Saturday, October 24, 2009

Summer BBQ time! - CookbooksPart 1: Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook

Nature forms patterns. Some are orderly in space but disorderly in time, others orderly in time but disorderly in space.’ - James Gleick ‘Chaos’

A few years ago I bought this book for a little bit of light reading over summer. It turned out that it wasn’t, and isn’t, the type of ‘light reader’ you look for over summer. Though it was while reading this last night that I came across the above sentence that made this post seem all so necessary.

It is sort of getting warmer here in Melbourne, and with that the BBQ is going to get rather busy. There was a time in my life when a BBQ meant burnt sausages and greasy onions, but these days, with a little bit of culture under my belt, I am lending towards a more ‘anything goes approach’ – the Chaos Theory you might say, where chaos begins, classical science – or in this case classical BBQ – stops!

It is with this in mind that I have trolled through some of my more worn cookbooks, and Maeve’s DVDs of ‘Food Safari’, and put together a taste of what will be prepared for the 2009/2010 BBQ season here in Downtown Brunswick. Let the drooling begin!

Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook
A personal favourite of mine with many of the pages stained with sauces. I have chosen three very classic French dishes, with all of them needing the BBQ in one manner or another.

Salade Niçoise – this one will have two versions; no bonjovies for Erin and lots for me and Imogen.
· Salt for cooking and to taste
· 170 grams haricots verts or green beans
· four small red bliss potatoes, scrubbed
· One garlic clove, peeled and crushed
· Extra virgin olive oil
· About three tbsp red wine vinegar
· Black pepper
· Bibb lettuce
· One green bell pepper, cored and cut into thin slices
· Anchovy fillets, white preferred
· 100 grams Niçoise olives. Get these bad boys from a very good deli such as the French deli at the Queen Vic markets for all of you Melbournians
· Four ripe Roma tomatoes
· High quality canned tuna or seared fresh tunaFour hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut length wise in to quarters.

Moules Marinières – this was a favourite when I was living in London all those years ago.

· About 150 grams of quality butter
· Two shallots, sliced thin
· 500 mL white wine, cooking – not drinking, yet
· 3 kg mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded just before cooking
· Flat parsley, finely chopped
Melt the butter off in a big pot over a medium flame and add shallots to cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in wine and bring to the boil and season. Throw the mussels in and pop the lid on to cook for about 10 minutes or until all mussels have opened – never force a mussel open; very, very bad for your tummy! Shake the pot as you go and keep the lid nice and secure so you don’t get any of the very hot juices scorching your private bits (always cook with your clothes on). Toss in parsley, stir some more and serve in a massive bowl is you have one. Open a Grosset Springvale Watervale Clare Valley Riesling 2009 with this one being a bit more flinty than the 2008.

Côte de Boeuf – this is the one from my Father’s Day post this year – super mucho fantastico!!!

· 1.5kg rib steaks, on the bone
· Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
· Olive oil, a couple of glugs

This is a big piece of meat, so it is going to be very cold when you pull it out of the fridge; get it out about 30-45 minutes before you put it on the BBQ so to bring it down to room temp.

I am not going to pontificate, but this is best cooked medium rare because it is so big. Only poke and slice until rested for about ten minutes or so. Eat with something like the Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2007 - masses of rich dark fruit combined with chewy tannins make this one a Susan.

I think it wise at this point to break this post in to instalments, otherwise I will be writing this, and you will be reading, until tomorrow. So off you go, clean the BBQ, get your gas cylinder re-filled and cook, cook, cook!


  1. Where is the best place to get rib eye in Melbourne?


  2. try North Carlton Meat Supplies and Continental deli on the corner of Nicholson and Scotchimer Streets, Jonathons in Collingwood and the Queen Victoria Markets on a Sunday afternoon - they close at 2pm and between 1-2 there are some really amazing bargains to be had. The rib eye from fathers day, three ribs, cost $12!!!!