She is the cook, mum and friend that everyone loves to have.
One of the highlights in 2012 for me has to be the rare opportunity of cooking and lunching with Maggie Beer in her kitchen at the pheasant farm shop in Barossa Valley. Ok.. ok, I have to confess that I actually didn't do much of the cooking as the kitchen was crowded by chefs and journalists who really wanted to have that special moment, cutting mushrooms or massaging a fowl right next to Maggie. Like they really going to put that in the resume. To many chefs spoil the broth, Helen and I preferred to be spectators and capturing the moment with our cameras, whilst juggling with a glass of sparkling ruby cabernet in another hand.
I have to admit it was pretty cool to have Maggie Beer in the kitchen cooking us a three course lunch. The lunch was nothing extravagant, but just simple, honest home cooking. If I dare to use the word "rustic" here as well. Entree was vache curd with sauteed garlic mushroom on crusty bruschetta. The roast pheasants were broken down then the shredded meat was tossed into a radicchio salad. Lastly, the dessert, a quince and walnut crumble tart served with vanilla and elderflower ice cream.
As Maggie was rolling the flimsy pastry, the cheeky me couldn't help but strike a conversation with her...
B: "The pastry looks familiar, is that sour cream pastry?"
M: "Yes, it is the sour cream pastry."
B: "I think you are forbidden to bring that pastry back into Masterchef kitchen. So please don't do that again?"
Suddenly the penny drops....
M: "Oh I am so sorry! It was terrible to watch you guys struggling with the pastry! Oh no... never again."
B: "I forgive you, Maggie." (I only said that out loud in my mind...) Despite the sour cream pastry dough was a bitch to work with especially during summer months, I swear that is also one of the best pastry recipes in this world! So Maggie Beer, thank you for this wonderful wonderful recipe which I also happily adopted and rightly credited in my cookbook.
Sour cream pastry
(recipe adapted from Maggie Beer)
125ml sour cream
250g plain flour
200g unsalted butter chilled
1.To make the pastry, dice the butter, then pulse with the flour in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball.
3. Gather the dough together on a floured surface, flatten to a 2cm disc, wrap the dough in plastic film, and refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm.
Roll the chilled pastry out on a floured surface until 3 mm thick and cut to suit your chosen recipe.
Tips: I usually roll it out to fill a tart pan, then chill it again in the refrigerator for another 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C, then blind bake for 15 minutes; remove the weights, and bake for another 10 mins or until golden brown. ;
So what was the food highlights for you in 2012?
[Lunch with Maggie Beer was part of Tasting Australia's programme.]