This week we have the third and final recipe that was demonstrated by Hellenic Republic chef Travis McAuley at the recent Hellenic Flavours Masterclass held in the Metricon Smeg kitchen.
Our host for the evening was interior stylist and blogger Chris Carroll (from The Life Creative) who managed to ask Travis a few questions in between the amazing food that Travis was preparing.
When did you know you wanted to become a chef?
"When I was younger, my Mum always got me to help out in the kitchen. It was something I always enjoyed doing and eventually became all I ever wanted to do. I decided to leave school in Year 11 to take up an apprenticeship and it all went from there."
What do you like eating?
"Pretty much everything - there's really not too much I don't eat. My meals could range from a very simple risotto to fresh crayfish. Just anything that's tasty."
What is one ingredient can you not do without?
"Definitely olive oil. I use it in everything - and lots of it."
If you could have any food right now what would it be?
"A really good steak. Always have it at room temperature before you cook it, season it well and don't overcook it".
What are your favourite dishes to cook for family and friends?
"I usually try to keep it really simple. I have two young children so it is always busy around dinner time. We try to do something simple, something we can do together. A simple risotto or roast always works quite well and it's something we know the kids will enjoy too."
In the kitchen, are you more of a Gordon Ramsey chef or a pussy cat?
"I would have to go a bit of both. The guys need a bit of discipline but they also need a bit of nurturing sometimes".
What do you love about working at the Hellenic Republic?
"I've always really liked simple food done well, with a focus on great produce that's not overly fluffed-up. When Hellenic Republic was being planned the guys thought what they were going to be doing would be right up my alley. I came to run the kitchen and became a part-owner at the same time. I just love being part of this team, which I believe is producing some really great traditional Greek food."
What is it like working with George Calombaris?
"George is a great mate, we catch up very regularly to talk about food, the menu and everything else that is going on."
Is there a food item that you particularly hate?
"I can't stand vegemite. My wife always eats it and tries to breathe on me thinking she's hilarious - I cannot stand it!"
Following the delicious saganaki served with delicious peppered figs and the Cypriot grain salad, McAuley delighted the audience with his haloumi loukoumathes (donuts) with spiced sugar. These were the perfect sweet finish to the evening and enjoyed by everyone.
Haloumi loukoumathes with spiced sugar
Ingredients (makes 25 pieces)
½ cup caster sugar
2 ½ cups plain flour
2 tbs baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp citric acid
Pre heat deep fryer to 170 degrees Celsius
Blend haloumi to breadcrumb consistency
Add remaining ingredients and pulse until just combined
Allow batter to rest for 5 minutes
Adjust batter if required
Fry small balls for approx. 3min until cooked through
Allow to cool for 2 minutes before dusting through spiced sugar
The Masterclass was run as part of our LookBook event series so please keep checking our Events page to find out what else is happening. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up-to-date with all the news and offers from Metricon.
Many thanks to the Eat and Be Merry crew for providing the photos in this post.