I was recently invited to attend a Jazz Apple Masterclass hosted by Fast Ed from Better Homes and Gardens. Myself, Sandra and Thanh were lucky enough to be picked up by a private car and chauffeured to the event, held at Raw Materials in Footscray. I must say, it felt a bit special!
Once we got to the street, it took us a little while to identify the venue, as lots of the buildings on the street look quite similar. But then we spotted this parked car, and knew we'd found the right spot.
|The Jazz Apple Car|
Thanks to our really efficient driver, we arrived a bit earlier than the other attendees, who included fellow food-blogger Agnes, and a group of competition winners, so we had a bit of time to hang out and try the apples.
I must be honest - I don't actually watch Better Homes and Gardens, so I wasn't sure what to expect from Fast Ed, but he was awesome! He was super friendly, chatting and interacting with the audience, and he shared heaps of great cooking tips and info.
|Fast Ed tossing his caramelised apples|
Soon though, we had to don our own aprons and get cooking ourselves!
We were split into groups and assigned a different course to cook for all sixteen attendees - by a stroke of luck, us bloggers were all on the dessert team! Woohoo! We were making a spicy caramelised apple verrine with brown sugar crumbs and citrus mascarpone.
|Different cooking stations|
You can tell this is the food bloggers' station - SLRs, champagne, iPhone...
Here we are, busy preparing.
Thanh made the spiced crumble...
Agnes peeled and chopped the apples...
And I somehow got stuck segmenting the lemons and oranges! Phew, it was a difficult job and it took aaaages!
|Crumble mixture ready for baking|
|Apple slices and butter and sugar... Soooo much butter|
|Boiling caramel - watch out!|
With all the elements prepared, we just had to layer them up in the glasses.
Our course happened to be the easiest one too, so we were done quite quickly, and we managed to have a sticky beak at the other teams.
|Potato and apple galettes with Emmental cheese|
And then it was time to eat our three-course lunch. I think these apple centrepieces were quite cute!
First course was slow-cooked ocean trout with fish crackling and spiced apple salad.
The slow-cooking process resulted in meltingly tender flesh. The overall dish was lightened by the refreshing, crunchy apple salad and the crunchy piece of fish crackling. I don't know if fish crackling will overtake pork crackling for my affections, but it provided a welcome textural element to the dish.
The main course was veal escalopes with forest mushrooms, potato and apple galettes.
I love the combo of veal and mushrooms, so the flavours in this dish worked well for me. (Especially the potato-apple galette - yum!) However, I'm not really into heavy sauces, so I found the amount of cream sauce a little overwhelming. If I were to make this at home, I think I'd pass the sauce around separately so that people could add as much or as little as they like.
And the final, best course... (not that I'm biased or anything!)... our spicy caramelised apple verrine with brown sugar crumbs and citrus mascarpone.
We were sent home with loads and loads of Jazz Apples - all those apples used in the centrepieces and as decoration needed homes - and to finish up this post, I wanted to show you a few things that I made with them! Because they're sweet and crunchy, they're a good eating apple, and indeed, I just ate most of the plain as a snack. But here are a few of the (slightly) fancier things I made with them:
I had some apple slices with cheese, salami and bread, as part of a German-inspired aufschnitt dinner.
I sliced some up, lightly cooked them in a pan with sugar and butter, and served them with some oatmeal waffles.
And finally, I made an apple sharlotka (a Russian recipe, which I found on Smitten Kitchen). This recipe basically consists of heaps of apple pieces, bound together with a tiny amount of sponge batter. I'm always on the lookout for recipes like this, (the more apple the better), so if you know of any similar ones, please share them with me!
|Mmm... super appley|
I was surprised how well this recipe worked, and how easy it was. (Even easier than, say, an apfelkuchen sehr fein). It was absolutely delicious, with a fabulously homey and welcoming aroma, and a very moist and tender crumb. Despite the insane amount of apples in the cake, it held its shape pretty well, and I'd definitely make it again.
A big thanks to Fast Ed, Raw Materials, Montague Fresh and Media Moguls for an enjoyable morning and for all the apples!
Sarah and Sandra attended the Jazz Apple Masterclass Event as guests.