Crave Sydney International Food Festival will launch on Friday 1st October, and first up they will be firing the big guns with René Redzepi, Head Chef at Copenhagen restaurant Noma, the recent winner of Restaurant Magazine’s prestigious Restaurant of the Year award.
Redzepi is an international ambassador for Nordic produce and has had a Michelin-starred career working at Pierre André in Denmark, Le Jardin des Sens in France, elBulli in Spain and The French Laundry in California before opening Noma.
From the harbour-side converted warehouse in the bohemian Copenhagen suburb of Christianshavn, Redzepi and the Noma team are pumping out some awe-inspiring dishes with native ingredients and unique presentations.
Having watched Redzepi and Noma’s popularity grow online, he has truly helped revive Nordic ingredients both in their native countries and abroad.
The thought of these exciting ingredients conjures up memories of my husband’s Swedish homeland: the crisp air, pure drinking water, green herbs, flavoursome potatoes, powdery snow, rich moose meat, gentle sunlight, sweet crayfish, sparkling harbours, dappled forest light and bountiful tart berries.
Again, I could go on and on and on.
I am remarkably privileged to get a sneak peak into Redzepi’s new cookbook Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine.
The book begins with the evolution of Noma from widely-scorned concept to globally-adored gastro temple as well as an interesting diary excerpt from Redzepi’s produce-sourcing quest across Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
Everything I see and read about Noma echoes my own memories and sensations of Sweden.
Reading how the launch of Noma was met with disdain by other Scandinavian chefs (it was nicknamed Blubber Restaurant, Whale Penis and Seal F**ker by non-believers) reminds me that very few Australian chefs take inspiration from local Australian produce.
To date, most native Australian products have been siphoned off as “something for the tourists” and tarnished by the stigma of the crassly named “bush tucker”. It’s almost as if there’s been some sort of shame surrounding native ingredients and no one has dared take up the challenge to produce world-class cuisine that happens to focus around our native produce.
It’s such a shame, because there is a wealth of truly amazing flavour sensations in native Australian spices, fruits, vegetables and meats. My favourites are wattleseed, finger lime, quandong, akudjura and mountain pepperberry, as well as kangaroo meat, Balmain & Moreton Bay bugs (crustaceans), and the luscious native rock oysters.
Just in case you were wondering!
The Noma cookbook is more inspirational than home cooking, although some of the more sophisticated and well-tooled home cooks will no doubt give the recipes a whirl.
There are some truly magical creations such as:
• fried potato crisps frozen in liquid nitrogen then sprayed with a yoghurt and buttermilk glaze;
• fresh radishes planted into cream herb flavoured cheese then topping with “soil” made from dark malted crumbs
• slices of oyster served with wafer-thin pickled apple, cream infused tapioca and malt oil;
• cucumber balls sprinkled with cucumber peel ash and served with raw sea urchin, dill granita and frozen milk foam
• shards of dark birch meringue, pale birch sorbet, mead & honey jelly and fresh chervil
• lingonberry sorbet, hay-flavoured cream and crispy carrot cake crumbs • a floral dessert of rose hip meringue, elderflower mousse, violet sauce, thyme gel and Icelandic skyr sorbet
Just to list a few!
As Noma has put Nordic cuisine on the “must-taste” list of every foodie around the world, here’s hoping that Australia can learn from Redzepi’s experience and cook up our own inspirational temple of native wonders, with an equally sophisticated and elegant approach that shakes off the “bush tucker” cringe.
Now we just need to get a copy of this cookbook into every Aussie kitchen!
But baking banana bread on a Sunday morning really ticks that soul-satisfying box, filling the house with scents of homely baked goodness and allowing you to relive your Sunday bliss with a sneaky slice in your Monday lunchbox.
Once known as “Good Food Month” the event has relaunched itself into a much more educational experience, without abandoning the old favourites.
Here’s a taste of what’s on offer from the 600+ events:
• presentations and demonstrations by some of the world’s leading chefs
• picnics on harbour islands and on the Sydney Harbour Bridge
• farmers markets across the city and night noodle markets in Hyde Park
• brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert specials at leading dining venues
• classes on cooking, baking and kitchen skills
• special dinners in laneways, progressive dining and fine-dining events
• Talks, tours and photography competitions!
It’s going to be amazing!
Food bloggers will be in frenzied activity, sharing their highs and lows with those keen to know what’s going on.
To make it easy to get the latest new, Morsels & Musings will be hosting a weekly round-up of posts for all Sydney food bloggers writing about CraveSIFF.
To participate simply:
• Write a post on your blog covering a CraveSIFF-related event or activity
• Please include a link back to this post so others can find it and join it
• By Saturday midnight, email the following info to morselsandmusings AT yahoo.com.au
- Name you want to be listed as
- Blog name
- Blog URL
- Event type
- Post URL
3kg boned pork shoulder/neck with some fat;
3 cups (750ml) dry white wine
2 cups (500ml) brown vinegar
1 cup (250ml) cider vinegar
8-10 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red chillies, sliced
4 bay leaves
½ tsp salt;
½ tsp black pepper;
1 slice day old bread, cut in 4
(sage & thyme optional)
1. Layer pork in a large ceramic container; add the wine, vinegar, bay leaves, chillies, salt and pepper.
2. Cover and marinate for at least 3 days, stirring daily.
3. When ready to cook the pork, transfer to large heavy pot (not iron), add the marinade, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes; remove pork..
4. Whilst pork is cooking, quickly moisten the bread slices by touching each side to the surface of the hot marinade and drain.
5. Raise the heat under the marinade so that it bubbles gently, and boil uncovered to reduce while you proceed with the recipe.
6. In a heavy frypan, brown pork lightly on both sides in olive oil and butter over moderately high heat. Remove to heated plate and keep warm.
7. Quickly brown bread on both sides in the pan drippings, adding more olive oil and butter as needed.
8. To serve, arrange bread on a platter, top with overlapping pork, then spoon some of the reduced marinade on top.
9. Pour remaining marinade into sauce boat and pass separately. Decorate with sliced orange slices.
180ml strained passionfruit juice (about 10 passionfruit)
20g powdered gelatine
500g caster sugar
Snow sugar, for dusting
1. Lightly grease and line a 17.5cm x 25cm shallow cake pan and dust base liberally with snow sugar.
2. Combine passionfruit juice and gelatine in a bowl and set aside.
3. Combine caster sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, then increase heat to medium and cook for 5-10 minutes or until syrup reaches 125’C on a sugar thermometer.
4. Remove from heat, add passionfruit mixture to syrup and stir until gelatine dissolves.
5. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt until frothy.
6. Gradually add passionfruit mixture, whisking continuously on medium speed until mixture has doubled in size, then slowly decrease speed and mix until mixture is warm (about 40’C).
7. Pour into prepared cake pan, and, using a lightly oiled spatula, spread evenly, then dust top liberally with snow sugar. Stand at room temperature for 3 hours or until firm.
8. Using a sharp knife, cut marshmallow into 2.5cm squares and roll in snow sugar to coat. Store in an airtight container between sheets of baking paper at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Note: to make heart shapes I used an oiled cookie cutter and all the leftover bits and pieces were turned into rocky road.
I remember the first time I realised marshmallows don’t have to come in a package but could be made, fresh, at home.
I put it on my to-do list with awe but never dared attempt it.
So this year I made it one of my 2010 Food Challenges to make sure I stopped living in fear.
The big day came for my friend’s hens night and I pulled them off. Soft and pillowy, tangy with tropical passionfruit and then topped with 70% dark chocolate.
And if you want to try your own marshmallows, how about some of these:
These marshmallows are my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging with passionfruit as my theme ingredient. If you want to learn more about passionfruits I wrote a post about them back when I blogged this passionfruit curd.
1. Wash then juice the lemon, then cut the juiced fruit into slices.
2. In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the onions, garlic, lemon juices and slices, cinnamon, smoky paprika, allspice, sumac, salt and pepper. Marinate overnight or at least a few hours.
3. Preheat oven to 200’C.
4. Put the chicken and all its marinade in a baking dish, ensuring the chicken is flat and not touching each other. Put the chicken skin side up.
5. Sprinkle the za’atar over the chicken and onions then roast for 30 – 40 minutes until the chicken is coloured and just cooked through.
6. In the meantime, melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the nuts with a pinch of salt until golden, stirring constantly. Drain on kitchen paper.
7. Transfer the hot chicken to serving plates and finish with chopped parsley, toasted nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.
I've blogged about sumac before as a Weekend Herb Blogging ingredient, so I'm going to pinch the content directly from my own post. Apologies to myself.
Sumac is the name of all 250 species of flowering plants from the genus Rhus.
Also known as sumach, sumak, summak, tanner’s sumach, sommacco, zumaque and sammak, in this particular case sumac refers to the spice created from grinding the Rhus coriaria’s dried berries. This produces a tart, sour deep red-purple powder which is extremely popular in Arabic, Levant, Persian and Turkish cuisine.
Sumac berries form tight clusters of red drupes or bobs. They are harvested just before ripeness and sun dried. In growing regions you can buy whole dried berries whereas the rest of us need to make do with sumac powders. The powder keeps in an airtight container for several months.
The Rhus coriaria comes from the Mediterranean but sumac in general grows in subtropical and warm temperate regions throughout the world. It has been used in Mediterranean cooking since Ancient Rome and is a major souring agent in Middle Eastern cooking, replacing lemon juice, tamarind and vinegars.
There are numerous ways to employ sumac in your kitchen:
• on kebabs, fish or chicken before grilling
• popular in salad dressings, marinades, stews and casseroles
• enhances the flavour of fresh tomatoes and avocados
• mixed with yoghurt and fresh herbs as a dip or sauce
• dusted over feta or labneh cheese
• mixed with olive oil as a dip with bread
• common ingredient in za'atar (a spice mix)
North American sumac is also employed for culinary purposes. Native Americans used smooth sumac (Rhus glabra) and staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) to make rhus juice, also known as sumac-ade or Indian lemonade. They would soak the sumac berry clusters in water to remove the essence then strain and sweeten the liquid.
Other North American sumac includes Rhus glabra, an excellent leather tanner which produces flexible, light weight and almost white leather products, and Rhus toxicodendron, also known as Poison Ivy.
Sumac is said to have diuretic effects and the assist bowel problems and fever. In the Middle East a sour drink is made from sumac to relieve indigestion.
And one last weird fact: dried sumac wood glows under UV lighting. Who would have thought!