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Noma Australia: the first review

Curious about the hype surrounding Noma Australia? Pat Nourse heads to lunch and delivers the first verdict...

Lebanese-style snapper

"This dish is Lebanese-peasant done fancy with all the peasant-style flavours you'll find in Lebanese cooking, but with a beautiful piece of fish added," says Bacash. "The trick to not overcooking fish is to be aware that it cooks from the outside inwards and the centre should only cook until it's warm, not hot. If it gets hot in the middle, it will become overcooked from the residual heat. It takes a little practise getting to know this - be conscious of the inside of the fish and not the outside. Until you get it right, you can always get a little paring knife and peek inside the flesh when you think it's ready; it won't damage it too much."

Coleslaw

"Store-bought and pre-cut coleslaws, and bottled dressings have given the humble slaw a lacklustre rep over the years," says Stone. "Taking a little time (just 10 minutes!) to whip one up yourself reminds us why this salad became popular in the first place. This creamy, crunchy coleslaw comes together in a pinch and can be piled atop a thick piece of brisket or served as a side."

Prego rolls

"This is a Mozambican specialty and one of the foods that changed my life in terms of African cuisine," says Duncan Welgemoed. "The best spot to get a prego roll in South Africa is the Radium Beerhall. It's run by my godfather, Manny, and is the oldest pub in Jo'burg. The meats are grilled out the back by Mozambican staff and are still done the same way today as they were 30 years ago." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the beef.

Green salad with vinaigrette

"Our seven-year-old, Arwen, has been making this vinaigrette since she was five - she tastes it as she goes," says Levy Redzepi. "It's fresh and acidic and as good as the leaves. Frillice lettuce is crunchy but it's thin so it's like a perfect mix of cos and iceberg."

Fast Chinese Recipes

If you’re looking for quick and spicy dishes to celebrate Chinese New Year, we have the likes of kung pao chicken, ma po beancurd, XO pipis with Chinese broccoli and plenty more fire and crunch here.

Clementine, Yass

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now.

Curried young coconut salad with sorrel

"This subtle salad acts like a palate-cleanser alongside the more intensely spiced meats and vegetables at an African barbecue," says Welgemoed.

Italian meringue


Soft yet substantial, this magical combination of hot sugar syrup and eggwhites can be used for dessert bases as well as frostings, writes Lisa Featherby. 

You'll need

200 gm caster sugar 4 eggwhites Pinch of cream of tartar

Method

  • 01
  • Combine sugar and 200ml water in a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves.
  • 02
  • Reduce heat to medium and brush down sides of pan with a clean, wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals.
  • 03
  • Cook until syrup reaches 115C (soft ball stage) on a thermometer (10-15 minutes).
  • 04
  • Start whisking eggwhites with cream of tartar in the clean, grease-free bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, bring sugar syrup to 121C (hard ball stage). Increase speed to high and with motor running, gradually pour syrup into meringue. Beat at medium speed until cooled to room temperature and meringue is thick and glossy (15-20 minutes).

Note  This recipe makes about 4 cups.


I've just got to say it, I'm a little over foam.

I'm a little over soil. And dust too for that matter. But one foam I don't think I'll ever get over is meringue. It's more than a foam really… it's foam with substance, and not just hot air with the vague taste of something that - poof - magically isn't there.

At its most basic, meringue is eggwhite and sugar whisked together. French meringue is baked from a raw form; Swiss meringue is a mixture of beaten eggwhite and caster sugar cooked over a bain-marie of simmering water; and the most stable, Italian meringue, is hardly ever used for baking as it's already cooked completely by the addition of very hot sugar syrup.

Italian meringue is the business. Its glossy, soft peaks make it perfect for frostings - bombe Alaska and lemon meringue pie are two desserts that spring to mind. The soft but pliable consistency can be piped through a star nozzle to create a swirly effect or it can be spooned over and peaked loosely with a spoon. After that, leave it silky snow white or toast it with a blowtorch for a baked look that highlights its textured surface.

Not only suited to frosting, Italian meringue has a versatility that allows it to be used as the base for fillings and frozen desserts, the most common being cassata gelato, where a mixture of Italian meringue and cream is used as a substitute for the ricotta filling in the legendary Sicilian cake. Or it's bound with extra cream and fruit purée to make a semifreddo sweet' like the nougat glacé we've done here.

There's a few key tips to making Italian meringue. First of all, you really need an electric mixer on hand. Although it's possible for one person to pour the boiling syrup and another to whisk by hand, the likelihood of getting a good result (and without a burn) is little to none, unless you've got arms like Popeye and the stamina of the Duracell bunny.

Also, use a grease-free bowl for whisking. Eggwhite and fat don't mix, and that includes all traces of fatty egg yolk. Use eggwhites that are a day or two old as these whisk more readily, more air can be incorporated and there's less chance of the foam collapsing after being whisked. A pinch of cream of tartar helps, too. It acts as a stabiliser and prevents the meringue from collapsing and becoming overcoagulated. Humidity will also affect the end product, but is less of a concern with Italian meringue, meaning you can make it all-year round. Yippee.

As for the sugar syrup, always make sure your sugar and saucepan are clean, then it's a game of timing. Cook the syrup to 115C, then start whisking the eggwhites to a soft peak about eight times the original volume in air (keep your syrup cooking in the meantime). This is the stage where a peak will hold the shape of a bird's beak. Don't overbeat the eggwhites. By this stage, the syrup should have reached 121C - also known as the hard ball stage. Carefully pour the syrup into the meringue and, while still whisking, watch as the foam erupts and transforms itself into something shiny, soil-free and magical. Poof!


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

Sep 2008

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