Blue cheese, caramelised pear and walnut salad

11 Apr

Photo by Paul Mcmahon Styling by Amanda Talbot

Preparation time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 4
Cost per person $3.63
Prices are based on woolworths.com.au Except cheese based on Formaggi Ocello

Ingredients:

  • Half a kilo of William Bartlet Pears peeled and cored segmented (Oxidizing the pears or letting them turn brown will enhance their sweetness)
  • 50-100g Blue Cheese Tarwin Blue
  • 100g Crushed toasted walnuts
  • A bag of Aussie salad mix
  • Half a punnet of heirloom tomatoes roughly chopped
  • Half a cup of Balsamic vinegar reduced by half
  • A generous dash of extra virgin olive oil
  • Directions:

    This is a very easy, yet extremely tasty salad. it carries on the pear theme I have been following. The combo of Blue cheese, pears and walnuts is fantastic. I strongly advise buying a nut cracker and filling a bowl with walnuts and placing it on your coffee table.
    A snack you will not regret Walnuts are the ultimate brain food stacked full of omega 3.

    Heat a pan up with a small knob of butter and a dash of olive oil. Place the pear segments in the pan and caramelize them, all you are doing is bringing the natural sugars to the surface. This is aided by a pinch of sugar also. Use this same pan to reduce your Balsamic vinegar for the salad dressing. Then simply all you have to do is combine the ingredients and then dress the salad how you like, seasoning to taste

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    Pear soup and blue cheese on walnut bread

    26 Mar

    Blue cheese
    Photo by Paul Mcmahon

    Preparation time: 1 hour for soup 3 hours for bread
    Total time: 4 hours
    Serves: 4
    Cost per person $2.96
    Prices are based on woolworths.com.au

    Ingredients:

  • 1kg William Bartlet Pears peeled and cored (Keep peels and cores for white stock and set aside one pear for garnish) Make sure the pears are in water with a dash of lemon juice to prevent them from oxidizing
  • 5 Peppercorns
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • a sprig of thyme
  • 2 tsp maldon sea salt
  • 4 tsp sour cream
  • 2 Crushed garlic cloves
  • 500ml water
  • Walnut bread

  • 250g Organic Wholemeal bread flour
  • 2tsp dried yeast
  • 2 tsp of caster sugar
  • 165ml of lukewarm water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tbs Olive oil
  • 50g of toasted walnuts
  • 100g Blue cheese (I used Goat Gorgonzola from Ocello, a beautifully rich Blue cheese)
  • Walnut bread, directions:

    Combine the yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm, draughtfree place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
    Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Add yeast mixture, oil and walnuts and mix to a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large oiled bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

    Kneed the dough down with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Shape into an 8 x 20cm log. Place log on a greased oven tray, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until almost doubled in size. Preheat oven to 200°C. Dust top of dough with flour. Use a sharp knife to cut 3 shallow diagonal slits on top of dough. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden-brown and base sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

    Pear soup, directions:

    First thing you need to do is make a white stock. This is done by place the roughly chopped shallots, peppercorns, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, pear cores, pear skins and the 500ml of water in a heavy based pot. Bring this mixture to the boil then simmer for at least 30mins to an hour to introduce the flavor of the vegetables to the water. Then pass mixture through a sieve to cover the chopped pears in a separate saucepan. Bring the pears and the stock to the boil until the pears soften, the blend.

    Serve the soup like I have with a slice of pan fried pear or a dollop of sour cream. Accompany the soup with a toasted slice of walnut bread with some of blue cheese crushed on the top. More pear inspired dishes to follow…

    Hot smoked trout salad and clove poached peaches

    17 Jan

    With poached peaches

    Peroni advised but not madatory


    Here is a simple salad which I love. Smoked trout is fantastic and is sustainable! Peaches are AWESOME in Australia at the moment sweet and just too good to resist. So for dessert, the quintessential poached peaches.

    Preparation time: 5 mins
    Total time: 5 mins
    Serves: 4
    Cost per person $5.00
    Prices are based on Woolworths

    Ingredients:

  • Hot smoked Trout
  • Salad veg

  • Half a bag of baby spinach beetroot salad mix
  • 6-8 small gherkins finely chopped
  • a punnet of cherry tomato’s
  • 1 small can of sweetcorn
  • Dressing

  • 4 tsp of cream of horseradish(spice it up and add extra)
  • 4 tsp sour cream
  • 2 tsp of finely chopped flat leaf Parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • yummm

    Use vodka or brandy to poach instead of wine

    Poached peaches

  • 4 peaches
  • 4 cloves
  • a glass of white wine
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tsp of sour cream to serve
  • Hot smoked trout salad, directions:

    A whole hot smoked trout has 4 fillets. Peel away the skin and using a fork in a downward motion to the fishes head strip the the flesh away from the bones. GENTLY so you do not get any bones in the flesh and set aside. Bring together all the salad components in a bowl mixing in the smoked trout and plate. Then in a small bowl roughly mix together the dressing and serve on the side.

    Clove poached peaches, directions:

    Poached peaches are too tasty and too easy. Use alcohol to poach the roughly sliced peaches, 1 glass of white wine is a good start to 1 glass of water. Use vodka or brandy in smaller ratios to increased water and play with spices. I used clove, but try cardamon or cinnamon. Place all the ingredients apart from the sour cream in a good pan, bring the contents to a boil then simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serve with a tsp of sour cream, mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    King of finger food

    11 Dec

    So I have been in Sydney for three weeks and I have set myself a target to become canapé king.
    Tell me what you think?

    A trilogy of smoked beetroot

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    Tuna tartar on sesame toast

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    Lime infused kingfish rice paper rolls

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    Mini black Angus burgers with blue cheese

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    Mini shish tawook Baba ghanoush pitta bites with a spicy tomato relish

    Thanks to Sami’s Kitchen spices www.samiskitchen.com20111211-190229.jpg

    Booza Lebanese ice cream petit fours with a cube of poached peach

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    Palmiers easy bickies

    28 Nov

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    Palmiers are an easy snack that you can make without any fuss or bother. Either savoury or sweet you can choose my favourite is just using brown sugar. Parmesan and a big dash of Tabasco is also a favourite.

    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes
    Serves 5 people 6 biscuits each
    $1.40 per head

    Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 lb puff pastry (1 sheet store bought rolled already if possible)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Directions:

    Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until it forms a paste. You do not have to use the butter but it acts as a good binding agent.

    Roll the pastry dough into a large rectangle, about 15-inches by 12-inches. Using a pastry brush or spoon, spread the cinnamon sugar paste in a thin, even layer over the dough. Starting at the long ends of the rectangle, loosely roll each side inward until they meet in the middle. To hold difficult pastry together, brush it with the egg, if needed.

    Slice the pastry crosswise into 1/4-inch palmiers – they’ll look like little scrolls – and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 12-15 minutes, until they puff and turn golden brown. Remove them from the baking sheet and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Head chef and good backing

    22 Nov

    I have just got to Australia and for me sydney and Melbourne are two of the worlds food capitals, why? The produce here will just simply blow your taste buds. All you have to do as a chef is embrace the quality you have at your disposal. I have got a job as a head chef for a wonderful Sydney company Cique, my boss Natascha is a virtuso of food and has an unrivalled thirst for food which I cant help but admire. I cooked for my proprietor David tonight lamb shank, chestnut puree and cramalized seasonal vegetables, mmmmmmm

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    Turnip talk and emigration

    9 Nov

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    I am emigrating to Australia and my stay in my beloved French home is coming to an end. I will not be blogging for a week or so.

    I thought I would leave you with an autumn winter revelation turnips. Peel off the outer skin which is bitter. Then use them in stews. Cut them up in quarters and blanche them in milk and use this milk plus turnips to make mash potatoes. Blanche them in milk and pour half the milk away and blend with a stick blender and serve with a medium rare steak and watercress dressed in olive oil. Cut into quarters and boil in a cup of water with a tablespoon of butter to serve as a side.

    Will be back soon…