i have returned to australia from the US to find it awash in auburn leaves mid Autumn – fall for all you northerners….
its inspiring to have the colour wash of tones of this gorgeous new season. …..i jumped at the opportunity to cook something tonal and delicious….a beautiful micro gnocchi with shrimp, asparagus and a yellow heirloom, saffron coral reduction. a warm salad for a soft opening to a beautiful season of colour and food….it felt real and perfect to jump into everything the season feels like…..warming up the tones and the temperature of the food we eat.. the freshness of this dish is very wildwithgarnish but also very australian.
the reduction is a favourite of mine. boiled shrimp shells with saffron….i use this a lot to start a dish. spaghetti with blue eyed cod and coral sauce and pureed leeks, open lasagne of lobster and dirty shell sauce, rich creamy crab soup with crab fritters and buttered shrimp….shall i go on….warm stack of buttered squid with prawn head butter sauce and walnut crumbs….
recipe: micro gnocchi with shrimp, asparagus and a yellow heirloom saffron coral reduction
20 shrimp, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, 2 cups boiling water, 1 teaspoon saffron, 1 small yellow heirloom chopped small, 1/2 cup vegetable stock, celery salt, salt and pepper, 1 cup asparagus tips and shoots, 4 x snow peas, 1 tablespoon cold butter (unsalted)
in a pan place the peeled shrimp shells and fry them in olive oil, the yellow heirlooms and garlic. caramelise and cover the shells in boiling water and boil for 20 minutes whilst pressing down on the shells and heads with a masher. strain and reduce the liquid with saffron, and vegetable stock. a gentle sprinkle of celery salt and and some pepper works a treat. boil down to about 1 cup splashing and dashing with seasoning until you find your perfect taste. quickly whisk butter into the liquid to smooth it out…wow!
4 potatoes peeled and cut into small pieces, 1 cup of ricotta, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoons plain organic flour, pinch parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper
boil the potatoes drain and bind in a magi mix with ricotta, flour, parmesan and a pinch of salt and pepper. roll into strings and cut and roll into tiny balls….boil in gentle salted water until they pop up to the top. strain
flash cook the shrimp and a cup of baby asparagus shoots and tips in the liquid. add the gnocchi a few snap peas and parsley….serve hot to warm with a splash of lime and maybe some chilli.
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.
Farro can be sweet …….and sexy and healthy and everything in between. i make an endless amount of salads and i use faro a lot. its a good grain.
It is a derivative of wheat and is not unlike spelt or barley but has its origin in Italy. one of the finest grains it was first cultivated over 2000 years ago. it nearly vanished from production due to its strong protective husk which requires more complex dehulling and milling machinery.
farro is high in fibre, zinc and protein and is a rich source of B complex vitamins.it does contain gluten. ithas a nutty flavour and can be substitited for rice, lentils, cous cous and pasta. it love it as a risotto, a straight up grain with slow cooking, salad or just with olive oil, lemon rind, salt and pepper. yuuum!
Lorraine Russo the owner of Alimentari in Paddington Sydney has just had a gorgeous holiday in Italy and ate Farro salad all the time. we talked about it at length and to and tossed around a few ideas. She has asked me to do one for the cafe and it launched today. This is what i came up with. a really simple, fast and fresh salad that is packed with flavour and goodness. i used bio-dynamic ‘Mount Zero’ in this recipe.
a salad of farro, celery, capers, lemon, shallots, parsley, eggs, almonds and celery salt
Boil i cup farro in water for 15-20 minute after washing thoroughly. boil 2 eggs till hard. chop finely, 1/2 cup celery, 1/4 cup shallots, 1/2 cup parsley. put in bowl with faro with 1 cup toasted almond flakes, about 20 capers, some grated lemon,and 1/2 cup of olive oil mixed with white balsamic. stir gently and season with celery salt and pepper to taste. place in bowl with cut eggs and garnish with extra celery and parsley.