Tales from the Kitchen #2: Plating Techniques

This week, we’ve continued the excessive cooking at ATOTB Kitchen HQ with a big focus on plating, presentation, and styling. It has been a challenging transition for me, as the style of cooking I am more acquainted with is more rustic in presentation.

Though Asian food revolves around textures, big flavour profiles, and colour, the cultural focus on family-style meals and the sharing of food means that these elements are often combined in one dish, where flavour and taste is key, and aesthetics come second. Sure, you eat with your eyes, but how could you not want to eat a steaming bowl of noodles or a sizzling plate of tofu? Heck, just shove a bowl of plain white rice in my face and I’ll be more than happy to put it in my mouth-hole.

I’ve come to learn that Western food has more of a focus on showcasing the freshness and clarity produce, and what better way to do that than crafting an aesthetically pleasing plate of food – it’s almost like creating an artwork. Where Asian foods layer flavours, the style of food I’ve been cooking this week layers on the plate too, focusing on isolating textures, and using one ingredient in multiple ways to showcase it’s full potential. The deconstruction of the individual flavour and texture profiles is key, and pairing certain elements together on a plate to suggest exciting colour, texture and flavour combinations also becomes important. It’s not only about the swoosh, the puddle, or the smear at the bottom of the plate, with everything stacked in nice piles on top.

Here are my attempts, as well as a couple of more bloggy-style shots, I still managed to stay true to my style and sneak in a few Asian flavours along the way. I know I have a long way to go with my plating techniques, but i’ve definitely come a long way after a couple of weeks of studying.

Much study. So knowledge sponge.

Next post: experimenting with gels and spherification. I’m way too excited for this.

IMG_7760 Okonomiyaki burger w/ Pork Katsu patties / Pumpkin Togarashi Fries


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Crying Tiger Beef


mc7prep-7767 Seared Scallops / Chive Oil / Paprika Aioli / Sriracha Popcorn / Prawn Oil / Microgreens


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Roast Beef / Beetroot Puree / Yorkshire Pudding / Buttermilk Onion Rings / Red Wine Jus / Lentil Sprouts


mc7prep-7786The Rhubarb’ – Poached Rhubarb / Rhubarb Cheesecake / Rhubarb Cream / Milk Custard / Rhubarb Syrup / Olive Oil Crumb


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‘Duck + Carrot’ – Roast Duck / Sous-vide Baby Carrots / Carrot Gel / Beetroot Puree / Duck Jus / Toasted Seeds / Szechuan Peppercorn Salt / Radish + Mustard Leaves

Want any of the recipes? Let us know in the comments below, or over on our facebook page!

– ATOTB –

ATOTB Kitchen Update: September Recipes

We’ve had a few crazy busy weeks of recipe development here at A Tale of Two Bougies Kitchen HQ. This past week has seen us committing to stepping outside our usual (very Asian-themed) box, and playing with flavours and techniques that are a little more unfamiliar and less frequently used in our kitchen. We’ve also been busy butchering every type of meat, and making EVERYTHING from scratch (pasta, alkaline ‘egg’ noodles, pickles, ricotta, ice cream, pastries, biscuits…) to better understand the science behind each process. It’s been exhausting, but what better way to spend your holidays, right?

They say the proof is in the pudding, and there has been and excessive amount of pudding chillin’ out in our house recently, so I guess we should just get on with the pretty pictures of pudding (and other miscellaneous, yet delicious looking foods), hey? If you’re hungry, I don’t suggest scrolling down, unless you have excessive snacks at the ready, and pie on your person.

Want the recipes? Comment below (or on our facebook page) with your favourite, and we’ll post the recipe up. Don’t forget to follow us on instagram for more frequent updates!

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Grilled Quail w/ Pomegranate Molasses / Homemade Ricotta / Crispy Pancetta / Apple, Witlof + Squash Salad


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Duck + Homemade Ricotta Ravioli / Crispy Sage / Burnt Butter


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Roast Pork Belly / Maple Glazed Carrots / Basil + Coriander Pesto / House-pickled Artichokes / Potatoes


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Sri Lankan Goat + Okra Curry / Spiced Saffron Rice


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Homemade Alkaline ‘Egg’ Noodles / Hakka Yong Tau Foo Laksa


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Citrus-cured Ocean Trout / Horseradish + Dill Creme Fraiche


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Malaysian Chicken Satay / Cucumber + Radish Salad / Grilled Pineapple / Housemade Peanut Sauce


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Japanese Choux Creme Puffs


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Lemongrass + Kaffir Lime Meringue Pie / Coconut Shortcrust Pastry


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White Chocolate Mousse / Ginger Ice Cream / Orange + LemonCurd / Olive Oil Crumb / Glace Orange / Ginger Crisps


Remember to comment below or over on our facebook page for your favourite recipes!

– ATOTB team

FORBIDDEN FRUIT: BAKED APPLE, SPICED BRÛLÉE CUSTARD + OLIVE OIL CRUMBLE

Attention Apple fans: disappointed with Apple’s latest keynote address? Drown your sorrows in a big bowl of our Baked Apple, Spiced Brûlée Custard and Olive Oil Crumble. Even hard-core fans won’t be dis-custard.

Bearing more similarities to the forbidden fruit than a way to prevent visits to your doctor, this twist on your traditional Apple Crumble will have a quick turnover at your next dinner. You could even just spend your time abusively yelling at your guests, “HOW D’YA LIKE DEM APPLES?!?!?!?!”, or you could not. It’s really up to you, but I would probably 4/10 recommend.

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BAKED APPLE, SPICED BRÛLÉE CUSTARD + OLIVE OIL CRUMBLE
Serves 4

For the Custard:
500mL pouring cream
1 cinnamon stick
Peel of one lemon, pith removed
3 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
extra caster sugar for serving

For the Crumble:
50mL olive oil
50g butter, chopped
100g caster sugar
150g plain flour

For the Baked Apples:

4 apples, cored and halved (preferably Granny Smith’s)
90g caster sugar
180mL water
2 sprigs rosemary

Preheat the oven to 160C.

Heat cream, cinnamon stick and lemon peel over medium heat until just below boiling (93C). Set aside to infuse and cool.

In the meantime, combine 50mL olive oil, 50g chopped butter, 100g caster sugar, and 150g plain flour, rubbing with you hands until it resembles breadcrumbs. Lay in a thin layer and bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. Time it with your iWatch.

Whisk together three egg yolks with 60g caster sugar until creamy and pale.

Being careful not to cook the yolks, in a steady thin stream, strain in the cooled + infused cream, whisking continuously. When combined, return to a saucepan on medium heat, and stir until mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat, and set aside in the refrigerator to chill.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Halve and core four apples, placing them flesh-side down in a baking tray.

In a small saucepan, heat 90g caster with 180mL water until sugar is dissolved. Add two sprigs of rosemary, and pour over apples in the tray.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until apples are cooked through, basting with the sugar syrup every 5 minutes.

To serve, transfer apples to a bowl, top with custard and a generous sprinkle of caster sugar. Using a blowtorch, burn the top of the custard until a thick brûlée layer forms. Top with broken up pieces of crumble, and insert it straight into your pie-hole.

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AR-RIB-A! CRUNCHY SPICED CHICKEN RIBS + SMOKED PAPRIKA AIOLI

It’s nearing that time of year again, when sports are a thing. Like, there are televised finals and stuff. I guess sports are always a thing, but the only sportsgame i’m really familiar with is competitive eating.

YEAH, SPORTS!

Either way, these ribs are rib-ticklingly good while spectating or competitively participating, or even without any association with sports at all. Even better, they’re hard to cock up, and are probably the best hangover food you could ever wish for. Trust me, you won’t have any spare ribs by the end of it. Hur.

The aioli needs a fair amount of whisking, which I probably wouldn’t recommend after a week of intense pasta-mastering and piano practice. My upper arm is no longer willing to co-operate, and is in dire knead of a massage. Yeah yeah, I hate myself too. Let’s just get on with the recipe, shall we?

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CRUNCHY SPICED CHICKEN RIBS + SMOKED PAPRIKA AIOLI 
Makes 40

For the ribs, you will need:
1 kg Chicken Ribs
500mL Milk
50mL White Vinegar
Oil for Frying

1 1/2 cups Plain Flour
3 tbsp Salt
2 tbsp Onion Powder
2 tsp each of: Sumac, Smoked Paprika, Ground White Pepper + Chilli Flakes
1 tsp each of: Ground Coriander, Turmeric, Cumin, Szechuan Peppercorns + Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp each of: Ground Black Pepper + Cinnamon

For the aioli, you will need:
1 whole Egg
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp finely minced Garlic
200mL Sunflower Oil (or Grapeseed Oil)

Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep pot to 170C.

In a large non-reactive bowl, combine ribs, milk and vinegar and let marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Mix together flour, salt and spices in a dry bowl, until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg with vinegar, smoked paprika and garlic. In a slow and steady stream, gradually add in the oil, whisking continuously until emulsified and thickened. Cover, and set aside in the refrigerator until needed.

Drain chicken ribs from milk, and one by one, dust in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and fry in batches for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crunchy.

Rest chicken on a wire rack above some paper towel to absorb any oil and maintain crunchiness. Season liberally with extra salt flakes as soon as they come out of the fryer. These are at their absolute best when they are piping hot out of the fryer.

Serve with a big bowl of Smoked Paprika Aioli. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

Lucky Laksa: Chicken + Prawn Laksa Lemak revisited

Over a year ago, I posted my favourite recipe for Chicken + Prawn Laksa Lemak up on the blog, and this past weekend, I was lucky enough to revisit the recipe for a few of my absolute favourites. I was even fortunate enough to have the talented Michael Allen Photography around to take some snaps. Click here for the full recipe, and don’t forget to check us out on instagram or facebook to see more of our daily food adventures!   IMG_6964

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Pandan Chiffon Cake + Kaya (Coconut Jam) Lamingtons

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.
Photography by Michael Allen Photography (@michael_allen_rodriguez).

‘STRAYA.

MULTICULTURALISM.

PARTY.

CAKE.

MULTICULTURAL PARTY CAKE.

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Chiffon cake recipe adapted from Poh Ling Yeow’s ‘Poh’s Kitchen’. Kaya Jam recipe adapted from Billy Law’s ‘A Table for Two’.

Pandan Chiffon Cake + Kaya (Coconut Jam) Lamingtons

Makes 25

For the Cake:

10 egg whites (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar, sifted
290g caster sugar
10 egg yolks
210ml coconut milk
90ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pandan paste
300g plain flour, sifted
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
pinch of salt
200g fine desiccated coconut

Preheat oven to 180C (or 160C fan forced).

With an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. From here, add 145g caster sugar – one tablespoon at a time – beating until stiff peaks form.

Beat egg yolks and remaining 145g of caster sugar in a separate bowl, until fluffy. Add oil, panda paste, coconut milk, flour, and baking powder until well combined. In a few batches, gently fold the egg whites into yolk mixture.

Pour mixture into an ungreased and unlined 24x32cm lamington tray, or two 20cm square cake tins, so they are 2/3rds full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until skewer is clean on removal.

Remove cake from the oven, leaving inverted in the tin on a cooling rack until completely cool.

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For the Kaya:

3 eggs
2 egg yolks
50g brown sugar
100g castor sugar
250ml thick 100% coconut cream
3 pandan leaves, knotted
1 teaspoon cornflour, mixed thoroughly with 1 teaspoon cold water

Half fill a pot with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat until simmering.

In a separate pot, warm coconut cream until boiling, then quickly remove from the heat.

In a large metal bowl, add eggs, egg yolks and sugars, beating until all sugar is dissolved.

In a thin stream, slowly pour the coconut cream into egg mixture, whisking throughout so the eggs do not scramble.

Add knotted pandan leaves to the mixture, placing the bowl on top of the pot of boiling water. Keep stirring, scraping the sides and bottom of the mixture constantly with a silicon spatula to prevent the eggs from cooking. As you scrape, ensure that you pour the mixture over the pandan leaves in order to extract maximum flavour from the leaves.

Once a clean line can be drawn through the bottom of the bowl and the mixture is sticky and thick, remove from the heat, discard pandan leaves and blend mixture until smooth.

Return blended mixture to the double boiler, and add cornflour, stirring until well combined. After a further minute of stirring, remove from heat and let cool. It should thicken even further as it cools.

Store in a sterilised jar for up to 5 days at room temperature, or in the fridge for up to a month.

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For the chocolate sauce:

150ml water
175g caster sugar
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
250ml thickened cream
100g dark chocolate, chopped

In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar and cocoa powder to the boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, before adding the cream and returning to the boil.

Place the chopped chocolate in a metal bowl and pour over the cocoa mixture. Let the chocolate soften in the mixture for a minute before stirring until chocolate has melted and sauce is combined.

Leave the chocolate sauce to cool before coating lamingtons.

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To assemble lamingtons:

Cut cakes into 3x4cm pieces. Top each piece with a teaspoon of kaya, then sandwich together, jam-sides facing. Drop cakes into chocolate sauce, then roll in desiccated coconut until well coated. Place laming tons on a wire rack and leave to set for at least an hour before serving. IMG_4957

Blue Jasmine: Blueberry + Jasmine Tea Creme Tart

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.
Photography by Michael Allen Photography (@michael_allen_rodriguez).

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It’s summer. As in, stupidly hot Melbourne summer. Last week was all rainy and humid, and this week we’re back to being all sunny and stifling. It’s disgusting and gross and the weather just really needs to make up it’s mind.

The best thing about summer though, are the fresh berries that come into season. We’ve been eating them by the punnet-load, popping them like they’re hot (but not as hot as the sun, silly sun).

This is probably my favourite song about blueberries. It’s also quite informative re: trains.

This tart showcases the best of the season’s berries. The flavour of blueberries compliments the floral notes of the jasmine tea, but feel free to choose your own berry. Just make sure to use fresh ones, as frozen berries will not hold their shape and texture, and will stain the cream.

The tea-infused creme patisserie reminds me of a heavy ‘teh tarik’ with it’s strong floral notes and fragrant Jasmine flavour.

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Eat this while at an outdoor screening of Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, or just whenever, really.

Creme patissiere, more like creme patissi-yeahhhh, am i right?

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Blueberry Jasmine Cream Tart

2 punnets/~250g fresh blueberries
icing sugar, for dustin’ (hoffman)

For the pastry:

1 cup plain flour
3 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g cold butter, cut into cubes
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
1 egg white, beaten

Combine flour, icing sugar, vanilla, butter and salt in a food processor, processing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add water and egg yolk, and process again until mixture forms a smooth ball.

Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a fluted loose-bottom tart pan.

Bring pastry to room temperature. Roll pastry to a even thickness on a lightly floured surface and press into the tart pan, trimming the edges. Prick all over with a fork.

Cover pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove weights and brush pastry with egg white, before returning to the oven for a further 10 minutes, until shiny and crisp.

Cool completely before filling with creme patisserie.

For the Jasmine Creme Patisserie:

2 tablespoons jasmine tea leaves
350ml milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
15g plain flour
15g cornflour
65g caster sugar
4 egg yolks

Gently simmer milk, vanilla and jasmine tea leaves, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the tea steep and cool for a further 10 minutes. Strain liquid through a fine sieve to remove tea leaves.

In the meantime, combine egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns a pale, creamy gold colour. Lightly whisk in the flour and cornflour until there are no lumps, remaining.

In a slow stream, slowly pour half of the tea-infused milk into the egg mixture, making sure to whisk consistently to prevent scrambling. Add the milk and egg mixture to the remaining milk in the pan, and return to the boil, simmering for a further minute while whisking continuously, or until smooth.

Place the mix in a clean bowl, covering in cling film and cooling quickly in an ice bath. Once cool, refrigerate until just set.

To Assemble:

Pour creme into prepared pastry case until 3/4ths full and top with fresh blueberries. Dust with icing sugar, and serve chilled.

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Bananas for bananas: Salted Caramel Banana Upside-Down Cake

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.
Photography by Michael Allen Photography (@michael_allen_rodriguez).

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I developed a love for bananas at an early age. First, there were the trips back to the south east Asian motherland and the decadently sweet lady finger bananas, straight from the plantation, and the Indonesian fried banana treat, ‘goreng pisang’. Then, there was my mother’s famous banana cake – I still haven’t managed to wrangle the recipe from her. Finally, (and probably the most obvious contribution to my obsession, duh), the hours I spent playing Donkey Kong Country. Seeing all those bananas on screen drove me bananas – it was subliminal messaging at it’s very best. I’m pretty sure I was led to believe that I was also a Princess, a Toad, and a plumber. How sad I was when I learnt that you don’t earn money by headbutting a box in the sky and jumping on flagpoles.

This weekend, we managed to score a 3kg bag of bananas at the market for $2. Donkey and Diddy would’ve been proud.

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Imagine the most buttery, flaky naan bread you’ve ever had. Now imagine it stuffed with banana.

I give you: BananaNaan.

Hot, fresh out of the tandoor, and probably drizzled in Nutella and crunchy peanut butter. BananaNaan. Or dipped into a spicy curry, complex enough in flavour to contrast the natural sweetness of the banana. BananaNaan. Savoury or sweet? Either way, it would be magic. BananaNaan. Admit it. You find the concept of BananaNaan aPEELing. Ha.

Now, if you grew up in Australia, imagine the tune for ‘Banana Boat’ sunscreen and replace “Banana Boat” with “BananaNaan”. Yeah, try get that one out of your head, suckers.

BananaNaan. A food that I would still like to make a reality at some point in my life. The thing is, I feel that if I were to master the art of the BananaNaan, I wouldn’t be able to turn back. Everything I eat would have to be accompanied by BananaNaan. Everything I have ever done in my life would have led to the development of that one recipe, and I could probably die happy, right then and there. But there are so many tasty treats in the world that I would like to consume before that point, so I guess you’ll just have to wait a while for that one.

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In the meantime, I bring you this: Salted Caramel Banana Upside-Down Cake. Though this cake is hardly BananaNaan,  it’s still pretty damn good. Making this cake for dinner tonight would be an excellent life decision. Trust.

Banana. Salted Caramel. Cake. Moist – it’s everything you could ever want in a cake/life, besides BananaNaan, of course. Add some fre$h mint on top, and you pretty much have all the food groups you need to constitute a healthy dinner. Right? Plus, bananas are high in potassium, so that can only mean good things for your body. Unless you already have a high potassium intake – then you probably shouldn’t eat so many bananas. Stop eating those bananas. Just stop, ok?

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It’s perfectly dense and rich, and the addition of almond meal as well as normal flour, retains the moisture of the banana while soaking up all that syrupy-caramelly-goodness. Unlike some banana cakes i’ve had (and oh, I have had many), this version isn’t sickeningly sweet or doesn’t leave that odd dry feeling in your mouth, and it definitely doesn’t need some generic cream cheese icing on top to make it a winner.

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Make it when nobody else is home, so you don’t have to share. There’s nothing that drives me more bananas than having to split my banana cake. Banana splits? A-ok. Splitting banana cake? Not ok.

Panela is unrefined cane sugar common to Central and Latin American cooking, with a high molasses content, making it high in moisture and less sweet than brown sugar. Because Panela has a high molasses and moisture content, it isn’t as sweet as brown sugar. You can substitute brown sugar if Panela is unavailable, but make sure you alter the quantity accordingly.

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Salted Caramel Banana Upside-Down Cake
Serves 8-10

50g salted butter, plus 120g extra, melted
1/2 cup Panela sugar (substitute for 1/3 cup brown sugar if Panela is unavailable)
pinch of salt flakes
3 large bananas, peeled and sliced, plus 1 large banana, mashed
4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup almond meal
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mint leaves, to garnish

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.

Heat 50g butter with Panela and salt in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Bring the heat to high, and boil for a further minute. Pour caramel into a pre-greased 25cm round springform cake tin, and arrange the banana slices, slightly overlapping, on top of the caramel. Set aside.

Beat the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla until combined and the mixture is at least three times the original volume. Sift in the almond meal, baking powder, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon, and fold to combine. Fold through mashed banana and 120g of melted butter until mixture no longer separates. Pour mixture into the tin over the bananas and caramel, and bake for 55 minutes to an hour, or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a platter. The caramel should still be runny and ooze out over the cake. Garnish with mint leaves and serve immediately with extra Panela caramel or ice cream.

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They see me rollin’, they hatin’: Chorizo + Bacon Sausage Rolls with Fennel + Pomegranate Jam

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

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Because sausage puns are the absolute wurst, i’m going to quit before I get on a roll and all you readers start hatin’.

Here, have a video of a kitten riding a turtle instead:

Sausage rolls are one of those quintessentially Australian things. I associate them with the frozen food section of the supermarket, the drunken crawl home via the nearest 7-11, and every picnic/barbecue/gathering in a park where guests had to bring a plate to share.

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Consider these sausage roll babies all grown up. These guys have hit maturity in a big  way, combining four different types of pork (mince, sausage, chorizo, bacon) with a complimentary just-tart-enough-to-cut-through-the-excessive-amount-of-meat Fennel and Pomegranate Jam. Let the jam set in the fridge for a couple of hours, or make it in advance and leave covered in the refrigerator for a few days.

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I like to think that the use of black Chia seeds was a conscious effort to include more ‘super foods’ in my cooking, and to counteract the decadence of the four kinds of pork, but really they were all I had in the pantry and an easy substitute for the more traditional black poppy seeds that typically come on pre-bought sausage rolls.

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Chorizo and Bacon Sausage Rolls
makes 16 standard sized sausage rolls

500g lean pork mince
500g paprika pork sausages
2 chorizo
2 large shallots, diced finely
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
leaves from 2 sprigs lemon thyme
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chilli flakes
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon smoked salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 rashers bacon, rind removed and cut lengthwise into strips
4 sheets frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 220*C, and line 2-3 baking trays with paper, depending on size.

Cut chorizo into small chunks and pan-fry until crisp. Softly fry shallots in remaining chorizo juices until translucent.

In a large bowl, combine pork mince, chorizo, and sausages with breadcrumbs, chilli flakes, chilli powder, smoked salt, parsley, lemon thyme, shallots, and Worcestershire sauce.

Halve pastry sheets and brush one long edge with egg wash. Place bacon strips lengthwise down the middle of each sheet, then top with a 3cm diameter sausage of the meat mixture (roughly 1/8th of the mixture). Fold in the non-egg-washed edge, then overlap with the egg-washed edge, rolling tightly. brush the seam with egg wash, then cut in half to form two equal sausage rolls.

Place on a baking tray, equally spaced apart and seam side down, and brush with more egg wash. Sprinkle with chia seeds. Repeat for remaining mixture and pastry.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden and puffed up. Cool on a wire rack and serve with Pomegranate and Fennel Jam.

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Pomegranate and Fennel Jam
Jam can be prepared earlier and left to set, or stored, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

2 bulbs fennel, sliced finely
400mL fresh pomegranate juice
1/3 cup black rice pomegranate vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 sprig lemon thyme
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, bashed

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan on low heat, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until fennel is soft and liquid is absorbed. Before serving, remove lemongrass and lemon thyme sprig from mixture and cool slightly.

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Don’t go bacon my heart: Bacon + Macadamia Brittle

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

This brittle is bacon my heart. It will probably also give me diabetes, but I still want to wife it so hard.

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Look at that glistening bacon. It’s so beautiful, I could cry.

bacon-0847 Most recipes for candied sugar require corn syrup. Boo, corn syrup. There is always the option of using Glucose, but lucky for you, this recipe doesn’t require anything too crazy.

bacon-0844 This recipe is pretty healthy* and uses the less-fatty shortcut bacon. None of that slutty, streaky bacon. LESS NUDITY, BACON. *This recipe is not healthy at all. #cleaneating bacon-0840 This is totally worth the (minimal) effort. You’ll need to burn off some energy to justify eating some of this tasty treat anyway. Like many good things, candy making is sticky, hot, and sweet, and requires that little bit of extra attention and love. You’ll be giving a whole lotta that love back too, once you realise how ridiculously tasty this stuff is. bacon-0839

This guy gets an extra big tick of approval for all it’s salty and sweet goodness.

Bacon and Macadamia Brittle Yields ~5 cups 

4 slices shortcut bacon 400g roasted and salted Macadamia (or other) nuts 2 cups granulated sugar 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon sea salt (or smoked salt, for extra goodness) 1 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 200*C, and place bacon on a tray, covered with baking paper and weighted down to ensure it remains flat, for 10 minutes or until crisp.

Combine water, salt and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over medium/medium-high heat, and bring to a gentle boil, ensuring sugar has completely dissolved.

Watching and stirring occasionally, wait for the sugar to change to a light golden colour, and remove immediately from the heat. If you’re unsure and would prefer to use a thermometer rather than sight, remove the sugar when the temperature reaches 150*C.

After removing from the heat, quickly stir in butter, vanilla, and finally, the baking soda. The mixture will froth and foam up heavily, almost like a honeycomb. Stir continuously until the foam reduces and the mixture becomes glossy.

Add in the nuts, bacon shards and pour in a single flat layer onto a greased baking sheet or silicon baking mat. If necessary, use a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to spread and flatten brittle out into a single layer.

Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes, until brittle snaps.

Smash it with a rolling pin/pestle/hammer, then smash it with your mouth cavity. bacon-0838