Monday, December 10, 2012



I was very fortunate to go to the ‘Ledbury’ together with my daughter and son in law – Fig 1, on my recent trip to England in November 2012. The chef – Brett Graham, is an Australian who opened the Ledbury in 2005. Since that time, the Ledbury, supported by a very energetic team has won many accolades as well as two Michelin stars. It was number three in the Sunday Times issue of Britain’s top 100 restaurants which was done in association with Harden’s – restaurant reviewers in October 2012.



Fig 1 - James, Aviva and Barry

We decided to have the ‘tasting menu’ and a true delight it was!

It started off with:
The Amuse Bouche – it consisted of foie gras paste with Kataifi pastry on top - Fig 2;


Next was crushed Jerusalem Artichokes with warm hand picked Crab, Pumpernickel and dill
- Fig 3a;


or there was 'Risotto' of Celeriac and new potato with smoked eel and parsley, as an alternative - Fig 3b;

then flame grilled Mackerel with Avocado, Celtic mustard and Shiso - Fig 4;


this was followed by Hampshire Buffalo milk curd with Saint-Nectaire, Truffle toast and a broth of grilled onions - Fig 5;

next there was a fillet of Turbot with a grilled leek, Lobster puree and Riesling - Fig 6;

then there was a jowl of Pork with walnut cream, fresh and dried Chicory - Fig 7a;

or Roast quail with chestnuts, Chanterelles and pear as an alternative - Fig 7b;

Roast breast and confit leg of Pigeon with red vegetables and leaves, Foie Gras and quince came next - Fig 8;


then the pre-dessert – a lovely sorbet - Fig 9;



and then a brown sugar Tart with poached grapes and stem ginger ice cream was the last dish on the menu - Fig 10;

And finally there was a mixture of tiny jellies, chocolate truffles and tiny meringues with piped cream on top - Fig 11


A truly delightful meal and one the taste buds will remember for a long time to come.

Some of the photographs and the wording is from the Ledbury website.


I was extremely fortunate to go to Claridges for afternoon tea with my daughter– Aviva. We arrived at 3.00 pm just in time to be seated for an afternoon tea full of surprises! We were seated in the Foyer area - Fig 1, 2;

Art Deco Large

 Fig 1 - the foyer of Claridges with the tea room immediately beyond the pillars.

Fig 2 - inside Claridges foyer area where tea is served.

and immediately presented with a sixteen page booklet describing a choice of almost 40 teas and herbal infusions from all over the world. Aviva chose an Earl Grey tea - one of three different types; whilst I had Darjeeling tea. Then we were served a plate of finger sandwiches, which included smoked salmon, egg and mayonnaise, cucumber, camembert with relish - Fig 3.

Fig 3 - the array of sandwiches that were on offer.

We were then given freshly baked raisin and apple scones with Marco Polo jelly and Cornish clotted cream - Fig 4,


Fig 4 - two different types of scones with Marco Polo jelly and Clotted cream.

and a selection of sweet pastries - Fig 5.


All the while, there was a pianist and a cellist playing soft music – a really delightful time! And finally, we were presented with a Christmas tree full of tea! - Fig 6,

Fig 6 - Barry with his Christmas tree full of tea!

and Aviva was presented with a birthday cake - Fig 7.

Some of the photographs and wording comes from the Claridge’s web site.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


This recipe for pizzas is similar to the pizzas made by my daughter Tamara and her husband David. It is a simple way of making pizza that is filling and reasonably healthy!

I am going to prepare a mushroom and olive pizza with cheese. But, a pizza with ANY filling combination can be made.
Firstly you require the pizza base which I get by buying a Souvlaki pita wrap by Creative Foods - Figs 1 and 2.

Fig 1 - Souvlaki pita wraps

Fig 2 - pita wrap is going to be the pizza base

This pizza base is then covered by a  tomato paste - I use the very good tasting Leggo's herbed tomato pizza sauce - Fig 3 and 4.

Fig 3 - Leggo's Pizza sauce containing basil,garlic, onion and herbs

Fig 4 - pizza base covered with the Leggo's tomato sauce

Once this tomato sauce is on, you take three or four button mushrooms; slice them thinly and these are then placed on the tomato sauce - Fig 5.

Fig 5 - sliced button mushrooms placed all over the pizza base

Then I place five or six kalimatta olives - halved over the pizza base - Fig 6.

Fig 6 - kalimatta olive halves spread over the pizza base

And finally I spread over cheese - I find that the 'pizza cheese' by Perfect Italiano which is a mixture of Mozzarella, Cheddar and Parmesan tastes better than other brands of tasty cheddar cheese although you can use any brand of cheese that you like - Fig 7 and 8


Fig 7 - packet of Perfect Italiano pizza cheese

Fig 8 - the cheese spread over the pizza base

The pizza is then placed on an oven tray, and put in a 200C oven for 16 minutes. After the required time, the pizza is removed from the oven - Fig 9,

Fig 9 - pizza just removed from the oven

slid off the oven tray, cut into eight sections - Fig 10 and enjoyed.

Fig 10 - pizza cut up into eight pieces

Now - what could be easier than that!

If you don't want the cheese so brown - 14 minutes cooking time is enough. Virtually any type of food can be put on the pizza base - different cheeses; salami; pineapple; anchovies; etc.

Creative Foods, Leggo's and Perfect Italiano are Australian based firms. Similar products are available elsewhere in the world.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Ravioli making is simple so long as the basic principles are followed. With these basic principles ANY type of ravioli can be made. Actually, 'ravioli' means a pasta envelope containing various savoury fillings, usually served with a sauce. But sweet ravioli can be made as well. Thus it is necessary to make the ravioli filling first. Whilst I have supplied two recipes (at the end of this post) for making different ravioli fillings - 1000’s upon 1000's of different ravioli fillings are available and can be made!

How I make MY ravioli.

I make ravioli using either one of two moulds. LARGE ravioli are made using a special mould available from Lebanese stores – eg: ‘A1 Bakery’ in Sydney Road, Brunswick or ‘Oasis Bakery’ in North Road, Murrumbeena. This mould was intended for the making of Maamoul (small pastries with dates and nuts) but serve equally well for making ravioli – Fig 1.

Fig 1 – Maamoul mould

The second smaller mould type  is actually a ‘ravioli mould’ available from, for example, the ‘Essential ingredient’ in Prahran, or ‘Chefs Hat’ in South Melbourne – Fig 2.

Fig 2 – ravioli moulds

The very best pasta for making ravioli (other than making it yourself) is available quite cheaply from Asian stores – it is called pastry WON TON SKINS – Fig 3, and it comes in packets of 250 gm; 500 gm; and 1 kg – I use the 500 gm routinely, but if you are making a lot or a little – you can adjust the packet size accordingly. These wrappers are found in the freezer section of Asian stores, and may be refrozen a number of times. The wrappers MUST be defrosted before use, and you use two sheets of this pasta per ravioli – one on the top and one on the bottom.

Fig 3 – pastry Won Ton skins

Basically, it doesn’t matter which mould you use, so long as you proceed in the following manner:-
1). Put a sheet of Won Ton pastry - Fig 4 down on the surface of the mould and carefully mould the pastry around the walls of the mould – the pastry MUST be defrosted for this otherwise the pastry will split thus negating the whole process - Fig 5.

Fig 4 - a sheet of Won Ton pastry

Fig 5 - the sheet of Won Ton pastry adapted to the mould

2). Once the pastry is moulded to the mould surface, you brush around the edges with egg wash - Fig 6.

3). Then sufficient ravioli filling is placed inside the depression to come very slightly above the level of the mould - Fig 6.

Fig 6 - the outside of the pastry is covered with egg wash and the depression is filled with filling of your choice

4). The second Won Ton pastry sheet is taken and used to cover over, initially half the contents of the mould - Fig 7 making sure that half that is covering the ravioli contents in fully adherent to the sheet of pastry below – not a problem if the egg wash has been put on.

Fig 7 - the second Won Ton pastry sheet covering up part of the filling

5). Carefully using your fingers, continue to apply the remainder of the sheet pressing out all air bubbles as you go.
6). When the filling has been fully covered, check that the second Won Ton pastry skin is completely adherent to the first Won Ton pastry skin - and thus you have a ravioli! Fig 8.

Fig 8 - the completed ravioli

7). I find it best to cook the ravioli in salted boiling water soon after they are made - Fig 9(a) and (b), and then they can be stored for anything up to 2 – 3 days in the refrigerator. The ravioli is ready when it floats to the surface of the water - approximately 2 – 3 minutes.

Fig 9a - broad based strainer

Fig 9b - two ravioli are plunged into boiling salted water at a time

8). Once the ravioli has had its ‘initial’ cook, the ravioli is taken out of the boiling water with the same broad strainer and plunged into cold water to stop the cooking process – Fig 10

Fig 10 - the ravioli are plunged into cold water

9). The ravioli is taken out of the cold water and the final shape given – Fig 11(a), (b) and (c) using a circular cutter, making sure there is at least 1 ½ mm of adherent pasta between the cut surface and the ravioli filling. The ravioli is covered with Rice flour - Fig 12(a) and stored between plastic sheets Fig 12(b). The rice flour dries the ravioli and when they are ready to reheat, can be washed off gently under cold running water.

Fig 11a – circular cutters – choose one to suit the size of the ravioli

Fig 11b - ravioli with a circular cutter in position

Fig 11c - the completed ravioli

Fig 12a - the Rice flour used to dry and store the ravioli in

Fig 12b - ravioli covered with rice flour

10). When ready to re heat, the ravioli are placed inside oiled Chinese steamer baskets - Fig 13(a) and (b) placed above boiling water, and steamed for 10 minutes – Fig 14. The oiling is essential to stop the ravioli sticking to the basket.

Fig 13a – Chinese steamer basket

Fig 13b - the Chinese steamer basket filled with ravioli

Fig 14 - Chinese steamer basket above a pot of boiling water

11). The ravioli are then taken out of the steamer baskets, placed in their appropriate sauce and served. It is as easy as that! Fig 15.

Fig 15 - the completed ravioli in their sauce

Two recipes for making the filling of ravioli:

Step 1 – the ravioli
4 medium onions
100 ml olive oil
130 gm ricotta
70 gm goats cheese
white pepper
2 sprigs Thyme - diced
1 egg - beaten with a splash of water for egg wash
Step 2 – the sauce
250 gm Butter

Step 1 – the ravioli
Peel and cut the onions finely, and in a heavy pan, warm the oil and sweat the onions very slowly for 30 minutes or until they are an even, golden colour but are not burnt. As the onions sweat down – they become sweeter and sweeter. Drain and allow to cool. When cold, add the ricotta and goats cheese, some pepper and the thyme leaves.
Step 2 – the sauce
Heat the butter in a small saucepan. Once the butter finishes frothing, it will start to turn a hazelnut colour; remove it immediately from the heat then add the sage leaves. Spoon the burnt butter over the ravioli and serve at once.

Step 1 – the ravioli
2 tablespoons olive oil
500 gm pumpkin – peeled and cut into small sections
½ clove garlic – minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
50 gm goats cheese
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg

Step 1 – the ravioli
Place the pumpkin, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg in the olive oil in a saucepan and cook till the pumpkin becomes a puree – normally 30 – 40 minutes. Set aside and when cool - add the goat cheese.

Have the ravioli with burnt butter and sage – see before.

Both these recipes have been adapted from 'Gourmet Traveller'. All stores mentioned in the post above are in Melbourne, Australia.