Some cookbooks seem like a good idea at the time, then wind up gathering dust. This one, on the other hand, is a sitter for becoming dog-eared and covered in splatters.
Recipes for real life.
HOW MANY RECIPES ARE IN YOUR
repertoire of regulars? Five? Six? UKborn Melbourne chef Matt Wilkinson and his partner Sharlee Gibb (also an accomplished cook) are busy parents of two young boys, and totally get it. With Mr & Mrs Wilkinson’s How It Is At Home,
they’re here to help us spice up our lives by adding a couple more fallbacks to our lists, while taking the stress out of the daily food-prep grind and putting the flavour and fun back in.
The couple are known for Melbourne dining precinct Pope Joan, which is lauded for its homely dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients – exactly what you’ll find on these pages. With notes from ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’, it’s real-life food they serve themselves, from one-pot and last-minute wonders, to ideas for Sunday baking and resurrecting leftovers.
SHREDDED CHICKEN PASTA SOUP
Mrs: Perfect for a winter’s day; when someone asks me to make a chicken broth, this is the recipe I turn to.
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 500g free-range boneless, skinless
chicken thighs 1 leek, white and light green part only,
halved lengthways and sliced 500ml (2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock 2 × 7cm pieces kombu seaweed (optional) 80g (½ cup) soup pasta (such as risoni or
mini macaroni) 1 bunch bok choy, leaves separated Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon
wedges, to garnish Parsley sprigs, to garnish
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the chicken thighs and brown on all sides, then add the leek and sauté for 2 minutes. Pour over the stock and 1 litre (4 cups) water, add the kombu, if using, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for about 12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken and shred into pieces using two forks. Set aside.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the broth, cover with a lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes until the pasta is cooked through. Add the shredded chicken, bok choy and lemon zest and juice, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve garnished with some parsley sprigs.
POPE’S KIMCHI BLOODY MARY
Mr: At Pope Joan, we leave our tomato juice in the fridge to infuse with all the additions for up to two weeks so that all the flavours get to meld together, but straight up like this is good too. For a virgin version, just leave out the vodka.
45ml good-quality vodka 70ml tomato juice 30ml raw fermented kimchi juice (optional) Juice of ¼ lime, plus a wedge to garnish 5 dashes Worcestershire sauce 3-6 dashes Tabasco chilli sauce (depending
on how hot you like it) 1 dash celery bitters (optional) Ice cubes 1 small pinch cracked black pepper 1 small pinch salt flakes 1 celery stalk or cucumber stick, to garnish
Add the vodka, tomato juice, kimchi juice, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and celery bitters, if using, to a nice tall glass, fill with ice and stir everything together. Sprinkle over the cracked black pepper and salt flakes, then garnish with a lime wedge and a celery stalk or a stick of cucumber. •
CLAMS WITH GARLIC, LEMON & PARSLEY
SERVES 2 Mr: I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time at Cloudy Bay Clams in Marlborough, which boasts some of the best and most sustainable aquaculture in the world. It’s their clams that I’d use for this recipe, though if you can’t get your hands on them, I suggest you use the best-quality and most sustainable option you can find. 100ml extra-virgin olive oil 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled and crushed 2 shallots, diced 1kg diamond-shell clams, large pipis or
even mussels, cleaned 100g salted butter 2 lemons, cut into quarters, seeds removed
and flesh juiced 100ml verjus or sweet white wine ½ bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped 1 pinch cracked black pepper grilled or toasted foccacia slices, to serve Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a low heat, add the garlic cloves and shallots and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until golden.
Set a large saucepan over a high heat and leave for 1 minute, then add the garlic and shallot mixture, clams, butter, lemon quarters and juice. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then pour over the verjus, cover and leave for 5-7 minutes, or until the clams have opened.
Remove the pan from the heat and scatter over the parsley and pepper. Spoon the clams into a serving dish or individual bowls along with the cooking liquor, discarding any that haven’t opened, then serve with toasted foccacia.
MAKES 4 Mrs: I made these as an impromptu dessert one night on the fly and they were magic. You could use other stone fruit like nectarines here, or even a big handful of cherries instead. 2 large ready-to-eat peaches, quartered and stones removed, or 4 small peaches, halved and stones removed 2 tbsp honey 8 small thyme sprigs 1 frozen butter puff pastry sheet, thawed vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, to serve Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put the peach pieces skin side down in a saucepan with the honey, half the thyme and 2-3 tablespoons boiling water, and cook over a low heat with the lid on for 5-6 minutes until slightly softened.
Cut the pastry sheet into quarters and lay them out on the prepared baking tray. On each of the pastry squares, gently score a line about 1cm in from the edges using a sharp knife.
Lay two peach pieces skin side down in the centre of one of the puff pastry squares and drizzle over a little of the syrup from the pan, then fold over the edges of the pastry to the scored line to form a raised border; this will stop the honey spreading during cooking. Repeat with the remaining peach pieces and puff pastry squares, then top each with a thyme sprig.
Transfer the tray to the oven and bake the tartlets for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. •
FRESH JUICES EACH RECIPE SERVES 1
Mrs: Though we love having juices in the morning, we’re not so in love with cleaning the juicer, so we don’t have them every day. When we do, we like to combine lots of lovely fruit, vegetables and herbs to make bright, colourful drinks. Here are a few of our favourites.
2 oranges, peeled and cut into chunks ¼ pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks 2 carrots, cut into chunks 2cm piece fresh ginger, cut into chunks Put the orange, pineapple, carrot and ginger pieces into the juicer, switching between them as you go so you end up with a nicely mixed juice.
4 kale leaves 1 small handful parsley 1 small handful mint 2 green apples, cored and cut into chunks 1 celery stalk, cut into chunks 1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into chunks Before turning it on, pop the kale, parsley and mint into the juicer, followed by the apple – this will help push everything through. Then start juicing, adding the celery stalk and cucumber and alternating between pieces.
1 small handful mint 2 beetroots, cut into chunks 2 red apples, cored and cut into chunks 2 carrots, cut into chunks Before turning on the juicer, put the mint leaves in, followed by the beetroot – this will help push the mint through. Start juicing, adding the apples and carrots and alternating between pieces.