Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slow cooked salmon

A co-worker pointed me to this exciting concept, slow cooked salmon. The idea is to brush and bed a beautiful piece of salmon and then cook it in an oven at just around 100 degrees for 30 minutes. The result - beautiful tender and juicy salmon that is moist and flavoursome - delicious!


We started with a brush of olive oil, salt, pepper and ground coriander. We then threw the salmon skin side down in skillet to crisp it up a bit.

For the bed, we used caramelised onions quickly sauted in a fry pan with some fine white wine and a few chunks of navel oranges. Lay the salmon, skin up, on the bed and top each fish with a slice of orange. Cook in oven at 100 degrees for 30 minutes.

Ground some macadamia nuts and chillis and roast in pan to release flavour. Mix nut mixture with some finely chopped mint. Remove salmon from oven and top with nut and mint. Serve.

Too easy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When life gives you flat macarons - make cookies!

Inspired by Adriano Zumbo's macaron tower, I really wanted to try making macarons myself. I checked a number of recipes including from Poh's kitchen. I sieved almond meal and icing sugar to grainy fineness, whipped egg whites to peaked perfection, and folded everything together to that magma like consistency that all the experts harp on about - well, given my first hand familiarity with magma.

The macarons flat as a pancake - literallly the size and thickness of a 20 cent piece.

I'm not sure what I did wrong - maybe my egg whites weren't separated early enough (I left them for the day instead of overnight) maybe my 15 year old oven can't cope with pre-heating to 200 and then turning it bakc DOWN to 160. Macarons, I'm sure, are just temperamental things that take awhile to master...

The challenge for me was what to do with the 2 cups of sensational blueberry ganache I had made for the macaron filling...

Make sugar cookies. :)

Sugar cookies with blueberry white chocolate ganache



2.5 cups flour
1 cup butter
1.5 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbs baking powder.


300 mL thick cream
1 can blueberry pie filling or 1 cup fresh blueberries
1 bar (280 g) white chocolate, chopped roughly


Start with the ganache. In a saucepan, bring cream and blueberry puree to gentle boil. Remove from heat. Stir in white chocolate and mix gently until smooth.

Spoon out mixture into large tray and let set at room temperature for one hour.

For the cookies, preheat oven to 190 degrees. Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg, flour, vanilla and baking powder and work the mixture into a soft dough.

Spoon out the dough in round circles about the size of a 20 cent piece and bake for 8-10 minutes until just brown along the edges. Allow to cool.

Sandwich ganache between two cookies to finish it off!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Which potatoes should you use to make chips?

So MasterChef favourite Aaron failed to make the cut for the final 6 – his downfall – the wrong potatoes.

I’m gonna be honest and say that I have no idea about different types of potatoes – I always generally assume a potato is a potato and there isn’t that much different between the different types. I’ve also never tried to make chips...

So a quick rundown on potatoes:

Russet potatoes – these are starchy potatoes with low moisture content, making them perfect for chips (sorry Aaron), baked and jacket potatoes. They produce a beautiful fluffy texture when cooked, so they’re perfect for mash. Look for them by their brw

Chat potatoes – these little cocktail potatoes are small and waxy in their texture. This makes them ideal for boiling, steaming and serving in salads as they hold their moisture and have a lovely potato flavour that is not too dry.

Larger sized white potatoes can also be used for boiling and have a similar high moisture content.

Desiree potatoes - these medium starch potatoes have a pale pink skin and are great for roasting and mashing.

The problem is that it seems if you go to Coles or Woolie’s in Australia, you seem to be limited in your potato selection with your choice of tubers being “brushed” “washed” or cocktails. The cocktail potatoes are the chat potatoes above, while potatoes generally tend to be Nadine potatoes, which like the chats, are of a higher moisture content. If you can find them, desiree potatoes will probably be your most likely candidate for higher starch content.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Perfect Man spruiks the perfect cheese - Parmesan!

If you live in Australia, you've probably seen the Perfect Italiano advertisements featuring the Perfect Man - he's sensitive, athletic and a great cook to boot. I especially love the part where he looks into the camera and says "And when there is no woman to listen to, I practice my listening face."

Pretty hilarious!

Anyway, the Perfect Man has got the right idea about what I have come to think is one of the world's most perfect cheeses: parmesan!

I had two good experiments with parmesan recently. The first was parmesan carrots. A fairly simple dish, made with Dutch carrots and fresh breadcrumbs. I usually don't like carrots but parmesan and breadcrumbs really makes everything delicious.

The second was a really simple idea - parmesan crisps! All you need is parmesan - and you're in cheese heaven!

Here are the two ideas below!

Parmesan Carrots


1 bunch dutch carrots - stalks trimmed (approx 500 g)
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
2 tbs seasoning - I used middle eastern
1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 tbs freshly grated parmesan
zest of 1 lemon
Flour for dusting (approx 6 tbs)
2 eggs beaten
Oil for frying


Wash carrots thoroughly and allow to dry.

In a large bowl, mix together bread crumbs, seasoning, parsley, parmesan, chili flakes and zest. Lay out the flour and the eggs in separate bowls.

Dip the carrots first in the flour to coat, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs - ensure they are well coated.

Use about 2 cups of oil in a fry pan, enough to create a shallow layer of oil. Heat to frying temperatures and lay out the carrots. Shallow fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve with aioli mayonnaise.

Aioli tip: You should try and make mayo from scratch but if you're short on time, mix 1 tsp minced garlic with 3 tbs store bought mayo. Mix well.

Parmesan Chips

This is way too delicious and too simple not to try! They are perfect accompaniment to a light cream soup.


2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (or as much as you want to make!)


Preheat oven to 190 - 200 degrees Celsius. Lay out a couple of sheets of baking paper on a tray.

Place egg rings on to the paper and layer grated parmesan in each, spreading evenly. Each ring should have about a thick (1 - 2 mm) layer of cheese. If you space your circles out, you can remove the rings for a more "lacy" look.

Place the parmesan rings into the oven and bake for about 5-8 minutes or until a crisp golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool and remove your beautiful, delicious parmesan crisps!

What delicious recipes do you know with cheese?