Wednesday 13 February 2013

VALENTINE'S DAY - Apple martinis with oysters, a perfect match.


Oysters with lemon and black pepper granita
This zesty, zingy and fresh granita makes enough for several dozen oysters. So you can use as much or as little depending on how many you are catering for and keep the rest in the freezer for up to 3 months.

• 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, approximately 4 lemons
• 2 tablespoons water 
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 
2 teaspoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
rock salt, for serving 
small jar salmon roe, for serving

1. Combine the lemon juice, water, vinegar, sugar, pepper and salt in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Pour into a shallow dish and cover, freeze for 1 hour until slushy. Stir with a fork to break up the ice crystals and then return to the freezer for another hour or until frozen.
3. Scrap the granita again just before serving.
4. Place the oysters on a bed of rock salt and top each oyster with ½ teaspoon of granita and a few pearls of salmon roe.

Green apple and vanilla martini
Makes enough apple and vanilla syrup for 8-10 martinis.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 green apples
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
juice of 1 lime
¼ cup caster sugar
vodka, chilled in the freezer

1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Remove the peel from 2 apples and add the peel to the sugar syrup with half of the vanilla bean. Place the apples in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from browning and juice later. Simmer the syrup for 5 minutes, remove form the heat and allow to cool. Strain and discard apple peel and vanilla bean. Chill the syrup.
2. Juice the 2 peeled apples and add the lime juice, chill.
3. Scrap the seeds from the remaining half of the vanilla bean and rub the vanilla seeds into the caster sugar, set aside.
4. Chill 2 martini glasses and dip the rim in the vanilla sugar. Pour 1 tablespoon of the apple and vanilla syrup into each glass, add 2 tablespoon of vodka (or more if you like) into each glass and then top with fresh apple and lime juice.
5. Using a mandolin thinly slice the remaining apple; serve a slice in each glass.

A special thanks to for supplying us with Hiwa Kai Black lava salt for this shoot.

Chinese New Year is here, so grab some friends and host a Chinese dinner party. This month the food dept debuts on  SBS Food online, so please take a look. There's a fabulous crispy chicken recipe which you can use in the salad recipe below. 


Our Chinese New Year's recipe is traditionally called Yu Sheng. This salad is a symbol of abundance, prosperity and good fortune. The food dept. recipe uses delicious, shredded ‘white cooked chicken but traditionally it is served with raw fish. This salad is made at the table, each ingredient that symbolizes something for the New Year is added to the salad and then everyone around the table uses their chopsticks to toss the salad while saying an auspicious wish. It is thought that the height of the toss symbolizes the level of the fortune.

Each ingredient symbolizes something for the New Year. Here are a few for good luck.
Carrot – good luck is approaching
Pomelo - good luck and good sailing
Peanuts finely chopped – household filled with gold and silver
Sesame seeds  - prosperity for business

Chinese New Year chicken and pomelo salad with a sweet plum dressing 
This dish is usually served at the beginning of a banquet as an appetizer.

The Chicken in this salad is ‘white cooked chicken’ a wonderful recipe to master. As well as this delicious salad it is the perfect base for the food dept’s Crisp skin chicken with five-spice salt and sweet vinegar dressing. But don’t be afraid to duck into your local Chinese bbq kitchen and pick up a chicken to make things even easier.
Serves 4.

• 1 medium pomelo or ruby grapefruit
½ ‘white cooked’ chicken, meat removed from the bones and shredded
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
3 shallots, julienned
2 cups bean sprouts
1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, seeded and julienned
½ cup coriander leaves
½ cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
8 wonton wrappers, julienned and deep-fried until crisp or any pre-prepared crispy noodle
1 quantity Sweet plum dressing

1. To prepare the pomelo cut off the stem end. Score the skin in segments from the top down to the base and then peel away the skin in these segments. Once all of the skin has been removed place your 2 thumbs into the top of the pomelo and pull it apart as if you are breaking an orange into segments. Pull the segments of pomelo apart and remove any pith and membrane. Break the peeled segments into bite size pieces and put aside for the salad.
2. Arrange the chicken, pomelo and each salad ingredient on a platter in individual piles. Place peanuts, sesame seeds and fried wontons in smaller serving bowls around the platter. Place the dressing in a jug.
3. Give each diner a pair of chopstick and serve the platter at the table. Sprinkle over the peanuts, sesame seeds, fried wontons and drizzle over the Sweet plum dressing. Each person uses his or her chopstick to help toss the salad before serving.

Sweet plum Dressing
Makes ¾ cup.

½ cup Chinese plum sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water
juice of 1 lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon five spice powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and use as required.



  1. What a wonderful granita indeed- Lovely zing!
    I saw your write up on the SBS site and it was great, congrats guys :)

  2. Those martini glasses are amazing! Where did they come from?