Posts Tagged ‘canape’

Sugar cured salmon, spiced avocado, crisp tortilla

Sugar cured salmon, spiced avocado, crisp tortilla

There are New Year’s resolutions I make that I never keep, despite good intentions.  The other day I realized it was already mid January and I still hadn’t gotten around to exercising, or reading my “book of the month”.  Sometimes I think to myself, would it work if I made some Reverse New Year’s Resolutions instead?  I’d love to be able to resolve to (1) Eat as much junk food as I want, (2) Buy as many cookbooks as I can, and (3) Never exercise.

The resolutions I like to make however, are those relating to food.  Those ones I gladly keep.  This year I decided that one of them was to learn how to cure fish.  Curing to me has always been one of those things that only seriously weird and crazy food fanatics make.  It’s right up there with the sausage making and making.  Considering that I have already gone to a sausage making class AND I’ve learned how to make cheese, it was really only about time that I decided to bite the bullet and cure my own salmon.

The recipe I chose was from Dietmar Sawyere’s Table By The River.  Sawyere is executive chef and director of  two-hat restaurant Berowra Waters Inn located on the Hawkesbury river.  If you’re like me and have never had the pleasure of dining in this restaurant – some caution – reading this book will make you want to hop on the next sea plane to get there (my booking is  in mid- Feb!).

There is nothing difficult about curing – the one thing you need though, is patience.  However, if you are new to curing, this recipe is probably the best place to start.  For one, given the size of the fillet used, the curing only takes four hours, much shorter than many recipes I’ve seen that can take up to two days. The curing recipe is only made up of coriander, sea salt, sugar, dill and citrus zest.  The cured salmon is also accompanied with a crisp tortilla (next time, I’ll try using a fried wanton wrapper as well) with some spiced avocado, and topped with salmon roe.  Each bite has the gorgeous sweet-citrusy salmon, the crunch of the tortilla, tang of the avocado and the “pop” of the briny salmon roe.  To me, an epitome of a perfect bite.

Sugar-cured Salmon

Sugar-cured Salmon

Sugar-cured Salmon, Spiced Avocado, Crisp Tortilla

Recipe from Dietmar Sawyere, Table By The River
Sugar-cured Salmon

  • 8 coriander seeds
  • 30 grams (1 oz) salt
  • 30 grams (1 oz) sugar
  • 20 grams (2/3 oz) dill sprigs, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, zested, juice reserved
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 30 ml (1 fl oz) lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 grams (14 oz) centre-cut salmon fillet, skin-on, pin boned (I used salmon with the skin off)

Spiced Avocado

  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • 2 tsp shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli, finely diced
  • 20 ml (2/3 fl oz) chicken stock, chilled (I used double cream)
  • Juice of 1 lime (above)
  • sea salt

To complete

  • 2 large soft flour tortillas
  • grapeseed oil for frying
  • sea salt
  • 30 grams salmon roe
  • micro coriander leaves

For the Sugar-cured Salmon

  1. Place the coriander seeds, sea salt and sugar in a mortar and lightly crush with a pestle. Add the dill, lime and lemon zests and spread evenly over the flesh side of the salmon. (Since my fillet was skinned, I rubbed the mix on both sides)
  2. Warp the salmon in clingfilm or aluminium foil and place on a plate with a light weight on top. Leave the weighted salmon in the fridge for 4 hours, then wash the fish under cold running water and dry well with a clean cloth.
  3. Using a sharp knife, remove the salmon fillet from the skin. Rub the salmon with a little lemon infused extra virgin olive oil and keep tightly wrapped in the fridge until needed.

For the Spiced Avocado

  1. Cut the avocado in half, discard the stone and scoop out the flesh. Place the avocado flesh in a blender along with the shallots, chilli, and chicken stock (or cream, if using). Blend of a puree and correct the seasoning with the lime juice and some sea salt.

To Complete

  1. Cut the tortillas into rectangles and crisp-fry in some grapeseed oil. Remove and season lightly with sea salt. Spoon some avocado puree on top of the warm tortilla and then place a slice of the sugar-cured salmon on the avocado. Garnish with salmon roe and some micro coriander leaves.
Sugar-cured Salmon

Sugar-cured Salmon

Thank you to New Holland for the Review Copy.

Table By The River, Dietmar Sawyere RRP $49.95

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Queso de Bola Spread

Queso de Bola Spread

Because the holiday season is already so stressful, there are some things that you should never do in December.

Getting married is one of them.

This of course is from first hand experience when eight years ago, three days after Christmas, I said “I do.”  When I got engaged my then fiancé said “pick a date” and there was no doubt in my mind that we would get married around the Christmas holidays.  I had visions of a string quartet playing Christmas carols at the wedding reception, pointsettias hanging around the ballroom and because my Mom was taking care of the catering, I asked for a Holiday themed menu including glazed hams and roast turkeys.

The stress started as early as September when the dressmaker told me that because I wanted a beaded dress, whatever my current weight was then was what my weight had to be at my wedding.  There was no room to put on any holiday weight as this would mean major adjustments to the dress.

It was hard to enjoy engagement parties and holiday get togethers when every time I’d want to stuff myself silly I’d envision a little bubble over my head and inside was the dressmaker shaking his head saying “Tsk… tsk… I told you not to eat so much!”


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Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a wrong first impression?

Well, when I met my husband there was no instant attraction, no sparks. Even worse – just really a total lack of interest (at least on my part). I thought he was nice but just not my type. If you told me that we would end up married I would have laughed and said “NEVER”. So how did this total apathy to him lead to us walking down the aisle? Crazy world isn’t it?

To be perfectly upfront, our love story has some uh… questionable beginnings. I was working at a large bank in their treasury department selling foreign exchange and derivatives and he was working for a large corporate and part of his job involved dealing with us.

Yes… I married my client.

We had been talking over the phone for a few weeks and then decided to finally meet up for dinner. First impression, I thought he has pretty nerdy. He was constantly talking about foreign exchange and trying to get me to exchange ideas on my views on the market. Not the type of conversation to keep me interested but I had to be polite. After all, he WAS a client.

I can confidently confirm however that he liked me. A lot. How would I know? Well, he told me so – many years later. But also at that time, actions spoke much MUCH louder than words.

Smoked Ocean Trout, Cream Cheese and Lime wrapped in Squid Ink Pasta

Thinking about it now, he was a quite clever. He knew I didn’t like him in that way so he worked on my parents instead. He asked if he could come and visit me at home and immediately won my parents over when he brought them a triple layered chocolate cake.

My Dad was over the moon to find out that he played tennis and they teed up a time to play tennis once or twice a week. I thought that he enjoyed playing tennis so early in the morning (waking up at 4:30 every morning to get to my house at 6:00) but it was only years later that I found out that he struggled to wake up so early but did it to spend time with my Dad.

My Mom was always asking why I didn’t like him when he was such a lovely young boy, of course she was asking this as she wolfed down the latest cake he brought to the house.

At work, it was no different. Everyday at 3:00 pm he would send incredibly delicious Belgian Waffles when I so badly needed a sugar fix. On Valentine’s Day I arrived at my office and there he was, with a dozen red long stemmed roses.

He was persistent and wasn’t shy to show his feelings.

I was uneasy.

I knew I didn’t like him and it was awkward because I didn’t want to upset our working relationship – which was fantastic. So I decided to be honest and admitted that I “didn’t feel the same way”. His response was something along the lines of “that’s okay – I just enjoy your company – I am not looking for anything more”.

One time he invited for dinner. I made up an excuse that I was going to see a movie with my sisters. A few days later he asked “how was the movie” – and I said “what movie?” “the one you were going to watch with your sisters” he said. “Ahh that one… yeah, well it was good!” but I am sure he knew I was lying.

Once, I had invited him to a cocktail party in some swanky hotel but at the last minute I decided I didn’t want him around so I met him at the lobby and told him that I had made a mistake and there were not enough tickets. I am sure he could see right through me but he smiled and it was not a problem. He would just see me the next day.

So we continued along the same routine for a couple of months. I am ashamed to say that I took this all for granted. He was there when I needed him but I was also willing to discard him when something “better” came up. I never took how he must have felt into account. I just thought, if he liked me so much – he would continue to hang on.

And then one day he just stopped calling.

Part 1

These canapes were inspired from Logan Campbell of Lucios Restaurant.

Recipe for Pasta

  • 150 grams flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons squid ink
  1. Place flour onto bench top and make a well in the center of the pasta.
  2. Place the egg yolks and squid ink into the well and incorporate slowly until the dough forms
  3. Knead the pasta for 5 minutes until smooth and rest covered for 1 hour
  4. Roll out the pasta as per directions on the pasta maker
  5. Cook the pasta for around 3 to4 minutes until al dente and immediately refresh in iced water
  6. Remove the pasta and dry on tea towels before using (see below)

Note: I used 4 egg yolks (as this is what I had left over from some macaron making) resulting in a richer pasta, feel free to substitute the recipe with 200 grams flour and 2 eggs if you don’t have the egg yolks on hand

Recipe for filling:

  • 300 grams smoked ocean trout (or salmon)
  • 250 grams cream cheese
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix the cream cheese, lime juice, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth
  2. Lay some plastic wrap/cling film on a benchtop
  3. Place a sheet of pasta over the plastic wrap and lay some cream cheese over this, leaving around 2 cm free (you will need this later when rolling)
  4. Next, layer some smoked ocean trout over the cream cheese
  5. Roll the pasta starting from the end that is covered with ocean trout and cream cheese and ending in the section where there is no cream cheese
  6. Lastly, roll the pasta in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set.
  7. Serve with ocean trout or salmon roe.

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