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Tripe Lyonnaise

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God, I’ve been so lazy with this blog. Almost a year ago now (shit…has it really been that long?) I went on a Griswold-esque European road trip with two of my mates, driving through much of Spain, France and Andorra. Luckily, my mates were pretty accommodating with my continual requests to try different foods and restaurants, and to help me fulfil my ambition of eating foie gras and jamon, where available, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It wasn’t all food though, I made sure to admire the cultural touchstones of the places I visited: from the striking Guggenheim in Bilbao and the majestic medieval ramparts of Avignon,  to the flabby, pasty geezers in Benidorm and the grubby hookers of Marseille, I saw it all.

Needless to say, I did eat some ridiculously amazing food on the trip, and have been meaning to recreate much, if not all of it now that I’m back in Sydney.

First up is a dish that I had in a little bistro in Lyon. Everything we ordered that night was fantastic and memorable, but for me, the pick was the Tripe Lyonnaise, which I felt compelled to order, because, you know, I was in Lyon. It was a great dish, with a terrific balance of sweetness and sourness, and I think this recipe comes pretty close to replicating what I ate on that night, though I have made a few changes to personalize it a bit.

It’s a very simple dish with few ingredients, so start with the best ingredients you can get and remember to take utmost care with every step to make it as perfect as it can be.

INGREDIENTS

1 kg tripe

4 brown onions

3 bay leaves

1 can tomatoes

1 litre chicken stock

4 rashers of bacon

8 cloves garlic

1 stick cinnamon

Teaspoon of cloves

Forum chardonnay vinegar

Knob of butter

Bunch of parsley, chopped

Start by sauteeing the bacon, 5 cloves of garlic and one of the onions, chopped roughly, in a saucepan on a medium heat for 10 minutes or so, getting a bit of colour on the bacon and onion. Deglaze with the chicken stock and add the bay leaves, the tomatoes, the cloves and the cinnamon and bring to the boil. Wash the tripe thoroughly and add to the saucepan, lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove the tripe from the stock and allow to cool.

Next, finely slice 3 onions and sautee them gently along with 3 whole cloves of garlic for 45 minutes or so, until the onion is soft and stringy and caramelized. Pick out the garlic and discard.

Once the tripe has cooled, slice into strips and coat in flour, shaking off the excess. Heat some oil until very hot, then quickly shallow fry the slices of tripe until golden. At this point, add some butter to the pan (as much as you feel comfortable using, but really, the more the better) as well as the onions and stir through the tripe. Finally, add a good splash of the vinegar and the chopped parsley and stir everything together. Serve!

Squid Ink Kingfish

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Japanese! Having decided that that would be the flavour of the month, I set out to make a dish as Japanese-y as possible, while adding a bit of my own personality and preference for French cooking and techniques into the mix. And so we have… squid ink kingfish with dashi oil, puffed rice and ramen gnocchi.

I decided to make dashi oil as opposed to a dashi stock with water simply because I wanted that rich, oily mouthfeel, inspired by the time I made this dish. I guess it’s something that is not especially common in Australia and seem a bit gross, but embrace your inner Mediterranean, or Sichuan, and load up the oil!

DASHI OIL

200mls grapeseed oil

2 tbsp kombu

2 tbsp dried bonito flakes

2 rashers of bacon, diced

Gently sauté the bacon for 5 minutes or so, then drop the heat to low, add the kombu and the  and take off the heat. Add the kombu and the bonito and leave to infuse on a low heat for half an hour or so. Strain the oil and set aside.

 PUFFED RICE

Boil long grain rice in salted water, then drain. When completely dry (you may need to dry it in the oven to speed it up), fry the grains of rice in hot oil.

KINGFISH

Kingfish fillets

3 sachets of squid ink (available from the fish markets and essential ingredient)

Marinate the kingfish in squid ink for half an hour or so, then vacuum seal the kingfish and the ink and cook at 47 degrees for 10 minutes.

RAMEN GNOCCHI

Ok, so I actually got this recipe from watching an episode of David Chang’s TV series The Mind of a Chef, where David Chang, in his infinite genius, reveals the process for turning packet ramen into gnocchi. I understand the recipe is also in the first issue of Lucky Peach. Or you can find it here. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, and if you follow the steps carefully you should be fine. Honestly, who turns ramen into gnocchi? Brilliant.

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Cured Salmon

Knowing how to cook, I typically draw Christmas cooking duties – which is fine. Far from being a burden though, I love spending the weeks before Christmas thinking about what to cook, scribbling notes on post-its at work about ideas for recipes and ingredients I’d like to try. As last Christmas was rainy and quite cool, I made a roast lamb shoulder and pork ribs, but this year, all signs pointed toward a sunnier and altogether warmer Christmas. Needless to say, that didn’t turn out to be the case, but by that stage, my menu was planned. My entrée is something which is pretty straightforward and which I think is absolutely perfect for a summer afternoon. Or any time really.

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CURING MIX

1 large tail piece of salmon (about 400g)

150g sea salt

150g caster sugar

1 tbsp dill pollen

2 tbsp chopped dill

Zest of 2 lemons

Mix together the salt with the sugar, dill, pollen and zest. Take a handful or so and cover the bottom of a tray. Rub a few tablespoons of the mix over the salmon, place on top of the curing mix on the tray, and cover the salmon with the rest of the curing mix. Place a chopping board or something on top of the salmon and weigh down with some cans, so that the salmon is being pressed down fairly firmly. Leave for 12 hours or overnight in the fridge. The next day, remove the salmon and rinse the excess curing mix off, then pat dry. Take this opportunity to remove the bones from the fillet if you haven’t already. The salmon should be darker and fairly firm

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PICKLED RED ONION

200mls white wine vinegar.

2 tbsp caster sugar.

1 pinch salt

1 red onion, finely sliced

Place the onion in a mason jar. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, salt and sugar together until dissolved. Taste, and add more sugar if you want – aim for a nice sour-sweet balance. Once it has cooled, pour the liquid over the onion and leave overnight.

SALAD

2 finely sliced deseeded long red chillies

½ a lemon, sliced as thinly as possible

2 tbsp salted capers, shallow fried in oil

Pickled red onion

Handful of roughly chopped parsley

Handful of chopped dill

Juice from ½ a lemon

Mix everything except for the capers together in a bowl, along with a couple of pinches of salt, the lemon juice and a pour of good extra virgin olive oil. Slice the salmon, top with the salad and sprinkle the capers over the top. Serve with a nice sourdough.

 

The Reuben

I may or may not have mentioned it before, but I’m a huge fan of Man v Food. Watching Adam Richman stuff his face with an ever-escalating procession of greasy foodstuffs never fails to amuse and delight. It also makes me very hungry. American food, particularly the slow-cooked, barbecued variety, is the sort of stuff that’s right up my alley, and I’m currently in the process of fine-tuning a recipe for smoked pork ribs, so stay tuned for that one. In the meantime, I decided to turn my hand to recreating one of the classic American sandwiches, the reuben.

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CORNED BEEF CURE

2kg of beef brisket

150g brown sugar

120g salt

2 tsp prague powder (can be purchased online here)

3 garlic cloves

1 Tsp black peppercorns

1 Tsp juniper berries

2 cinnamon quills

1 Tbsp cloves

3 bay leaves

PROCESS

First of all, heat about a litre of water to a simmer in a large stainless steel pot, then everything except the meat. Once the sugar and salt have completely dissolved, add another litre of cold water and chill in the fridge. Once cold, add the meat and weigh down with a plate, if needed, so that the meat is completely covered. Now comes the waiting game. Leave in the fridge for about a week.

CORNED BEEF

3 bay leaves

1 tsp cloves

150 mls malt vinegar

100g brown sugar

1 brown onion, cut in  half

2 carrots, roughly chopped

5 cloves garlic, crushed

PROCESS

Remove from the beef from the fridge, rinse thoroughly and discard the brine. Add to a saucepan with about 2 litres of water and the ingredients above. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 1 and a half-2 hours. When tender, remove from the heat and leave in the liquid for another half hour or so before removing.

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SAUERKRAUT

Salt

Cabbage

Caraway Seeds

There’s a hundred recipes for sauerkraut, and I don’t happen to have a favourite one, I just used this one. I was pretty happy with the results. Or just buy it ready made.

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THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade

3 tsp tomato sauce

2 shallots, finely diced

1 clove garlic, minced, or finely chopped

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

A splash of tobacco

Mix everything together. Umm.. that’s pretty much it. This recipe does make quite a lot, but it goes pretty well on sandwiches in general and will keep a week or so in the fridge. Or you could just scale down the quantities. The world is your oyster!

 EVERYTHING ELSE

Rye bread

Swiss cheese

Finally.. making the sandwich. In a frying pan, shallow fry 2 slices of bread in butter until golden on one side (naturally, you could do both sides but I prefer only one side to be crisp, and it’s my blog, dammit). Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Spread the dressing on both pieces of bread, then in the manner of an open sandwich, load up one slice of bread with chopped corned beef and sauerkraut, top with cheese and grill until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!

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Bak Kut Teh‏

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A few weeks ago, I made an all too brief weekend trip to Singapore to visit my girlfriend – well, that was one of the reasons, others included eating my body weight in chilli crab and taking a break from work before my head exploded. Gladly, I returned head intact, and filled with some fantastic memories, many of which featured food. Singapore, you see, is home to an amazing and vibrant food culture, with hawker food centres literally everywhere, featuring cuisines that span the Asian continent.

Some of my food experiences, sadly, weren’t amazing (durian and century egg, I’m looking at you), though most were great and some, incredible. Popiah, Cereal prawns, Chilli crab, frog and Soursop juice were all phenomenal – so too was Bak Kut Teh, a chinese soup that consists of pork braised in a broth of various spices. Upon coming home I was determined to make this dish myself, and this is how it was done:

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp white peppercorns, crushed in mortar & pestle

1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed in m&p

1 tsp fennel seeds, dry roasted in a pan, crushed in m&p

1 head of garlic, roasted in oven, plus a few additional cloves to garnish the dish

2 star anise

1 stick cinnamon

Light soy sauce

200g chicken wing tips

1 brown onion, diced roughly

500g pork belly

To begin, sauté the chicken wing tips in some oil until they’re browned, then lower the heat and add the onion and cook until slightly caramelized. Add the pepper, the fennel seed, the star anise, the garlic and the cinnamon, a litre of water and a good splash of soy sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, add the pork and cook for 2-3 hours or until the pork is tender. Taste the stock, it should be quite peppery and garlicky, and add more soy sauce if you think it needs it. At this point I removed the pork and placed it in the fridge. After straining the stock, I poured it into a ceramic dish and allowed it to cool in the fridge. After a few hours, the stock will hopefully have cooled and set into a jelly, a result of the natural gelatin contained in the chicken and pork skin. At this point, cut it into cubes and freeze solid. Remove the frozen cubes and place them in a sieve over a bowl and allow to melt in the fridge. This is basically a clarifying method that will result in a perfectly clear consommé while retaining all of the flavour. Don’t ask me how it works though, as I have no idea whatsoever.

To complete, gently reheat the pork in some of the stock, then garnish with some cloves of garlic. Good times!

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Chocolate, Caramel, Toffee

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Personally, I’m not that much of a sweet tooth, though I do like making desserts because you can take your time with them and do several stages of a finished dessert in advance, and they often look good. Oh, and other people tend to like them a lot, particularly the girls in my office, and every so often I’ll bring in a dessert. This was one of them

Chocolate Cake base

I have to say I don’t have a preferred chocolate cake recipe. There’s a ton of them on the internet. Choose one, they’re all pretty good.

 Milk Chocolate Ganache

Ok, so here’s the thing- I don’t use quantitites for my ganaches, I usually just break some chocolate up in a bowl and then heat some cream in a saucepan, pouring in about as much as looks right into the bowl and whisking to a smooth consistency. That’s pretty much it. I realise how unhelpful that is, but then this blog is pretty much for my reference only. I’m not sure anyone actually reads it.

 Caramel Mousse

This one is slightly more involved – to make it, I made a caramel from sugar and water in a saucepan, to which I added some cream and stirred, while heating, until it was smooth. I then whipped some cream, waited until the caramel was cool, then folded it into the whipped cream. Oh, and I added a leaf of gold strength gelatin that I’d melted in a double boiler. After combining the cake base, ganache and caramel mousse layers, you just need to add the toffee top.

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 Toffee Top

To make this I again made a caramel from sugar and water, then poured it over some peanuts on a sheet of silpat. Once cool (and remember to let it cool, I’ve burned my fingers on toffee more times than I care to admit), break into bits and blend to a powder in a food processor. Now take the praline powder and pour it into a sieve and shake it over a piece of baking paper with a circle out of it, over a sheet of silpat. Take the silpat and place it in a low oven until it melts. Remove and allow to cool.

Anyway, this dessert is really quite delicious. The caramel and chocolate work really well, as does the peanut toffee, which has just enough peanut flavour to complement the caramel and chocolate in a delicious-snickers kind of way, while offering a nice textural counterpoint.

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A side dish

 

I want to start this post by saying that I have no idea how I came up with this dish, I think it’s due to my love of green beans and of experimenting with foods, and having some salmon in the fridge

MARINADE

-          2 big tbsp white miso

-          60 mls sake

-          60 mls mirin

-          1 ½ tsp sugar

-          2 salmon fillets, about 150g each

 Whisk the miso with the sugar, mirin, sake and sugar, then, in a small container, pour over the salmon, cover and leave overnight. The following day, remove the salmon, rinse under running water, pat dry, then bake in an 180 degree oven for 20 minutes. Note- this is longer than you’d typically cook salmon, but I think that for this recipe, a dryer texture is desirable. Once cooked, flake apart with your hands and set aside.

 SAUCE

-          200mls Chicken stock

-          100 mls shao xing wine

-          2 tbsp chilli bean paste

-          1 tbsp dried shrimp

-          ½ tsp shrimp paste

-          100 mls tamarind water (30g tamarind soaked in 100mls warm water, strained)

-          Splash of soy sauce

 Next, pulse the shrimp paste with the dried shrimp in a food processor for 30 seconds or so. Add to a saucepan along with the stock, the wine, the chilli bean paste and tamarind water and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until reduced by about half. Add a splash of soy sauce if needed.

 AND LASTLY..

 -          500g green beans

-          10 kaffir lime leaves, cut into chiffonade

-          Handful of unsalted peanuts, roughly crushed in a m&p

 Cook the beans in salted water, then immerse in a bowl of iced water. When ready to serve, toss the beans and salmon in the sauce, then garnish with crushed peanuts and lots of kaffir lime leaf.

 Ok, I love this dish. I think it’d work brilliantly as a side in a pan-asian menu.  Plus, variations are endless- ocean trout instead of salmon, snake beans instead of round beans… ok, so the variations clearly aren’t limitless, but this is a great dish.

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