Wednesday July 10th, 2024
 
Hi Foodie Friends,
 
Welcome to another deliciously newsy newsletter. We’re still riding a souffle high from Darren’s scrumptious extravaganza of a masterclass last Sunday. Thank you to all of you who joined us. The recipe for his Chocolate, Hazelnut & Pear Souffle is up for all of you to try and a more detailed version is available for our Premium and Founding members Here. We hope you’ll give this recipe a go. It’s as light as feather a full of surprises. 
 
The Comeback Kid
 
From nemesis to superhero, who would’ve thought Brussels sprouts (roasted for this weeks cover) would become so popular? Once the scourge of every kid’s dinner plate, they’ve now become the star of restaurant menus and Instagram feeds. We can’t get enough of them! While they’re in their winter prime, we’re sharing a couple of our favourite recipes that should convert any non-believer. Read on for more..
 
 
Overnights ABC Radio
 
Our wonderfully talented friend, writer, broadcaster and comedian Paul Verhoeven has been moonlighting on the ABC filling in for the regular hosts of ‘Overnights’. He recently caught up with Darren for an interview. You can listen here.
Darren shares his tales from early in his career and his love of sharing his food and recipes with others. Possible too much sharing on one occasion!
 
 
The Pies Have It.
 
Darren’s collaboration (pictured above) with Fergusson Plarre’s Bakehouses is in full swing, with the first two of his flavours Beef Cheek and Shiraz Pie and Cauliflower, Leek & Maffra Cheddar Pie available in one of their 80 bakehouses dotted around Victoria. Don’t miss out on trying these two jam packed beauties.
 
 
Christmas in July
 
Darren wrote a fab little Christmas Book, jam packed with some excellent recipes for hot or cold Christmas’s depending on which part of the world you inhabit. One of our favourites recipes is Turkey Saltimbocca. It’s a break from tradition and let’s face it, anything wrapped in cured pork is going to pretty darn good. We’re also sharing our step by step technique for our Chicken version, read on for more about that.
In late May this year we attended the fabulous Heritage Harvest Weekend at Sovereign Hill. We were gifted a giant Kent pumpkin that had been used for display across the weekend. It’s an absolute beauty and we are still eating it almost six weeks on.
 
 
Brine & Dandy – Pumpkin Soup That’s Kind of a Big Dill
 
Now, I’ve never really been a fan of pumpkin soup, but one chilly day, we needed lunch, so I thought, why not? I started with a basic mix of onion and celery—ran out of garlic though, oops. While rummaging through the fridge for inspiration, I found a bottle of hot sauce our friends brought back from New York. Just 100ml of that magic potion, and bam! Pumpkin soup went from “meh” to “wow!” instantly. The flavour reminded me of spicy dill pickles, so I decided to create a simple recipe around those pickle vibes. And here we are! The recipe is here, (pictured below) hope you love it like us!
 
For dessert, it seemed quite fitting to make Darren’s gorgeous Cobnut, Pear, and Chocolate Dacquoise Cake he created for that very weekend at Sovereign Hill. Enjoy! 
 
The Bougiest Brassica
 
Like many of my generation, I grew up on classic Aussie fare. Meat and three veg was the standard evening meal and boiling veggies was the norm.  I despised the flavour of those veggies so much, that when given the ultimatum, I chose to stay home from the school trip rather than eat them.
 
Boiling was once considered one of the simplest and most reliable ways to cook food. You didn’t need fancy gadgets, just a pot, water, and some heat. It was practical too, as boiling ensured that any harmful bacteria or parasites in the vegetables were killed off, making them safe to eat. The soft and mushy texture that boiling achieves was also a preference, my dads favourite in-fact. It was also once believed that boiling was the best way to preserve the nutrients in vegetables. We know now that this is completely untrue.
 
Everything changed for me when I started cooking professionally. I discovered a whole new world of cooking techniques and flavours, and the biggest surprise of all was my newfound love of Brussels sprouts. 
 
The notorious bitterness usually associated with the Brussels sprouts comes from overcooking. Brussels sprouts release glucosinolates, chemicals that turn your mouth into a bitter battleground. But roasting Brussels sprouts can completely change your perception. Toss them in a bit of olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt, maybe a hint of garlic, and let them roast until they’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, pictured above. Finish them with a splash of our newest favourite vinegar, Aged Apple Cider Vinegar from Wild Mother in Tasmania, or fresh lemon juice. The texture, flavour and aroma of roast Brussels sprouts is pure joy and those delicious gnarly crispy bits are the best.
 
Some praise David Chang – Momofuko New York City for making them fashionable with the opening of the first Momofuku Noodle Bar. On its menu were Brussels sprouts that Chang pan-roasted with bacon and then tossed with puréed kimchi. Anyone who was anyone, ordered them!
 
One way to ensure you don’t over cook Brussels sprouts is to not cook them at all! Eating them raw at this time of the year is the best. Brussels sprouts have the sweetest flavour when harvested after a frost. This past couple of weeks we’ve revisited Darren’s simple and delicious Brussels Sprouts Slaw (pictured bottom). It has a light and fragrant dressing and partners beautifully with slow roasted joints or meat, roast chicken or BBQ steak or our Chicken Saltimbocca, (pictured top).
 
I’m longing for the ones that Darren’s mum is growing for us for our Christmas celebrations in the UK. She’s been keeping me updated via videos on WhatsApp; check out her latest video here! Thank you Shirley I can’t wait.
 

It’s time we redeem Brussels sprouts from their unfair reputation, as with better cooking methods and loads of creativity, they have transformed from a childhood nemesis into the bougiest of brassicas that can now hold its own on the fanciest menus.


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