Philippa Sibley is a Melbourne-based chef who believes that every epicurean – from the world class chef to the adventurous home cook – should celebrate the perfect marriage of food. In her latest book ‘New Classics’ Philippa does just that, with her own reinterpretation of perennial French and Italian cuisine.
In its beautifully presented pages – which come complete with exquisite food photography by Mark Roper, Philippa puts her own modern twist on classic dishes such as salad nicoise, risotto, arancini, steak tartare, gnocchi and cassoulet.
Taking her inspiration from a number of world-rewowned chefs, including: Julia Childs; Stephanie Alexander; Tansy Good; Robert Carrier; Elizabeth David; Thomas Keller; Heston Blumenthal; and Marco Pierre White, to name but a few, Philippa has become an award-winning chef herself, having won The Age Good Food Guide of the Year for each of her restaurants est est est, Luxe and Ondine.
Below is a selection of recipes, taken from ‘New Classics’, including: a dish from its ‘Small Plates’ section – Bresaola, truffled parsnip, remoulade, semolina crackers; ‘Minted Mermaid’, cool pea soup, smoked salmon and mint from its chapter ‘Soups’; Marron, chestnut and pine mushroom risotto from ‘Pastas and Risottos’; and Lightly smoked Barramundi, clams, mushrooms, seaweed broth, guanciale from ‘Large Plates’.
Set to be published on 11 November 2013 by Hardie Grant, New Classics will be available for purchase for £25, hardback. The perfect gift for the gourmet this coming festive season, perhaps…
Bresaola, truffled parsnip, remoulade, semolina crackers
"I had a starter in a bistro in London years ago that inspired this
dish. A salad of finely shredded celeriac with truffled mayonnaise
served with super-thin slices of ‘Jambon de Paris’ (a French version
of prosciutto). So delicious! I’ve replaced the celeriac with sweeter
parsnip for fun, and also because the beef bresaola has a more
savoury flavour than the jambon." - Philippa
about 4 very thin slices bresaola per person
2 large parsnips
60 g (2 oz) Mayonnaise
chopped black truffle
salt and pepper
100 g (3½ oz) semolina, plus extra for dusting
150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
150 ml (5 fl oz) soda water (club soda) or
sparkling mineral water
1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
To make the semolina crackers, place the semolina, flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the soda water and the oil and, using your fingers, mix the ingredients together to form a firm, malleable dough. Knead briefly then wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest for about an hour.
Cut the dough into six 30 x 4 cm (12 x 1½ in) pieces and roll each piece out very thinly either using a pasta machine or a rolling pin and lots of muscle!
Put the dough onto a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes then remove from the oven and flip the crackers over. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
For the remoulade, peel the parsnips and, using a mandoline, slice them into thin slices and then into thin strips. Toss with the mayonnaise and truffle and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Break up each cracker into two bite-sized pieces. Decoratively place the bresaola onto each cracker then top with a tangle of the remoulade. Top with extra pieces of shaved black truffle.
cool pea soup, smoked salmon, mint
1 small all-purpose potato, preferably desiree,
peeled and very thinly sliced
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) Chicken stock
(see page 34) or water
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) thickened
1 small leek, white part only, thinly sliced
50 g (1¾ oz) butter
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/3¼ cups) frozen peas
10 g (¼ oz/½ cup) firmly packed mint leaves
salt and white pepper
120 ml (4 fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream
90 g (3 oz/⅓ cup) crème fraîche
150 g (5½ oz) smoked salmon, sliced and diced
salt and pepper
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
tiny peas from 200 g (7 oz) sugar snap peas
tiny mint leaves
pea tendrils (optional)
Put the potato in a saucepan with the stock and cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, sweat the leek in the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, until soft but not coloured. Add the peas. by this time the potato should be cooked in the cream and stock mixture. Add this to the leek and peas and add the mint. Simmer briefly then process in a blender. Push the mixture through a sieve. Allow to cool completely then season with salt and white pepper.
For the salmon cream, whip the cream and the crème fraîche together until thick. Fold the smoked salmon through the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Refrigerate until needed.
Divide the soup into 6-8 serving bowls. Using a spoon dipped in hot water, form generous quenelles of the salmon cream and add to each bowl. Spoon about a teaspoon of salmon roe around each quenelle. Sprinkle on the tiny peas and mint leaves. Garnish with the pea tendrils, if using, and serve.
"I think the title ‘minted mermaid’ speaks for itself. Who would have thought that a chilled, herbaceous green soup could beat a line-up of meat (predominately pork and lamb) dishes in a competition? Well this little lady romped it home with ‘best in show’ at Taste of Melbourne, much to the amazement of my colleagues who tried to talk me out of submitting it as a contender. Cool, clean and sexy, this soup is a true crowd pleaser." - Philippa
Marron, chestnut and pine mushroom risotto
8 marrons or large yabbies (freshwater
1 onion, finely diced (brunoise)
125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
600 g (1 lb 5 oz/2¾ cups) arborio rice
2 litres (68 fl oz/8 cups) marron stock
(see recipe below)
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) chestnuts, roasted and peeled
375 ml (12½ fl oz/1½ cups) white wine
4–6 pine mushrooms, thinly sliced
120 g (4½ oz) butter
salt and pepper
3 sprigs of tarragon
120 g (4½ oz) mascarpone
Marron or yabby stock
marron heads with shells on (left over from
marron used for risotto above)
1 large brown onion, peeled
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 leek, white part only, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 sprigs of tarragon
200 ml (7 fl oz) canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) cognac
Chicken stock (see page 34)
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
"I’m very proud when I serve this dish. There’s a lot involved, but it’s a labour of love so worth the effort. It’s definitely for special occasions. It is a testament to beautiful, seasonal ingredients in their prime in late autumn and early winter. Serve with the best Chardonnay you can afford and a big friendly salad." - Philippa
For the marron
Have a large deep saucepan of water boiling and a large bowl of iced water at hand. You will also need a big slotted spoon or long-handled tongs to remove the marrons.
Kill the marrons by plunging the tip of a strong knife between their eyes, through the shell.
Place the marrons into the rapidly boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Remove the marrons and refresh in the iced water. Holding the marrons in a cloth, as they’re spiky, twist the head off each marron and set aside for later. To peel the tails, use poultry shears or very strong scissors to snip up each side of the belly shell.
Gently pinch near the tail end and pull to remove the shell and the intestinal tract.
Crack off the claws and, using the back of a knife, bash the claw to crack it slightly. Then gently pull out the bottom pincer and the main shell should slip off easily. Don’t worry if you damage the flesh slightly as it’s being used for risotto. (Save the shells to make the stock needed for this recipe.) Now halve the tails lengthways.
For the stock
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Clean out the marron heads under running water and drain. Dry out the shells and heads in the oven on a large baking tray, until all the moisture has evaporated and they start to smell nutty, 20-30 minutes. Crush the shells with a meat mallet.
Sauté the onion, carrot, leek, celery and garlic (the ‘mirepoix’) in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat with 3 tarragon sprigs, the bouquet garni and the oil until browned.
Add the marron shells to the pan and mix well. Add the tomato paste and cook out until caramelised.
Pour in the cognac and flambé and/or allow the alcohol to cook off before adding enough chicken stock to just cover the shells. Add the remaining 3 sprigs of tarragon and the tomatoes and simmer over low heat for 1½-2 hours.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool naturally, so it steeps like a tea.
Ladle the mixture through a fine sieve and coffee filter (or a piece of muslin/cheesecloth) and let stand to settle any sediment.
Gently pour out into equal portions, without disturbing the sediment. Reserve 2 litres (68 fl oz/8 cups) for this recipe and store the remainder in the freezer or refrigerator.
For the risotto
Have a colander or strainer at hand over a bowl or bucket to catch the liquid. Also have a large tray for cooling the rice down. In a wide, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onion in the extra-virgin olive oil until it just starts to turn golden. Add the rice and toast, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. The rice should be glossy and slightly golden.
Meanwhile, have the stock on the stove warming up over medium heat.
Add the chestnuts (crumble them up slightly) to the rice pan then add the wine. Cook the wine out until it’s all evaporated. Pour in all the stock and cook over high heat, stirring all the time, for 6 minutes. Strain and spread the rice on the tray.
This will stop the rice from overcooking while you prepare the garnish. Reserve the starchy stock for later. The chestnuts should be nice and crumbly but still holding some shape.
Heat a frying pan over high heat and sauté the mushrooms in half of the butter and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil until lightly golden. Add a splash of water to soften and emulsify any juices then season with salt and pepper. Add the leaves from the tarragon sprigs to infuse and place into a bowl for later. give the pan a wipe with a piece of paper towel, then return to the heat and reduce to medium.
Add the rest of the butter to the pan and let the butter bubble and become foamy. When the butter is nearly colouring, or ‘beurre noisette’, add the marron pieces and shake the pan for a few minutes to coat. Remember not to cook the marron too much as it will be incorporated into the hot rice later. Season with salt and pepper and set aside with the mushrooms and tarragon.
Put the rice and chestnut mixture and enough starchy stock into a large saucepan and begin cooking over medium heat, stirring all the time. Add more stock as you go and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the rice is al dente but still quite wet in consistency (if you need additional liquid, you can use chicken stock). Fold in the other ingredients and finally the mascarpone.
Check the seasoning.
Serve with a salad and crusty bread.
"A dear friend of mine, having eaten this for the first time, said:
‘This dish doesn’t have a home!’. She felt it was kind of Asian but also
Mediterranean and French all at the same time. A native freshwater
fish, surf clams, Asian mushrooms, ginger, seaweed and locally made
but Italian-style cured meat … let’s just call it an Australian dish."
Lightly smoked Barramundi, clams, mushrooms, seaweed broth, guanciale
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) fresh clams
1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour
1 fillet from a 3 kg (6 lb 10 oz) fresh
barramundi or a mild white-fleshed fish, such
as cod or pike
10 g (¼ oz) salt
1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) water
2 cups hickory chips (available from barbecue
1 bulb fennel, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
6–8 button mushrooms, sliced
1 sheet of kombu seaweed, broken into small
pieces (available at Asian grocers)
40 g (1½ oz) fresh ginger, thinly sliced
50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) roughly crushed
120 ml (4 fl oz) light olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sprig of thyme
100 ml (3½ fl oz) dry vermouth
400 ml (13½ fl oz) Chicken stock (see page 34)
50 ml (1¾ fl oz) light soy sauce
salt and pepper
6–8 mushrooms per person, from a
combination of Asian mushrooms, such
as enoki, shimeji, shiitake and chestnut
mushrooms (available from good food stores
and markets), stalks trimmed
1 bunch of samphire or coriander
12 super-thin slices of guanciale (available
from good Mediterranean food stores)
Purge the clams in a bucket of cold water with the flour whisked in. Agitate with your hand in the water occasionally then drain after 30 minutes.
Trim the wings and tail excess from the fish fillet and make sure there are no scales, but leave the skin on. either portion the fillet into six or alternatively leave the fillet whole to serve banquet-style on a platter.
Dissolve the salt in the water. Place the fish in a shallow dish and pour over the brine. Remove after 8 minutes for smaller portions or 10 minutes for the whole fillet. Drain and gently pat dry with paper towel.
Meanwhile, place the hickory chips into a heavy baking tray and place over high heat, shaking the pan, until the chips ignite, this should take about 4-5 minutes. Stir so all the chips smoulder and smoke then turn off the heat and place a wire rack over the chips. Put the fish on the rack and cover with a lid or aluminium foil. Leave to cold-smoke for 30 minutes.
In a wide-based saucepan over medium heat, sweat off the fennel, shallots, button mushrooms, seaweed, ginger and rice in the light olive oil until they start to colour slightly, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme then add the liquids and bring to the boil. add the clams and cover with a lid.
Cook the clams, shaking the pan for several minutes until they start to open. as the first ones open take them out with tongs, so they don’t overcook. When all the clams in the pan are open pour the rest into a colander set over a bowl. Discard any clams that have not opened. Pick the excess vegetables and ginger off the clams then set aside.
Strain the reserved broth through a very fine sieve. Check the seasoning, remembering that the clams can be quite salty. Bring a steamer up to a simmer over low heat and put in the fish. Steam the smaller portions for 8 minutes or the larger fillet for 12 minutes.
Warm the broth in a large saucepan over low heat and add the mixed mushrooms. Bring to a simmer then add the clams to warm through.
Serve the fish in bowl plates or a deeper platter for the larger piece. Ladle over the clams and mushrooms. Garnish with the samphire or coriander and the guanciale and serve.
Philippa Sibley's New Classics by Philippa Sibley (£25, Hardie Grant) photography: Mark Roper