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The Perfect Blend

Admit it: with all that newfound time spent at home, your inner iso-chef has been forced out of hibernation. You have dug out all those trusty appliances that have been gathering dust somewhere in your flat, or perhaps even invested in a few new ones, and are ready to start cooking dishes from scratch. Time to start experimenting with that air fryer, pasta roller, popcorn machine, and everyone’s favourite multi-purpose tool: the blender. From dips to soups, from salsas to marinades your blender is about so much more than smoothies. We asked our chefs to share their favourite blender-based recipes to provide some blender inspiration.

Pro tip: to clean your blender just add water and a little dish soap, put on the lid and turn on!

Braden Reardon, Carbone

Tomato and Summer Melon Gazpacho

Tomatoes are my favourite memory of summer; their flavour takes me back to the long sunny days working on the farm with my family picking the fresh produce and appreciating the heirloom varieties. A gazpacho is a refreshing and light dish that celebrates these summer bounties. The best thing about this soup is its simplicity, both in flavour and skill, making it accessible to any home cook. 

Ingredients:

500g heirloom tomatoes, diced 

125g cherry tomatoes

250g cantaloupe

250g cucumber, peeled and diced

2-3  garlic cloves

2-3 slices of toasted bread

125ml sherry vinegar 

175ml extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Remove crust from bread and lightly toast (no colour). Set aside to cool down completely.
  2. Add all ingredients, except olive oil, including toasted bread into your blender and blend on low speed until a light purée. 
  3. Once smooth, slowly add olive oil to emulsify. Season to taste with additional vinegar and salt if needed.
  4. Place in the fridge to chill. Enjoy with chopped vegetables, shrimp and fresh basil.

***

Josh Stumbaugh, Associazione Chianti

Sundried Tomato and Basil Pesto Linguine 

I really like to make this pasta in the summer, when basil is bright and at its peak. It is a quick simple recipe that I used to make when I was the chef at Barbuto in New York City, and everyone always loved it because of how the light, fresh flavour paired great with a glass of wine… or two! 

Ingredients: 

100g linguine per person

Pesto (yields roughly 6 portions)

3 large bunches fresh basil leaves

1/4c sundried tomato 

1/2-2/3c extra virgin olive oil 

1/3c parmesan cheese, finely grated

1/4c pecorino romano, finely grated

2-3 medium cloves of peeled garlic, halved

1/4c toasted pine nuts

salt to taste 

lemon juice to taste

Pesto Method: 

  1. Set up your blender and start by adding your ingredients in layers. Begin with pine nuts, garlic, sundried tomato, ¼ cup olive oil and finally, the basil. This will help to ensure the more coarse ingredients get blended enough without turning the basil into a purée, as you want it to be slightly chunky.
  2. If the pesto needs some help moving around, usually blenders come with a damper you can use to push down your ingredients. If it is too tight, add small amounts of oil to loosen the sauce. 
  3. Once you have the consistency you desire, smooth, but not too smooth, use a rubber spatula and scrape your pesto into a bowl. 
  4. Fold in your grated cheese until combined and season with salt to taste. 

Pasta Method:

  1. You only want to warm the pesto, not cook it, so for every 100g portion of pasta, you will need roughly ¼ cup of pesto.
  2. Once your pasta is cooked, place it into a pan with the pesto and with 3 tbsp of pasta water and toss together over medium-high heat until the sauce clings to the pasta.
  3. Taste the sauce, if you feel like adding a squeeze of lemon juice, now would be the time. 
  4. Plate the pasta, adding more cheese or toasted pine nuts on top to your preference.

***

Karys Logue, Butter Cake Shop

Whole Citrus Poppyseed Cake

I grew up in a sunny town with heaps of citrus trees, so this was an easy dessert to make. All we needed were essential baking ingredients and the fruit from our backyard. Pro-tip for this recipe: using the whole fruit keeps the cake super moist, and not too sweet.  

Ingredients:

Citrus Poppyseed Cake:

3 eggs

1 ¼ c sugar

1 ¾ c all-purpose flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

1/3c butter, softened

1/3c yoghurt

1 lemon

1 small orange (or half of a large one)

¾ tbsp of poppy seeds

Syrup:

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 orange, juice and zest

½ c sugar 

Cake Method: 

  1. Cut lemon and orange into large pieces, remove any seeds, but keep the pith and skin.
  2. Put into a blender and process into a purée. 
  3. Add softened butter and yoghurt, and pulse lightly to combine. Remove from the blender and set aside.
  4. Whisk eggs and sugar together, by hand or with an electric beater, in a separate bowl.
  5. Once eggs are slightly fluffy, sift in your dry ingredients and poppyseeds. 
  6. Once the dry ingredients are almost fully incorporated, add in the blended citrus mixture.

Mix until smooth and combined. 

  1. Pour batter into an 8-inch cake tin and bake at 180C for about 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched in the centre. 

Syrup Method: 

  1. Squeeze one lemon and one orange. Remove seeds.
  2. On the stove, combine citrus juices, sugar and zests and bring to a boil. 
  3. Once the cake is removed from the oven, use a spoon to evenly pour the syrup over the top of the cake

***

Billy Otis, Taqueria Super Macho

Avocado Habanero Salsa

I came across this salsa when travelling around Baja, Mexico. It is a bold and vibrant take on the table salsas that are found all throughout Mexico. For me, this salsa stands out because of the richness from the avocado and the spice from the habanero. Another key component of this easy to make salsa is the Salsa Verde, it gives it a depth of flavour and strong foundation. 

Ingredients: 

Avocado Habanero Salsa:

120g habanero salsa (we make our own here at Taqueria Super Macho, but for home-use, I recommend buying one, El Yucateco brand is quite good.)

1 portion salsa verde – (see recipe below)

1pc avocado

1pc lime 

10g salt

Tortilla chips to serve

Salsa Verde:

500g tomatillos, husks removed

4pc jalapeño, destemmed

80g white onion

30g garlic cloves

20ml fresh lime juice

20g cilantro

Salt and sugar to taste 

Salsa Verde Method: 

  1. Broil the tomatillos and jalapeño chillies in the oven at the hottest setting on a tray until charred on both sides.
  2. Cut the white onion into rings and char in a sauté pan on medium-low heat.
  3. Leave the garlic cloves inside the skin and char on all sides on medium-low heat.
  4. After ingredients have cooled, add into a blender with the lime juice and cilantro and blend to a smooth but slightly chunky consistency.
  5. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Avocado Habanero Salsa Method:

  1. Add your salsa verde in the blender.
  2. Remove skin and pit from the avocado and add the fruit to the blender, along with juice from half a lime, habanero salsa and salt.
  3. Blend all ingredients until smooth and serve with tortilla chips.

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