Saturday, 9 February 2013

Real tomatoes, who knew right!

if you have never tried a organically grown fresh tomato, you haven't lived. sounds a bit horrible but its true, you simply haven't lived.

having your own garden allows for an amazing amount fun, but also produces som of the best vegies you will ever taste. and to be honest it couldn't be simpler. Summer is possibly the best tie of year for all things fresh and amazing, the best i think are tomatoes. i have planted a few different varieties, purple ball, cherry toms, ox heart. the first to come ripe and inviting are the cherrys, and wow are they amazing,

to put it simply, one of these little cherries is like eating a thousand of the commercial ones you can buy. they are so ful of flavour, to the point of tasting odd, not bad odd but strange enough for you to sit up and take notice. and when you sit back and think about it how sad will it be when kids dont even know what a real tomato tastes like? its hard enough with my own kid to get him to eat any vegies, but i want to make sure he knows what he should be tasting.

once you have these tomatoes in abundance, you will need to do something with them, and a simple salad with basil and fresh mozzarella will only do for so many so i have a really simple tomato chilli jam that will be amazing with frittatas, burgers or even just with chips. this recipe is so simple and lasts fantastically (well if you can stop eating it for long enough to allow it to last that is).


Cheats tomato chilli jam


300gm of tomatoes (any type, the riper the better)

50gm of palm sugar

30ml of red wine vinegar,

50ml of sweet chilli sauce


add all ingredients to a pan and slowly simmer until all the ingrediants have broken down and he come to a slightly thick glossy liquid, test it doneness but putting a plate in the freeser and when you think it is done drip some onto the plate and f it thickens and goes a bit jamy you know you have done it right.


and thats it! i know seems a bit simple, but the best things in life are simple, if it is too complicated we wouldn't do it right?


give this recipe a go, and lease pass it along to everyone you can think of, of and please mention the blog, all your comments make it worth it




Sunday, 27 January 2013

If you like animals... You'll love lamb

Yes I am aware it's a horrible thing to say, and I'm sure the writers of the hit uk tv show coupling was thinking the same thing but seriously it's so true.


In the effort to try and live closer to the land, one of the hardest things to do ins suburban environment is to have livestock, which really limits what you can do and what you can preserve and save money one, let alone the fact that if you buy meat from the supermarket, 2 lamb chops,out of the same packet could be from different beasts. So the next best thing... Buys a animal or half a full animal from a butcher and break it down yourself.

Obviously this is a bit of a leap for anyone who hasn't had any butchery skills, and by all means if you can find a good butcher, they will break down a side of a single beast for you into the cuts I have done but they will charge you do to so. Thankfully I have my chef training and a lot of years of working with meat behind me so it doesn't even seem that strange to have this amount of meat around me at one time, but it certainly can be daunting.

I got my side from a local butcher that usually sells sides of lamb and asked for it cut into three, shoulder and front leg, mid section and rump and back leg.

To do all this you will need a sharp boning knife and either a bone saw or a hack saw with a brand new blade, not the one you used to cut the plumbing pipe or the wood the other day, the cleaner you work the better you meat will be. I also used a vacuum sealing machine ( can be picked up for around $50 on eBay) and a hand mincer ( plebe don't make my mistake, if you are going to do this often please buy a electric mincer because lamb has a lot of sinew and will clog your mincer often)


The mid section is the easiest to get instant gratification from, without even trying you can get a beautiful 7-8 pin rack of lamb which would comfortable feed 2 people or one dry hungry person. Along with this their is a small fillet on the this inside of the rack, ribs which are amazing when marinated and grilled, and the back of the rack which makes amazing little chops for grilling or a fillet of lamb which is beautiful and tend with a lot of taste.


The front and back legs have the longer slower cooking parts of the animal and treated right can be the best, from the neck fillet which slow cooked with yoghurt, or the shoulder slow roasted, you can really go wrong. All of the cuts you get from a lamb can be either grilled quickly mor slowly cooked and get amazing results, probably with the exception of the rack and fillet with will probably go tough and tasteless if cooked for too long.


All in all I got a lot of meat off one side of lamb. 1 full leg of lamb, ready for the roast, a lamb rumb, fillet, 7 pin rack, lamb ribs ( currently sitting in a honey and soy marinade ready for the BBQ), a boned shoulder, shank and about a kilo of mince. All together. The lamb cost be $52 and about 1 hour of time breaking it down, and. When I checked out the supermarket to buy the same amount probably would have cost about 120-130 without a problem.

Ultimately this was a great thing to do, not only do I know. That the meat I have has. Been butchered well but the cost savings alone make it worth doing this time and time again. Once I. Have a bigger freezer I will attempt a pig and a cow but for now a single side of lamb won't break the bank and will only fill about half of a small domestic freezer.


Please get in touch if you want guidance in breaking down a lamb or if you have another guidance for anyone getting into breaking down a lamb or other bet for the first time.


Cheers and happy eating!


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Preserved lemons the quick way

So last year my preserved lemons were fantastic, and I used them all year round in fish dishes, risottos, and an array of other dishes, in fact it started to become a part of every dish like salt and pepper is.


This year, I decided to take a slightly more high tech approach to making my preserved lemons and have used my vacuum sealer to get my lemons moving along a bit quicker. Yet to see if it will work any better, but I'm hoping that within a few weeks these lemons will be ready to go.

In researching for this modern turn on preserves, I looked at a lot of ready on preserving and even on other people sous vide preserved lemons, and out if it all I came out of it with 2 opinions. 1. Preserving is a ancient way of keeping food for all year round, getting food that is in season and making it last. 2. If you want to preserve and take the form into the 21st century ( I think we are still in the 21st century aren't we?) then you have to stick with the same principles but using with equipment we have now to make things quicker and easier.

I did come across a couple of sous vide copes with include cooking the lemons in a water bath, and as much as I respect these writers i don't think we should be cooking the lemons to get a result, otherwise we may as well confit the lemons rather then using the older preserving methods.

With all that said here's what I did.

  • Cut 2 lemons into quarters.
  • Cover both the cut sides with kosher salt and place them into a vacuum bag
  • Seal completely and one sealed slightly press on the lemons to release some of the juice out of the lemons
  • Store these in a dark cool place for at least a month, or in the fridge for about 2 months.


As I said this is a experimental recipe, and if you have tried something like this before please let me ow how you went, in a few weeks time I'll get my preserved lemons out for their first test spin


Let me know how you go with it!




Yesterday... All most posts seemed so far away

So I ow it has been a while since my last post, unfortunately between moving to a new city and having Christmas it has taken me a while to get some good content to share with you all.


Fortunately for you i have also gotten some new toys and a lot more time to spend working on my creations


This being said, please get in touch with me with any ideas or feedback and hopefully i can get you the content and the recipes you want to see.




Monday, 8 October 2012

Cultured French butter, unpredictable yet so special

The butter we get here in Australia is nice, good flavour and good consistency. Not to mention great to,cook with, but the traditional,cultured butter of France and the old days, is the most splendid of things and the simplest thing to make with the main ingredients being patience and cream.

They key to good butter is great cream, and the fresher the better so if you have a local dairy or a farmer who will part with some of their liquid gold always go for that option, but, if like me, you are just starting out and want to give it a try, then get single cream ( unthickened with no additives) from the supermarket along with some natural yoghurt

To make 250 gms of butter you will need

  • 500ml single cream
  • 2 tbsp of natural live yoghurt ( or buttermilk from a previous batch)
Now the first part is simply about time and sterilisation. I use a jar with a clasp on it for convenience but you can really use any container that will hold all the cream you want to turn to butter. Make sure you sterilise this properly. I use the Milton sterilisation tablets and some cold water to rinse it out afterwards. This part is really important because you need a clean place for good bacteria to grow.

Next add your cream and yoghurt to you container and stir so it is combined properly, then close the lid and leave at room temp (approx 20 degrees c) for 12 hours. In this time the bacteria will grow and slightly thicken and sour the cream, don't worry this is what we want because is will give your butter all it's flavour.

Pour all this cream into either a buttern churn or a mixer with a paddle. I have the advantage of a mixer with a cream whipping attachment, it's very fast but doesn't allow a lot of buttermilk to come out while it is churning. Either way on slow allow this to churn, it will first turn to whipped cream, then as the butter fat particles start to group together it will start to turn yellow and then you will notice it will split, continue to mix until the butter clumps together.

Put all of this into a bowl and drain all the buttermilk into a sterilised jar and keep for making the next lot of butter, or buttermilk scones.

Chill the mix and once cold start to compress and get rid of all the buttermilk out of the butter.

Keep cool and it will last in your fridge for about a week... If it lasts that long!

Have fun!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Desserts, everything is sweet

Not being a masterchef fan, the idea of sharing something i found on a masterchef contestants blog is hard for me. But here i am.

Kylie Millar was a contestant in the 2012 Masterchef Australia and her desserts and her passion for them is intoxicating, And its great to see that she has continued ofter the show to meet and work with some of my favourite chefs from all around australia

But looking at her work i am absolutely amazed at the quality and i wish i had the patience and the skill in pastry as she does, Dont get me wrong i can make pastry but as a chef i have always been the one slinging the pans and working the grill.... or yelling the orders and making the decisions... But Dessert.... yeah it aint my strong suit.

Please check out her Article at and show her some support on twitter @kyliejmillar


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Marscapone.... Why have a bought you all these years

I am a sucker for marscapone cheese ( yes it is a cheese) and for years I have bought it for different uses, the most popular of which is tiramisu. BUT NO MORE.

I recently come into possession of a book explaining just how easy marscapone was to make and although I was a but sceptical to say the least I gave it a crack and can I say.... WOW! Not only was it simple it took no time and the results are incredible. It has a beautiful consistency and the flavour is rich with a slight tart note.

So onto how to do it! And the best part is you need nothing fancy except a digital thermometer and even then you don't really need it you can tell the cream is at temperature when it is starting to steam and just before it starts to boil but it is always nice to be precise.

To make enough for yourself make this single recipe it will make about 450gm worth, and you can always multiply the recipe depending on how much you are going to need, if using in another recipe start this one 24 hours before to give the marscapone time to set.

What you will need

500ml single pure cream, make sure that if you buy it from the supermarket it is pure cream and doesn't have any thickeners or other additives.

1/2 tsp of white vinegar ( I used white wine vinegar one time but if ound the flavour really lingered and wasn't really good for desserts but was fine in savoury dishes.)


Heat your cream over a double boiler to 92 degrees C.

Add your vinegar and stir for a minute to make sure it is all combined

The cream will start to slightly separate and curdle, it may not be totally noticeable but the cream should thicken to a coating consistency ( that's where it coats the back of the spoon/spatula evenly and doesn't run off... Check out the pic below.)

Take off threat and allow to cool for 20 mins.

Strain through cheese cloth, or if cheese cloth is unavailable I use clean chux dish cloths ( make sure they are new and not that manky one that has been on the sink for the last 2 months)

Place in the fridge overnight to drain over a bowl.

Once strained place in airtight container and use within 3 days



If you want to make vanilla marscapone add a scrapped vanilla bean to the mix while bringing the cream up to temperature, and remove the bean before adding the vinegar.


Now I know what your thinking... ARE YOU SERIOUS... Yes I am it really is that simple

I used it in a dish of peas, speck, chicken leek and pasta tho their night and it was superb! Have made tiramisu with it yet, but once I do I will let you know how it goes.

Try it and let me know how you go or what you make with it! Happy to share people recipes on here for everyone to try!

Until next time!