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We’ve entered July with a cold front over here in Melbourne. Every day is cold, wet and windy. It’s the winter that June never gave us, not that we were around much in June. We even missed our Playground for that month as we were busy with our new home (Yay, we have a new house) and our holiday to the US of A.

It has been a full blown busy couple of weeks, but as the last couple of posts indicate, we are back (though we have said that before) and ready for more!

This July, our Playground Series brings you comfort food with an artistic flair on a plate. It isn’t our usual style of high brow plating.

It’s a little more rustic.

It’s a little more homey.

It’s a little more real.

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With this more rustic approach to our Playground Series, we hope we haven’t lost your interest, instead, we hope we have piqued your need to embrace warmth in this blistering cold.

If you have lived in colder climates where it snows and the temperature hits the negatives, we understand that you will laugh at us with our ‘warm’ winter weather which is akin to your spring and autumn (fall) 🙂

Whichever climate country you are living in at the moment, we hope this Playground dish brings you warmth and invites you to fall in love with it.

Elements on the Plate:

12hr Sous Vide Pork Belly – Brine pork belly overnight in the refrigerator. The following day, vacuum seal pork belly with garlic and some olive oil and sous vide in water bath at 68 degrees Celsius for 12 hours. Once cooked, compress pork belly to flatten the meat using weights/heavy items and leave in refrigerator overnight. Once compressed, cut into desired size and sear skin side down until crispy.

Potato PurĂ©e – Barbecue Dutch Cream potatoes (skin on) over charcoal. Discard charred skin and blend potatoes in a Spectablend with a small amount of butter and some milk/pouring cream to a smooth consistency. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Yuzu Gastrique – Cook caramel and gradually add vinegar. Add yuzu juice and heat mixture until thicken. Add some chicken stock and cook until you get a syrupy consistency.

Red Cabbage Gazpacho – Red cabbage juice with seasoning to balance the flavour.

Slow Roasted Leek – Slow roast until sweet & tender. Peel outer layers and slice core into 1 inch pieces.

Leek Ash – Leeks sliced half (lengthwise) and individually layered flat on a baking tray (single layer) and roast in a hot oven (180 degrees Celsius) until blackened. Keep watch when they start to blacken (you wouldn’t want the whole house to smell of smoke). Remove and set aside the leeks once they reach the colour you desire. Once cooled, blend in a spice grinder until you get a powder form.

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Pork cooked this way just becomes so ‘melty’ and delicious. The crackling which is so crispy and crunchy adds such a great contrast of textures in just that one mouthful.

So would you say, “yes, please!” if asked for a second serve of this dish?

I think I may have had three, when The Boy asked 🙂