mexican food is my weakness. my dirty little secret…i love it because the cuisine there is authentic, pure and healthy….. the realness and the minimalist ethic of its clean flavours keep my idea of amazing food with a easy honest approach going….. from moles to dirty chicken, through to the salsas and fish crudos….there are so few ingredients in the culture so it cool to be creative….ive added a touch of me in there…….
salads are my thing and this is a gorgeous chilled meal for all time….
…plus I’ve added a nasty little tipple to kick it off..
a new frontier splash
shaved zucchini, cucumber and green apples, lime vinegared tomatoes, rosemary oil and boiled egg salad
chilled red mole, brined shredded chicken, lime ricotta, jalapeno oil, tortilla salad
chilled pulled beef shin, slow cooked carrot, avocado, dirty lemon risotto, pickled thyme salad
jellied berries, hard vanilla custard, lime leaf and sweet vodka salad
recipes for 4:
1 cup off good vodka, 1 jalapeno sliced into 1/4’s, 3 cups of grapefruit juice, 1 lemon sliced, 1 orange sliced, 2 tablespoons icing agave nectar, sprigs of thyme. mix and serve.
shave 1 cucumber, 1 zucchini, 1 green apple into a bowl, mix with olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice salt and pepper. stir gently with 1/2 cup odf sliced baby tomatoes that have been mixed with white vinegar and a good squeeze of lime juice, and place on platter. place sliced apple on top with a perched boiled egg. drizzle with olive oil, that has been stored with rosemary in it overnight. sprinkle the plate with poppy seeds.
chicken, mole and ricotta salad:
mole: boil 1 can tomatoes, 1 cut jalapeño, 6 squares dark chocolate, 2 cloves chopped garlic, then add salt and pepper to taste. chill. soak 1 chicken in 1 cup white vinegar 1 tablespoon each of salt and sugar. roast on high for 20 mins and chill. flake into pieces. mix 1 cup ricotta with 1 squeezed lime. blend 1 jalapeño with 1 1/2 cup olive oil. make a circle on the plate with the mole, add shredded chicken, dollops of ricotta, add some jalapeños and tomatoes, top with coriander sprigs and a shard of tortilla.
shin, carrot, avocado and risotto salad:
pepper the outside of a piece of beef shin and place in a an oven dish. blend, 2 cups of chicken stock with 4 cloves of garlic. cover the beef with the stock and put 2 carrots in there as week. cook for 6 hours on 150C covered in greaseproof paper. chill down. in a chines cooker, cook 2 cups of lemon infused risotto with the stock from the beef. sit 4 sprigs of thyme in 2 cups of vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons icing sugar. serve cut avocado with the skin on, a big spoonful of the cold risotto, shred the beef and place the carrot on top, finishing of with the thyme.
jellied berry salad:
mix 1 cup of cream mixed 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence and 2 egg yolks. mix 1 tablespoon gelatine with 2 teaspoons hot water until dissolved. gently mix with the vanilla custard. place in fridge for 3 hours until hardened. cut into small rectangles. in a bowl stir together 2 cups of cranberry juice with 1 cup of vodka and 4 teaspoons of gel tin mixed with 1/2 cup boiling water to dissolve. in a large ramekin or 4 small, distribute the juice with 2 cups of mixed berries and the rectangles of custard and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped kaffir lime leaf. place in refrigerator for 1/2 a day. serve cold.
a darker experience. a gorgeous dinner…..
some suggestions for something simple, something perfect, something delicious.
oh and for some innocent fun…….
pancetta, fermented cabbage, pickled figs, rocket, caper and lemon thyme chop
chilled candied burnt navel orange, frozen thyme infused chocolate ganache
fermented cabbage salad
chop 1 cup fermented cabbage, 6 strips pancetta, 4 figs that have been soaked in vinegar and sugar for 1 day, 1 cup wild rocket, 1 tablespoon capers and 2 twigs of lemon thyme, salt/pepper, olive oil, lemon juice. place all ingredients into bowl, mix with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. press into small cup and upturn onto plate.
pomegranate game hen salad
chop into quarters 2 game hens, and soak in 3 cups good pomegranate juice, and 1 tablespoon honey overnight. roast in a hot oven 250C till crispy on greaseproof paper. drizzle with olive oil. in a bowl, toss 2 cups mixed fine spring greens, with finger lime juice, extra virgin olive oil that has been blasted in the food processor with some cracked pepper, and some celtic sea salt. i like mine strong and peppery and salty. put leaves on platter, place chicken on top with 1/2 cup crushed fresh pomegranate seeds, and place dollops of feet curd that has been mixed with lemon rind shavings…yum.
burnt navel orange with frozen ganache
cut 2 sides off 2 oranges making 4 slices. cover in born sugar and place sugar down in fry pan and cook till burnt. place in fridge to chill. melt 1 cup of dark chocolate in a double boiler slowly. heat 1 cup of heavy cream gently. pour over the chocolate and leave for 1 minute and gently work them in together. add 1 tablespoon brown sugar to melt, and stir till fully integrated. pour into deep bowl and freeze overnight. take out of fridge 1 hour before serving and with a large spoon turn out a scoop onto a plate, with a chilled orange segment..
its summer down here is Australia. here is a delicious light brunchy summer menu. so simple and easy to make, concentrating on fresh market garden vegetables and pure eggs and yoghurt. its a gentle time of year!!
garden salad feta in parsley, and frest duck eggs
just a delicious fresh garden salad for warm days. boil 2 duck eggs till hard. slice across the bias some small carrots and slice some cucumbers down the lenthg with a potato peeler. form some soft feta into balls and roll in parsley. assemble on plate using a cut duck egg as the focus. sprinkle with olive oil, white onion oil (oil steeped in a wedge of white onion) and some white balsamic. i do like to eat the eggs warm but its up to you. i also like a slop of mayo…mmmm….
courgette tart with caramelised onions, ricotta and cheddar
little bombs of deliciousness. i bake these for a cafe every day. they have a gorgeous centre of caramelised onion which is hidden.
peel 2 zucchinis with a potato peeler. cut 2 pieces square of shortcrust. place the pastry in 2 tins which are oiled up. make circles with the strips. fry with a splash of white vinegar and a teaspoon of icing sugar, 1 finely cut onion. cook till brown. place the mixture into bottom of pastry lined dish. put a blog of ricotta, a handful of grated cheddar, and top with a small round of zucchini. fill the pastries up with 2 eggs whipped with a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup cream. cook at 160 for 30 minutes. eat hot with oiled parsley and lots of pepper
mango cheeks, yellow box honey, vanilla sugar frozen yoghurt
so simple and so fresh. i mix a full tub of greek yoghurt (approx 2 cups) with 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar, and a splash of vanilla syrup. (i do like it to be spiky). swirl it around. place a sheet of greaseproof paper in a small tin and put the yoghurt in. drip yellow box honey over it. freeze till it becomes less runny. (approx 2 hours). in a gorgeous glass put a cut mango cheek in and a large spoonful of the yoghurt. drip honey over it and serve. (i do like to chill my glasses). decorate with flowers.
i love cheese at the end of a meal or actually at the beginning….. a cheese plate of many, or just a singular delicious one is my fave. or even just my little cheese salads that almost have the components of a cheese plate but all in a tiny finely sliced salad. just scoop onto a tiny cracker or a slab of walnut loaf.these ideas are fast easy and really fresh for new ways of dining.
its not that i dont like desert, its just that sometimes its all about the cheese. something simple. something different, always fresh..
ash blue, pear, thyme, lemon and wilted onion.
finely chopped ash blue cheese, fresh pear, thyme twigs and white onions just melted with olive oil and white vinegar bring this dish to the heart of my favourite things to eat. sharp, salty, sweet, sexy. start a night with this dish and you can’t go wrong. a cheeky laviosh with a tiny pile on top is…the…..best…..thing…
pecorino, mustard seed drips, fuji apples and walnuts
double brie, walnut bread, 5 hour oven dried red grapes
i put a bunch of seedless red grapes in the oven on warm/100C for 5 hours, turning them slowly so the ones on the bottom don’t bruise. they are amazing and go so well with just the creamy cheese and soft walnut loaf.
emmenthal, radish, delicious apple and celery root salad, cheddar biscuits
i buy these small sharp cheddar biscuits from the big department store deli. most big delis stock a good english cheddar biscuit.. its just a good stab of sharp cheddar with the nuts and cheese.
feta, rocket, mint, caper and deep fried cornichon salad
a finely chopped sale with a biscuit is a great new way to rock a cheese plate. this is a chopped salad. so every cut up small. onions off set the capers and cornichons with a sharp stab of sweet mint and feta. yum! dress with a good extra virgin olive oil only and let the flavour mix do its job!
buche daphinois, radishes, walnuts, olive bread crusts
i do say olive crusts because it is just that. i buy a good olive sourdough and only use the crusts. chewy and salty….delish.
clarin, sweet pickled white onion shred, figs
this is a gorgeous mix. the light cream of the clarin, with some shredded white onion soaked in icing sugar and white balsamic. the sweetness of the figs is just gorgeous.i light lavish cracker is stunning with this.
eggs are one of my favourite foods and have a certain feeling of nurture and yumminess. from a thumb in the mouth soft and squishy sandwich to comforting frittata, a spa salad, and a ridiculously good slow cooked hash or a sweet broth with a crispy fried egg on top that cracks and oozes into the dish when broken…….i am sort of always wondering what i can put an egg in or on top off.…..
when i had “Pond” restaurant with Guillaume we had a very high profile client that demanded an egg with his beef and merlot jus. Guillaume flatly refused and after some major to and froing back from the dining room to the kitchen, the well heeled patron went out and bought a cheeky half dozen and demanded he cook it himself. there were some interesting words spoken but the patron won…very funny. sort of…..
here are some dishes that i have made over the last two years that reflect what i like to use eggs in. of course there are a million ideas. and ill list some more at the end of this post…….
soft egg sandwiches with egg white mayonnaise
i buy one white sliced loaf and get it sliced lengthways. boil 1 dozen eggs till hard (10m mins.) peel the eggs and use 1 of the white to mix in with 1 cup good mayonnaise. add a squeeze of lemon juice salt and pepper to taste and then add the mayo to this and squish with a fork, so the mixture is lumpy but not massively. spread on half the slices and top with the other. cut the crusts off and cut into 6 sandwiches cutting across going half then into thirds. (make sense?) being gentle not to squash them. serve chilled on a platter in a row. gorgeous..
lazy susans with a micro green olive salad
ignore the lazy connotation…even if my name is susan. i have cooked these for my children since the first day they took breath. I’ve just made in adults food. cut 2 thick slices of wholemeal or sourdough and cut the crusts off. dig a little hole out of the middle. drizzle some olive oil in a pan and cook one side of the bead, and crack an egg into the hole. whilst its cooking, make a little salad of micro greens, celery, witlof, leeks, and finely sliced green onions. sprinkle the egg with salt and pepper and turn it over. cook for a second longer and take off ensuing the the egg stays soft. place on plate, sprinkle with salad on a corner and drizzle with olive oil.
Note: i do stuff sour cream or ricotta in there too….yum!
fiorre de latte with lemon oil, egg white and nasrturniums
this is a really sexy dish. i do it all the time as a drinks thing. cut the cheese into slices. boil an egg and smash it into pieces. turn the cheese into a flower by curling them into a circle. put the smashed egg onto a platter and curl the cheese around it. sprinkle some cut up white onion, drizzle some olive oil, some lemon juice and place nasturtiums all over it.
boiled eggs with celery salt and asparagus
another great dish. perfect with a roast chicken with aoli and walnuts.
boil 2 eggs, steam some asparagus till still crunchy. cut the eggs in halves and place on top of asparagus in a bowl with paper in it. sprinkle celery salt and pepper over it and top with some herbs or micro leaves. lastly drizzle some garlic or plain olive oil over the dish.. serves 2
lamb hash, pan juices, crispy olive oil egg and onions
in a large oven crock pot, place a shoulder of lamb with 2 cups of beer, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup maple sugar and 1 chilli. salt and pepper the death out out of it and seal with the lid and cook for 3 hours on 200C. using a fork strip the meat away from the bone and let it sit. crispy fry 2 eggs in a shallow puddle if good extra virgin olive oil sunny side up. chop up a small handful of onions. place the meat on the bottom of a shallow bowl and put the egg on top. spoon the juices around the bowl with a sprinkle of the onions. serves 2 and them some with the lamb.
a salad of radicchio, peas, smoked trout, lemon, and a soft boiled egg.
i think this was the first dish i ever blogged. i was in a hotel room in Auckland working on a fashion shoot, trying to get over a month of hard core deli, extreme pizza and steak eating in new york. i went for this for the cleanse. it worked a treat. new zealand smoked trout, nothing finer.
soft boil an egg (2-3 mins). hold in shell. put onto the plate 1 handful finely sliced radicchio, some baby peas, 1/2 cup flaked smoked trout and some grated lemon rind. peel and cut open the egg in the middle. squeeze lemon juice and olive oil all over it.
root vegetable broth, micro basil, peppered fried egg
another dish that makes me feel amazing. crack the egg into the broth and slurp away. incredible for hangovers. i promise…..
boil 1 parsnip, 1 carrot, 1 white onion, and 1 turnip with 2 vegan vegetable stock cubes and 2 cups water. strain, and boil down by half. crispy fry an egg in a shallow puddle of good olive oil with a generous spray of cracked pepper in a really hot pan so it crisps up fast and doesn’t lose its runny value in the yolk. place a deep puddle of broth in a bowl and submerge the egg on top. sprinkle with micro basil or anything fragrant and herbaceous.
potato and shrimp frittata
heaven. quite simply. i have a small spring form baking tin. i line it in greaseproof and get the dish under way. line the bottom with sliced boiled potatoes, then a layer of cooked small shrimps, some salt and pepper, some mixed cheese, and then crack two eggs on top. make a mixture of 1 egg with a splash of cream and some thumb twigs. stir and pour that over filling up the tin. bake till firm about 30 minutes on low 150C. eat immediately on its own with some tomatoes melted in unsalted butter in a pan or a small salad of leaves a splash of oil and balsamic with some smoked salmon. also a good splurge of ricotta chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon is great with this also.
i think its time i described how i do recipes…..i don’t really. this is not a site for complication or stress. i like my food to be easy . i don’t use recipes really because i don’t really cook anything that needs them. i use ingredients and just let the flavours and my taste flourish. so really its a little free form and a little loose. i am sorry but i promise it works and it releases you from the prison of measurements in small doses. i use cups and tablespoons and stuff but only broadly. admittedly this is difficult to grasp but lets use some easy examples to set my story straight…….
soy tamarind spatchcock with sweet zucchini shred
cut up 2 spatchcocks removing the spine and into 4 pieces each. soak for 1 hr in 1 tablespoon tamari and 1 tablespoon tamarind paste. roast with a few extra small tomatoes in hot oven 250C till dark, turning all the time. with a potato peeler shred 2 zucchinis lengthways. soak for 30 minutes in a mixture of white balsamic and icing sugar. (you can add some chilli here is you like). make a circle with the zucchinis and place 4 pieces in each circle and a piece of tomato on top. drip olive oil and lemon juice around the outside. serve with rice that has grated ginger and salt and pepper in it and some fresh greek yoghurt and finely cut mint.
i encourage people to taste their food. its not me being lazy with the recipes, its paying respect to the people cooking and getting them back into really bonding with their food and getting back to the old days when food was easy but amazing. i get everything is fast and driven by measurements but it doesn’t have to be the rule. why can’t we have some food that requires less but tastes awesome.
this is where i come in…if you use fresh and simple ingredients, you don’t need very much to play with. you already have the fun on the plate….another example
celery and cheddar puddle with cheddar rye and celery salt
in a pot boil gently for 30 minutes, 2 cups of cut celery and 2 cups of good vegetable stock. at the end add 1 cup of cheddar cheese. melt and transfer to the blender. blend until creamy. do not season.
using a great rye loaf, cut into 1 inch slabs and toast on one side and sprinkle the other side with cheddar and toast until bubbling. serve the soup with the toast not top with some batons of celery. sprinkle with celery salt and cracked pepper.
ok…its really easy to keep adding flavour to dishes but its really hard to pair back. this is my philosophy. dig into taste and texture and it won’t change the base of what you are eating. playing with combinations is the fun here. another example.
beer and brown sugar ribs with melted tomatoes and burnt onions
soak 1 full set ribs in enough beer that it just melts 2 cups of brown sugar into a paste. rub onto a set of pork ribs and sit for 2 hours. bake on high until brown qat 250C. at the same time place face down 2 cut up spanish onions. they should burn around the edges but also caramelise as well. in a pot just warm and melt 1 cup of halved baby tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt and some thyme twigs.
serve the ribs with onions and tomatoes and a fork. some aoli would be sexy here too. should serve two depending on appetite. my animal of a son would eat all of this so double or triple as you go. my son eats these with his hands and wields a fork around at the same time. white bread with onions and tomatoes and mayonnaise is extremely awesome.
lastly something sweet. again, nothing complicated but just flavour and texture playing on cold, sweet and crunch….
candied almonds, strawberries and cinnamon cream, and mint
wash and chill 5 strawberries each person. toss 1 cup of almonds in 1 cup brown sugar that has been melted with a drop or two of red food colouring. single them out and . bake in an oven on greaseproof paper till crusty. whisk 1 carton of cream till stiff adding a drop of vanilla, 1 tablespoon of icing sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon. serve in a glass with the strawberries on the bottom, then the cream with the almonds and some extra strawberries on the top. chill the whole thing down. top with a sprig of mint.