Although invited to this Relais & Chateaux – The Chefs Collection – event (a private cooking lesson with two of Australasia’s best lodge and resort chefs) I wasn’t able to make it to Melbourne for the invite-only cookery demonstration at Hilton on the Park earlier this month. Just to rub in what I missed, I was, however, able to obtain this Japanese inspired steamed custard from Executive Chef Hugh Whitehouse, Saffire, Freycinet, Tasmania, and another recipe from the evening: 40 ° Salmon with Pickled Cucumber, Tempura Oyster, Black Sesame and Miso Caramel by Chef James Stapley, Executive Chef Whare Kea Lodge Chalet, Wanaka New Zealand.
HUGH WHITEHOUSE, EXECUTIVE CHEF
SAFFIRE, FREYCINET, TASMANIA
Hugh has had literally a lifetime of experience with fresh, natural produce, growing up on a farm in New South Wales. Hugh learned the intricacies of classic French cooking under some of Europe’s greatest chefs at the top-ranking Dolder Grand in Zurich and the Chewton Glen in England before returning to Sydney and putting North Shore restaurants Milsons and Jaspers on the culinary map. He took Darley’s at Lilianfels in the Blue Mountains to a “two hat” level, resulting in it being named “Best Regional Restaurant of the Year” by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.
At Saffire, he thrives on the abundance of fresh, local produce available for his menus, encouraging his staff to be flexible to the season and to their diners, creating an unforgettable culinary experience.
“In the kitchen I use premium local ingredients sourced from an established network of Tasmanian and specifically East Coast growers,” Hugh says.
“I believe that food is about showcasing the best of the season and should offer a balanced and textured dining experience.”
Maybe I’ll try Chawanmushi at home. Or it perhaps I’ll take the more pleasant option and take a trip to Saffire in Tasmania to try Chef Hugh Whitehouse’s version. You on the otherhand, may prefer both options. So here’s the recipe:
Chawanmushi (Steamed Japanese Miso Custard with Tasmanian scallops, truffle & smoked eel)
500mls Chicken stock
3g or a large pinch of bonito flakes
3tbsp Miso Paste
100g Smoked Eel – flaked
300g fresh Tasmanian scallops
20g fresh black truffles
1 x bunch chives – finely sliced
Bring your chicken stock and the bonito flakes to the boil to infuse season with the salt and pepper.
Add the Miso paste and whisk until dissolved.
Take off heat and leave to cool. This will allow it to infuse.
Whisk the eggs in a large stainless steel bowl and whisk in the cooled miso stock, strain. Place your desired amount into a small bowl, cover with glad wrap and steam for 6-10 mins (depending on your steamer).
In a bowl, add finely diced tartare of scallops, truffles, smoked eel, chives. Season with salt and pepper and olive oil.
Remove custards from steamer and place a spoon full of tartare on top of custard.