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Friday, 5 March 2010

Decadence: Desserts by Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson is my favourite chef from my favourite restaurants in the world - E'cco Bistro in Brisbane.  Whenever I am visiting my parents and it's a special occasion I jump at the chance to eat there.  I am going again in two weeks!

"e'cco, a modern Australian bistro, is located on the city fringe of Brisbane's CBD. The bistro brought new life to a historic tea warehouse in a once un-fashionable district near the Story Bridge end of the City. When Philip Johnson took over the site, the ground floor was completely refurbished as a smart but unpretentious space, the perfect showcase for his distinctive cooking style... "

The menu is exquisite! The flavours are extraordinary together and are presented amazingly but without fuss.

One of the biggest regrets with my life style is that I do not have time to cook anything other than the wretched "quick dinners"... a stir fry or similar. However, with the long weekend coming up, apart from catching up on some readings, I am intending to cook... a lot!  French toast, scones, a roast and of course a lovely dessert.

Good timing then that the long-lusted-after Philip Johnson dessert book  Decadence has just arrived.  I maybe on a shopping ban, but not a book ban!

There are 90 outstanding dessert recipes in this amazing book.  I'm making the semifreddo from the cover tomorrow!

Another never fail favourite recipe of Philip's is the Breakfast Trifle.

Serves 6

200g (2 cups) rolled oats

250ml (1 cup) apple juice

200g chopped rhubarb

100g caster sugar

1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and quartered

500g fresh strawberries, hulled

3 tsp honey

125g (½ cup) Greek-style natural yoghurt

150g fresh blueberries

Greek-style natural yoghurt, extra, to serve

20g (1/3 cup) shredded coconut, toasted, to serve

Put the oats and the apple juice in a bowl, mix well, then cover with plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight, to allow the oats to soften.

Put the rhubarb, sugar and 100ml water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil then reduce and simmer until the rhubarb is tender. Add the apple and continue to cook until the apple is tender but still holds its shape. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Mash half the strawberries with the honey, then stir into the soaked oats with the yoghurt. Slice the remaining strawberries.

Divide half the oat mixture into six serving glasses, and top with half the sliced strawberries, blueberries and rhubarb mixture. Repeat with the remaining oat mixture, berries and rhubarb mixture. Top with a spoonful of yoghurt and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

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