Monday, March 10, 2014

Somewhere on the South Coast

Every now and then I just have to cut out and head to a quiet place close to the ocean where I can sleep, cook, eat, drink, and breathe in a whole lot of fresh sea scented air.

I jumped in the car with my fishing rods, tackle box, and a case of beautiful wine and headed south about 5hrs from Sydney.

The reason for why I'm being so cagey about the location of this spot is because my newfound fishing friends are very protective of their special spot. They made me promise only to refer to this place as somewhere on the south coast. This place is true paradise……
It was around magic hour when I crossed an old rickety timber bridge with sandy flat waterways on each side. Bird life and fisherman abundant, I knew this place was for me.

When I spotted the little beach house, which was going to be my home for a week, feelings from my childhood stirred. This was the archetypal fibro beach house, just like the one I spent my holidays in when I was a kid. Those days are truly my fondest memories growing up.

Salty air, wet sandy dogs, the smell of stinky bait and diesel, bare feet, curly sun beached hair, sunburn, and fish & chips. All this represents holidays and relaxation - that is what I needed and that is what I got.
I woke the next day to sunshine and the most beautiful white sandy beach. This was paradise. I ventured to the fisherman's wharf to make some new friends and see what possibilities there were for dinner.

I met Alan… he has the only licence to dredge for clams on this part of the coast and I marvelled at his great catch that day. I bought two kilos of his prize flame clams to cook up that night for dinner, straight off the wharf. Couldn't get fresher than that!
I had so many questions for Alan. I was just so excited to see these glistening nets of freshness being heaved onto the wharf. He explained how he only brings in one size, throwing the little ones back so they can grow into big ones and through the big ones back 'cause they make the little ones… sweet!!! I love how fishermen are looking after the sustainability of our ocean these days. He doesn't throw the empty shells back, which he brings up from the ocean floor. Instead he tips them on his driveway at home…. 800 metres of it evidently!!!
My clams with garlic, white wine and tomato… heaven!
The next day my new fishing buddy Rainer took me out on his boat. We trawled off the beach for kingfish and then went out further hoping for flathead. We came home with both.
That night I prepared sashimi with the kingfish and we cooked the sweet flathead tails up on the barbie bumped up alongside a very yummy potato salad.
Each night as the clock struck six I mixed a cocktail with gin, elderflower, and the piquant and mouth-popping finger limes.
Sadly, my week seemed to pass too quickly as most holidays do, and on my last day as I drove out of my new favourite place in the universe, I dropped into their farmers market. Could it have been any more perfect..? No!!!!

I purchased a beautiful big bunch of organic beetroot, a kilo of local honey, and a bucket of the sweetest and reddest little cherry tomatoes, which I roasted.
Slow roasted cherry tomatoes… great folded through piping hot spaghetti with olives, basil, and goats cheese.
Whoops…!
Happy fishing,
Simmone x

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Weekend In The Country

A weekend in the country was all I needed to get my culinary juices flowing. A walk in the garden to collect pine cones is a great way to get a good gulp of country air and stock a big basket by the fire. They make the best fire starters and look really pretty too.
I created a beautiful rustic roasted beet and Dutch carrot salad with goats cheese and a balsamic drizzle. It accompanies a roasted organic chook stuffed with lots of preserved lemon and bay.
We sat in our formal dining room for a sense of drama and pomp!
On the Sunday we drove to Orange for a day of wine tasting. I packed little chicken and walnut pesto finger sambos, gorgeous baby crème pâtissière tarts with strawberry, banana and figs, and a thermos of English breakfast tea for a picnic down by a bubbling stream. What a lovely day we had.
On the way home we stopped by the side of the road for free range eggs for our brekky the next day. I love the way the honesty box works so well in the country.
When we arrived home from Orange we fired up our bush barbie and cooked up my salmon fillets with preserved lemon and herbs from the garden.
We then moseyed down the mountain on Monday morning leaving the farm behind but still wearing our Akubras.


Happy cooking,
Simmone x

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

So Frenchy So Chic

I was thrilled when Jean Francois from Cartell Music asked me to be involved in the So Frenchy So Chic in the Park event as part of the Sydney Festival this year. Check out the video below to get an idea of what it's all about!
We created the most divine hamper filled with beautiful baguettes, lovely little apple frangipane tarts, salads and our famous trout rillettes.

The great thing was that you were able to purchase your Simmone Logue picnic box when you bought your ticket online through Ticketek. On arrival at the park all you needed to do was find a great spot, lay out your picnic rug and head to the Simmone Logue tent to collect!

There were lots of other goodies available at our tent on the day. We tantalised the picnickers with a selection of freshly baked patisserie items to enjoy on the day such as my gorgeous strawberry and crème patissiere tarts, citron tarts, chocolate ganache tarts, and the ever popular apple frangipane tarts.
There was great entertainment and a tent selling the most gorgeous and pretty flower crowns to get us in the French provincial mood. The champagne flowed all day and the sun shone down. All had a fab day dancing, laughing, drinking, and eating all things so terribly Frenchy and terribly chic.
We can't wait to do it all again this time next year and until then Vive la France!

Simmone x


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fruit Mince Tarts, Puddings and all things Christmassy

It's that time again when me and my trusty elves in the Simmone Logue kitchen are busying ourselves making our beautiful fruit mince tarts.

Available at both Simmone Logue stores and David Jones. Be sure to hurry in and buy a pack or two before they sell out!

I will be in store all weekend at my Double Bay and Cammeray store to help you with any last minute catering or Christmas goodies. Or even to just give some tips and advice on how to cook your turkey and glaze your ham.
 
We have lots of beautiful accoutrements to bump alongside your Christmas lunch or dinner, and don't forget the pudding!
 
We are taste testing all weekend so see you there!

I will also be cooking up a storm on Channel Ten with the team on the Morning Show so tune in and learn how to stop, breath and smell the ham baking.

Go safe everyone and remember to have gratitude for the ones you love around you these holidays!

Happy cooking with love,
Simmone x

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Jenny Sages' Birthday Bash

It was a night when all the planets were lining up ever so beautifully. It was Jenny Sages' birthday party! Jenny is one of our most clever and renowned artists so I needed to create a dinner which was going to compliment the elegance of both Jenny and her beautiful and intricate works of art.
 

We started by delicately placing the freshest king prawns on a tangle of piquant green mango, fresh mint and fragrant coriander. A creamy, though subtle, dressing of a lime and chilli spiked coconut cream was drizzled over the top, finished with jewel-like super fresh pop-in-the-mouth pearls of salmon roe.
 

The main course we served poached trout on kipfler potato, preserved lemon mayonnaise and water cress.

And the dessert went down a treat as an old favourite known as the Eton Mess. Parfait glasses with almond meringue, berry compote and mascarpone cream.
Sam Holt with Eton Mess and Sages' Paintings
Happy cooking,
Simmone x

Monday, November 4, 2013

Peaches and Cream

I've just spent the last week as the camp cook at Texas Downs in Menindee whilst the peach harvest was on.

 
I arrived with my suitcase full of all of my favourite accoutrements to help the food taste amazing. I would be lost without my Thai dressing, chilli jam, dill mayonnaise and blood orange marmalade.
 
There's nothing quite like boiled eggs & soldiers and endless cups of piping hot English breakfast tea around a country table at breakfast time.
 
Mick and his trusty dog, Gidgy, delivered freshly laid eggs each day which were the colour of the sunset.
 
One day I made my chicken and ginger Vietnamese rolls for the entire crew in the packing shed.
 
They were very appreciative and the following night a long line of Chinese and Taiwanese appeared at the door of my quarters all holding their favourite dish from home. We had pork with ginger and shallots, fried chicken, chilli vegetables and a very scary looking green bean soupy dessert thing??? Lots of beers were drunk and then they played magic tricks with a pack of cards until all hours.
 
On the last night my friends asked me to cook my chicken schnitzel with yummy ruby red potatoes that Marino (aka Sheepy) had dug up for me.
Potato Mafia Marino Pasin (aka Sheepy)
I boiled the gorgeous fresh as fresh potatoes up with lashings of herby butter and a crunchy slaw on the side.
 
As a surprise I prepared a tarte tatin with peaches I'd pinched from the orchard earlier in the day. I served it with vanilla ice cream on the side. "How long's this been going on?" they asked as they shovelled it down. "About a couple of hundred years" I said as I shared the cute little story of how the tarte tatin came about. It was a real hit!!!
 
It's always hard to say goodbye as I fly over the property heading back to Sydney. I feel quite sentimental as I reflect on the week that's passed, the yummy dishes I cooked and the new friends I made.
 
With a suitcase full of stone fruit I arrived home with red dust on my boots and a whole lot of great ideas of wonderful ways to cook with peaches.
 
 
My Easy Salad of Prosciutto, Buffalo Mozzarella, Rocket and Peach
(serves 4)
 
Ingredients
1 bunch fleshy, peppery rocket
2 balls buffalo mozzarella
2 peaches, washed
12 slices prosciutto
1/4 cup roasted walnuts, toasted and chopped
Caramelised balsamic
Olive oil
Maldon salt
Freshly ground pepper
 
Method
  1. Divide the rocket between four plates.
  2. Place three slices of prosciutto on each plate.
  3. Slice peach over the top and break half a mozzarella ball on each plate. Sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle caramelised balsamic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
 
Happy cooking,
Simmone x