Venison Medaillons: My MasterChef Audition Dish

Makes 4 Portions
Spice Mix
6g whole black peppercorns
12g whole allspice
6g juniper berries
3g caraway seeds
15g coriander seeds
Bread Dumplings
1 egg
150ml milk
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
4 tbsp butter
125gwhite bread croutons, cut and dried 2 days ahead
½ onion, finley chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 white linen table napkin
Kitchen string
Spiced Red Wine Jus
¼ Celeriac , ½ onion, ½ carrot all roughly chopped
½ garlic bulb
25g pancetta
25g frozen blueberries
1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
5g dark chocolate
2 tbsp spice mix
Dash Benedictine or gin
300ml beef stock
300ml dry, red wine
1 tsp corn starch
1 tbsp butter
Cranberry Compote
1/3 cup frozen cranberries
1-2 oranges
1 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Braised Red Cabbage
½ red cabbage finely shredded
½ onion finley sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 oranges
1 lemon
200ml dry, red wine
1 tbsp butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 pieces venison medaillons
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
How its done:

To prepare the spice mix, place a medium frying pan over medium heat. Place the spices in the dry frying pan and gently toast until fragrant. Remove from the heat and use mortar and pestle or food processor to grind to a medium fine consistency. Set aside.

To make the dumplings, place a large saucepan with salted water over high heat and bring to the boil. In a large bowl, mix together egg, milk and chopped parsley. Heat a small frying pan over low to medium heat and add 1 tbsp butter. Add the onion and cook gently until soft. Add the cooked onion, bread and salt and pepper to the egg mixture. Mix well and leave to rest for 10 minutes. In the meantime, place a damp napkin on a large chopping board, melt the remaining butter and brush over the napkin. Place dumpling mixture in the centre of the napkin and roll into a sausage shape. Roll tightly and secure the ends and middle with kitchen string. Place the dumpling into the boiling water and cook for 35-40 minutes.

For the jus, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat and add celeriac, onion, carrot, garlic, ginger and pancetta. Saute until nicely caramelised. Deglaze the saucepan with a splash of Benedictine and reduce the liquid until nearly evaporated. Add the red wine, beef stock, blueberries cranberries, chocolate and spice mix and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by half then strain into a small saucepan and discard vegetables. Continue to reduce the sauce until 200ml. Dissolve corn flour in a little bit cold water and add to the jus. Stir until the sauce simmers and the corn flour is well incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In the meantime put the finely shredded cabbage in a large bowl and mix through the orange and lemon juice and season liberally with salt. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan and add the sliced onion. Cook gently until soft, then add the brown sugar and cook for 2 minutes further. Add the marinated cabbage with the juices and red wine. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid to cook for 30-40 minutes. The cabbage should be soft but still with a little crunch. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To make the cranberry compote, place the cranberries, brown sugar, juice and zest of the orange into a small saucepan and simmer until the cranberries are soft and the liquid has reduced.

To cook the venison medaillons, place them on a plate and season one side with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add half the butter and oil. Place 6 pieces of meat in the pan seasoned side down and cook for 2 minutes. Season the other side of the meat and turn over. Cook for another 2 minutes to be cooked rare. Remove meat from the pan, cover with foil and rest for 4-5 minutes. Do the same with the remaining medaillons.

Remove the dumplings from the water and place on chopping board. Remove the strings and unroll the dumpling. Cut 3 slices per person to serve. For plating, arrange a large spoon of the cabbage on a plate and top with some cranberry compote, place 3 slices of dumpling and 3 medaillons per person next to it. Spoon some jus over the meat and top with orange zest.

Braised Beef Cheeks

Makes 4 Portions
2 kg beef cheeks
1 onion
3 shallots
2 carrots
3 garlic cloves
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 litre dry red wine 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
Salt, pepper
20g plain flour
2 tsp tomato paste
8 shallots
30g butter
1 Tbsp caster sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
200g bacon or pancetta
200g Swiss brown or button mushrooms
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
How its done:

Trim the beef cheeks and place them in a large zip lock bag. Coarsely chop the onion, shallots, carrots, bruise the garlic cloves and together with thyme, bay leaves and the wine add to the beef. Put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours better over night.

Remove the beef from the marinade and set aside. Strain the marinade and keep the vegetables as well. Heat the oil in a large casserole or a pressure cooker and brown the beef from all sides seasoning with salt and pepper until medium brown. Remove the meat, add the reserved vegetables and tomato paste and sprinkle with the flour. Pour in the marinade and bring to the boil. If using a casserole, cover with a lid and cook for about 2 ½ hours or until the meat is soft. If using a pressure cooker, follow the instructions and cook for 45 minutes.

In the meantime heat the butter in small a sauce pan, add the shallots, sugar, salt and pepper and top with enough water to cover the shallots. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, remove the lid and cook a further 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Cut the bacon or pancetta into medium size strips and add to a pan with the heated oil over medium heat. Slowly render the fat then add the mushrooms cut in halves. Cook until the mushrooms are golden and the pancetta crisp. Season with salt and pepper.

When the meat is tender, remove from the cooking liquid and set aside. Strain the vegetables and discard. Return the sauce to the casserole and add the meat, shallots and mushroom-pancetta mixture and heat through until the sauce thickens slightly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with gnocchi or crusty bread.

Beef Roulades

Makes 6 Portions
4 Beef schnitzel
4 tsp Dijon mustard
50 g carrots
50 g gherkins
4 rashers of free range bacon
100g onion
1 tbsp capers
4 tbsp olive oil
20 g plain flour
125 ml sour cream or crème fraiche
100 ml red wine
400 ml beef stock
1 bay leaf
4 juniper berries
Salt, pepper
1 lemon
How its done:

Preheat the oven to 180.

Prepare the schnitzel by placing them on a clean board, salt and pepper both sides. Brush one side with a tsp of mustard each. Peel the carrot and cut into thin strips. Do the same with the gherkins and the bacon. Place carrot, gherkin and bacon strips on each schnitzel, roll the up and fix with a piece of string each.

In the meantime heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the roulades which have been dipped in some plain flour on all sides. Remove the roulades and set aside. Add finely cut onions to the pan and heat over medium heat until they start to get some colour. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes then de-glace with the red wine. Add the beef stock and stir until no more lumps are visible. Place the roulades back into the casserole adding the bay leaf, the crushed juniper berries and the capers.

Cover the casserole with a lid and place in the oven to cook for about 60 to 80 minutes, depending on the meat quality. Remove the roulades and keep warm. Add some of the sauce to the sour cream and mix well. Then add the mixture to the casserole and mix until well combined and the sauce thickens. Add the roulades, season with salt pepper and lemon zest and warm through.

Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles or Spaetzle.

Carinthian Chicken

Makes 4 Portions
4 Free range chicken breasts skin on
100 g white bread 1 day old
2 free range egg yolks
50 g butter
10 g dry bread crumbs
½ bunch parsley
3 sprigs thyme
50 g chicken livers
½ onion
30 g mushrooms
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
2 tbsp olive oil
20 g butter
How its done:

Prepare the meat by making an incision in the thickest part of each chicken breast and season with salt and pepper. Soak the bread in water until soft, squeeze out the moisture and cut into small pieces.

Peel the onion and cut into small cubes. Clean the mushrooms and cut into slices. Clean the chicken livers and remove any membranes and bloody bits. Heat 20 g butter in a pan over medium heat and add the onion until soft. Add the chicken livers cut into small pieces and pan fry until cook through. Add the mushroom and cook until moisture has evaporated.

Cream the remaining butter in a bowl and add the bread, chicken liver mixture and egg yolks. Mix to combine and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Place some of the stuffing mixture into the chicken breast and close with either a tooth pick or some string. Heat the oil in an oven proof pan and cook the chicken breasts, skin side down first, on all sides until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and place in the oven for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, to cook.

Take the chicken out of the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the tooth picks or string and slice each chicken breast into 3-4 slices. Drizzle with the cooking juices and serve with braised red cabbage.

Coq Au Vin

Makes 4 Portions:
2 tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
12 – 16 free range chicken thighs
6 rashers free range bacon
8 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 ½ cups dry red wine
1 ½ cups chicken stock
8 sprigs fresh thyme and extra as a garnish
3 bay leaves
400 g small button mushrooms
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp brandy
How its done:

Place flour in a plastic sandwich bag and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently shake to coat them with the flour.

Heat half the oil in a large stock pot and add half the chicken browning it on both sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.

Add diced bacon, peeled shallots and crushed garlic to the pan, stirring for about 5 minutes until the shallots are golden. Add the wine, stock, thyme and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium to low and simmer with a lid on for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer chicken to a plate cover with foil and keep warm. Add mushrooms and tomato paste to the wine mixture and simmer on medium heat for another 15-20 minutes or the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper and return the chicken to the pan. Add the brandy and stir to combine.

Top the dish with extra fresh thyme and serve with fresh, crusty bread

Macadamia and Herb Crusted Salmon

Makes 2 Portions:
2 Salmon filets
3 slices of white bread or one Kaiser roll
20g butter
1 garlic clove
½ cup Macadamia nuts
2 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp chives
2 tbsp basil
2 tbsp dill
Salt, pepper
Splash of olive oil

How its done:

Preheat the oven to 200.

Process the bread, garlic macadamia nuts, butter and herbs in a food processor to medium coarse crumbs. They should be moist and hold together. Press the crumbs on top of the salmon filets until evenly coated. Place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper and put in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes.

Drizzle the salmon with olive oil and serve with seasonal vegetables such as green beans, asparagus or carrots. Tip: Use whatever herbs are in season and available.