Roasted Lamb Backstrap with Beetroot Jue

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I had a school assignment to do involving food tech, we had to cook one thing of our choice in under 100 minutes. I decided to cook this, roasted lamb backstrap with carrots, asparagus, parsnip puree and a beetroot jue. Now I know you might be wondering what a beetroot jue is, so I’ll tell you. A normal jue is stock and usually red wine reduced down to 1/10 of the original volume, but we weren’t allowed to cook with alcohol on school grounds, so I used beetroot juice instead.

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When you add the beetroot juice to the stock and reduce it down, it concentrates not only the flavour but the colour to. It has a dark, vibrant purple-ly red colour after being reduced, and the flavour bursts in your mouth. When you pair the slight sweetness and earthy flavour of the beetroot with the strong saltiness of the stock you get an amazingly complex flavour, yet only using two simple ingredients. To make the beetroot jus, you just add two diced beetroots to 1 cup of beef or lamb stock. That’s it! Pair it up with any red meat for a stunning sauce.

Epic Pecan Caramel Chocolate Milkshake


So just bask with me for a moment in the glory that is this milkshake…

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Seriously, how good looking is my afternoon tea? Salted caramel sauce and chocolate ganache mixed with icy milk, topped with whipped cream, cake crumbs, pecans, meringue kiss and more salted caramel and chocolate ganache- what more could you need?


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There isn’t really a method (or measured ingredients) to this madness, just layer it up and enjoy! Or, if you can, head to Canberra and get a Freakshake, which this is inspired by. So much excessiveness…. and deliciousness….a cream… and caramel…. I think I need another one!


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Cronuts!!!!

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Well this post has taken me a while, but I’m finally here to tell you how awesome cronuts are! If you don’t know what cronuts are, they are a cross between a croissant and a donut. And they will make your heart stop. Literally. I’m not kidding. These babies are NOT good for you, buuuut….. so worth it for the taste!

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To demonstrate how not-good-for-you they are to the left is the butter block that you need to add to the already butter-filled dough to make the cronut dough. But look on the bright side, you only live once!

Yup, that is also butter oozing out of the resting cronuts too.

2015-05-30 16.04.29  I followed the Dominique Ansel recipe which meant 3 days of hard labour, but it is the original recipe, so I didn’t want to try any of the cheat versions. Above is the nutellla raspberry cronut. This filling wasn’t included in his extensive recipe, but was pretty simple. Just warm nutella piped into the centre and then melted chocolate and crushed frozen raspberries on top.

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Next was the whipped lemon filling, icing and sugar that was included in the instructions. Mum said this was the best. I preferred the next one though which is….
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Apple Pecan Pie!!!!!!!!!! This one was made with a cinnamon pastry cream, stewed apples and crushed pecans. So much deliciousness!

2015-05-30 15.36.38-1As you can see, these are not for the faint hearted. Or the weak hearted. Or anyone with underlying health problems. But they taste sooooooo good! Plus they make you messy and make you pull weird faces in pure joy because they are just rings of crunchy, sweet, tasty, sugary, rich, buttery, layered goodness.

Sirloin and Quail Egg Balsamic Salad

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While exploring the depths of Harris Farm one day, I came across some delicate, little quail eggs. I had tried a few different ways of cooking them, but I think they really were at their finest paired with this sirloin steak, salad and easy balsamic dressing. They have quite a rich flavour that balances with the bite of the balsamic vinegar.

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This is actually a very easy dish, with the only pressure point really being the quail eggs. You don’t need very long at all for these tiny eggs, but given that they are hard-boiled, it doesn’t really matter if you over cook them a little.

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Sirloin and Quail Egg Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

400g sirloin steak

8 quail eggs

2 large handfuls of rocket

4 radishes, thinly sliced

3-4 tbs of dukkah

4 tbs caramelised balsamic vinegar

2 tbs olive oil

salt and pepper

Method-

Put on a pot of water to boil. While that is coming to the boil, put the frypan on over high heat. Pat dry the steak and season with salt and pepper. Fry the steak to your liking (mine took about 3 minutes either side).  Once the steak is cooking, place the quail eggs in the water and cook for 1 minute. Remove after one minute and place in cold water to cool and help with making the shell easier to remove. Once the steak is cooked, set aside to rest for a few minutes while you get the salad and dressing together. Toss the rocket, radish and dukkah. Divide onto two plates. In another bowl combine the caramelised balsamic vinegar and oil. Remove the shell from the eggs, the easiest way is to give it a light tap with a spoon and peel the shell under running water. Slice the eggs in half. Place on top of salad. Slice steak and place on top and then drizzle with dressing.

Leek and Sweet Potato Creamy Pot Pie

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When the days start to get shorter and the nights get colder one of the best things is to tuck into a lovely, hot pie. This pie is super easy, quick to make and one of the richest, comforting pies I’ve ever had.

This pie has a flaky, buttery pie crust and lightly fried leeks, slightly smashed sweet potato and a rich creamy sauce. Imagine pairing this with the cool, late Autumn breeze on the back deck.

If you don’t have time to make the pastry (though I really recommend you try it when you do have time) you can just use regular puff pastry… if you have to.

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Leek and Sweet Potato Creamy Pot Pie

Makes 2

Ingredients-

1 tbs butter

4 baby leeks

1 sweet potato

1/2c apple cider

1/4c sour cream

1/4 tsp english mustard

1/2 batch of River Cottage Rough Puff Pastry

1 egg

Method-

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Boil sweet potatoes until soft. Lightly mash when cooked, but while they are cooking you can start on the leeks.

Finely chop baby leeks and fry them in frypan over medium heat until soft and slightly transparent. Remove from heat and put leeks in a separate bowl. Using the same pan, deglaze by adding apple cider. Once cider is simmering stir through the sour cream and mustard. Add the leeks back into the pan and turn heat to low.

Into 2 ramekins divide the leek sauce evenly between them. Add sweet potato evenly as well. Roll the rough puff pastry to desired thickness. Cut into rounds approx 2cm bigger than ramekins and lay over the top of the pie. Whisk the egg and brush over the top of pastry. Cook until pastry until golden and flaky, roughly 15 minutes.

Once they are cooked, put your feet up and enjoy.

That’s a lot of cupcakes….

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Not that long ago was one of the most important moments of my cooking life- my first paid cooking gig. The order was for 60 cupcakes for a surprise birthday party. It was hard work. It was epic. It was awesome. I made six flavours, They were-

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Spiced Maple                                        Not-so-normal Vanilla                         Chocolate Heart Attack

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M&M Surprise

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And Banana and Cream Cheese, Chocolate Funfetti and White Chocolate and Raspberry.

The night was amazing. Everyone was wonderfully kind with their compliments. And the cupcakes were gone pretty quickly, so I think they must have meant what they said.

Here’s to the first of many!