Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New book from the Winner of MasterChef Australia 2012

By Andy Allen
New Holland Publishers
Price:   NZ$59.99

 Andy Allen started out with a basic philosophy about food – keep it simple, but not predictable. However, as Andy’s knowledge and experience has grown he’s begun to create new and exciting flavour combinations.

In The Next Element we see a natural progression from where it all began to where Andy is now with sections of his book broken into:

• Cooking for the Family – with dishes including favourites such as slow braised beef casserole and rosemary baked hand cut chips that are sure to delight!

• Cooking for my Friends - where you find the creative share food recipes and Mexican dishes that are extremely easy to follow and will be a hit at any event.

• A New Direction – which includes some of the MasterChef recipes that captured the imagination of the viewers, including the dish that floored guest judge John Torode, Andy’s exciting braised beef shin, pomme puree with bone marrow and vegetables.

Probably best said by fellow MasterChef contestant Ben, who contributes to this release with an array of Mexican dishes; “Andy has a unique way of looking at food. Not bound by tradition or culture, he is able to push the boundaries because he is unaware of them, and most importantly this means there is only ever one thing on his mind – flavour!”

About the author
After somehow defying the odds and winning the title of MasterChef 2012, Andy Allen was suddenly faced with tackling the swift transition from his previous career as an electrician to becoming a household name. Andy taught himself to cook through hours spent watching the Food Channel but most of his earliest food memories involve fishing with his family and cooking up the catch! 
The Next Element reflects the experience Andy had with the MasterChef competition and the journey he is about to embark upon with food. He believes he has come a long way in a short period of time and it is this which makes him all the more excited about the adventure.

I have selkected two recipes from the book which the publishers have kindly given me permission to share with you. I can warmly recommend both.

Seared Scallops with Corn Puree & Currant Vinaigrette

Serves 4

4 fresh corn cobs
¼ head cauliflower
500ml chicken stock
1 tsp shallots, finely diced
juice of 1 lemon
1¼ tbs currants
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
1 tbs cream
16 scallops
salt and pepper to taste

Slice kernels from the corn cobs. Cut the cauliflower into mini florets. (You will need around
6-8 per serve).
In a pan, bring the chicken stock to the boil. Cook the corn kernels in the stock for 10 minutes.
Strain the corn and reserve the stock.
Bring a separate pan of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and blanch the cauliflower for
1 minute. Drain and set aside at room temperature.
Make the vinaigrette by mixing the shallots, lemon juice and currants together. Set aside.
Before serving, whisk in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Place the corn in a blender with 1½ tablespoons of the reserved stock, the butter and the
cream. Puree. Pass the corn puree through a fine sieve.
Drizzle the remaining oil over the scallops. Heat a frying pan to a high heat, add the scallops and cook each side for 30 seconds until scallops are browned and caramelised, being careful not to overcook them.
To serve, smear each plate with the corn puree. Top with the scallops and cauliflower florets.
Spoon over the vinaigrette and season to taste.

Chicharron Guacamole
Serves 4
2 avocados, diced
1 tbs green chilli, diced
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt flakes
¼ red onion, finely diced
2 tbs coriander leaves, chopped
1 large tomato, deseeded and diced
1 cup of crumbled pork chicharron (pork scratching/crackling)
100g corn chips
Place the avocados, chilli, lime juice, salt and onion in a bowl and roughly mash together. Stir in the coriander leaves, tomato and chicharron. Serve with corn chips.

Extracted with permission from The Next Element by Andy Allen, published by New Holland, RRP $59.99

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