Deliciously simple

World on a Plate, by Jack Stein, published by Absolute Press, $50.95
World on a Plate, by Jack Stein, published by Absolute Press, $50.95
Simple deliciousness is the aim of British chef Jack Stein.

Stein, the son of celebrity chef Rick Stein, heads up his father's business empire of nine restaurants, a pub and a cookery school.

Growing up, he and his brothers were taken on family holidays around the world by their parents discovering food and flavours.

''The flavours and sensations have stayed with me ever since.''

He caught the food and travel bugs and, despite his parents advising him against it, became a chef. He travelled the world working in kitchens in Paris, Sydney and the south of France.

He discovered his parents' food philosphy was the right one - ''take amazing local ingredients, tell their story on a plate and don't mess around with them too much''.

So his book World on a Plate aims to show it is entirely possible to do that.

The recipes are his versions of dishes he has loved throughout his life and which he returns to time and time again.

''Recipes that never fail me, bringing comfort and pleasure and sometimes reminding me of moments shared with friends and family.''

He suggests the book will suit the type of cook who enjoys experimenting with new flavours and techniques from around the world.

''This book is a product of my culinary upbringing.''

Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied
Charred broccoli, broad beans, almonds and ranch dressing

It was in Hawaii that I first fell in love with ranch dressing, a simple mayonnaise-based sauce with garlic, buttermilk, soured cream and chives. The charring technique gives the broccoli a wonderful extra layer of flavour - a kitchen trick that works with pretty much any vegetable.

Blue cheese makes for a great addition to the dressing - melt 100g of Roquefort and add it to the mixture. Use this cheesy adaptation on baby gem salad leaves along with crispy bacon strips.

Serves 4

1 head of broccoli
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
4 turns of freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
500g broad beans
75g flaked almonds
½ teaspoon butter
juice of ½ lemon

Ranch dressing
150g mayonnaise
½ tsp red miso paste
75ml soured cream
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50ml buttermilk
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
a handful of chives, finely chopped
a handful of parsley, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 200degC fan bake.

The dressing
Mix all the ingredients together - except the herbs - until combined. Now stir the herbs through. Keep in the fridge until needed.

Cut off the broccoli stem and cut it into small pieces; break off the florets and slice in half to make smaller pieces. Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil and the salt, pepper and garlic cloves in a bowl. Add the broccoli pieces and stir to coat (stir in a little more olive oil if necessary).

Place them on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 10-15 minutes; then turn them over and cook for another 5-10 minutes until they are starting to brown and crisp.

Keep an eye on them - depending on the strength of your oven they may brown very quickly.

While the broccoli is cooking, place the broad beans in a bowl, cover with boiling water for 12 minutes to soften them, then drain. Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan until hot, then fry the broad beans for about 5 minutes until crisp but not too browned.

In a dry pan, toast the flaked almonds on a low heat until starting to colour. Add the butter and allow to foam for 30 seconds, then tilt the frying pan and spoon the foamed butter over the almond flakes. Remove from the heat and drain on kitchen paper.

Mix the broccoli and broad beans together and squeeze the lemon juice over; season with more salt if needed. Place in a bowl and top with ranch dressing and toasted almonds.

Rack of lamb with pinot noir sauce

This dish was inspired by a visit I made to a vineyard in southwestern Australia where they used little sheep to trim the vines. In the spirit of what grows together goes together, I came up with this dish.

It is like a classic stew, just with the ingredients cooked separately and combined at the last minute. I like my lamb rack to be pink.

Here I have used a traditional method of cooking it, but for the same result you could instead put the racks in a cooler oven (60degC fan) and leave them for four hours, then sear them in foaming butter to colour and caramelise.

Serves 4

8-bone rack of lamb
50ml vegetable oil
150g carrots, roughly chopped
150g onions, roughly chopped
150g celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bouquet garni
500ml pinot noir
500ml chicken stock
a handful of dried porcini mushrooms
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp Marmite/Vegemite
star anise-glazed carrots
salt and pepper

1 shallot, sliced
vegetable oil
200g kale, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 200degC fan bake and place a roasting tin inside to heat.

First, make the gravy. Pour 3 tablespoons vegetable oil into a large pot, then add the chopped carrots and onion and season with salt. Add the celery, leeks and garlic. Stir through, then add the bouquet garni.

Pour in 500ml wine into the gravy and reduce over a medium heat. Once reduced to a few tablespoons turn the heat to low.

When the liquid has almost entirely been absorbed, add the chicken stock, then the porcini mushrooms, soy sauce and Marmite/Vegemite.

Leave to simmer over a low heat until it has reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and pass the gravy through a sieve, squeezing out any excess liquid from the vegetables (discard these).

Cut the rack of lamb into two equal pieces. Sear in a hot pan in the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for 5 minutes, then transfer to the heated roasting tin. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 56degC (for medium-rare) on a meat thermometer. Once it is cooked, remove the lamb from the oven, season with salt and pepper and rest for 15 minutes.

Prepare the shallot for the kale. Place the sliced shallot in a small heatproof cup and just cover with the vegetable oil. Microwave for 30 seconds to make a confit.

Place the kale in a deep, wide saucepan with a splash of water. Season with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and let it steam over a medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Remove any leftover water from the kale and add the confit shallots and toss through.

Slice the lamb between the ribs and arrange a few slices on each plate, along with the kale and the carrots and a good drizzle of the red wine sauce.


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