By Freya Ensbey.
"Anyone who has spent time in Australia will find something
in this collection to which they can nod their head and smile, recognising a
recipe that is a favourite in their household.” ~ Matt Moran.
With over 30 stellar years in the food industry behind him
and a plethora of awards to his name, Matt Moran is the tour de force behind
some of Australia’s most celebrated dining establishments: Aria, Chiswick and
North Bondi Fish, to name just a few. It’s safe to say he is an Australian food
However, what many might not know is that Moran is also a fourth-generation
Australian farmer with a strong affiliation to the land that followed from
growing up on a dairy farm. This heritage has gifted Moran from a young age
with an insight into the industry from a grass roots level of production, being
witness to the rise and fall of food trends within our country.
"I consider myself to be so lucky to have discovered cooking
when and where I did, as I’ve been able to witness and be a part of the
evolution of Australian food into what it is today; world class, ever changing
and quite simply, inspiring,” says Moran.
Moran’s self-titled cookbook, Matt Moran’s Australian Food,
Coast & Country, is the latest addition to his stable of successful
publications, showcasing the humble and unpretentious calibre of food and the
journey it has taken over the years in our country.
Offering emotive photography with the inclusion of landscape
shots, the glossy pages of this book are broken up into two chapters, Coast and
Country. This symbolises the juxtaposition of Moran’s life, residing on the
coastline of Sydney, yet still having roots to the countryside embedded in his
DNA via co-owning a 2000-acre farm with his Father which supplies his
restaurants with beef and lamb.
The coastal eats chapter is all about timing and
accessibility in cooking, Moran explains that when he is on the coast, life is
busy and fast paced and he usually creates meals at home which reflect this.
"Many of these recipes are my weekend go-tos, while others
are for casual weekend entertaining. Most of all you’ll find flavour and
freshness, and lots of it. Isn’t this how we love to eat by the Australian
coast?” he says.
Find dishes like Moran’s midweek standout of watermelon and
pomegranate salad with whipped feta, the perfect accompanying side to a main of Grilled
Calamari with Salsa Verde which can be made in under 15 minutes, saving you
time and fuss in the kitchen and have you enjoying more family time.
For a knockout weekend dish to serve to friends, why not
whip up the Piri
Piri Chicken with Smoky Tomato Aioli, full of punchy flavour and a bold
spiciness, this chicken will leave a long lasting taste in your mouth, so why
not follow it with the Rockmelon
and Ginger Granita.
The back of the book is dedicated to all things country and
time, which Moran explains is on his side when he visits the family farm, where
things move a little more slowly.
"Although there is nothing fancy here, there is a sense of
indulgence that only a leisurely pace can bring. It’s the kind of cooking that
feeds the soul and I reckon just about all Aussies can relate to this warming
country fare,” says Moran.
To accompany a great piece of lamb straight off his
property, Moran’s go to salad whilst in the country is his Killer
Potato Salad. Using crispy bacon rashers, whole eggs, and shallots to give
flavour and texture and a creamy Dijon mustard dressing to elevate the dish,
the humble potato salad has come a long way since the 70’s.
There is nothing more quintessentially Australian than the
iconic Tim Tam, so next time you put the kettle on, impress your guests and
present a plate of imitation homemade Chocolate
Whether you are pulling on your boots to head into the
paddocks today or grabbing a towel to hit the beach, return home to celebrate
our country’s food culture which has been spurred by home cooks like yourself and
the abundance of variety in produce our country has to offer.
Credit: Matt Moran's Australian Food by Matt Moran (Murdoch Books, RRP $45.00) with Photography by Will Meppem.