Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fruit Mince Tarts, Puddings and all things Christmassy

It's that time again when me and my trusty elves in the Simmone Logue kitchen are busying ourselves making our beautiful fruit mince tarts.

Available at both Simmone Logue stores and David Jones. Be sure to hurry in and buy a pack or two before they sell out!

I will be in store all weekend at my Double Bay and Cammeray store to help you with any last minute catering or Christmas goodies. Or even to just give some tips and advice on how to cook your turkey and glaze your ham.
We have lots of beautiful accoutrements to bump alongside your Christmas lunch or dinner, and don't forget the pudding!
We are taste testing all weekend so see you there!

I will also be cooking up a storm on Channel Ten with the team on the Morning Show so tune in and learn how to stop, breath and smell the ham baking.

Go safe everyone and remember to have gratitude for the ones you love around you these holidays!

Happy cooking with love,
Simmone x

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Jenny Sages' Birthday Bash

It was a night when all the planets were lining up ever so beautifully. It was Jenny Sages' birthday party! Jenny is one of our most clever and renowned artists so I needed to create a dinner which was going to compliment the elegance of both Jenny and her beautiful and intricate works of art.

We started by delicately placing the freshest king prawns on a tangle of piquant green mango, fresh mint and fragrant coriander. A creamy, though subtle, dressing of a lime and chilli spiked coconut cream was drizzled over the top, finished with jewel-like super fresh pop-in-the-mouth pearls of salmon roe.

The main course we served poached trout on kipfler potato, preserved lemon mayonnaise and water cress.

And the dessert went down a treat as an old favourite known as the Eton Mess. Parfait glasses with almond meringue, berry compote and mascarpone cream.
Sam Holt with Eton Mess and Sages' Paintings
Happy cooking,
Simmone x

Monday, November 4, 2013

Peaches and Cream

I've just spent the last week as the camp cook at Texas Downs in Menindee whilst the peach harvest was on.

I arrived with my suitcase full of all of my favourite accoutrements to help the food taste amazing. I would be lost without my Thai dressing, chilli jam, dill mayonnaise and blood orange marmalade.
There's nothing quite like boiled eggs & soldiers and endless cups of piping hot English breakfast tea around a country table at breakfast time.
Mick and his trusty dog, Gidgy, delivered freshly laid eggs each day which were the colour of the sunset.
One day I made my chicken and ginger Vietnamese rolls for the entire crew in the packing shed.
They were very appreciative and the following night a long line of Chinese and Taiwanese appeared at the door of my quarters all holding their favourite dish from home. We had pork with ginger and shallots, fried chicken, chilli vegetables and a very scary looking green bean soupy dessert thing??? Lots of beers were drunk and then they played magic tricks with a pack of cards until all hours.
On the last night my friends asked me to cook my chicken schnitzel with yummy ruby red potatoes that Marino (aka Sheepy) had dug up for me.
Potato Mafia Marino Pasin (aka Sheepy)
I boiled the gorgeous fresh as fresh potatoes up with lashings of herby butter and a crunchy slaw on the side.
As a surprise I prepared a tarte tatin with peaches I'd pinched from the orchard earlier in the day. I served it with vanilla ice cream on the side. "How long's this been going on?" they asked as they shovelled it down. "About a couple of hundred years" I said as I shared the cute little story of how the tarte tatin came about. It was a real hit!!!
It's always hard to say goodbye as I fly over the property heading back to Sydney. I feel quite sentimental as I reflect on the week that's passed, the yummy dishes I cooked and the new friends I made.
With a suitcase full of stone fruit I arrived home with red dust on my boots and a whole lot of great ideas of wonderful ways to cook with peaches.
My Easy Salad of Prosciutto, Buffalo Mozzarella, Rocket and Peach
(serves 4)
1 bunch fleshy, peppery rocket
2 balls buffalo mozzarella
2 peaches, washed
12 slices prosciutto
1/4 cup roasted walnuts, toasted and chopped
Caramelised balsamic
Olive oil
Maldon salt
Freshly ground pepper
  1. Divide the rocket between four plates.
  2. Place three slices of prosciutto on each plate.
  3. Slice peach over the top and break half a mozzarella ball on each plate. Sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle caramelised balsamic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Happy cooking,
Simmone x

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Simple Things In Life Are Often The Best

Another gorgeous weekend at the beach soaking up the sunshine and filling up with fresh beautiful food was just what the soul was searching for. So on the way down we dropped into the fish market to fill the esky with salty delights!

Winding the car window down as we approached to take in a gulp of sea scented air got the taste buds hankering for freshly cooked harbour prawns shoved into crusty white rolls with lashings of my dill and lemon mayonnaise.

The simple things in life are often the best!
I love picking a bunch of Nasturtiums on the secret path from the beach up to the house.

Besides livening up a crisp and piquant green salad, they look simply divine on an old wooden side board in the kitchen.

Tanja, my friend's doggy, loves it at the beach too!

Fresh prawn rolls with dill and lemon mayonnaise are available at both my Double Bay and Cammeray stores every Saturday and Sunday morning. Don't be late or you may miss out!

Happy weekends,
Simmone x

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Come into store for beautiful new patisserie items by Simmone Logue!

As we head towards the silly season I thought it would be a good time to bring some beautiful new treats into the Simmone Logue range for your last minute entertaining needs.

Whether you are needing to throw together a quick afternoon tea, maybe at home or in the office, or you have friends coming for dinner and need a sumptuous dessert - we've got it covered.

All boxes of sweets purchased are laden with fresh flowers too.

This blueberry frangipane tart is gorgeous with a dollop of double cream on the side for a dessert option, or served on its own passed around with a cup of English breakfast tea.
These lovely little strawberry and mixed berry tarts filled with dreamy crème pâtissière ensure a perfect end to a light summer lunch, or a treat if you are needing to take a gift.
Why not pick up a couple of slices of pissaladiere for an easy brunch? All you need to do is open the champagne, make a salad and you're done!

Make your own Eton Mess with my funky meringues! Just find a retro glass trifle dish and break them in with handfuls of luscious berries and fresh cream.

Olivier, our gorgeous French Patisserie Chef, brings expert advice on all things sweet, straight from France.

The Simmone Logue stores are open 7 days a week. For opening hours and store addresses please visit our website www.simmonelogue.com

Simmone x

Monday, September 30, 2013

Marjorie's 90th Birthday Party

When a strikingly good-looking woman walks into my store requesting to see Simmone Logue, I jump.

Marjorie came to visit me at my store in Double Bay about a month ago to ask if I would cater for her 90th birthday party. I was instantly captivated by this fantastically charming lady. My response? "Of course I would!"

I had my catering consultants book the day out in my diary. Then I set about creating a beautiful menu for Marjorie and her friends for what was going to be a memorable day.

Last Sunday was the big day so my colleagues and I arrived at a lovely home in Mosman to help Marjorie celebrate her special day. With 100 guests there, the champagne was flowing and the sun was shining. Everyone had a great time! Marjorie loves the opera so there was also an opera singer there to perform some of her favourite arias.

For her menu, Marjorie chose my lovely little chicken finger sandwiches along with the Peking duck crepes to start.

As the day ticked along, I served our prawns wrapped in wonton with chilli jam and - one of my personal favourites - the pan seared scallops with nam jim.

We also served our gorgeous little chunky beef pies with tomato sauce. Millie, the resident Golden Retriever, loved my pies too.
Marjorie's birthday cake was fun too!
I fell in love with Marjorie and at the end of the day invited her to my place this Sunday night for roast chook. Her response? "Oh darling, that would be simply fab!!!"
My catering brochure is available in both Simmone Logue stores or view online at www.simmonelogue.com
Happy cooking and may we all get to 90 with as much style and panache as Marjorie.
Simmone x

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pancakes, Doughnuts and Sour Apple Schnapps

Last week I took a road trip with my best buddy down to Thredbo. It was my first time ever on the snow so I was super excited although I had plenty of trepidation as well.

We drove via Canberra and stayed at the beautiful and majestic Hyatt Hotel, where the service and warmth of the hospitality was outstanding.

After a visit to the National Art Gallery to see the Turner exhibition and a cosy drink by the fire in the hotel bar, we ventured off to Italian and Sons for dinner. Spaghetti with scampi and a bottle of Soave was the order of the day, along with the best foccacia ever.

Spaghetti with scampi accompanied by a bottle of Soave

The next day we continued along our way across the Great Snowy hydro scheme and into the beautiful wilderness that is our Snowy Mountain range. We stopped at the Wild Brumby Schnapps distillery and picked up a bottle of caramel, peach and sour apple schnapps for our bed time tipple.

Winter wonderland
Pine needles in a hanging basket

We stayed at the oldest ski lodge in Thredbo, the Kosiosko Alpine Lodge, and I could really feel the history there. It was just great because they have a resident cook there named Carolyn who prepared a lovely hot brekky each morning and a gorgeous meal each night after we got in from carving up the slopes. I would have loved to have been able to put her in my suit case and bring her home with me!

Now isn't it interesting how food always tastes so much better when you haven't had anything to do with the preparation of it?! On the very first morning we woke up to the fluffiest flipped pancakes with crispy smoked bacon and lashings of maple syrup....... heaven!!!

Off to the slopes!

Of course, the first morning on the snow was frustrating and painful, spending most of it on my bum, wondering who's great idea this was anyway? Although, after a coffee and a few just-friend cinnamon dougnuts, we were back on Friday flats and it was finally clicking in.

Over the week we indulged in many beautiful meals at the lodge. One interesting salad as a starter - rocket and "P" salad. Made up of rocket and all things starting with "P": pear, prosciutto, pumpkin and parmesan. Fantastic!

Every evening Carolyn would deliver a dessert which left us heading off to bed with bellies full, our bodies sore and our hearts content. Strawberry souffle, figgy pudding, warm chocolate brownies, and yummy and light meringue roulade mmm.........

We skied for a week and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to the magical ambience of Thredbo village life, lovely Carolyn and our new friends we had made at the lodge.

The bath tub at the Hyatt was calling and the old bones could do with a soak so we made a beeline for the luxury of that and a dinner in Canberra at the renowned Waters Edge before we hit home.

Braised pork cheek, jowl and crackling with celeriac puree, and port poached pear
Chargrilled kingfish, Jerusalem artichoke, kale and pickled hazelnut
The food at Waters Edge was divine and long with the wine, many coming from the Canberra district, we agreed it was such a lovely way to finish our adventure.

On the way home we also took a slight detour to Jeir Creek vineyard to purchase a case of their 2009 chardonnay ;)

Bottle of Jeir Creek 2009 Chardonnay ;)
Rocket and "P" Salad
1 bag of wild rocket
1/2 butternut pumpkin, peeled
2 firm pears
10 slices prosciutto, baked until crisp
60g parmesan, shaved
Balsamic Dressing
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon runny honey
100ml balsamic vinegar
300ml olive oil
Salt & pepper
1. Chop pumpkin into chunks, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a moderate oven until lightly caramelised.
2. Slice pears and place in water with a squeeze of lemon.
3. Whisk all dressing ingredients together.
4. Layer all salad ingredients, finishing with parmesan and prosciutto. Drizzle with balsamic dressing. Enjoy!

Happy skiing,
Simmone x

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sticky Date Pudding

How can we ever get fed up with eating sticky date pudding?! It's never going to happen. Whenever I am invited to a friend's for dinner I always take a sticky date pudding because I just know it's going to be a huge hit. It might seem a bit old hat but I don't care as it is just one of those classic desserts for winter that everyone loves.

The first time I tasted the infamous sticky date pudding was in the 90's in a little restaurant called Morgans in Darlinghurst. The chef there had a unique way of preparing his sticky date in service. He would cut a piece, place it in a caste iron frypan, pour the sauce over the top and heat it in the oven.

The result was amazing! The pudding was so gooey and rich on the inside, and crunchy and caramelised on the outside........ divine!!!

You can find my sticky date pudding in Thomas Dux Grocer, Harris Farm Markets and both Simmone Logue stores. So light the fire, cuddle up on the couch and indulge in an old favourite....... I know I will be! :)

Sticky Date Pudding with Caramel Sauce

100g brown sugar
175g self-raising flour
125ml full cream milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g unsalted butter, melted
300g chopped dates

Caramel Sauce
200g brown sugar
25g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
500ml boiling water

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  2. Butter a 1.5L pudding dish.
  3. Combine the brown sugar and flour in a large bowl.
  4. Pour the milk into a measuring jug, and beat in the egg, vanilla extract and melted butter. Pour this mixture over the brown sugar and flour mix, using a wooden spoon to stir and combine. Fold in the dates and then scrape the mixture into the pudding dish.
  5. Sprinkle the brown sugar for the caramel sauce on top and dot with the butter cubes. Pour over the boiling water. Pop the pudding dish into the oven for 45mins. The top should be springy and spongy when it's cooked. If not, leave it in the oven for a another 5-10mins. You'll find that the butter, brown sugar and boiling water will have turned into a rich, sticky caramel sauce. Serve with a scoop (or two!) of vanilla bean ice cream. Divine!

Stay warm and happy cooking,
Simmone x

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Red Dirt... Beautiful!

Red Dirt... Beautiful!

Menindee is the Aboriginal word for Great Lakes... and that, amongst other natural wonders, is what I found on my second visit to Tandou orchard to help my friends pick and pack their oranges.
On the way out to Broken Hill, which is the closest air strip to the orchard, a cowboy sitting next to me leant across, peered out the window and said three words - "red dirt... beautiful!"  And I get that, 'cause I felt the same way.  I couldn't wait to get my boots dirty, kick up the dust and smell the dusty scent of the desert.
When I arrived at the packing shed I was amazed at the sea of orange bobbing along happily on the packing machines all shine and waxed then packed into boxes and off to the market

The taste was a perfect balance of sweet and tangy and easy to peel too, which was a bonus. We picked on glorious afternoons after the dew had left the orchard, moving quietly and contemplatively though the trees, picking buckets of sunshine.
At the end of each day, my picking buddies and I would go down to the billabong to "catch a feed"... We pulled up some lovely perch and took in the tranquility of the evening light.
I came home from my visit with a suitcase full of the must gorgeous oranges and made a big batch of my orange marmalade and will most definitely only ever buy Aussie grown fruit and I urge you to do so too.

I serve my blood orange marmalade on sourdough toast with lashings of butter in both my Cammeray and Double Bay stores. Pots of the liquid gold are also available for purchase.

Salad of Grilled Witlof, Orange, Chicken and Walnuts

4 chicken breasts, skin on
10 sage leaves
1 clove of garlic (peeled and minced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 orange (juice and zest) - Aussie grown
1 orange (peeled, pips removed, and sliced) - Aussie grown
100g toasted walnuts

Cut into 4 length ways
1 tablespoon olive oil
40g butter
2 teaspoons runny honey

Marinate chicken for 2 hours in garlic, sage and olive oil.
Heat frypan on a medium to high heat.
Cook chicken skin side down for 4 minutes or until caramelised.
Turn and cook for a further 4 minutes, then rest.
Heat grill, line baking dish with baking paper and place witlof in with a dot of butter. Drizzle with olive oil and honey, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill for 5 minutes or until caramelised.
To assemble salad, place orange slices on a nice white platter, arrange caramelised witlof, sliced chicken, toasted walnuts and drizzle with cooking juices.

Happy cooking,
Simmone xxx