Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The ultimate wingman

Lemongrass and chilli chicken wings
Chicken lovers tend to unite on certain fronts. Particularly when it comes to the wings – they really are one of the best bits of a bird. I consider myself part of this club although do feel the need to qualify my winged victory – you need good wings.  Not the insipid value packs in the supermarket aisle or sell out specials from b-grade butchers. You need wings that have, well … flown. Wings from a bird that’s led a proper life really do taste that much better for it. This recipe is for those that don’t mind manhandling their food; sweet and spicy they should be nibbled, licked, suckled and chewed. And the best bit of course, other than eating with your hands, is enjoying the grand finale of licking your fingers when the meal is done.
Image by Danny Eastwood

24 chicken wings
Vegetable oil for frying
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp finely grated galangal
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp brown sugar
80 ml fish sauce
2 eschallots, finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1 stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander root, finely chopped
3 tbsp hoi sin sauce
1 tbsp plum sauce
Fresh coriander, lime cheeks and fried shallots to serve
Heat oil in a large saucepan or deep-fryer to 190C. Deep-fry chicken in batches until golden and very crisp (10-12 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), drain on absorbent paper.
Add the remaining ingredients to a food processor and blitz to combine. Return the sauce to the frying pan and place over high heat. Add the chicken wings and toss quickly to coat. Serve hot.

In the press...
Also here is an article I've had published recently - for the local foodie spectacular SBS Feast. Can't wait to share some great projects that I've been working on - should have some sneak peaks for you soon.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A golden ticket...

Have knives. Will travel.
Very excited about launching the golden ticket competition today. From now until end of May, a select number of golden tickets will be sent with books sold on Each ticket entitles the buyer to a dinner party fully catered by the KC team. It'll be the easiest dinner party/soiree/romantic dinner you'll ever have.Obviously this is Australian based for now, unless someone can sort out a cashed up sugar daddy in which case we'll fly anywhere.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toblerone mud cakes & raspberry compote

In my mind, any good menu ends in chocolate.  I can barely go 24 hours without a hit of the dark stuff and I am continually perplexed as to why someone hasn’t turned the chocolate advent calendar into a year round phenomenon. That’s not to say I’m not fussy when it comes to how I take my chocolate. Sometimes I want a bit of cake that is moist rather than sticky, tender rather than oozing, and a chocolate content that is restrained rather than I-must-lie-down-on-the-couch.

I use the term "mud" loosely here – the consistency is denser than sponge but more forgiving than your typical mudcake. The addition of Toblerone sees it riddled with lovely bits and blobs of nougat. And served warm, little rivulets of cream, raspberry compote, and chocolate crumbs gather at the bottom of your plate, acting like some kind of hedonistic grand finale.
Toblerone mud cakes

375g caster sugar
180ml milk
100ml thin cream
250g butter, room temperature, coarsely chopped
290g Toblerone, finely chopped
260g plain flour, sifted
50g cocoa powder, sifted
Pinch baking powder, sifted
2 eggs, lightly whisked

Raspberry compote
250g raspberries
80g icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Thickened cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 175C. Butter and line 10 x 250ml capacity moulds and set aside.
Combine the sugar, milk, cream, butter and chocolate in a bowl and place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add the sifted flour, cocoa and baking powder to the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the moulds, filling them three-quarters full and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool in the moulds before turning out.

For the raspberry compote, plop the raspberries, sugar and vanilla seeds in a saucepan. Place on low heat and gently break up with a fork. You want to release the juices and get a sticky jam kind of consistency, being careful not to break up the fruit too much.
Serve warm with a dollop of cream and a drizzle of the raspberry compote.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Frontiers...

I swore I would not use this blog as a venting playground but today is all about new frontiers and I really feel the need to get something off my chest.
A weird thing happens when you put yourself in a public forum. People seek you out. That sounds frightfully arrogant and I didn’t mean it that way, I am well aware my book reviews are lining bird-cages across this fine nation. It’s more the surreal idea that people feel they know you enough to seek you out at all and make contact. Random people. Just like the delight I received today from a gentleman who decided his Tuesday morning was best spent crafting me an email to congratulate me on my ability to embrace my curves. WTF?
I find it strange that he could have even seen me, let alone find me to provide comment on my grand derriere. And what’s with the tone? Yes the email definitely had tone and it definitely intonated that he was actually surprised I left the house at all given my ‘voluptuous state’. My husband doesn’t seem to mind whatever I’ve got going on, well I’m still married so I figure that’s safe to presume...
Hang on, Tom was the email from you?

I digress, back to my issue with the curve commentary. What gives me the right royal irrits, is that this guy thinks I did nothing for it; that I just smashed a couple of cheeseburgers, skipped the personal trainer and weights sessions and then let my female hormones do the rest.

Here is the thing champ, I eat for a living. My career depends on it. Now if I worked in Hollywood, obviously the opposite would apply. I would eat air, get lypo-suction, faint dramatically on movie sets then run home to see if anyone had emailed me to tell me how delightfully skinny I was looking.

Given how well I eat, my ass is some serious a-grade, top-of-the-range fat. There’s wagyu in there, pork crackling, fondue, triple cream brie and all of his mates, the odd incidental bit of fois gras, chocolate –light and dark - as I hate to discriminate, and if I am being honest an obscene amount of butter. There is consistent, concentrated grazing in the top paddock. And I like to think the sort of 9+ marbling that Kobe and his brethren might hold a deep admiration for.

Yes I have an ass. We all do. (Quelle horreur) So I’m not sure why any of it deserves comment.  Should the day come where I choose to channel a bit more Hollywood and a little less feeding frenzy (I doubt it) I can guarantee you random emailer that the ass would still be there, probably just a little saggier,  significantly unhappier, and as equally unworthy of any kind of comment. So until you’ve put in the hours, the groundwork of some serious fork to mouth training, please refrain from commenting on my ass or anyone else’s for that matter. It makes you sound weird. Like you might need to get out more, perhaps go and get a bite to eat. Low blood sugar and hunger pains can bring on the crazy in anyone and I’m hoping that’s all that happened to you today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tarragon Beef Sliders

Wrote a quick post on Tarragon Beef Sliders for Daily Life today. Nothing like a good burger to make the world a better place. For some reason, tarragon is severely underrated. It’s the herb that hung out at the library instead of sneaking ciggies out the back behind the shed with the fennel fronds, micro-herbs and other cool kids. French tarragon in particular is spectacular. The taste divine and unmistakable, and when freshly picked and finely chopped it is destined to be massaged into a bit of meat and eaten with abandon.  I’ve included recipes for the brioche rolls and spiced tomato relish here but you could easily replace these with store bought versions. Either way, these sliders are perfect Sunday afternoon backyard bbq fodder.

500g good quality beef mince
¼ cup French tarragon, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 egg
2 tbsp breadcrumbs

Brioche rolls
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp milk
Pinch salt
1 2/3 cups plain flour, sifted
7g instant dried yeast
3 eggs
160g butter, softened at room temperature

Spicy tomato relish
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
250g cherry tomatoes
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
Tiny splash of fish sauce
Salt and pepper to season
To serve
Thinly sliced Gruyere cheese
Fresh avocado, sliced

If making the brioche, add the caster sugar, milk and a pinch of salt into a bowl and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar. Add the flour and yeast to a mixing bowl. Pulse using a food processor until combined. With the motor running on low, add the milk mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Add the butter, spoonfuls at a time until well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 45 minutes. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to knead/knock back the dough (it will be really sticky). Allow to rest for another 30 minutes. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper muffin cases. Beat the dough again quickly then divide into 12 pieces and, using your hands, roll into balls. Add a ball to each muffin case and cook on the bottom shelf of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden.
For the spicy tomato sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat until translucent. Add the passata, cherry tomatoes, brown sugar and fish sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Lower heat, season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.
For the patties combine beef, tarragon, garlic, onion, egg and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Shape into 6-12 small hamburger patties and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, drizzle a little oil in the pan and cook the patties for 3 minutes each side for medium rare.
Slice the brioche rolls in half and place a hamburger between each half and top with Gruyere cheese, avocado and a dollop of tomato relish.