Chefs' Recipes

Andrew McConnell’s spring crudités with house-made curd

The best of the season's harvest, simple and unadulterated, with a side of velvety curd.
William Meppem
4 - 6

“Vegetables for crudités can vary according to the season and what is best on the day,” says Andrew McConnell of Melbourne’s Gimlet. For this recipe, you will need a kitchen thermometer and some cheesecloth. Start a day ahead to make the curd.


House-made curd


1.For curd, combine rennet with 70ml cold water in a sterile 3-litre non-reactive lidded container (see note). Combine milk, cream and yoghurt in a saucepan, and gently stir over low heat until 35°C on a kitchen thermometer. Pour milk mixture into rennet mixture, stir for 3 minutes, then cover with lid and place in a sink half-full of warm water at 35°C to incubate. Add hot water as necessary to maintain the temperature at 35°C.
2.After 1 hour, check the curd has formed and set by pressing the back of your finger on the surface; it should not break, and the curd should come away from the side of the container. Cut curd into 5cm cubes inside the container and set aside for 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer curd to a colander lined with cheesecloth set over a large bowl. Fold cheesecloth over curds, put a plate on top to lightly press, and refrigerate to set (8 hours or overnight). Transfer curd, reserving whey separately (see note), to a bowl and whisk until smooth. If it’s too thick (it should be the texture of thick yoghurt), whisk in a little reserved whey. Season to taste with salt and refrigerate until needed. Curd will keep for 3 days.
3.Cut vegetables into halves or quarters and arrange over crushed ice in a serving bowl. Spoon fresh curd into a smaller bowl and serve with crudités.

Rennet tablets are available from cheesemaking suppliers. When making the curd, it’s important that all the equipment and containers are sterilised by placing them in boiling water for 30 seconds and left to dry on a dish drainer. Leftover whey can be used as a starter for making cheese and yoghurt, or in smoothies and dressings.


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