Archive for August, 2009

Classic Cheese Souffle

Classic Cheese Souffle

30g of plain flour
30g butter
1 cup warm milk
3 Tablespoons freshly grated Gruyere cheese
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 eggs separated
Salt and black or white pepper
Extra butter for coating ramekins
1-2 finely grated Parmesan cheese for coating ramekins
Butter for greasing baking paper if making the cheese sauce ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Butter a 1 litre ramekin dish or 2-3 smaller sized ramekins.  Make sure the dishes are completely coated. Place a tablespoon of parmesan cheese into each ramekin and roll the cheese around to coat the inside of the ramekins. This will prevent the souffle sticking and facilitate rising. Tip the leftover parmesan into the next ramekin until they are all coated.
Melt 30g of butter in a small heavy based saucepan.
Stir in flour and cook on medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Gradually add milk stirring all the while.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow sauce to simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in gruyere and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Then stir in the egg yolks one at a time.
Taste for seasoning.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl. If making the cheese sauce ahead of time, cover the sauce with a piece of buttered baking paper and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before adding the egg whites.
Whisk egg whites.
Take 1/3 of beaten egg whites and mix in the egg whites until until well incorporated into the cheese sauce.  Then add another 1/3 of the beaten eggs whites and using a metal spoon lift and fold the egg whites through the mixture. Repeat with the remaining 1/3 of the egg white mixture until well incorporated and the mixture is frothy and spongy.
Carefully pour mixture into prepared ramekins. Run your thumb around the inside edge of the the souffle dish so it will rise with a flattened edge.
Place souffles on a tray and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes depending on the size and number of dishes used. Do not open the oven during cooking. When cooked the centre should be well risen and brown.  To check if the souffle is cooked, touch gently – the souffle should yield but not feel liquid. The top should be crusty with a creamy, saucy middle.
Remove souffle from the oven and serve immediately.


The cheese sauce can be made a head of time to sit at room temperature an hour before adding the egg whites. Cover the sauce with a piece of  buttered baking paper to prevent a hard skin forming.

Methods for avoiding your souffle spilling over the dish when cooking:
– If the temperature is too low, it will not “seize” the souffle quickly enough and the mixture will spill over as it is baked.
– Ramekins can be filled approximately 2cm lower than the top of the dish so when the souffle rises it does not spill over.
– Do not beat the egg whites until they are stiff or the souffles can rise too high and spill over the rims of the mould. Instead whip the eggwhites until they just begin to hold their shape.
Source:  Il Viaggio Di Vetri: A Culinary Journey By Marc Vetri, David Joachim, Douglas Takeshi Wolfe


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Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel


200g sugar
A little water
Teaspoon of red wine vinegar

6 eggs
200g caster sugar
2 vanilla pods
1 litre milk

Preheat oven.
To make the caramel, heat the sugar, water and red wine vinegar in a small heavy based saucepan. Cook over a medium heat without stirring.
When it’s reached a dark, tanned syrup colour and consistency, pour into ramekins or a large oven dish and roll the syrup around until it covers the bottom and two thirds the way up the sides.
For the custard, place milk with split vanilla pods and scraped seeds into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
While the milk is heating, in a large bowl whisk eggs with caster sugar until it is pale and thickened.
When the milk is just about to boil over, remove from the heat and pour into the egg mixture while whisking until well combined.
Pour mixture through a sieve into a jug and then pour the custard into ramekins. Be careful when pouring over the caramel that you swirl a little as you pour so the warm mixture does not crack the caramel.
Place ramekins/oven dish in an ovenproof baking dish and fill half way up the sides of the dish with water. Bake in a medium oven for 30-40 minutes turning the baking dish around half way through to cook evenly.
Remove from the oven when the creme caramel is brown on top and wobbles when gently shaken.
Rest to room temperature and refrigerate. It will set beautifully when cold with a smooth, silky consistency.
I find the creme caramel is best when made and refrigerated a day a head or even better, two days ahead.
Remove creme caramel from the refrigerator and if using ramekins, run a knife around the edge of the ramekins, then place a plate over the top of the ramekin and invert the plate and dish. If using an oven dish, serve a generous large spoonful into a bowl with the caramel sauce.

Other recipes:

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The following are resources I have referenced:

Preserved Cumquats
500g cumquats + water
625g sugar
1 cup water

Prick the cumquats just once with a skewer.  Bring 3 cups water to the boil, add the cumquats and gently simmer for 10 minutes.  Drain.
Place the sugar and cup of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil then boil for 20 minutes.  Add the cumquats and boil for 15 minutes.
Serving suggestion:  serve with blue cheese as a savoury taste sensation, or more traditionally with ice cream for a dessert.



Candied Kumquats
100 grams sugar
100 grams water
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1 pint of kumquats

Bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan (enough to cover the kumquats) and add the kumquats. Blanch them for about 30 seconds and drain them. Discard the water. Repeat the process two more times. This will eliminate any bitterness from the kumquats.

Make a simple syrup with the first three ingredients by bringing them to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the blanched kumquats and simmer for about 15 minutes in low heat. You can drain them, let them dry and coat them in sugar or you can store them in the simple syrup in the refrigerator.



“Kumquat Preserves from Christine Mansfield’s Desserts. I’d never made any sort of preserves. The process was long, but fairly simple. You soak the fruit and seeds in water overnight, boil them for a while, let the mixture rest, and then boil it again until it sets a bit. This stuff is killer- I will try and take a picture of the finished product when I crack open a jar .”



The following is a response from Bodega Tapas when I asked them how they prepare their cumquats:  “Cut the cumquats in half and boil in water until the skin is soft.  Drain the water.  Add new water and sugar to the cumquats.  (The mix must be 60% sugar to preserve the cumquats for longer).  Reduce the mixture over a low heat”.


Candied Kumquats
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
9 ounces kumquats (about 25 medium), thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed

Combine water and sugar in medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add kumquats; reduce heat. Simmer until kumquat slices are translucent, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat; cool kumquats in syrup. Strain kumquats, reserving syrup. Combine kumquats and 1/4 cup syrup in small bowl. Return remaining syrup to same saucepan; boil until reduced to 1 & 1/4 cups, about 8 minutes.


Tracy Rutherford’s Spiced Cumquats
1kg cumquats
1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar
1/2 cup (125mL) water
1 cinnamon stick
6 lightly crushed cardamom pods
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1. Halve the cumquats lengthways and prise out any pips. Combine the sugar, water and cumquats in a large saucepan and stir over low heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Add the spices, stir to combine. Cover and bring to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon into sterilised jars (2 x 500mL or 4 x 250mL) and seal tightly. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Refrigerate after opening, and use within 6 weeks.
Note: these are great with roast duck or pork.
Cumquat Marmalade
2 cups cumquats, washed and sliced
2 cups water
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups sugar

  1. Wash and slice fruit finely and remove seeds (but don’t throw the seeds away).
  2. Place the fruit in a large saucepan, cover with water and soak overnight (or for around 8 hours). Put the seeds in a separate container (such as a cup) and soak in a small amount of boiling water. Leave overnight.
  3. Next day strain the liquid from the seeds. Discard the seeds and add the water to the cumquats. Cook gently on a low heat until the fruit is tender and the liquid is reduced by half.
  4. Add the sugar and lemon juice. When all the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil rapidly until the mixture jells (around 30-45 minutes). Tip: stir often, or the marmalade will burn!
  5. To test if the marmalade is jelling, spoon a little onto a cold saucer. If a skin forms, and it glazes on the surface and wrinkles when touched, it is ready. If it is still runny, boil for a little longer and test again.
  6. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal.

Cumquat brandy
750g cumquats
500g caster sugar
750mL bottle brandy
sterilised 1-litre sealable jar

Wash and dry the cumquats, the prick each of them several times with a fine skewer or needle. Place a layer of cumquats in the jar, then sprinkle with sugar. Arrange another layer of cumquats, sprinkle with more sugar, and keep on doing this until you have used up all the cumquats and sugar. Now pour the brandy over the cumquats (you probably won’t use all of the brandy), seal the jar and place in a dry dark place, such as a cupboard. For the first week, turn over the jar once each day to help dissolve the sugar. Then, after that, turn over the jar once a week to keep on mixing things up. The whole thing should be ready in three months. The idea is that you can eat the cumquats and drink the brandy, too!

For a sweeter result, use more sugar, but don’t use less. The cumquats are fairly tart, so they’ll be hard to eat with less sugar used.









Masterchef Australia on Ten
Oranges are cut into pieces, placed in a saucepan, covered with caster sugar then some water and brought to the boil, then allowed to cool, then brought back up to the boil and then cooled again to make candied orange.



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2 cups plain flour
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2-1 egg lightly beaten
About 1/2 cup water &/or milk mixture (warmed)
Pinch of salt
Optional: Pinch of spice (eg. cardomom, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger)
Vegetable Oil for deep frying

All pastry ingredients should be allowed to come to room temperature.

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar and spices. Add yeast which has been mixed with a few teaspoons of warm water. Mix the water/milk, melted butter, and egg together. Add the melted butter and egg to the flour mixture then gradually add the required amount of milk/water while kneading until you achieve the right consistency.  The dough should be a little softer than pizza-dough consistency but not sticky.
Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 15-20 minutes until a smooth and elastic dough is formed.
Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and allow to rise in a warm place (such as an oven that has been heated to a very low temperature then turned off) for an hour or more.
Roll or press out the dough onto a lightly floured board or bench to 1.5-2cm even thickness and cut into rounds (I use a drinking glass with a 6cm diameter.)  You can let them rise a second time (I skip this step).
Pour enough oil to half fill a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Test the temperature with a piece of dough first to ensure you have the correct temperature to cook the doughnuts through without burning the outside. Fry doughnuts turning once until golden brown all over. Fry as many as can float in the oil without touching.
Drain doughnuts on newspaper or paper bags covered with absorbent towels then toss through sifted icing sugar.

I use the dough setting on my Breville Baker’s oven to make the dough the night before and let the dough rise overnight so it’s ready in the morning to make doughnuts.

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Cumquat Tart with Candied Cumquat Peel and Vanilla Ice Cream

Cumquat Tart with Candied Cumquat Peel and Vanilla Ice Cream

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
225g plain flour
45g pure icing sugar
125g chilled unsalted butter, diced
2 egg yolks (from 59g eggs)

1/2 – 3/4 cup preserved cumquats pureed with cumquat syrup
6 Eggs (room temperature)
250g caster sugar
150-200ml pure pouring cream (min 35% fat)

To Serve
Candied cumquat peel
Pure icing sugar to dust
Extra caster sugar for carmalising the top
Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or thick double cream

To make the pastry, place flour and icing sugar in a food processor and process to combine. Add butter and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolks one at a time and process until the dough comes together in a smooth ball.

Press into a flat disc and wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 15 -30 minutes to rest or until firm enough to roll out.

Grease a 24cm x 3cm deep tart loose-based tin with softened butter.

Remove dough from the refrigerator, roll out on a lightly floured bench to a thickness of 3-5mm.

Carefully lift the pastry using your rolling pin and line the tart tin with the pastry. Gently press the pastry along the sides to ensure you have an even thickness.  Trim excess dough. Left over dough is handy for any small repair jobs required!
(Alternatively you can trim some excess dough leaving an extra 1-2cm dough overhanging. When the pastry is baked, there will be some shrinkage and the excess pastry can then be trimmed after it is cooked by slowly and gently rolling the rolling pin over the tart tin to cleanly remove the excess pastry).

Prick the pastry base all over with a fork, cover with cling wrap and return to the fridge for a further 15-30 minutes to rest and allow butter to become cold and solidify.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Remove pastry shell from the refrigerator, line with baking paper and fill with raw rice or pastry weights ensuring the rice is flat and pushed up against the side of the tin.  Blind Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the pastry is baking, prepare your filling.  Break 6 eggs into a large bowl and using an electric whisk, start whisking the eggs until well combined then gradually add the sugar and whisk until you have a pale, thick mixture. Whisk in the cumquat puree then the cream.

Remove rice and paper and return tart shell to the oven and cook for a further 5-10 minutes to dry out the pastry until it is firm to touch and is golden brown. Be careful not to overcook the pastry otherwise it will over brown and crack.   You can combine reserved eggwhite with some cold water and brush the inside of the pastry and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. This will seal the pastry.

Remove the pastry shell from the oven.  You can at this point set aside the pastry shell to cool in the tin to use the next day if preparing the pastry shell ahead of time.

Reduce oven to 150 °C.

Place the tart shell on a baking tray and carefully pour the cumquat custard into tart shell and bake for at least 25 minutes or until just set. It will continue cooking when removed from the oven. Don’t worry if it has separated into two layers (noticeable when it is cut). Set aside to cool.  If preparing this ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to serve.

Remove tart from tart tin.  Cut into serving portions. Sprinkle the top of each slice with caster sugar and use a kitchen blowtorch to cook the sugar until it bubbles, then caramalises and forms a shiny, hard tortoiseshell surface.

Place each slice individually on a plate sprinkled with icing sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream or cream and candied cumquat peel.

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Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Celeriac Puree

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Celeriac Puree

Lamb shoulder (Suffolk, Flinders Is, Saltbush, Castricum or  Junee) fat untrimmed
1-2 Garlic heads halved length ways
1 Carrot quartered
1 Celery Stick quartered
1 Brown onion quartered
Dry white wine wine (a good splash or more)
Chicken stock/glaze (good quality) or water (anything up to 1 cup of stock or 1/4 cup chicken glaze mixed with 1 cup of water)
Couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and fresh thyme
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Remove lamb shoulder from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Score lamb fat and rub with sea salt then, season with freshly ground white pepper and place in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast lamb for 30 minutes.
Remove lamb from the oven. Reduce oven to 150 degrees. Arrange vegetables around meat, pour wine over lamb, add chicken stock or water to pan and scatter over thyme and rosemary. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 4 hours, basting with pan juices every hour.
Remove lamb from oven and reduce oven to 100 degrees. Remove foil from lamb and place lamb back in the oven and cook for another hour or so basting every 20 minutes.  Lamb is ready when dark, gelatinous and falling off the bone.
Remove lamb from oven.  Discard vegetables, pour pan juices into a small saucepan and simmer to reduce to make your jus.  Excess fat can be skimmed from the surface. Cover lamb loosely with foil until ready to serve.
In winter slow roasted lamb is ideal for serving with celeriac or cauliflower puree (see other posts) and blanched vegetables served warm with melted butter or a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt flakes….that is if you can resist picking the lamb off the bone with your fingers!
Left over lamb can be left on the bone and gently reheated in the oven in a pan with jus, covered with foil.

Pork Belly or pork shoulder can be substituted.  You will need to ensure you get a good quality cut with a good amount of fat to ensure the meat doesn’t dry out or taste bland.  I recommend VICS Meats Butcher at Broadmeadows.
I have successfully slow cooked 2 lamb shoulders covered with foil overnight for 8 hours on 100 degrees and kept them warm for a lazy Sunday lunch.  The only thing is you’ll be waking up hungry all night to the smell of baking lamb!

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