Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll be on Masterchef Australia this year! I attended the auditions on Wednesday afternoon for a Mystery Box with thirteen other people in my round to try my luck. The Mystery Box ingredients were: chicken maryland, chicken breast, a lemon, a wedge of ricotta, 100g of dark chocolate, a beetroot, two potatoes and a carrot. While these are usually quite versatile ingredients, the “supporting pantry” they had had nothing that I always have handy in my kitchen at home – no cooking wines, no fresh tomatoes, no breadcrumbs…
To cut the story of my hectic hour short, I managed to make a dish (ricotta-stuffed meatballs) but it wasn’t enough to impress the judges. Six people went through out of the 13 to the next round, and five of which had made their own pasta from scratch. Looks like that’s a handy thing to have as part of your repertoire!
Oh well, I have a year to practise if I do want to give it another go next year. But this recipe was one of the dishes I practised at home during my Masterchef preparations and it was pretty tasty – a very nice starter dish for the warmer days we currently have! This recipe comes from Valli Little’s book More Please.
You will need:
- 8 thyme sprigs;
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to serve;
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped;
- 500g piece beef eye fillet, trimmed;
- 3 spring onions;
- Ice for an ice bath;
- 250g punnet strawberries, quartered;
- 1/4 cup vincotto or balsamic vinegar, plus extra to drizzle;
- 1/2 cup (40g) shaved Parmesan;
- Micro-herbs or small purple basil leaves, to garnish.
Run the thyme sprigs under hot water to release the natural oils. Remove the leaves from the stems and place the leaves in a dish with the olive oil, garlic, some salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add the beef and turn to coat in the mixture, then cover and stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to marinate.
Meanwhile, shred the spring onion into long, thin slices, then place in a bowl of iced water for 30 minutes to curl.
Heat a frypan over medium-high heat and sear the meat, turning, for 5-6 minutes until browned on all sides. Be careful not to overcook it as you obviously want your carpaccio to be rare. Remove from the frypan and allow to cool. Once the beef has cooled, enclose tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes as this will make it easier to slice.
Toss the strawberries and vincotto in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then set aside to macerate for 10 minutes.
Just before you are ready to serve, remove the beef from the freezer, slice 2mm thick slices and stand at room temperature for 10 minutes or so. This allows any of the residual juices to drain away and not make your plate all messy later.
Arrange on a large platter and scatter with the strawberries, spring onion and Parmesan. Drizzle with extra vincotto and olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then garnish with micro-herbs or basil.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone! Next week I’ve got a review on The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay, What Katie Ate‘s tasty Bacon and Mushroom risotto, and the first of my Melbourne reviews: Movida Next Door. Until then! xx