Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Celebrity dish … Michael Moore, owner of The Summit Restaurant and author of Moore to Food

Michael and I go way back to when he was a young pony-tailed chef and I was just moving from catering into the media. I have always been a big fan his food.  He is also one great guy. We cooked together after he joined Fresh on the Nine Network where I was co-host and until he stopped this year, we both present weekly cooking segments on Kerri-Anne on the same network.

Sydneysiders will know Michael’s restaurant – The Summit, on top of Australia Square.  This iconic restaurant recently opened a very special private dining room, Salon Privé by Champagne Taittinger. Michael has created bespoke menus for this beautifully designed
room with its 360 degree views of the city and Sydney Harbour.

Michael is also one the new resident chefs at Westfield in Pitt Street Mall, Sydney.  His venture EAT Deli Kitchen purports it to be the Australian home of the Reuben sandwich – that classic New York combo of salt beef, pickles and mustard on rye.  Michael’s version features Wagyu Salt Beef and is served hot.  I haven’t tried one yet but it’s on my food wish list for my next visit to Westfield.

As well as launching a new restaurant, late last year Michael launched his new book, Moore to Food (New Holland) where he shares his culinary secrets and presents recipes and tips for entertaining at home in a stylish, yet comprehensive manual format.  Definitely a book for anyone who loves to entertain.
With a 25 year plus career owning and running top restaurants in his native London and adopted Sydney, where he has been awarded a number of chefs’ hats from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide, Michael is certainly well qualified to be a celebrity dish.

Over to Michael: 

What is your earliest food memory: Making blackcurrant jam and rock cakes with my Nan back home in the U.K!
What is the strangest meal you’ve ever been served: Chickens feet and pigs bum (Andouillette sausage)
What is your signature dish: Twice cooked pork belly with roasted apple marmalade and glass crackling
What is your favourite cookbook: Marcella Hazan ‘Italian Cooking’
What do you never eat: Andouillette sausage
What are the five ingredients you would take to a desert island: Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil, bread, chocolate
What are you having for dinner tonight: Wagyu salt beef ‘Reuben’ sandwich on rye, swiss cheese, pickles, mustard mayonnaise

Thanks Michael. 

The details:
Level 47, Australia Square, 264 George Street, Sydney
Telephone 02 9247 9777

Level 5, Westfield Sydney
Pitt Street Mall, Sydney
Telephone 0423 441 220

Monday, February 14, 2011

It is love … a three course romantic dinner in 30 minutes

I prepared this simple, yet impressive three course romantic dinner on the Kerri Anne show on the 9 Network last Thursday. To quote a cliché: minimum effort for maximum effect. 
Easy is a word that best sums up this menu. The ingredients are easy to source, the recipes are easy to follow, all three courses are easy to eat and, last but not least (another cliché) the food is easy on the stomach. Oh, and easy on the eye too.
Oysters natural, served on the shell, is the first course. They should be freshly shucked. If you are unsure about shucking oysters, ask your fishmonger to release the hinge, but keep the top of the oyster attached. Why would anyone forgo the delicious liquor inside? The oysters are served simply with a squeeze of lemon and freshly ground black pepper. 
For mains, beautiful fillets of Regal King Salmon are wrapped in prosciutto and simply baked with asparagus spears.  Eight minutes in the oven and you are ready to serve.  
Dessert takes minutes too. Top seasonal fruit – I love a mixture of blueberries and raspberries – with light sour cream or crème fraîche, sprinkle with dark brown sugar and grill or blowtorch until golden and bubbling. Serve with a crisp biscuit or wafer.

Dinner is served.

Click on the links below for the recipes.
Oysters Natural
Regal Salmon with proscuitto and asparagus
Cheat's berry brulee

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Australian Pork masterclass

Back in October I blogged about how you could win with Australian Pork.

Even though everyone wins when eating or cooking with Australian Pork, one lucky taste.com.au reader, Fotini Starvridis, was a triple winner. She won a pork masterclass, a Brilliant Cut Knife and my three latest books: Just Add Spice, Lyndey Milan’s Best Collection and Balance. Matching Food and Wine, What Works and Why.

The pork masterclass was held a couple of weeks ago. Fotini and I had a lovely time getting to know each other while delighting in lots of porky goodness.

Prior to the masterclass, Fotini nominated roast pork (with crackling) and pork larb as two recipes she would like to cook with me. I added char siew and pork belly to bring the number of pork recipes to four and to demonstrate different cuts and cooking methods.

First up, we cooked Glass Crackling Pork Belly, adapted from a recipe by chef Michael Moore.

Glass Crackling Pork Belly

Click here for the Glass Crackling Pork Belly recipe. When you make this recipe, plan ahead as the rind (crackle) really benefits from two hours pre-salting to reduce moisture and ensure the resultant crackle is ‘glass-like’. I know the method is fairly lengthy (salting and then marinating), but I recommend you follow all the steps to achieve excellent crackle and tender meat, ever so lightly scented with Chinese five spice.

Next up we cooked the perennial Chinese favourite, Char Siew Pork which we later served with noodles and vegetables.

Char Siew Pork just out of the oven

I have been cooking this recipe for many years. The taste, texture and flavour belie the effortless method and store cupboard ingredients. Char Siew Pork is so versatile – we served it warm with noodles and baby bok choy but it is equally delicious the next day served cold, sliced with salad greens and a dash of chilli soy dressing. Cook it now to celebrate Chinese New Year!

Char Siew Pork with noodles and bok choy

Click here for the recipe on my main site.
The celebratory pork rack was next. We cooked Gingered Pork Rack, a recipe from Just Add Spice. This is a great dinner party recipe that can be prepared and cooked in under an hour. The 1kg rack (perfect for four serves) is roasted and while it rests, the sauce comes together in the pan juices with the addition of ginger, cinnamon, marmalade, orange segments and my favourite Indonesian soy sauce, Kecap Manis.

We served the Gingered Pork Rack with roasted potatoes and broccolini in a pool of the gingery orange sauce.

Gingered Rack of Pork

Click here for the recipe on my main site.

The last recipe of the day was one I cooked on my Brilliant Cut Knife dvd, Pork Larb, the ten minute wonder!

There are quite a few ingredients, but all are pretty easy to find at your local fruit and vegetable shop or Asian grocery store. The sweetness of the pork mince is the perfect carrier for these strong Asian flavours. For a more substantial dish, you can add reconstituted rice stick noodles, but don’t substitute the lettuce cups – they are the perfect serving vessel.

Click here for the recipe on my main site.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day trip to Cabramatta

My long time friend Carol Selva Rajah has been hosting tours to Cabramatta for 20 years. I attended one of her first tours with my daughter Lucy – she was 5 years old and I recall she loved the Vietnamese duck soup. So it was fitting that I went along to celebrate Carol’s milestone late last year. Sadly Lucy lives in London now and couldn’t make it.

The group with Carol (in white) in the middle

We headed off bright and early on a Saturday morning and while some things at Cabramatta have changed since my first visit, many have stayed the same.  The bright towering displays of fresh produce are certainly the same.  Back then, of course, many of the herbs, fruit and vegetables sold in Cabramatta were alien to most of us, nowadays coriander is about as common as iceberg lettuce!

Carol at one of the vibrant fruit & vegetable stores

It was fabulous to have insider knowledge of where to go for the best of everything at Cabramatta and Carol didn’t disappoint.  I was especially enamoured with the produce.

Banana flowers – commonly used to made a salad with coconut cream and prawns

And the pork!
Behind the scenes at the pork roasting house

Then it was time for lunch at Lina Lam’s modern Vietnamese restaurant, Ban Truong (42 John Street, Cabramatta 2166 – telephone 02 9727 4492), where we met Dai Le, the former ABC journalist wife of Markus Lambert, PR Manager at Fairfield Council.

Margaret Fulton with Dai Lee
As you would expect lunch featured many new and innovative examples of Vietnamese cuisine.