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Australian Celebrity Chefs head to the United States for Clam Chowder

Australian Celebrity Chefs head to the United States for Clam Chowder

Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie take 2nd prize at Rhode Island Clam Chowder Cook-offAustralian celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie from the Australian TV cooking show Dining Downunder have once again been invited to cook at the Rhode Island Schweppes Great Chowder Cook-off on Saturday June 3, 2006.

Hosted by the Newport Yachting Center, The Schweppes Great Chowder Cook-off is considered to be the largest international Chowder Cook-off in the world and this year marks the 25th anniversary the popular annual chowder event. The clam chowder festival is the original and longest running chowder festival in the world.

Competing against 30 of America’s best restaurant and chowder chefs, Vic and Benjamin will be required to cook about 140 gallons or 500lt of clam chowder and be ready to serve the expected 25,000 people which will visit the Chowder Cook-off.

This year the chefs will be once again competing in the Creative Clam Chowder category and will be cooking a clam chowder which will be flavoured with a combination of native Australian flavours including Lemon Myrtle, Wildfire Spice and Paperbark.

Last year, Vic and Benjamin placed 2nd in the Creative Clam Chowder category with their Wildfire Spiced Clam Chowder. Apart from the Creative Clam Chowder category, other categories include Best Clam Chowder, Best Seafood Chowder, and Best Clam Cake.

Last years Clam Chowder Recipe is here.

For more information about the Rhode Island Clam Chowder Festival visit Newport Festivals website.

Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie take 2nd prize at Rhode Island Clam Chowder Cook-off

Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie take 2nd prize at Rhode Island Clam Chowder Cook-off

Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie take 2nd prize at Rhode Island Clam Chowder Cook-offAustralian celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie were recently invited to compete at the Schweppes 25th Annual Clam Chowder Cook-off in Newport, Rhode Island. Although rain didn’t deter the absolutely committed local New England chowder heads, the numbers were down on last year’s record year of 25,000 people.

This year, the chefs again prepared 100 gallons of the Australian clam chowder base at Blackstone Catering, where Executive chef Joe Mandelson allowed us to use their commercial kitchens to prepare our chowder. Vic and Benjamin created a Clam Chowder with Australian Wildfire Spice and used a garnish of vegetable oil infused with Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle and finished with Paperbark Smoked Oil.

During the day the chefs received hundreds of compliments from the public who enjoyed their Australian Clam Chowder. However, there can only be one winner and in the Creative Category, they ended up placing 2nd for the consecutive year to the Boat Shed Restaurant of Newport.

Vic and Benjamin would like to thank Mike Martin and Lindsey Potter who invited us to compete as well as Joe at Blackstone for allowing us to use his kitchen.

A special thanks goes to the Newport Parrot Head Association who donated their time to not only help on the Dining Downunder stand all day but help other teams as well.

For a full list of award winners visit the Newport Yacht Club website

Citibank Rewards offers Dining Downunder Cookbook and Australian Herbs & Spices

Citibank Rewards offers Dining Downunder Cookbook and Australian Herbs & Spices

Citibank Rewards offers Dining Downunder Cookbook and Australian Herbs & SpicesIf you’re a Citibank Rewards customer in Australia, then with your July statement you would have received “Your Rewards” brochure which offers a wide range of products and services using your accumulated Citibank points.

In this edition, Citibank Australia has featured the Dining Downunder Cookbook by Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie together with a selection of Australian herbs and spices including Australian Wildfire Spice, Alpine Pepper, Red Desert Dust, Fruit Spice, Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle and Rainforest Rub.

With over ninety beautifully photographed recipes from the show, The Dining Downunder Cookbook provides a visual feast for the senses and includes detailed descriptions on how to make delicious dishes using the herb and spice collection. Not only will you discover that it is easy to use these ingredients but it’s great knowing they are healthy for you, good for Australia in the way they are grown and provide opportunities for remote area and Aboriginal people.

Citibank Credit Card Holders can redeem points online at www.citibank.com.au/rewards

Rebecca Beuth joins Dining Downunder

Rebecca Beuth joins Dining Downunder

Rebecca Beuth joins Dining DownunderRebecca Beuth has recently joined the team at Dining Downunder primarily to support Australian celebrity chefs Benjamin Christie and Vic Cherikoff as their Executive Assistant.

With over 5 years experience as a Personal Assistant within the hospitality industry, prior to her appointment at Dining Downunder, Rebecca had the pleasure of working with Peter Gordon, New Zealand’s highest profile international celebrity chef. As Personal Assistant in the Food & Beverage department at SKYCITY Auckland, she assisted with the opening of signature restaurant dine by Peter Gordon, located within SKYCITY’s new 5-star SKYCITY Grand Hotel. Rebecca says this was a once in a lifetime experience.

Having recently moved to Sydney, Rebecca is looking forward to being part of the Dining Downunder team.

“The opportunity to work with Benjamin and Vic is outstanding and something that fulfills my passion of working within the food and hospitality industry. It is also fantastic opportunity to learn more about Australian cuisine”.

Please contact Rebecca directly for all media, publication, event, promotion and marketing enquiries for Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie.

Vic Cherikoff Nominated for Australian of the Year 2007

Vic Cherikoff Nominated for Australian of the Year 2007

Vic Cherikoff Nominated for Australian of the Year 2007We are very excited to announce that Vic Cherikoff was recently nominated for Australian of the Year Award for 2007.

Each year our nation celebrates the achievement and contribution of eminent Australians through the Australian of the Year awards by profiling leading citizens who are role models for us all. They inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to creating a better Australia.

Vic was nominated for Australia’s top award in acknowledgement of his pioneering work in the commercialization of indigenous plants, industry building, Australian cuisine development and export facilitation. He was equally stunned and humbled to hear he had been nominated.

The Australian of the Year award programme has acknowledged the contributions of many outstanding Australians and Vic hopes that anyone so motivated will write in or email their support for his nomination to tamara.johnston@australiaday.gov.au

The award ceremony will be on Australia Day, 25th January 2007 on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra.

For more information on Vic Cherikoff and his unique Australian ingredients please visit www.cherikoff.net

For interview opportunities and press quality images, please contact Rebecca Beuth.

Interview with The Daily Telegraph

Interview with The Daily Telegraph

Interview with The Daily TelegraphThe Daily Telegraph Newspaper recently asked Rebecca Beuth, our Executive Assistant for an interview in their careers section, as they said she has one of the more unique EA jobs in Sydney.

So as part of the interview, the Daily Telegraph thought it might be good to do a photo shoot for the upcoming article with Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie. The photo shoot was in Vic’s kitchen, which has been the venue for many photo shoots, videos, interviews and seems to always be a good location. It’s also the location where most of the native foods product development and testing is done.

The article appeared in this week’s Saturday Daily Telegraph – read the article here

Wattle you do on National Wattle Day the 1st of September?

Wattle you do on National Wattle Day the 1st of September?

Wattle you do on National Wattle Day the 1st of September 2Wattle Day began in the late 1880’s with the suggestion of a formation of the Wattle Blossom League by William Sowden (an Adelaide journalist and Vice President of the Australian Natives Association in South Australia). The aim, recorded in 1890, was to “promote a national patriotic sentiment among the women of Australia”. The most visual way of acknowledging this was for women to wear sprigs of wattle at all official occasions. Unfortunately the group dissolved, however their presence had inspired the formation of a Wattle Club in Melbourne.

The concept of Wattle Day grew stronger and spread to NSW where the Director of the Botanic Gardens, J H Maiden called a public meeting with the aim of forming a Wattle Day League. As a result, the first observed Wattle Day was held on 1 September 1910 in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Aside from celebrating being Australian, the Australian environment and history, Wattle Day generally relates to Spring and looking forward.

“However in 1917 the date was changed to 1 August due to an early spring that year, but in 1937 another date change back to 1 September being the start of the school holidays.
Botanists can’t quite agree but there appears to be around a 1000 species of Acacia which are colloquially called wattles by Australians. Another 700 species, mostly quite distinct from the Australian ones, are also found in Africa.

Wattle you do on National Wattle Day the 1st of September 1Wattleseed from around 120 species of Acacia have been used as foods by Australian Aborigines for at least 6,000 years. This matches the first cultivation of wheat on the fertile deltas at the mouths of the Nile in Egypt; the Euphrates in Mesopotamia (now Iraq); and the Indus in India. However, while the move to cultivation began a trend of reliance on an ever-decreasing number of food species, Australian Aborigines maintained a completely different relationship with the Land. They saw themselves as part of the ecosystem and did not attempt to conquer it. They were managers and care-takers of their country. As part of their charge of keeping the country healthy, they used a huge array of different foods to meet their nutritional needs and for numerous Aboriginal clans, wattle seeds were just a part of this food resource.

Traditionally, Australian Aboriginal women generally harvested the fully ripe, dry seeds from the wattle, collecting them as we still do today – by beating the pod-laden trees with sticks to dislodge the seeds. Some species were eaten at the green pod stage but dried seeds were by far more common.

Rather than the wattle seeds falling on cleared earth, modern harvesters spread shadecloth or tarpaulins under the trees and scoop up the pods and seeds (and the inevitable sticks, beetles and leaves) and stockpile it all for collection and cleaning. Various and ingenious mechanical harvesters have been used with varying degrees of success, from tractor power take-off driven vacuums to backpack units. Some even clean the seeds up in the field. This reduces the vast volumes of pods transported back to camp as a 1 cubic metre wool bale full of pod can hold as little as from 10 to 15 kg of seeds once cleaned (about a bucket full).

Back in ancient times, the seeds were collected in coolamons or bark dishes and hot live coals were added to heat parch the seeds. This makes them easier to mill to a flour otherwise the seeds tend to squash as though you were trying to mill fresh garden peas. Once adequately toasted and dried, the coals were removed and the coolamons used to yandy and bump the seeds clean from any debris. We use modern equivalents like huge fans and vibrating table sieves to clean the seeds and then roast them in modified coffee roasters. Anyway, the Aboriginal processed seeds were milled to a coarse meal which was then baked into seed cakes.

The modern use of wattle seeds came about when Vic Cherikoff was preparing the seeds from 4 or 5 wattle species he’d had sent in from Central Australian Aboriginal communities with whom he was working on the nutritional analysis program at the University of Sydney. The Aboriginal women had sent in raw seeds and while these were useful to analyse, he also needed the seeds as prepared ready to eat.

And so he found himself roasting the seeds in a saucepan on his kitchen stove. He heated the seeds while tossing them around and heard a few popping noises as the seeds super-heated inside their seed coat and then suddenly released the energy as the seed coat popped. He then transferred the roasted seeds to an electric coffee bean grinder and gave them a spin before taking off the top to look at how they’d ground up. What an aroma! Up came this incredible, coffee, chocolate, hazelnut, toasty, roasted flavour which was just superb. Vic then ground the seeds up more and tried the dark brown, coffee-like grounds in his stove-top cappuccino machine. The rich extract poured through and was then tried black, with milk and then with a topping of frothed milk and the world’s first Wattleccino™ was born. It was delicious with the milk (or cream) bringing out a sweetness in the Wattleseed. It even worked with a small amount of coffee added and this extract, which we now manufacture using state of the art, counter-current extraction technology, has been proven as a fantastic flavour for cream, ice cream, nut butters, sauces and in beverages.

Like the roasted and ground Wattleseeds, the extract can be used in a multitude of ways. A clue when using the grounds is to pre-extract the flavour and soften the grounds by boiling the small quanitity you need for the recipe in a little water. The extract is just the ready-made product with the grounds removed. The extract also has an emulsifying action and is an effective stabiliser for whipped cream, nut butters and some oil and water mixtures (sauces, particularly emulsion sauces, dressings etc).

Add Cherikoff Wattleseed to whipped cream, icecream, pancake, bread or muffin mixes, pasta, chocolate and chocolate fillings, biscuits and beverages (Wattleccino™ is simple to make with Wattleseed extract – just add hot water and frothed milk). Also use as a flavouring for beer, cream or red wine sauces, in marinades and dessert sauces. Approximate usage rate is from 2-3%, depending on the flavour of other ingredients and whether the Watttleseed is enhancing or competing with these other tastes.

Wattleseed as medicine and nutrition
The fats in wattle seeds are typically 5 to 10% of the raw seed weight but there is an interesting point to note here. Many Acacia seeds have an appendage known as an aril which is a structure which holds the seed in the pod. The arils can vary in colour from a light tan to bright yellow, orange or red. No studies have been conducted on the pigments which are probably carotenoid compounds which are related to and often precursors of vitamin A. What we do know is that the arils are very high in polyunsaturated oils and many taste absolutely delicious. In fact, some species were used by Aborigines to flavour their drinking water: The whole seeds, with arils attached, were immersed in water and worked through the fingers to almost homogenise the fats into the water. It certainly flavoured the water and I can best describe the taste as close to the toasty notes of just baked bread but with a range of interesting aromatic flavours, again, depending upon the species.

So what are you going to do on Wattle Day? Try one of these recipes and please feel free to send in your own recipes using Wattleseed and go in the draw to win a Furi Chef’s knife

Ribeye steak with broccolini, shitake mushrooms and wattleseed jus
Wattleseed Pavlova
Wattleseed Cream
Wattleccino
Paperbark Smoke Oil with Wattleseed and fresh bread
Pork Cutlets with Lemon Myrtle Hollandaise
Marinated mushrooms with Paperbark Smoke Oil
Wattleseed pancakes with riberry confit
Wattleseed and Chocolate Palmiers
Wattleseed Crocodile with riberry confit
Wattleseed and walnut bread and butter pudding with stewed fruits
Lamingtons with wattleseed cream and rosella jam
Wattleseed Creme Brulee with Quandong Confit
Anzac Biscuits with Wattleseed
Wattleseed infused Beef Fillet with Wild Rosella Jam and Kumara Mash

You can purchase Wattleseed or Wattleseed Extract from our online store.

Happy Wattle Day!

Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle

Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle

Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle 1Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle is a deliciously aromatic and extremely versatile herb mix is made from lemon myrtle, one of the most well known Australian herbs and spices probably because of its similarity to lemon grass, lime and lemon oils – all widely used flavors themselves. Lemon myrtle has an intensity and a sweetness of smell which makes it more lemony than lemon!

Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle is considered even more lemony than lemon myrtle because of its unique formulation. It is a blend of the best quality lemon myrtle leaf; wild lime pulp (specially freeze-dried and milled at sub-zero temperatures) and which provides just a hint of acid; and Vic Cherikoff has added in more lemon myrtle using encapsulated lemon myrtle and lemon myrtle essential oil. Finally, some aniseed myrtle was added which is a great tonic herb and immune system stimulant.

This results in a mix which is probably closer to 200% more effective as lemon myrtle leaf alone and a more rounded flavour as well.

But back to the lemon myrtle in Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle. This ‘herb’ comes from a tall rainforest tree (up to 30m) and once was only found in SE Queensland, from Brisbane to Cairns but is now widely planted in coastal New South Wales and some even in South Australia, Victoria as well as our coldest State, Tasmania. The growth rate is highest in warmer climates but leaf quality can vary with plant nutrition, watering regimes, the weather, time of day and harvest cycles.

Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle 2The leaves are now more-often machine harvested for the food, cosmetic, fragrance and cut flower industries. Some growers still pick by hand, particularly for cottage industry products such as oils and vinegars where a whole leaf may be added as a garnish. Generally, though, larger scale manufacturers look to the distilled essential oil which might be solubilised or encapsulated for functionality and ease of use.

So for culinary uses as an all-purpose, sweet or savoury lemon seasoning, Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle can be used in an unlimited number of ways.

As a herb tea, just infuse to your own taste in boiling water or tea. It can also be added to a freshly brewed, super-strong coffee as it brings out the flavor of the coffee itself and adds those heady aromatics of citral to complement the coffee. It’s also very good in hot chocolate. Try Lemon Myrtle tea with ginger juice, black or green tea, rooibos or other herbals and even chill and gas it with a soda stream to make your own soft drinks. (Add sugar or fruit juice and sweeten it to taste).

As a lemon spice, Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle is best used as a finishing seasoning. Simply add it to hot or just-cooked food before serving and the essential oils are driven out by the warmth to reach your tastebuds. So if you bake chicken or fish, add a sprinkle of Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle as
it comes out of the oven and it’ll be
full-flavored by the time it gets to the table.

Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle 3As a flavouring, say, in custards or any soft cheeses, clotted cream, yoghurt or other dairy product you can just add it to taste or infuse the flavor out by infusing some Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle in warmed milk and add this as a concentrate. You can obviously make this as strong as you like and by leaving it stand for up to 10 minutes, out comes the essential oils and up goes the flavor.

You can replace the milk with sugar syrup (say, 500ml water and 500g sugar dissolved by heating the stirred mixture slowly) and use this over stewed fruits, ice cream (or to make your own ice cream), thicken it with agar agar or gelatine to make a soft jelly or add lemon juice and turn it into a lemon spread with the pectin.

Here are some Lemon Myrtle recipes;

Cauliflower soup with marron scented with Ferguson’s lobster oil and Lemon Myrtle
Ginger prawn and noodle salad
Grilled Wild Barramundi Fillet with Lemon Myrtle mash and Quandong Confit
Kangaroo Lasagne with Bush Tomato Chutney and Lemon Myrtle
Lemon Myrtle Hollandaise
Lemon Myrtle Mayonnaise
Lemon Myrtle Yoghurt with Riberry Confit and Cereal
Paperbark smoked snapper fillets with Daintree pineapple and riberry salsa
Rainforest lime and macadamia nut pudding
Ricotta figs and macadamia nuts
Seafood Laksa with wild limes and lemon myrtle linguini

Store your Australian Lemon Myrtle Sprinkle in the freezer to keep it fresh for years – although you’ll probably discover so many ways to use it there’s no way it’ll stay unused for that long!

Lemon Myrtle is packaged in either a 30g sachet or jar it is easily ordered through our online store and shipped around the world or ordered through our global distribution network for food service sales.

Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore Maryland

Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore Maryland

logoToday Vic Cherikoff departed from Sydney heading to The Natural Products Expo East, being held in Baltimore, Maryland, USA from 4th – 7th October.
The Natural Products Expo is the largest East Coast trade show for this industry and a “must attend” for retailers and journalists. New products in this industry are launched at the Natural Products Expo, being one of the main reasons that Vic is attending.

Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore MarylandVic will be showcasing his newly developed Rainforest Mist, which is a totally unique, natural functional lifestyle product designed to remind you that you are alive!

He will also be showcasing his native Australian products such as Alpine Pepper, Lemon Myrtle, Wattleseed and many more. Read more about these products at www.cherikoff.net.

Visit the Vic Cherikoff Stand No.4723