TMI Food Fanatic Joanne Toscano


It’s a big conversation on The Main Ingredient this week, spanning over 70 years of food passion, food knowledge and food memories.

Joanne Toscano’s grandfather Pasquale was born in Calabria in Italy in 1906 and headed for Melbourne by boat in 1926. Her Italian Grandmother Nunziata headed the same way as a 28 yr old woman in 1937. 3 generations later Joanne and her brothers still keep the family fruit and veg business running with the help of their Dad Jo Toscano.

Jo’s written a book called ‘Toscano’s Family Table’ for which she credits her grandparents who back in 1950 stumbled across and purchased a fruit shop in Elwood in Melbourne for 150 pounds.

A family dinner for Joanne is a big, loud and colourful affair where the appreciation for food is never silent and no conversation is ever finished. Everyone talking over the top of one another, the food  just keeps coming. She tells me her Grandmother was always late to the table because she was busy in the kitchen preparing the next course. Grandad Pasquale would finish off every meal by carefully peeling a ripe pear, slicing and savouring and sharing with his grandchildren.

Joanne’s own food is simple and fresh, prepared with love and the occasional glass of wine. Her strongest food memory a simple salami salad with thick half-moons of pungent salami simply adorned with fresh basil, good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. I managed to steal a recipe from her new book. This dish will be perfect for the chilly nights ahead combining the mellowed flavour of baked aniseed with butter, cream, garlic, wine and parmesan. Yum…..

Baby Fennel Gratin ( Toscano’s Family Table )

For a lighter version of this dish leave out the cream and wine reduction and place the crumb directly onto the baked fennel.

Note: If the baby fennel are really small you may need 6 instead of 4. If using large fennel use 2 and cut them into eights.

4-6 baby fennel tops, fronds removed and sliced into quarters lengthwise

1⁄4 cup olive oil, seasoned

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1⁄2 cup grated gruyère

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

50g butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 cup cream

1⁄2 cup white wine

salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F)

Rub fennel pieces in seasoned olive oil. Place in an ovenproof dish (large enough to fit snugly in a flat row) and add the whole garlic cloves.

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the fennel begins to caramelise.

While the fennel is roasting combine gruyere, breadcrumbs and lemon rind in a separate bowl.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and saute shallot until translucent. Add cream and wine, season and bring to the boil. Remove pan from heat when the mixture begins to thicken.

Remove fennel from oven and remove garlic cloves. Pour over cream and wine sauce, then add a layer of breadcrumb mixture.

Bake uncovered until golden

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Breakfast in bed with a little ‘Marinara’ on the side

By 9 am this morning I was texting my husband

“Can I come and get a cup of tea?”

“I really need a cup of tea guys”

“Teeeeeaaaaaaa please!”


The sounds of pots and pans clanging and cupboard doors banging had been going on for what seemed like an eternity…….

Mothers Day breakfast in bed. Finally the door opened and my son lurched in and manipulated the tray on to the bed announcing that he had made me pancakes with apple and that ‘cimannon’ stuff.

I love to cook for my boys, it gives me a great deal of pleasure but I sometimes wonder if they realise how much work goes into providing a menu that caters to everyone’s taste buds and also encourages them to try new things, alongside holding down a full time job that most days asks for more than the usual 7.36 hours.

At that moment this morning looking at enough apple and cinnamon pancakes to feed 20 people I felt valued and loved and really glad that I’d cooked them THIS last night:

Kels Seafood Marinara

Pasta of your choice (I like the thinner spaghettini or angel hair)

A dob of butter (around 30 grams)

Quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 long red chilli finely chopped

Lots of crushed fresh garlic (7 cloves if they are big – 12 if they are small)

A good handful of chopped parsley

A handful of capers (About 2 tablespoons)

Zest and juice of half a lemon

I punnet of nice ripe cherry tomatoes

1 cup of dry white wine (Make it a nice one so you can have a glass while you cook)

1 tablespoon of sour cream (This is optional…Traditionalists would not be impressed with this)

1 kilo (ish) of seafood (I used a mix of Mussels, Prawns and Scallops last night but you can add clams, squid,  or any nice firm fish)

Salt flakes and ground pepper to taste

You’ll need a heavy based saucepan with a lid

Now here’s where most chefs would frown, but I like to quickly fry off the scallops and prawns in 2 tablespoons of the oil just to give them a bit of colour. I don’t let them cook through, just enough to get them started and then put them aside. This way I can add them at the last minute to the sauce and don’t risk over cooking. (The scallops just melt in your mouth)

Around now is a good time to get the water for the pasta on the boil

Pour the rest of the olive oil into the pan that you have flashed the prawns and scallops in and add the dob of butter. Over a low heat gently cook the tomatoes until they start to soften. Add the chilli, garlic and capers and let the flavours all start to mix. (Keep a gentle  heat so as not to burn the garlic)

I put my pasta into the boiling water around now

Add the wine and lemon juice and increase heat to medium, let it bubble away for a few minutes and reduce a little. Add the mussels (you will have already removed their beards) and pop the lid on for a few minutes while they start to open. Add the prawns and scallops back to the pan and add the  lemon zest, salt and pepper (Swirl in the sour cream here if using)

Drain the pasta and pour straight onto a nice big serving platter. Scoop out some of the sauce in the pan and mix through the pasta with the fresh parsley and then pour the contents of the pan over the top of the pasta.

Sprinkle with a little more fresh parsley and some freshly ground pepper.


Now what to do with these leftover pancakes?

The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett airs nationally on ABC Local Radio Digital & Online – Saturdays 5.30pm and Sundays 12.30pm EST

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TMI Food Fanatic Russell Blaikie


Yep this weeks food fanatic on The Main Ingredient is WA Chef and Restaurateur Russell Blaikie.

Russell grew up in Cowaramup where his family owned a dairy/sheep farm. Since then his food journey has been massive. He’s well known in WA as the creator of two award winning wine bars but also for his passion for fresh food and supporting local producers. I love chatting with Russell, resistance is useless. He always leads you down a path that is sourced from long trusted regional growers and suppliers. His food philosophy is fresh, simple and fresh.  “Carefully sourced and simply cooked with an understanding and respect for the raw ingredient, and of course it always, always, tastes better when matched with good wine”

Russell is also a part of ‘Food Rescue’ an amazing project where chefs and food professionals work with cafes, caterers, supermarkets and wholesalers to rescue perishable, fresh and nutritious food and deliver it to disadvataged people. He’s also a passionate surfer and has developed ‘Surfing Chefs for SurfAid’ a non-profit humanitarian organisation whose aim is to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing.

Today on TMI Russell gives us his recipe for Crumbed Oysters and Tartare Sauce and also slips in WA’s best kept foodie secret.

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Crumbed Oysters & Tartare Sauce (Russell Blaikie)

Japanese breadcrumbs give a delicate golden crust to crumbed oysters – a perfect textural foil to their rich creamy flesh.

1 dozen freshly shucked oysters

Oil, for deep-frying


50 g plain flour

1 egg whisked together with

125 ml milk for egg wash

100 g Japanese breadcrumbs

Tartare sauce (below)

Rock salt

Lemon wedges

Remove the oysters from their shells, reserving the shells. Crumb the oysters by tossing through the flour, then dipping in eggwash, then rolling in breadcrumbs. Place the oyster shells in a warm oven to dry.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180oC. Drop the oysters in the oil for no more than 30 seconds until golden, then scoop from the oil and place onto kitchen paper.

Pour rock salt onto a serving platter, arrange the oyster  shells on top and drop an oyster into each shell. Place a dish of the sauce in the middle of platter, and finish with a wedge of lemon.

Ravigote Mayonnaise (Must Tartare Sauce)

Ravigote sauce is traditionally a vinaigrette served with rich offal dishes. I decided to whisk the components through a mayonnaise, giving a piquant-creamy result  the only sauce to serve with crumbed oysters

25 g salted capers

15 g cornichons, chopped finely

10 g chives, chopped

5 g flat-leaf parsley, chopped

25 g red onion, chopped finely

100 g mayonnaise

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


Soak the capers in cold water for 1 hour then wash, strain and chop finely. Whisk all of the ingredients together well.

Zenbu Zen on The Main Ingredient


Jane Lawson is my kinda woman. Finding herself stressed and overwhelmed with life and all of its needs and expectations, Jane decided to take time out and headed for the calming, peaceful and traditional Japanese city Kyoto. Lucky for us Jane is a chef and passionate food writer so while there she used her time not only de-stressing but also writing ‘Zenbu Zen’.

This week on The Main Ingredient Jane tells us about her full immersion into Japanese culture, her wonderful journey into the food that is eaten in the average Kyoto home and available in the bars and restaurants that the locals frequent, and the special way that the Japanese have of just being….. Zenbu Zen. She talks about the incredible contradiction that is Japan. The complex simplicity, the quirky humour, and the stories behind the food.

As always I ask to steal a recipe from her new book and Jane has offered ‘nama yuba’ …. Fresh Soy Milk Skin. Not what I was expecting but Jane assures me it is absolutely the most delicious thing she has ever eaten. At first it doesn’t sound that appetising, but read on as Jane explains the history and benefits behind this highly regarded Japanese delicacy. I can’t wait to try it.

TMI airs nationally on ABC Local Radio Digital – Online – Saturdays 5.30pm EST

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Nama yuba – Jane Lawson -

Courtesy of Murdoch Books ‘Zenbu Zen’

110817_Zenbu_NamaYuba_02Fresh soy milk skin

Makes 4 nama yuba servings, or 1 litre 

(35 fl oz/4 cups) soy M ilk


Unlike the skin that forms on regular milk when it  boils, which turns my stomach, this curious foodstuff made by boiling soy milk is quite a delicacy. It may not sound all that inviting and it takes some patience to make a batch, but it is worth making — if only once, to experience this unusual treat.

The most crucial elements are good-quality (preferably Japanese) soy beans and pure water, otherwise the yuba will be inferior and bitter. Nama yuba is highly regarded both for its healthful properties (high protein and fibre) and its deliciously creamy texture and flavour, with slightly nutty, malty undertones.It is great served warm from the pot with a little good-quality shoyu or ponzu (a soy and citrus sauce) and freshly grated wasabi or ginger. It can also be served cold the same way.

Nama yuba, when allowed to dry out just a little, can also be deep-fried and seasoned with salt orshichimi togarashi  (seven-flavour spice mix) for a crisp snack of yuba chips — served with lots of finely sliced spring onion on top.Dried  yuba is more readily available than fresh yuba, and once lightly rehydrated is used to wrap foods for simmering or deep-frying. It can also be shredded and used in stir-fries, soups or rice dishes. Yuba is popular in Chinese cookery, and there is some debate whether it was introduced to Japan alongside Buddhism, or whether the recipe was in fact taken back to China from Japan.

235 g (81/2 oz/11/4 cups) whole dried soy beans

good-quality usukuchi shoyu (light Japanese soy),

freshly grated wasabi or ginger, to serve

First, make soy milk ( tonyu ).  Put the soy beans in a large container and fill with water. Cover with plastic wrap and soak at room temperature for about 15 hours, or until the beans have doubled in size. (If the weather is particularly warm, soak them in the fridge.) Drain, discarding the water, and rinse the beans. Pour 2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) fresh water into a large pot. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Line a large colander with a large square of doubled-over muslin (cheesecloth) and place it over a larger bowl. Set aside.

Put half the beans in a blender or food processor with 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of the simmering water, then process until as smooth as possible. Scrape into a bowl and repeat with the remaining beans and another 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) simmering water. Then pour all the bean purée back into the remaining simmering water and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into the lined colander. You need to work quickly, but the mixture is hot, so wear clean rubber gloves for the next step and take good care. Bring the edges of the cloth together, then twist and twist to form a firm bag. Hold tight to the twist so the beans cannot escape; press and squeeze the bag with your other hand, over the colander, to extract the liquid. nama yuba

If the mixture is still too hot to handle, you can use a wide wooden spoon or the base of a jar to help press out the liquid. If the bowl underneath becomes too full, tip the milk off into another bowl. When you are certain that you cannot get any more milk out of the beans you can stop pressing. You should have about 1 litre (35 fl oz/ 4 cups) of soy milk. The cloth bag will be filled with a grainy, nutritious substance called  okara — don’t throw this away as it can be used in the stir-fried tofu lees recipe on page 140.

Bring all the soy milk to the boil in a large pot over medium–high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool — the milk will thicken slightly on cooling, making it look more creamy. The soy milk is now ready to chill and use as you would dairy milk, or you can proceed with making the  nama yuba below, or the tofu on page 116. The soy milk will last 3 days in the refrigerator.

To make nama yuba,  place the soy milk in a donabe or a ceramic-lined saucepan and bring to a very gentle simmer — do not let the milk boil, otherwise the skin won’t form. It will take about 11/2 minutes for a fine skin to cover the top of the liquid. Use a chopstick to slide under one edge and lift off the skin to a waiting dish. Keep repeating this step until the milk is used up — however please note that you will need to reduce the heat as the level of milk in the pan decreases. Also, towards the end, the soy milk can start to caramelise and then burn on the bottom, and can make the  yuba bitter, so it is best to stop at that point.

The very best way to eat yuba, in my opinion, is to have it straight from the pot, dipped into a little shoyu and some freshly grated wasabi or ginger. If you have access to four small  donabe and individual burners, this is a fun dish to have family or guests make themselves at the table. If making it ahead of time, wrap the yuba in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Yuba also freezes well for up to a month. Note: Store-bought soy milk can be used to make yuba and tofu — but only if the sole ingredients are soy beans and water. Most commercial varieties produced outside Japan contain sugar or preservatives and they will not work. Look for pure soy milk in Asian food stores (it is sometimes sold in tetra paks).

Once you have soy milk at hand, it is simple to turn it into fresh tofu.

Wild Food on The Main Ingredient

Access to ingredients that were once difficult to find has made cooking and experimentation with flavours a lot more fun over the past decade. We can confidently reach for a multitude of herbs and spices and create just about any type of cuisine these days. In fact many of us are more comfortable cooking with imported spices than the ones we have in our own backyards. Well, perhaps not our own back yards, but at least in our own country.

Juleigh Robbins has over 25 years of experience working with Australian native foods. Her journey to discover the ancient flavours of indigenous foods began with a search for something she knew as the ‘bush tomato’. This search turned into a partnership with the women from Laramba and other desert communities providing opportunities for them to harvest bush foods.

Juleigh says that using wild food  to produce a delicious result all depends on how you tackle the cooking.  Most of them take a LOT of cooking, wild food is not usually great to eat straight from the bush or tree. But just look at this gorgeous dish and you can see that native mint and quandong can very effectively jazz up a couple of lamb fillets…….

Native mint and mustard lamb fillets with quandong and peach sauce

Serves 4

2 teaspoons dried native mint

2 tablespoons mustard powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons parsley flakes

8 × 100 g lamb fillets

olive oil, for pan-frying

½ cup Quandong and peach sauce (see page 149)

Mix together the native mint, mustard powder, black pepper and parsley flakes on a plate. Roll the lamb fillets in the herb mix to lightly coat all sides.

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the seasoned lamb for about 2–3 minutes each side. Cover and rest the meat for a minute or two, then slice diagonally and serve with hot Quandong and peach sauce.

Quandong and peach sauce

olive oil, for pan-frying

1 onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon finely chopped or grated ginger

1 small chilli, seeded and finely chopped

½ cup quandongs (fresh or frozen, or dry halves reconstituted in hot water)

1 large yellow-fleshed peach (clingstone are ideal), thinly sliced

½ cup sugar

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup red wine

salt and mountain pepper or freshly ground black pepper

To make the sauce, heat a little oil in a small saucepan cook the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli until the onion has softened. Add the remaining ingredients, except the salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the volume has reduced by half and the quandong and peaches have broken down in the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tune in to The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett on Saturdays  ABC Local Radio Digital – Online 5.30pm EST

Bolognaise for Grown Ups…

Spag Bol has become a standard for the Aussie dinner table. I know in my house it was abused often as an opportunity to disguise vegetables in a dish that my son would eat and enjoy. But it can be so much more than just a tin of tomatoes and mince meat brought to the boil can’t it?


We’re talking Italian Classics with Melbournes Tobie Puttock  today on TMI.Toby is known as a bit of a heart-throb in culinary circles. He’s also known for his work giving under- priveleged kids a chance to train to be chefs. The fact that he specialises in Italian cuisine fits in nicely with his heart-throb status. After all, the guiding principle of great Italian cuisine is that cooking is…..If nothing else…..An act of love….

Toby gives us his ‘grown ups’ Bolognaise sauce. It has a wonderful depth of flavour and the way he finishes it off has quite a twist!

To serve 4

Braised Beef:

300 g Beef shoulder, or other muscly part of the beast

1 Onion peeled and roughly chopped

1 carrot peeled and roughly chopped

2 sticks Celery washed, roughly chopped

1 Bay leaf

4 peppercorns


For the sauce:

2 Cloves Garlic peeled and finely sliced

1 Onion peeled and finely sliced

1 stick Celery washed and finely chopped

Olive Oil

8 Tomatoes quartered and deseeded. Seeds can go to the rubbish

Chianti classico, or other good red wine

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt & freshly ground black pepper

12 leaves Sage finely chopped

Flat-leaf parsley washed and finely sliced

Your choice of pasta

Orange zest and finely chopped fresh rosemary

Braised Beef:

Put all the ingredients in the first part of the recipe into a large pot, cover with water and bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a light simmer.

Check the meat every ten minutes and make sure the liquid doesn’t evaporate too much. The meat needs to be submerged in the liquid so top it up with water if need be.

After a couple of hours the meat should be tender and almost falling apart, if it isn’t keep cooking until it does.

Once the meat is ready remove the pot from the heat and all it to cool almost to room temperature.

For the sauce:

While the meat is cooling in its stock you can get the second stage of the sauce on the go. Put the garlic, onion, celery and four tablespoons of olive oil into a clean pot and cook over a gentle heat for about fifteen minutes so the vegetables are soft and without colour.

Remove the meat from the pot, put it into a bowl and set it aside. Strain the stock and left over vegetables into a clean pot, discard the vegetables.

Add in the tomato flesh and sauté gently until they start to break down a little and then splash in a little wine to the softened vegetables and once its evaporated pour the strained stock in with the cooking vegetables, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid so it’s the same volume as the cooked meat. Remove the pot from the heat

Tear the meat into little shreds and add it to the cooling sauce, splash in some extra virgin olive oil and allow it to cool completely.

To serve


Now here’s Tobies special twist. He says sprinkle with orange zest and finely chopped rosemary! The zing of the orange zest cuts through the delicious deep meat sauce. Try it!



Tune in to The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett. Nationally on Saturdays  ABC Local Radio, Digital – Online 5.30pm EST. Sundays at 6.30pm ABC Local Radio WA.


Are you an ‘Ethical Consumer’?

When I arrived in Melbourne I was walking around the city in awe of the choice with regards to places to eat. I came across a street stall with a blackboard with a message. ‘Stop Homelessness the Delicious Way’

A food business that supports the homeless. How does that work? These days the lines between public, private and non profit are all a bit of a blur

Today on TMI I go to the heart of their kitchen to grill Executive Chef Rob Auger. A man who is experimenting with a very interesting idea. Fusing social flavours to support homeless youth and at the same time promote ‘Ethical Consumption’.

The idea is that the business funds a supported pathway for these kids to long-term careers in the hospitality industry. Kids that have fallen thru the cracks. There are currently over 6,500 of them between the age of 12 and 24 on the streets of Melbourne.

Interesting concept….. If the average person eats around 80,000 meals in one lifetime, perhaps a few of them eaten along the way in a socially inclusive manner might make a difference?

Tune in to The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett on Saturdays  ABC Local Radio Digital – Online 5.30pm EST

Humble Food Inspiration

Talking to people about food is a great job.You can always count on food lovers to be passionate and I can honestly say I learn something every time. However this particular chat would be my favorite so far for 2012.

Every now and then I get to talk food with someone who makes me just stop and listen.

My guest on TMI this week does just that.

Massimo Bottura has a restaurant that lists in the worlds top 13. His original dishes are credited with changing contemporary cuisine as we know it.

Of course we talk about his impressive career, his controversial ideas, his vision and his amazing food creations. (Including his ice-cream of foie gras covered in crushed Sicilian almonds and Piedmontese hazlenuts injected with pure balsamic vinegar) But it is his honest and humble desire to feed that strikes me….. Inspiring.

By the end of our 45 minute chat I am convinced that Massimo truly lives for food.

“Food or sex Massimo….Which comes first?”

“Ummmmm…(Long pause while thinking deeply)…Maybe food…..Yes food….It’s something that makes me feel so good, so incredibly happy. To answer you, just like that….That is my answer”

What a man……

Tune in to The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett on Saturdays  ABC Local Radio Digital – Online 5.30pm EST. Sundays 6.30pm ABC Local Radio WA.

TV Dinners 2012

A TV dinner used to be something very different back in the 50′s. (Not that I remember that far back).

These days at our house a TV dinner involves me (the working mum) frantically trying to prepare dinner during the advt breaks of my favourite TV food challenge. Yes I do plan to prep beforehand, but my real job doesn’t always allow for that. Of course I could record it and watch it later, but it wouldn’t be the same. A bit like watching  Q&A in delay.

Then there is the fact that the meal served up doesn’t always compare with the on screen gourmet dish. It’s sometimes a tad disappointing to be eating a quick garlic and herb grilled chicken fillet and salad when watching a passionate contestant create ‘Tapioca, mud crab and yuzu pearl with rosemary flowers and edible silver leaf’. (Although some nights my efforts are better than others)

As one series finishes the opposition kick in with a new one, and they always seem to air at dinner time. So is food TV changing the way we eat?

This week on TMI social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley tells us about the effect food television is having on what and how Australians eat. Then its behind the scenes with executive TV producer Margaret Bashfield to find out if what we see is really what was served up. Followed by a chat with celeb TV chef/judge and award winning restaurateur Matt Moran for his take on amateur chefs and their (rather speedy) transformations into super chef-dom.

As for me….. I’ve discovered that a TV dinner needs to be quick to prepare and easy to eat. So I give you my home style version of ….

‘Creamy Leek and Potato Soup’

Some left over bread

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Thinly sliced Bacon (2-3 rashers)

A few tablespoons of butter (up to you how many)

2-3 leeks sliced thinly (Don’t use the green hard end)

Around a kilo of potatoes roughly diced

1.5 litres of chicken stock

375 ml milk

200ml cream

Salt and Pepper

Finely chopped parsley or sliced spring onions

Of course TRY and do this before the TV program starts!

Chop up your bread into small cubes, throw them onto a baking tray, drizzle some olive oil and add ground pepper and mix with your hands, then spread evenly, grill or bake until crisp and golden and set aside.

Fry your bacon strips until crispy in a large-ish saucepan and remove and set aside on a paper towel

Melt some butter into the pan and cook leeks over a low heat for a few minutes.

Add the chopped potato and stock, turn up the heat and let it bubble away until potatoes are soft.

Add the milk and Salt and Pepper.

Blend the soup. If you have a stick blender use it to blend the soup in the pot (saves dishes).

Add the cream and gently simmer.

Serve with crispy croutons, crumble over the crispy bacon, drizzle with a bit of cream if you have some left over and scatter some chopped parsley or thinly sliced spring onions

Take the leftovers to work the next day!

Tune into The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett every Saturday at 5.30pm EST / ABC Local Radio Digital – Online. 6.30pm Sundays Statewide on ABC Local Radio WA.


What a Tart!


So this is Jenny Fergusons beautiful lemon tart.


How hard can it be?….. Right?






On the right is my pathetic attempt at making Jenny’s beautiful lemon tart. We’ll talk more about that later.


This weeks food fanatic Jenny Ferguson was the hottest chef in town when she ran her Sydney restaurant ‘You and Me’  in the late 70′s and early 80′s. She was also a bit of a pioneer, promoting and encouraging female chefs at a time when the men definitely dominated our professional kitchens.

These days Jenny doesn’t eat at the top tier restaurants as their complicated food leaves her cold. In fact her pet hate is a chef that keeps a pair of tweezers in his or her pocket so as to be able to place those micro herbs in the perfectly oh so precise spot on the plate.

Her new book ‘At Home’ is all about food for family and friends and Jenny is quite frank about being an old fashioned girl. Her inspirations lie in France, but not the heavy early days of French cuisine. Jenny leans towards the lighter version, innovative yet grounded in tradition.

Red onion, Oregano, Black Olive and Gruyere Tart…..Polenta with Steamed Asparagus, Sage Butter and Soft-Poached Eggs….. Asparagus Soup with Crisp Prosciutto and Parmesan….. Twice cooked Duck with Figs….. You know exactly the type of home cooked meals I’m talking about.

Her dishes are tried and true, refined over decades and totally fool-proof.

Except for that damn Tart!

But don’t let my failed attempt at Jennys lemon tart discourage you, I know exactly where I went wrong, I didn’t lower the oven temperature to 140 degrees for the second part of the baking and Jenny says the ability to bake does not depend on genetics.

Note to self…… Can I bake it? YES I CAN!

This is quite simply the BEST lemon tart filling I have ever tasted. It’s gorgeous. Give it a go….

Jenny Fergusons Lemon Tart

For the Shortcrust Pastry:

275g plain flour

Pinch of salt

125g butter unsalted, cut into pieces and chilled

1 Egg

50ml of cold water

Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse in short bursts until the mixture comes together and resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and water and pulse until it forms a ball. Tip out and flatten into a disc shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly for at least 30 minutes before using (makes 500g)


150g caster sugar

200ml lemon juice (around 4 lemons)

4 eggs

2 egg yolks

300 ml pouring cream

Plus two egg whites for brushing the pastry

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Roll out the pastry thinly then lift onto a 25cm tart tin with removable base. To ‘blind bake’ the pastry, line with baking paper and baking weights and bake for around 5-10 mins or until the pastry is firm. Remove the weights and paper from the tart and brush with the beaten egg whites. Bake for a further 15 mins or until the pastry is golden.

While the pastry is cooking, prepare the filling. Dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice. Whisk the eggs and yolks in a separate bowl then combine with the juice and the cream. Strain thru a fine sieve.

Lower the oven temperature to 140 degrees C. Pour the filling into the prepared pastry shell and bake for around 50 minutes or until firm in the centre. Allow to cool in the tin. When cold, cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream or plain creamy yoghurt on the side.

Tune into The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett every Saturday at 5.30pm EST / ABC Local Radio Digital – Online. 6.30pm Sundays Statewide on ABC Local Radio WA.