Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Talking turkey

This week I MC’ed an event for Ingham’s Turkey. Four chefs, Miguel Maestre, Adrian Richardson, Damian Heads and Christine Manfield were selected to showcase different turkey cuts in unique and inspired ways.

I’ve always had a fondness for turkey; it is a regular on the table at my extended family Christmas lunch. But it is not just for Christmas, particularly considering the range of interesting cuts now available in the supermarket. Apparently it is also classed as a ‘superfood’ – ie high protein coupled with low fat. All I know is that it is packed with flavour and, if cooked properly, is lovely and tender. And never dry.

I’ve cooked a couple of turkey dishes recently. The other night I roasted a whole bird that I stuffed with quinoa, toasted nuts, onion, garlic, parsley and porcini. I covered the breast with muslin soaked in melted butter and cooked the bird on a rack over water, all encased in foil. The liquid then becomes the basis for a flavoursome sauce. On Kerri-Anne the other week I cooked Sticky turkey wings with wok tossed vegetables and hokkein noodles.

The chefs this week came up with quite a range of ideas for different cuts.

Miguel Maestre used the breast in his dish, Aussie Spiced Turkey Popcorn with Lemon Aioli: a tender and juicy morsel of Turkey Breast Steaks smothered in Australian herbs and spices including wattle seed, lemon myrtle and bush pepper, deep fried beside a dollop of lemon aioli

 Adrian Richardson used turkey Marylands in his Turkey & Sage sausage: a combination of breast and thigh, in three different grinds, sage, parsley and a dash of good scotch whiskey, paired with creamy potato skordalia and drizzled with sweet sherry glaze

Damian Heads used the centre of the turkey wing to create twice (but really thrice) cooked turkey wings, sweet soy and szechuan salt: the wings were marinated, steamed, deboned, pressed, steamed again, chilled and then deep fried, paired with a sweet soy sauce and a dash of Szechuan salt. Great technique and amazing flavour.

Christine Manfield created Turkey drumsticks slow braised in spiced coconut sauce: an authentic Asian curry including red curry paste, fresh ginger, lemongrass and palm sugar, this creamy spiced coconut curry brings warmth and comfort and very tender drumstick pieces

Christine has kindly shared her recipe:

Turkey drumsticks slow braised in spiced coconut sauce
Serves 4
2 brown onions, finely sliced
6 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 long red chillies, finely chopped
4 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp minced lemongrass
1 litre coconut cream
1200ml chicken stock
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp palm sugar
4 turkey drumsticks
1 kg way potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
fish sauce

Saute onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in oil till softened, about 5-6 mins.
Add curry paste, lemongrass and cook for 3 mins, then add coconut milk.
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
Add stock, oyster sauce and palm sugar and bring back to boil.
Add turkey drumsticks and potato, reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour until meat and potatoes are tender.
Add fish sauce and taste – adjust if necessary.
Remove from heat and cool slightly. Remove drumsticks from sauce and remove meat from bones and cut into large chunks. Discard bones.
Return meat to sauce, add herbs and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Christine serving her drumstick curry

Miguel, me, Damian and Adrian
Miguel’s restaurant: Aperitif
Adrian’s restaurant: La Luna Bistro
Damian’s restaurants: Pony The Rocks, Pony Neutral Bay and Steel Bar & Grill
Christine’s restaurant: Universal

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Last Taste of Greece

The final episode of Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece will air this Thursday night at 8pm on SBS One. I have been overwhelmed by messages of support and the ratings have been excellent. Many others have commented that they didn’t know how good Greek food could be, or that they now wanted to visit or re-visit Greece. I am also pleased that Blair’s terrific performance as a presenter has been immortalised.

This week we go to Olympia where Blair energetically runs the length of the original ancient Olympic stadium in only 25 seconds! We also visit Mercouri Wine Estate, where this precious photo was taken:
At Mercouri we tasted wine made with Refosco grapes which I also used with trachanas in a stuffing for lamb. Trachanas is a traditional Greek ingredient made by combining soured milk (usually goat’s) with cracked wheat. I used it in my stuffing recipe, but more traditionally it is made into porridge or added to soup. It is rich and nourishing. Comfort food, Greek style.

Next up we diversify from traditional Greek cooking at Aldemar Restaurant where, after learning how to prepare peppers stuffed with feta and graviera and rabbit stifado, we are treated to quite a different menu for our finale dinner: modern Greek food which draws on Greek tradition but creates something more contemporary. This was also my birthday. Don’t miss this last episode.

To other news, SBS are releasing the DVD of Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece series on 3 August. Click here to order.

I’m also busily working on Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece the cookbook, which should be out next year in time for Mothers’ day. The book will contain a mix of traditional and modern recipes as well as beauty shots of the majestic Peloponnese and stills from the series.