Tuesday 2 December 2014

INTERVIEW WITH DAN HONG – the Super Fly Chef on why chocolate tastes good with blue cheese and what Kim and Kanye eat on tour.

The city of Sydney adores and glorifies it's diverse and wonderful chefs, but one name keeps rising to the surface.... Dan Hong. In an exclusive interview, The Food Dept's editor, Anne Marie Cummins, talks to the chef behind some of the coolest restaurants, Mrs G's, El Loco and Mr Wongs. The chef with the colourful collection of trainers, reveals the future trends in food and what he has learnt from entrepreneur, Justin Hemmes.

Your prawn toasts were the only dish to sell out at the Good Food month’s Asia town, I missed out, what’s your secret?
Asia town was great but my dish was so popular. We ran out so quickly, everyone took multiple portions of mine at the beginning. I can’t help it if my dish is the most popular, but it was fun, a great day and a really good space.

With so many great chefs at one venue, who inspired you most and what dish did you love the most?
I really enjoyed Ramen Ikkyu, chef, Harunobu Inukai was awesome. I thought Chase Kojima from Sokyo did an awesome Okonomiyaki. Obviously David Thompson is the master, and his stir-fry was great with the fried egg. Anything with a fried egg on top is delicious.

Your mum owned and operated restaurants. What inspired you to be a chef, was there a moment when you thought, I want to be a chef ?  
There wasn’t a moment to be honest, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do and my mum suggested I become a chef. I grew up around restaurants, but I never thought of being a chef. I really enjoyed cooking at home and my mum suggested I become a chef. My passion really came when I became an apprentice, learning new things from chefs above me.

Which cooking school did you attend?
The Hotel School at the Intercontinental, which doesn’t run a cooking course any more. Usually apprentices go to Tafe once a week and work full time. I was lucky to do school for 6 months full time. I did all my theory first and then went and worked in restaurants. That’s how I came to work in so many restaurants.

What inspires you when you are creating a new recipe?
Everywhere, could be going to another restaurant, eating street food overseas, eating on the street in China town, or going to my mum’s house for dinner. I’m really inspired by everything I eat.

Am I right in thinking you spend your holidays in Asia looking out for new food experiences?
I go to Asia quite a bit, I go to Indonesia at least once a year, as my wife is Indonesian and we visit her family. We are going to Hong Kong in December. I went to China this year, that was really cool.

You have bridged the gap between playing with food and making it look cool. Is that what you set out to do?
Well no, I just wanted the book to be different. A lot of cookbooks can be the same to be honest. I wanted mine to stand out, not only with the material and the design, but also with the cover as well. So I hope it does stand out.

Yes it does stand out. It ties in well with the sneaker thing you have going on.
Yes it all ties together. I wanted it to be a fun book for people to read, but also to actually try out the recipes. That’s why I have those Hong hats, even though I think the recipes are quite simple, they can be made simpler by reading those Hong hats.

What’s the weirdest flavour combination in the book?
There’s a dish that has pig’s ear and tripe, but that’s not really a weird combination. There’s nothing too weird in the book because, I have tried all these weird combinations at Mrs. G’s. And even though I might like them, the general public don’t, so they don’t make it onto the menu.

So can you tell us what weird flavour combination do you think tastes really great?
I like blue cheese and chocolate together. One time I did a flourless chocolate cake with blue cheese ice cream, I used gorgonzola and I thought it was delicious. But it was a bit too weird.

It’s a dream for many chefs to work with Justin Hemmes. What have you learnt from him?
That he knows what diners in Sydney want. He has a midas touch when it comes to knowing what people want and being ahead of the game in terms of restaurants, style, atmosphere and vibe.

So you must know what people want to eat?
I don’t know what people want! I’m just lucky that people like my food.

The public has an insatiable appetite for new food, new flavours. What trends do you see in the near future?
I think Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine are next. They are popular now but the next step is to make an up market restaurant, with a good wine list and great vibe.

What are you craving right now?
A sandwich or a banh mi, (vietnamese pork roll.) See recipe below.

What did Kim and Kanya order when they came to your restaurant?
They had chicken wings, a few dim sum, some pork dumplings, chicken dumplings, pork ribs, fried rice. Kanya came twice, which was pretty cool, I guess he liked the chicken wings!

Hang over cure?
Mc Donald’s breakfast.

What do you like to cook at home?
I don’t cook at home. My wife cooks at home. But sometimes I cook on the bbq. I like to let the produce speak for itself and cook very simple things. Last time I cooked some wagu rump on the bbq with some nice fat asparagus. I served the steak with wasabi mayonnaise.

Can you reveal any secret foodie locations in Sydney?
Is anything secret anymore? Out in Western Sydney for people who don’t go out West. Fairfield, Canley vale and Cabramatta have the most authentic South East Asian food you can eat. I love going to Fairfield for Laotian food. I think Laotian food is an untapped cuisine that people don’t really know about. But you gotta love the funk to enjoy Laotian food. It’s like Thai food, but with using things like fermented crab.

Biggest mistake?
Is always not remembering to taste as you cook. It’s something so simple that can be the difference between a good and a great chef. As chefs, we can often forget this, and it’s doesn’t matter how beautiful your dish looks, it all comes down to the flavour. It’s the reason why people keep coming back to your restaurant.

See below for recipes from Mr Hong.
Dan Hong's cook book "Mr Hong" is available from Murdoch books. Go to the food dept facebook page for your chance to win a copy. Thank you to Murdoch books.

Grilled Corn with Lime and Parmesan
Serves 4–6

Seasoned cream
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Japanese mayonnaise
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) sour cream
1½ tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons shichimi togarashi

Whisk all of the seasoned cream ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Set aside in the fridge.
6 cobs of corn, each one cut into three pieces
2 limes, halved
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves only
100 g (3½ oz) wedge of parmesan, for grating

Steam or boil the pieces of corn until tender. Put on a hot chargrill pan or barbecue and cook, turning three or four times, until the kernels are a little bit charred. Remove from the grill and stab one end of each piece of corn with a short cocktail skewer that has little handles.
Liberally brush each piece of corn with the seasoned cream and arrange them on a platter.
Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top, making sure each piece of corn gets some.
Scatter with coriander and then use a microplane to grate a liberal amount of parmesan over the top. Eat.

For more delicious recipes try this

Fijian-Style Sashimi of Trevally
A dish influenced by one of my best friends, fellow chef, Louis Tikaram. Louis has a Fijian background and he once told me about one of Fiji’s national dishes, called kokoda, which incorporates coconut milk into a ceviche mix. This is my take on kokoda (pronounced kokonda), which infuses some of my Vietnamese heritage into the dish. When I asked Louis what he thought about me doing that, he said: ‘Sounds tasty.’ And that’s what the food at Ms G’s is all about: tasty.
Serves 2

80 ml (2½ fl oz/1⁄3 cup) nuoc cham (Essentials,
page 244)
55 ml (1¾ fl oz) coconut cream
1 tablespoon ót tuóng (Essentials, page 244)
juice of ½ lime

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

The Rest 
200 g (7 oz) piece of sashimi-grade trevally, skinned
and boned
1 small long red chilli, thinly sliced
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
70 g (2½ oz) young coconut flesh, cut into thin strips
50 g (1¾ oz) salted cucumber (Essentials, page 241)
15 coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 red Asian shallot, thinly sliced

Slice the trevally into thin strips. Transfer the fish to a bowl with the remaining ingredients.Spoon about 100 ml (3½ fl oz) of the dressing over the fish and mix well. Don’t worry if there looks like a lot of dressing, it starts to ‘cook’ the fish as you’re eating it, which is how it’s meant to be. Serve in bowls and enjoy immediately. 

For more delicious recipes try this

Mini Pork Banh Mi
I love banh mi – it’s food from my heritage and I wanted to put it on the menu. We decided to make Ms G’s banh mi smaller so that diners could fit in other dishes as well. In my eyes, banh mi is up there with the most iconic sandwiches of the world. It’s the perfect balance of richness, acidity, texture, freshness and spice. In short, everything you could ever want in a sandwich.
Serves 8

The Pork
6 litres (210 fl oz/24 cups) Chinese masterstock (Essentials, page 234)
1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) pork belly, rib bones removed, skin on

Pour the masterstock into a stockpot and carefully add the pork belly. Bring to the boil. As soon as it’s reached boiling point, turn the heat down and simmer for 3–4 hours or until the pork belly is tender.
Line a roasting tin (large enough to fit the pork belly) with baking paper. Carefully lift the pork belly from the stock, being mindful to keep everything in one piece (not easy to do, since the pork is very soft at this point).
Put the pork in the tin, skin side down. Cover with another piece of baking paper then a baking tray.
Weight the tray with heavy objects such as tins of tomatoes then leave it overnight (unrefrigerated) to press the pork belly.

The Rest
1 loaf of chà lua (Vietnamese pork loaf)
vegetable oil, for frying
8 small, soft white rolls

Pork liver pâté (Essentials, page 243)
6 salted cucumbers (Essentials, page 241)

Pickled daikon and carrot (see Pickling liquid recipe, Essentials, page 241)
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves only
Sriracha mayonnaise (Essentials, page 240)

Using a meat slicer or a very sharp knife, slice the chà lua as thinly as possible. Set aside. Cut the pork belly into pieces about 1.5 cm (5⁄8 inch) thick and about the same length as the rolls.
Fill a large heavy-based saucepan one-third full with oil and heat to 170°C (325°F) or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 20 seconds. Carefully drop in the pork belly pieces and fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Cut the white rolls in half. Spread the bases generously with pork liver pâté. Top with a few slices of chà lua, then add the fried pork, followed in order by the salted cucumbers, pickled daikons and carrots, a few coriander leaves, and, finally,

HONG HACK This dish is meant to be fun and to be shared, so make it your own. If you’re stuck for time, a side of roasted pork from your favourite Chinese BBQ restaurant will work fine.

For some more pork

Lotus Ice Cream Sundae with Raspberries and Honeycomb

This dish became my signature dessert when I was at Lotus and it had a loyal and devoted following. At the time, everyone in Sydney was trying really hard to do something molecular and Alex Stupak-esque with desserts. While I admired the American chef’s inventive creations, I wanted to do something fun and tasty with real texture, and something my customers could relate to.
Serves 6

Chocolate Fudge
340 g (11¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
70 g (2½ oz) liquid glucose
35 g (1¼ oz) cocoa powder
325 g (11½ oz) dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
75 g (2½ oz) unsalted butter
15 g (½ oz) xanthan gum
Fill a large saucepan with 390 ml (13½ fl oz) water.
Add the sugar, glucose, cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon salt and heat over a high heat. Bring to the boil, then add the chocolate and butter. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the chocolate and butter melt. Whisk to combine and then bring back up to the boil. Using a hand-held blender, mix in the xanthan gum, which will thicken the fudge.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then transfer the fudge into a covered container and put in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 2 weeks.

170 g (5¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon honey
65 g (2¼ oz) liquid glucose
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Line a small baking tray with baking paper. To make the caramel, add the sugar, honey, liquid glucose and 1½ tablespoons water to a small saucepan and put over a high heat. Resist the urge to stir, just allow the heat to begin to transform the sugar. If crystals start to appear, you can give the saucepan a little swirl, or use a wet pastry brush to brush down the side of the pan.
Once a light caramel is achieved (about 155°C/310°F on a sugar thermometer), quickly
whisk in the bicarbonate of soda, then immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared tray. Leave to cool at room temperature until it hardens. Break the honeycomb into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate, as the sugars will melt and soften the honeycomb.

Raspberry Sauce
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/4 cups) frozen raspberries
175 g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

Add the raspberries and sugar to a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until a semi-thick consistency is achieved. You don’t want to cook the sauce too long as this will create jam; there should still be a little freshness about it.

To serve
Vanilla ice cream (recipe, page 194), or a goodquality vanilla bean ice cream will do you just fine
fresh raspberries
salted peanuts
Warm the chocolate fudge in a microwave until hot.
Spoon some raspberry sauce into each of six serving bowls. Add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream and top with some shards of honeycomb, raspberries and peanuts. Serve the chocolate fudge in a jug on the side so everyone

GOOD LUCK WITH THE COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY and may the most happy and derserving person win!
The competition is open to all Australian residents. Competition closes midnight Wednesday 24th December 2014 with a winner selected at Random and announced on Facebook (or Emailed via the Blog) 31st December 2014.

Saturday 22 November 2014

IT'S HOT IN THE CITY TODAY. Time to get the barbie going and cook up a Rib Eye Steak, Grilled with Porcini Salt and Lemony Salsa Verde

Rib Eye Steak, Grilled with Porcini Salt and Lemony Salsa Verde
Summer is the time to entertain. Want to do something different and easy on your bbq this weekend? Buy the best quality rib eye you can find, light the bbbq and get grilling. We have an easy salsa verde, which you can make ahead to serve with your steak.
Cooking and resting time 15 minutes Serves 4 

10g dried porcini mushrooms
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
¼ cup salt flakes
4 rib eye steaks, 2cm thick
1 tablespoon olive oil 

1. Combine porcini mushrooms and peppercorns in a food processor and process until fine, toss through salt flakes.
2. Bring rib eye to room temperature, truss with cooking string to create a round shape, rub with olive oil and porcini salt (1 teaspoon porcini salt per steak).
3. For medium rare steaks, heat bbq grill until hot. Place steaks onto barbecue and cook 1 minute, give steaks a ¼ turn on same side and cook for another 1 minute.
4. Turn steak over and cook for 1 minute, give steaks a ¼ turn and cook for another 1 minute.
5. Remove steaks from barbecue, cover loosely with foil and rest for 5 minutes.
6. Serve with the Lemony Salsa Verde. 

the food dept tip: Store extra porcini salt in pantry for up to 6 months.

Lemony Salsa Verde
In a food processor, combine 1 clove garlic, grated rind 1 lemon, 1 ½ cups continental parsley leaves, 1 tablespoon capers, 2 anchovy fillets, juice ½ lemon, salt flakes and black pepper, to taste. Process until coarsely chopped. Stir through ¼ cup olive oil.

For more delicious recipes try this

This recipe was developed and produced for Vic's Meats Market
Thank you to our fabulous team... Recipe: Sally Courtney, Art direction: Anne Marie Cummins, Photography: Brett Stevens, Styling: Justine Poole, Food Preparation: Caroline Ryan. 

Friday 7 November 2014

GET IN MA BELLY – Pork Belly with Caramel Sauce Recipe

We have revised some of our recipes for the wonderful people at Vics Meat Market. Our new recipes are shorter and more concise, which is great for all of you.
This rich pork belly recipe has been tested several times, by different friends, so we know it works. Whilst it seems like a long recipe, it's all about leaving it in the fridge overnight. Simply start the day before you would like to serve the dish. On the following day, put it in the oven 2 hours before your meal and voila, your meal is ready.

Pork Belly with Caramel Sauce 
Crunchy and crispy on the outside, succulent and juicy in the centre. The food dept.'s pork belly recipe is worth every second of the cooking involved in this recipe. 
Prep time: 24 hours Cook time: 2 hours Serves: 4-6 people 

1 x 1½kg boneless pork belly, skin scored
2 teaspoons salt flakes
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon salt flakes
2 teaspoons sesame oil 1 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup water
2 star anise 
1 tablespoon grated root ginger 
2 small red chillis, finely sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
2 tablespoons fish sauce 
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Fried shallots, coriander leaves and julienned chilli, for garnish 
Steamed rice and Asian greens, for serving

1 Rub the pork belly rind with 2 teaspoons salt flakes and place on a tray, refrigerate uncovered overnight to dry rind. The next day, pat rind dry and brush of any remaining salt.
2 Preheat oven 200C. Crush white peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, mix through Chinese five spice and 1 tablespoon salt flakes.
3 Rub pork rind well with the salt mixture and sesame oil, place rind side down in a baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Turn pork over, reduce to 180C and cook for another 1 hour or until tender.
4 While pork is cooking, combine coconut sugar and water in a saucepan, stir over medium heat until dissolved. Bring to boil, add star anise, ginger, chilli, soy, fish sauce and lime juice and simmer for 10 minutes or until syrupy.
5 Slice pork and serve drizzled with sauce, sprinkle over fried shallot, coriander and chilli. Serve with steamed rice and Asian greens. 

Thank you to our fabulous team... Recipe: Sally Courtney, Art direction: Anne Marie Cummins, Photography: Brett Stevens, Styling: Justine Poole, Food Preparation: Caroline Ryan.

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Thursday 22 May 2014

GO TROPPO with these tropcial fruit dessert recipes. This one is for all our readers in the Northern Hemisphere who can enjoy the fruits of the summer season.

Ice Cream Sandwiches in Macadamia Biscuits
Makes 10

• 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2/3 cup (150g) raw sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg 
3/4 cup (110g) plain flour 
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
11/4 cups (110g) rolled oats
1 cup (150g) salted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
Selection of store-bought flavoured ice cream (we used coconut, passionfruit and strawberry)

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl. Using electric beaters, beat until thick and pale. Add vanilla and egg, then beat until combined.
2. Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Add the flour mixture, oats and
macadamia nuts to the creamed butter and sugar, and stir to combine.
3. Line 2 baking tray with baking paper and place tablespoonfuls of mixture on the trays, flattening to 1/2 cm thick.
4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool on trays.
5. To serve, sandwich the ice cream between the biscuits. Serve immediately
or keep in the freezer.

Homemade Lemonade Fruit Icey Pops
How good is a homemade iceblock in the peak of summer?
There is nothing like it. You will need eight 1/3 cup (80ml) ice block moulds for this recipe.
Makes 8  

• 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
• 1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
• 11/2 cups roughly chopped tropical fruit (cut to fit your moulds – such as papaya, pineapple, mango, star fruit, lychee, kiwifruit and passionfruit)

1. Combine the sugar and 1 cup (250ml) water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 

2. Once cooled, add the lemon juice. 
3. Divide the fruit among the ice block moulds, pressing the cut surfaces against the sides. Pour over the homemade lemonade, then cover and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight until frozen and set. 
4. Remove the ice blocks from the moulds to serve.
White Chocolate Eclairs
Makes 16

• 2 cups (500ml) milk

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped 
3 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 6 extra egg yolks 
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar 
1 cup (150g) plain flour
60g unsalted butter 
Pulp from 3 large passionfruit, 1 tbs strained passionfruit juice (from 2 passionfruit) 
1 cup (150g) icing sugar, sifted
200g white chocolate, melted 
1 tbs light olive oil

1. To make the passionfruit custard, place milk and vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the egg yolks, sugar and 1/4 cup (35g) flour in a bowl and whisk until light and creamy. Discard the vanilla pod and gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined.

2. Return custard to the saucepan over low heat and cook, whisking constantly, for 8-10 minutes until thickened. 
3. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming
and chill for 2-3 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 230°C. Place butter and 3/4 cup (185ml) water in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted. Bring to the boil. Add the remaining 3/4 cup (110g) flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2-3 minutes until the mixture forms a smooth ball. Set dough aside to cool slightly. 
5. Place dough in a large bowl, add beaten egg, a little at a time, beating well with
electric beaters after each addition until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe sixteen 8cm lengths onto a baking paper-lined
baking tray.

6. Sprinkle eclairs with water and bake for 7 minutes. Reduce oven to 180°C
and cook for a further 20-25 minutes until golden. Pierce one short side of each eclair with a skewer and set aside to dry and cool.

7. Remove custard from fridge, fold through the passionfruit pulp and return to fridge for 1 hour to set. Place custard in a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm nozzle. Pipe custard into the holes in the eclairs. 
8. To make the passionfruit icing, combine the icing sugar and passionfruit juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle and set aside.
9. Combine the white chocolate and oil in a bowl, and stir until smooth.10. Dip the top of each eclair into the white chocolate and place on a sheet of baking
paper. Drizzle the passionfruit icing, back and forth across the eclairs, then run a
bamboo skewer up and down the length of the eclairs to create a marbling effect.
10.  Allow the icing to set, then serve.

Fruit skewers with Coconut Cream
and Gingersnap Crumbs 
Choose your favourite fruit combo for this recipe – select varieties with contrasting colours and flavours. To make things interesting we have created a coconut cream and a gingersnap crumb for texture and crunch.
Serves 4

• 1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream 
1/2 cup (125ml) coconut cream 
1/2 cup coconut sugar (see the food dept. fact)
125g gingersnap biscuits 
1 each mango, kiwifruit and banana 
2 star fruit 
1 tamarillo or peach 
1/2 papaya 
1/2 small pineapple

1. Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes. 

2. Combine thickened cream, coconut cream and 1 tsp coconut sugar in a bowl and whisk until the cream has thickened. Chill until ready to serve. 
3. Whiz the biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs, then set aside until ready to serve. 
4. Slice the fruit into equal-sized pieces and thread onto skewers. Place the skewers on a baking tray lined with foil and sprinkle the fruit with half the remaining coconut sugar. 
5. Using a blowtorch, brulee the fruit until the sugar has melted and caramelised. (Alternatively, place skewers under a hot grill, turning, for 4 minutes or until caramelised.)
 6. Sprinkle the remaining coconut sugar over the fruit and brulee again until a deep golden colour. 
7. Serve skewers immediately with coconut cream and gingersnap crumbs.

the food dept. fact: Coconut sugar is extracted from the bud of a coconut palm and has a caramel flavour. It's available from supermarkets and health food shops; substitute brown sugar.

Black Sticky Rice with Chilli Caramel Mango
Begin this recipe 1 day ahead.

Serves 6
• 11/2 cups (300g) black sticky rice
(see the food dept. facts)

3 pandan leaves tied in a knot 
1 cup (270g) finely grated dark palm sugar, plus 2 tbs extra 
3 large mangoes 
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes 
1 cup (250ml) coconut cream

1. Soak the rice in cold water overnight.
2. Drain and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.
Combine the rice, 3 cups (370ml) water, pandan leaves and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 35 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
3. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to steam for a further 15 minutes. Discard the pandan leaves.
4. Combine the palm sugar and 1/3 cup (80ml) boiling water in a heatproof bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stir three quarters of the palm sugar syrup through the rice, reserving the remaining to serve. Cover the rice to keep warm.
5. Cut the cheeks from the mangoes and sprinkle with chilli and extra palm sugar.
6. Drizzle the rice with coconut cream and remaining palm sugar syrup, then serve with mango cheeks.

the food dept fact: Black sticky (glutinous rice) and pandan leaves are available from Asian grocers.

This story was originally published in ABC delicious magazine, February 2014.
Recipe: Sally Courtney.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

HAPPY EASTER! Hope it's a chocolatey one.

The food dept’s Hazelnut Concorde Cake
Serves 10-12

• 2 tablespoons corn flour
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa
10 egg whites, at room temperature
a pinch salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2½ cups caster sugar
1 cup hazelnut meal
1 qty Chocolate mousse
extra, Dutch cocoa for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 100C (200F). Sift the corn flour and cocoa together and set aside.
2. Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, a little at a time, until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
3. Using a spatula gently fold the sifted corn flour and cocoa through the egg whites until just combined.
4. Fill a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle and pipe 12 x 30cm lengths onto a lined baking tray.
5. Return any of the meringue from the piping bag to the remaining chocolate meringue mixture in the bowl, set aside the piping bag (there’s no need to wash it). Gently fold through the hazelnut meal and place back into the piping bag.
6. Draw 4 x 19cm discs on lined oven trays. Starting in the center pipe outwards in a spiral, repeat 3 times to create 4 discs. Bake the discs and lengths for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven.
7. To assemble the cake, attach the bottom layer of the cake to a platter with some Chocolate mousse. Place 1 cup of the mousse on the disc and smooth out with a palate knife. Repeat with the remaining mousse and meringue until you have 4 layers. Coat the entire cake with the remaining mousse.
8. Break up the meringue lengths, none shorter than the height of the cake. Sprinkle with extra cocoa and arrange around the side of the cake.
9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set the mousse.

Chocolate mousse

250g 70% cocoa chocolate
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
4 egg yolks
6 eggs whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup caster sugar

1. To make the chocolate mousse place the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and gently stir until melted.  Remove the bowl from the heat and gently mix the butter through the chocolate a few pieces at a time until it is incorporated.
2. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well.
3. Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tarter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
4. Using a spatula, gently fold the meringue through the chocolate mixture a 1/3 at a time. Use as required.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pavlova Bark
This is a variation of TFD’S Hazelnut Concorde cake.  A great dessert to put in the middle of the table and share with friends this Easter.
Serves 8-10

• 1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa
5 egg whites, at room temperature
a pinch salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ¼ cups caster sugar
¼ cup hazelnut meal
1 qty chocolate mousse
1 x 300ml double cream, lightly whipped
½ cup roughly chopped, roasted hazelnuts

1. Preheat oven to 100C (200F). Sift the corn flour and cocoa together and set aside.
2. Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, a little at a time, until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
3. Using a spatula gently fold the sifted corn flour and cocoa through the egg whites until just combined.
4. Using a palate knife spread the meringue into a rectangle 30cm x 40cm on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with the hazelnut meal. Bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow to cool in the oven.
5. To assemble gently place the meringue onto a large serving board and spread with the chocolate mousse, double cream and roughly chopped hazelnuts. 
Serve in the center of the table with a pile of spoons.

Chocolate mousse

125g 70% cocoa chocolate
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons caster sugar

1. To make the chocolate mousse, place the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and gently stir until melted.  Remove the bowl from the heat and gently mix the butter through the chocolate a few pieces at a time until it is incorporated.
2. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well.
3. Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tarter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved.
4. Using a spatula, gently fold the meringue through the chocolate mixture a 1/3 at a time. Use as required.

Chocolate Mousse Pots with Fresh Raspberries and Choc Hazelnut Meringue Bites
 A variation of TFD’s Concord cake and Chocolate hazelnut bark this makes another yummy dessert.

• Use the Chocolate hazelnut pavlova bark quantities for this recipe. Place tablespoonsful of the chocolate meringue onto baking trays, sprinkle with hazelnut meal and bake as you would the pavlova bark. Then, set little pots of mousse in the refrigerator. Once set, top them with fresh raspberries and serve with choc, hazelnut meringues bites.

Recipea: Sally Courtney.