I was thrilled to be invited to the Bridge Room for the announcement of the 2013 Australian GrandDairy Awards late last year. Ross Lusted, Chef and co-owner and his lovely wife Sunny, General Manager and co-owner have been overseas far too long, albeit opening many Aman resorts. Both have had stellar careers and one mouthful of Ross’s food, served with Sunny’s stylish supervision and I remembered why I had always enjoyed his food all those years ago at the original Rockpool and the Park Hyatt’s harbourkitchenbar.
Their newish venture with The Fink Group, The Bridge Room, is a pared-back but appealing space, warm with the use of wood, in a low-rise 1030s heritage listed building on the corner of Bridge and Young Streets. Ross created a menu to showcase the award winners. He shared his recipe for Pyengana Cheddar custard with me. Pyengana Cheddar which was named 2013 Australian Grand Dairy Champion in the cheddar-style cheese category. In a strange twist, I learned from a recently discovered relation, that the cheesemaker and manager of the factory in 1905, Thomas James Molphy married into my mother’s family. I knew there was a reason I loved cheese!
Scroll down for Ross’s recipe.
Nearly 400 Australian cheese and dairy products were judged by a panel of 21 expert judges accordingly to the industry standard criteria: flavour and aroma, body and texture, and colour and appearance.
Other notable Australian Grand Dairy Award winners were:
- That’s Amore Cheese’s Cuore Blu Burrata – awarded Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese. Owner Giorgio has only been making his delectable range of fresh Italian style cheeses for two years. Not only he is a talented cheesemaker, but he starred last year at the Good Food & Wine Shows’ Cheese Alley which I co-ordinated, on the masterclass stage demonstrating stretched curd to an enthralled audience.
- Paradise Beach’s Pesto Swirl Dip was awarded Champion Dairy Dip. This is only one of owner Steve’s luscious dips, make just north of Sydney using premium Australian ingredients. Steve also makes pita bits, perfect with his dips!
Pyengana Cheddar custard, hazelnuts, muscatels and sabaMakes: 12 x 50g custards
500ml cream40ml milk
100g Pyengana Cheddar, grated
2 leaves gelatin
24 hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
100g Miche, roasted and finely ground (method below)
24 dried muscatels
100g Pyengana Cheddar
Saba (concentrated grape juice syrup)
To make the Miche crumbs, peel the crust from day old Miche, place the chopped bread into a food processor and pulse the bread to form breadcrumbs. Once the crumbs are formed in the processor add 20ml olive oil and a little salt, pulse again until combined. Remove the crumbs from the machine and lay out evenly on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 170⁰C for approximately 8 minutes or until the crumbs are brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled return the crumbs to the processor and pulse again quickly to create a very fine crumb. These crumbs will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days.
To make the custards, combine cream and milk in a heavy based saucepan and heat to 72⁰C. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated Pyengana Cheddar. Add the gelatin leaves that have been soaked in cold water to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer. Pour the strained mixture into individual molds and refrigerate for approximately two hours.
To serve, with a hot spoon scoop the custards out of the molds and place in the center of a cold plate. Dust with toasted miche crumbs, grate roasted hazelnuts over the custard and finally grate some more cheddar to finish, serve with dried muscatels and a drizzle of Saba.
Lyndey’s Note: Miche is a type of sourdough bread which is large, round, rustic and flat.