Sunday, December 19, 2010

Best Custard Dessert Ever

CHOCOLATE ORANGE CUSTARDS

Sometimes the recipe you need/want comes to you by chance. Randomly checking out the Vue de Monde website, Shannon Bennet kindly posted his recipe for his Chocolate Orange Custards.

I was looking for a good dessert recipe that could be individually portioned for stand up eating and this is perfect. Portioned in to 10 shot glasses it is visually stunning and has a rich mousse like texture. It is very rich so a mere 30-40ml is more than enough.

The recipe is not difficult, but would recommend that to do it you do have a good kitchen thermometer, 78 degrees is the magic number for the custard, a few degrees higher and you will have scrambled eggs.

Recipe has been reproduced from:

http://www.vuedemonde.com.au/the-menu_recipes-detail.aspx?view=23

Ingredients:
160 ml milk
160 ml cream
40 ml orange juice
20 ml Grand Marnier
2 oranges, juiced and zested
40 g sugar
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
240g 70% coverture chocolate pieces

Method

- Put the milk, cream, orange juice, Grand Marnier, orange zest and half the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, set aside and leave to infuse for 10–15 minutes
- Meanwhile whisk the eggs and egg yolks with the remaining sugar.
- Bring the infused liquid to a simmer again and then pour through a fine sieve into the whisked egg yolks. The sieve will catch the zest, which can be discarded.
- Whisk until the egg mixture has dissolved into the infused liquid.
- Clean the saucepan and return the mixture to the pan, and heat over a low to medium heat until liquid reaches 78ÂșC (172°F), using a cooking thermometer, stirring constantly (at this point the custard will lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon). Put the chocolate pieces into a mixing bowl.
- Once the custard has reached the required temperature, pour it over the chocolate buttons and mix with a spatula until you get a really rich and homogenised liquid.
- Pour into ramekins and set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. If there are air bubbles tap ramekins lightly on the bench top. They should have a decadent look about them and be very dark in appearance.

Note: It is best to zest the oranges with a microplane as this extracts all the natural oils that are in the zest and gives a great aroma to the custard.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Squires Loft


166 Toorak Rd
South Yarra, 3141

Melbourne is at times a town that likes to indulge in rivalries of many forms. Collingwood vs Carlton, Melbourne vs Sydney, Nth of the Yarra vs Sth of the Yarra and in the steak debate it seems to be Vlado's vs Squires Loft.

While I have been to Vlado's a few times, I have never made it to it's great rival Squires Loft. The first thing that you notice when you walk in to either venue is that you are there to do one thing, eat copious amounts of red meat. The difference between the two though is Squires Loft has a bit more variety available over the Richmond steak dictatorship and also a lot more daylight.


L: GRILLED BOERWORS
R: PORK SPARE RIBS


The lunch group I was with got things started with the Squires Boerwors and Ribs. This turned out to be a very good way to start the festival of meat. The Boerwors were rich with nice meatiness and juiciness, the ribs were equally as good. Ribs at times are unappreciated in Australia, a plate of these would convert most.

It was around this time serious attention turned to the wine list. One of the things that separates most steak restaurants from restaurants that serve steak is that the former tends to gouge on the wine markup. Fortunately it is possible to get some really good reds for around the $50 range. We went with the very nice Wirra Wirra Woodhenge which is about $25 retail so is within the normal markup range.


L: EYE FILLET STEAK, MUSHROOM SAUCE, CHIPS
R: FRIED ONIONS


After we sorted out the wine, it was then showtime. The 300g eye fillet that came out plated on an iron plate it was not going to win any beauty awards for presentation, fortunately what it lacked in beauty it made up for in taste. Cooked perfectly medium rare with nice chips it was perfect, there is no questioning the fact that the guys here know how to cook meat. The only criticism I have is that the mushroom sauce was perhaps a bit gloopy for my liking.

The sides of fried onions, salad and vegetables were also well cooked and presented, but faded in to the background behind the steak.

Post steak there was no room for desert, I am sure they are acceptable, but when the meat is that good save it for another day.

So having visited both, I might sit on the fence. Both are good, both have there charms but if i were to go out for a casual steak with friends, I would almost lean towards the casual charm of Squires over the fixed menu Vlado's. There you have it

Squires Loft - 13.5/20
Squires Loft South Yarra Steakhouse on Urbanspoon