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Quay Restaurant

2011 April 2

There are some opportunities that present themselves but rarely. Opportunities you just can’t say no to. Recently, one of those opportunities landed in my inbox courtesy of Electrolux.  Dinner at Quay with a demonstration/masterclass with Chef Peter Gilmore. The essentials: Peter Gilmore along with Tetsuya have custom built kitchens using the latest technology from Electrolux. This was an opportunity for Gilmore to demonstrate the use of these appliances in the restaurant.

We were treated with NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée as we milled around the stunning room taking in the twin vistas of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Vistas I failed to capture as I enjoyed the canapes and Champagne! But really the most important feature of the night was the food: the beautiful, expertly handled food.

The highlights for me started with the BUTTER POACHED marron. Yes, BUTTER POACHED. Oh Yes. Once more? BUTTER POACHED. Sealed Sous Vide style with butter and steamed for mere minutes. Reminds me of a similar technique Tetsuya used with some fish, cooking it covered in glad wrap in a 90º-100º oven. According to Gilmore, the advantage of cooking the delicate shellfish like this is not losing the juices to any poaching liquid as the butter naturally seals the marron.

Native Fresh Water Marron, Rose Salt, organic pink turnips, jamon de bellota cream, oloroso caramel, society garlic flowers

The Marron was paired with Natural Selection Theory Pear Cider, Coromandel Valley (makers of my fave quaffing wine)

If this was it, if this was the extent of the demonstration and subsequent meal, with the view and the company I would’ve been perfectly content. But there was so much more to come.

The next dish to be demonstrated was another POACHED in BUTTER: BUTTER POACHED Coturnix quail breast, pumpernickel, morel and ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle custard and milk skin:

Butter poached Coturnix quail breast, pumpernickel, morel & ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle custard, milk skin

The quail was matched with a 2008 Terravin Pinot Noir from Marlborough, NZ

I think by this stage we were all rendered speechless by the lushness of the individual ingredients: The ethical foie gras, the new season chestnuts, MORE BUTTER, the truffle infused custard…oh my….Gilmore gave us an outline of how the ethical foie gras was produced, and how it’s used in the restaurant as more of a flavouring. It’s produced just once a year, when the geese naturally gorge themselves before the cold winter weather sets in, and in preparation for migration. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of this new style production of foie gras, the dish as a whole was a feast of textures from the crunchy “popped quinoa” to the spongy cakiness of the pumpernickel, to the rosy pinkness of the quail.

Chef Peter Gilmore, Quay Restaurant

The next and last highlight for me was dessert: Those who follow on twitter would know that my background profile image is the 8 texture chocolate cake from the old menu at Quay. Not as glam or famous as the Snow Egg, but unbelievably rich and lush..So I was ecstatic to see a chocolate based dessert on our menu: Preserved Wild Cherries, Coconut Cream, Chuao Chocolate Crumble, Cherry Juice and Chocolate Sorbet…um, yes more please!

Preserved Wild Cherries, coconut cream, chuao chocolate crumble, cherry juice and chocolate sorbet

Dessert was paired with Claude Courtois Vin de Mistelle, Sologne

As you can see from the picture below, I thoroughly enjoyed dessert. It’s diminutive size hid its powerful flavours.

If I’d been at home, I would’ve picked up the beautifully sculpted dish (it had hand/finger grooves along it’s underside) and licked it clean. But I kept my head, and managed to get home un-disgraced.

Quay is one of those singular food experiences where it all comes together: The food, the ambiance, the views. If you get an opportunity to go and experience the magic take it. It’s worth every second.

I enjoyed this experience courtesy of Electrolux


Quay Restaurant
Overseas Passenger Terminal
The Rocks
Sydney
02 9251 5600
Reservations@quay.com.au
Quay on Urbanspoon
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Jamie Oliver’s Cheesy Zucchini Bread

2011 March 23
by Reemski

I made this a little while ago when I purchased piles of glorious zucchinis from The Farmgate at Marrickville markets.  Great little recipe to use up a few zucchinis.

The dough is really sticky so be prepared and don’t over flour to compensate.  I also didn’t add enough salt and it needs it.  The original recipe calls for thyme, I didn’t have any, but if you did it firmly tips the bread into savoury territory, which is funny cause I ended up eating it toasted with honey and salt! Random I know! This bread lasted really well and I found, was awesome toasted.

Recipe: Cheesy Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 sachet (7g) of yeast
  • 500g strong flour
  • about 300ml water
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 level tbs of salt
  • 2 small handfuls of grated cheese (whatever you have on hand)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, pour in your flour, make a well
  2. Pour in half the water, then add the yeast, sugar and salt, and zucchini and stir to combine (use a butter knife or mixer with doughhook) Mix well and only add extra water if necessary. The zucchini is very wet, so it may not need anymore.
  3. Mix until you get doughy, add the cheese, then knead for 5 or so minutes.
  4. Oil your hands, and gently shape your dough so it’s surface is covered with the oil. Cover with gladwrap and allow to prove in a warm, draught free place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch it down, then throw it in an oiled and flour dusted loaf tin, or leave free form on a tray, and let it prove again for about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 180°C
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes until crusty or it makes a hollow sound when you tap it.

 

Apple, pear and almond loaf

2011 March 6
by Reemski

It’s the beginning of apple season, and I’ve been hanging out for some Farmgate Apples from my friends Katie and Beau at the Marrickville markets. A lovely Sunday routine consists of waking, breakfasting and heading down there and wandering the market, bumping into people and seeing what delicious produce is available and noticing the subtle changes week to week of what’s available. Today it was piles of apples and pears, while noticing the fewer number of plums, and the appearance of figs…Hopefully soon there will be a rather immense fig jam undertaking occurring soon!

Recipe: Apple, Pear and Almond Loaf

Ingredients

  • 75g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 2 (about 135g each) apples, peeled, cored
  • 1 firm pear
  • 300g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 200g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) milk
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • extra brown sugar for top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 8 x 18cm (base measurement) non-stick loaf pan and line with baking paper.
  2. Gently toast the ground almonds in a small pan over medium-high heat, being careful so as not to burn it. Alternatively, roast whole raw almonds in the oven until you can smell them (around 10 minutes on 200C) then process until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Coarsely grate 1 of the apples and the pear. Quarter remaining apple and thinly slice lengthways.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the almonds and sugar, and mix well. Whisk the butter, milk and egg together in a jug until well combined. Add to the flour mixture with the grated apple and use a wooden spoon to mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared pan, smooth surface with back of spoon. Arrange apple slices, slightly overlapping, over top of the cake mixture and sprinkle with the extra brown sugar.
  6. Cook in preheated oven for 65 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Remove loaf from pan and place, apple-side up, on a wire rack and set aside to cool completely.

Quick Notes

I also added a teaspoon of chai spice mix

Variations

Original recipe is apple and hazelnut loaf from Taste.com.au

Cooking time (duration): 20

Number of servings (yield): 8


 

Fffffffar out it’s been hot (and then cold)…frappes and slushies

2011 February 22
by Reemski

HAWT. It’s been damn HAWT round these parts. A few weeks back  the temperature was consistently hovering around 30°-35°C every day with night temps not falling below around 25°. Add to that the legendary Sydney summer stickiness and you’ve got a recipe for frayed and frazzled people all over the city. Then it gets cold! Damn you inconsistent all over the place weather! Then, it gets hot again!!!!! Save me from this interminable hell!

In  the heat I find I can’t eat a lot or cook a lot. Can’t even bbq as I don’t want to turn the damn thing on cause it’s too hot!

So, there I sit, panting in the heat like an English sheepdog in an Australian summer, wracking my brain to try and come up with something tasty and refreshing and sweet, that’s not laden with kilojoules, but satisfies the craving. A couple of weeks back I met a friend for a coffee and had a frappe a.ka. a slushie. Essentially a drink blended with ice till it’s all crushed. It was cool, refreshing and perfect for a stinking hot day when tea or coffee are out of the question.

So: I always have boxes of my favourite Chilli Hot Chocolate (Byron Bay Coffee Co.) stashed in the cupboard, so I figured if I mix up the hot chocolate powder with some hot water then mix it through the milk then throw it in the blender with a pile of ice and blend, that I would have the perfect treat. I was right!

It takes a bit of work to get the proportions right, but once you do it’s perfect and the possibilities are endless: tea, coffee, fruit..

Tip 1: cold deadens your tastebuds so you have to use more flavour. Add slightly more than you would to it’s hot/warm equivalent.

Tip 2: Add more ice. First time, I added about 5 ice cubes. It wasn’t enough for my blender to crush it properly so I had big chunks of ice all through it. Second time I piled in the ice. More than I thought I should, but I increased the milk from 1/2 cup to a full cup. Made a massive serve, but because there was more ice it worked properly and was more slushie like in consistency. WIN!

Tip 3: Make sure the lid of your blender is on properly. The first time I did this, let’s just say I made a bit of a mess. 😉

Tip 4: Don’t buy a blender. Buy a food processor with a blender attachment. After having to scale down my kitchen, having multifunction items is a must

There is no recipe, just adapt your favourite drink. But as proportions go for 1 person doing a cold chocolate type of thing:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3-4 heaped tsp of drinking chocolate
  • dash of hot water to dissolve the drinking chocolate into the milk
  • about 10 ice cubes to start
  • Dissolve your drinking chocolate into the hot water then mix with the milk

    Throw into blender with ice and blend to your chosen consistency

Late Night Coriander Prawns

2011 February 4

Last night I had a bunch of stuff to get that involved traipsing about shopping malls, a watering can for my new balcony garden, a water jug/bottle for the fridge, a very handy half priced microplane grater (on sale at Victoria’s Basement now)!…. Nights like this I want to have dinner at home but know that it’s got to be quick and simple or it won’t get done and I’ll end up eating take away and feeling guilty.

read more…

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