The recent Sydney trip put the celebrity chef to the test from Kylie Kwong’s biodynamic offerings, Bill Granger’s famous scrambled (not poached) eggs, Adriano Zumbo’s macaron and dessert delights, Mark Best’s scary attention to detail….I could go on. For now I will take a break from Sydney and return to Perth’s sunny shores. This time is a visit from Matt Moran for the launch of his new book Dinner at Matt’s. Now I am not Matt’s biggest fan, I don’t know much about him and the last time I saw him cook on TV he put a big pinch of salt on the dish, which made my mum and I shudder. So what was on offer at the Hilton Hotel launch – three recipes from Dinner at Matt’s to showcase what we could do with his cookbook. Matt’s Dinner Party menu included:
ENTREE – Scallops with Brussels Sprouts
MAIN – Roast Veal Loin with shallot tarte tatin and horseradish creme fraiche
DESSERT – Mango Cheesecake with coconut sago
The entree glamorised the brussels sprout, with the leaves nicely peeled and placed on the plate. A few of us didn’t think twice of eating them even though brussels are famous for being one of the least liked vegetables on the planet. The dish also had a pleasant surprise with the saltiness from the caper puree – very clever Chef Moran with it’s deep maroon colour having people like me guess it was a raisin. The main was my personal highlight, I am a notorious meat eater – medium rare please (on the rarer side – I don’t mind some blood). But it was not the red meat, though delicate and tender that had the table in delight. The yummmmmmm noises were dedicated to the shallot tarte tatin. Now I have written this in previous blogs, onion is not my best friend rather my enemy. There is something about that onion family that makes me to this day put it to the side of the dish, eat carefully around my tabouleh so I miss the spring onions and have me scraping the lid of my cheeseburger so the diced onions are given to my dad. This shallot dish blew my socks off – for the first time I was able to say I like an onion dish. It was so clever in disguising the acidity of the onion – the caramelised sauce softening the pastry and the horseradish creme fraiche providing a lovely disguise to any onion flavour. It was heaven to eat and I am looking forward to trying this dish at home. Finally the dessert course, always one of my favourites was nice and refreshing. I use the simple word nice to describe the dessert because that’s what it was – it didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. Though in attempts to do so with the sago, it still lacked that wow factor. Plus I was secretly hoping we would be indulging in Moran’s signature chocolate dish tonight. Overall though I would never say no to a Dinner at Matt’s, the only question would be if a home cook like me can do as a good of a job as the Hilton chefs. Only time will tell. How was the guest of honour – well Matt was an affable bloke, a bit sleepy from the 3-hour jet lag from Sydney but happy to answer our questions. He taught me the meaning behind the mystery of biodynamic – it’s another fancy word for organic. He also shared stories of his start in the kitchen as an apprentice at the age of 15 to now owning a number of restaurants and ventures including the Opera Bar. So these celebrity chefs aren’t only savvy in the kitchen they are also astute business owners. I look forward to the future treat when I put myself in the kitchen and test my cooking skills with Matt Moran’s recipes – a dinner party is in order. At this stage the only thing I have made from his book is a spice rub – yes I measured a few spices and made a special middle eastern blend that mum does on a daily basis without a cookbook or a teaspoon. I have a LOT to learn and a lot to treat!
THE FOOD JOURNEY (sorry blurry photos from iPhone 3)