Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Chocolate & Strawberry four layer cake with white chocolate & cream cheese frosting, Chocolate ganache & mousse, Strawberry coulis and panna-cotta, with chocolate shavings & pink fairy floss. 

         This two flavour pairing was inspired by a recipe I'd seen in a magazine at the smoko table at work of a seven layer cake that probably stood one and half feet tall. As my needs were not for that quantity I went for a four layer cake and much thinner sponge layers. This is when I had decided to pair up chocolate and strawberry in a desert composition. It can be just as challenging using two flavours as having a more broader spectrum of flavours as you must keep the diner from getting board with the flavour composition. This may mean more attention to different contrasting textures or temperatures and visual presentations. This dish uses each flavour in three different preparations, totalling 6 components and a garnish each to try and elevate these two ingredients beyond their natural state.
          For this presentation I started with the four layer cake, making a basic single sponge recipe beating eggs and sugar until creamy and pale then sifting flour, folding it through the egg mix before folding in some melted butter and strawberry essence, dividing the mix into four separate bowls.For the chocolate layer I added some melted milk chocolate and cocoa powder, for the choc-strawberry layer I put half the amount of cocoa powder  and added some red colouring. To make the strawberry layer I simply just used red colour and the shell pink layer is half the amount of red colour. These were then poured into tins and baked at 160 deg. c. for about ten to twelve minutes, just enough time to cook the cake through but before it begins to put colour on the bake and turning the pink sponge brown, a term we call orange peel in baking. As the recipe had no raising agents, reliant on the eggs for rise I was able to achieve four flat one centimetre thick sponges of which I de-panned and set on wire racks to cool. While this was baking I made the cream cheese frosting by melting some white chocolate and mixing it through some softened cream cheese and placing aside for dressing the cake. Once the cakes were cooled using a template I cut the sponges down to size and levelling where needed before assembling the cake beginning with the chocolate sponge for the base, layering in ascending colour order giving each layer an even spread of frosting, finishing with the light pink layer and frosting on top. I then placed the cake into the fridge in a container to set and firm up making it easier to slice later.
       The next component of the dish was the strawberry panna cotta which I just brought some strawberry milk and agar agar to the simmer dissolving the powder and pouring into a mould and placing in the fridge to set. The strawberry coulis was made by simmering strawberries, water, sugar and a little lemon juice until the strawberries had collapsed and sugar dissolved removing from the heat blending to a puree and allowing to cool. The chocolate mousse, I made by beating thickened cream and adding some melted milk chocolate with a little xantham gum to stabilise, this was placed in the fridge until plating. The last component being the ganache was simply made by heating cream to just before boiling point, removing from the heat and incorporating some melted milk chocolate. To garnish both sides of the dish I shaved white and milk chocolate with a veggie peeler and tore fairy floss into little pieces to present.
         The dish was plated yin yang style with the cake in the middle with the two different flavour components out to opposite sides dressed by each others garnishes.

Saturday, 26 October 2013


Bourbon & Cola jelly shots, Bourbon and cola jellies, Cola reduction, Butterscotch bourbon sauce, cola pop-rocks and sherbet. 

            The classic party drink with a contempory twist for a modern day party. This ones for my wife as she enjoys the taste of Jim Beam bourbon as my early party days keeps me away from this one, although I still taste bourbon in food I wouldn't enjoy these jelly shots. Bourbon has a classic flavour that pairs well with foods as you can see in one of my earlier posts I had paired bourbon with bacon, maple syrup and coffee. For this one I stuck to the old faithful mixer Coca cola and by using different elements of these ingredients. The idea is to have the two big jelly shots as is and with the small jellies made of both straight bourbon (yellow) and straight cola (brown) dip into opposing flavoured accompaniments. For example a cola jelly topped with bourbon butterscotch sauce and dipped in sherbet or a bourbon jelly with cola reduction and dipped in cola pop-rocks.
             To construct this dish I began by making the jellies, one at a time a measured out a quantity of one cup of each cola and bourbon adding one level teaspoon of agar agar powder to each. Working with the bourbon one first, bringing to a simmer while whisking to dissolve the powder removing from the heat and dividing into two moulds before setting in the fridge. The cola one pouring half over one of the half set bourbon jelly to form a double layered jelly shot and the other half of the cola into a separate mould, to set in the fridge. Now having a bourbon and cola, a cola and a bourbon mould, I sliced these when set into different shapes for serving. The cola reduction was simply that, cola simmered on a low heat until thick, reduced and syrupy. The butterscotch bourbon sauce was made by melting unsalted butter adding bourbon and xantham gum whisking and slowly incorporating a little icing sugar to form a rich paste of which I drained on paper towel before serving. The sherbet and pop-rocks came from my sons show bag and added a nice sweet candied dipping dukkah.


Tea Jelly Tastings of Arctic fire Black tea, Yerba mate, Lemon & Ginger Green tea, with Rose water gelee & syrup, honeycomb and stevia sweeteners. 

                  I love my tea and all the different types, processes, flavours and countless blends on offer, but as far as drinking tea I would honestly have maybe a few cups a year. Maybe because of my superior love for its rival the coffee bean, despite having a tea plant in the garden I think maybe because its not thriving I'm not so passionate my self. I do remember a time when tea was high on the beverage list, but as for now tea is used in my kitchen for many other purposes such as flavouring asian dishes eg. noodles or tea smoking salmon, duck or chicken, this is quick smoking method and flavours are spot on. Anyway back to the days when tea was fashionable for me (early 90's) there was a tea and coffee speciality shop in the block of shops I was working a the time and they recommended the arctic fire black tea blend and this is still the best blend of black tea I've ever tried . The arctic fire blend is a scented china black tea, with flavours of tropical fruits and has blue corn flowers. Yerba mate comes from South America where it was first cultivated in southern Brazil. The taste resembles boiled veggies,    grass and some types of green tea, the taste is quite pleasurable and even more so with stevia the South American alternative sweetener herb or some honey.                                                                              
                   To make these tea jellies it was very easy, I just simply made three separate tea brews and a rose water and water with pink colouring mixture. One at a time I measured out 250 ml. and added 1.5 grams of agar agar powder, bringing to the simmer whisking to dissolve the agar then poured each one into separate moulds. Placed them into the fridge to set, before turning out and slicing for presentation.   For the Arctic fire I used half strength agar and presented this mashed, for the green tea I used ginger and lemon in the brew to flavour and sliced this jelly thinly and folded them on the plate. The Yerba mate was brewed with fresh stevia leaves from the garden and half a teaspoon of honey, to serve I cut the jelly into various sized cubes and so to the rose water gelee. To make the rose water syrup I placed rose water, pink colour, water and xantham gum in a saucepan and simmered until thickened, before setting aside to cool. Xantham gum is a polysaccharide produced by the fermentation process of glucose, sucrose or lactose and used at 0.5 % in most dishes is a great sauce thickener.
                    I presented this tasting simply by using the four corners of the plate for the jellies, with the rose syrup used for dipping the teas, placed under the rose water gelee. In the middle of the plate I centred the honeycomb and on top of that I put fresh stevia leaves.


Friday, 25 October 2013


Japanese Wild Mushrooms (Nameko, Shitake, Snow fungus) and Sugar-cane fed Oyster mushrooms on a bed of Royal black rice, pickled ginger, shiro miso paste, wasabi foam, tree resin and snow pea shoots.

           The second of my mycological gastronomy series takes us to the far east to taste the fungus of Japans wilderness. My very own grown sugar-cane fed white oyster mushrooms also feature in this dish as it really was the inspiration for the day. I started this one by cooking the black rice which has a purplish tinge when cooked, by the absorption method one part rice to one and a half parts water, washing the rice well before cooking. I brought the rice to the boil, reducing to a simmer stirring at intervals . When the water had absorbed I removed the rice from the heat and let stand with a lid for ten to fifteen minutes, fluffing with a fork just before serving. While this was standing  I re-constituded the snow fungus, nameko and shitake mushrooms in hot water before draining, pat drying and pan frying in a little peanut oil with the home grown oyster mushrooms. To make the wasabi foam I simply added wasabi paste, plain yoghurt, rice wine vinegar and soy lecithin into a tall tumbler and using a stick blender ,blending to form a foam and then placed the foam into the fridge to chill and hold form before plating. The pickled ginger and miso paste, resin and snow pea sprouts came bought in and were plated as is.
            The construction of this display starts with a bed of opulent royal black rice, topped with fried asian wild mushrooms. Accompanied by shiro miso paste swiped on to the plate adjacent the rice.The pickled ginger and wasabi foam was placed strategically to offer pairings with all elements. To add colour and crunch to the dish, the plate was garnished with snow pea shoots and edible tree resin.

        Below are photos of my mycology madness on the go.




French Forest Mushrooms (Slippery jacks,Cloud ear,Porcini), sugar-cane fed White Oyster Mushrooms on a bed of braised Puy Lentils, garlic aioli, Asparagus fronds & young spears.

         The mighty mushroom madness, my love for mycology started a number of years back when we grew our first button mushroom kit at our old rented property, with some great success I might add. The hobby died off when the the kit had stop producing mushrooms and well, to grow mushrooms from kits is just not a sustainable way to grow food. So as the years passed on, we purchased our own house, started a family and over time my knowledge and self-teachings on mycology has grown as well. After getting my hands on some plug spawn I've started growing my own mushrooms (oyster-white, blue, pink, gold, brown) and shitake on different mediums including pasteurised sugar-cane, logs and poplar boards in a mist regulated DIY outdoor grow tent. The white oyster mushrooms you see in this picture are the rewards of a successful Bucket cultured, pasteurised sugar-cane fed, white oyster plug spawn inoculated oyster mushroom fruit body. The other three mushrooms on the plate come from a packet of Dried Forest harvested mushrooms imported from france and were re-constituted for this dish.              
          I prepped this dish starting with the puy lentils common in french cuisine cooking them in simmering salted water until just tender before removing rinsing in cold water and braising in butter,onions and garlic, setting aside to serve. While the lentils were cooking I re-constituted the dried mushrooms, draining them, pat drying before pan frying with the oyster mushrooms in a little butter. I made a traditional aioli by blending egg yolks,garlic, lemon juice, pink salt, cracked pepper, water and olive oil. The asparagus comes from the garden and was blanched quickly in boiling water with a little salt to retain the vibrant green colour of the vegetable.                                                                                          
           To present these mushrooms I first drizzled the aioli over the plate, laying a bed of puy lentil in the middle before placing the mushrooms over the lentil bed and garnishing with the young asparagus spears and fronds with a splash of good quality virgin olive oil.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

' marrow poached BLACK FOOT ABALONE '

Marrow poached Black foot Abalone, confit potato, bone marrow and porcini mushroom sauce, snow fungus, nameko, puffed wild rice and freshwater cress. 

           Originally I'd purchased the abalone ( paua ) to make fritters and I still can as I haven't used all of it to make this dish. A little display of some of the wild harvested foods on offer. Sounds a little odd the combination of seafood with mushrooms but surprisingly they paired quite well after the abalone had been poached it tasted sweet (a little bit like scallops with a more rigid texture) and not salty or sea like but delicate. When I was cooking in kitchens I was once taught to finish sauces off with a little bone marrow adding depth, complexity, richness and sheen to dark sauces that have derived from lamb beef or veal especially.  The abalone is wild caught from NZ. and comes already mince in tubs of brine frozen. The nameko mushroom is most popular of cultivated mushrooms in Japan and these ones have come jarred in a brine. The snow fungus is common throughout the northern forest floors growing on recently falling logs, it has a vey gelatinous mouth feel  and can take on flavours readily.The wild rice comes from the fresh water river systems of Canada and is harvested from the wild using long boats.
           To construct this dish I first roasted off grass-fed beef marrow bones that had been split in a roasting pan until it began melting the marrow from the bones. I then collected all the marrow placing it into a saucepan on low-med. heat until the marrow dissolved while continuing to roast the bones. Dividing the liquid marrow in two with one I rinsed and drained some abalone and slow poached it in the bone marrow for about 5-6 minutes before taking it off the heat, draining, reserving the marrow and placing on paper towel and seasoning.  With the the other half of the marrow I cooked different shapes and sizes of potato confit style before draining and setting aside for serving. To make the sauce I deglazed the roasting dish with a little dry sherry on the stovetop. In a small pot I made a roux adding gradually while stirring the de-glazings forming a thick gravy I added some of the reserved marrow and ground dried porcini mushrooms. The nameko came out of the jar drained and plated as is and the snow fungus came dried so I simple re-constituded them in a water and rice wine vinegar mix, in parting a subtle pickle flavour in them. The rice was puffed using the same popcorn technique mentioned in previous posts.                                               
           To present this I first spooned some sauce on to the plate,with the back of the spoon I made a swipe across the plate . Next I strategically placed in alternate drops along both banks of the sauce, the confit potato shapes and spoonfuls of the poached abalone. I then garnished the dish with the nameko,
snow fungus and freshwater cress before finishing with scattered puffed wild rice. 

. 'EGGS .'

Slow poached hens egg yolk, sea urchin roe, lumpfish caviar, parsnip puree, sea urchin emulsion, toasted seaweed and freshwater cress.

              This dish come about from a lot of talk with kiwis and their love for paua and kina (abalone and sea urchin roe) in particular with a good mate of mine that I work with Joe.  He tells of diving stories for crays and paua. They would harvest the urchins in some times 2 foot of water, crack the shell open and suck the tongues (roe) out straight from the shell. The colder temperature of the water in NZ. makes a big difference to the taste of seafood as apposed to the water of the tropics and I can sort of understand this as I grew up in Melbourne, I can relate to the southern ocean taste. When I finally got around to trying kinas for the first time, some time last year . I tried them fresh straight out of the container wild caught from New Zealand and into the mouth avoiding the smell when opening the lid as advised by Joe as it might have deterred me from going on. Since then I know that smell he means. My first impressions, like most people it tastes like the ocean but without all that salt. It has taste elements from many of its seafood mates all intertwined in one 'the ocean'. For seafood enthusiasts this can't be missed , despite its appearance it is the ultimate tasting salt water creature I've tried .
           I began making this egg taster by boiling some parsnips and mashing them with a little buttter and some seasoning with salt. The mash was then placed into a blender adding a little cream while blending to a puree. This was then spooned on to the serving plate in an attempt to re-create the look of egg white, making a twenty cent piece size dent in the puree for the poached hens yolk to sit. I then boiled two eggs in their shells (one is a back up) in rapid boiling water with a touch of vinegar for three minutes before removing and placing into an ice bath to stop the cooking. I then cracked and peeled an egg, and carefully removed the white under cold barely running water just enough to help remove all the white leaving a slightly firmed yolk but still runny and very delicate to handle. I transfered the yolk on to a large open ladle before placing into position on the parsnip puree. The sea urchin emulsion was a combination of cream, rice wine vinegar, sea urchin roe and soy lecithin put into a tall large tumbler and mixed with a stick blender until foam begins to surface stopping when I had enough foam and chilling it before serving in dabs around the plate to accompany.. The seaweed came in sheets that I roasted a couple in the oven before trimming into strips with a pair of scissors. All other ingredients on the plate were plated as is, the caviar, the sea urchin roe and the freshwater cress another kiwi favourite.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Salad of Radish greens, Wild rocket, Fennel & fennel fronds, olive oil leaf herb, watermelon radish, passionfruit, pomegranate, with a deconstructed vinaigrette of olive oil, pomegranate & passionfruit juice and balsamic pearls.

     This little salad came about from a walk around the backyard with a bowl and scissors, as this was harvested at the tail end of winter there wasn't the variety that spring or summer foraging has to offer. The most time consuming element from this dish was the balsamic pearls which are small spheres of gelled balsamic vinegar and was done using a technique called 'cold oil spherification' and this method could be used for almost any liquid. This technique uses agar agar powder or kanten in japanese where the bright red sea vegetable 'gracilaria' inhabits the coastlines. Agar agar has a high gelling property and is inhibited by only a few organics such as kiwi, paw paw, to name a couple as these contain an enzyme (papain) which breaks down the proteins in agar agar. On the upside agar begins to set at around 35 deg. c. and doesn't need refrigerating to set and the other is agar agar is thermo reversible meaning it can be melted back to liquid and re-set not to mention it is vegetarian also.                                                                                      
       To make the balsamic pearls I first put a tall glass of oil in the freezer for at least half an hour to chill the oil. Once this was done I placed some balsamic vinegar and 1% agar agar powder and whisked over a medium  heat to dissolve the agar and brought to the simmer before allowing to cool to around 55 deg.c. The vinegar solution was then drawn into pipettes (syringe) and dropped from about 3/4 of an inch from the oil allowing the vinegar enough time to set before it hits the bottom of the glass. The pearls were then strained and rinsed under cold water to remove the oil before placing into the fridge. At this point I must mention this elements ingredients being the only ones purchased and every thing else from this salad has come from the backyard.                                                                                                                          
        To plate this dish I placed shaved fennel and radish slices as a bed onto the plate, drizzling olive oil, pomegranate and passionfruit juice over this. Next the salad leaf were scattered on top and a pile of balsamic pearls were spooned at each end and scattering some around the plate along with the passionfruit pulp and pomegranate, garnished with fennel fronds.

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Kutjera & pepperberry Sourdough rye, Wild Olive tapenade, Desert Raisin relish, Akudjura dukkah with Lemon Myrtle oil, mountain pepper-berries, desert raisins and wild bush olives.

     I came across a jar of olives while out shopping a while back, these olives are brined and bottled by a South Australian company that harvest the fruit from the wild . The much smaller wild bush olive grows rampant and is considered a weed. I remember seeing them myself when my wife Melanie and I
were on a field trip in the Noarlunga gorge  during our studies in viticulture they lined the ridge of a cliff face and dominated the flora surrounding. The birds carry the seed and the fertile drought resistant
plant spreads for miles similar to coffee with an almost 100% seed strike. The jar sat in the pantry for weeks until after the family came back from a day at the Ekka (our show). It was here at a stand in the food hall I purchased some desert raisins and mountain pepper berries. This inspired the dish you see. I was first introduced to bush foods at primary school where the school put on an indigenous cultural day
where we were able to try various bush tucker and stems through to my later years where I have 10 or so of my own bush food species growing on our property. Before I go further I'd like to add that the 'desert raisin' and the 'bush tomato' are the same thing and is called 'Kutjera' in aboriginal. As a dried and ground powder it is called 'Akudjura' to the aboriginal people.                                                          
     First of all the sourdough was made by adding wheat & rye flour, sourdough yeast, bread improver, sugar, salt, water, sun-dried tomato oil, minced re-constituted kutjera, ground akudjura and mountain pepper-berries into the bread maker on a long french style bake setting. Three and half hours later the bread was ready to be sliced thinly and toasted and a couple of thick slices were pulled apart and left fresh for the dukkah. To make the tapenade I began by pitting the tiny olives and toasting some pine nuts. Together I added these along with some de-veined lemon myrtle leaves and dorrego pepper-leaf into a blender blitzing with a little olive oil an lemon juice until a rough chopped consistency. To make the relish I simply simmered in a pot tomatoes, onions, re-constituted bush tomatoes, pepper-leaf, sugar, lemon and cinnamon myrtle tea and apple cider vinegar until reduced, softened and incorperated before straining and chilling in the fridge. The dukkah consisted of grinding toasted pine nuts, sesame seed, myrtle leaf, dorrego pepper-leaf , akudjura and a little sugar in a coffee grinder to a crumb consistency. The lemon myrtle oil was made steeping myrtle leaves in  hot olive oil for half an hour, straining and allowing to come back to room temperature before adding some finely chopped leaf to finish.                
      When plating this I basically went for a platter presentation spooning the condiments evenly spaced on the plate accompanied by their breads and respective fruits to garnish. The tastes were a sensation and was well received for a little change from the traditional mediterranean types.




Pigs Trotter Terrine, porcini pate, brined mustard seed, wild rocket, pea greens, fresh & dried forest mushrooms, sourdough, toasted pine nuts and crushed juniper berries.

      This plate came about purely on an impulse buy after seeing 2 trotters for $2.49 and I'd seen trotters done this way before by a dutch chef I'd worked under @ a Melbourne bar & grill, I thought it was a bargain for that price. So sorry I have no claim to 'whole animal eating' or 'nose to toes cookery' as I've seen it called. Other than the fact I've purchased a part rarely chosen by consumers of the now.         I've mostly seen this served accompanied with bread pickle and cheese. But I happen to have in my fridge fresh porcini mushrooms and in the dry stores I'd purchased some weeks back some dried porcini mushrooms, forest harvested and imported from France so I decided to put a little french forest spin to the part of a pig that most consumers by-pass as their eyes are too busy searching franticly for those pork chops with that thick rind turn crackle or those succulent belly ribs. Well let me just say the toes of this animal aren't bad at all and should be thought about for a cheap and a tasty meal.                                      
       To make the terrine the trotters were placed in a stock pot, covered with cold water and brought to a simmer with a bay leaf, fennel seeds, onions, peppercorns, ginger, star anise and juniper berries. After 4 hours the liquid was strained and reserved, the trotters were pulled apart to remove all the meat, cartilage, skin and fat from the bones and hoof. All this was then chopped roughly, seasoned and with some of the reserved stock packed into a container and chilled overnight in the fridge. All the natural gelatine sets the terrine in the mould which is turned out the next day and sliced before serving. To make the porcini pate which is really just a name, I blitzed fresh porcini mushrooms, toasted pine nuts, juniper berries with creme fraiche and added to this some dried porcini powder to give the pate its sharper flavour notes of porcini.                  
  The brined mustard seed was done using a mix of black and yellow seeds this time but still using the same brine and techniques descibed in early posts. The trusty bread maker supplied the sourdough and backyard for the greens in this dish. Other than this the pine nuts adding crunch to the dish were toasted on a hot skillet and roughly chopped. The junipers berries were crushed and done along with the nuts right at serving time to expose the most aromas on the plate for the diner to experience. 
  To plate the pate was spooned on to the plate and smeared using a wide scraper and a slice of the terrine placed on top. Some of the mustard was spooned to accompany and the plate was decorated with toasted sourdough,  fresh and dried mushrooms, pine nuts, crushed juniper berries, with wild rocket and pea greens from the garden to garnish the dish. 

Friday, 18 October 2013


Smoked Salmon in leek casings, dill cream cheese, fennel jam, homestyle persian gherkin, dill & fennel fronds, puffed black rice and toasted mustard seed.

First off I just want to let the reader know that the majority of octobers' posts will be catch ups from the winter months ( june- august ) here in Queensland. So bare with me as I do intend to keep my posts seasonal where possible. This plate named 'salmon sausage' is all about technique and requires great patience and dexterity. The concept of the leek casing was taken from a freelance chef from connecticut 'Linda Anctil' and adapted to make the sausage that you see. Eaten cold, sliced with the accompaniments of a modern deconstructed tartare sauce.   For this plate I began by dividing fresh wild caught Australian salmon into two portions, with one I tea smoked the salmon on racks in a large stock pot with a foil boat containing jasmine rice, green tea, raw sugar, and orange zest. This was then chilled and minced and set aside in a mixing bowl, the remaining portion was simply minced and mixed with the smoked salmon, some cream cheese and little finely chopped dill to form a paste. The smoked salmon gives the speckled appearence the sausage. To make the casings I topped and tailed large leeks, boiled them in salted water for 3 minutes removing from the water and when cool enough to handle but still hot I pushed the layers of the leek apart, pushing from the tapered end up until free and separated placing each casing on a tea towel to dry. The salmon mixture was then piped into the casings using a piping bag, tying the ends with kitchen string pushing the air out as I went along being extra careful not to tear the casings through the whole process and then trimmed the ends. Looking back now I would have used garlic chives instead of string to tie the ends as having the string still on to serve isn't cool or edible. The sausage was then cooked in a water bath @ 70 deg. C. for 20 minutes and allowed to cool.The fennel jam was made by braising thinly sliced fennel in butter with a little sugar. In a small saucepan I simmered sliced persian cucumber, water, rice wine vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt for 20 minutes removing from the heat, strained the gherkins and allowed them to chill in the fridge.   The puffed rice was done in the same manner as popcorn, I just simply added the rice to a hot deep pan and dry roasted the rice until it popped and puffed taking it off the heat immediately to stop the cooking process. The dill cream cheese is cream cheese, cream and chopped fresh dill. To plate this I first placed a blob of the cream cheese on the plate and with the back of a spoon spread the cream cheese across the plate placing the cut sausage on top. I then spooned portions of the jam next, placing the homestyle gerkins along side the sausage to accompany. Scattering toasted yellow mustard seed, puffed black rice and garnishing the dish with dill & fennel fronds. A great change, edible vegetable casings instead of the synthetic ones that is widely used or only if we're lucky pigs gut lining. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013


Coffee marbled egg, shaved homestyle bacon, chilli oil, coffee reduction, pickled spring onions, sourdough, coffee grounds and olive oil leaf herb.

This dish is the perfect example of slow food cookery and demonstrates almost all that I have a passion for. The dish I call 'redeye morning' as we have all had them we can relate to this uncanny
resemblence of a bloodshot eye. The inspiration for this dish came from all my resources. I first saw this concept a number of years ago and kept the recipe, originally a chinese dish using black tea and soy sauce. I recently saw the dish rekindled by a young chef in pennsylvania which gave me the presentation idea of the redeye. Staying with the backyard coffee theme I decided to give this dish a go using home brewed coffee instead of tea and soy sauce. With the coffee set aside this dish took
9 days to make and displays the essence of the slow food movement.
To make this I started with making my own ham by salt curing a small piece of pork belly. First I rinsed the pork under cold water to remove any impurities, pat dried and coated in a combination of brown sugar and rock salt. Placed into a ziplock bag and refrigerated for 5 days turning twice each day, the pork was then rinsed and smoked with hickory pellets for 3 hours. The bacon was then hung dried in the fridge for 4 more days. The egg was cooked in boiling water and vinegar for exactly 5 mins. before placing into an ice bath, giving a perfectly cooked white with a runny yolk. Once the egg was chilled I made cracks in the shell with the back of a spoon. The egg was then steeped overnight in a strong brew of home grown coffee. To make the chilli oil I simply cooked red chillies in olive oil over a low heat and the reduction of coffee was made by simmering strong brewed coffee with a little sugar until it became a thick syrup. Red spring onions were  pickled in water, white vinegar, and sugar and brings a little acidity to the dish.
Before plating the egg was removed from the coffee and carefully peeled and placed in hot water for 2 minutes to warm it up . To plate I shaved the homestyle bacon over the plate using a micro plain then placing the egg on top with a slither of home baked (bread maker) sourdough toast. Spooning the chilli oil onto the plate and dotting the oil with the reduction .A spoonful of pickled spring onion to accompany scattering coffee grounds and garnishing the plate with olive oil leaf herb from the garden patch. This fantastic herb has no companion boundries and has a striking resemblence to the taste of good quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

Sunday, 13 October 2013


Maple and Coffee glazed bacon, brined mustard seed, deep fried onions, coffee & maple reduction, bourbon foam, pea greens, micro stevia leaves and coffee grounds.

As stated in my profile along with others my backyard gives me my inspirations for playing with food and none more so than my small coffee plantation. I have a passion for post harvest processing and the coffee I would have to say brings about the most tedious and time consuming processing of them all. In our household the whole family gets involved and it starts around may (end of autumn) and continues on all through winter ,through to the roasting in spring. It involves the picking of the perfectly ripened fruit, removing the flesh from the cherries, a fermentation process follows and then the drying of the beans. Once dried they must be shelled and a further drying to be finally removed of the paper thin parchment membranes, leaving the small dry green beans ready for roasting. With all this in mind , there is nothing like drinking  your own organically grown, hand harvested, processed and roasted coffee.
So this here is the first of my coffee inspired breakfasts using the food pairing charts for coffee and bacon I came up with this little taster. First off the bacon was cut to serving size and pan fried in butter glazing with a reduction made of strongly brewed coffee and maple syrup. To make the brined mustard seed I simply brought equal parts of rice wine vinegar and water with mustard seeds, some sugar and salt to the boil and reduce to a simmer allowing enough time for the seeds to soften (about 30-40 mins.). I then strained them off and allowed them to cool. The onions were roughly chopped and deep fried until golden, set aside on kitchen towel to drain excess oil.
To plate I used some of the reduction set aside and brushed a stroke on to the plate placing the bacon on top. I then spooned some mustard seed to accompany and scattered the fried onions. To finish I made a foam by mixing greek yoghurt, some chilled brewed coffee and a little homestyle bourbon giving to us as a gift with a teaspoon of soy lecithin to stabilise the foam using a stick blender. Spooning the foam in dabs I then sprinkled with coffee grounds and garnished with some backyard pea greens and micro stevia leaves.