Monday, 31 March 2014


Quail Saltimbocca rolls with Caramelised Fig sauce and micro fresh sage leaves.

                        Saltimbocca simply translates as 'leap in the mouth' which is exactly what these tasty little morsels do. This step up from the devils on horseback is an absolute taste sensation leaving you with a taste of wanting for more. Traditionally saltimbocca is done with veal but keeping the core ingredients of sage and parma prosciutto can be done with all sorts of meat variants and in this case
I used quail and accompanied them with a caramelised fig sauce.                                                            
                        To start I began by be-boning the jumbo quail to give me the boneless breast fillets to which I took to with a meat mallet to flatten out and give an even distribution. I then marinated the quail breasts in minced garlic, lime juice, thyme and salt and pepper for around half an hour. During this time
I soaked some dried figs in a sweet white dessert wine from greece until soft and plump. I then prepared some fresh figs by slicing thinly, these were to added to the saltimbocca rolls later. To prepare the rolls I laid out some thinly sliced prosciutto so they overlapped, I then arranged the marinated quail on top, layering some large sage leaves before topping with the prepared fresh figs. This was then rolled up to form a roulade to which I seared in a hot pan before finishing off in a 160 degree c. oven for around 8-10 minutes. I then removed the roll and allowed the meat to rest before slicing into one inch pieces.
To make the sauce I pureed the soaked dried figs and the wine before simmering in a small saucepan until thick and syrupy.
                         To plate I made a swipe with the caramelised fig sauce, arranging the pieces of the quail saltimbocca on the sauce and garnished the dish with fresh micro sage leaves.


64 degree C. Sous vide cooked Egg yolk croquettes with Pecorino cheese sauce , Micro greens and truffle salt.

                         This little dish is a take on those creamy spanish croquettes that are served at the many tapas bars. I remember vividly as a child, mum would make beautiful creamy corn croquettes and they were to die for and always a welcomed item at the dinner table. The idea to use egg yolks as the filling came from the molecular recipe website, where they used the method of cooking the yolks sous vide to achieve a gelled structure that can't be achieved by boiling or soft boiling the egg. This dish looks very simple but requires great dexterity and technique when handling these delicate egg yolks. By cooking the eggs sous vide gives us the control and guarantees the perfect temperature of 64 degrees the temperature at which the protein livetin denatures and causes the egg yolk to gel and form a creamy custard like consistency as apposed to boiling where the outside of the egg cooks quicker than the yolk leaving us to guess the condition of the yolk and depending on the size of the eggs an extra 30 seconds too long can turn a soft yolk to a hard boiled before your eyes. The recipe I went off called for the pairing of a nutty flavoured gruyere foam, instead I opted to accompany the croquettes with a cheese dipping sauce made from pecorino cheese, which I think is just as nice.                                                  
                          I first cooked the eggs in their shells in a 64 degree sous vide water bath for one hour. The recipe called to cook the yolks on their own floating in the bath for 45 minutes, turning them at 25 minutes. This method can get fiddly and messy if one ruptures during the cooking process. Once the eggs were cooked I de-shelled them rinsing the unset whites from the yolks carefully under running cold water, these were then placed into a bowl of room temp water until ready to be crumbed. As our pullets have just started laying over the last few weeks, I lost a few yolks to what they call blood spots or meat spots in the yolks, this will be less frequent as they get a little older. But at least I'm assured of fresh free ranged organic eggs at our disposal with vibrant yellow yolks from the supplemented leafy greens in their diets. In a bowl I whisked a whole egg with a pinch of salt, this was for the egg wash. I then seasoned some flour in another bowl and in the last bowl I placed some bread crumbs seasoned with salt and some Dorrego pepper leaf. Using my hands I carefully dusted the yolks with the flour, dipping them into the egg wash and then coating them with the bread crumb. In the mean time I heated some light olive oil, enough to cover the croquettes, in a saucepan to 190 degrees cooking the croquettes one at a time for about 2-3 minutes until they were nice and golden in colour. Bringing the oil back up to 190 degrees each time to assure a perfect shell of crumb around the yolk centres. To make the sauce I heated a little butter in a saucepan and sweated off some finely chopped onions. Once they were clear and translucent I removed them from the pot adding some more butter and a little flour I made a roux to which I added gradually milk to form a white sauce. This was seasoned with truffle salt and grated pecorino cheese was added to complete the cheese sauce.                                                      
                           To plate I smeared the cheese sauce on the plate arranging the croquettes on top and garnished with some micro greens. I seasoned the croquettes with a little truffle infused sea salt.

Sunday, 30 March 2014


Oven braised Leeks with Sugar-cane raised Brown oyster mushrooms , Wild rocket , Green apple & chilli jelly and Miso & maple foam.

                      This little taster dish is a perfect way to showcase some of the mushrooms coming to harvest of late. My mycology set up is outdoors and has very little climate control so having said that the mushroom season for me is between now and late october, outside of these dates the temperatures
are just too high and not ideal for growing. I grow mainly oyster mushrooms (of all colours) and I have
some log cultured shitake that are half way too fruiting. The oysters I grow are raised on pasteurised sugar-cane mulch and are grown in bags, ziplock bags and in buckets. My method of using inoculated dowel spawn has been a success but this season over winter I will be trying grain spawn poplar wood boards and recycled paperback books to mix things up a bit. It will be interesting what the different growing mediums will have to the overall taste of the final product. I think the sugar-cane fed mushrooms have a slight grassier taste to store bought oysters which I find are quite bland in taste. Leeks are also in season right now but for this dish I used store bought leeks. The wild rocket has been
a perpetual patch in my garden for 2 years now, going to seed and the seedlings keep popping up giving me an all year round harvest of the mustard flavoured green leafy and not to mention those little
mustard flavoured flowers I often include in my dishes. This plate is packed with flavours from the sweet flavours from the braised leeks to the spice of the chilli to the earthy and grassy flavours of the cane fed oyster mushrooms and the Unami flavours of the miso in the foam. This also makes for a great little vegan option for an entree.
                          I started by chopping the leeks into 1 inch thick pieces and placing them into a roasting pan. I then added some vegetable stock to come to the top of the leeks but not covering them, to this
I drizzled a little sesame seed oil, seasoned and covered the pan with foil before placing into a 160 deg. c. oven and braising for an hour until soft and sweet. In a saucepan I placed chopped green apples and some green chillies with half water, half cider. This was brought to the boil and reduced to  simmer for around half an hour until the apples were pulpy. I then poured the pulp into a cloth bag and allowed to filter for around 2 hours,collecting the juice. I then added the juice to a clean saucepan adding sugar, allowing 500g for every 500ml of juice and a little lemon juice. This was brought to the boil for about 10 minutes before being poured into hot sterilised jars and sealed for later use. I then sauteed the mushrooms in a little unsalted butter and seasoned them with salt and cracked pepper. Just before plating I placed some rice wine vinegar, white miso paste, maple syrup, soy sauce and soy lecithin into a tumbler and using a stick blender I formed bubbles. The excess liquid was poured off leaving just the foam which was kept in the fridge until ready to use.                                                                                    
                            To plate I spooned a little half set apple, chilli jelly in the middle of the plate arranging the braised leeks on top accompanied by the sauteed oyster mushrooms. I then spooned the foam over the dish and garnished the plate with some wild rocket and cracked black pepper.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Zucchini flower stuffed with Smoked Cod mornay served in Chilled sun-ripened Tomato water with White Truffle oil , Sun-dried Tomato dust and olive oil leaf herb.

                          As with many of the dishes I post up here the inspiration starts from whats in harvest in the backyard gardens and at the moment the gardens in transition from the remains of late summer plant outs to the early autumn produce. Here in Brisbane we have the options of planting later summer crops or plant quick growing spring vegetables for a quick harvest, like the quick zucchini crop I put in to receive these wonderfully delicate tasting flowers. The soil temperatures are still quite warm and lend a hand to successful propagation of almost anything. I used the male flower for this dish for two reasons, the first being I want to reap the rewards of a harvest of zucchini and the second being that it simply suits the application better. The last flushes of Roma tomatoes are ripening on their vines and with the recent rain are starting to split and show age cracks on their crowns as they're ready to burst. So with that I decided to do a chilled tomato water to accompany the stuffed zucchini flower. Chilled tomato water resembles the look of a tomato consume but is made purely of filtered seasoned tomato juice rather than the other ingredients that accompany a consume, usually made with white wine or orange and lemon juice flavoured with fresh herbs and seasoned.                                                                        
                         To make this dish I began with the tomato water, chopping the vine-ripened tomatoes in quarters before placing in a blender to form a puree. I then seasoned the puree with sea salt and cracked black pepper before filtering several times through cheese cloth to extract the water and discard the solids and pigment. This was then placed in to a glass and chilled in the fridge until required for plating. Next in a medium sauce pan over a gentle simmer I poached a fillet of beautifully smoked cod from south africa in a little milk and sweated sliced onions until the flesh flaked away from the skin. This was then removed from the heat and allowed to cool before straining the poaching milk and setting aside. I then flaked the flesh, removing any skin and bones, in a small saucepan I made a roux to which I gradually added back the milk, over a medium heat whisking to remove lumps and form a thick white sauce. To the sauce I added a little curry powder and some grated tasty cheese mixing to melt the cheese and bring the mornay sauce together. The the saucepan was then removed from the heat and the poached smoked cod was folded into the mornay and placed covered in the fridge to cool before stuffing the zucchini flower. Once the mixture had chilled, I spooned the mornay into the zucchini flower, brushing the outside of the flower with a little white truffle oil. I then steamed the stuffed flower for a minute and a half before removing from the steamer and chilling before being served. The last application was the tomato dust of which I simply ground sun-dried tomatoes in a coffee grinder to form a powder.                                                                                                                                                  
                          Presenting this dish I placed the smoked cod mornay stuffed zucchini flower upside down, standing upright in a shallow soup bowl, pouring the filtered sun-ripened tomato water in the bowl to cover the bottom of the bowl to 5mm deep. To this I added droplets of summer white truffle oil and sprinkled a little of the sun-dried tomato dust, before garnishing with a sprig of fragrant olive oil leaf herb to finish. This is a delicate, but robust flavoured dish served chilled or warm as an entremet.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


faux cheese - ( Sangkhaya ) Thai coconut custard with Strawberry gelee rind , faux grapes - ( Look choop ) Kaffir lime flavoured mung bean paste desserts.

                    Its time to play with food again this time the dish is designed to trick the eye of the beholder into thinking they're about eat cheese and grapes only to discover the grapes is flavoured mung bean paste and the cheese is really a silky smooth delicate thai coconut custard, both traditional Thai desserts. Look choop was designed to impress the palace royals with all its vibrant colours of hand painted portions of mung bean paste shaped into tiny fruits and vegetables and dipped in an agar syrup to give shine and life. Is it art, with food as the medium or just cooking.
                   I started preparing this dish a week ago starting with the look choop. To make this I first soaked 125 g of yellow split mung bean in cold water for 2 hours before steaming for a further half an hour. I then mixed the mung beans with a quarter cup of caster sugar, and half a cup of kaffir lime leaf steeped and drained coconut milk into a blender to make a puree. This was then transferred to a medium pot over a low heat and cooked while stirring until the paste became thick and wouldn't stick to my hands. The paste was then removed from the heat and wrapped in plastic film before being placed in to the fridge for an hour. This recipe is for about 30 pieces, so once the paste was chilled I shaped pieces of the paste into grape shapes and using a tooth pick I skewered the grape and with the other end I placed standing in a piece of foam ready to be painted. Once I finished shaping all the grapes I mixed together some blue and red food colouring to achieve a dark purple colour to which I then painted all the grapes, I ended up applying more coats to some to try and achieve different tones. In a small saucepan I added one cup of water, two table spoons of caster sugar and one table spoon of agar, this was brought to a simmer whisking to dissolve the agar and sugar before removing from the heat. Once cooled a little I dipped the look choop in the agar glazing and allowed them to dry before repeating this process another two times giving the grape a three coat layer of shinny jelly syrup. The look choop were then allowed to fully dry before being placed between layers of silicon paper in an air tight container in the fridge until plating.
The sangkhaya or custard was made by heating coconut cream with grated palm sugar and egg yolks over a medium heat until thick and creamy to which the custard is then traditionally steamed, but for this purpose I wanted a bit more structure and less aeration so I set the custard with a little agar agar. This was added at 1% and whisked while simmering the custard until the agar had dissolved and then removed from the heat and poured into a round mould. To make the strawberry flavoured cheese rind I placed some strawberry coulis, water, red colouring and agar agar at 1% into a small saucepan and brought the mixture to a simmer while whisking to combine and dissolve the agar agar, this was then removed from the heat and poured onto a flat tray and put aside to set. Once the gelee had set I cut a strip the same thickness as the custard and secured the gelee around the circumference of the un-moulded custard round. To plate I cut a wedge of the custard from the round and accompanied the wedge of custard with the kaffir lime flavoured look choop.

' 54 deg . C BANANA PRAWN in PEA WATER .'

54 degree C. Sous vide cooked Queensland Banana prawn in a Chilled Pea water & Celery juice broth with Nameko mushrooms, Charred onions, Thai basil, Pea butter & greens.

               In many styles of food over the years, the chefs, cooks, housewives of the world abroad strive to cook meals with complexity and richness in flavour, with meals displaying layers of depth. In the modernists kitchens of today meals are being prepared using a minimalist approach to ingredients but showing execution of great techniques in showcasing these few ingredients and enhancing them. This dish is a good example of bringing out the raw flavours of each ingredient. The onions have been sauteed and caramelised to bring out the sweetness of the onion, the prawn was cooked in a 54 degree C. sous vide water bath with only butter and garlic to accompany. This allowed the prawn to cook evenly trapped in its own juices. I've seen the pea water prepared a little different to mine, with the use of a centrifuge, pea puree is spun at 1200 g's separating the liquid from the solid. My way still requires a pea puree but then this is manually passed several times through a cheese cloth filter. This technique removes the starch from the pea and it is starch which inhibits the body from tasting sweetness. So with most of the starch removed, it leaves the pea water tasting sweeter than the original whole peas used.
              I began by making the juices needed for the pea and celery water, first I put a pot of peas on the boil and roughly chopped celery into chunks. One serving requires 15 g of pea water and 5 g of celery juice so be sure not to over do it. I juiced the celery and ran it through a cloth filter several times before pouring into a glass jar and placing in the fridge to be chilled. Once the peas were cooked I drained them placing into the blender with some cold water and forming a puree. This was then ran through a cloth filter several times and poured into a jar before placing in the fridge to chill. While these were chilling I prepared the prawns in food safe plastic pouches along with a little butter and some garlic paste. This was then vacuum sealed with the food-saver and placed into a 54 degree c. sous vide water bath for 12 minutes. The pouch was then removed and placed directly into an ice water bath and the into the fridge to chill. In a skillet I quickly sauteed some nameko mushrooms and pearl onions before removing. I sliced the onions in half and returned them to a hot skillet face down to caramelise.
            To plate a placed 5 g of filtered celery juice and 15 g of pea water into the base of the bowl. In the centre of this I placed the sous vide prawn topped with pea greens and arranged the nameko mushrooms, micro purple thai basil leaves, charred onions and the pea butter around the edge of bowl.


Friday, 21 March 2014

' 58 deg .C LAMB with CARROT DEMI-GLACE .'

58 degrees C. Sous vide cooked Lamb loin medallions with Caramelised Carrot Demi-glace , Asparagus & Leek Risotto , Asparagus spears , Sauteed Leek and parsley sprigs .

                Back out with the sous vide water oven for another week, as I'm eager cook these fab looking lamb loin fillets (msa grain-fed). I think the one hour, 58 deg. c was perfect for this cut and thickness of lamb but I left the lamb on hold for another 20 or so minutes extra before I got to taking them out and in hind sight a hot skillet when searing with a quicker searing time as well. I accompanied this dish with a Demi-glace and not the average one either. A traditional Demi-glace in french cooking is a rich brown sauce used by itself or as a base for other sauces. The term is from the french word 'glace' when used in reference to sauce means icing or glaze. Made by combining veal stock and espagnole sauce and reduced by half. My version for this is a very simple vegetarian version that is made with carrot juice and soy sauce, reduced and thickened with arrowroot flour. The result is amazing, a rich, complex sauce velvety and deep in flavour that resembles a sauce derived from protein. To this all I added a sauteed asparagus spears and a leek filled with a creamy asparagus and leek risotto.
                To make this plate I started with the lamb loin fillets placing them into food grade plastic pouches along with a little butter, cracked pepper, salt, garlic paste and a parsley sprig in each. These were then vacuum sealed and placed into a 58 degree c. sous vide water bath and cooked for one hour. During this time I prepped the risotto and the Demi-glace, beginning with the risotto I heated some butter in pan until foaming and added thinly sliced leek and sauteed for 2-3 minutes until soft. I then added some chopped asparagus and sauteed for another 2-3 minutes before setting aside. In a large stock pot I brought some chicken broth to the boil before reducing the heat to very low, so the broth was kept warm but not simmering. In a high sided large pan I heated a little olive oil to this I added a two cups of arborio rice and stirred cooking the rice for about 3-4 minutes before adding a cup of dry white wine and stirring for a further 3-4 minutes until the rice had absorbed the wine. I then added two cups of broth to the rice and kept stirring until all the broth was absorbed, to this I added another cup, continuing to stir. I repeated this until 5 cups had been absorbed and on the last cup I added a little saffron threads soaked in milk and the sauteed leek and asparagus. Once all the broth was absorbed I removed the pan from the stove and added some grated parmigiano-reggiano. This was spooned into a casing made buy blanching a one and a half inch leek ring in boiling, salted water before dunking in an ice water bath and then lightly sauteed in a skillet, this was then topped with sauteed asparagus spears. To make the Demi-glace I juiced some baby carrots and ran the juice through a muslin filter, I added 200 g of this to a saucepan with 50 g of good quality soy sauce. This was brought to the boil before being reduced to a low simmer for about 20 minutes until reduced by half, skimming the froth at times. I then removed some of sauce and mixed it with a level table spoon of arrowroot flour to for a paste. This was then added to the sauce and mixed before being removed from the heat and set aside. At this stage the lamb was ready and I opened the pouches and seared the fillets in hot pan until browned all over and then I removed the meat and allowed it to rest for 3 minutes before carving medallions for plating.


Friday, 14 March 2014

' tea smoked SEA SCALLOP with WAKAME SALAD .'

Tea smoked Wild caught Sea Scallop with Wakame salad , Compressed Asian pear & sake , Pickled Baby Bitter melon , Water cress , Black garlic puree & wild rocket flowers .

                     With this dish I've used some Asian inspired ingredients to lift and accompany this succulent wild caught off the coastlines of the US sea scallop. I chose to cold smoke the mollusc using a tea smoking boat with the scallop on a rack over a bowl of ice to keep the temps down. Bitter melon plants went in late for me this year and are just coming on now with my 3 vines producing plenty. When small these melons are very concentrated and bitter but when pickled with vinegar, sugar and salt, this mellows and almost tastes like a cross between gherkins and capers.
                     To make this dish I first started with the compressed nashi fruit, for this technique I used the vacuum food saver sealer . Cutting the pear into brunoise, I placed them in a bowl and covered them with sake. After 5 or so minutes I drained the diced pear and placed them and a little frozen pear juice in to a food grade plastic pouch and vacuum sealed twice. This was left to compress and burst the cell walls of the fruit and release extra flavour while marinating in the sake, for about half an hour or so. In the mean time I made the wakame salad by simply mixing in a bowl wakame seaweed, sesame seeds, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sake, chilli flakes and a little salt this was then chilled until plating. To pickle the bitter melons I placed equal parts of water and rice wine vinegar, enough to cover the melons in a saucepan on a medium heat together with some sugar and salt. This was brought to a slow simmer for about 15 minutes until the melons were soft and tender to touch. I then drained them before plunging into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, these were then drained and chilled for serving. After the half an hour was up I removed the asian pear pieces from the vacuum packaging, rinsed them quickly under cold water and dressed them in olive oil and black sea salt. The black garlic puree is just simply mashed black garlic piped through a plunger. The final component was the sea scallop of which I first seared very quickly on a hot skillet before rubbing in salt and brown sugar. In a foil boat I placed a mixture of some jasmine rice, jasmine tea leaves, brown sugar, black pepper corns and orange peel zest. This was placed into the smoker and was the vessel was filled and the boat was smouldering, I turned the flame off waited a little and with the scallop on a rack above a bowl of ice, I placed the bowl in to the smoker and cold smoked the scallop until fully cooked before removing from the smoker ready for plating.
            To plate I placed the smoked scallop on top of a bed of home grown water cress, this was topped with some wakame salad, a little black garlic puree, micro bitter melon and an edible wild rocket flower. I arranged the compressed asian pear pieces, wakame salad and pickled bitter melon with the black garlic puree and edible flowers to accompany.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

' 54 deg .C KALE ASH encrusted RIB EYE .'

Grain-fed Beef Eye fillet cooked 54 deg.c sous vide & encrusted with Kale ash seasoning served with Potato & horseradish puree , Mushroom & Malt/Rice beer reduction , Green onion , Nasturtium leaves & kale ash seasoning . 

                   This dish has been inspired by the purchase of our new sous vide & vacuum sealer, we got a great deal on the relatively new Sunbeam package with the two machines in one deal. The actual dish is an adaption of the chefs at Food Republic, who use a short rib which is slow cooked sous vide for 3 days. I've opted for the one hour version using a quality cut of grain-fed beef. This dish has only taste in mind from the smoky, barbecue-esque flavour imparted by the burnt kale nestled in a thick veloute of potato and horseradish. Encircled by a sweet, earthy, umami mushroom syrup that almost smells like a faux miso paste its so umami. Even the young nasturtium leaves with a peppery flavour serve its purpose on this plate. And of course it starts from the thirteenth method of cookery 'sous vide'. This type of cooking was adapted in 1974 from commercial packaging applications, by Georges Pralus for use in his french restaurant. The method requires food to be vacuum sealed in food grade plastic and cooked at a constant temperature usually between 50.c and 60.c and for veggies higher, over longer periods of time ranging from 1 hour and in some cases 72 hours. This process allows the item to cook evenly without overcooking the outside and as the juices are trapped while cooking the item becomes more flavoursome and more tender. As this method never reaches the point of 'maillard reaction' or browning which occurs at temperatures well above boiling point. This has been done in a hot pan once cooked in the sous vide bath, to give the cut of meat the caramelised proteins that you get from searing.
                    To make this dish I started by preparing the food pouch by trimming the cut of beef of any fat and seasoned with salt and pepper before placing into the food grade plastic pouch along with a little butter, minced garlic and sprigs of fresh thyme. I then vacuum sealed the package and placed into the fridge until ready to use. Once the water bath had reached 54 degrees c. I submerged the package into the bath and set the timer for 1 hour. During this time I prepared all the other elements to the dish beginning with the Kale ash seasoning. For this I simply laid out kale leaves on to a baking paper lined flat tray and placed into a 180 degree c. oven until blackened and burnt. I then removed the kale and allowed to cool before blending with salt and pepper in a coffee grinder to a powder. Next I boiled some yukon gold potatoes and drained before blending with some melted butter, cream and a little minced horseradish to for a rich, creamy velvety (veloute) puree or sauce. This was reheated before plating. To make the reduction I caramelised some sliced field mushrooms in a heavy based pan before deglazing with some Budweiser beer, as the syrup thickened, I added a few sprigs of fresh thyme and some glucose syrup. The green onion was pan seared quickly all over before being steamed with sprigs of thyme until soft, sweet and tender. Once the meat was ready I cut open the bag and seared both sides of the steak quickly about 45-50 seconds each side to give the meat the crusty caramelised exterior. The meat was then allowed to rest for 2-3 minutes before coating both sides with the kale ash seasoning.
                    To plate I reheated the puree and syrup and spooned some puree in the centre of the plate, encircling this with the caramelised mushroom and malt/rice beer reduction. I then placed the 54 deg.c. rib eye on top of the bed of potato and horseradish veloute. The green onion then crowned the steak with nasturtium leaves scattered around and to finish a ring of kale ash seasoning.

Sunday, 2 March 2014


Tartufo of Chocolate & Vanilla gelato incased in a White truffle oil infused Dark chocolate shell , Chocolate fudge sauce , Cookie crumble Dirt & Sand , Shaved Black summer truffle & bee pollen granules.

                This is a dessert of pure indulgence and is a perfect way to see out the last summer days as we enter our first days of autumn here in the land of oz. As the heat is still around here in Brisbane, we are destined to see a prolonged late summer and the overlap of seasonal offerings but this also means a perfect scenario for raising autumn seedlings, giving them a strong start and establishment before the temperatures drop and day light decreases hindering photosynthesis. Anyway enough in the garden and more about this little stella. This dish isn't about showcasing expensive ingredients rather a dish with a perfect flavour pairing. What I noticed the most with this sweet, earthy flavoured pairing is the truffle gives the dark chocolate flavour the ability to last on the palate for ever, kind of like a fixative in soap holds the fragrance of a soap, truffle fixes the taste of the dark chocolate to the palate.
                This plate was fairly simple to put together, having said that I cheated with the gelato and opted for a store bought split flavoured gelato. This removed the a huge amount of time from the overall planning but in hindsight, next time I do this dish I intend to make my own vanilla flavoured gelato. As I found the store bought version didn't stand up to the plating and had melted inside the shell. With making my own I can adjust the gums and thickeners to my needs and produce a more durable gelato. The preparation of this dish started with the cookie crumbles, the first being the 'sand' or shortbread crumble of which I made a simple butter, flour and sugar dough, rolling out to 3-4 mm thick and cutting into cookie shapes before being baked in a 170 deg. oven for 15 minutes until golden in colour, the tray was then removed from the oven and allowed to cool before the cookies were pulverised to a crumb consistency. For the 'dirt' crumble I did a house-made Oreo cookie dough by mixing flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, a little baking soda, salt and sugar with an egg and unsalted butter, this was then rolled out to 3-4 mm thick, cut into cookie rounds and baked at 180-190 deg.c for 10 minutes before being removed and allowed to cool. I then placed the cookies in to a plastic bag and pulverised them to a crumb consistency. The trick to a good crumble is to shape the dough into cookies before baking rather than cooking as a flat sheet of dough, the biscuit shape is what gives a hardened crumb. I made the tartufo ( truffle ) next by melting some good quality ( 70% ) dark chocolate and adding to this a little white summer truffle oil. Using a melon baller I scooped balls of the gelato and with the truffle infused chocolate I coated the gelato balls, working fast to get them onto a parchment lined tray and into the freezer to set. While the tartufo were setting a began making the fudge sauce by bringing some cream, golden syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt and dark chocolate to the boil over a medium heat in a saucepan. I then reduced the heat to a low simmer and while stirring I cooked the fudge sauce out for about 5 minutes before removing from the stove and adding unsalted butter, vanilla extract and some more dark chocolate. This was then stirred until smooth in consistency and set aside to cool. The fudge sauce was then reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds to serve. And for the finishing touches I carefully shaved slithers of black summer truffle to accompany and garnished the tartufo with some delicate bee pollen granules.