Enjoy recipes inspired by the chef’s rebirth of a Victorian country icon.
DEEP IN THE Dandenong Ranges, less than an hour from Melbourne, Shannon Bennett is nurturing an ambitious project that includes greenhouses, multiple restaurants and a super-luxe hotel.
Melbourne-based Bennett is already a renowned chef, author, restaurateur, and brand ambassador for Miele, Audi and Nespresso. Add to that list: hotelier. Four years ago, Bennett and business partner Adam Garrisson decided to revive Burnham Beeches, a ‘30s mansion and estate. Burnham Bakery and Piggery Cafe emerged, in 2014, soon followed by vegie gardens, greenhouses and emu enclosure.
Recently, Bennett received planning approval to redevelop the hotel, dormant since 1992. In the next few years, there will be 64 rooms, a grand ballroom, a restaurant, a microbrewery and a steakhouse based on Japanese yakiniku principles of charcoal grilling. Bennett envisions it as a “six-star” property. “It will be a one-off boutique brand offering the best spa, horse-riding facilities and truffle foraging,” he says. “In terms of produce, our intent is to be entirely self-sufficient.” Here, we highlight recipes with ingredients plucked from the estate and the surrounds, and the stellar team Bennett has assembled. How soon can we check in? Not soon enough.
SMOKY PORK RIBS WITH APPLE & LEATHERWOOD BARBECUE SAUCE SERVES 6
Begin this recipe at least 5 hours ahead.
1/2 cup (55g) each smoked paprika, ground cumin and garlic powder 1/4 cup (30g) mustard powder 1/4 cup (20g) coarsely ground black peppercorns 2 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 cup (40g) salt flakes 1/2 cup (125g) firmly packed brown sugar 2 x 1.1kg American-style pork spare ribs 200g American mustard 1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar 1/3 cup (80ml) leatherwood runny honey (substitute other good-quality runny honey) 100g unsalted butter, chopped
APPLE & LEATHERWOOD BARBECUE SAUCE (MAKES 650ML)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled,
cored, cut into 2cm pieces 2cm piece (10g) ginger,
finely chopped 2 long red chillies, thinly sliced 1 red onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp each fennel seeds and coarsely ground black pepper 1/ 2 tsp ground ginger 1/ 3 cup (20g) ground espresso coffee 1 cup (250ml) white balsamic vinegar 11/ 2 cups (375ml) leatherwood
Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease 2 large baking trays and line with baking paper.
Combine spices, garlic powder, mustard powder, peppercorns, cayenne, salt flakes and half the brown sugar in a bowl. Wearing disposable gloves, place the ribs on the prepared trays. Using your hands, coat with the mustard, then coat in spice mixture until completely covered.
Combine vinegar and 1/4 cup (60ml) water in a bowl. Roast ribs, basting every 30 minutes with the vinegar mixture, for 1 hour 30 minutes or until spice crumb is golden and cooked onto the ribs.
Brush ribs with honey and scatter with remaining 1/4 cup (60g) brown sugar. Place a piece of foil, more than double the size of a rib rack, on a work surface. Place a rib rack on the foil and scatter with half the butter. Enclose rack in foil and place on a baking tray. Repeat with remaining rack and butter. Roast for a further 2 hours 45 minutes or until very tender.
Meanwhile, for the apple and leatherwood barbecue sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the apple, ginger, chilli, onion, garlic, fennel, pepper and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened but not coloured. Add coffee, vinegar and 1/2 cup (125ml) honey. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat. Transfer to a blender and whiz until smooth. Stir through remaining 1 cup (250ml) honey until combined. Set aside.
Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan to high heat. Remove ribs from foil. Stir any cooking liquids into the barbecue sauce. Brush sauce over ribs. Grill ribs, basting and turning regularly, for 10 minutes or until charred and saucy. Remove from heat. Carefully cut into individual ribs and transfer to a platter. Serve with the remaining barbecue sauce.
“IT WILL BE A SIX-STAR HOTEL PLANTED IN THE MIDDLE OF A FOREST. AND IT’S LESS THAN AN HOUR FROM MELBOURNE.” – Shannon Bennett
BRAISED AND CHARRED CAULIFLOWER SERVES 6 AS A SIDE
Begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
1/ 2 cup (40g) salt flakes 4 cups (1L) apple juice 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed, plus extra 1/ 2 head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets 200g unsalted butter 5 mint leaves, chopped 1 bunch chives, finely chopped 1/ 2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, chopped 2 tbs slivered almonds,
toasted 1 Granny Smith apple, cored,
finely chopped Juice of 1/ 2 lemon 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil Borage flowers (optional) and creme fraiche, to serve Whisk salt flakes and apple juice together in a large bowl until well combined. Add cauliflower head and top up with enough water to cover. Hold down cauliflower with a weight and chill for 8-12 hours to brine.
Remove cauliflower from brine, reserving 200ml apple brine, and pat dry thoroughly with paper towel.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until it begins to foam.
Add cauliflower and a pinch of salt flakes. Cook, turning regularly, for 10-12 minutes or until golden and lightly charred. Place cauliflower, stem-side down, in a saucepan. Add the reserved apple brine and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, pulse extra cauliflower florets in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and stir through herbs, almonds, apple, lemon juice, oil and 1/2 tsp salt flakes.
Transfer cauliflower mixture to a serving platter and top with cauliflower head. Drizzle with a little cooking liquid, scatter with borage flowers, if using, and serve with creme fraiche.
SLOW-COOKED BEEF CHEEKS WITH SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS SERVES 6-8
Begin this recipe 5 hours ahead.
4 x 400g beef cheeks, trimmed 11/ 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil 60g unsalted butter, chopped 1 large eschalot, thinly sliced 8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced 6 cups (1.5L) beetroot juice 1 cup (250ml) red wine 2 cups (500ml) beef stock 4 thyme sprigs 100g shiitake mushrooms Watercress and soft herbs (such as amaranth), to serve
Heat a barbecue or chargrill pan to high heat. Rub the beef with the oil and season with a pinch of salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes each side or until evenly charred, then transfer to a plate.
Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the eschalot and button mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until starting to colour. Add the beetroot juice, wine, stock and thyme, and bring to the boil. Add beef and any resting juices. Reduce heat to low. Cover and gently simmer for 4 hours or until very tender.
Reserve 1 cup (250ml) braising liquid in a bowl. Add the beef. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Bring remaining braising liquid to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes or until thickened and reduced by three-quarters.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 30g butter in a frypan over medium-high heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Stir through 1/4 cup (60ml) reduced braising liquid until combined. Add beef and reserved braising liquid, and cook, turning once, for 3 minutes or until beef is reheated.
Divide beef and mushrooms among serving plates. Drizzle with reduced braising liquid and serve with watercress and herbs.
BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH ANCHOVY DRESSING SERVES 6 AS A SIDE
1/ 2 cup (125ml) white wine vinegar 1/ 3 cup (75g) caster sugar 1 red onion, thinly sliced 400g brussels sprouts, trimmed 6 eggs, at room temperature Olive oil, to shallow-fry 150g sourdough, crusts removed,
torn into small pieces 12 slices flat pancetta Shaved comte cheese (a French hard cheese from cow’s milk – substitute gruyere or parmesan), to serve
1 egg yolk 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 3 anchovy fillets in oil,
drained Juice of 1 lemon 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/ 2 cup (125ml) grapeseed oil Place the vinegar, sugar and 1/4 cup (60ml) water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool. Add onion and set aside for
“THE CLIMATE HERE IS SIMILAR TO EUROPE, AND LOCAL FARMERS PRODUCE EXQUISITE STRAWBERRIES AND BLACKBERRIES.” – Shannon Bennett
30 minutes to pickle. Strain and chill until needed.
For the anchovy dressing, place all of the ingredients except the grapeseed oil in a food processor. Add a pinch of salt flakes and whiz until a paste forms. With the motor running, add oil in a thin, steady stream until thickened and emulsified. Chill until needed.
Blanch sprouts in a saucepan of boiling water for 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of iced water to refresh. Carefully add eggs to boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of iced water. When cooled, peel and set aside until needed.
Heat 1cm oil in a large, non-stick frypan over high heat. Add sourdough and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes or until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel to drain.
Cut half the brussels sprouts into quarters. Return pan to heat. Add quartered sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden and crispy. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Add pancetta to pan and cook, turning halfway, for 3 minutes or until crispy. Transfer to paper towel to drain.
Finely slice the remaining sprouts and toss in a bowl with 1/4 cup (60ml) of the dressing. Transfer to a large serving platter. Top with pickled onion, crispy bread, crispy sprouts, pancetta and eggs. Scatter over cheese to serve.
BAKED OCEAN TROUT WITH PARSLEY MACADAMIA BUTTER SERVES 6-8
200g unsalted butter, softened 1 cup (150g) macadamias, roasted,
chopped Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon,
plus extra wedges to serve 11/ 2 cups firmly packed flat-leaf parsley
leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve 1.2kg side ocean trout (skin on),
2/ 3 cup (100g) macadamias, roasted 1 cup loosely packed dill fronds 1 cup firmly packed flat-leaf
parsley leaves 1 cup firmly packed coriander leaves, plus extra to serve 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a large baking tray and line with baking paper.
Place butter in a food processor and whiz until spreadable. Add macadamia, lemon zest and juice, parsley and a pinch of salt flakes, and pulse until nuts and parsley are roughly chopped.
Place fish, flesh-side up, on prepared tray and spread evenly with butter mixture. Place tray on top rack of oven, and roast, basting with butter mixture occasionally, for 15-20 minutes for medium, or until cooked to your liking. Stand for 10 minutes to rest.
Meanwhile, for macadamia pesto, whiz all ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped. Season well.
Transfer fish to a serving platter and scatter with extra parsley and coriander. Serve with pesto and lemon wedges.
MERINGUE ROULADE WITH LEMON VERBENA CREAM SERVES 6-8
4 eggwhites 1 cup (220g) caster sugar 1 tsp white wine vinegar 1 tsp cornflour Pure icing sugar, sifted, to dust 125g blackberries, plus extra to serve Edible native herbs (substitute baby
mint), to serve
LEMON VERBENA CREAM
1/ 2 bunch lemon verbena (substitute zest of 1 lemon), lightly crushed 300ml thickened cream 1/4 cup (60g) mascarpone 2 tbs caster sugar
WILD BLACKBERRY JAM
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime,
plus extra zest to serve (optional) 125g caster sugar 150g blackberries Preheat oven to 160°C. Draw a 30cm x 25cm rectangle on a piece of baking paper. Line a baking tray, drawing-side down, with prepared baking paper.
For the lemon verbena cream, place verbena and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot (do not bring to the boil), then transfer to a heatproof bowl and chill until completely cold. Pass cream mixture through a sieve into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk to medium peaks. Add mascarpone and sugar, and whisk until combined. Chill until needed.
For the wild blackberry jam, stir lime zest and sugar in a saucepan until well combined. Add blackberries and place over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly. Add lime juice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until thickened slightly. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Set aside until needed.
Place the eggwhites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until soft peaks form. With the motor running, gradually add sugar, 1 tbs at a time, and continue whisking for 7 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Fold through vinegar and cornflour.
Spread meringue within the rectangle on prepared tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until light golden. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Invert the meringue onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with icing sugar. Carefully peel paper off meringue.
Spread lemon verbena cream on the meringue, leaving a 2cm border. Scatter with blackberries. Starting from a long side, gently roll the meringue away from you, using the baking paper to keep it in shape. Transfer to a serving platter, seam-side down. Drizzle with some of the jam, and scatter with herbs and extra blackberries. Dust with icing sugar and serve with remaining jam.
The Piggery Cafe’s outdoor terrace, overlooking the bowling green and croquet lawn.
James Kelly and Joel Bowers, head chefs at the Piggery Cafe.
FROM LEFT: a smoker in the outdoor kitchen at the Piggery Cafe; the neighbouring chicken coop; eggs from Bennett’s emus are used in the famous sponge at Vue de Monde using Maggie Beer’s recipe.
PERFECT WITH MARGAN AGED RELEASE HUNTER VALLEY SEMILLON 2009 Available from winesociety.com.au
Head baker James McMurray.