Monday, August 31, 2009

Cruising with Aussie Chef Luke Mangan


I've been known to eat out a bit (quite a bit), and I love good food. Anyone who knows me (and even some that don't) know that it's true!

And I also love to travel. And though I've never been on a cruise, I might just be persuaded now that one of my favourite Sydney chefs is taking his signature dishes to the seas.

"I want to create an intimate restaurant which passengers will enjoy so much it'll be one of the highlights of their holiday experience", says Aussie Chef Luke Mangan. From December, he will be taking some of my favourite food from Glass Restaurant Sydney to the seas on Salt Grill by Luke Mangan on P&O Cruises Pacific Jewel. Did I heard a rumour, that Luke will be on that maiden voyage? Three more restaurants on three more P&O ships will follow.

As an Aussie, what's also exciting is that "this is the first time an Australian chef has been brought onboard a cruise ship" joining the ranks of cruising chefs Gary Rhodes and Marco Pierre White.

Do you want a peek at a selection from the menu?

SEAFOOD BAR

Oysters - Natural / Six Ways / Tempura
Kingfish Carpaccio, fetta rocket and ginger and shallot
Tuna tartar with ruby grape fruit, wasabi, lotus chips
Salmon gravalax, shaved fennel, crispy onion rings, lemon olive oil dressing
Citrus tempura prawns, wasabi dressing
Chilled prawns with mango salsa
Lobster sashimi, changes daily

SALAD AND THINGS

Rocket, pear, walnut and blue cheese, verjuice dressing
Salt salad: seasonal vegetable salad; slow cooked hen's egg, and truffle dressing
Lobster soup, tortellini of lobster, pickled mushrooms and basil
Glass Sydney crab omelette, miso mustard broth
Seared sea scallops, blue cheese polenta, truffle
Artichoke ravioli, mushroom ragout, asparagus

And yes, I'm delightfully lucky, as we did get to taste some of these treats at tonight's launch at Glass Sydney.

You can also find @LukeWMangan on Twitter, at Salt Tokyo, World Wine Bar Tokyo and South Food + Wine Bar San Francisco.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon (inspired by Julia Child)


This week was an exciting moment in the food blogging world as the movie Julie & Julia opened. (here in Australia we've still got a couple of months to wait though ... and my fingers are tapping the kitchen table impatiently). The movie features two stories: the memoirs of Julia Child and the story of food blogger Julie Powell cooking her way through Julia's recipes.

One of the things I'm delighted about with the movie is that it features some of my French (classic) favourites. They've never gone out of style with me. They are the dishes I taught myself as a teenager and have been cooking ever since. Every winter since I first cooked this recipe, I've warmed family and friends with Boeuf Bourguignon. Here's my adaptation using mustard, not flour, for thickening. Where possible, for added depth of flavour, I prepare a day ahead of eating, and start preparations with the marinade the day before that.


Boeuf Bourguignon


1.5 kg (3 1/2 lbs) casserole beef (shoulder or shin) cubed

60g (2oz) butter

5 tablespoons olive oil

sprigs of fresh thyme

3 carrots

3 onions

button mushrooms

125g (1/4 lb) fresh bacon

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

1 bottle good red wine

salt and pepper


Trim and cube beef. Peel carrots, halve lengthwise and slice thickly. Halve onions, peel, then halve lengthwise and slice thinly.

Marinade the beef, together with sprigs of fresh thyme, carrots and onions, in the wine and leave to marinate overnight. (I've omitted this at times to cook the same day, but it really is worth the effort if you can plan ahead).

Remove the meat from the marinade and pat the meat dry. (reserve the marinade for later use in the recipe). Put a large pan on the stovetop over medium heat, and add and heat olive oil and brown the meat a batch at a time; remove to another dish off the heat after each batch.

Trim bacon and slice into lardons (thick julienne). Reheat the pan and fry the bacon, again in batches. Set the bacon to one side.

Clean the pan removing excess fat.

Return the pan to the stovetop on a lower heat, add butter and return all the cubed beef to the pan. Add the dijon mustard (with thanks to Gary Rhodes for inspiring this addition, in place of flour, for thickening) and stir. Add the bacon, mushrooms and the marinade (fresh thyme, carrots and onions) and cook on a low heat for two hours. Where time permits I leave the casserole to sit overnight. (then you can skim any excess fat from the top, pick out the thyme if the sprigs have remained intact, and you can replace with fresh thyme again before gently reheating).

Check the seasoning; add salt and pepper as required. Check the thickness of the sauce and, if necessary, add some beurre maniƩ (butter and flour.) The red wine should have reduced, and the mustard provided some natural thickening that most likely the beurre manie will not be required. Some recommend that the cooking can be finished in the oven in a covered casserole. Most usually I serve as it is on the day of cooking, or reheat on the stovetop. Bon appetit!

Monday, August 3, 2009

CSIPETKE (Hungarian Pinched Noodles)


I love sharing food with friends, and cooking for them, and there is no greater honour than being invited into a friend's home and having them cook in a labour of love to share with me.

A couple of weeks ago I spent a leisurely Sunday lunch in the home of my friends Georgie and Janos. That day they treated me to homestyle Hungarian fare. I've never made Csipetke, and they've been kind enough to give me a lesson, shared here with you. They even took the photo.

Csipetke: home made pasta for soups

80g continental flour
1 small egg
salt

Mix flour with egg and knead until firm dough forms.

Sift a little flour on a hard surface and roll dough with a rolling pin until it is 1mm thick. Dip your fingers into flour and pinch small pieces from the dough (about 5mm x 5mm).

Add small pieces of dough to boiling soup (such as gulyas soup) or boiling salty water. It is cooked when it comes to the surface (about 2 - 3 minutes).

If we're lucky maybe they'll share their recipe for Gulyas (Goulash) some day soon ...