Shan­non Ben­nett

En­joy recipes in­spired by the chef’s re­birth of a Vic­to­rian coun­try icon.

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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

runny honey

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

AN­CHOVY DRESS­ING

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),

pin-boned

MACADAMIA PESTO

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.

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