Saturday, May 7, 2011

Maggie Beers Masterchef Masterclass

I love Maggie Beer. How could you not? Her love and passion for food and life is infectious. What a dream to be invited into her beautiful Barossa kitchen like one of the family; to learn and to taste.

Some of the contestants in the new Masterchef series where that lucky. She taught them her secrets for her delicious chocolate and quince tart and her best ever roasted chicken.

No wonder Maggie loves cooking so much, she roasted one of her daughters 'happy' Barossa chickens, filled with rosemary and lemons from her garden. The quinces for her chocolate tart were from her quince orchard on the farm and the almonds, local and freshly ground.

From garden to plate. Bliss.

I will trying these recipes very soon and for those of you who would also like to try them, here are some of Maggie's top tips from the show last night.

For the sour cream pastry for the chocolate tart

• use cold butter, cut into small squares.
• pulse the mixture and work quickly to avoid the pastry getting hot
• don't add all of the sour cream at once, add two thirds and then see if it needs the rest
• tip the pastry mixture (still resembling breadcrumbs) onto a bench and squash it together with your hands before wrapping it to go in the fridge
• do not over handle the pastry
• Prick the base of the pastry just before it goes into the oven to blind bake
• this pastry will shrink, so make allowances for this

• for the filling you can use balsamic vinegar if you do not have vino cotto

For the chicken
• tuck the chicken wings under the bird
• cover the breast with foil for the first part of the cooking time and the legs for the second part of the cooking time.
• cover the the cooked chicken with foil and leave to rest for 40 minutes

Here's where I had a light bulb moment: my Nana always let her chicken sit covered on the stove top for about an hour. I don't know why I hadn't realised before that this was one of her best kept secrets for a succulent chicken.

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Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear what's happening in your kitchen. If you've tried one of my recipes, I'd like to know what you thought? Do you have some advice to make it better? Did you find a mistake? Perhaps it is a new favourite in your home?

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