Friday, November 19, 2004

Packing for Phuket

Only a little over a week before the next Australian cuisine promotion starts and this one's in Phuket, Thailand. I'll be at the Sheraton Grande Laguna with my colleague, Benjamin Christie cooking up a storm with my Australian ingredients in an exciting menu of Australian fusion made super special with the flavours of Australia.

If you're in the area, drop in and experience the flavour bliss of riberries, wattleseed, Oz lemon, wild limes and over a dozen other ingredients we'll be working into delicious dishes. We will also be representing Bega cheese, Springs Smoked Salmon, n'joi olive and Yarras infused oils on this trip.

How good is it to have the GM of this amazing resort see our cooking show, Dining Downunder and instigate our visit? Sure, the show's on in 30 countries around the Asia Pacific at the moment and we are getting a bunch of inquiries for promotions. So these will keep me living my life as a global citizen - these are definitely the Good Old Days!

Anyway, Xmas is almost upon us and if you're short on ideas for that cook in your life, please drop on over to our on-line store and pick up a few goodies along with our cookbook. It'll provide months of great dishes for you and your family and carry the Xmas spirit well into 2005.

Meanwhile, here's a recipe using Oz lemon which is a lemon myrtle based seasoning (but better by far than the herb on its own). If you haven't heard about Oz lemon, head over to my herb and spice site and you'll find plenty of info on this incredible rainforest tree leaf.

Over the next few blogs, I'll make up the ingredients for what I call a rainforest parfait ("Everyone likes parfait." as Donkey says in Shrek). The first component is an Oz lemon cream cheese. Now if you are in Australia, you can cheat a bit and just use the branded product, French vanilla* Fruche. Just sprinkle in enough Oz lemon as if you were seasoning it with salt and wanted to make it pretty salty. Stir and leave for at least an hour before taste testing and over night is good for full flavour development.

For my non-Australian readers, get the following:

100g (3oz) quark, cottage or farm cheese
100g (3oz) low fat sour cream
enough milk to make the above blend into a smooth, thick cream
1/2 teaspoonful Oz lemon
2 teaspoonful palm sugar

Just blend the cheese and sour cream in a processor or blender adding milk to make it into the consistency of a firm yoghurt (you can use a Greek yoghurt for this and just flavour it up with the Oz Lemon).

Add the Oz lemon and sugar (honey is fine here too, just not a strongly flavoured one or it'll fight with the lemon notes).

I usually make a kilo or more of this and have it for breakfast as it comes or on cereal or over fresh fruit for dessert at night.

You can also use the fabulous Easi-yo, Greek style yoghurt powders from that innovative New Zealand company. Just add one to one and a half teaspoons of Oz lemon and 2 tablespoons of palm sugar to their packet mix and make the yoghurt according to their instructions.

* Just a thought but when you invade another civilisation, dessimate their population and steal their resources, do they become part of the property of the Motherland? French vanilla? OK. The French ousted the English in Polynesia and took over rule from the native Islanders but since when is vanilla, French? If botanical names go back to original sources then it would have to be Polynesian vanilla. I suppose it is just another marketing ploy, just like the New Zealanders renaming the Chinese gooseberry the Kiwifruit.