hunter valley gardens chocolate festival 2012

by Ed Halmagyi


Cocoa-scented chicken and walnut stew with pomegranate molasses
Dark chocolate and raisin raviolo with mocha sauce, rhubarb and sugar strings

Yucatan beef with beans, cornbread and herb salsa
Chocolate crème brûlée with salted melon and marjoram

White chocolate and cauliflower gratin with Gruyere and spiced streusel
Instant chocolate sorbet with pastry lattice and chocolate-almond sauce

Chipotle chicken grill with sour salad
Grilled pineapple and chocolate Paris-Brest

Serves 4

1.2kg chicken thighs
salt flakes and freshly milled black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 brown onions, finely sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1½ Tbsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cups silverbeet leaves, chopped
300g walnuts, ground
½ cup cocoa powder
1L chicken stock
200ml pomegranate molasses
⅓ cup caster sugar
couscous, finely-sliced red onion and lemon wedges, to serve

1 Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper, then fry in a large French oven in half the olive oil over a high heat until well-browned. Set aside. Sauté the onions and garlic in the same pot until softened, then add the spices and silverbeet, cook briefly, then set aside.
2 Mix in the walnuts and cocoa, then cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until very aromatic, about 2 minutes. Pour in the stock, then boil for 15 minutes, until the walnuts soften. Add the pomegranate molasses and sugar, then boil for another 5 minutes, until thickened.
3 Return the chicken pieces and onion mixture to the pot, fit the lid, the cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Serve with couscous, sliced red onion and lemon wedges.

Serves 4

300g ‘OO’ flour
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
½ tsp fine salt
8 sticks rhubarb, cut into 7cm lengths
2½ cup caster sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
100g dark chocolate, grated
½ cup raisins, chopped
¼ cup almond meal
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup liqueur Muscat
12 mint leaves, finely sliced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup very strong black coffee
300ml thickened cream
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
2 Tbsp glucose syrup

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine the flour, eggs, yolk and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a dough forms. Cover and set aside. Toss the rhubarb with ½ cup caster sugar and the balsamic vinegar, then arrange in a roasting pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until just softened.
2 Mix the chocolate, raisins, almond meal, brown sugar and liqueur muscat in a bowl, kneading until smooth. Roll out the pasta dough to 2mm thick, scatter with chopped mint, then fold over and roll out again to 2mm. Cut eight 13cm discs, place a golf-ball sized piece of chocolate mixture onto half, then top with the remaining discs. Press to seal, trim the edge, then cook in a large saucepan of rapidly-boiling salted water for 4 minutes, until al dente. Drain well, then toss in butter.
3 Meanwhile, combine the coffee and cream with 1 cup caster sugar in a small saucepan and boil until thickened.
4 Combine the remaining sugar and glucose in a small saucepan and cook over a high heat for 4 minutes, until well-browned, then dip in forks and throw onto lined baking trays to create toffee strings. Place the rhubarb on plates and assemble a raviolo on top. Pour over the mocha sauce, then top with toffee strings.

Serves 4

½ cup chipotle chillies in adobo sauce
100g unsweetened dark chocolate, grated
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
finely-grated zest of 4 limes
2 tsp ground long pepper
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
4 tsp fine salt
1kg piece beef fillet
1 brown onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
4 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup dry sherry
salt flakes and freshly-milled black pepper
100g unsalted butter
2 cups fine polenta
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 Tbsp caster sugar
2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 bunch mint, chopped
½ bunch coriander, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely diced
½ red onion, finely diced

1 Preheat oven to 190°C. Combine the chipotle chillies, chocolate, vinegar, lime zest, long pepper, all spice, ground cumin, oregano and 2 tsp salt in a jug and purée with a stick blender. Rub onto the beef, then arrange in a roasting pan and bake for 25 minutes, until medium-rare.
2 Sauté the onion, garlic, bay and cumin seeds in olive oil for 5 minutes, until aromatic, then add the beans and sherry. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the beans have softened. Season with salt and pepper.
3 Rub the inside of a 25cm skillet with 2 Tbsp butter and set in the oven. Melt the remaining butter. Combine the polenta, flour, bicarbonate of soda, remaining salt, buttermilk and eggs in a large bowl and fold in the melted butter. Pour into the skillet, marble in the cocoa powder, then bake for 25 minutes, until firm to touch.
4 Mix the mint, coriander, tomatoes and onion. Carve the beef and serve with a wedge of cornbread, a spoon of beans and a lashing of salsa.

Serves 4

600ml cream
½ cup caster sugar (plus extra for caramelising)
150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
6 egg yolks
½ rockmelon
2 cups watermelon
2 Tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp fine salt
juice and finely-grated zest of 1 lime
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
½ bunch marjoram leaves

1 Preheat oven to 120°C. Combine the cream and half the caster sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until the sugar dissolves, then add the chocolate and set aside until melted. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining caster sugar in a bowl, pour in the chocolate mixture, then strain into four gratin dishes. Place in a bainmarie and bake for 1 hour, until set. Refrigerate until firm.
2 Scoop out he melons with ballers and toss with the raw caster sugar, salt, zest, juice and marjoram leaves.
3 Dry the tops of the custards with kitchen paper, then sprinkle with the extra caster sugar and grill with a blowtorch, until well-caramelised.

Serves 4

1 head cauliflower
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt flakes and ground white pepper
75g unsalted butter
2 Tbsp plain flour
400ml hot milk
½ cup grated parmesan
125g white chocolate
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup Gruyere, grated
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
⅔ cup plain flour

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces, then fry in olive oil over a moderate heat for 10 minutes, until browned. Season with salt and ground white pepper. Discard the excess oil.
2 Cook 2 Tbsp butter in a saucepan with the flour over a moderate heat for 2 minutes, until crumbly, then whisk in the milk and cook until smooth. Fold in the parmesan, chocolate, vinegar and nutmeg, then stir in the cauliflower. Spoon into a baking dish and top with Gruyere. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.
3 Meanwhile combine the remaining butter with the brown sugar, spice and flour. Rub until crumbly then arrange in a lined roasting pan and bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Serve on top of the gratin.

Serves 4

120g whole blanched almonds
250g milk chocolate, chopped
300ml hot cream
2 Tbsp Amaretto liqueur
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup Demerara sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
120g dark chocolate, melted
600ml chocolate milk, frozen
2 Tbsp pure icing sugar
2 Tbsp golden syrup

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Put the almonds in a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, until golden and aromatic. Set aside to cool. Combine in the bowl of a food processor with the chocolate and purée until smooth, then add the cream and liqueur in a steady stream. Strain through a fine sieve and set aside.
2 Roll the pastry with a lattice cutter, then stretch. Cut four 8cm discs and arrange on lined oven trays. Brush with egg, then sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, until crisp.
3 Scatter the cocoa powder on a baking tray (reserving 2 Tbsp), then spoon on the melted dark chocolate in long patterns. Chill until set.
4 Combine the remaining cocoa with the frozen milk, icing sugar and golden syrup in a Vitamix and purée until smooth. Spoon the chocolate-almond sauce onto chilled plates, then top with a spoon of the instant sorbet, a pastry disc and some chocolate decorations.

Serves 4

1 size 15 chicken
½ cup chipotle chillies in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
finely-grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 bunch coriander leaves and roots
3cm piece ginger, chopped
½ cup almond oil
salt flakes and freshly-milled black pepper
2 sticks rhubarb finely sliced
1 cup radicchio, shredded
1 head witlof, leaves separated
1 bunch chives, cut into 4cm lengths
1 tsp ground caraway seeds
1 Tbsp cocoa nibs
2 Tbsp hazelnut oil
1 Tbsp tarragon vinegar

1 Use a sharp pair of scissors to remove the backbone from the chicken. Combine the chillies, cocoa, zest, juice, coriander, ginger and almond oil in a blender and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Rub onto the chicken and refrigerate for 2 hours, to marinate.
2 Place the chicken over a hot coal grill and barbecue for 35 minutes, turning several times, until cooked. Baste regularly with the remaining marinade.
3 Combine the rhubarb, radicchio, witlof and chives in a large bowl. Purée the caraway, nibs, hazelnut oil and vinegar until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken.

Serves 4

½ cup water
½ cup milk
125g unsalted butter, diced
pinch salt
1 cup plain flour
4 eggs
250g mascarpone
75g icing sugar
250g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
125ml cream, whipped to soft peaks
½ pineapple, peeled and sliced thickly
cooking oil spray
¼ bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped salted peanuts

1 Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine the water, milk, butter and salt in a saucepan and cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, until boiling, then add the flour and cook until the mixture clears the sides of the saucepan.
2 Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 5 minutes, until the steam subsides, then add the eggs one at a time. Pipe onto a lightly butter tray and bake for 30 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool.
3 Whisk the mascarpone, icing sugar and half the chocolate, until smooth, then fold in the whipped cream.
4 Sprinkle the pineapple with cooking oil spray and cook on a hot barbecue grill for 5 minutes, until blackened. Pipe the mascarpone mixture into the halved shells and top with pineapple and mint. Drizzle the pastry tops with chocolate and sprinkle with nuts, then arrange on top to serve.