Cooking from Noma

Cooking from Noma
Time and place in Nordic cuisine
Rene Redzepi

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So what does a Chef do with his night off. Why not pull out the cookbook from the worlds San Pellegrino number one restaurant and have a whack at one of the recipes inside. I also figured this would be a nice time to give you all a little review of this beautiful cookery book by culinary mastermind Rene Redzepi.

Tonight I’m cooking for you poached duck egg and oysters, raw and cooked vegetables. It’s raining here but I’ve been down to my local grocer and taken a large selection of vegetables. The duck eggs are straight from Nulkaba Hatchery just outside of Cessnock and the oysters are Sydney rock.

This book combines not only an incredible selection of recipes from Noma but also the story of the creation of the restaurant. This combined with beautiful photography and the philosophy of Chef Redzepi’s natural cuisine makes Noma a great read for the chef or avid home cook.

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Now I am incredibly biased as I have been obsessed with Noma since I became a chef. So cooking one of these dishes tonight kind of makes me feel closer to the dream of working with the Noma team.

First I’ve prepped my vegetables, I’ve blanched the Dutch carrots and spring onions in a very light vegetable stock for around two minutes, cooked but with a little crunch. I’ve also pickled the turnips and some of the radish in champagne vinegar. The raw veg I have just kept sliced thin and as natural as possible. The duck egg I poached off at the restaurant in a water bath set at 65 degrees for twenty minutes. The inside is custardy and thick.

My only criticism with the Noma book is the constant need to find the recipes in the back of the book. The first two thirds contain all the photos and the back contains all the recipes. So if you’re forgetful like me and need to go back and forth, the wrist can get a little sore.  The photography by Ditte Isager is nothing short of phenomenal so it is easy to lose yourself in the Nordic culture.

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Now in the rush to plate up I’ve almost forgotten the damn oyster vinaigrette. This is made by sautéing off shallots, smoked bacon (I’ve used a little smoked speck from local pig breeders at Krinklewood), once these are nicely sweated off I add a little lemon juice, the liquid from the oysters and finally the oysters themselves. Finish with a little dill and dress the veg. Dinner is served!

imageNoma4Now you should know going in that you may never cook from this cookbook. First of all I don’t expect many of you readers keep your freezer stocked with skyre, Alaskan king crab or verbena leaves. The ingredients list and plating can look a little intense!  However there are numerous recipes that many home cooks should try.

A beautiful dish of yoghurt, whey, mint and peas or an incredible dish of mackerel and grilled cucumber is nothing that cooks should be afraid of. Redzepi’s touch with food is so light and delicate that even his most complex dishes never seem overworked. I encourage all of you to have a read and then sit back and cook to your hearts content.

So grab yourself a copy and take a walk through the beautiful natural mind of Rene Redzepi and the Noma team. The dish I cooked for you today is absolutely delicious and I’m sure it is nowhere near Chef Redzepi’s standards so while away a rainy afternoon and get lost somewhere in time and place.

Josh