31 August 2010

What's The Latest News & Gossip?

Spain here we come!
Bernabeu Stadium.
Ben doing his thing.
Ben Shewry's 'Terroir".
Royal Mail chef Dan Hunter
Clean, precise and exquisite food at The Royal Mail.
Matt Bax cocktail king.
Der Raum.
Selvatica range of chocolate from Chocovic.

Lots going on at the moment, apart from a significant increase in orders for our celebration cakes we are excited to announce that we leave for Spain again today. Madrid is the destination this time and we will be working on an exciting new project of which we cannot divulge information at this time. Confidentiality is paramount on this new project but we will try and let you know bits and pieces as time progresses. We will however be blogging from the Spanish capital on other subjects such as the cuisine, pastry shops and chefs from this gastronomic heaven. Top of our list of places to visit will be Restaurant Diverxo, David Munoz the talented chef from there has been doing great things for a while we hear. We are also looking forward to the cafe's, pastry shops, the chocolate and hunting for our elusive Albert Adria 'Los postres de El Bulli'. The main focus of this trip will be working hard in a kitchen/lab on our brief but who knows, we might have time to visit the Galactico's at the Bernabeu! We'll keep you posted!
Last night in Melbourne was the annual 'Good Food Guide' awards and we wanted to take time to say congratulations to two of our friends who picked up huge awards.
Ben Shewry the talented chef at one of our favourite restaurants, Attica, claimed the prestigious 'Victorian Chef of the Year' award. His cuisine is right up there on the world stage and he is rightly getting the recognition he deserves.
Dan Hunter our friend and former colleague was honoured as The Royal Mail Hotel, in country Victoria won the coveted 'Best Restaurant' award. This award hardly ever goes to a restaurant outside of Melbourne so well done to Dan and his team. Although we have not eaten there, it is on our radar, we know first hand how exquisite his food is whilst working alongside him a number of years ago.
Big Congratulations to both Ben and Dan, great ambassadors for Australian Cuisine!!
We are also close to announce details of our upcoming collaboration with one of the world's best cocktail bars Der Raum. We will be working with owner Matthew Bax on at lease two special events to be announce for early next year. Matt is also co owner of The Tippling Club in Singapore and we are very excited to be working with Matthew and his head barman Matthew Rees, These boys are extremely talented in their field and their work is very much admired by ourselves.
We are also in dialogue with our sponsor Chocovic on some exciting events in the planning for early 2011 which could include chocolate demonstrations and talks - we are happy to have an alliance with Chocovic and look forward to some pretty special events.
So, a few teasers for you all but we will inform you in detail when we can of all of our projects and an exciting announcement towards the end of September. In the meantime, we will update the blog next from Madrid, adios!


Restaurant Diverxo                           http://diverxo.com/
Attica                                               http://www.attica.com.au/
Royal Mail Hotel                              http://www.royalmail.com.au/
Good Food Guide Highlights           http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/good-food-puts-country-towns-on-the-culinary-map-20100830-147ah.html?autostart=1
Der Raum                                         http://www.derraum.com.au/
The Tippling Club                            http://www.tipplingclub.com/
The Cocoa Alliance                         http://www.cocoaalliance.com/

24 August 2010

Top 50 Cookbooks Of All Time, Our Favourite Cookbooks & What We Are Waiting For & The One We Can't Find!

Richard Olney's 'The French Menu Cookbook' Came Out On Top

David Thompson Was Australia's representative In The Top 10 

The UK's Guardian newspaper recently published it's annual list of the top 50 cookbooks of all time. This of course is highly subjective and is understandably English-centric coming from the UK, but it does raise the question 'What makes a good cookbook?' A good cookbook is different things to different people, our choices and reasons may differ from another persons, and who's to say who is right?

As you may know if you have followed this blog for some time now, we are passionate about our cookbooks, especially pastry orientated ones. This does not discount the fact though that our favourite books of all time are often from the savoury side. Heston's 'The Big Fat Duck Cookbook' is one of our absolute favourites but it is not found in the list published by the Guardian. This may be because of its accessibility to the home cook (and most chefs!). This exposes flaws in 'lists' and reinforces the fact that one cannot generalise a vast genre into one list. So with that, check out the link to the Guardian articles and if your favourite books are not on there, so be it! They are valuable to you and that's all that matters.

Guardian Article Top 50 Cookbooks 50-11  

Top 10

Here is a list of some our favourite cookbooks (in case you were interested) and in no particular order.
Ramon Morato signing us copies of his 'Chocolate' cookbook.

We could go on all day with this and we are fortunate enough to have an extensive library, which is difficult as cookbook collecting can turn out to be an expensive hobby.

One book that you will just HAVE to save your pennies (LOTS OF PENNIES!!) for though is Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold and colleagues.

You know when a book is going to be really special (and pricey), when it has its own website! http://modernistcuisine.com/
This book is really going to be something, out in December 2010 it should encompass everything you need to know about modern cookery. Stunning photography and top quality printing along with years of research will make this a must have for us. 

2400 pages of pure information and essential images and recipes, this is the one we have been waiting for. Chefs Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal wrote the forewords and we are putting our money away and counting the days to is release. 

One book that does elude our collection though is Albert Adria's first release 'Los postres de El Bulli', this is a very rare book indeed and was deleted a short time after its minimal release in 1998. We have only ever seen one copy (two actually - bit greedy!) and that was in Ramon Morato's collection (above) when we visited him at Chocovic in Spain.
Ramon's TWO!! copies.
This is the elusive book that we will continue to hunt down - so if anybody has a spare that they would like to sell, then drop us a line and we promise it will go to a good home!!

Enjoy your cookbooks everyone, hopefully we will have one out one day if we continue to learn, work hard and persevere! 

17 August 2010

Cake Tasting

When we are asked to commission a special creation for a client we often provide them with a tasting. It is generally a smaller version of the proposed finished product and sometimes has a small sculpture or a feel of how the cake will look as well as the exact flavour profile. The cake above was delivered as a tasting last week to some clients who had expressed an interest in Burch & Purchese creating their wedding cake. The brief was to have a multi-layered creation with chocolate (of course) being the star. We were pretty much given a black canvas to create something rustic, earthy and delicious. We came up with this and the layers inside include hazelnut daquoise, hazelnut brownie, salted caramel and pear jelly. We garnished the tasting cake with chocolate flowers, toasted hazelnuts, hazelnut cream and charred poached pear. We'll let you know how we go once it's been approved or revised.

06 August 2010

Latest Trials, Products & Dishes This Winter

To celebrate the increasing quality and abundant supply of Australian truffles, we have created our own out of aerated dark chocolate and fresh truffle salsa. These can be shaved at the table.

Testing new different chocolate shades for spraying our celebration cakes and individual desserts.
A Spanish style polvoron made with powdered cocoa nibs & hazelnuts - just prior to baking.

A vibrant looking fresh watercress sorbet is ready to go.

Citrus is great in Australia at this time of year and it is a good time to start candying the zests, shown here is candied lime zest.

A reworking of our chocolate, pear & hazelnut dish, with the addition of a hazelnut ice cream.

Warm chocolate mousse, hazelnut meringue & chocolate leaves. Work In Progress!!

Could not resist trying this almond biscuit recipe from the pages of Siete Cookbook. Yummy!!

02 August 2010

Latest Bespoke Chocolate Celebration Cakes

We are now making more cakes than ever before and two we finished recently are pictured here. The first was a request for a stunning table piece with individual portions and a 'goldfish bowl' filled with chocolate spheres, it was flavoured with burnt orange and bay leaf sable breton. The second cake was chocolate mousse, salted caramel and ginger cake and the client wanted gold garnishes and the birthday person's name written in this font. Both cakes were greatly received and enjoyed and we really enjoy working closely with our clients to give them the best possible product.

Wild Rice Fudge!!

Just a quick post on one of our latest experiments. The wild rice in this chocolate covered fudge lends a delicious and different flavour profile. It is earthy and nutty and the crunchy texture provides a refreshing contrast. We have been busy coming up with new flavours and textures in confectionary in preparation for a new retail line.