April 24th, 2013. Posted by Sarah
It all began thus…
Late last year the sydney morning herald published a neil perry recipe called “steak sandwich with coleslaw and tomato chilli relish”. after reading this, a group of friends and I decided to have a tomato chilli relish competition. But… the interesting bit is we have to use as many home grown ingredients as possible. So out here, there are now 4 backyard gardeners busily tending our tomatoes, onions, capsicum, chillies, lemon trees and in the queenslander’s case, ginger.
The pressure is growing and really is now of “state of origin” proportions. What we want is an impartial judge/referee. So do you think, if we sent you 4 small sample jars of home grown tomato chilli relish, just labelled A, B, C and D, Neil or his nominee, could give each a mark out of 10. Then we could scale that mark to give credit for the number of home grown ingredients used and eventually come up with a winner of our tomato chilli relish trophy….
Frankly, we liked Michael’s style, and were quietly keen to see how this state of origin panned out. Plus…we sensed some biffo!
I am glad you don’t take bribes…my competitors include an ex diplomat who could only offer you words, a plumber who specialises in grubby handshakes, an ex miss nsw … a fluttering of eyelashes whereas my lifetime supply of cherries, well , enough said! will be in touch again at the end of summer
Cheers and thanks again
Summer came and dealt us a little heat, then early in January…Michael sent through an extensive and slightly terrifying list of rules to his relishers that included…
5. Your scaling factor is determined by honestly stating the number of home grown ingredients you have used and then multiplying this number by 0.1.
6. Ingredients bought at a farmers market should be multiplied by 0.01 as should ingredients you have nicked from neighbours (eg overhanging lemons)
So just supposing you have grown your own tomatoes, onions garlic and capsicum and bought chillies and ginger at a market and nicked a lemon, your scaling factor would be 0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1+0.01+0.01+0.01 =0.43 (editor’s brain began to zone out at this point!)
7. The rockpool mob (that’s us!) will award each entry a score out of ten. then they will open your sealed envelope and multiply your score by your scaling factor. this will to determine your bonus points. these bonus points will then be added to your rockpool score and identify the 2013 relisher…
Over the weeks that followed, Michael and crew kept us copied to their banter which reached epic proportions and kept me entertained on a daily basis. I don’t know HOW this mob know each other, where they’ve come form or where they are going, but …
Some people pick up their mail from a box at the post office each day. Others have their mail delivered to a letter box on their front fence by a postie riding a little motor bike. Uur mail gets delivered by a big mail truck driven by Terry. In his spare time Terry drives rally cars and according to him the rougher the road the better. To him the 98 km mail run he does each day over our rough, pot-holed roads is just a training run. Each day he puts the letters in the front of his truck and the parcels in the back. Also in the back are all the other things he has been asked to deliver like machinery parts and drums of oil. The big things are tied down with rope but the little things are left to bounce around. As you have no doubt guessed some of the smaller parcels smash into the big heavy things. Sometimes they crack or break. Once one even bounced completely out of the truck and was found the next day squashed like roadkill. Your parcel didn’t arrive today and I am worried that something terrible might have happened to it. Incase it too has fallen from the truck I have asked Terry to keep a look out for it tomorrow and even if it is “roadkilled ” to bring me what he can scape up and I’ll put the remainder in a spare jar and include it with the others.
I hope you appreciate all the stuff I do for you.
Far out – with friends like that…right?
Sunday, February 24
Dear Cloonans, Mantons and Grooms,
This is to inform you that the closing date for receipt of your entry is the end of this week. (friday 1st march).
This is where it really started to get fun….
Dear Food Fascist,
Please know that we have engaged legal counsel to follow the due process in the coming days. Anyrate, today’s relish has the most glorious colour, aroma and is about 9.5 on the richter scale! Oh dear.
Cheers from here,
Entry ‘b” arrived safely.
Now only waiting on “C”
Do I need to send out a search party?
Only 6 more sleeps to go
The winning entry is now in the hands of Oz Post by registered mail to you. The Moet et Chandon is in the fridge – oh joy. best, Neil
Hey Uncle Michael and fellow relishers,
Confirming that C is made. Delay in arrival at Young is due to Parliament sitting (alright it’s just the Senate this week). I’m playing the ‘non-retired-need some leeway on deadline’ card. At least jar is in Canberra awaiting express courier! Hope to find some country pollie to drop off to you on the way home and save the Budget. I’m claiming points for blessing of Parliament and will try to get jar photographed with Tony Abbott tomorrow morning before rushing to Australia Post to send off. BTW I’d also like to claim bonus equity weightings for (a) first ever relish made; (b) non-retired; and (c) married to tradie.
Lyndal champion relisher Groom
PS I claim additional points for bipartisan political endorsement, evidence-based creativity and sledging by suggestion that the rest of you are cheating.
Friday March 1st
Our relishes are all packed up and ready to be posted on monday..
Thursday March 21
With Neil somewhere mid-air between Sydney and Perth, or perhaps Dubai, Melbourne, LA, wherever, we hand balled the judging of the relishes to Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney Head Chef Corey Costelloe. Corey is a man of few words.
A) A bit too sweet
B) Very good heat, with a nice balanced spiciness
C) Not enough salt
D) A lot of ginger, possibly a bit too much, good texture
F) Best texture and balance of flavour
Our head chef LOVED the relishes and he did ask if the kitchen staff could utilise them in staff dinners?
Do we want to be able to skite that our relishes were served at rockpool. Do we want them back?
C,mon Michael……? Be an Aussie!
Friday, March 22
Good Morning All,
After much deliberating from our Head Chef Corey Costelloe the Rockpool relisher for 2013 is…..
JAR B – Wins on Flavour Intensity
JAR F – Wins on texture
Congratulations to all, Corey said it was a tough decision as all the relishes were amazing and the kitchen staff are enjoying them for staff dinner this evening.
Dear B and F,
Attached please find a photo of the rockpool relisher trophy that you lot will have to share.
Not shown on this photo is the inscription that I am now having made.
It will say something like 2013 Rockpool Relisher at the top and below will be your names…
on the back if you wish, I could try and get autographs and comments from the Judges, Personal Assistants, Bloggers as well us (we?) losers…
Should this be your wish I have already composed my comment… vis “despite the fact that someone obviously switched lids, my good breeding insists that I congratulate the winners. well done!
Please let me know your thoughts
A note from (one of) the winners….
We humbly received the news but then went to the CD cabinet and took out ‘the best of Queen’ and listened to track 17. Now sing along with us and Freddie Mercury as he sang, – “We are the Champions, we are the champions my friends”. What an adventure it has been and new connections made – and the love of good food. Thanks to all the Rockpoolers especially and we look forward to the coming pique-nique, wherever it may be – The Loaded Dog at Tarago village?
Michael, I think the more of us recognised on the trophy the better,
Best from here,
Neil and Dimity
And so it ends. What fun indeed and all hail the ACT in their centenary year for showing the NSWelshmen and the Queenslanders just how it’s done!!!
Thank you Michael and co-conspirators for having fun with Neil’s relish and making us Rockpudlians a part of the competitive process – dare I say…bring on 2014? We await your mail….
Team Rockpool out x