Modern-Day Classics by Bevan Smith

Words by Vicki Ravlich-Horan

I must confess, I am a big fan of Bevan Smith. I love Riverstone Kitchen – the ethos and the food. I have all of Bevan’s previous cookbooks, so when asked if I wanted a copy of his latest, Modern-Day Classics, I was quick to say yes. I know, it’s a perk of the job being sent wonderful cookbooks. But the truth is, they are not all wonderful.

What I love about Riverstone Kitchen and Bevan’s cookbooks is they are all about simple food done well. Now this is an overused term, but in this case it’s very true. I’ve already dirtied a few of the pages as I made the classic Kiwi chocolate chip cookies with condensed milk.

If you visit Riverstone Kitchen, you can visit the massive kitchen garden which is at the heart of the food philosophy and ensures seasonality is key. So you will find beautiful dishes celebrating produce through the seasons from corn and beetroot in the summer to Brussels sprouts and cavolo nero in the cooler months.

The real gem in this book though is at the back with the Everyday Basics section. Here you will find those key recipes you will use again and again. Sure, there is a section on making sourdough and there may still be a few of you out there keen to give this a go. As I’ve previously confessed, I don’t have the patience or the time and would prefer to buy a beautiful loaf. Although I am the person who makes my own custard and aioli and pastry and this section has some tried and true recipes for these as well as gnocchi, quince paste and tomato chilli jam to name a few.

Whether you have been to Riverstone Kitchen or not (if not put it on your list!) if cooking delicious food from scratch is your thing, this is the book for you.

Parmesan Tart with Red Onion Jam
serves 10

1 egg yolk
¾ cup red onion jam
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
8 free-range eggs
800ml cream
150g Parmesan, ground
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
salad greens, to serve extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush egg yolk over the inside of the tart pastry and place empty tart case into the oven for 1 minute for the egg yolk to cook and seal the tart pastry to help prevent any leaks.
Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.

Spread red onion jam evenly over the bottom of the tart base and sprinkle with thyme. Whisk eggs, cream, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper together and pour gently into the tart base. Bake for 50–60 minutes, or until the tart is just set.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. With a sharp serrated knife, cut and discard excess pastry from the top and outer sides of the tart tin. Remove tart from the tin and cut into slices.
Reheat on a baking paper-lined tray for 5–6 minutes in a 200°C oven. Serve with salad greens and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Parmesan tart will keep in refrigerator for up to one week.

Savoury Short Crust Pastry
makes 1 x 28cm pastry case

150g unsalted cold butter, cubed
2 cups plain flour
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp chilled water
1 free-range egg yolk

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place butter, flour and salt into a food processor and pulse until butter is fully incorporated into the flour. With blade still running add water and continue to pulse until a soft dough is formed.
Roll dough out on a lightly floured bench top until 3–4mm thick. Gently roll dough onto the rolling pin and drape over a baking paper-lined 28cm tart tin with 4cm-high sides. Gently mould pastry into the tart tin, ensuring the pastry is pushed into the bottom edge of the tin. Place a piece of baking paper on to the pastry and fill with baking beans and refrigerate pastry for 15 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and blind bake for 20 minutes or until the entire base of the pastry is golden brown. Remove baking beans and brush egg yolk over the inside of the pastry case. Place back into the oven for one minute. This will seal any cracks

Red Onion Jam
makes 3 x 300g jars

80ml olive oil
1kg red onions, peeled and sliced
¼ cup soft brown sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

Heat olive oil in a heavy-based pot over a medium heat. Add onion and sweat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent colouring. Reduce heat to low, add sugar and vinegar, and cook for a further 20–30 minutes. When onion is very soft and cooking juices have reduced to nearly nothing, stir in thyme. Store in sterilised jars for up to two months in the refrigerator.


Extracted with permission from Riverstone Kitchen Modern-Day Classics © Bevan Smith, $44.99 RRP (distributed by Upstart Press)

Photo credit: Emma Willetts

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