Monday, April 30, 2012

An Indian Feast

I had the great pleasure of putting together an Indian Feast for the fantastic James Halliday Wine Companion Magazine. If you haven't seen it - make sure you check it out. It has some great wine recommendations and the stories are really interesting no matter your level of wine knowledge. And any food stories have really detailed explanations as to why a particular style of wine is chosen to complement a dish - something a lot of magazines fail to do. 
The lovely team at Hardie Grant were happy for me to share the recipes here and perfect for the winter chill that seems to have hit. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recipes, recipes, recipes...

I have so many recipes to upload to the blog - my problem at present is finding the time to do so - my scratchy recipe notes really need to be typed up! But in the interim here is a sneak peak as well as some rosemary inspired recipes for Anzac Day.

Double chocolate souffle tart with raspberries and rhubarb
Kaffir lime beer nuts
Oat, pepita and cranberry granola bars

Anzac Day Menu
I love rosemary. I find it is one of those severely overlooked herbs (like Tarragon) when it comes to pimping up a bit of everyday cooking so it was quite lovely to focus on some Rosemary inspired dishes in honour of our great Anzacs.

Rosemary flat bread
This recipe is a slight adaptation of a flat bread from the now defunct (cue: loud, violent sobbing) Gourmet Magazine, USA.

1 ¾ cups plain flour
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped plus extra to serve
1 tsp baking powder
Heavy pinch Maldon sea salt
½ cup water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing (you can use grape seed oil if you want a lighter flavour)

Preheat oven to 200C.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until a dough forms. Knead gently until smooth. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Place a piece of dough on a sheet of baking paper. Cover with a second sheet of baking paper and roll out to a thin disc. Remove the top sheet, lightly brush the top with additional olive oil and scatter over some extra rosemary leaves. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Slide onto a baking tray and bake until pale golden and crisp – about 8 – 10 minutes. Break into pieces and eat on the day of making. (Any left over white bean dip from the lamb recipe below is great for dipping into with a broken piece of flat bread).

Rosemary white bean and lamb salad

Serves 4
16 lamb cutlets, frenched
White bean puree
400g can Cannellini beans
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled
Juice of ½ lemon
500g medly tomatoes, halved
150g prosciutto
2 tbsp balsamic glaze
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups flat-leaf parsley, coarsely torn

Preheat oven to 175.
To make the white bean puree, add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until combined. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Place the tomatoes and pancetta in a roasting tray. Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic glaze and toss to combine. Roast in the oven for ten minutes or until the tomatoes start to blister and the prosciutto begins to caramelize and darken. Meanwhile heat a char-grill pan over high heat, add lamb and turn occasionally until seared then transfer to oven and cook until cooked to your liking (about 5 minutes for medium-rare) Cover and rest for 3 minutes.
Just prior to serving, toss the lamb cutlets, tomatoes and flat leaf parsley in a bowl to combine and season to taste. Smear a tablespoon (or to taste) of white bean puree over the base of each plate. Top with the lamb salad mix and serve immediately.

Quick Rosemary Tea Cake 

100g white chocolate, chopped
150g butter, chopped
4 eggs
150g (1 cup) caster sugar
Dash vanilla extract
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
150g plain flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 175.
Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted. Remove and allow to cool.
Beat the eggs and sugar for 3 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the chocolate and butter mixture, flour and rosemary, stirring until just combined. Pour into a 3.5cm high, 20 x 30cm slab tin lined with baking paper and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked through and light and springy to the touch. Sprinkle over the fresh rosemary and serve warm on its own or with some clotted cream

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chocolate Turkish Delight Souffle & Other Things

Chocolate Turkish Delight Souffle

Friends, gather in. Repeat after me. ‘Making soufflé is a piece of piss’. ‘Making soufflé is a piece of piss’. Yes, stop shaking your head, it’s true. I would never lie to you. I think soufflé garnered a “don’t go there” reputation with those ‘proper’ French versions requiring a roux and a few more processes than the average dessert hankering hunger may have time to wait for. But lets remember the French retreated first and ran back to their stoves while the rest of the world stood in the trenches to keep on fighting, so I’m wondering if maybe they just had the time. I will admit that a good soufflé requires a light touch and a solid understanding of the effect of heat on whipped egg whites, but I do think if you manage not to burn yourself in the bath then you could consider yourself an expert. This cheats version with the added Turkish delight is a pleasure bath for the senses. It’s the dessert I seem to push onto dinner guests like a drug mule not seen since Trainspotting and better yet, you don’t need a bank account the size of the Third World’s deficit to cook it for your nearest and dearest. Bliss.

Serves 6

25g butter, melted
1/3 cup caster sugar plus extra for dusting
6 squares of Turkish delight
6 eggwhites
200g dark chocolate
4 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
2 tbsp rose water
Pinch salt
Persian fairy floss, vanilla bean ice cream and pistachios to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 175C.
Brush the soufflé moulds with the melted butter (you can use any oven proof dish from a ramekin to a tea cup). Dust the insides lightly with sugar, making sure to tap out the excess then place a piece of Turkish delight in the centre of each mould and place in the fridge until required.

Place the eggwhites in a large bowl and whisk until starting to foam. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until the eggwhites look glossy and hold firm peaks. Meanwhile, place the chocolate and remaining butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Add the cocoa powder, rosewater and salt. Stir to combine and reserve 2 tbsp of the chocolate mixture to serve. Fold half of the eggwhite mix into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining eggwhite, until just combined and a mousse like consistency is achieved. Pour the batter equally into each of the moulds, filling to the top. Place in the oven and cook for 12 – 15 minutes or until puffed.
Serve immediately with the remaining melted chocolate mix spooned over the top. You can also serve topped with pistachio nuts and Persian fairy floss, and a side of vanilla bean ice cream.

Appetite Magazine Singapore
I was asked to contribute to a great feature in Appetite Magazine - on whether food critics should be trained chefs. I was part of a panel of chefs and food writers weighing in - my response is below, let me know if you agree. This mag is a little difficult to get on Aussie shores but it is a beautiful magazine and the photography is second to none, really beautiful food images - get a copy next time you see it. You'll be happy you did.