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I love this dish – it’s inspired by the caramelized pork hock served at longrain, and this recipe works equally well with pork belly, but personally I just love the combination of star anise, cinnamon and beef.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 kg beef short ribs

50g palm sugar

Cinnamon sticks

Star anise

Shao xing wine

1 knob ginger (apprx 5cm), sliced

3 cloves garlic

Light soy sauce

1 bunch coriander

Roasted peanuts, crushed in a mortal and pestle

Fried shallots

 

Begin by coating the ribs with flour and frying on a high heat, until browned and caramelized on all sides. In a saucepan, to the ribs add about 250 mls of the shao xing wine, a good glug of soy sauce, the ginger, garlic, 4 or so star anise anise and a couple of cinnamon quills. Add enough cold water to cover, and if you have a pressure cooker, bring to the boil before dropping the heat, bringing to pressure and cooking for an hour. Leave to cool slightly in the stock

To make the star anise caramel, combine the palm sugar with a splash of water and cook without stirring until the sugar has melted and the caramel has begun to turn golden. At this point, add a cup  of the stock from the ribs and cook down until it’s a nice sticky consistency. Remove the beef ribs from the stock and cut into portions if you like. The bone should slide out easily. If not, you haven’t cooked them long enough, you’re a failure and nobody likes you. Toss the ribs in the sauce and place in  a warm bowl. Top with some chopped coriander, peanuts and fried shallots and serve a bowl of brown rice. Yum!

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Sunday Lunch

So I’ve recently moved into a new apartment. It’s fantastic – after years of living in what has to be one of sydney’s quietest and dreariest suburbs in Waverton, a move to crows nest feels like a sprawling New York-esque metropolis. Just having cafes and restaurants within a stone’s throw is a novelty that I’m still not yet tired of. It’s not all sunshine and lattes though, moving in was a backbreaking chore, coupled with the expense of having to purchase an array of appliances and furniture. Of great help in this regard was my dad and stepmum, who bought lots of lovely items to help me furnish my apartment.

As a thank you gesture, I offered to head over to their house on a Sunday afternoon and prepare them a lunch. I was originally considering making a Turkish feast, it being a cuisine I’ve really come to love, but then the world cup came around, and being a huge football fan I got the idea to cook something inspired by the two teams contesting the final – Germany and Argentina.

BLUTWURST

1kg pork back fat, diced

2L pig’s blood

Natural hog casings

1 kg brown onion, chopped

50mls calvados

1 tsp salt

1 pinch pepper

2 tsp fennel pollen

500g lean pork, minced

500mls cream

Begin by sautéing the onions on a low heat in some oil for approximately 40min-1 hr, until they’re deeply caramelized. Deglaze with the calvados and set aside. In a separate pan, sautee half of the diced pork fat until the fat has begun to render. Add the minced lean pork, the rest of the diced fat and sautee on a low-medium for half an hour or so. Add the onion and the cream along with the seasoning and combine. Take off the heat.

Sieve the blood into the saucepan, roll up your sleeves and mix everything together with your hands.

Now comes the fun part – stuffing the sausage casings! The mixture should be very loose, so the best approach I found was to cut the casings into manageable lengths – perhaps 50cm to 1 metre each- tie one end and fill the sausage casings using a funnel over the sink. Don’t think there’s any chance you’ll come out of it without being covered in blood however, it’s a very messy affair.

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Once the casings have been filled and twisted into links, gently poach them in water on a low simmer for approximately half an hour. You’ll know they’re cooked when red blood doesn’t run out of them when pricked. Once cooked you can vacuum seal them and keep them in your fridge for a few weeks. I’ve heard they don’t freeze very well, but I made way too many to eat anytime soon, so I intend to find out for myself.

SCALLOPS AND BLACK PUDDING

 ½ a head of cauliflower

200mls milk

50 mls cream

20g butter

Scallops

1 pinch fennel pollen

Blutwurst, or any form of blood sausage

Peas

Micro lemon balm

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

This dish was an experiment with some classic flavours – scallops, blood sausage and cauliflower. The cauliflower puree involved simply chopping it into florets and cooking with the milk, cream and butter until tender, at which point it was blended with a stick blender and seasoned. For the blood pudding crumb, I sautéed the sausage and crumbled it with a wooden spatula, and in a separate saucepan fried some breadcrumbs in oil, before incorporating both together with a pinch of fennel pollen. I then garnished the dish with some peas and lemon balm

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GRILLED HANGER STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI

1.5kg hanger steak fillet

Olive Oil

Garlic

Salt & pepper

For the beef, I removed it from the fridge and rubbed it with olive oil, chopped garlic and salt and pepper and left it for an hour or so while it came up to room temperature.

Cooking the beef involved a two step process – barbequing on about 8 minutes on each side before finishing in the oven – depending on the thickness of the piece of meat and how you like it cooked, timing will vary, so it’s a huge help if you have a thermometer. Personally, I like it rare/medium-rare, so a temperature in the low 50s is an ideal point to stop cooking, cover with foil and leave it in a warm place to rest – remember to let it rest for at least half as long as the cooking time.

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BRUSSELS SPROUTS SALAD

100 mls vino cotto

30g butter

Mint

1 kg Brussels sprouts

200g puy lentils

Begin by chopping the Brussels spouts in half, rubbing with olive oil and salt and roasting in a hot oven for about half an hour, until golden brown. Cook the lentils in boiling water, and make the dressing by heating the butter and vino cotto and whisking to combine. Chop some fresh mint and toss everything together, adding salt if necessary. Done!

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CHIMICHURRI

100mls grapeseed oil

20mls extra virgin olive oil

Juice from 2 lemons

Pinch of dried oregano

1 bunch parsley

Pinch of chilli flakes

2 cloves garlic

Pinch of salt

 Blitz everything together. Easy

 

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Hey, Jerk‏

To me, jerk chicken is one of those great, exotic-sounding dishes of the Caribbean and Southern US, like Gumbo and Jambalaya, that you’ll hear about in the course of watching US sitcoms, but are difficult, or impossible, to find on the menu of your average Sydney restaurant.  To whit, after being reminded yet again of jerk chicken (I believe while watching Futurama), I decided to get a recipe and take it on. The results were delicious.

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INGREDIENTS

8 chicken maylands

COCONUT AND GREEN APPLE SALAD

 1 tbsp honey

Flesh of 1 small coconut, roughly grated

1/2 green apple, peeled, cored and cut into julienne

Juice from 1 lime

2 tbsp coconut cream

Pinch of salt

 JERK CHICKEN MARINADE

 2 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp honey

2 long red chillies (cayenne), chopped

1 red onion, chopped

Pinch of salt

 Begin by dry-frying the spices in a pan for a couple of minutes, until fragrant, then transfer the spices along with the rest of the ingredients to a food processer and blend to a paste. Rub over the chicken thighs then leave, covered, in the fridge for an hour or so. To cook, simply place under a hot grill for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through and the skin is a bit charred.

For the salad, in a small saucepan, combine the lime juice with the honey and coconut cream and whisk over low heat until combined. Toss with the rest of the ingredients and set aside.

Serve the chicken on top of the coconut salad and garnish with thinly sliced spring onion.

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Sucuklu Yumerta

There’s just something about this dish… it’s quick, easy to prepare, and delicious, all things which my food so often isn’t.  I’ve been making this dish regularly for a couple of years now, whether it be for a weekend breakfast or a midweek dinner, it’s fantastic, and with the ubiquity of baked egg dishes in Sydney cafes at the moment I thought it was high time I posted this one up. Rest assured this recipe is dead simple and is absolutely one of my favourites.

1 brown onion, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, sliced

A couple of handfuls of grated kaşar

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 pinch of sumac

A couple of handfuls of baby spinach

200g sucuk, sliced

1 tbsp Aleppo chilli flakes to garnish

4 eggs

Turkish bread, to serve

Begin by pre-heating your oven to 180 degree. Next, in an oven-safe frying pan, sautee the onion and the garlic in some oil for 10 minutes or so, until softened. Add the spinach and a few tablespoons of water, cover, and allow to wilt slightly. Remove from the heat, add the cheese and a pinch of paprika and sumac. In a separate pan, fry the sucuk sliced until crisp, then remove and drain on kitchen paper. Add the sucuk to the pan with the rest of the ingredients and crack in the eggs. Put in the oven for 5 minutes or so, or until the whites
have set and the yolks are still slightly runny. Serve with sliced of Turkish bread that have been fried in butter til golden (go on, do it, you won’t regret it).

Note: Kasar, Aleppo chilli and sucuk can be found at any of your neighbourhood Turkish food shops. Just kidding, they’re rare. Try Gima in Auburn.

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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.

 

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