Rather than doing a traditional three course lunch, this year I have put together some finger foods to pass around before the main fare and a no fuss individual lemon meringue pie that can be handed around and eaten while standing so you can still mingle amongst family and friends.
There are so many different possibilities for arancini combinations. I love this combination because of the spicy hit from the chorizo with the subtleness of fresh calamari, then the oozing taleggio when you find the middle.
It’s wicked, and a great way to start before the main meal, it gets the taste buds into full swing.
Ingredients for the Calamari and Chorizo Arancini with Taleggio
500g Arborio rice
700mls fish stock
250mls white wine
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 large onion diced finely
1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
250g chorizo chopped into small dice
350g fresh calamari ( tube and tentacles ) chopped small
Zest of 1 lemon and salt and pepper to taste
200g cave ripened taleggio cut into small dice
1 egg beaten
Sufficient breadcrumbs and flour for crumbing
Vegetable oil for frying
Heat the fish stock until almost simmering.
In a heavy flat saucepan heat the olive oil and sauté off garlic, onion, herbs, chorizo and calamari, then add rice and combine well.
Add the white wine and fish stock alternatively stirring consistently, adding more liquids as the rice absorbs it.
You don’t want the risotto to be too wet at the end with nice pieces of rice sticking to your teeth when chewing it (al dente). Depending on your cooking, you may need less or more fluids specified.
With a fine micro plane, add the lemon zest and combine well with seasoning.
Transfer the risotto into a tray, flatten it down evenly with wooden spoon and place in refrigerator uncovered until the mixture is completely cool.
With a metal spoon, portion out equal quantities of risotto to form a nice round ball, not too big or it takes too long to cook and too small won’t leave enough room to fill them with cheese.
Once the balls have been rolled, poke a small hole into each one, fill with a small square of taleggio then close them back over with no cheese being exposed.
Set your crumbing station up, plain flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs, then proceed to crumb them all.
Heat vegetable oil to 180° in fryer and cook until the taleggio is melted in the centre, this will vary depending on the size of your arancini.
Serve straight away on their own or with a dipping sauce, I have made a pumpkin mayo for this particular recipe.
At the restaurant we have access to a couple of oyster farms, some of which come from Dunalley from the south east of the state or from the beautiful Bruny Island south of the Derwent River, not everyone likes oysters but done this way with lots of fresh home grown garlic and a splash of Tabasco, they are hard to refuse.
Ingredients for Garlic Tabasco Bruny Island Oysters
4 cloves garlic shaved
200mls olive oil
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
½ bottle red Tabasco
4 x 6 Bruny Island oysters freshly shucked
This recipe is very simple, you just need a hot grill to cook them under to get the garlic nicely coloured. This recipe has been on the menu at the restaurant for years and was created by my uncle. It has reached many diners over time with great compliments, and I hope you will enjoy this one too.
Simply add the garlic, olive oil, cracked pepper and Tabasco together in a jug or bowl and combine well.
Coat each oyster generously with the mix including plenty of garlic on each one.
Place under a preheated grill and cook until the garlic is nicely coloured and serve immediately
In the restaurant we line our pans with steamed rice to prevent oysters from falling as they cook and losing all the topping and oil. These pans are fine to serve in.
If you don’t have any rice to use you can use pieces of aluminium foil scrunched up and push the oysters onto it to prevent falling over, then place on some rock salt to serve.
This has a bit of a twist to the usual recipe featured in books today. Rather than using pastry I use sponge cake to line the pie dish with everything else placed on top. This can be made individually or as one large pie for any occasion.
Ingredients for Lemon Meringue Pie
600mls full cream milk
5 eggs separated
100g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
500mls whole free range eggs
250g caster sugar
250g plain flour sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
150mls fresh lemon juice
115g unsalted butter cold and diced
290g caster sugar
3 free range eggs beaten and strained
5 egg whites
200g caster sugar
To make the sponge place the eggs, sugar and vanilla into kitchen mixer and beat until fluffy and pale.
Remove from mixer and fold in sifted flour with large metal spoon.
Pour into a 30cm round cake tin lined with greaseproof paper and spray with canola spray or something similar.
Bake in a preheated moderate oven for 35-40 minutes, cool on wire rack.
To make the lemon curd gate lemons finely then proceed to juice them.
Place the butter, zest and juice in a double boiler and heat until the butter is melted and sugar dissolved.
Pour in the beaten strained eggs into juice mixture and stir until it coats the back of wooden spoon, remove and cool. Don’t over heat or the mixture will curdle.
To make the lemon custard, cream the eggs, zest and the sugar.
Place milk on the stove until scalded then add it to the egg mixture and stir well.
Return it to low heat on stove and heat until mixture coats the back of wooden spoon, remove to cool slightly.
To make the meringue whisk whites in clean dry bowl until fluffy then add sugar gradually until thick and glossy.
Cut sponge into 1.5cm slices and line the base of pie dish until the entire bottom is covered.
Pour lemon custard over sponge until the cake is well soaked.
Spoon lemon curd on top of the custard soaked cake, then spoon or pipe meringue on top of that.
Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes until meringue is set; serve straight away with ice cream or cream.