Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The festive season only means one thing for the hospitality industry: rampage.

It's based on the 'cause and effect' theory; people want to celebrate, and we are here to accommodate! How we manage to feed over 2500+ people a week in a table-clothed restaurant is beyond me; but we manage to keep a relatively high level of quality, because the turnover of food is so fast that everything is fresh! - It's because no matter how much food we seem to order, it never seems quite enough to feed you lot! I laugh when I see the 30 boxes of vegetables, 15 boxes of meat and ducks, 6 body-length Styrofoam boxes of fish that come in - then try to fit it all in a coolroom barely the size of my bathroom!

I'll tweet a photo of it soon, but imagine playing a game of Tetris... and you are losing.

But at the end of the day, as long as you are happy with your food and your experience at the restaurant I work at; I don't mind the ridiculous roster and hours. Just as long as someone doesn't forget that I also need a good feed and lots of good booze this time of year.

Here's a pic of some pork belly I've been experimenting with during the season (trying to perfect my recipe):

Mmmm new improved crispier skin w/ seared Hokkaido scallops

Brined belly from a suckling pig, marinated with sechuan peppercorns and boiled, then coloured on the grill

Sunday, November 29, 2009

For Charity

The festive season in a successful commercial kitchen does not allow for basic human necessities like sleep and a half descent staff meal (hence very short-tempered chefs; who still have to feed the mass hoarde of hungry customers - 270 in 3 hours), making Mondays and Tuesdays seem like Fridays and the weekend to feel like about the 3rd or 4th layer of hell (bearable, but cannot be survived without screaming) I did however found some time to cook with love; giving out some soup at my local church to support a missionary.

Of course, as a proud chef, it can't be just any soup:

Roasted Garlic soup & almond soup w shredded white chicken, blood orange and herb salad

This dish is fairly simple, but very fiddly, having 3 parts: soup, chicken and salad.

8 whole garlic bulbs
1 white onion, finely diced
1L chicken stock
270mL thickened cream
1 ciabatta loaf
large handful of slithered almonds

Roast the garlic in a 200 degree oven for 30 mins, or until the cloves are soft enough to squeeze out the insides. Meanwhile, sweat the onion in some olive oil for a couple of minutes (don't forget: season!), then add the stock and the cream. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Tear out the insides of the ciabatta and toss it in. When the garlic is ready, squeeze out the insides straight into the pot, add in the almonds, then blitz with a hand blender.

White shredded chicken:
2 chicken breast fillets
3 coriander root
2 large knobs ginger
3 shallots, white only
1L water

Bring water, coriander root, ginger, shallot whites and a handful of salt to the boil. Reduce to simmer and in with the chicken - 7 minutes; check if it cooked by making an incision in the fattest part of the breast, if yes, shock in ice water. The leftover liquid can be used to make awesome chicken soup.

Shred the chicken, making sure to tear it along the fibres, not tearing through them. You'll see what I mean when you start shredding. If you need a video demonstration let me know.

Blood orange, coriander, mint, salad:
Segment the blood oranges, pick and wash the coriander (lots of dirt in these things), pick the mint. Mix some of the orange juice with olive oil and whisk to dress the salad.

Serve the whole thing hot or cold. Good either way.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to work to feed the next wave of guests.

Monday, November 9, 2009

scallop boudin recipe

Scallop Boudin w/ pea puree; salmon roe

You may or may not have seen this on the menu at Manu Fiedel's L'etoile bistro in Paddington; but a French head chef taught me how to make this long before it appeared on any menu in Sydney!

I would like to share with you the recipe:

500g FRESH scallop meat (roe off)
300g cream
3 egg whites
handful of chives
salt to taste (read method)

Blend the scallops, then pulse in the 300g cream, egg whites and a teaspoon of salt- Be careful not to overblend it, creating bubbles! Bubbles = no good. At the same time, make sure all the ingredients are well combined (you'll end up with a white paste-like consistency).

Fold in the chives.

Put a small amount in the microwave for 10secs, to test whether there's enough salt in the mix, adjust salt in mix as necessary.

Wrap up about 5 tablespoons of mix in glad wrap;
then wrap that over with cling film, ending up with a christmas cracker looking thing.

Poach in simmering water for 15 mins.

Slowly remove the sexy thing out of it's shell, then serve with:

- Blue swimmer crab miso soup
- Cauliflower puree or soup, salmon roe, truffle oil
- pea puree
- (how Manu does it) a bisque or crustacean jus
- Parsley risotto, fried garlic/eschallots
- Let your imagination go wild

Hope you can use this simple but elegant dish for your next dinner party ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Exclusive Look

All the bosses weren't around so I snuck in a couple of happy snaps in the kitchen:

3 pots of milk/cream heating up to make anglaise; all at one time! Ultimate multitasking: Ice cream, cardamon anglaise and a creme patissierre

No wastage: every part of any ingredient can be used

Breakfast from a chef mate next door (adjacent restaurant): French toast and crepe with fresh fruit and berries; whipped cream and maple syrup - even the staff meal looks classy!

Our breakfast: Korean pancakes! as the Koreans say: mmm yeeaaamm

Hmm this mix is on it's last days...

But as long as no one is going to shit themselves it's ok... just don't give any to me to eat O.o

This is how clean I like to keep my section: if you don't like it that your food takes an extra minute to arrive because I'm wiping down and don't want to work in a dirty, chaotic warzone (and your food to be made in one) - go to macdonalds.