French, Seafood

Seafood Sausage with Lemon Herb Sauce

Serves: 4

This is a restaurant quality dish and one that made us so happy preparing and cooking it.

The subtlety of the sausages which we did in the sous vide for an hour before lightly grilling, the sauce, the mash and the asparagus made for seriously a memorable meal.

A really warm, unique, “we just cooked a 1-hat dinner meal”.

If you could do these with a thicker sausage casing than we used, I think they would be even more impactful and explosive; dramatic and clearly prepared with talent. Something your guests would have to admire and talk about on the way home.

If you are looking for an impressive Saturday night dish for guests, you could do a whole lot worse than this recipe.

Note that this recipe assumes you have a sausage stuffer though if you don’t have one, maybe try them as slow-cooked skewers: form them like sausages, wrap them tightly in cling wrap and gently fry in a pan.

Either way, you can’t go wrong.

(This recipe is written assuming you have a mincer and a sausage stuffer. If you do not, process the sausage in a food processor, tightly wrap into sausage-like logs with cling wrap and refrigerate; when ready to cook, wrap tightly with foil and poach for 10 – 15 minutes in boiling water. Slice away.)

Ingredients

Sausage

250gm cod fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
250gm raw prawns, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
250gm salmon fillets, skinned, cut into 3cm pieces
2 large eggs
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper

Sauce

¼ cup white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp white-wine vinegar
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter cut into small cubes
½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp minced scallion
1 tsp fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp fresh, snipped dill
Cayenne to taste

Paris mash to serve
Steamed asparagus

Method

  1. For the sausage: Combine, mince and process the sausage ingredients. Stuff your sausages. Chill.
  2. For the sauce: In a small heavy saucepan, boil the wine, lemon juice and vinegar until reduced by half. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter bit by bit, waiting for each piece to melt before adding the next. Whisk in the lemon rind, scallion,  parsley, dill, cayenne and salt to taste. Season.
  3. Cook your sausages: poach them or sous vide them (1 hour) and then grill them in a pan with a little olive oil to give them colour.
  4. Prepare your Paris Mash and steam your asparagus.
  5. A good dollop of mash on each plate, two sausages on-top, a drizzle of sauce and a side of asparagus.
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French, Poultry

Christine Manfield’s Five-spice Duck and Shiitake Mushroom Pie

Serves: 8

Preamble: We are typing up this recipe as part of a tribute to our awesome friends Leesh and Josh who are getting married – at last – this weekend. Being awesome means they are awesome on the food front: cooking, eating, discussing and pairing wines with.

Here is to many meals in the future guys. We are proud to be your friends.

Enjoy the copper and cooking this pie one rainy Saturday. Keep the champagne near.

Love

Nat and Rob

Christine Manfield is unquestionably one of Australia’s most talented chefs that you’ve never heard of… unless you’re a foodie.

Her Paramount restaurant was arguably Australia’s best restaurant for many years and the breadth of her capabilities is stunning. One downside is the complexity of much of her work where a sauce is reduced and added to another sauce which is then reduced and worked into another sauce.

Tuesday night cooking it is not.

Conversely, every recipe I have cooked from her beautiful Indian cookbook Tasting India has been so unique, so wonderful that the decision to invest the time is simply one about what sphere of eating you want for that night.

Her food is not incrementally good. It is revolutionary good.

From Indian to this recipe is a jump, though you’ll understand my point about the range of her abilities. It is one of the finest bits of food I have cooked.

Indeed, this pie is one of her signatures and she says of it:

“This was a constant on my Paramount menus from the very beginning to the restaurant’s final night, selling out on a nightly basis,” says Christine Manfield. “People still stop me and request it. It pays homage to the French Pithiviers, a hand-moulded dome, while its filling is a nod to Chinese flavours. Where the humble meat pie holds special significance for many Australians, this version elevates it to a refined status. Don’t be daunted by the process – the workload can be spread across a couple of days and the result is a triumph, so please persevere.” Manfield suggests making the pastry and balls of duck-mushroom filling the day before, and then rolling out the pastry rounds and assembling the pies on the day of baking.”

All I can say is that after a day in the kitchen, this pie will blow your socks off. You’ll have bonded, you’ll have opened a wine at 5 and you’ll be so pleased with yourself and so you should be.

Do it.

Ingredients

4 Duck Marylands (250gm-300gm each), trimmed of excess fat
½ tsp ground Sichuan pepper
½ tsp Chinese five-spice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2star anise, broken into pieces
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 litres brown chicken stock

Mushroom mixture
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
250 gm shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
250 gm chestnut mushrooms, trimmed (see note)
1 tbsp five-spice salt (see note)
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Crème Fraîche Pastry
2 ⅓ cups) plain flour
250 gm chilled unsalted butter, diced
250 gm crème fraîche
Eggwash, for brushing

Ginger Glaze
1 onion, thinly sliced
1small red chilli, thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger, plus 1 tbsp extra, cut into julienne
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 star anise
100 ml Stone’s Original Green Ginger Wine
25 ml Shaoxing wine

Method

  1. Prick duck skin with a skewer. Combine Sichuan pepper, five-spice and 2 tsp sea salt in a bowl, then rub into duck.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in deep frying pan large enough to hold duck in a single layer over medium-high heat and fry duck, skin-side down, until browned (2-3 minutes), turn and cook other side for 2 minutes. Set duck aside, tip fat out of pan, add remaining oil and onion and sauté until onion is softened and translucent (4-5 minutes).
  3. Add garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onion and fry until softened and just starting to colour (6-8 minutes). Add whole spices and fry for another minute or so until fragrant. Add stock, bring to the boil, add duck in single layer so it’s covered by stock, reduce heat to low and simmer until duck is tender (50 minutes to 1 hour).
  4. Remove duck from stock (reserve stock), then, when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones (discard skin, bones and sinew). Finely chop and set aside.
  5. Strain stock through a fine sieve, cool, then refrigerate until fat sets on the surface (2-3 hours). Skim off fat, discard and refrigerate stock until required.
  6. For mushroom mixture, heat oil in a frying pan and sauté onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant (3-4 minutes). Stir in mushrooms and toss to coat, then sauté until softened (8-10 minutes). Season with five-spice salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, stir to combine and remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the spring onion and parsley, cool slightly, then add to duck meat and mix well with your hands. Roll into 8 balls roughly the size of a tennis ball, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate until cooled and firm (2-3 hours).
  8. For the crème fraîche pastry, process flour, butter and 1 tsp sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs – don’t overwork. Add crème fraîche and pulse until just incorporated. Tip out onto a bench, form into a disc about 3cm thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for 2 hours.
  9. Cut pastry into 4 even pieces. Keep remaining pieces refrigerated as you work with each; roll out each and cut out two 11cm-diameter rounds for the 8 lids, place on a lightly floured tray and refrigerate. Re-roll pastry and cut out eight 7cm-diameter rounds for the pie bases, place on a lightly floured tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  10. Working with a pastry base and lid at a time and keeping remaining pastry rounds chilled, lay a small pastry round (base) on a lightly floured surface, brush edges with eggwash and place a ball of duck mixture in the centre. Place a larger pastry round (lid) over the top, gently mould pastry over duck mixture with your hands, press edges with a fork to seal, then trim edges with a paring knife. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate while you assemble the remaining pies. Brush pastry with eggwash and score seven arcs from centre of lid down the dome with a paring knife, then refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.
  11. Meanwhile, for ginger glaze, fry onion, chilli and chopped ginger in oil over medium-high heat until soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Add spices and fry until fragrant (1 minute). Deglaze pan with ginger wine and Shaoxing wine, and boil until reduced by half (3-4 minutes).
  12. Add 300ml reserved duck stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half (40-45 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve and season with salt to taste. Just before serving, bring to a simmer, adding julienned ginger at the last minute.
  13. Preheat oven to 200C. Bake pies until golden brown (18-20 minutes). Serve with ginger glaze.
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French, Seafood

The Boathouse Snapper Pie

Makes: 5

Preamble: We are typing up this recipe as part of a tribute to our awesome friends Leesh and Josh who are getting married – at last – this weekend. Being awesome means they are awesome on the food front: cooking, eating, discussing and pairing wines with.

Here is to many meals in the future guys. We are proud to be your friends.

Enjoy the copper and cooking this pie one rainy Saturday. Keep the champagne near.

Love

Nat and Rob

The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay is one of our favourite restaurants.

It means a slow and incredibly comfortable afternoon of great food, wine, cheese, conversation, laughter and watching the boats slowly drift by. There really are fewer, better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Of course, anyone in the know about this wonderful institution would know that the signature dish on the menu is the Snapper Pie.

And lordy, what a pie it is.

The richness of the pie. The smell, the warmth. The whole bloody thing.

And the smoky tomato? Yes please.

Not to speak of the obvious outcome of the Paris mash.

Anyway, we cooked this – for the second time – a few weekends ago and holy smoking duck balls it was fine. Smiles, gasps, awe.

Every hour of sweating onions paid off!

Take off the afternoon and make this.

It is pure joy.

Ingredients

800gm pink snapper fillet, cut into 3cm pieces (you can get from the Fish Markets)
5 dessert spoonfuls of white truffle oil
Puff pastry
1.2kg sliced onions
800mls cream
400mls fish stock
300gm diced onion
Olive oil
Salt
1 egg beaten with a little water
4 tomatoes, peeled, halved and seeded
80gm long grain rice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
Paris mash to serve

Method

  1. Sweat the sliced onion is a little olive oil and salt and cook as slowly as you can until the onions are light golden.
  2. Add the fish stock and slowly reduce by half. Add the cream and slowly reduce by half or until you have a thick, creamy consistency and remove from the heat.
  3. In a separate pan, sweat the diced onion with a little olive oil and salt and cook slowly until light golden. Add to the sliced onions and check the seasoning.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250c.
  5. Spoon some of the sauce into 5 deep pie dishes, lay over the fish, cover with the remainder of the sauce and add one dessertspoon of truffle oil to each dish.
  6. Roll out the pastry, lay over the dishes, press down and trim at the edges and egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
  7. For the smoked tomatoes, line a wok with foil, place the rice in the base, place a wire rack over and heat the wok until the rice starts to smoke.
  8. Place the tomatoes cut side up on the rack, combine the garlic and balsamic and brush the tomatoes. Cover with foil and cook for 3 minutes until heated through and smoked.
  9. Allow the pie to rest for a few minutes before serving with the tomatoes and the Paris mash.
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Beef, French

Beef Bourguigonne Pie

Beef Bourguigonne Pie

Serves: 6

Sit down for this one.

For whilst it isn’t a quick production, it is simply off the charts in terms of everything else.

Seriously.

It is so decadent, so rich, so crazy good, you might only do it once though it will have been worth it.

If I tried to add it to this website’s Healthy category, I suspect the website would have overheated.

Though screw it

You’re doing this one and what a way to sign off the week!

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup plus 1 tbsp flour
750gm boneless beef chuck, cut into 3cm pieces
3 slices bacon cut into 1cm pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp brandy or bourbon
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
1 bay leaf
1 star anise pod
2 cups, chicken stock
1 cup red wine
5 tbsp unsalted butter
250gm (button) mushrooms, finely sliced
250gm pearl onions (we used quartered red onions)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 – 8 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over a medium-high heat. Season ½ cup of flour with salt and pepper, add the beef and toss to coat, shaking off the excess.
  3. Working in batches, cook the beef until browned all over: 8 – 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Cook the bacon in the same pot, stirring often until browned and crisp. Add ¼ cup water and cook, scraping up the brown bits. Add the onion, carrot and leek, stirring until they start to soften: 5 minutes or so. Stir in the garlic and parsley and return the beef to the pot. Add the brandy and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  5. Add the thyme leaves, bay leaf, star anise, chicken stock and wine, season with salt and pepper and bring to the simmer.
  6. Mix 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp butter in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the meat mixture. Cover pot and braise in the oven until the beef is very tender: 1 – 1 ½ hours.
  7. Have a beer or a cold glass of white. You’re halfway there at least.
  8. Melt remaining 4 tbsp butter in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and pearl onions and cook, stirring until browned: 8 – 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add the the mushrooms and onions to the beef stew, cover pot and return to the oven. Cook until the onions are very tender: 25 – 30 minutes. Remove the stew from the oven and allow to cool.
  10. Grease a large casserole/pie dish. Cover the insides with pastry to create a base, allowing for overhang to support the top of the pie. Fill with the stew. Drap pastry over the filling and complete the pie. Brush with the egg.
  11. Bake until the crust is deep golden brown: 30 – 35 minutes.
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French, Seafood

Jamie Oliver’s Salmon en croute

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Merry Salmon Christmas!

Jamie Oliver’s Salmon en croute

Serves: 4

We did a seafood themed-dinner the evening of Christmas Eve and one of the dishes we prepared was this number from Jamie Oliver.

It is something I have wanted to try for a while and with a beautiful side of salmon right from the fish markets (we doubled the recipe) it was a real hit: the sauce, the pastry, the thick, flaking salmon and the wonderful watercress and spinach filling.

Complete with Christmas pastry-work by Nat, it looked and tasted just like Christmas and it was just as good as a cold snack on Boxing Day.

I’m slightly sad thinking it will be almost a year until I can cook this number again…

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 French shallots
100gm baby spinach
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
200gm baby leaf watercress
1 tbsp butter
1 lemon
1 whole nutmeg , for grating
200gm crème fraîche
500gm thick, skinless salmon fillet, pin-boned
500gm puff pastry sheets
1 large egg, whisked

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and brush it with a little oil.
  2. Peel and finely chop the shallots, roughly chop the spinach, then pick and chop the parsley leaves. Chop half the watercress, leaving the rest whole.
  3. To make the filling, warm the butter and a splash of oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the shallots and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft but not coloured.
  4. Add the spinach, parsley and chopped watercress to the pan with the zest and juice from the lemon. Season to taste and stir in a good grating of nutmeg.
  5. Cook down the leaves for 3 to 5 minutes, then mix in 1 tablespoon of the crème fraîche.
  6. Tip it into a sieve set over a bowl and press to squeeze out the juices. Leave the filling to cool.
  7. To make the sauce, blitz the remaining watercress and crème fraîche in a food processor with juices from the bowl. Season and transfer to a bowl and chill until needed.
  8. Slice the salmon fillet in half sideways, so you can open it like a book.
  9. Spoon the cooled filling down the middle, fold the fish back over to close and set aside.
  10. Prepare enough pastry sheets to fully wrap the salmon: 2, maybe 3.
  11. Place one piece of pastry on the baking tray and lay the salmon on top in the middle. With your finger, dab water around the edge of the pastry, then lay the other piece on top.
  12. Mould the pastry around the fish with your hands, then press the edges with a fork to seal. Score the top with a knife, then beat and brush over the whisked egg.
  13. Bake the salmon in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp.
  14. Serve with the watercress sauce.
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French, Side, Starter, Vegetarian

Baked Brie

Baked Brie

Serves: Starter/Side

Pretty simple, pretty awesome this one.

You need a more wow starter than your usual cheese and crackers; so bake it; and there you have it?!

You just won 15 points for effort and genius

Ingredients

Brie
Butter
Thyme sprigs
Red wine
Grated lemon rind

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c and butter a small baking dish.
  2. Push thyme sprigs into slits in the brie, pour over some wine, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. 3. Sprinkle with the lemon rind and some thyme leaves.
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French, Seafood, Starter

Crab Canapes

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Served compulsorily at a recent Moonlight Cinema picnic. OMG.

Crab Canapes

Serves: Plenty

This is a canape my mother used to serve whenever anyone came over for a lunch or a dinner, a quintessential 80s-style French number that I used to hoover down every time it was presented.

Indeed, I warmly remember going out on my parent’s boat – Whatthehell – and chowing down on dozens and dozens of these as we back-anchored to the beaches of Middle Harbour. I’m not sure if it was noticed that I consistently ate a third of them though if I had noticed I would have been annoyed. They’re that good.

The memories.

Bring forward the mid 2010s and they’re back, courtesy of Nat’s complete love for them and our collective agreement that no picnic is a picnic without this wonderful crab number.

You will never look back if you prepare these. Seriously… never… look… back.

(I seriously recommend you double the recipe which I have never not done!)

Ingredients

1 cup crab meat
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce to taste
Pepper to taste
Melba toast

Method

  1. 1. Combine all the ingredients (except the toast).
  2. Spread on the toast and serve immediately.
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