September, 2018

August, 2018

  • Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    28 August, 2018 Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    Sometimes fine-dining menus can seem like more of a maze than a relaxing pre-dining experience. Here, we breakdown some of the cheffy terms you’re likely to come across and include recipes so you can test them out at home.
    Read more…

  • Cooking the classics

    27 August, 2018 Cooking the classics

    We consider those classic recipes we go back to time and time again.
    Read more…

  • IGNI: The first year

    06 August, 2018 IGNI: The first year

    VIDEO: Acclaimed chef Aaron Turner's stirring account of love, loss and starting again.
    Read more…

May, 2018

February, 2018

  • How a chef cooks for those he loves

    13 February, 2018 How a chef cooks for those he loves

    Skipping the crowds in favour of a lovingly prepared meal at home is your best bet for a romantic Valentine’s Day. This is chef Jock Zonfrillo's idea of a nice night in.
    Read more…

January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

    18 September, 2017 Win a pro toastie pack

    Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this kit, including a no-mess Breville press, a copy of Darren Purchese's Chefs Eat Toasties Too and a subscription to Cooked.
    Read more…

August, 2017

July, 2017

June, 2017

  • Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    08 June, 2017 Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    Gill Meller is in the country, his first time to Australia, showcasing his beautiful book Gather with a series of dinners and classes. We caught up with him to find out what's on the menu for his Aussie guests.
    Read more…

May, 2017

April, 2017

February, 2017

January, 2017

December, 2016

October, 2016

September, 2016

August, 2016

July, 2016

June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

March, 2016

February, 2016

January, 2016

December, 2015

November, 2015

  • Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    27 November, 2015 Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. First up, the much-misunderstood sweet seductress, custard.
    Read more…

  • Halfway Home

    16 November, 2015 Halfway Home

    I’ve been sugar-free for a total of two weeks, and things are going surprisingly well...
    Read more…

  • Bubbles or nothing

    11 November, 2015 Bubbles or nothing

    Out to impress this party season? To take your entertaining game to the next level, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Halliday Wine Companion to share tips on matching sparkling wines to a range of show-stopping canapes.
    Read more…

  • The anatomy of the perfect burger

    11 November, 2015 The anatomy of the perfect burger

    Looking for your next weekend challenge? Why not have a crack at making your own cheeseburgers from scratch? Chef Daniel Wilson shares the secret recipe to recreating his famed Huxtaburger, from bun to patty and everything in between.
    Read more…

  • No Sugar November

    04 November, 2015 No Sugar November

    This month while the boys are growing staches, I’ll be growing a conscience about all the confectionary I consume.
    Read more…

October, 2015

September, 2015

May, 2015

April, 2015

March, 2015

February, 2015

January, 2015

December, 2014

November, 2014

October, 2014

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

  • Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    27 February, 2014 Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    Jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces, compotes and conserves are the best way to preserve abundant produce so you can enjoy your fruit and veg all year round. Margaret Fulton shares her guide to the art of preserving.
    Read more…

  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    27 February, 2014 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, running from February 28 to March 16, begins in just over a week. We’ve put together our picks of the fest.
    Read more…

  • Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    24 February, 2014 Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    Master of the dough Philippa Sibley shares her step-by-step guide to making sweet shortcrust pastry, taking you through everything you need to know to perfect the art of peerless pâte.
    Read more…

  • In season | Eggplant

    21 February, 2014 In season | Eggplant

    The unsung hero of the nightshade family, eggplant is found in cuisines the world over. From Sicily to South East Asia, the Middle East to the Mediterranean, many signature dishes feature the versatile aubergine. We sing the praises of the humble eggplant.
    Read more…

  • Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    17 February, 2014 Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    Meat expert and chef Adrian Richardson explains the different cuts of pork, and what you should use them for.
    Read more…

  • Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    14 February, 2014 Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    Skewers, kebabs, shaslicks, yakitori … Whatever you call them, meat just tastes better when cooked on a stick. We share our tips to help you ace the skewers at your next barbecue.
    Read more…

  • In season | Figs

    06 February, 2014 In season | Figs

    Figs evoke the flavours of exotic decadence. Sweet and visually striking, figs make for a decadent tart topper, a sumptuous sticky jam or a delightful savoury venture with cold meats. We share some of our favourite fig recipes.
    Read more…

  • Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    05 February, 2014 Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    There's nothing more thoughtful than a handmade edible gift. April Carter shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious treats for those you love.
    Read more…

January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

A cook's Christmas: Matt Wilkinson

By
Jane Willson
Added
04 December, 2015

Pope Joan’s Matt Wilkinson thinks Australians are doing Christmas wrong. He shares his own festive plans as well as his menu for summer entertaining.

Yorkshireman Matt Wilkinson has embraced plenty of things about Australia since moving here 14 years ago. But our attachment to northern hemisphere food traditions ain’t one of them.

“I really don’t understand the whole hot food stuff at Christmas time here. I mean Christmas pudding, it’s disgusting. It’s something I write about in my [upcoming] book [Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads]: we should be coming up with Australian food at Christmas.”

“I really don’t understand the whole hot food stuff at Christmas time here. I mean Christmas pudding, it’s disgusting.”

“And we do have that: it’s prawns.” For the past several years, prawns have been a part of Matt’s day, often the start of the main meal, generally served between four and five in the afternoon at his mother-in-law Leah’s home in Euroa.

“For me, Christmas Day is a whole lot more relaxed by having a long, casual, lazy warm day … rather than fill yourself up – and fall asleep.

“We start with the prawns first. White bread, mayonnaise, Marie Rose sauce. And [we] peel away. [Matt’s wife] Sharlee’s brother is a prawn fisherman. His prawns are there, but he’s not.”

Matt in his Melbourne store, Hams and Bacons

“There’s traditional ham, sliced up [and sourced pre-cooked from Lauren Mathers’ Bundarra Berkshire farm on the Murray “so you don’t have to do a glaze, you just have it”, as well as about five salads. “I make three, Sharlee does one, her mum does one, and Sharlee does dessert.”

Matt says his standout last year was roasted peaches with salad leaves and a spiced yoghurt dressing. “Spice it with ras el hanout, a bit of chilli, a touch of five spice and cumin. Or cheat, and get a jar of kasoundi and mix it with yoghurt and use as a dressing. Then whatever I have picked from the garden. Sharlee’s mum has a nice garden; onion tops, beans, I make a dressing.”

Sharlee’s speciality is a grain salad (usually cous cous) with feta. “She toasts the grains off in oil first (before the boiling water). It’s one thing I actually learned from her.” Matt says last year it was farro instead of cous cous, mixed with nuts and herbs. A variation on what he calls “The Mrs’ toasted Christmas salad” is also in the book – out in March – and previewed below.

“It’s beautiful. I used to hate cous cous. And then she did that, and yum.”

Matt says his standout last year was roasted peaches with salad leaves and a spiced yoghurt dressing.

Instead of pudding, which they save for Boxing Day in a nod to a tradition established by Matt’s publican father who liked to serve a late lunch to the Barnsley pub regulars on the 26th, he says Sharlee makes a summer berry dessert, or maybe a Tuscan plum tart.

The former involves a crumbly sour cream pastry dough (Margaret Fulton has a sour cream pastry recipe here). Sharlee, who spent time at Ballymaloe cooking school in Cork, Ireland and knows her stuff, rolls it out into a pizza on baking paper and fills it with berries sprinkled with sugar. Then lemon juice. Then folds it over. Accompanied by ice cream and cream, “it’s delicious”.

The Tuscan plum tart (Gabriel Gaté has something similar) makes a hero of roasted plums in balsamic and sugar and verjuice. “Then she pours over a clafoutis batter.”

Skip to Boxing Day and Matt fires up the barbecue and pizza oven to cook for a gathering of Sharlee’s mum’s friends. Each brings a dish that means something to them about their culture. Last year the theme was, “pick something from your grandma and where she comes from”.

“I cooked duck and a whole flounder in the pizza oven. On the barbecue I did butterflied marinated lamb. Then, always, a couple of salads – last year there was a charred onion and corn salad with minted coriander yoghurt.”

And his favourite tipple, aside from champagne or Pimms (“I love a Pimms”) is the French aperitif Lillet blanc. “It’s a type of vermouth grape. Serve it with ice, lemonade and a slice of orange – the most refreshing thing ever. 

What else? What fires Matt up is out of season menus. “Everyone buys barramundi at Christmas; I say why? It’s not in season.” Better to go for snapper, whiting, garfish. Just not barramundi.

“Everyone buys barramundi at Christmas; I say why? It’s not in season.” Better to go for snapper, whiting, garfish.

On the prawn question, he recommends anyone buying frozen prawns should avoid those bigger than size U10. “It works in reverse, so U6 is the largest, then it goes up in twos. U10 is the biggest prawn I would buy that’s already cooked.”

Matt with his “hooligans”, Finn and Jay.

Other traditions? The boys, AKA the hooligans (Finn, 4, and Jay, 2), don’t open gifts until 9 am. “I grew up with that,” says Matt. “What it taught me was not to take things for granted.” After that it’s breakfast: muffins with lots of smoked salmon, eggs, and Aberdeen sausage with a relish called “train smash” (fry off some onions, add curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, vinegar and some tinned tomatoes) made by Sharlee’s mum.

Asked to select a Christmas-worthy spread from Cooked, Matt votes for a line-up that he wouldn’t necessarily serve on the 25th. “No, but if I was off on holidays or entertaining this time of year, these would be the recipes I’d choose.”

The Mrs’ toasted cous cous salad

A little note from the boss: “We usually eat this at home as an accompaniment to schnitzel, home-made fish fingers or a tagine. I vary the nuts and seeds based on whatever is in the cupboard. BMW (before Matt Wilkinson) I always used to add pine nuts, but he doesn’t really like them!” – SG.

This dish could also be a main meal – just add roast vegies. Serves 2

  • 20 ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 185 g instant couscous
  • 40 g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 30 g sultanas
  • 100 g soft marinated feta, crumbled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 10 chives, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, washed and chopped

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the couscous and toast for 5 minutes, or until the grains turn a light golden brown. Tip the couscous into a deep large bowl.

Pour over 250 ml (8. fl oz/1 cup) boiling water, then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the plastic and fluff the grains using a fork, until all the grains are separated and there are no clumps.

Add all the remaining ingredients and season with salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Mix carefully but thoroughly, then taste – you may need to add an extra splash of olive oil to moisten the couscous a little. Serve.

Matt Wilkinson's menu for summer entertaining

Thai eggplant coconut curry

Peter Kuruvita's coconut curry is made with beautiful Thai eggplants. Chilli, coconut and lime are all classic summer flavours. 

Tomato salad with tarragon, aged feta & sumac dressing

It's all about the tomatoes here in Greg Malouf's salad, so don't even bother until they're at their best.

Grilled cuttlefish & pomelo salad

Martin Boetz (who Matt refers to as "the sexy man he is") chars the cuttlefish here for a nice caramelised sweetness to act as a foil for the citrus, fresh herbs and chilli.

Silken tofu with pickled ginger, cucumber & mint

From Marty again: a fantastic combination of hot flavours (chilli, ginger) and cool flavours (mint, cucumber) with the delicate silken tofu tying it all together. 

Quick carrot salad

And something super simple to finish – Anjum Anand's salad is a great palate cleanser and can be put together in just a few minutes.

Matt Wilkinson's second book Mr Wilkinson's Simply Dressed Salads is out March 2015. Cooked members will have access to all of Matt's recipes as soon as the book is published. 

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

See more
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again