Matt Pre­ston plays match­maker with some un­likely in­gre­di­ents that were just wait­ing to be in­tro­duced.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Weekly Planner -

We know le­mon goes with ev­ery­thing from seafood to poppy seeds, but try team­ing blue­ber­ries with le­mon, per­haps piled on a le­mon tart. De­li­cious! Also try adding ground co­rian­der to the pas­try to ac­cent the lemony zip.

Orange goes well with bay leaves. Try in­fus­ing a few fresh leaves in the sugar syrup for any cock­tail that fea­tures orange. Equally sur­pris­ing is fresh peeled man­darins with an Earl Grey tea granita or panna cotta. Thyme is equally at home with the fruit – they share flavour com­pounds that make them a great match.

More oddly, grape­fruit has a strange affin­ity with both salmon and, freakier still, car­rots, but then noth­ing is as mag­i­cal as the way a squeeze of lime re­moves the un­pleas­ant aroma of a year-11 for­mal from any pa­paya, mak­ing it quite palat­able.

SALT WITH CHOCO­LATE Sure, it’s not a clas­sic combo like cher­ries with dark choco­late, nor as out-there as He­ston Blu­men­thal’s love of pair­ing white choco­late with caviar, or the prac­tice of adding blue cheese to choco­late mousse (which makes it taste smoother and richer), but a few flakes of good salt does pretty sexy things to ev­ery­thing from a slice of rich choco­late tart to a self-sauc­ing choco­late pud­ding.

BE­YOND CHEESE WITH BA­CON Cheese is a nat­u­ral with toma­toes, onions and ba­con, but how about adding some kim­chi to a ched­dar toastie, melt­ing slices of manchego on a chorizo hot dog or driz­zling honey over that goat’s cheese in a salad? Even more in­ter­est­ing is pair­ing blue cheese with whisky or a lit­tle glass of old mus­cat. It also works well with dates.

CHICKEN WIGS OUT Ba­con, tar­ragon, mus­tard and corn all be­long with chook, but try serv­ing your next Sun­day roast with a side of ba­nanas fried in but­ter (per­haps with a splash of bour­bon, too, or a salty side of ba­con), adding dill or co­rian­der seed to the sauce for a chicken pie, or some parme­san to the crumb for a chicken schnitzel. All are suc­cess­ful, if a lit­tle trippy, ways to step up your chook.

VEG­ETA­BLES WITH WHAT? Veg­eta­bles also lend them­selves to un­usual matches whether that’s al­monds with sweet pota­toes, sesame seeds with but­ter­nut pumpkin or cu­cum­ber with tamarind or with oc­to­pus (pos­si­bly joined by ouzo). The acid­ity and sweet­ness of fresh toma­toes mean they’ll stand up to such ad­di­tions as rasp­ber­ries (odd), plums or nec­tarines (less odd) in a salad. A bright, acidic vinai­grette helps to pull them all to­gether.

YOU CAN’T BE SE­RI­OUS Roast pork with peaches or pineap­ple is not too rad­i­cal, but I’ve also I’ve tried oys­ters with pas­sion­fruit (never again), ba­con with ba­nana and bar­be­cue sauce on a pizza (oddly al­lur­ing) and salty French fries dipped into a vanilla thick­shake, which was ‘a thing’ a while back. At least it worked bet­ter than choco­late-cov­ered pret­zels – al­though the salt on the pret­zels was okay.

Weird­est of all, per­haps, is chas­ing a shot of bour­bon with a good slug of pickle juice. This ‘pick­le­back’ leaves me with the dis­tinct flavour of cheap cheese­burger. Keen to try salt with self-sauc­ing choco­late pud­ding? Head to de­li­cious.com.au to find Matt’s ir­re­sistible recipe.

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