For the past 15 years, Peter Ford has embraced Ballarat’s local produce via his eponymous catering company. This, combined with his broader work championing the region’s food bowl make Peter the perfect chef to interpret Ballarat as a dish.
“Lately there’s been a gentrification of Ballarat taking place and you can see that through this dish, which represents the communities appreciation for fine local produce. The bar has definitely been raised, with a certain element of people chasing finesse and not always looking to Melbourne for inspiration like they used to. Pork is being reared around the Ballarat district in numbers not seen in the past, from the Croaghs out at Mt Mercer, The Charles’ near Learmonth and further out, the Kumnick’s with their rare breed pigs. Spring Creek Organics is one of my go-to places for vegetables and there’s a terrific grove in Buninyong which is a repository of old English nuts.”
Pork belly, crisp hocks, caramelised rhubarb, olive oil pudding, pickled golden beetroot, Shaved kohlrabi, toasted hazel nuts, cider dressing,
2kg pork belly skin removed and reserved
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
Mix together salt and sugar, rub over pork belly.
Cover and let sit in fridge for about 6 hours.
Heat oven to 200 degrees, discard liquid from pork.
Lay the belly fat side up and roast for about an hour, basting along the way with the rendered fat.
Turn the oven down to 120 and cook for another hour and 15 minutes.
When cooked, put in a clean tray cover with baking paper and press with a pot, leave to set overnight.
When totally cool, cut into portion sizes ready to reheat in oven.
Scrape as much fat off the skin as possible.
Boil for about 2 hours in plenty of water.
Carefully remove the skin and lay on a rack to cool and set in the fridge overnight.
Next day scrape any remaining fat off to ensure the final cooking creates a crisp crackling.
Now stick the pieces in a dehydrator for a day on high or a low temperature oven until it is completely dry and snaps if bent.
Cook them up like a prawn cracker and sprinkle with salt flakes and 4 spice.
Dressing – picked thyme leaves, cider vinegar, grape seed oil
Roasted hazelnuts, salt & pepper
2 sticks rhubarb, trimmed
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup sugar
Dice two stalks of rhubarb into 5mm squares.
Make caramel with sugar and deglaze with balsamic vinegar, cool slightly then pour over rhubarb, set aside.
Pickled golden beetroot
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coarse salt
Baby golden beetroots, very thinly sliced
Place the first four ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt. Decant into a large bowl, cool for 5 minutes. When the mixture is still warm, add the beetroot. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Drain and use.
Olive oil pudding
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks
40 gms sugar
20 gm cornflour
30 ml olive oil
Bring milk to the boil in saucepan.
In a bowl whisk yolks, sugar, salt and cornflour until smooth.
Pour a little hot milk into bowl and mix well, pour in remaining milk.
Return to pot and cook to a simmer whisking constantly, whisk in the olive oil.
Cool mixture and set aside.
1 cup beetroot juice
3 gm Agar agar
Pour juice into a pot, Sprinkle agar agar over juice and let soak for 5 minutes
Bring to boil in and use a stick blender to ensure agar totally dissolved in juice.
Pour into bowl and let chill and set.
Return mix to vitamix and blend till smooth
Place in squirty bottle or small piping bag and dot gel onto the plate.
Seared scallop, pork belly, asparagus and pickled fennel
1-2 spears pp, trimmed
200 gm roasted pork belly either roasted by you or from your favourite Chinese restaurant cut into 4cm cubes
8 scallops trimmed of tough tendon
Micro beet leaves to garnish
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 fennel bulb, shaved or thinly sliced
Boil vinegar, sugar, salt, & turmeric to dissolve the sugar and salt. Then pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Whilst the mixture is still warm, add fennel. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Drain, and use.
Prawn bourbon butter
500 gm butter
250 gm prawn shells, toasted
Zest from ½ orange
½ vanilla bean, halved and scraped
1 Thai chili sliced
8 gm black peppercorns
8 gm cup fennel seeds
70 ml bourbon
Salt, to taste
On low heat, melt butter, add all ingredients besides bourbon, and continue to cook on low for 20 minutes until flavours are incorporated into the butter. Season with salt.
Pull off heat and add bourbon. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Season to taste.
Can be frozen for another time
Heat cubed pork in oven or grill til crisp, sear scallops for about 30 seconds each side and remove from pan to finish heating through.
Place pork on plate lay cooked asparagus over pork layer with scallops then pour over warmed bourbon butter and garnish with beet leaves
Couverture delice, hazelnut praline crisp, peanut cloud, glazed orange
125g of sugar
25ml of water
75ml of cream
75g of salted butter
50g of egg yolk
25g of sugar
125ml of milk
125ml of whipping cream
175g of dark chocolate
75ml of whipping cream
For the chocolate delice, melt the chocolate in a bain marie. Cream the egg and sugar together in a large bowl
In a pan, boil the cream and the milk together and pour onto the egg mixture. Return to the heat and cook until thickened, or until the mixture
coats the back of a spoon (80˚C)
Whip 75g of whipping cream to soft peaks. Place the chocolate into a blender and blitz, slowly add the warm custard mix until all is incorporated and smooth. Pour the mix into a clean bowl. Allow to cool slightly before folding in the whipped cream. Pour half way up into the moulds
Make a well in the middle of each delice fill with a ball of salted caramel. Fill the moulds the rest of the way up with the delice mixture and leave to set in the fridge
Salt flakes and Hazelnut wafers
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
½ cup finely ground toasted hazelnuts
Salt flakes for sprinkling on the wafer
Preheat the oven to 170⁰
Line a baking tray with baking paper, foil, or a silicone mat. Set aside.
In a heavy small saucepan over moderate heat, stir together the sugar, water, and the cream of tartar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, then raise the heat to moderately high and boil without stirring, occasionally brushing down sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until syrup turns golden caramel in colour. Pour the caramel onto the prepared baking pan and let cool completely.
Break the caramel into 1-inch pieces and grind in a food processor to the consistency of granular sugar. Stir in the ground nuts.
Reline the baking tray with baking paper, foil, or a silicone mat. Spread the caramel mixture very thinly inside a square cookie cutter placed on the prepared baking sheet. Gently lift the cookie cutter and repeat until you have 8-10 squares. Carefully place the sheet in the oven to melt the caramel, for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven. Immediately, sprinkle each square with the salt flakes.
White Chocolate ganache
50 gm white couverture chocolate
Bring cream to boil, throw in chocolate, and stir until melted and ganache smooth
Place in piping bag or a squirty bottle
2tbs smooth peanut butter
6 tbs Zorbit (tapioca maltodextrin)
Whisk the peanut butter and zorbit till light and fluffy, push through sieve
Make a caramel, dilute with a little brandy
Pour over orange segments and leave to dissolve and marinate.
200 ml orange juice
Warm together with 4 gm agar agar, bring to boil and cool in container overnight
Pour gel into blender and blitz til smooth, put into squirty bottle and set aside
Assemble as per photo
BLOGGERS and journalists from around Australia are spending the weekend watching Ballarat blossom.
Writers from publications such as Home Life, The Australian and Sunday Style, as well as bloggers from mamamia and Eat and Drink, were invited to spend two days seeing the best Ballarat has to offer in art, culture, food, wine, fashion, shopping, gardens and events.
The journalists were invited as part of the second annual Ballarat Regional Tourism “Ballarat in Bloom” spring-summer marketing campaign.
BRT business development and events manager David McMahon said the event was about showcasing Ballarat to journalists, writers and bloggers from around Australia.
“It’s about changing the myth of Ballarat and really exploring it, not just with events but local attractions as well,” Mr McMahon said.
“It was the second time we’ve done it and it was a raging success in 2012.
“It’s about getting an online platform to spread the word about Ballarat. The value of this PR Ballarat couldn’t buy.”
The writers were split into three groups, including one aimed at food critics, one for families and the third for vintage fashion.
Peter Ford Catering created a menu for the first group, which also visited local producers Inglenook Dairy and Spring Creek Organics.
The families group was entertained by Ballarat’s four main attractions: Sovereign Hill, the Ballarat Wildlife Park, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka and Kryal Castle.Original Article
THE saying “it takes a village to raise a child” has been taken to heart for Aron Siermans, according to family friend Victoria Armstrong.
“He has just really touched everybody,” Ms Armstrong said.
Aron, now 5, was left without his mother Sharon after she was murdered last April. He is now in the care of his grandparents, John and Denise Siermans.
Friends of the Siermans have banded together to help secure Aron’s financial future with a cocktail fundraiser next weekend.
Ms Armstrong said Sharon was her friend, tenant and employee.
“One of the things that hit me from the victim impact statement from Sharon’s brother was that Sharon would have died not knowing if Aron had lived or died,” Ms Armstrong said.
“We want to make sure John and Denise can continue to bring him up without financial stress.
The fundraiser will be held next Saturday at the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute from 6.30pm, with canapes by Peter Ford Catering and performances by indie singer Emmy Bryce and band 21/20.
More than 100 auction items have also been donated.
All the night’s proceeds will go to The Purple Butterfly Foundation, set up for Aron’s financial future and to raise awareness of internet dating dangers.View Original Article
RESTAURATEURS are capitalising on tourists visiting the city during the summer, while Ballarat locals flock to the coast.
With a number of inner-city restaurants and cafes shutting up shop until the end of this month, clever caterers and cafe owners remain open for business.
Red Peppa co-owner Sheree Allen said her Sturt Street eatery remained open over the summer holidays and only closed on public holidays.
“It does work a lot in our favour by not closing during this time,” Ms Allen said.
“Ballarat does empty out, most people go to the beach.”
Ms Allen has noticed since 2010 that since tourists were more common customers than locals during summer.
“There’s quite a few tourists around town, most Ballarat locals disappear,” she said.
“But it wouldn’t be our quietest month.”
Caterer Peter Ford is also reaping the benefits of tourism.
The owner of Peter Ford Catering said the catering industry was growing in Ballarat.
“We’re definitely up on last year,” Mr Ford said.
“It’s interesting really with the election (last year) and there (were) more weekends (last) year.”
The former AnsoniA chef said the silly season was the busiest time of year for the catering industry.
“Catering is a growing industry in Ballarat,” Mr Ford said.
“There are more people doing private functions than before.”
Jackson’s & Co head chef Travis Ray agreed it was the trend for people to head out of town in summer.
“I think people head down to the beach … Ballarat goes pretty quiet during January and February,” Mr Ray said.
Mitchell Harris Wines co-owner Craig Mitchell said they had closed their bar over the Christmas period for a chance to prepare themselves for this year.
“This is the only year we will do it though,” Mr Mitchell said.
“We took time out to plan how we could take our business to the next level.”
FOR the record, Peter Ford has no aspirations to be the next celebrity chef.
“I’m too ugly and old,” says Peter, 50, in his characteristic self-mocking style.
MORE: Peter Ford’s DVDs available through videoproduction.com.au/shop or Peter Ford Catering, Ballarat, ph: (03) 5339 2466; peterfordcatering.com
“I’ll never be the next Nigella, she’s too luscious. And Jamie Oliver has that appealing lisp.
“There’s so many chefs in front of cameras, people are sick of them. Who is running restaurants anymore?”
Yet despite his protestations Peter – who runs his eponymous catering company in Ballarat – is happy to be the frontman for a series of DIY DVDs all about cooking.
He started last year with Sausage Making With Peter Ford, progressed to The Whole Hog: Nose to Tail Butchery, and has just completed his third, Preserving, for Fruits, Vegetables and Meats. So why, if he has an aversion to celebrity cooking, do the DVDs?
“I have the type of personality I’ll give anything a go. It’s like I’ll put anything in my mouth for the sake of tasting it.”
In his personal life this philosophy has extended from sailing to motorbiking, and in his sensory life it has extended from eating duck’s tongue to insects and various beastly testicles. While Peter has no background in TV production, he says when he was approached by a production company to produce the DVD series, sold around Australia, he jumped at the chance.
“None of it is rehearsed and I do get nervous and get the giggles and it can take a while to get through it,” he says.
“But once I punch myself in the arm I am capable of delivering one long sentence.”
Self-deprecating as he is, Peter has a sound base from which to spruik his food education DVDs. He was raised in Mornington and left school at 16 to work in a local restaurant. Once he’d decided cooking was to be his career he picked up the Good Food Guide, chose the top three restaurants and applied for an apprenticeship. “The first one I rang was Fanny’s and when
I told them I’d hitchike from Mornington to the train at Frankston and meet them in Toorak they gave me the job because they liked my enthusiasm.”
During these early years Peter would help on his parent’s newly purchased farm in Kyneton, slaughtering chooks and sheep, learning how to butcher a carcass. He then had a long career in the restaurant industry, working overseas and around Melbourne before moving in the late ’80s to Kyneton to raise his four children, with wife, Louise.
While working in central Victoria, he immersed himself in the traditions of kitchen gardens, seasonal and local – trendy now, but unrecognised back then. The family then moved back to Louise’s home town of Ballarat, where Peter established his own catering company in 2000.
While the majority of his work is catering for functions, he also has a sideline in The Real Meal, packaged dinners for busy people, such as handmade potato gnocchi and red Thai duck curry, which use local ingredients and are sold at independent supermarkets.
“When I worked in restaurants I didn’t give caterers much weight. But I was converted. It’s a far more stable job and the beautiful thing is every day I get to create a kitchen somewhere different.’’ Peter says while TV shows such as MasterChef leave “me cold’’, he enjoys the likes of Luke Nguyen’s friendly culinary adventures around Vietnam, or British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s promotion of seasonal, local food.
“Food conservation is so important, the diversity of food. There used to be more than 800 species of corn but now on the main street there’s just four.
“If we don’t keep eating some foods they’ll disappear and we’ll all be eating frozen, canned, chemical meals.”Original Article