James Viles the youngest Australian Chef to receive two hats for his locavore restaurant Biota Dining in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, was the guest of honoour at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont for this month. He was there (very...) early to start the fire and slow roast a whole 10kgs pig in time for the first demo at 8.30am. I was not there and almost missed the 10.00am session as I was recovering from two nights of debauchery, including first screening of son Grégoire first film as a director (Summer Nights) and another one as DoP (1919) , part of the Break program of Metroscreen, and family reunion with the Scottish side of the clan...
I made it just in time to catch some leftover bits of this deliciously slow cooked cochon
James Viles explains to us and host PoRkStar Marketing Manager Mitch Edwards how the pig was cooked
James went on to prepare blood sausages - boudin noir - to an attentive but somehow bewildered crowd who were told that they could make this at home... A lot of collateral damage, including the host Mardi Gras outfit, happened, as fresh blood ended up splattered every where on stage and beyond. All this happened as a very cool and collected James was crumbing bread into a bowl, adding various spices and plenty salt, while telling us the story of his (young...) life and the genesis of Biota Dining. I have already reported on this, so I will refer you to my restaurants review page.
Over time, James and myself have built a friendship based on a common passion for local produce and food. He has pushed the "locavore" concept to the hilt, as he grows his own herbs and vegetables on the 4-acre property and sources most other ingredients within a 25kms radius around Bowral. Exception are the selfish he brings from the South Coast and some wines, although most of them are from the region (Centennial Wines and Far Ago Hill, just to name the two I know personally). We have been foraging together and I have been gently threatened with an invitation to go hunting hare together... He is a passionate individual and very hard working Chef, who also treats his personnel very nicely, taking them in turn to such event, like Joel today, his Executive Chef. The boudin noir was absolutely stunning, one of the best I ever tasted, including the divine apple and boudin noir feuilleté at La Tassée in Lyon, a must go to place, and the black pudding experienced in Scotland, another outcome of the Auld Alliance...
Somebody asked about the recipe for boudin blanc instead, and nobody on stage had a real clue, so I was asked to step in...You will find a good recipe by clicking the image above. Let's just say that the blood is replaced by white meat (pork, veal or chicken), the finest result coming from using veal ( not yearling...) and add cream to gel the ingredients together. When well made, this is a delicacy usually enjoyed as a second course (after oysters) for Christmas. It was invented in Champagne. Find the complete story by clicking the image below. A fish version and a specialty of Lyon is called quenelle and is even finer in texture and taste, best if one can find brochet a carnivorous river fish.
I did find the time after tasting the roasted pig to have a quick run through the market andd say hello to my good friends Steph Gourmet Foods, roi du saucisson, the Ocellos and their beautiful cheeses, Grower2u and their fabulous vegetables next to the Leppington Valley Farm who still had beautiful figs, Pepe Saya butter, Gina from Sweetness The Patisserie, Gilles Bonin Monsieur Garlic and in the process met Jenny and Cathy from new stallholders Garlicious Grown, sharing with Gilles and Victoria. I am sure we will see more of these nice ladies and great products.
Next week, we will revisit the EQ (fox Studios) and Riverside Organic Markets, and we are also interviewing James Viles at Biota Dining over tapas tomorrow and Clément Chauvin at Les Bistronomes in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, and staying for dinner and a review...Busy week!
Matt Moran runs an empire of six casual and upmarket eateries in Sydney and Brisbane. I am a regular of his Opera Bar at The Opera House, a nice pre-concert dinner place or an afternoon jazzy place for a drink with loved ones. I will certainly pay a visit to his garden restaurant in the middle of posh suburb Woollahra, where this latest cookbook comes from. Woollahra is also home of the top butcher shop Victor Churchill, which has recently opened an annex at the Sydney Fish Market.
But before we get to his cooking demo, let's feature a few newcomers and some of our favourites regulars...and we will be starting with cheese!
New and Regular sTallholders
Small Cow Farm started in 2005 with a small herd of Irish Dexter cows. Nowadays their production encompasses brie and camembert style cheese, feta,, blue and a reblochon inspired washed rind.
They were sharing with Nimbi Valley Dairy up in Northern New South Wales who specialises in goat milk and cheeses. I will have to try next time.
Both companies, as well as Pecora Dairy also from Robertson are members of the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers' Association.
And Now, Let's Get Cooking with Matt Moran
MIffy Rigby has worked in food for nearly two decades as a cook, journalist, editor and events host, and at Fairfax will also work across the The Sydney Morning Herald Pyrmont Growers’ Market and NSW Food & Wine Festival presented by Citi.
She was national chief food and drink critic for Time Out Australia and appears on several radio and television programs, including as a guest judge on Masterchef Australia. She has also judged the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the World’s 50 Best Bars, and various national cocktail competitions. She has travelled widely and hosted countless events, including Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, What a Wonderful World and Taste of Sydney. Welcome!
Matt was entertaining the crowd with stories of his apprenticeship, recalling that he thought he would never make it to the grill and was amazed when he first managed to crack an egg with one hand! He certainly knows how to crack a joke as well!
Matt Moran did give us a great show, cooking four dishes in a record time. Two salads: Burrata, tomato and cucumber salad and a fig and goat cheese salad, then two meats: Sirloin grass fed and a duck and mango contraption, which I wished I had been allowed to taste! Also, a quick comment on these photos: due to the enormous crowd, it was really difficult to get the right angles and the closeness I usually achieved and I had to use my longer zoom lens all the time. Sorry folks...
Matt did get all the ingredients from the market and adapted some of his recipes to accommodate what was available. Hence the name of his new book and the philosophy behind all his cooking.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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