Slow food was "founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people's dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. To do that, Slow Food brings together pleasure and responsibility, and makes them inseparable." SlowFood.com
The total cooking time for MuMu Grill's Take It Slow dinner was approximately 12,976 hours.
That breakdown consists of 18 months Jamon, Acadia Saltbrush Lamb which had been roasted for 13 hours, duck that was double roasted in its own juices for 2½ hours and brown sugar pavlova which took 40 minutes.
But Slow Food isn't just all about taking the time to cook. It is also about understanding where food came from and how it was produced. Craig Macindoe, restauranteur of MuMu Grill in Crows Nest took the time to share his kitchen and knowledge of extracting maximum flavour from sustainable produce.
I personally think the more you learn, the more you care.
Thank you to Craig (also known as Chef Mumu -he micro-blogs about farm fresh ingredents he has picked up) for the splendid night and to Lorraine for extending this invitation to the Take It Slow dinner and wine event to Howard, Simon, Lisa, Shez, Trina, Arwen, Anna, Steph and myself.
Interior of restaurant
A behind the scenes tour of the kitchen and cold room taught me that meat is hung and aged for a more tender result. This needs to be done carefully, with the cold room frequently undergoing bacteria tests.
Craig Macindoe holds one of the Arcadia Saltbush lambs
Craig showing how lamb is hung
Then we proceeded into the kitchen where he showed us the process of double roasting duck; and witnessed preparation of our starters. Spanish olives and 18 month Jamon on Catalan bread that was lightly smothered with a tasty tomato oil. Jamon is my new obsession.
Kitchen and menu
18 month Jamon and Catalan bread
Mr Riggs Yacca Paddock Tempranillo wine 2007
Old Man Saltbrush has a deep roots system which allows the plant to grow even in drough times -perfect for Australian soil. This enables farmers to focus on the future of drough proofing grazing areas. Graham Strong, producer of Arcadia Saltbush Lamb also spoke about how farmers were moving away from having a monologue with animals to having a two-way conversation; listening to where animals are moving to on the pasture and responding.
The flavour is clean and distinct, the result of the variety of minerals the animals eat through the salt bush. Blood-like beetroot jus, minted eggplant and white bean paste and fresh green beans and a glass of Mr. Riggs The Gaffer Shiraz 2007 were the perfect accompaniment.
Whole Arcadia salt brush lamb roasted for 13 hours, served with minted eggplant and white bean paste and green beans with beetroot jus
The hearty aroma of the double roasted duck was so seductive, particularly when served with a sweet poached pear. I love fruit in a savoury context. The flesh fell off the bone and because it had been slow cooked in its own juices, the fat was less significant. The generous serving size was perfect for my love of this dish's rich taste.
Double roasted duck, roasted for 2½ hours, served with bok choy and poached pear
At this stage, I wasn't sure how anything could top the earlier courses, but the brown sugar pavlova and Mr. Riggs Sticky End Viognier did. The dessert wine was divine -sweet minus the botrytis after-taste. And for the pavlova, the usage of brown sugar has boosted a simple pavlova recipe into a much more delicate dish. The presentation of seasonal fruits with fresh pinapple slices and cream was gorgeous too. I could have easily demolished another two of these!
Brown sugar pavlova served with seasonal fruits and Mr Riggs Sticky End Viognier 2008
70 Alexander Street, Crows Nest
Phone: (02) 9460 6877