bill’s basics (butterscotch madeleines)
Bill Granger, a household name in his native Australia where he owns three eponymous restaurants (he has a further two in Japan), is no stranger to us here in the UK thanks to abundant airtime on our various cooking channels. Having recently relocated to our shores, there have been rumblings that the Aussie chef has plans for a London offshoot but since that has yet to materialise, what better than to replicate his brand of fresh and uncomplicated food at home? ‘Bill’s Basics’, the latest addition to Granger’s lengthy list of cookbooks, is packed full of no-fuss recipes that call for simple ingredients and minimal effort in the kitchen. Pared-down as they are, the dishes are anything but boring and draw inspiration from various global cuisines that Bill has encountered on his travels, as well as from his family table growing up in Melbourne.
The selection ranges from vibrant wholesome salads like the Crisp-Skinned Salmon Salad with Green Goddess Dressing, to more exotic Asian street fare like Laksa and Pad See Ew. It’s all food you’d want to cook every day – within minutes of receiving my volume I found myself dog-earing just about every single page! However a couple verged on a little too simplistic, an example being the Vegetable Soup that uses store-bought ravioli. Not wanting to judge the recipe at face value, I gave it a whirl. Restorative and soothing as it was, flavour-wise it was bland, lacking depth and pedestrian at best. A Baked Fried Chicken, which seemed promising (fried chicken without the guilt – what’s not to love?), also lacked flavour and was slightly dry.
That being said the majority are keepers, and Bill’s Coq Au Vin, which uses white instead of red wine, was stunning – rich, decadent and utterly divine when eaten with crusty bread and a green salad. It will no doubt be a crowd-pleaser and I have every intention of whipping it up for the next informal gathering at ours.
Among the countless recipes I tagged and am awaiting to try, many were from the baking section – a gorgeous blueberry-studded Lemon Drizzle Cake, sugar-dusted wedges of buttery Shortbread and indulgent passionfruit-iced Vanilla Slice, oozing custard. The batch of Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies I baked were delicious; thin with both crunch and chew (depending how soon you ate them out of the oven). Being a sucker for madeleines, I couldn’t resist making a batch of Bill’s butterscotch ones which turned out light, spongy and reminiscent (in taste) to treacle pudding. Yum.
100g (3.5oz) unsalted butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 large eggs
60g (2.1oz) caster sugar
75g (2.6oz) plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
icing sugar, to dust (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170°C (338°F).
Melt the butter in a small pan. Remove from heat and stir in the golden syrup. Leave to cool.
Grease a madeleine tray lightly with a little extra melted butter and dust with flour, shaking off the excess.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and salt until pale and fluffy (about 10 minutes). Sift in the flour and baking powder, then pour in the cooled golden syrup mixture. Gently fold everything together until just combined – be careful not to overwork.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared madeleine trays, filling each mould to 2/3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden and springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and turn out to cool on a wire rack. Serve while still slightly warm and dusted with icing sugar, if desired.
~ by gourmettraveller on October 18, 2010.