Posts Tagged ‘quay restaurant’

Quay's Confit of South Australian Squid

If you were curious enough to read the About Me section (which needs some serious updating!), you would have seen I spend my days working in a bank and the rest of the time I like to think of myself as a frustrated cook.  Who would have thought that these two seemingly opposite interests would one day marry?  This is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I was invited (along with two other coworkers) by an investment bank for the first ever private lesson with Peter Gilmore at the kitchen of Quay Restaurant!

Free Range Chicken cooked with Truffle and Early Spring Vegetables

Peter Gilmore is the executive chef of  Quay Restaurant and has been running the kitchen since 2001.  Recognized as one of Australia’s finest restaurant, Quay has been awarded Restaurant of the Year for two consecutive years by both the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and the Australian Gourmet Traveller for 2009 and 2010.  Additionally, they have been named as one of the world’s top 50 restaurants awarded by S. Pellegrino for 2009.

So you can imagine, being one in a group of only six people to watch Peter Gilmore cook  was somewhat like a child being invited to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!

Confit of Shaved South Australian Squid, Garlic Custard and Roasted Squid Consomme

The first part of the class was a three hour session where Peter demonstrated three of his signature dishes.  The first dish was the his Confit of Shaved South Australian Squid, Garlic Custard and Roasted Squid Consomme.  I asked Peter how he got the squid so finely shaved.  Apparently they stack layers of squid, freeze them and then pass them through a slicer.  At this point, I am already adding slicer to my Christmas wish list!

I think this dish epitomizes Peter’s philosophy of looking to nature for inspiration and letting natural produce speak for itself.  Decorated with baby radishes and native violets, the dish is so beautiful I am hesitant to taste the finished product – but do anyway – and what can I say – it’s love at first bite!

The next dish up was the truffle poached chicken with early spring vegetables.  To prepare this dish does take some skill.  The first the skin of the chicken is removed, and then the dark meat is separated from the breast (the dark meat is not used in this dish), the skin is then laid on a flat surface and the breast meat and truffle butter is laid on top of the skin and rolled with cling film like a sausage.  The meat is then allowed to rest in the refrigerator for four hours to allow the protein to set.

Free Range Chicken with Truffles and Early Spring Vegetables

Once the chicken is ready, it is cooked in a temperature controlled water bath set at 68c for around 40 minutes.  Simultaneously, the vegetables are prepared and cooked in boiling salted water and dressed with butter.  Once the chicken is cooked and rested (around 5 minutes), more truffle butter is added and the chicken is finished in a moderate oven.

Plating the Chicken with Truffles and Early Spring Vegetables

If you are so inclined to try Quay’s signature recipe ( I am still working up the courage to try it myself!) here it is.

Gently Poached South Australian Squid, Garlic Custard, Baby Radishes, Native Violets, Roasted Squid Broth

Recipe (serves 4)

  • 1 kilo whole Southern squid
  • 2 Chinese red core radishes or 4 regular red radishes
  • 500 mls clarified butter
  • 16 small cherry bell radishes
  • 16 native violet flowers (optional)
  • 12 social garlic flowers (optional)

Garlic Custard

  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 20 grams unsalted butter
  • 180 mls full cream milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk

Roasted Squid Broth

  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 500 grams squid trimmings
  • 500 grams chicken wings
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 golden eschallots
  • 2 stocks white celery
  • 50 grams shitake mushrooms
  • 1 small carrot
  • 200 mls dry sake
  • 25 ml olive oil
  • salt

For the Roasted Squid Broth

In a heavy based saucepan heat the olive oil and add the squid trimmings, and chicken wings.  Roast in the oil until the squid and chicken wings are golden brown.  Moving them around with a wooden spoon as much as possible will help.  Once they are browned, finely chop all the vegetables and add them to the pot.  Saute for a further minute or two, add all of the sake to deglaze the pot and reduce until the sake has almost reduced completely.  Add the litre or chicken stock and simmer gently for 1 hour skimming any scum that comes to the surface using a ladle.  Turn the heat off and allow to infuse for 1 mor ehour.  Pass the broth through a fine muslin cloth lined strainer, discard the solids, keep the liquid, skim any remaining fat from the top, adjust the seasoning with sea salt.  You should have approximately  1/2 a litre or liquid left.  If you have more, reduce until you have 1/2 a litre remaining.  Place in the refrigerator until needed.

Garlic Custard

For the garlic custard, melt the butter in a small saucepan and chop the two garlic gloves roughly.  Gently sweat the garlic in the butter but do not allow it to colour.  Add the 180 mls of milk and bring the liquid to the point just before simmering (about 90c).  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the garlic to infuse into the milk for about 15 minutes.  Strain the milk and discard the garlic.  Season the milk with sea salt to taste.  When the milk has cooled sufficiently, whisk the milk onto the egg and egg yolk in a stainless steel bowl.   Place the egg and milk mixture into 4 ceramic containers, approximately 50 mls in each.  Cover the container with cling film and place in the refrigerator until needed.

Squid and Radishes

Clean the squid, removing all the guts.  Cut the tubes in half and with a clean kitchen towel, rub off all the skin.  Slice the squid tubes into 1 cm wide strips – put aside.  For the red core radishes, peel the radishes and slice into fine discs.  If you are using regular radishes do not peel them, just slice into fine discs.  Cut the tiny cherry bell radishes in half and put aside.

To Complete

Place the garlic custard ramekins into a steamer and steam on high for approximately 8 minutes.  In the meantime blanche the radishes for 1 minute in boiling salted water and in a shallow fry pan heat all of the clarified butter on a medium heat.  Quickly saute the sliced squid for less than 1 minute, you are just looking for the squid to turn opaque and slightly curled.  Drain the squid on kitchen paper.  Reheat the squid broth to just before boiling point.

To assemble, place the sliced radishes in a ring around each bowl.  Place a spoonful of each garlic custard in the center of each bowl.  Top the custard with the squid slices.  Garnish the squid with cherry bell radishes, native violets and social garlic flowers in using.  Pour the squid broth into a jug and pour a little onto the dish at the table in front of your guests.  The idea with this dish is that you have a spoonful of lush garlic custard, hot silky squid and roasted squid broth all at once.

The last dish was the Vanilla Mousse with Raspberries.  The recipe can be found here.

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Vanilla Mousse with Fresh Raspberries

Sometimes we hurt someone and never have the opportunity to say sorry.  Has this ever happened to you?  I am ashamed to admit that over the course of my life, the number of people I have upset or wounded by my unkind words has been too many to remember but there is always one incident that stands out… especially since it happened so close to Christmas time.

When I was much younger,  My Mom asked me to buy a box of frozen raspberries which she was going to use to make a Christmas pudding.  It was a few days before Christmas and I headed to one of the groceries situated beside a large shopping mall in the Philippines.    You can imagine, a few days before Chrstimas, everyone trying to finish their last minute shopping – it was almost impossible to find a parking space!  After almost twenty minutes in the parking lot, I finally spotted a free spot which I drove towards.  At the same time, another car pulled up from the other side to try and park in that one slot.

There was no way I was going to let that slot go!  I guess the driver in the other car had pretty much the same idea and was also determined to take that slot.

BEEEEEP! I honked my horn.  BEEEEP BEEEEP!! He replied.

Vanilla Mousse, Raspberries and Raspberry Gelee

I was pissed and we both got out of our cars.

I knew immediately when I saw him that he was someone’s chauffeur.  His shirt was a faded blue as if it  had been washed too many times and there was a little hole that had been stitched up on his sleeve.  He was much older than I was, or so he seemed, maybe 50 or so.  His hair was grey and his face dark brown and wrinkled.

We argued for a few minutes and the conversation between us went something like this:

Me:  What do you think you’re doing?  I got here first!

Him:  Of course not!  I saw the parking slot first – and I am going to park here!

Finally, I was tired and cranky and decided to put this to rest.  I told him something that I will forever regret.

“Get out of my way, you’re just a driver. I’m going to park in this slot whether you like it or not”

He looked at me shocked.  As if I had slapped him.  His face, although a deep brown,  turned bright red.  I could see he wanted to say something, to defend himself, to maybe hurt me as much as I had hurt him… but he didn’t.  He shook his head and got into his car and drove away.

I had won!  But I never felt more like a failure. I tried to justify my actions by saying he had tried to steal my parking slot.  But whichever way I looked at it – I was wrong.  How could I have said something so heartless… I don’t know.

How could I have hurt someone like that over a box of raspberries… I will never know.

Sometimes during the Christmas season I remember him and think of him as my “Ghost of Christmas Past”. The ghost that is there to remind me that  words can hurt.  There is no way that I can tell him how truly sorry I was and no way to make amends.  As much as I try to forget, my actions will haunt me forever.

Who is your Ghost of Christmas Past?

Fresh Raspberries

Recipe – adapted from Quay Restaurant

  • 250 ml milk
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1 1/2 sheets titanium gelatine (7.5 grams) soaked in cold water for 5 minutes
  • 250 ml cream
  • 70 ml egg whites ( about 2 eggs from 55 gram eggs)
  • 125 grams caster sugar
  1. Heat the milk, 50 grams sugar and vanilla bean until just simmering.
  2. Squeeze water from the gelatine and whisk into the milk until dissolved.  Cool slightly (15 to 20 minutes), strain into a bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the cream in a bowl until soft peaks form.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggwhites, gradually adding sugar until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold the cream and meringue gently through the cooled milk mixture.
  6. Place in a bowl and refrigerate until set (around 6 hours)

Raspberry Gelee

  • 420 grams raspberry puree
  • 35 grams caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 sheets or 7.5  grams of gelatine leaves (titanium strength)
  1. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.
  2. Heat the raspberry puree and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the puree comes to a boil.
  3. Remove the raspberry puree mixture from the heat.
  4. Remove the excess moisture from the gelatine and heat the gelatine in the microwave until it melts, around 15 to 20 seconds
  5. Temper the gelatine by adding a little bit of the raspberry puree to the gelatine and stir gently to combine
  6. Then add the raspberry and gelatine mixture to the rest of the raspberry puree.

Quay's Vanilla Mousse

To Assemble

Pipe some vanilla mousse on to a cup, add some raspberry gelee, top with more vanilla mousse and finish with fresh raspberries.

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