Grab a spoon, this is going to get messy!

When I think of French baking the main ingredients come to mind flour, butter, Eggs, Sugar and Spice. Each one is carefully chosen to achieve a result of texture and flavour, it is these same carefully chosen ingredients that are used to achieve perfection and excellence in quality.

French patisserie is taken very seriously and for a chosen few it is a way of life. A modern revolution has taken place amongst pastry chefs which have chosen to push the boundaries of french classics producing elaborate masterpieces which are encased by an explosion of colours and flavours. The treasured bakeries are more like emporiums pushing the limits of reinvention, giving a twist to grandmothers treasured favourite. Breathtaking make-overs creating show stoppers filled with the imagination of an artist.

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The showcase at Le Petit Gateau is filled with what one would only describe as a visual arts show. There are certain foods that create their own special aura, a world of wonder and a dilemma for the taste buds.

Though we describe them as works of art and the initial reaction or comment made is  “It’s too beautiful to eat”, a thought that Executive Pastry Chef Pierrick Boyer said “I wish they would just eat it, and enjoy the moment”. There is a kind of momentary sadness which dissipates very quickly as your fork is plunged into your chosen dessert. With a wave of delight the “Oh its too pretty” comments are very soon forgotten. Your mouth fills with the carefully matched flavours, and layer after layer the only thought you have is that this is an experience you only wish it wouldn’t come to an end.

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I took the opportunity to spend a day at Le Petit Gateau and the team, its always a challenge to see if given the opportunity would I enjoy this type of environment. Perhaps I had been watching too many shows where the fiery tongue of a chef was prevalent and the mishaps of contestants were highlighted with an over regimented barking of orders would echo through the kitchen. Ok so a little nervous thought did travel through my mind. I must stop watching those shows!

I was greeted at the door 7.30am on the dot with huge smiles and a warm friendly welcome. With a shot of coffee under my belt and the guidance of Kim the day began. Armed with a list for the day I was more than happy to take my orders. Im happy to say that looking back the day consisted of spreading sponges, quenelles and dressing plates with consistent perfection, preparing Bomb Alaska, making meringue and vanilla bean garnish, Raspberry Souffle, biscuits and so much more! The team was amazing like a well oiled machine tasks were completed under the guiding eyes of Executive Chef Pierrick always there to advise and encourage. Before I could blink my day had come to an end. Exhilarated at the thought that I hadn’t buckled it was finally time to sit down and have a chat with Pierrick.

Q:  Where or with who did you training to become a Pastry Chef?
A:  I did my training in France & Belgium, where I worked for a year, in Strasbourg, Brussel, Reims & Bordeaux, before I worked in Italy for 6 months.

Q:  Do you have the same passion for cooking as you do for baking?
A:  Yes, as a guest & eating in restaurant, to cook the savoury dishes, not really, I don’t do it

Q: If you had to choose one dessert as your favourite what would it be?
A: Hard one, I’d say half a tiramisu & other half in creme brule! It would be one dessert right! lol

Q: Is Le Petit Gateau everything you have wanted to achieve or is there more to come?
A: It’s a good achievement & I would be happy with it in my younger years, now, I’d like to open something bigger, cater for organic breakfast & lunch and why not open over seas, how good would it be! While based in Melbourne, very important, It’s too Amazing living here 😀

I have few food hero’s to like Jean Delaveyne, Michel Roux, Raymond Blank, Emmanuel Mollis, Alain Fabregues and yes Pierrick Boyer. They are the masters and even though French cuisine is recognised for its flavours, textures, and colours it is the composition of a dish and the presentation which will always takes centre stage the ability to modernise classic with artful intent. Le Petit Gateau has the “WOW” factor and sure to impress.

I wish to thank the team a Le Petit Gateau and Pierrick Boyer for the kindness and warmth that they extended to me, and I look forward to seeing them all again very soon.

Le Petit Gateau, 458 Little Collins Street, Melbourne 3000 ph:  03 9944 8890

www.lepetitgateau.com.au

www.pierrickboyer.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChefPierrickBoyer

Instagram & Twitter: @pierrickboyer

Merci

Maria

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The Little French Deli

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….un peu de France dans votre assiette…..  a little bit of France on your plate

I have always felt that home is where the heart is no matter how near or far you may find yourself. In a world of travellers and backpackers, establishing yourself in a country far from home can be daunting but as many migrants have found that only when surrounding yourself with familiarity a state of satisfaction and happiness can be established.

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“Bonjour”….With this basic and all to often taken for granted greeting, a connection has been made. My instinct to respond was put in action of which I replied proudly with “G-day” and a little giggle and whisper of Bonjour!  A very AUSSIE -FRENCH welcome!

At a glance, I came eye to eye with all the classics Duck Confit and Cassoulet, a fine display of wine, cheese and croissants, tarts and pies! The menu board listed a degustation of all the flavours that represented food from home a Parisian Home. The store board out the front of “The Little French Deli” simply listed Bread, Cheese, Charcuterie, Patisseries and All French!

Yes, for those who have made the journey to Bonbeach and visited the little deli, what it may lack in shop front space it makes up for with heart and passion and did I mention the glorious sunlit court yard. The court yard is perfect spot to soak up some winter sun and fresh air. You may even be greeted by the neighbourhood cat which has also adopted a French sophistication.

We surround ourselves with family, friends and food all these fill the void but allow as to embrace the present new family, friends and new opportunities. The little French Deli was established in October of 2012 by two fine french men with a passion to delight us with beautiful buttery pastry, golden bread sticks, tantalising tarts and for one food blogger a sensory overload. Romain, the French engineer from Lyon and Gaspard, he grew up in the kitchen of his parents Fine Cuisine Restaurant. Embrace the flavours of France and make them feel as much welcomed as they make you feel and with much gusto as you enter the deli say……..”Bonjour”   (Thats G-day to you and me)

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The Little French Deli

http://www.thelittlefrenchdeli.com

524 Nepean Highway

Bonbeach, Victoria

thelittlefrenchdeli@gmail.com

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Spanish Style

Celebrity Theatre at the Melbourne Good Food & Wine Show – Melbourne

What does Paella, Tapas & Churro’s have in common – Miguel Maestre

To say that the energy that is Miguel Maestre is driven by food and family is likened to the blood that courses through his veins. His love for cooking with Spanish instinctive flare is observed through his energised personality and humour. After watching and listening to the demonstration unfolding before you it not uncommon to walk away feeling like tonights dinner will be a Paella with Bomba rice because Miguel said this is the best one to use!

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Ok as well as the beautiful food that he cooks he makes everyone feel special!

Paella

Serves 4-6

Cooking time approximately 30 minutes

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

400g Bomba Rice

2 L Chicken Stock

salt & pepper

200g Frozen Peas

1 lemon

1 lime

500g Marinara mix with prawns and calamari rings, mussels (optional)

Now what was the recipe for the sofrito – from memory and the quick scribble of ingredients I managed to write behind a pamphlet:

150 ml Olive Oil

3 fresh Tomatos Cut into quarters

3 Shallots

4 Garlic cloves

4 Piquillo Peppers

1/2 Bunch fresh Thyme

1/2 Bunch Fresh Mint

1/2 Bunch Fresh Parsley

1/1 Bunch Fresh Coriander

1 teaspoon Saffron

1 teaspoon Sweet Paprica

1 teaspoon Smoke paprica

1: To make the sofrito place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

2: Heat the oil in a large paella pan or (I have used a large frying pan with high sides). Add the rice and stir for about 5 minutes until the rice changes from white to a transparent colour.

3: Stir into the rice 12 tablespoons of the sofrito to the rice and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. If you are using fish arrange around the top now,  you will need around 500g of marinara mix with prawns and calamari rings.

4: Add the stock, season and cook for a further 25-30 minutes without any stirring on medium heat. Once the stock has been absorbed lower the heat and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.

5: Remove from heat and cover with pan lid or foil and set aside for a further 5 minutes before serving.

6: Squeeze over lemon and lime juice and garnish with chopped parsley.

This recipe has been adapted from the book by Miguel Maestre “Miguel’s Tapas” Publishers New Holland

Calling ALL Foodies or Lovers of FOOD!

Good Food & Wine Show – Melbourne 2013

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Watching my favourite cooks working hard on stage.

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This is a special moment for me. Meeting Julie Goodwin and being able to congratulate her on her winning MasterChef – first season and four years later, A gorgeous lady…..Thank you for the lovely advice!

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Meeting the gorgeous MasterChef  finalist – Marion Grasby was delightful, she truly has an inner beauty.Thank you for your honest advice and sincere conversation.

Fisher & Paykel’s YUM Kitchen

One hour of jam packed fun making pasta with my husband Frank and making a few new friends Kaye and Bianca. With everything measured and ready the only thing missing was a little sprinkling, chopping and mixing.

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This years show has all the excitement, food tasting and cooks and chefs galore. I thought I would give you a quick view of the wonderful world of food beginning with one of my personal favourites…Cheese Alley.

Bread, Great bakes, Slices & Cup Cakes

There is something hypnotic about attending a show of this type. All your senesce are put through there paces. Taste, Smell, Touch and the retail one……. BUY!

Yes Yes Yes ……..There is so much more!

Amongst every row there are bakers, butchers and wine makers and my favourite chocolatiers.

All this on day one. Who’s a happy girl……..me!

Food Review – The Carlton Curry House

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Tourists will read pamphlets, ask friends and family, and the occasional local on the street “Where is the best place to eat in Melbourne?” The response is often Lygon Street, known as the Italian district but offers so much more.  Lygon Street is packed to the rafters with the choice of food, glorious food, from Italian to Thai, French to Indian ,its all there!

“From a country of extremes, vibrant colours and incredible traditions food is born from a deliciously clever blend of spice and magic”

The Carlton Curry House: Peggy Wynn is proud of her presence on Lygon Street. She has lived and worked in Melbourne for over 25 years. “It’s exciting! People in Melbourne are fascinated by new foods, fresh foods and great flavours”.

Born in Burma, Peggy graduated in Science before joining the hospitality profession in Thailand. Her enthusiasm and capacity for hard work will exceed your expectations.  The successful restaurant featuring Authentic Indian / Burmese Fusion Cuisine will tantalise your taste buds. Peggy and staff bring to the CARLTON CURRY HOUSE an immense enthusiasm and an abundance of flavour.

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Chef Paramjeet Singh has 17 years experience, and has worked with Peggy since 2008. His love for cooking comes from growing up in, and around the family kitchen, and considers his Butter Chicken to be his specialty. “I must admit ,I think its amongst one of the BEST dishes at CCH. Everyone loves our Butter Chicken”. His greatest inspiration has been his mother, mentoring his cooking ability from a young age to produce beautiful traditional dishes. Together, Chef Paramjeet, and owner Peggy have taken the best out of Indian, Burmese and Thai recipes to produce their own unique FUSION of modern inspired dishes to captivate the taste buds. Gone are the days of fermented curry pastes and welcome  to FRESH, FAST, FUSION.

The Carlton Curry House will fulfil your hunger whether it’s a spicy Lamb Curry, a tangy Burmese Vegetable Curry, or a wonderful aromatic Vegetarian dish. With delicious accompaniments including salads and soothing lassis. Freshly made to order Indian breads and fragrant rice.

Crispy Spicy Samosa
Crispy Spicy Samosa

There is nothing meek and mild about CCH food, its vibrant full of intense flavours and the gas burners are testament to the great food of sizzling pans and smoke evoked by the ingredients being tossed together with the spices.

Chicken Tikka
Chicken Tikka

“Food is cooked using pots, pans and a Tandoor oven but the taste comes from good home cooking”

Mixed Tasting Platter

Upon request vegetarian dishes are made to order and these handmade Nepalese Momo’s are heavenly clouds to all the five senses.

Delicious Nepalese Momo's, a vegetarian delight

Delicious Dessert: Starwberry, Mango and Pistachio

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DSC03296With dinner over for another evening I hope I have given you a glimpse into a kitchen filled with heart and soul. A unique experience and an irresistible celebration of culinary culture. Let Peggy and her wonderful team serve you some of the most delicious, mouth-watering food packed with fresh herbs and spices, seasonal vegetables and sensational sauces. Simply Delicious!

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108 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria.

http://www.carltoncurryhouse.com.au