day, and people have a right to know."

    Choice compared three products from multinational snack foods company Mondelez with similar products, after it called the system "ill-founded, unscientific and confusing".

    Choice found Mondelez's Kraft Strip Cheese received only two out of five stars, compared to Bega's Stringers, which got 4½ stars. Mondelez's Ritz Crackers got half a star, compared to Arnott's Jatz Original, which got two.

    Mondelez has been drawn into the controversy surrounding Senator Nash's closure of the food star rating website, after it was revealed her chief of staff was involved and was also a co-owner of a lobbying firm that worked for the brand.

    Ms Cartwright said Choice wanted to see what impact the ratings would have on companies that had criticised the ratings.

    "The health stars shot down the Mondelez product each time,'' she said.

    Ms Cartwright said she was able to use publicly available information to do the ratings, and would consider doing more product analysis if the website was not put back up.

    Senator Nash has said she intervened in the state and territory controlled website because it would be confusing for consumers when the stars were still being introduced. But she said she still planned for the system to begin in the middle of the year.

    A spokeswoman for Mondelez International said the system would mislead consumers and make labels more confusing.

    ''Given the health star rating shows that Philadelphia Cream Cheese is healthier than an apple, we believe that more work needs to be done,'' the spokeswoman said. ''The 100gram serving size adds another level of complexity. Even the most fervent Vegemite consumer would only use 10 grams.''

    She said the Choice review unfairly compared Sanitarium peanut butter with no added salt and sugar to the normal Kraft peanut butter, when it should have been compared to Kraft with no added sugar or salt.

    ''The algorithm which determines the number of stars on a product has changed numerous times and is expected to change again, so the results of this Choice test should be used with caution,'' the spokeswoman said.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • A spicy fix from the deep south

    Rice flour-crusted oyster po'boy with sriracha mayo.Huxtabook, by Daniel Wilson, is available in stores nationally from March. Published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $49.95. This is an edited extract.Rice flour-crusted oyster po'boy with sriracha mayo
    Nanjing Night Net

    As I did my formal chef training in the United States, I'm well versed in the many different sandwiches they make there. These were one of the first po' boys to appear on a Melbourne menu, and they have now popped up in lots of places around town. I find them especially good when nursing a hangover.

    4 small Vietnamese bread rolls

    125g (1/2 cup) Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie)

    3 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce (see note)

    vegetable oil, for deep-frying

    12 oysters, shucked and washed in salted water to remove any shell

    rice flour, for dusting

    1/2 iceberg lettuce, finely sliced

    1. Slice the bread rolls in half, leaving one side intact, and warm them in a moderate oven.

    2. Mix the Kewpie with the chilli sauce.

    3. Heat about five centimetres of oil in a large saucepan to 180C. Test by dipping a wooden chopstick into the oil: the chopstick will sizzle when the oil is ready.

    4. Dust the oysters in the rice flour and lower them into the hot oil. Deep-fry for one minute, or until just cooked through and crisp. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain immediately on paper towel.

    5. Toss the lettuce through the kewpie chilli dressing and place inside the warm buns. Top each bun with three oysters and enjoy!

    Serves 4

    Note: Sriracha chilli sauce is a Thai sauce made from chillies, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Most Asian grocers stock it.

    Jalapeno and cheddar croquettes

    These little guys have been probably the most popular bite at Huxtable. They're inspired by an American bar snack called the jalapeno popper (a whole jalapeno chilli stuffed with cheese, then crumbed and fried). Ours are creamy in texture and do really scream for beer! One is never enough.

    250ml (1 cup) milk

    35g butter, diced

    65g plain (all-purpose) flour

    1½ tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

    40g (1/3 cup) chopped pickled jalapeno chillies

    50g grated cheddar

    Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

    Crumbing mixture

    2 eggs

    250ml (1 cup) milk

    160g (2 cups) fresh breadcrumbs

    Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting

    For the croquettes

    1. Combine the milk, butter, flour and cornflour in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is very thick and the floury taste has cooked out. Make sure the sauce is very thick, otherwise you won't be able to roll and crumb the croquettes.

    2. Spoon the mixture into a bowl. Add the jalapenos and cheese and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Refrigerate for at least four hours, until firm.

    To crumb the croquettes

    1. Whisk together the egg and milk. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl.

    2. Roll the cold cheese mixture into 12 balls. Dust the balls with the flour, then coat in the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs. Put the croquettes back into the egg wash, then back into the breadcrumbs, to double-crumb them.

    3. Place on a tray lined with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for about an hour to set the crumbs.

    To serve

    1. Heat about five centimetres of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 180C. Test by dipping a wooden chopstick into the oil - the chopstick will sizzle when the oil is ready.

    2. Working in batches, deep-fry the croquettes for 1-2 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain immediately on paper towel.

    3. Season with sea salt and enjoy hot, with a frosty beer.

    Serves 12Ice-cream and fudge sandwich

    I have fond memories of being over at my neighbours, who always had ice-cream slices and pink wafers that fit to make a sandwich. This is my pimped version, which has the centre cut out to allow for chocolate fudge to be piped in. We have had this on the menu since day one and change the flavour with every batch of ice-cream made. The possibilities are endless — just start with the vanilla base and add whatever you like. We usually use dark chocolate fudge, but change it to white chocolate sometimes to complement the ice-cream flavour.

    Note: The anglaise recipe must be prepared at least one day in advance of serving the ice-cream sandwich.

    For the shortbread

    155g sugar

    300g plain (all-purpose) flour

    pinch of sea salt

    210g cold butter, diced

    For vanilla Anglaise (ice-cream base)

    500ml unhomogenised milk

    500ml pouring (single/light) cream

    200g sugar

    1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped

    15 egg yolks

    1 heaped tablespoon liquid glucose

    For dark chocolate fudge

    105ml milk

    90ml pouring (single/light) cream

    90ml liquid glucose

    1 tablespoon water

    200g dark chocolate, chopped

    For white chocolate fudge

    50ml pouring (single/light) cream

    35ml milk

    75ml liquid glucose

    2 teaspoons water

    175g white chocolate, chopped


    For the shortbread

    1. Combine the sugar, flour and salt. Place the butter in a food processor with half the flour mixture. Pulse until just combined, scraping down the side as needed.

    2. Add the remaining flour mixture and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs.

    3. Tip the mixture into a bowl and lightly knead to form a dough. Divide into two portions, cover with plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

    4. Remove the dough from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to use it. Roll the dough out to about 5mm between two sheets of baking paper, then place back in the fridge, still between the paper, to rest for at least 30 minutes.

    5. Preheat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Peel the top paper layer from the dough, then use a 10cm ring cutter to cut out 10 discs.

    6. Place on the baking tray and prick each with a fork a few times. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until just cooked and very lightly golden.

    7. Leave on the trays to cool, then remove once set. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place; the shortbread will keep for several days.

    Makes 10

    For the vanilla anglaise

    1. Scald the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla pod and vanilla seeds in a saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and glucose in a large bowl.

    2. Slowly pour the scalded milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.

    Strain the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the anglaise becomes thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain immediately into a bowl set over an iced water bath, then stir frequently until cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    3. The next day, churn the mixture in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once churned, spread out on a tray so the mixture is about 1.5cm thick. Freeze overnight.

    4. The next day, cut out a disc of ice-cream, using a 10cm ring cutter. Now cut the middle from that ring, using a 3cm cutter. Place the larger outside ring on a tray lined with baking paper and place back in the freezer. Repeat until you have four discs with the centre cut out. (You can save the centre discs for topping other desserts.)

    For the dark chocolate or white chocolate fudge (can be made several days ahead)

    Make either the dark or white chocolate fudge, using the following method.

    1. Combine all the ingredients, except the chocolate, in a saucepan and heat until simmering.

    2. Place the chocolate in a food processor. Slowly add the hot liquid, while blitzing to combine. Once combined, scrape down the side and blitz for 1 minute more.

    3. Pour the fudge mixture into a disposable piping (icing) bag. Leave to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use. The fudge can be made several days ahead, left in the fridge.

    Note: Before cutting the end off the piping bag, squish the bag in your hands a little to burst the air bubbles and smooth the fudge.

    To serve

    Look through your shortbread discs and reserve the four best-looking ones to use as tops. Place the other four on separate plates, with the tray side facing upwards. Place an ice-cream disc on each one, then pipe the fudge into the hole in the middle of the ice-cream. Place the other shortbreads on top. If the ice-cream is really firm (depending how cold your freezer is), you may want to wait for 5 minutes or so before serving.

    Most people use a fork and spoon to eat this dessert, but I think the best way to enjoy it is to pick it up!

    Serves 4


    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Year of umami

    Why do lasagne and spaghetti bolognese taste so good? It's all to do with the parmesan and tomatoes. Photo: Marina Oliphant Lasagne with Bolognese.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Bolognese ragu.

    BBQ nori prawns with lemon soy. Photo: Marina Oliphant

    It took a long time for umami to come to the party. Recognition of the ''fifth taste'' lagged several thousand years behind its bandmates sour, sweet, salty and bitter. But in terms of its game-changing importance, the identification of umami in 1908 was the Higgs Boson - the God particle - of the cooking world.

    It's about as tricky to define, too. More mysterious than the four other straightforward tastes, umami goes under many labels. Savoury and meaty are commonly used. Also see ''deeply flavoured'', ''long-lasting'' and ''mouth-coating''. Kikunae Ikeda, the Japanese chemist who revealed umami to the world after painstakingly isolating the dominant taste of kombu kelp in dashi, named it for the adjective umai, or ''delicious''.

    You still won't find it in Larousse. In terms of its application to Western cuisine it's been a slow build, but here we are at the tipping point. As the pointy end of gastronomy heads further down the geeky science path, chefs are putting it in the toolbox for the role it plays in creating flavour.

    Everything augurs that 2014 is the year of umami.

    Look no further than all that fermentation and pickling going on in restaurant kitchens. They're not only the buzzwords of now; fermentation is at the heart of ''the machinery of flavour'', as David Chang memorably called it, and Rene Redzepi, in an interview for thekitchn南京夜网, says, ''The world of fermentation is where you'll find a lot of flavours that give that richness, the effect of, 'Ahh, I feel like I've eaten something'.''

    Umami-rich building blocks such as miso, dashi and seaweed, soy sauce and fish sauce, are increasingly imported into non-Asian cooking for their flavour-giving potential.

    Among his various tricks, Dave Verheul, chef at Carlton restaurant the Town Mouse, has used kombu powder in a mussel broth with char-grilled pork loin. ''It gives an amazing extra layer of flavour,'' Verheul says. ''It's a way of incorporating it in a way that's not obvious.'' Seaweed butter is another one - three or four kinds of dried seaweed are at its base - or fermented apple juice, sloshed around a dish of shaved calamari with oyster cream and raw cucumber.

    ''Chefs have been using umami for a long time - the ancient Romans were using garum, which was a fermented anchovy sauce - but we know where it comes from now,'' says Verheul. ''It can be as simple as adding parmesan cheese to a cabbage dish we do. I think a lot of what you do as a chef is get as much flavour out of what you do.''

    The kombu salt with creamed corn at Woollhara's Pinbone has been another cult-ish success story. ''It's just delicious,'' says head chef Mike Eggert of the salt originally created by Tetsuya Wakuda. ''It tastes just like chicken in a biscuit. I love it with corn and butter. There's just something naughty about that combination.''

    Dan Hong (Ms G's, Mr Wong) is also a kombu proponent.

    At its essence, as Ikeda discovered, umami is created by naturally occurring amino acids our brains are hardwired to enjoy. Sound highbrow? Well, umami certainly is comfortable on the high road - it's high in shellfish, scallops and sea urchin - but it's equally at home on the low. Commercial tomato sauce is ring-a-ding with umami flavour (a nation's sauce-addicted children cannot be wrong), Vegemite is essentially umami in a jar, and don't forget mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), which Ikeda invented and patented as a flavour enhancer destined to attract controversy until the end of time.

    Umami has only been part of cooking's intellectual armoury for a century, yet it explains plenty of instinctual eating. Parmesan cheese and tomato? Yep, umami, meet umami, which certainly helps put the appeal of a classic Italian ragout bolognese into perspective. Cured meats and aged meats are high in umami, as are mushrooms, in particular shiitakes. A hamburger with cheese, tomato and pickles is a complete umami-bomb.

    Meat stocks and gravies are another rich source of umami - apparently Escoffier sensed he was on to something but couldn't put his finger on it - although its effects are more immediately obvious in Asian cooking. As Niki Segnit indelibly puts it in The Flavour Thesaurus, ''In south-east Asian cooking, adding fish sauce to coconut milk is like giving your stew or curry a central nervous system''.

    So how to umami-fy your home cooking? Don't just reach for the tomato sauce bottle, although a splash of Worcestershire sauce can fire up a ragout and a handful of anchovies can do wonderful things to slow-braised lamb shanks. Simply being aware of umami-heavy foods is part of the battle. Add mushrooms and a slosh of fish sauce to jazz up a stir-fry, pickles to make a salad more satisfying. You can easily make your own carrot pickles, for instance, with salt, sugar and white wine vinegar. Verheul recommends kimchi (Korean-style fermented vegetables), available in good Asian groceries, as a backbeat to all sorts of Asian and non-Asian sauces. But don't, he cautions, disappear down the U-bend with it. ''Harnessing umami isn't just about getting as much as you can into a dish. There's got to be balance or you're left eating some mushroom and truffle pasta covered in parmesan with no balance or complexity.''

    Heirloom tomatoes, tomato gazpacho, tofu, basil and sesame

    Tomato gazpacho

    500g ripe red tomatoes

    1 garlic clove

    1 shallot

    1 red chilli

    10g basil leaves

    100g cucumber, peeled

    sea salt

    chardonnay vinegar

    1. Roughly chop the tomatoes, garlic, shallot, chilli, basil and cucumber. Lightly season with a little salt and chardonnay vinegar, toss together and store in an air-tight container in the fridge overnight.

    2. The following day, blend until smooth with a stick blender, adjust the seasoning with some more salt and chardonnay vinegar. Pass through a fine sieve and chill.

    Crisp shallots

    2 shallots

    vegetable oil for frying

    1. In a medium sized-pot, heat the vegetable oil to 140C. Peel the shallots and slice finely into rings. Working in small batches, fry the shallot rings until golden and crisp. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt.

    To finish

    400g mixed ripe heirloom tomatoes, room temperature

    100g good quality silken tofu

    10 basil leaves

    1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted

    ¼ tsp sesame oil

    1. Season the tofu with sea salt and leave in a warm spot for five minutes.

    2. Cut the tomatoes into different sized wedges, season with sea salt and black pepper.

    3. Place the warm tofu in a serving bowl, arrange the tomatoes around the tofu. Pour 100 millilitres of the tomato gazpacho over the tomatoes, add the sesame oil, basil leaves and crisp shallots.

    4. Finally, sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.


    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Hot food: Creamed corn

    Creamed corn Photo: Edwina Pickles Creamed corn. Photo: Edwina Pickles
    Nanjing Night Net

    Don't throw out your kernel-free cobs, use them in this dish. Photo: Edwina Pickles

    What is it?

    It's that sweet, creamy corn mush that comes in a can, right? Nope. These days, it's made from scratch using summer's sweet, fresh corn, stock and cream. Originally hailing from the southern and midwest states of America, it's appearing on toast at cafes, with scallops as entrees, and with barbecued, smoked meats.Where is it?

    At Melbourne's Small Victories cafe, chef Alric Hansen cooks down sweet onions and butter, adds fresh corn kernels and cream, and serves it in an earthenware dish topped with two eggs, thyme salt, and a soldier of toast dipped in bacon fat and wrapped in lardo.

    ''People love the sweetness,'' he says. His advice to would-be creamed corn cooks is to ''do it nice and slow, and use a lot of butter''.

    Newcastle's popular Three Bean Espresso does an awesome creamed corn on sourdough toast, topped with poached eggs and slab bacon. Owner Ben Armstrong says, ''It's friendly, approachable, and, for people like me whose grandmother used to cook sweetcorn jaffles, nostalgic.''

    Sydney's funky Four Ate Five cafe in Surry Hills sells more than 100 dishes of creamed corn on toast with poached eggs and crisp bacon on a busy weekend. ''Every batch we make is different in terms of consistency and flavour,'' manager Lucas Viselli says. ''It's not so much a mechanistic exercise in cooking as an artistic one.''Why do I care?

    Because it's sweet, fresh and mouthwatering. And because the leftovers make a great jaffle with ham or bacon.Can I do it at home?

    Yes. It's brilliant for brekkie or brunch, or as a meal with crisp-skinned salmon or chicken.Creamed corn on toast

    Don't toss corn cobs out - make a quick stock from them instead (otherwise, use chicken, or vegetable stock, or water).

    5 corn cobs, husks and silk removed

    1 tbsp olive oil

    1 tbsp butter

    ½ an onion, finely diced

    sea salt and pepper

    75ml cream

    ½ tsp smoked paprika

    1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

    4 slices smoked or cured salmon

    1 lemon, cut into wedges


    1. Holding each cob vertically, use a sharp knife to shear off the corn kernels. Use a strong spoon to scrape again, getting the pulp and the milky juices as well.

    2. Cover the cobs with 500 millilitres of boiling water, add salt and simmer for 20 minutes. Discard the cobs and reserve the corn broth to use as a stock.

    3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a frypan, and cook the onion for five to 10 minutes until soft but still pale.

    4. Add the corn, sea salt and pepper, and 400 millilitres of stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.

    5. Blend one third of the corn in a blender and return it to the pan.

    6. Add the cream, sea salt, pepper, paprika and parsley and cook for five minutes, stirring.

    7. Serve with smoked salmon, lemon and extra herbs, such as basil and parsley.

    Serves 4Sourcing


    Four Ate Five, 485 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 9698 6485; Three Bean Espresso, 103 Tudor Street, Hamilton, Newcastle, 4961 2020.


    Small Victories, 617 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North, 03 9347 4064

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • A little fishy? Oh yes

    Carrot and potato salad with caraway, lemon and nigella seeds. Photo: Marcel Aucar Karen Martini: Sardines. Photo: Marcel Aucar
    Nanjing Night Net

    Sardines on toast. Photo: Marcel Aucar

    Sardines on toast. Photo: Marcel Aucar

    Karen Martini sardine recipes. Photo: Marcel Aucar

    Carrot and potato salad with caraway, lemon and nigella seeds

    My meme (grandmother) used to serve this salad with grilled sardines, but it's also delicious with lots of other things. Think roast chicken with chermoula and thick plain yoghurt, grilled lamb chops with sumac or even in a sandwich with some confit tuna, boiled egg and fresh herbs.

    6 large organic carrots, peeled

    2 large Dutch cream potatoes, peeled

    3 tsp caraway seeds

    1 large lemon, juiced

    80ml extra virgin olive oil

    salt flakes

    freshly ground black pepper

    2 tsp nigella seeds

    1 handful coriander leaves, to serve

    1. Cut the carrots into thick rounds. Cut the potato into pieces roughly the same size as the carrots.

    2. Cook the carrots and potatoes in salted water with the caraway seeds for around 25 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Reserve some of the carrot rounds and roughly mash the remaining carrot and potato with a fork. Add the lemon juice and most of the oil and mash until you have a coarse paste. Check and adjust the seasoning and pile into a serving bowl.

    3. Roll the reserved pieces of carrot in the remaining oil and nigella seeds to coat, drop on top of the paste and finish with the coriander leaves. Serve with smashed sardines and fresh bread or toast.

    Serves 6-8

    Smashed sardines with cumin, parsley, lemon and garlic

    It's no secret that fresh is best when we're talking fish, but never is it so true as with sardines. Buy the freshest you can, fillet them yourself and eat them on the day. This is one of my favourite ways of cooking sardines, and a nod to my Tunisian grandmother.

    24 whole fresh sardines

    4 cloves garlic

    4 tsp cumin seeds

    2 tsp caraway seeds

    1 tbsp salt flakes

    1 tsp black peppercorns

    2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, chopped

    2 tbsp olive oil

    2 lemons

    1 green chilli, sliced, seeds in

    harissa, to serve

    1. To prepare your sardines, lie a sardine flat on your board and, using a sharp knife, cut off the head. Turn the sardine so that it is facing away from you lengthways, trim along the length of the sardine against the belly and remove the innards. Using the tip of your knife, gently open out the fillet to expose the backbone. Using your fingers, snap the backbone near the tail and gently peel it away from the fillet; the bones will come with it. Scrape away any remaining bones and repeat for the remaining sardines.

    2. In a mortar, roughly grind the garlic, cumin, caraway, salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and oil and grind until you have a rough paste. Rub this mix over the sardines.

    3. Grill the sardines over a medium fire in a grill pan or on the barbecue for one to two minutes each side. Add the cooked sardines to a serving platter, break up roughly with a fork, squeeze over the lemon, scatter over the green chilli and serve with harissa.

    Serves 6-8

    Drink Vermentino

    Wholemeal and rye no-knead sourdough loaf

    The principle of a sourdough starter is pretty simple: a mixture of flour and water is left to allow ambient yeast and acidic bacteria to generate a stable ferment that kills off any nasty microbes and provides a natural leavening agent for baking. The time it takes for the starter to kick off will vary, as will the strength of the ferment, but once it's been fed a few times it should be pretty robust.

    Makes one loaf, but the starter will keep indefinitely if fed.

    Sourdough starter

    300g organic wholemeal flour, plus extra to feed

    500ml spring or filtered water

    1. In a large, broad-mouthed jar (more than twice the size of the starting batter) combine the flour and water until there are no lumps and the sides of the jar are as clean as possible. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and set aside somewhere warm for two to three days.

    2. After two or three days the mixture should have picked up a sour, beery smell and started to gently bubble - but how active the starter is will depend on the environment and the flour, so be patient if it is a little slow to get going. Add 100 grams more flour and enough water to keep a thick, paint-like consistency. Mix until there are no lumps, making sure to work all the starter up from the bottom of the jar and to clean down the sides. If the starter increases significantly in volume, it will be ready to use, though sometimes you will need to feed it a couple more times (you can just remove and discard some of the starter, or use some of the starter to accommodate the next feed).

    3. Once active, cover (don't seal airtight as it needs oxygen and will produce carbon dioxide) and refrigerate. Feed every three days with 100 grams of flour and water.Wholemeal and rye no-knead loaf

    250g  organic plain flour

    120g organic wholemeal flour

    120g organic rye flour

    250g starter batter

    12g salt flakes

    semolina, to dust

    1. Mix the flours together in a large bowl. Mix together 225 millilitres  water, the starter and salt and add to the flour. Combine  well, shape into a round, place in a large bowl and cover with clingwrap. Set  on the counter to prove and double in size - this will take between 12 and 20 hours.

    2. Once the dough has risen, turn it out on to a clean tea towel scattered with semolina. Gently reshape into a round loaf and allow to rise again in a warm place for an hour.

    3. Preheat oven to 250C conventional and place a cast-iron pot inside with the lid on. Heat for 20 minutes then remove the pot, scatter in some semolina, drop the dough inside and bake with the lid on for 30minutes. Check to see that the crust has developed - if not, cook for a further 5-10 minutes with the lid on.

    4. Remove the lid and bake for a further 20 minutes, then tip out of the pot on to a wire rack and rest until cool. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Alec Baldwin quits public life, not acting

    Alec Baldwin has had enough of public life.
    Nanjing Night Net

    “I've lived this for 30 years, I'm done with it,” says the actor, in an editorial in New York Magazine.

    “I'm aware that it's ironic that I'm making this case in the media,” says Baldwin, “but this is the last time I'm going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again.”

    The 55-year-old actor says the only good thing that happened to him last year was having a baby with his wife. Apart from that, he says, “everything else was pretty awful.”

    The 30 Rock star's turbulent year in the spotlight includes fighting accusations of homophobia, and has seriously turned him off a public life altogether.

    Baldwin says the accusations ruined his reputation, cost him his job at MSNBC and have destroyed his faith in the media.

    “Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible,” says Baldwin.

    The first accusation of homophobia came after the funeral of James Gandolfini. Baldwin called a Daily Mail reporter a “toxic little queen” after the reporter wrote that his wife tweeted during the funeral.

    Baldwin says he didn't view it as a homophobic slur at the time, and has since apologised.

    A TMZ videographer then filmed Baldwin yelling and claims Baldwin called him a “faggot”. Baldwin denies this, but the two incidents cemented his reputation publicly as a homophobe.

    Baldwin's long-ranging editorial, where he calls American media “Hate Incorporated”, covers his differences with actor Shia LaBeouf and issues with MSNBC's management.

    The TV and movie star also talks at length about the modern costs of being famous, and says he's had enough.

    “I don't want to be Mr Show Business any more,” says Baldwin.

    “I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it's superfluous at best and toxic at its worst.”

    Baldwin is even considering moving out of New York, his home since 1979, to escape the constant glare of the media who Baldwin says also harass his family.

    Even though he once “hated” the idea of living in a gated community in L.A., Baldwin says that lifestyle is becoming more and more appealing as he seeks to protect his children from the paparazzi.

    Although this is apparently goodbye to public life, that doesn't mean Baldwin plans on quitting acting.

    “I want to go make a movie and be very present for that and give it everything I have,” says Baldwin, “and after we're done, then the rest of the time is mine.”

    You can read the full editorial at Vulture南京夜网.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.