There’s some cracking cook books which have been released ahead of Christmas and one that particularly caught my eye is Matt Stone’s The Natural Cook. Matt is currently winning accolades as the chef at Oakridge in the Yarra Valley and previously cooked at Greenhouse, Silo and Brothl.
In his restaurants and in this cook book Matt advocates zero waste cooking and ethical eating. Matt’s philosophies are reflected in lots of recipes for brining and preserving and even instructions for milling your own flour. This makes some of the recipes in the book pretty labour intensive if you follow them to the letter but there is also some easy inspiration particularly in Matt’s championing of native ingredients.
I tested out his recipe for “Aunt Susie’s Lemon Myrtle cake”. Lemon myrtle is a native ingredient with a sweet but citrusy flavour. It makes an interesting change from a traditional lemon cake. The recipe does say to mill your own flour but I used standard flour and it turned out just fine.
Add this to your Christmas shopping list for foodies with a conscience. That’s all of us right?
- 155g macadamia nuts
- 180g butter
- 150g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 300g freshly milled flour (I just used normal plain flour)
- 185ml buttermilk
- 2 tsps dried lemon myrtle
- 3 egg whites
- 210g caster sugar
- 210g butter
- 2 tsp dried lemon myrtle
- 1. Preheat the oven to 160c and grease a cake tin. Matt uses a 20cm round cake tin but I used a loaf tin which worked fine.
- 2. Spread the macadamia nuts evenly on a baking tray and roast for 12 mins or until golden brown then set aside to cool. Turn the oven up to 170c.
- 3. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and cream the two ingredients for 5 mins or until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and incorporate slowly, beating for a futher 5 mins.
- 4. In a food processor blitz the macadamia nuts to form a rough breadcrumb consistency. add the remaining ingredients and the nuts to the butter mix and beat until smooth.
- 5. Pour into a cake tin and bake for 45-50 mins or until lightly golden. Gently press on top of the cake, if it bounces back, it's ready. Remove from oven and cool in tin for 10 mins before inverting on a wire rack.
- 6. Fill a medium saucepan one third full of water and place over medium heat. Bring to a light simmer. Put the egg whites and sugar into a stainless steel bowl. Using a whisk briefly mix until the sugar has been incorporates. Place the bowl over the simmering water to create a double boiler and stirring constantly head the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.
- 7. Using an electric mixer or hand held electric beaters, whisk the egg mixture at high speed for 10-12 mins it will become white, glossy and thick. Keep whisking until the mixture is cool.
- 8. Switch to a paddle attachment and whisk at a medium speed adding the butter in four batches. Beat and until thick and creamy then add the lemon myrtle until combined.
Gourmet Chick received a review copy of The Natural Cook.