There is nothing complicated about making panna cotta, you just need to have the basic proportions correct, from there you can infuse different flavours into the mix. This recipe will give you perfect, wobbly panna cottas every time.
For the panna cotta, in a medium pan on a medium heat, warm the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds and stir to combine. Add the rosemary and bring up to a simmer, then take off the heat.
Drain off the gelatine, squeezing out any water. Drop the sheets into the pot, stirring to dissolve, allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain the mix through a fine sieve and then fill 10 120 ml dariole moulds to the top and refrigerate overnight.
For the syrup, in a medium-small pot add the sugar and water and stir to combine, place over a high heat and regularly shake so that the caramel cooks evenly. Heat until you have a dark caramel (approx. 8 minutes). Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest, step back as it will spit. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to fully amalgamate the caramel with the liquid. Take off the heat and cool completely in the fridge.
To serve, tip each mould towards you and with the tip of your finger gently pull the top edge of the panna cotta away from the side, this will break the seal. Rotate the mould gently and then turn out onto the plate. Spoon over some cooled lemon syrup and serve with biscotti crumbled over the top.
This braise can easily be made with chicken instead of rabbit, just break down a quality free-range bird into eight pieces and proceed with the same method.
Preheat the oven to 170°C fan-forced or 190°C conventional.
In a large heavy based pot add a good splash of oil and a little butter and brown the rabbit in batches, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Set aside.
Add the chorizo to the pot and fry for 2 minutes. Add the shallots, leek, garlic, celery and chilli and fry over a medium heat until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the cumin, fennel seeds, bay and thyme and cook briefly until fragrant. Add the rabbit back to the pot with the carrots, wine and vinegar, bring to the boil, add the stock to just cover and bring to a simmer. Add the lemon zest, currants and tarragon, cover and cook for 1 hour in the preheated oven.
Return the pan to the stove and simmer for 10-15 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The rabbit should be tender and the liquid should be intense and saucy.
I always closely guard these biscuits once cooked. They’re best when cooled completely, but they smell so good that the rabble in my house is always trying to test the theory.
Preheat the oven to 175°C.
In a small saucepan, bring the lemon juice to a simmer and reduce by half. Once it has reduced, add half the butter and melt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In another bowl whisk the remaining butter, 150 grams of sugar and the honey together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and lemon and butter mixture. Beat on a medium-high speed with an electric mixer for 3 minutes, or until very light and pale in colour.
Mix in the vanilla extract, 4 teaspoons of lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until smooth, you may need to stir in the last third of a cup by hand. Mix until smooth.
On a plate or shallow bowl, combine the remaining 50 grams of sugar with the remaining ½ teaspoon of lemon zest. Roll small balls of dough and place on a lined baking tray, keeping them fairly separate. Lightly wet the base of a glass and dip into the sugar mixture and flatten out the cookies a little followed by sprinkling a few poppy seeds over the top. Repeat until the dough is finished.
Bake for 11-12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely before eating.
A well-stocked pantry can be really rewarding - I keep my 'dry' goods in healthy supply and always have some essentials in the freezer, galangal, lemongrass and chillies, and there’s always dried shrimp, shrimp paste, palm sugar and fish sauce in the pantry, so a dish of this sophistication really isn’t that hard to whip up.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut and prepare all ingredients before commencing cooking.
Lay the barramundi out on a lined baking tray and season inside and out with a splash of fish sauce. Roast the fish for about 15 minutes, turning the grill on high for the last 3 or 4 minutes.
While the fish is cooking pound the garlic, dried shrimp and galangal roughly in a mortar and pestle. Add this to a medium saucepan with the sugar, a splash of water and the lemongrass and bring to a simmer. Cook on high heat until you have a medium caramel, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Take the caramel off the heat, add the chillies, shrimp paste and cherry tomatoes and stir (this will stop the caramel from burning). The tomato will sizzle as it softens. Put the pan back on the heat and bring to the boil.
Take pan off the heat and add the fish sauce and lime juice and stir. Taste for balance, it should be sweet but also a little salty, sour and hot.
Place the fish on plates and spoon over the sauce. Garnish with fried basil leaves (if using) and serve with steamed rice on the side.
The coconut in the pastry gives it a deliciously crumbly texture. Some finely shredded kaffir lime leaves and a good dusting of icing sugar is a great way to present the tart.
Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced or 200°C conventional.
For the pastry, use a food processor to pulse flour, coconut, icing sugar, salt and butter together to form coarse crumbs. Add 4 egg yolks and pulse again to bring pastry together. Tip pastry onto a bench and form into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 25 minutes.
Remove pastry from the fridge and grate with the large side of a cheese grater into a 24cm loose-bottom flan tin. Press pastry to form a layer about 4mm thick, taking care to press evenly into the fluted edges. Prick the bottom all over with a fork, and chill for 10 minutes.
Place tart shell on a baking tray, line with foil and fill with pastry weights, then bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.
For the filling, whiz caster sugar and lime and lemon zests together in a food processor, then add citrus juices.
In a bowl, beat 4 whole eggs and 2 yolks together with cream and coconut cream. Add to the sugar and zest mixture. Pour filling into the tart shell and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until just set. Allow to cool before dusting with icing sugar and shredded kaffir lime leaves.
I’ve been making gravlax for most of my career and it’s found places on my menus in its simplest form and also on more refined plates. It’s usually on our table at a party or celebration and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it. I find the citrus adds a lightness to the cure, where a heavy salt cure can take a bit of brightness out of the flesh, this method keeps it super fresh and lively. I prefer to use ocean trout to salmon, but either will work well. It will keep, wrapped tightly, in the fridge for a week to ten days, making it ideal for a quick snack or light lunch.
For a great breakfast or light starter check out my crispy potato roesti with horseradish sour cream, gravlax and quick pickled beetroot.
Roughly crush the coriander seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Combine with the salt, sugar, citrus juices and zest.
Thoroughly coat the fish in the curing mix and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning once after twelve hours.
Once ready, remove from the cure and wipe the fish down with paper towel. Brush the flesh side of the trout with a fine layer of Dijon mustard, then coat with the chopped dill. You can serve the gravlax straightaway, but it will be easier to cut the fish, leaving the dill intact, if it has been wrapped tightly in cling film and left in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Slice thinly and serve with crostini and some, or all, of the classic accompaniments: crème fraiche, chopped boiled egg, diced red onion, cucumber ribbons, horseradish cream and caper berries. For another gravlax recipe idea check out my ricotta tartlets with cured ocean trout on page 230 of Feasting.
Serve this salad with spicy lamb sausages, lamb chops and fish, whether it’s baked, steamed or pan-fried.
Slice carrots on the angle about 1.5 cm wide. Boil in salted water with the coriander and caraway seeds for about 25 minutes. Drain.
Juice 1 lemon. Cut peel from the other 2 lemons and separate into their segments.
Toss hot carrots in the lemon juice and the olive oil. Season well and let stand for 15 minutes. Add the chilli, date and lemon segments. Toss the coriander through at the last minute.
In a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel, pepper, salt, garlic, orange zest and rosemary into a rough powder. Rub over the pork and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.
Place a really large, heavy pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Fry the rosemary sprig to crisp slightly, then remove and set aside. Rub pork chops with olive oil and place in pan. Cook for 3 minutes on the first side then flip and season with salt. Cook for a further 3 minutes on the second side then rest on a plate. Add the orange juice to the pan and bring to the boil. At the last minute, stir through the butter. Briefly replace the pork chops in the pan and swirl them in the sauce. Remove pork chops and place on a plate. Simmer the sauce, scrape the pan and pour the juices over the chops to serve, dropping the fried rosemary on top.
These chops work really well with my hasselback potatoes.
The cumin and cinnamon soak into the carrot, perfuming it as well as flavouring it. A touch of orange blossom turns sweet orange slices into heavenly jewels and the pepitas add crunch and depth.
Serve this salad with spiced fish, chicken or lamb. Use organic carrots for the best flavour.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, orange blossom water and lemon juice. Season with a little salt. Pour the dressing over the carrot and onion and stir through. Chill for 15 minutes.
Peel the oranges with a knife and slice into rounds. Lay the sliced oranges on a platter.
Pile the carrot mixture over the oranges. Scatter with pepitas. Serve dusted with a little extra cinnamon, if you like.
There are quite a few ingredients: the heady but gentle spices create layers of flavour, and there’s a lovely sweetness from the currants. Even so, it’s quick to cook, and awesome with rice or couscous to soak up all the delicious juices. You must try it.
Combine the salt, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric in a large plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces and shake to coat.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, adding a little more oil, if necessary. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cumin seeds and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the lemon juice and zest, honey, currants, stock powder and enough water to just cover the chicken.
Cover with a lid and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through, and the sauce is slightly reduced.
Stir in the coriander and serve with couscous or rice.