January 2010

We might be over ham by now with Christmas just gone, but pork’s a perennial. Intermezzo’s mixing it with veal for polpette — that’s meatballs to you and me — and cooking them slowly in a carrot and pea ragu. There’s a similar idea at Firefly but there the pork is mixed with lamb for meatballs on a sharing plate.  Berowra Waters Inn serves the trusty trotter with slow-cooked ocean trout, sweet green peas and freshwater eel in a complex surf and turf arrangement. And for a delectable head spin of a dish, try Perama’s pork belly baklava where the belly’s layered with mustard, date puree, pistachios and pastry. Salty bits of crackling crown the dish — cue Homer drool.

Poultry’s still a hot weather favourite and eating it cold makes perfect sense. Spicy Sichuan does a mean bang bang chicken, mixing shreds through a smooth sesame paste. And if you subscribe to the theory that curry’s a good choice in hot weather, try the kaeng kari kai at Papaya Thai in Cremorne. It’s chicken breast slow-cooked in turmeric and coconut milk curry with whole onions and baby potatoes, topped with crisp-fried chopped garlic and a cool cucumber relish. Millions of Thais can’t be wrong.

It’s never too hot for tandoori chicken, either. Nilgiri’s does a diced, entrée version with pickling spices and chutney as well as a main course served with mace-flavoured spinach puree. Pity help the guys working the tandoor, though.

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