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Articles on this Page
- 10/13/15--22:30: _Introduction
- 10/22/15--00:33: _Handmade egg noodle...
- 10/22/15--00:44: _Stir-fried twice-co...
- 10/22/15--00:56: _Three-milk cake wit...
- 10/22/15--19:40: _Flower Addict
- 10/22/15--20:00: _Grandiflora
- 10/22/15--20:02: _Muse
- 10/22/15--20:03: _Del Kathryn Barton
- 10/25/15--23:06: _Maggie Beer's Summe...
- 10/25/15--23:10: _Croutons with caram...
- 10/25/15--23:14: _Cherry clafoutis
- 10/13/15--22:30: Introduction
- 10/22/15--00:33: Handmade egg noodles hunan-style with smoked bacon and chilli
- Combine all the ingredients, except the vegetable oil, in a bowl. Use your hands to bring together into a dough, then transfer to a lightly floured bench and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough through a pasta machine to a 2 mm thickness, then cut into noodles using the spaghetti attachment on the pasta machine. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the noodles and blanch for 2 minutes, then refresh under cold running water. Drain the noodles well and leave to dry for 5 minutes, then coat lightly with the oil to prevent them sticking.
- Place a heavy-based frying pan or wok over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chillies and briefly stir-fry until fragrant, then remove from the pan or wok. In the same oil, stir-fry the ginger, garlic and bacon for a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients and return the fried chillies to the pan or wok.
- Add the noodles to the pan or wok and quickly toss everything together to warm through. Transfer the noodles to a serving bowl and garnish with the peanuts, sesame seeds and spring onion.
- 10/22/15--00:44: Stir-fried twice-cooked pork belly with leek and Sichuan black beans
- Place the pork belly, ginger, water and salt in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and leave the pork to cool in the liquid. Remove the pork and place on a plate or tray lined with baking paper, place another piece of baking paper over the pork and another plate or tray on top of that. Weight with tins of food or similar to press the meat, then refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, cut the pork into slices about 8 cm long and 3 mm thick, like bacon rashers.
- Place a wok over high heat. When it is smoking hot, drizzle in half the peanut oil and quickly stir-fry the pork until golden, then remove and set aside.
- Add the remaining peanut oil to the wok and stir-fry the ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add the chilli flakes and briefly stir-fry, then add the black beans, red and green chillies, bean sprouts and the leek and cook until soft and wilted.
- Pour in the Shaoxing wine, stirring to deglaze the wok, then add the stock, soy sauce, sugar and garlic chives. Return the pork to the wok and cook for a minute or two just to warm everything through. Add a little more chicken stock if it seems too dry.
- Finish with the chilli oil and sesame oil and serve immediately.
- 10/22/15--00:56: Three-milk cake with pistachio and raspberry
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter and flour a 30 cm × 20 cm Pyrex dish or cake tin. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then whisk in the sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time, ensuring each is well incorporated before adding the next. Alternately fold in spoonfuls of the milk and flour mixture, mixing to a smooth batter. Finally, fold in the rum and vanilla. Pour into the prepared dish or tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven, but leave it in the dish. Use a skewer to prick the cake all over. Mix together the cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk, then pour over the cake. Leave to cool, then cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
- Place the water, lemon juice and all but 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan. Place over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook the syrup without stirring until it reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer.
- Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then whisk in the remaining sugar and the cream of tartar to make a meringue. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in a quarter of the sugar syrup and whisk to combine. Continue adding the syrup in this way, whisking well each time, until it is all incorporated, then add the rose water and whisk on medium speed for a few minutes until smooth and glossy.
- Simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or jug.
- Cut the cake into 7 cm squares and place a square on each plate, then pour the sauce around the cake. Scoop a large spoonful of the meringue onto the top of each cake square and garnish with grated lime zest, flaked almonds, pistachios and raspberries.
- 10/22/15--19:40: Flower Addict
- 10/22/15--20:00: Grandiflora
- 10/22/15--20:02: Muse
- 10/22/15--20:03: Del Kathryn Barton
- 10/25/15--23:06: Maggie Beer's Summer Harvest Recipes
- Preheat the oven to 220°C. Melt 80 g of the butter and brush one side of each bread slice with melted butter, then bake on a baking tray until golden. Meanwhile, gently heat the caramelised onions in a small saucepan over low heat.
- Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan until nut-brown, adding a little olive oil to prevent it from burning. Season the livers with salt, then add to the pan with the sage leaves and sear on both sides. Immediately deglaze the pan with the vino cotto.
- Quickly assemble the warm croutons. Top each crouton with a spoonful of caramelised onion, place a liver piece on top and brush with the pan juices, then top with an anchovy half, a couple of sage leaves and a drizzle of olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper.
- 10/25/15--23:14: Cherry clafoutis
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the cherries in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle the castor sugar and kirsch over them. Bake for 5–6 minutes or until the cherries are cooked but still firm. Set the cherries aside and reserve the cooking juices.
- For the custard, beat the eggs in an electric mixer, then add the castor sugar and beat until frothy. Carefully add the flour and combine, then add 1 tablespoon of the reserved cherry cooking juices, the crème fraîche, cream and lemon rind.
- Dot a gratin or small baking dish with a little butter (I use a 30 cm oval copper baking dish), then spread half the custard over the base of the dish. Spoon in the cooked cherries to cover the custard, then add the remaining custard. Bake for 25–30 minutes; the top will be golden and the cherries will appear as little mounds in the custard. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.
I was driving near the small town of Gunnedah in New South Wales − as a photographer I do a lot of driving around Australia −and I ended up taking a wrong turn down a dirt track and found myself out the front of an old farmhouse, nestled in overgrown bush. The former beauty had fallen into some disrepair, with planks of the veranda falling off, and she was thirsty for a lick of paint. The old house, however, still stood strong; it looked beautiful in the light of the afternoon sun.
I wondered, what was the story of the old house? Why didn’t anyone love it anymore? What did it look like inside? I thought about these questions all the way home, for seven hours, as I drove back up to Brisbane. I had so many thoughts whirling around in my head. Someone needed to document authentic homes like this, which we take for granted. Someone had to get inside and see the interiors influenced by the Australian bush. Someone needed to love these homes. Someone needed to reconnect us with our country’s interiors. They needed to be photographed and celebrated before it was too late, and they crumbled into the earth and disappeared. That somebody ended up being me.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to find these homes, let alone get inside them. The home really is a sanctuary, a place of rest and shelter, a private space where people can truly be themselves and let their guard down. How was I going to get inside the homes of absolute strangers?
I found the best way was through old-fashioned word of mouth – and a smile. I would talk to one person about what I was doing, and they would know someone’s sister, who lived next door to a man whose uncle had a little shack eight hours west of Sydney. So I would visit that uncle, then he would have a friend who had a hut in Tasmania, so I would visit that friend … For a year I did this, alone, road-tripping all over Australia. I followed a conversation that started in one place and ended in another, a bush telegraph of knowledge, generosity and kindness.
I searched and found authentic homes, sentimental homes, real homes. All at peace with being called Australian – they would never want to be anything else. The homes I found I fell in love with were uniquely personal; each told its own story. Their beauty and charm had nothing to do with privilege or wealth; it was how the homes made you feel − safe. I never styled the interiors or changed them − I merely documented the spaces, as they were, and recorded the emotion of the home. It had to be honest. The interiors were layered, resourceful and spirited, and had a sense of freedom about them. They all listened and spoke proudly to the Australian landscape in which they lay, never looking for influences abroad.
There would be times when I would have to dip out of my journey, back to reality to shoot a job for a couple of weeks, but each time I did this I couldn’t wait to be out of the city and on the road again, close to what felt real. It was like an addiction, an addiction to the freedom that you only have when you don’t know where you are going, or who you are going to meet. Like jumping down a rabbit-hole and never knowing when and where you will pop back up.
Perhaps because of the remote locations of these homes or maybe just because of how things are done in the country, I would usually stay over, in the spare room or on the sofa. These generous strangers, who, over the course of a couple of hours as I photographed their homes, would become friends, good friends. We would usually share a drink and a meal, laugh together, and tell each other our stories. There were hysterical nights where I would have a pet cockatoo on my shoulder for hours at the dinner table, or I would be sleeping in a swag outside under the stars with no running water, absorbing how these people lived. By the end of the night I always felt the same − happy, and topped up with human spirit.
Looking back, it was an emotional year, a year of chance and of trusting my instincts. I was leaving behind the safe shelter of my own home to seek out shelter of another kind. The sentimentalist in me had to take this on. I had to go on this journey to find these homes and these people, and to share with people in the cities how beautiful rural Australia − the Australia I see and love − is. The dilapidated, the falling-over, the beautiful and the tired, the rambling and the crumbling − they all welcomed me in, and these homes made me feel safe and protected, giving me shelter.
This super-hot and smoky noodle dish was inspired by a Hunanese dish I once ate, which had slivers of smoked beef stirred through it – and lots of chilli. The result is damn tasty.
SMOKED BACON AND CHILLI
250 g (1⅔ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 egg yolks
1 large egg
½ teaspoon fine salt
vegetable oil, for coating
SMOKED BACON AND CHILLI
1 teaspoon peanut oil
5 dried long red chillies
2 cm knob of ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
150 g smoked bacon, cut into fine strips
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce
1½ tablespoons Chinkiang black vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar
100 g salted radish
crushed roasted unsalted peanuts
roasted sesame seeds
finely sliced spring onion
This dish is hot! It’s also one of my personal favourites: I love the contrast of the melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and the soft leeks with the fierce heat of the chillies and the saltiness of the black beans.
TO PRESS THE PORK
TO PRESS THE PORK
1 × 400 g piece boneless pork belly, about 10 cm wide
100 g ginger, sliced
2 litres water
60 g fine salt
TO FRY THE PORK
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cm knob of ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon Sichuan black beans
½ fresh long red chilli, finely sliced
½ fresh long green chilli, finely sliced
1 small leek, finely sliced
30 g bean sprouts, trimmed
1½ tablespoons Shaoxing wine
1½ tablespoons Chinese chicken stock, plus extra if needed
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
30 g garlic chives, cut into 3 cm lengths
2 teaspoons chilli oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
This cake is inspired by those impossibly fluffy Cantonese sponge cakes that have been soaked in condensed milk. The combination of meringue and moist, rich sponge is a killer. We dared to take this off the menu once; however, after howls of protest from our regulars and staff, it was soon reinstated.
300 g (2 cups) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of fine salt
6 eggs, separated
275 g (1¼ cups) caster sugar
125 ml (½ cup) milk
30 ml dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
375 ml (1½ cups) pouring cream
550 ml evaporated milk
500 ml (2 cups) condensed milk
100 ml water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
300 g caster sugar
180 g egg whites (from about 4–5 eggs)
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons rose water
280 ml evaporated milk
240 ml condensed milk
140 ml pouring cream
finely grated lime zest, roasted flaked almonds, roasted unsalted pistachios and fresh or freeze-dried raspberries, to serve
Saskia Havekes is at the forefront of artistic flower arranging in Australia. Grandiflora is an oasis of beautiful blooms, sculptural branches and lush swathes of foliage at Potts Point in inner-city Sydney. Saskia's large-scale installations and breathtaking arrangements are luxurious and bold, stemming from a deep love and appreciation of nature. In Flower Addict, Saskia shares some of her favourite floral moments, photographed by Nicholas Watt, who captures all the passion and originality of her work.
Photography by Nicholas Watt
The concept of the muse fascinates me. In Greek mythology, the Muses were the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory personified). They were believed to inspire artists, philosophers and individuals, and their names were Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (lyric poetry), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Terpsichore (dance), Erato (love poetry), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry) and Urania (astronomy).
The muse eventually became a force personified by a woman. She is the artist’s source of inspiration, providing the urge or ability to feel something. It’s often not an enviable role, although it does have romantic overtones. These women give their inspiring qualities to artists of all kinds, but they are often abandoned, denigrated or humiliated – they are the sacrificial maiden, for the cause of creativity. If they fall from favour, tragedy is born. The uber-muse of the twentieth century has to be Gala, who inspired Salvador Dali and lived with him from 1929 until her death in 1982. Dali’s dependence upon his muse was absolute and when she died his creativity was finally extinguished.
Nature is my greatest muse, but I am also inspired by music and poetry – they push me on through the physicality of all things floral. Involvement with certain people can trigger great bouts of creative activity – I love this fusing of ideas. Some of my most memorable jobs have been with highly visual people, where ideas bounce around and the finished work is so much more than what was originally proposed. Michelle Jank is one such inspiration. I’ve known Michelle for about sixteen years and we’ve done many photo shoots and projects together. She has had great success styling, designing and making jewellery and clothes, and she is now a creative director with bookings for jobs all over the world. She has a beautiful eye and a magic touch.
The first thing I did for Michelle was to create a large floral headpiece to be worn with the last garment in one of her fashion shows. I’d never made anything like it before, and I’ll never forget waiting nervously backstage to put it on the model. I remember Michelle walked past and gave me a pat on the back – she had confidence in me and I really appreciated it. We had to use a lot of pins to attach the piece to the model’s hair and head, and there was much swearing, but it had to be really secure as there was a long walk ahead of her. I learnt a great deal from that experience. There’s simply no room for error, and sleepless nights before a big event are the norm.
I love going to the flower market with Michelle when we’re doing a job together. The choice of materials is probably the biggest part of our work – once you have beautiful materials to work with, you’re more than halfway there. We drive out to the markets in the early dawn and set about gathering everything we think we need. Then we take the flowers to the studio and Michelle attends to all the aspects of the shoot while I get to work mapping everything out with the flowers.
This time, we are collaborating on some photo shoots for Club 21, a Singapore-based global luxury retail company. For a clothing range by Japanese designer label Comme des Garçons, I thread brightly dyed flowers onto fishing line to make headpieces and garlands. The contrast between the illuminated white garments and the jaunty blooms is destined to astonish, and photographer Juli Balla captures the contrast perfectly. At the next shoot, we team a flowing raspberry-and-cream dress by Carolina Herrera with an enormous unstructured bunch of flowers – it’s so heavy the model cannot hold it up for too long. We also discover the stunning roses we picked up at the market are a perfect match for an Alberta Ferretti dress, which is a stroke of luck. We weave them into a garland to go over the model’s shoulder and the result is spectacular.
Australian artist Del Kathryn Barton’s whimsical, intricate paintings are highly inspirational. So when we are invited to do the flowers for a dinner and exhibition of her paintings hosted by Roslyn Oxley at her Paddington gallery, we take our cue from Del’s elaborate artworks. She often has vines and flowers winding around the bodies in her paintings, giving a very sensual effect. Her directive for the table decorations is that the flowers should join and form a link to her paintings, and that they should be ‘oozing, sexual, vaginal creations’. ‘Make the flowers look sexy!’ she exclaims.
So many blooms and leaves lend themselves to this description, because flowers are geared and constructed for sexual reproduction by default. They are the sex of the plant, designed to attract with their colour, perfume and movement. Their sole purpose is to be showy, uninhibited, voluptuous and enticing, in order to attract their pollinators – bees, beetles, moths and butterflies. Every sensuous description applies to flowers – luscious, sensual, vibrant, fleshy, intoxicating, unfurling, luminous, blushing, dripping, moist, lubricated, erect, receptive – all in the name of attraction.
We deliberately use open and fully blown blooms, paying close attention to the inner and outer petals, and all the reproductive parts. To complement the paintings, we choose rich, dark colours, with pings of green and furry edges. The coccinea looks like it is ready to shoot its seeds into several specimens. We add beeswax candles to emphasise the idea of pollination. There are a number of insects peppered throughout Del’s paintings and I imagine them looking at the fecund floral arrangements below with bated breath, ready to pounce and start pollinating.
We’re asked to adorn the models for Collette Dinnigan’s last runway show, at the Royal Botanic Runway (in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens), which is a great honour. I love Collette’s romantic sensibility, which is evident in her designs. The feeling for the show is very feminine, highlighting her vision of a dream-like state of beauty.
We use floral clusters, striking specimens and trailing garlands to decorate the garments and models. Every flower has to be perfect to complement the natural beauty of each model. Some of the arrangements are sewn, others wired, some just pinned and others are balancing on the models’ heads. It’s a very hot February day, so it’s vital that all the flowers and foliage are kept cool before they’re assembled and attached to the models. This is somewhat easier said than done! We crown the grand finale – a bridal dress – with an elaborate headpiece that trails from a complex arrangement on the model’s head, then cascades down her back. The models wait patiently for their turn, reminding me of dancers in a conga line I once saw, choreographed by modern dance performer Pina Bausch. ‘Movement is born from contemporary life,’ Bausch has said.
Maggie Beer's Summer Harvest Recipes brings together all of Maggie Beer's signature recipes from her summer chapter of Maggie's Harvest, including detailed descriptions of seasonal ingredients and inspiring accounts of memorable meals with family and friends.
The recipes highlight Maggie's philosophy of using the freshest and best seasonal produce available in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, and treating it simply, allowing the natural flavours to speak for themselves. Describing herself as a 'country cook', Maggie cooks from the heart and is passionate about instilling in others this same confidence – to use recipes as a starting point, and be guided by instinct and personal taste. Featuring recipes such as Rabbit Saddle with Basil Cream Sauce, Roast Chicken with Fig, Grape, Walnut and Bread Salad, Stuffed Eggplant with Verjuice, Rocket and Preserved Lemon Sauce, Tart of Quail with Sage, Bacon and Grapes, and Passionfruit and Banana Pavlova.
This book from one of Australia's best-loved cooks is essential for anyone with an appreciation of the pleasures of sourcing, cooking and sharing seasonal food.
Photography by Mark Chew
If you can’t find rabbit livers, you can use chicken livers instead. For this recipe, you’ll need 9 chicken livers, as they tend to be smaller than rabbit livers. Remove any greenish bile and cook them whole, then cut them in half once cooked and remove the connective tissue.
125 g unsalted butter
1 French stick, cut diagonally into 12 × 1.5 cm-thick slices
1 × quantity Caramelised Onions or 1 × 120 g tub Maggie Beer Caramelised Onion
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
6 whole rabbit livers, cut in half
sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons vino cotto
6 anchovy fillets, halved
24 sage leaves
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
I prefer not to pit cherries when making a tart such as this, as the stone helps keep the shape and flavour of the fruit intact. Be sure to warn your guests, though, before they tuck in.
500 g fresh dark cherries
1 tablespoon castor sugar
2 tablespoons kirsch
2 large eggs
¼ cup (55 g) castor sugar
¼ cup (50 g) plain flour
½ cup (125 ml) crème fraîche or sour cream
½ cup (125 ml) cream
grated rind of 1 lemon
butter, for baking
icing sugar, for dusting