MasterChef's Reece Hignell shares a recipe to bake at home just in time for Mother's Day, plus more foodie news.
100g butter (room temp)
50g icing sugar
250g plain flour
1 large egg
1tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
100g butter (room temp)
100g caster sugar
2 whole eggs
1tsp vanilla essence and or zest of a lemon
120g almond meal
Whichever seasonal fruit you love to eat: I used plums
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- To make the pastry case place the butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy (if you wish to use an electric mixer make sure you do not over beat the butter as you do not want to incorporate too much air into the pastry). Add flour, egg, vanilla essence and a pinch of salt then mix until a dough is formed. Bring dough together, wrap dough in plastic wrap then place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Remove dough from the freezer then, on a lightly floured surface, roll dough out so that it is large enough to line your desired pastry tin, ensuring that pastry is 3mm thick. Grease pastry tin then line with pastry then move back to the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Line the pastry with baking paper and pastry weights. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- To make frangipane filling, place butter and caster sugar into a mixing bowl then beat with an electric mixer on high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla then continue mixing on high for a further 2 minutes. At this stage, gently fold the flour and almond meal into the batter.
- Spoon batter into pre-baked tart shell then arrange the fruit onto the batter.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until frangipane is set all over. Remove from oven then allow to cool before removing tart from pan. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of double cream.
Hignell, who lives at Mayfield, told Food & Wine he has a "quiet week in TV land" this week but next week in the MasterChef kitchen "a few very exciting things happen".
Give mum a break on Sunday
Keen to spoil mum this Sunday, May 10? Local businesses are just as keen to help. Bao Brothers have introduced $60 assemble-at-home meal kits and they are fresh, full of flavour and lots of fun to make with the kids. Surprisingly easy, too. For Mother's Day they have a $110 bao kit on offer: eight baos you can fill with Mongolian lamb, marinated cucumber, mint sauce, coriander and crispy shallots. There's also a glass noodle salad with cabbage, edamame, ponzu and sesame dressing, a chocolate mousse dessert and a bottle of M & J Becker Rose. The vegan option substitutes Mongolian lamb with sweet and sour eggplant. Be quick, though, as this will sell out.
Scotties Seafood at Newcastle East has also come up with a great offer for mum. For $150 you get a meal for two (scallop tartare, kefir cream, lime and cardamom pickle; blue swimmer crab, king prawn, Balmain bug and pecorino lasagne; shaved fennel, Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom salad; strawberry and mascarpone cake) as well as a bottle of rose and a gift from organic skincare company Love Beauty Foods. Order by 7pm Friday for pick-up Sunday.
Sweet and savoury brunch packs and grazing boxes are being offered by many local businesses, as well as lunch and dinner options. A good source of information is The FOOdFIGHTERS on Facebook and Instagram. Suki Kwon from catering business Sukimama has provided a helpful platform for local eateries to connect with customers since social distancing restrictions first came into play.
The new normal
The ingenuity and tenacity of the hospitality industry during this difficult time has been nothing short of inspiring - especially when already-suffering businesses are doing what they can to help others.
For example in Mayfield, Onyx Espresso Bar has been offering free home-cooked meals to those in need (phone or text 0466 023 440, no questions asked).
Newy Burger Co has been "putting kindness first" since the virus first shut down our city. Their "kindness boxes" have taken off and thanks to fellow Newcastle chefs, those in need are able to enjoy tasty and nutritious meals, free. A shout out to Schilly Thai Fusion, The Kiosk Newcastle Beach, Sukimama, Nor East Bistro, The Falcon Restaurant, 5 Sawyers and Al's Pasta - all have helped Newy Burger Co keep families fed.
The Slow Food Earth Market returns to The Levee in Maitland's CBD this Thursday from 8.30am to 1.30pm. The "range of cool season vegetables on offer is huge", says Amorelle Dempster, with "one farmer growing 40 varieties of vegetables".
What's available (and in season) at the markets? Basil; crystal apple cucumber; cucumber; giant Russian cucumber; old man salt bush; pumpkin; Warrigal Greens; bitter melon; Egyptian spinach; garlic chives; lemongrass; luffa; mint; perilla; rosemary; sweet potato leaves; Thai basil; Thai eggplant; water spinach; button squash; preserves; zucchini; eggs; honey; corn; eggplant; watermelon; baby beets; beans; chilli; forage greens mix; garlic; pea shoots; spring onion; sunflower shoots; chutney; creamed honey; jams; pickles; herb and garlic oil; lemon myrtle infused oil; apple balsamic vinegar; balsamic vinegar; black manzanillo; chilli and garlic; kalamata olives; large green sevillano olives; Ligurian olives; olive oil; bay leaves; chives; curry leaves; finger limes; French tarragon; kaffir lime leaves; lemon myrtle; lemon thyme; lemon verbena; mint; oregano; parsley; rosemary; sage; thyme; apple ricotta brioche; beef savoury rolls; choc chip brioche; cinnamon ricotta brioche; curry savoury rolls; plain flour; pumpkin and fetta savoury rolls; sourdough baguette; sourdough light rye; sourdough spelt; sourdough white cob; spinach savoury rolls; walnut swirls; flowers; micro greens.
What a list! And it's all local and sustainably grown.
Wine and chill
Hunter Valley winemakers Mike de Iuliis, David Hook and Andrew Thomas have a deal for wine lovers: 18 bottles of wine (six bottles from each) delivered to your door plus a link to three 15-minute virtual wine tastings from the talented trio. Simply visit their respective websites' online stores to place your orders.
Sweet trip down memory lane
San Churro is bringing back sweet memories of the '90s with its new Throwback Edition menu.
Every Thursday from 4pm to 8pm, until May 28, you can buy a Churros Snack Pack ($11) filled with mini traditional churros sprinkled with iconic strawberry and grape Nerds; fairy bread, specklies and white chocolate ice-cream; or chocolate crackle chunks and milk chocolate ice-cream. All Churros Snack Packs are drizzled with a choice of milk, dark or white couverture chocolate.
San Churro has also rolled out four takeaway Throwback Hot Chocolates topped with your choice of Nerds, fairy bread, chocolate crackle or honeycomb, all topped with whipped cream.
San Churro, Westfield Kotara, is open seven days, 10am to 9pm, for delivery and takeaway.