Eat & Drink with Tatyana Leonov

DRIVEN

Issue 1 2014

 

Get to know Curtis stone

This Aussie chef, bestselling author and TV personality released his fifth cookbook, What’s for Dinner?: Recipes for a Busy Life, in April

My favourite food in the world is my mum’s roast pork dinner with crackling. It tastes so damn good and reminds me of family dinners. My favourite dish to make at the moment would have to be my caramel pot de crème from my latest cookbook What’s For Dinner? because it makes everyone smile. My cooking philosophy is to cook as Mother Nature intended and treat ingredients simply. Mother Nature did such a fine job why tamper with her good work? When I’m in Australia I love to eat at so many places! Australia is brimming with interesting restaurants, but my favourite place would have to be my mum’s place! I’m inspired by Marco Pierre White. He was my mentor for so many years and really shaped my appreciation for French cuisine – and taught me so much! The one dish I can’t live without is a spring lamb roast. I miss Aussie lamb! You’d be surprised to find ice cubes laced with summer berries in my freezer. The culinary tool everyone needs is a good knife. You don’t need a selection of 20, just a nice sharp chef’s knife and a solid chopping board and you’re halfway there. For fun I get out in my veggie garden with my son Hudson and our golden retriever. curtisstone.com

Curtis Stone’s Asian crab cakes with mango chutney

• serves 6 • Prep time: 45 minutes • Cooking time: 15 minutes • make-ahead: The chutney can be made up to one week ahead. Up to step 3, the crab cakes can be made up to 8 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated.

INGREDIENTS

Mango chutney

• 1⁄2 cup sugar • mango, pitted, peeled, and cut into 5mm dice • 1⁄4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice • sea salt

Crab cakes

• 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise • 1 large egg • 2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil • 1-2 teaspoons seeded and finely chopped medium red chilli • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt • Finely grated zest of 1 lime • 1⁄4 cup finely chopped spring onions, whiteand green parts • 500g crabmeat, picked over for cartilageand shells, well drained • 11⁄2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs) • 6 tablespoons canola oil • 60g unsalted butter • 1⁄2 Lebanese cucumber, sliced into thinrounds, and then into matchstick-size strips • Fresh coriander sprigs, for garnish • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur desel, for garnish

METHOD

1. To make the chutney: Heat a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and cook without stirring, tilting the pan as needed so that the sugar cooks evenly for about 5 minutes or until it melts into an amber caramel. Do not stir or the caramel will crystallise. Remove from heat and stir in the mango (the caramel will seize), then the rice vinegar and lime juice. Return to medium heat and stir constantly for about 5 minutes, or until the mango is translucent and the caramel is dissolved and syrupy. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Season with salt.

2. To prepare the crab cakes: In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, egg, fish sauce, ginger, coriander, sesame oil, chilli, salt, and lime zest together, then whisk in the spring onions. Add the crabmeat and stir to coat, breaking it apart coarsely to leave small whole chunks in the mixture. Fold in the panko. Cover and refrigerate the crab mixture for 30 minutes so that the mixture is easier to form. Using about 1/3 cup of the crab mixture for each cake, shape into 12 x 2cm-thick crab cakes and place on a baking tray.

3. To cook the crab cakes: Preheat the oven to 95°C/75°C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with paper towels. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the canola oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter and heat until hot but not smoking. Working in 2 batches, fry 6 crab cakes for about 2 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden, adjusting the heat as needed to brown evenly without scorching. Transfer to the baking tray and keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the pan with paper towels and repeat with the remaining canola oil, butter, and 6 crab cakes.

4. To serve: Place 2 crab cakes on each plate. Spoon some mango chutney over and beside crab cakes. Top each with the cucumber and garnish with the coriander sprigs and sea salt.

 

Sydney goes Greek

Peter Conistis has flowed in and out of Sydney’s restaurant scene for years. This year he is back... with a bang – a deliciously decadent bang of all good things Greek

Alpha

The white glass sliding doors to Peter Conistis’ most recent endeavour transports you back to Athens, where tradition meets contemporary: ancient text carved into a large ruin-like wall, airy white high ceilings and soft glowing lights. The Hellenic site houses a mezze bar, a casual restaurant and food store surrounded by village-inspired installations. Cooking alongside his mother, Peter’s culinary passion has existed in Sydney for 20 years with Civic Dining, the two-hatted Omega, Cosmos, and Eleni’s restaurant – now with the $4 million Alpha establishment and plans to further expand his Grecian empire. Greek cocktails are available with a selection of wines from Australia and various regions of Hellas with your mezze and home cooked pita starters. The spanakopita, dolmades and Greek-spiced slow-roasted lamb shoulder are the traditional favourites from the mezzanine kitchen. And a ‘vintage’ section offers the signature moussaka, silky layers of eggplant, cream with seared scallops along with the rabbit and black olive pie. Contemporary dishes are sure to intrigue; an ouzo-cured ocean trout, the mastic-spiced quail fetta watermelon salad and the loukoumades, a Greek spiced honey syrup doughnut ball served with candied walnut ice-cream. Good wholesome Greek food, kali orexi! alpharestaurant.com.au

Anatoli at the Eastern

Matt Fitzgerald, head chef at Sydney’s Anatoli, doesn’t look like your typical Greek chef but he does put a mean Greek meal together. He shares (some) of his secrets with DRIVEN

What inspired the menu? For Anatoli’s menu, I started with the fantastic produce available in Australia, then gathered ideas and inspiration from the diverse produce of Greece and its cuisine to create what we call a modern Greek-inspired menu.

What does true Greek dining mean to you? Sharing! It’s the Greek way to have plenty of dishes and share them with family, friends and guests while enjoying each other’s company and a few wines or ouzo! Are there any traditional Greek cooking methods used in the Anatoli kitchen? I spent countless hours researching Greek cuisine and putting what I learnt into practice by getting into the kitchen with two generations of Greek families. I certainly picked up some family secrets along the way. When the meals were designed, what factors were taken into account? We are utilising the flavours and ingredients of Greece to come up with dishes, not just reworking old Greek dishes that everyone knows. We are trying to be much more original in what we do, rather than follow the traditional route, and offer something Sydney hasn’t experienced before.

What is your favourite food region in Greece? I would have to say Crete as it has an abundance of produce from the land and sea, as well as some fantastic wines.

What’s your favourite dish on the menu? The lamb belly with sumac, mustard and roast walnuts is very tasty and it’s a cut of meat you don’t see too often on menus. I also love the roast sardines.

What inspired the open pastry kitchen? It all came down to space; our savoury kitchen is small as it is and utilising that lovely large bar in the centre of the restaurant to fit in a pastry area was a sensible choice. We do all our desserts, bread for the taramasalata and our Greek-inspired petit fours there. theeastern.com.au/anatoli

 

Surf n’ Turf

Surrounded by the ocean, it’s no wonder restaurants all around the Australian coastline serve scrumptious fish straight out of the sea. Australian beef is also world renowned. Here, two restaurants that serve up the best of land and sea

For seafood: Flanagans Dining Room in Thirroul, NSW

Summer is here, and the spot to be for dinner? Overlooking the beach – of course. Located on the stunning shoreline of Thirroul Beach in NSW, Flanagans Dining Room offers unspoiled views over the Tasman Sea. The setting is the ideal backdrop for the restaurant’s fresh and simple philosophy that utilises the best wild-caught seafood and locally-sourced produce. This focus on using seasonal ingredients means no two days at Flanagans are the same, so exploring the menu is fun each and every time. Head chef Arman Uz sources his seafood daily from the surrounding Wollongong coast, making the menu replete with a broad variety of wild fish such as bonito, leather jacket and John Dory. “I don’t order, I choose to pick up our seafood every morning, just after it comes off the boat. I never know the menu for the day until I see what has been caught that morning,” Arman says. “Usually John Dory, yellow tail kingfish, snapper, yellow fin tuna, bream, rock cod, monkfish, garfish, squid, mullet and leather jacket are common, but it changes daily. What remains constant is the short time from ocean to the plate.” Arman combines training in his Turkish homeland and renowned Sydney restaurant, Efendy, to add a contemporary Middle Eastern and Mediterranean touch to the menu – but lets the freshness of the produce speak for itself, concentrating on simple and classic flavours. His signature dishes include pickled and grilled bonito with mustard cress and pinenuts; confit leg and roasted breast of guineafowl with fava bean puree and shimeji mushrooms; and an adaptation of Turkish street food called octopus kokorech. Must-try dish: There’s nothing quite like fresh grilled fish (catch of the day of course). So seductively simple it’s celestial. flanagansdiningroom.com.au

For steak: Steakhouse ‘98’ in Rockhampton, Queensland

Rockhampton is known as the beef capital of Australia, mainly because of the sheer concentration of cattle within the area – Australia has between 26 to 28 million head of cattle across the country, with Rockhampton sitting at approximately four to five million of that. The region is covered in prime cattle-raising pasture and, better still, produces some of the most beautiful tasting and tender beef of any area in Australia. The place to get the best steak? Steakhouse ‘98’ is Rockhampton’s signature steakhouse – here the meat comes super tender and succulent. Doogan O’Hanlon, owner and passionate beef eater, says, “while we source a lot of beef locally and also from other leading Australian beef producing areas, we have a tenderisation process and precise ageing time for all of our beef to go through before we will let it hit our char grill. This process then ensures us to consistently produce succulent, juicy tasting steak for the diner.” What’s the process we hear you ask? “All of our beef is wet-aged vacuum-sealed for a minimum of six weeks. This breaks down the structural proteins within the muscle tissue, 70 per cent of the breakdown occurs within the first 10 days of this process and then the optimum time is from the six- week mark.” Must-try dish: ‘Teys Gold’ eye fillet. “It’s a local eye fillet and it is just sensational,” says Doogan... in between bites. 98.com.au/restaurant.htm

 

5 minutes with Ruth Gallace from Rebello

Ruth Gallace and her husband Matt started boutique winery and cider house Rebello some eight years ago, making fruit wines using berries from the family farm on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Two years ago they moved to cider, producing Australia’s first 100 per cent real fruit-blended cider, Cheeky Rascal, and experienced such phenomenal success that the trial run sold out before production even finished. They have since won a string of accolades, both nationally and internationally. We chat to Ruth about their success

What inspired you to start Rebello? Matt’s parents own one of the largest strawberry farms in Australia, Sunny Ridge, and a lot of product is simply not suitable for supermarkets or wholesale markets due to it being out of shape or slightly bruised. We wanted to find a use for that fruit and, being situated on the Mornington Peninsula, we saw wine as a really viable option. At the time, a lot of the fruit wine made in Australia was of poor quality so we saw this as an opportunity to set the standard in quality fruit wines in this country.

How did the name Rebello come about? Rebello is a play on the Italian word for rebel. Matt’s grandfather came to Australia from Italy some three decades ago and bought land on the Mornington Peninsula where he planted fruit trees. On a holiday, his son Mick thought the land would be better suited to strawberries and pulled the trees and replanted the land with strawberries, and Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm was born. We wanted to reflect that sense of rebel in the family and our own move to break away from the family business and do something completely different – while still respecting the traditional winemaking techniques handed down over generations.

Why did you decide to move into ciders? Cider started gaining a cult following in 2010 but there weren’t any 100 per cent real fruit- blended ciders in Australia. We decided to change that! The first ciders we made were apple and strawberry apple. The popularity of our ciders has taken us all by surprise, and we’ve continued to evolve the range to now include seven new varietals never attempted before, which are based purely on consumer feedback.

Tell us about the pairing of your wines and ciders with food. Our products extend from sparkling fruit wines made with 100 per cent real strawberries, to ciders made from different varieties of apple and berries, depending on the season. We don’t use additives, flavourings or concentrates in our products. Our most successful sparkling ‘Strawbellini’ [the only Australian sparkling to be awarded a double gold medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition along with France’s renowned Veuve Clicquot and America’s Piper Sonoma] is perfect when served alongside smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Or for a real indulgence try it with some of Sunny Ridge’s freeze-dried chocolate-coated strawberries. Our products are just as good paired with decadent dishes such as confit duck ravioli in buerre noisette with mixed leaves, fresh pomegranate and apple cider vinaigrette; finished off with Strawberry Port infused Stilton cheese... or simply with your favourite roast.

What other products have you launched? Our most recent product is Cheeky Little Batch – artisan batches of cider made with victorian heritage kingston black and Dabinett cider apples, some wild yeast and an oak barrel ferment – which was paired perfectly most recently at the Brunswick Street Cider House in Melbourne with German-inspired succulent pork belly roast.

Are people able to visit your cellar door or is it all online? We have a cellar door at Sunny Ridge Strawberry farm, as well as online.

What’s next for Rebello? In November, we will release a Methode Cider, which is an alternative to sparkling wine or Champagne. It’s made using 100 per cent local granny smith apples, with only 1000 bottles to be initially produced. And we are extending our products to more independent outlets across Australia and are looking at export markets particularly in South East Asia. rebellowines.com.au