Place yeast on one side and salt on the other (salt will kill the yeast if they come into direct contact).
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
My little garden is a constant source of inspiration for the dinner table at our house. Being able to watch my food grow has made seasonal produce take on a whole new meaning. I grew my own tomatoes last year and the intense aroma of fruit ripening on the vine, still glistening with early morning dew, is absolutely incomparable to the 'fresh' product available in supermarkets.
Andrew Swallow, graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (the college of my dreams) and author of 'Mixt Salads' (a vibrant book jammed with seasonal salad recipes, some beautiful photography, tips on how to eat sustainably and create your own exciting salads!) inspired me to put a winter salad together.
I combined Brussels sprouts, crisp white icicle radish (I buy my seeds from Digger's Club) and smoked speck that I pan-fried until crunchy and caramelised with a horseradish dressing and some European yoghurt. Let's be honest, what doesn't taste better with smoked speck in it? I really love the sharp, zingy flavour of yoghurt here too as I think it works well with the bite of horseradish. The dressing is light and creamy, slightly sweet but mainly acidic.
Winter Brussels Sprout Salad
58 g Brussels sprouts, leaves onlySeparate the Brussels sprout leaves by cutting off the stem and pulling it apart layer by layer.
21 g white icicle radish, peeled and sliced paper-thin
30 g smoked speck, rind removed
30 g European style yoghurt
Cut the inner core into quarters.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
Blanch Brussels sprout leaves into water until just cooked.
Remove and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process.
Drain and dry the leaves.
Slice the speck into thin, bite-sized pieces.
Pan-fry until crispy.
Reserve the rendered fat for the dressing.
Toss together the Brussels sprout leaves, icicle radish and smoked speck.
Transfer onto a plate and dot around small amounts of yoghurt.
3 g horseradish creamCombine all ingredients in a small bowl.
3 g light agave syrup
7 g apple cider vinegar
1 g smoked speck fat
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion is a book that I've long been craving. I spent a whole afternoon at Kinokuniya bookstore reading and re-reading the first few chapters while I was in the midst of planning out the execution of my no-dig garden last year. Six months later, I found myself glued to its open pages in the middle of a David Jones hall, completely oblivious to having lost my friend in the frenzy of a kitchenware sale. As much as I loved to flick through the pages of this encyclopedic cookbook, I could never bring myself to justify the $125 price tag but then, only yesterday, a serendipitous moment occurred.
Searching online through booko for the cheapest available copy of 'Bakewise' by Shirley O'Corriher, randomly clicking on another title called 'Sorted: A Rookie's Guide To Crackin' Cooking', I saw it. Down the bottom of the page amongst a jumble of other books I read: "The Kitchen Garden Companion 88 days to go Pre order AUD$25.79". TWENTY-FIVE BUCKS?!?! That's one hundred dollars off the original price! *Click click click* well that's my copy sorted! Hoo! Hoo! I sure as hell can't wait to be holding it in my hot little hands!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
With three contestants from earlier episodes back in play for another shot at the MasterChef title, I thought I'd revisit one of the very first challenges set by Donna Hay. Can you guess what it is? Why it's the pavlova challenge of course!
We all know what pavlova is: crisp and crunchy on the outside with soft, pillowy meringue on the inside and all as white as a cloud on a bright, sunny day. Where most people tend to go wrong in the pav-making process is hmm let's see.. The stage when the egg whites are whisking and the recipe calls to add sugar to create a meringue. If you've read books by the likes of Shirley O'Corriher, Harold McGee or Hervé This, you'll be aware that adding sugar early in the mixing process inhibits the ability of egg white to become light and fluffy with loads of volume.
If you add sugar at the beginning, you'll end up with the perfect paste to pour into a soup bowl. What you should do instead, is beat the whites until they are aerated enough to form soft peaks and only then begin adding sugar (a little at a time mind you). If you dump it all in at once, the egg whites will collapse. If you add it gradually, the sugar will bind with the whites to create a more stable platform to hold up under the weight of the additional sugar and you'll have a meringue with maximum volume!