Entertaining

Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School

11.09.15

IMG_5208I’m a bit guilty of not cooking as much as I used to…It’s only because Mark loves being in the kitchen so much – and, I have to admit, he (gasp)! is a better cook than me. My love for spending time cooking was unexpectedly revived this week after spending a few hours in the gorgeous kitchens at Williams-Sonoma in Bondi Junction. The shop at the front also helped, there are just shelves and shelves of loveliness – from copper pots to good looking scourers, there is everything and anything for a foodie like me.

We arrived and were gifted with fun personalised aprons, and were greeted by the very approachable Masterchef champion, Adam Liaw. Adam was there to talk to us about his wonderful new cookbook, and to casually demonstrate some of the recipes from it. More than just a recipe book, it will teach you about the ingredients and techniques of the Asian kitchen for a complete understanding of how you can create authentic Asian dishes.

To be honest, I’ve often avoided cooking Asian at home as it’s always in the back of my mind that the recipe would be too complicated. Adam completely quashed that myth – his recipes are all really light on in the ingredients requirements, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to prepare the three traditional dishes once we were left to our own devices. I managed to whip up Spinach in sesame dressing and a delicious steamed ginger chicken dish in around 16 minutes – I’m not kidding!

The best part of the day was of course feasting on our creations, and getting even more cooking tips from the very talented Adam.

Below are some photos of the great day, captured by La Tessa Photography.

WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_7 WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_39 WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_73 WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_56 WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_1Stunning florals were by the clever and hilarious Holly Hipwell and beautiful calligraphy by The Articulate.

Briar x

Whole Roasted Salmon

06.09.15

Fish2Today we celebrated some birthdays and Fathers Day with a whole roasted salmon at our outside table at home. Jamie Oliver is always my go-to when I want an easy recipe that I know is going to be delicious. I spotted the recipe online this morning, and the real life version was on the table by 1pm – it really is that easy (it also helps that Mark loves tackling a new recipe). We served the dish with a nice garden salad and a loaf  of fresh sourdough.

Fish1

Jamie Oliver’s Whole roasted salmon stuffed with lemon & herbs
Serves 10

Ingredients
2.5 kg whole salmon, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, scaled and gutted
1.5 kg red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed clean and sliced into ½cm rounds
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 pieces baby fennel
olive oil
1 small bunch fresh dill
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 small bunch fresh tarragon
2 lemons
extra virgin olive oil

Method
Preheat your oven to 250ºC. Get yourself a large roasting tray that your whole salmon will fit inside – you’ll probably need to lay the fish diagonally across the tray, and it won’t matter if the head and tail drape over a little. Lay your sliced potatoes over the base of the tray and season well with salt and pepper. Scatter your baby fennel over the top and give it all a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Now get on with your fish. Pick half the leaves from each of the herb bunches and put them on a chopping board, keeping the remainder to one side. Grate the lemon zest over the herbs then roughly chop everything together. Scrape this mixture into a bowl and wipe the board down with a piece of kitchen paper.

Transfer your salmon to the board, then wipe it inside and out with a fresh piece of kitchen paper. Make sure there are no scales on the silvery salmon skin – the fishmonger should have taken all of these off for you. If there are any left on there, scrape them with a blunt knife until they ping off. Make vertical slashes in the skin on both sides of the salmon from its back towards its tummy – about 2cm deep and at an angle, so you leave a flap of skin you can stuff your herbs under. Make about 6 slashes on each side of the fish. Sprinkle salt and pepper into each slash, then stuff with a pinch of your lemon-herb mix. Smooth the flaps down again and drizzle the fish all over with a light coating of olive oil. Lay it on top of your potatoes and fennel.

Take the leftover herb bunches and stuff them inside the belly cavity of the fish, then slice up one of the zested lemons and stuff these slices in there as well. Bake the fish in your screaming hot oven for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and cook for another 30 minutes.

To check the fish is cooked, take a clean skewer and push it into the deepest part of the fish, just behind the head. Count to 10, then carefully take the skewer out and hold it against your top lip. If it’s nice and warm, the fish is cooked. Squeeze the juice of your remaining lemon over the top, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve. 

Enjoy!

Briar x

Rhubarb + Custard Tart

30.08.15

RhubarbWe’ve just spent a lovely and relaxing week holidaying at my parents house on the south coast of NSW (with a short visit to Canberra in between, more on that on my next blog post). One of the highlights was definitely enjoying my Mum’s fantastic cooking. Les is also a very keen gardener, so when she spotted this recipe in the latest Country Style magazine, it was a perfect excuse to use some of her abundant rhubarb supply in the garden. Here’s the delicious recipe:

Rhubarb Tart with Custard Serves 6
Ideally you want to time your custard to be ready just as the tart shell finishes blind baking, so the hot custard goes into the hot shell–this is how you ensure a crisp bottom of the tart.

Ingredients
1 kg rhubarb, cut to the width of tart tin
1 orange, rind finely grated, juiced
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
2 sheets of Pampas Puff Pastry
1/2 cup roasted pistachio kernels, to serve
Double cream or ice cream, to serve

Custard
1/2 cup pouring cream
1/2 cup caster sugar
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 1/2 cups milk

Method
Preheat oven to 190°C. Line rectangular tart tin (my Mum used a slice tin which makes a slightly wider version) with pastry, pressing pastry in to corners, trim edges or leave for a rustic look. To blind bake pastry: line pastry case with baking paper and weight it down with pie weights. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sides are set. Remove pie weights and baking paper and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, place rhubarb, orange rind, juice and sugar in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside to macerate.
To make custard, place cream in a bowl and whisk to very soft peaks. Set aside in fridge. Place sugar, egg yolks and cornflour in a separate bowl and whisk together until thick and pale. Place milk in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat until almost boiling. Pour into egg mixture whisking as you go. Return mixture to pan. Cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly. When custard starts to thicken, reduce heat to a medium-low and keep whisking until custard looks glossy and player, and start to pull away from edge a little. Remove from heat, fold through cream and pour into the hot tart case.

Reduce oven to 170°C. Arrange rhubarb in a line over custard. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Scatter with pistachios. Serve slices with double cream or ice cream. Delicious!

Briar x

A good weekend

17.08.15

Weekend3 Weekend2Weekend1The sun was shining in Sydney over the weekend, which was perfect for my darling Grandma’s 90th birthday celebration in my Aunt + Uncle’s garden. In my family, Enid May is everything to all of us – she’s a woman who has always inspired us through her intelligence, humour and strength. Her life has had it’s fair share of hardship (asking for a banana from Santa Clause one year – as that’s all her family could afford, having to permanently bunk out on a fold out bed in the living area of her tiny family home, and leaving school at 13 to join the work force are just some of the stories). These memories are equaled with ones of huge amounts of joy. She’s traveled far and wide, became quite the property mogul later in life and has always been an incredibly dedicated and fiercely protective grandma, all the while impressing us with a very up to date knowledge on current affairs (she still completes most of her grandchildren’s tax returns every year). As my cousin said on Sunday, she has also always had the knack of making each of her 8 grandchildren feel like ‘the favourite’. Big, unconditional love for the original wonder woman. We enjoyed delicious catering by Simon Ekas and listened to live tunes from a local jazz band my Aunt organised. But most importantly, the family all spent time together, and laughter was the main sound heard on the day.

Weekend5Weekend4In addition to family, friends are the other joy in life – and I was surrounded by some of my nearest and dearest girls at a Hen’s Lunch on Saturday. We dined at a favourite restaurant, The Apollo in Potts Point. The Taramasalata with flat bread and Saganaki cheese with honey and oregano make the visit worth it alone…I’m having those annoying food flashbacks where I just want to eat it all again.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend,

Briar x

 

French Toast

12.07.15

FrenchToastYou learn something new every day, and this morning I discovered my husband had never tried bacon with maple syrup (sorry if that’s not your cup of tea). But safe to say after this breakfast, he’ll be trying it again. I made an old favourite for a Sunday morning treat, french toast. Here’s how to make 8 slices for your fam:

Ingredients
1 loaf of brioche (I purchased from local supermarket)
3 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
Fruit  – I used bananas and strawberries
Bacon
Pure maple syrup

Method
In a bowl, combine eggs, milk and cinnamon and place thick slices of brioche in the mixture. Make sure the slices are coated well in the egg. Heat a non stick fry pan and add a little butter. Fry the slice of brioche like you would a well done egg, pushing down on the brioche with an egg flipper. Top the cooked french toast with fruit and maple syrup (bacon optional, of course).

Enjoy! Briar x

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