Thursday, 24 April 2014

post#100 - ' the GOLDEN NESTED EGG .'

Beetroot marbled free-range Hens egg in Nest of Golden Sweet Corn Silks accented by Nasturtium petals & leaves, Pea greens, Olive oil leaf herb, Water Hyssop and Edible Wild rocket flowers.

                         Post number 100 @ food play and I'd like to give thanks and appreciation to the support out there, the forwards, the comments and the general help to spread the site globally. A special thanks to my wife for early pursuits in spreading the word and for encouragement and praise, but I guess mainly for her taste buds and their critique. This blog started October last year and has been viewed by over 30 countries and has had thousands of page views, I would never have thought. So for the 100th instead of the golden nest egg, I've done 'the GOLDEN NESTED EGG'.                              
                         The idea for this dish came from applications I've seen similar with the root of the concept coming from a soup that uses every part of the corn ear but the kernels are only used for garnish. Starting with striping the husks which are roasted and the silks were fried for a crunchy accompaniment, the spent cobs were grilled and charred and used with the husks for the base of the chowder. Upon doing more prying I've seen a number of chefs using the corn silks to form nests to present various egg preparations. I thought it would be appropriate to post a breakfast for #1oo as the very first post was a breakfast post as well.
                         To make this dish I first put a pot of water on the stove and brought to the boil, adding a little vinegar to the water I cooked some eggs for 5 minutes and 12 seconds before plunging the eggs into cold water. In a blender I added chopped beetroot, rice wine vinegar and a little water before blending to a juice. This was then passed through a sieve and poured into a tall glass filling to three quarters in height. I then made cracks all over the egg shells with the back of a spoon before placing into the beetroot juice and set aside for about 2 hours or enough time for the beet juice to penetrate the cracks and stain the egg whites with pink fuchsia. Next I heated some oil in a saucepan to around 180 deg. c. and deep fried corn silks in the arrangement of a birds nest, once the silks had puffed and turned from light green to golden I removed the nest with a slotted spoon and drained onto paper towel. And next I foraged the gardens in the backyard for some fresh accents for the nest, these were arranged around the rim of the nest and placed in the centre of the plate for serving. Next I drained the egg from the beetroot juice and under a trickle of running water I carefully peeled the egg revealing the stained beetroot marbling. I then placed the egg in the nest of corn silks and seasoned with smoked sea salt and cracked black pepper before serving.

Monday, 21 April 2014


Grass-fed Bone Marrow in Swiss Brown mushroom stems, Charred Dates, Balsamic reduction and Vegemite paste. 

                Another really simple little dish to make and tastes sensational, the mushrooms have a rich meaty flavour and an almost steak like texture, the dates were pounded to a thin rectangle, adding  sweetness and a roasted flavour. The accompaniments of the balsamic vinegar reduction gives a distinct sweet acidity to balance the marrow out and the Vegemite paste adds a savoury streak for both the eye and the palate. Exquisite grass fed beef marrow has been stuffed into hollowed swiss brown mushroom stems to replicate marrow bones and sauteed in rendered marrow.                                                                
              I started this dish by placing some dried dates on to a tray and into a 180 deg. c. oven for about 20 minutes, until some parts were starting to char. The dates were then removed and placed between two sheets of silicon paper and rolled out to about 2 mm thick. I then made an outline of the rectangle shape using a ruler and marker on to the top sheet of silicon paper before cutting the shape out and setting aside for plating. Next I removed the stems from large swiss browns and hollowed the middles out with a cutter. Scraping some of the raw marrow from the bones I gently filled the stems, these were then placed in the fridge to set. In the mean time I placed a little mandarin juice and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and brought to a gentle simmer, reducing the vinegar to a thick syrup before removing from the stove and setting aside for plating. The Vegemite was simple thinned with a little olive oil and to finish the dish I sauteed the mushroom stems in a little rendered marrow just before plating.


Caramelised Cauliflower custards served with Garden Pea greens dressed with Barrel aged Fish sauce & Lemon oil .

                     This is a simple little taster dish to put together and a really good little way to showcase seasonal produce. The custards in this dish are extremely dynamic in that it has a great crust, are hot throughout and melts on the tongue like a decadent cauliflower puree rather than the firm set that it resembles. To accompany these I dressed assorted pea greens fresh from the garden in a little aged fish sauce and lemon oil.                                                                                                                                  
                     To make the custards I placed heavy cream, diced cauliflower, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in a saucepan over a medium heat, I brought this to the boil reducing to a low simmer, covering with a lid. Once the cauliflower was cooked and tender I transferred the mixture to a blender and mixed to form a smooth puree, this was then placed into a small saucepan and brought to a simmer with 1.5% gellan gum whisking to dissolve and disperse the gum. The the puree was then removed from the heat and poured into a plastic mould and placed in the fridge to set. At this time I dressed the pea greens with a little barrel-aged fish sauce and some olive oil mixed with lemon. I kept the pea greens fresh and not cooked to give the dish a little fresh crunch to cut the rich creamy custard. The greens were then plated and ready for the the custards to be re-heated and caramelised. In a medium hot pan I added some olive oil, removing the custard from its mould I sliced the custard into bite sized cubes of which I lightly pan seared one side of the cube before immediately arranging them on to the plate with the pea greens and seasoned with smoked sea salt to serve.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


 Caramel & Sesame seed macaron filled with Chocolate & Almond patty, Salted caramel slice, Diced Apple and Raspberry ketchup, served with Apple & Arrowroot fries. 

                  This dish is another sweets entry with a straight forward play on food or 'food play'. I've seen this dish or I've seen the macaron burger similar being served on degustation menus but I thought I'd go a step further and try recreate visually something we all are familiar with, that fast food giant. My macaron making experience from scratch was many many years ago and the macarons that I used to make were the traditional plain almond type, not the the modern day colourful types. So sucking in my pride I've used the help of Adriano Zumbo and his macaron mix, I chose the salted caramel variety to get the best resemblence of a seeded bun as I could, for the overall effect. The surprise for me that came from this dish was the apple fries, which upon eating at first I thought tasted like regular french fries. Weather my mind was tricking my taste buds or by-passing my taste buds altogether and operating purely from associated experience but I thought I was eating McDonalds fries and it wasn't until the aftertaste left on my palate that tasted of flavours similar to apple danish and with the raspberry sauce, that I realised this was part of a tasty dessert and how easily your mind can be tricked even if you know the trick.                                      
                 To make this food player I began by making the macaron shells the night before as per the recipe on the packet. As the piped mixture were resting on their trays before backing I sprinkled half of them with sesame seeds and baked them off for 16-18 minutes in a 150 deg. c oven before removing and allowing to cool. The shells were the placed in to a airtight container and stored in the fridge over night. The next day I began with the cheese burger fillings, in a bowl I mixed together melted milk chocolate, melted butter, almond meal and homestyle Orio cookie crumb. After forming the mix into a ball or dough like consistency I formed little patty rounds and placed them on the bottom half of the macaron as these were the meat patties. Next I used the caramel supplied in the kit and rolled some out thinly between two sheets of baking paper. I then cut little squares of the caramel slice to match the size of the patties and these were arranged on top of the patties to resemble melted sliced cheese. The raspberry coulis was from an older preparation but with some of this I added a little balsamic vinegar to cut the sweetness of the sauce and the entire dish and also give the coulis a more authentic ketchup look. The diced onions on the burger are made from really finely diced apple. The last preparation was the fries and all along I wanted to use apple as the potato substitute and I was just going to simply slice the apple julienne and fry them in hot oil. And it wasn't until I was cutting them I thought of the idea of frying them in a starch to give them more rigidness and structure. So I coated some in arrowroot flour and did a test batch and to my surprise they came up looking like a real french fry. I coated the rest and my stumbles through cooking rewarded me and became the final product you see.


Friday, 11 April 2014

' 53 deg . C . LAMB SOUVLAKI in GRAPE LEAF .'

53 degree C. Sous vide cooked Tassie Royal Lamb Souvlaki in Grapevine Leaf served with Minted Greek yoghurt , Preserved lemon , Salted capers , Black garlic paste , Fried parsley and fresh oregano.

                  During the week I visited my favourite independent grocers 'food fantasy' after work. I love going to this humble little food hub and its been a few weeks now that I had paid a visit to the store. A different delicacies were on offer, I picked up a pack of brined grapevine leaves ( good,big,green ) about a dozen in total for $2.20 AUS. While I was in the store foraging I came across fresh Kalamata olives and when I asked one of the staff what was involved in the prep of the olives, he went out the back and got the little old Italian lady. Familiar with my face she talked me through the four week process of brining the olives while hand selecting me a half kilo into a bag that I'd requested. The olives were $6 a kg. costing me $3 AUS. for my Kalamata olives. So I guess the trip to the 'food fantasy' and the butchers for the quality piece of free ranging grass-fed lamb from greener pastures of Tasmania have been the inspirations of this Mediterranean flavoured cuisine.                                                          
                 This was a very simple dish to make I began by marinating the lamb overnight in the fridge in a vacuum sealed pouch containing butter, dried oregano, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, white pepper, a pinch of cumin and a little garlic paste. The next day I set the sous vide machine to a water bath temperature of 53 degrees C. and cooked the pouch of souvlaki marinated lamb for one hour. during this time I prepped the accompaniments firstly the minted yoghurt was a mixture of greek yoghurt, fresh mint from the garden finely chopped, a little garlic paste, drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lime juice before being lightly seasoned with salt. To make the black garlic paste I simply blended black garlic with a little olive oil to form a puree. The preserved lemons was an earlier prep, I mean way earlier, like this time last year or earlier. These are simply preserved over time in jars packed with salt and filled with lemon syrup. Over the time the skins soften and the pulp turns to the preserving liquor it is the skins that are scraped back and rinsed before being added whole or diced into dishes to give an up lifting citrus element to the dish. The capers were store bought but have been drained and mixed with himalayan pint salt in a container in the fridge for a number of months now. Once the lamb was ready I removed the lamb from the pouch and straight into a hot pan with the juices of the pouch poured over the lamb while it quickly seared on both sides of the fillet. Once the outside of the meats proteins had caramelised I removed the fillet from the pan placing it straight at the bottom of a spread brined grapevine leaf on a cutting board. The lamb was then rolled in the leaf and returned to a hot pan with a little olive oil to cook the outsides of the leaf, while this was cooking a placed some sprigs of parsley in the hot oil to crisp up. Both the parsley sprigs and the rolled lamb were removed once cooked and left to rest for 3-4 minutes. The parsley was then seasoned with smoked cypress sea salt.                  
                I presented this plate by making a series of random swipes with the minted greek yoghurt. I then sliced the grapevine leaf wrapped souvlaki lamb in to various widths and strategically arranged them around the plate displaying the beautiful perfectly evenly cooked lamb contrasted by the dark green vine leaf. I then added the accompaniments of salted capers, preserved lemons, black garlic paste, the crunchy fried parsley and to finish the dish fresh micro oregano leaves from the garden.

Saturday, 5 April 2014


Plated Free range chicken broth , Garden pea caviar , Fresh egg noodles , Shredded chicken breast , pea flower greens.

                     Its the beginning of mid autumn here and you wouldn't think so weather wise, with only the night temperatures dropping ever so slightly, the humidity is still high and the day temps are in the high 20's pushing 30. The peas in my garden have shot up and we're starting to get our first pods and the snow peas are in prolific flower, great signs of a good crop. This dish was inspired by the garden harvests and with a left over chicken frame in the freezer I decided to serve up a plated soup. To add a little twist I turned the broth into a thickened sauce and made pea caviar using the 'cold oil spherefication' technique form pureed garden peas.                                                                                        
                      To make the chicken broth sauce I began by placing in a large stock pot a frame from a free range chicken, caramelised onion halves, chicken breast fillets, chopped carrots, celery, parsley, bay leaf and seasoning, covering with water I brought the stock to the boil reducing to a simmer for 2 and a bit hours. This was then strained and the breast fillets were put aside for shredding, some of the broth was reserved to make the sauce and the rest was placed into a small sauce pan with some fresh garden peas and brought to the boil. Once the peas were cooked they were placed into a blender with a little of the cooking stock and blended to a puree, this was then stained and set aside. I then placed a tall glass of canola oil in the freezer allowing the oil to chill and thicken for about half an hour. In a small saucepan I put the strained pea puree and 1% agar agar heating to a simmer while whisking to dissolve the agar powder, this was then removed and allowed to cool to 60 deg. c before I removed the oil from the freezer and prepared to make the pea caviar. With a syringe I drew up the pea liquid and slowly drop droplets of the liquid into the cold oil, as they slowly sunk to the bottom of the glass they had time to set solid. Once a dropped all the liquid I strained the the glass of oil, collecting the oil in a jar for later applications and trapping the caviar in the strainer, these were then rinsed and set aside for plating. In a bowl I combined flour and eggs and made a simple dough, kneading for 5-10 minutes. After chilling the dough for half an hour I rolled the dough out on a floured surface before passing through the rollers of the pasta machine, this was then run through the spaghetti attachment and dusted with flour to keep the strands separated. In a large pot of rolling salted boiling water I cooked the noodles for 2 minutes before removing and placing under cold water to stop the cooking process. To finish the sauce I placed the reserved chicken broth in a small saucepan bringing to broth to a simmer, with a little of the heated broth I added some arrowroot flour and made a paste before adding back into the broth and whisking to incorporate. Once the sauce had thickened I removed the pot from the heat ready for plating.                      
                   To plate I began by spooning some of the chicken broth sauce in the centre of the plate. I then arranged the shredded chicken breast, pea caviar and egg noodles on top of the broth. Garnishing the plate with droplets of broth with pea caviar, pea greens and topped with a pea flower.