Three Dishes from one Black Truffle

  • POSTED ON 06 Jun 2016

Truffle season has arrived!  These fragrant little beauties are available on pre-order now. 

It's truffle season from now until the end of July. We have secured a source of first class West Australian Manjimup black truffles with that fabulous strong aroma and flavour that we love. Individual black truffles starting from 25g are available on order now.

Begin planning your menu with a few tips from Mark on how to create three delicious dishes from one humble truffle.

  • Step 1: When your truffle arrives, carefully store it with a dozen free range eggs to infuse over two days.
  • Step 2: Next, bury your truffle in 1kg of quality Italian arborio rice to further capture the earthy aromas and flavours.
  • Step 3: Start cooking! For breakfast, poach or scramble your ‘truffled’ eggs and serve with grilled asparagus and shaved truffle pecorino. Then invite your friends for the ultimate three course truffle dinner. Start with a classic truffle pecorino risotto with a drizzle of white truffle oil. Follow with grilled scallops or beef carpacio with truffle shavings.  For mains, truffle roasted chicken maryland with truffle oil mash. Too much truffle... never!

For the love of Butter!

  • POSTED ON 30 Sep 2013

It's no secret we love really good butter, particularly when it's Lescure butter. And while you might think it can't get any better than a smear of this creamy goodness from the French cows in Poitou on fresh bread, trust us it can...

Particularly when you add herbs and garlic into the mix. Below you'll find a recipe for the most amazing savoury butter.... slather it on fish or meat after grilling,  mix through pasta, mash some through potatoes, spread on your morning toast and have it with eggs. The options are endless and once you've started making it you will not go back! Try working in other flavours too. Enjoy! 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 x 250 gram block of Lescure Salted Butter
  • 1 x peeled garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped mint
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice

Method

  1. Combine everything in a food processor (or blender) and blend away.

 Note - wrap your unused butter in clingwrap or baking paper and store in the fridge.

You can pick up Lescure butter from either our Milton or Spring Hill premises.

A Sunday Salad

  • POSTED ON 02 Sep 2013

 

So simple! And a beautiful Spring time salad to serve for weekend lunch. This references a traditional Nicoise style recipe, but omits the anchovies, which would be overpowering as this is designed to be passed alongside baked or poached salmon fillets.  A little mayonnaise with the fish also adds to the plate.

Ingredients

  • 10 chat potatoes
  • 200g green beans, topped & tailed
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 soft-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 2 tbs each of basil and flat leaf parsley, chopped.

Method

  1. Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling, salted water for 10 - 12 minutes until tender. 
  2. Add the beans to blanch for the last minute of cooking. 
  3. Drain the vegetables, and refresh the beans in iced water.
  4. Halve the potatoes.
  5. In a jar shake to combine the garlic, mustard, vinegar and oil.
  6. On a large serving plate, begin by creating a layer of the watercress, then scatter with a third of the potatoes, tomatoes, and green beans. Repeat three times, and on the final layer, scatter over olives, soft boiled eggs and herbs. Drizzle with the dressing before serving.
  7. Beautiful when served alongside baked salmon fillets, and perhaps some mayonnaise.

Kalamata olives and a variety of white wine vinegars and olive oils available from both Spring Hill and Milton. 

Cold Keepsakes

  • POSTED ON 21 Aug 2013

It pays to keep the freezer filled, particularly when dinner is drawing close and you haven't a clue what to serve, or what you can actually serve with what's on hand. Here are 5 of our favourites products to keep in the freezer, that transform easily into a great and delicious meal.

1. Chorizo = tortilla

These freeze really well, and when defrosted and  combined with eggs, cheese and potatoes (chances are you've got them on hand already!) a beautiful Spanish style omlette awaits. A little alioli on the side never goes astray. We like this recipe c/o Gourmet Traveller

2.  Crepes = crepes.

An easy transformation, and you can get a little creative come filling time... Either cook defrosted or frozen crepes in an oiled pan, and add your toppings, be it a fried egg with a little ham, or perhaps salmon and goats cheese?

3.  Tortellini = Tortellini en brodo

So so simple and incredibly delicious, it translates to tortellini in broth, and is one beautiful soup, particularly when feeling a little lacklustre. Heat up a saucepan of good stock, and then cook the tortellini within. Ladle into bowls, and great parmesan atop.

4.  Ravioli = burnt butter sauce

Could butter get any better? Yes, that's when it's cooked just before it turns brown. Add chopped up nuts, raisins or fresh herb leaves, before tossing through freshly cooked ravioli. 

5.  Pastry = quiche lorraine

Careme are the best pre-made pastry products on the market! They save so much time and keep in the freezer incredibly well, so provided you've eggs, cream and bacon on hand, a quiche lorraine is but 30ish minutes away.

All of these products are available from our Milton store, and you can pick up some from Spring Hill. If you've got something you love to keep on hand in the fridge or freezer, that transforms into something delicious, we'd love to hear. 

Quick and Easy Pastas

  • POSTED ON 30 Jul 2013

We're keeping it "simple stupid" and looking at three pasta dishes you can get on the table well under twenty minutes. They're ideal for a mid week dinner or when guests pop in for a drink... which then turns into dinner... 

The ingredients used in these dishes are ones you'd generally find in your pantry or somewhere in the fridge. We've shone the spotlight on some of our favourite products to keep on hand... starting with a good base - the pasta! Pastificio Venturino is the best dried pasta on the market (in our opinion!), with many shapes and sizes available. 

#1 Puttanesca 

Admittedly, 'puttana' in Italian means whore, and reportedly this southern style dish gets its name as it's 'quick and easy' to put on the table. Common pantry items, olives, anchovies, capers and tinned tomatoes, combine to create a beautiful, somewhat slightly, chilli spiked sauce. We think this recipe c/o Nigella Lawson is true to origin but we'd stick with the chill flakes over the jalapenos (that said, if there's no chill on hand, by all means!). 

From the deli?  We love using the Russino anchovy fillets and our own brand of Lilliput capers, either salted, or in brine. Both give the sharp salty kick this dish needs, and is known for. The Pastific Venturino Passata di Pomodoro, provides a dense tomato base. 

#2 Carbonara

Classically a Roman dish, it references the Italian word for coal carbone. It is said that the dish was prepared for the hard working coal workers, the carbonaro, and was named in their honour. It's reported too that the flecks of pepper within represent the coal. This recipe from Gourmet Traveller has all the makings of a great carbonara - eggs, a great Italian cheese and guanciale (although pancetta is a more than suitable and commonly available substitute). 

From the deli? Stock up on flat Montecatini pancetta from the Milton store. 

#3 Tomato, rocket & parmesan 

This doesn't really require a recipe and the quantities are up to you. Just take freshly cooked and drained al dente pasta, combine it with chopped tomatoes (this would work beautifully with heirloom tomatoes from the market), torn rocket leaves, gratings of parmesan and a glug of good olive oil. That's it! It's a great example of 'keep it stupid simple' and lets your ingredients shine. It'll become one you turn to time and time again. 

From the deli? Good cheese in this dish is a must! Naturally, Reggiano Parmegiana is our choice. Buy a large wedge, store well, and it will be on hand for sometime.

Mastering Risotto

  • POSTED ON 22 Jul 2013

Risotto might well be the ultimate comfort food, particularly when the weather turns a little cooler. It's a pot full of warmth, and what we love (creamy goodness aside) is that once you have mastered the basics, it's easy to add in other flavours, particularly when you've a few items in the fridge fast approaching their due by date!

Sometimes, risotto can be seen as a difficult dish to execute. This happens mainly, as careful consideration isn't given to the principles. When this happens, the results go a little awry and the insides of the pot are left containing a somewhat gluggy mixture. For us, there are 7 key principles to remember when making risotto, and we promise that if you take all into consideration when next creating yours, you'll have a smooth over stodgy result.

Principle 1:  Good and hot stock

You must have your stock warming on the stove, as adding cold stock interrupts the cooking process and can lead to hard, uncooked kernels in the center of the rice grain. We make our own stocks and sell them at both Milton and Spring Hill. Once you've tried a handmade stock over a store bought variety chances are you won't go back...

 

Principle 2: Saute don't brown...

When you are cooking your onions (and/or garlic) be careful not to brown. You need them to be translucent and soft - if you begin to really brown them, the flavour will impart onto the rice, and also, the texture will be thrown off. 

Principle 3:  The rice...

Use good rice! We carry two varieties from Melotti, their Vialone Nano is our pick for most risottos but we prefer the Carnaroli if making a seafood one.  You must toast your rice, just until the perimeters of the grain are translucent. This also assists the kernel in retaining structure throughout the cooking process while still absorbing moisture.

Principle 4: Deglaze!

As with most dishes, when you are adding to a sauteed vegetable mixture deglazing is key. It allows all the flavour that's been imparted onto the bottom of the pan to once again join the dish.When making risotto you will often deglaze with wine, but using stock too is fine. 


Principle 5: One ladle at a time

Good things come to those who wait... and adding a ladle at a time is a labour of love. This also is key when bringing out the starch in the rice, to achieve a creamy consistency. You add your next ladle when the contents of the last are beginning to disappear.

Principle 6 : Bringing it together

This might well be the best part because you know something amazing awaits. Be sure to have your parmesan finely grated, and your butter (if using) cut into smaller pieces. This allows them to integrate evenly into the dish, and you won't be over beating to incorporate. 

Principle 7: Immediacy 

Serve immediately, and onto warmed bowls, so as not to undo all your hard work! 

Feeling ready to try your hand at risotto? Try this one using beetroot, asparagus and feta. 

The Perfect Cheese Board

  • POSTED ON 18 Jul 2013

One simple, yet elegant way we're entertaining guests this Winter is with a well-sourced and curated cheese board. Not only because we adore high quality cheeses (one of life's great pleasures!), but also as it's a generous gesture that's always a hit, and with a variety of cheeses presented, all taste buds are catered for. Serve it at five when the neighbours call for drinks, or at the conclusion of a dinner party instead of a sweet dessert. We've created a guide for the perfect one, and thrown in some tips & tricks too. 

A perfect one has great variety thereby presenting your guests with tastes ranging from mild to intense, and textures from soft to hard. The easiest way to achieving variety is by serving a blue, washed rind, hard, soft and goat's cheese.

Blue cheese will most likely be the strongest you'll serve, and the blue veins within are the result of an early inoculation with mould. Classic examples would be a French Roquefort or English Stilon, and our pick is the Blue d'Auvergne, from south-central France. The mould is spicy, and works with the well-integrated salt.

Washed rind cheeses have been through the process o

f 'affinage'. They're washed with brine, sometimes wine and generally are 'stinky' and quite flavourful. We love either the Le Rustique Petit Munster or Chaumes le cremier. Both hold a luscious golden centre under their buttery pale coats.

Choosing your hard cheese can be the easiest, as many varieties fall under this category including cheddar, Parmigano-Reggiano and manchego. We really can't go past a good Comte Gruyere (and once you've tried you'll see why it's the highest produced cheese in France). The taste is strong and slightly nutty. Alternatively, try the Quickes English Cheddar, as a stalwart.

For some, a soft cheese is the highlight owing to the creamy composition. A French Camembert or Brie, with their superbly cream centres are both made from cow's milk but do have their differences. Camembert hails from Normandy, while Brie (cut from a larger wheel) is from the Ile-de-France. Either the St Andre triple cream, Le Rustique Camembert or Coeur de Lion are sure to please.

For the Goat's cheese, we love either a soft chevre or ashed pyramid from Australia's Meredith Dairy. A goat's cheese incorporates a slightly acidic taste to your board, owing to the higher acidity found in the goat's milk.

Tips and tricks!

Serve at room temperature, so take out of the fridge up to an hour before serving. Cover with a barely damp tea towel to prevent drying out.
Don't place your 'stinky' cheeses near the milder ones.
Different cheeses suit different wine, so no matter what each guest is drinking there will be something to match on the board.
Never cut the tip or 'nose' of the cheese off! It's the best part, and each slice should have a little incorporated.
Present fresh crusty bread or crackers. We adore our range of Lavosh bites and Falwasser wafers.
Introduce some sweetness via finely slice fresh fruit (apples, pears or figs), dried fruits (South Australian candied cumquats or muscatels) and a fruit paste or jelly (we love the Spanish quince paste!)

Note! Until the end of July we're offering 20% off whole wheels of French cheese, making it even more tempting to put together your perfect cheese board! You'll have to be quick, it's only until stocks last.