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Do your best to listen to Mother Nature; buy locally produced seasonal & organic ingredients and you can't go wrong!

Bring On The Brussels Sprouts

Take a poll of your friends on what vegetable they couldn’t stand to eat as a kid and I guarantee someone, maybe even the whole lot, will say Brussels sprouts. Maybe our mums cooked them a little too long and they got squishy or maybe the little cabbage-like buds are an acquired taste. Either way, Brussels sprouts are worth another go.

Some say Brussels sprouts were first cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century, while others say they migrated there from Italy. Given their name, we can at least agree that they hit their stride in Belgian fields. Brussels sprouts are part of the cabbage family but unlike cabbages, which grow on the ground like lettuce, Brussels sprouts pop out of a single long stalk.

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When to buy

Brussels sprouts are in season from August through March, making them a perfect addition to your cool-weather recipes.

How to choose

Look for small sprouts that are bright green in colour and as compact as possible. Skip any with yellow leaves as these are getting a bit old.

How to store

Keep unwashed sprouts in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. The longer they hang around the stronger their flavour, so use them soon.

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How to prep

If the sprouts are on the stalk, cut them off and wash them thoroughly in water. Some people go the extra mile and submerge them in a bowl of water with a splash of lemon or vinegar to make sure the inner layers are rinsed. Trim off the base and remove the hard outer leaves.

Ways to cook

Brussels sprouts can be boiled, steamed, sautéed or roasted. You can prepare them whole like little cabbages, cut in half or as separate leaves. Shaving them is a great way to add a bit of texture to dishes.

Convinced? Give this Grilled Brussels Sprout Salad with Goat Cheese and/or Grilled New York Strip with Caramelised Brussels Sprouts a try and tell me what you think!

 

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A Thanksgiving Table with all the Trimmings

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Cheesy Biscuits

Have I got a really simple cheesy recipe for you this week?! This one is straight out of the South and is a great accompaniment to roasted meats, a big baked ham, or anything with gravy. The beautiful thing about biscuits is that they have two parts – the outside of them goes really crusty and golden brown and the inside is super light and fluffy, which is just perfect when you are trying to mop up every little bit of gravy.

Before I start making the dough, I pop a cast iron pan into the oven to get it nice and hot. In the South, they cook a lot with these pans, and it works well here because you want the biscuits to go crunchy and brown on top but also, crusty and hot underneath.

I work both a beautiful moist, soft goat cheese and cheddar cheese into the dough plus little pieces of unmelted butter. It’s important that the butter melts while the biscuits cook as it creates plenty of moisture – because nobody is keen on a dry biscuit. Every time I pull this dish out of the oven, I’m overcome with wafts of deliciousness and just when you thought that goat cheese, cheddar and butter were enough, I go ahead and grate about ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese all over them, which melts and gives a kick of beautiful salty flavour.

Whatever other ingredients you think will work with these cheesy biscuits, go for it, experiment. I’ve added everything from bacon, parsley, and chives. There are a million different things you can incorporate that are going to add flavour, but personally, I generally like to keep it simple to let the other ingredients, like gravy, do some of the talking, too.

Hmm, delicious Southern goodness and a good dish to keep in mind for Thanksgiving.

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Cauliflower Gratin

This is fall comfort wrapped up in a little bubbling, baking dish. Gratins of any sort – green bean and cherry tomato, potato or this cauliflower gratin – are always awesome for the holiday season because they feed many mouths. They’re my go-to for entertaining because the clean up is simple (you can serve straight out of the baking dish, which also keeps the food nice and warm) and furthermore, you can make the majority of this dish a day ahead taking the stress off you when you’ve got a couple of other plates to serve too!

Ensure you bake until you get that lovely light golden brown colour on the top. It’s so delicious and pairs well with almost any main dish. Another great thing to note is there are only five simple ingredients, most of which you probably have in your refrigerator and cupboard: cauliflower, butter, all purpose flour, milk & Gruyère. The butter and Gruyère are a little bit indulgent but that’s what the holidays are all about. Bon Appetit!

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Other sides to make you smile this Thanksgiving:

Garlic and Herb Mashed Potatoes

Grilled Brussels Sprout Salad with Goat Cheese

Shaved Apple Fall Salad

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Eyes on the Pies

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I’m feeling pretty festive right now! Pumpkins and all kinds of winter squash are front and centre on the farmer’s market trestle tables. I’ve been picking them up to make warming squash soups, sides and throwing diced roasted squash into salads for my family over the past month. However, it’s the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie that excites me most.

Thanksgiving is an amazing time of year with friends and family and for me, I like to impress them with delicious aromas wafting throughout the house from the moment they walk in the door; and baking a homemade pumpkin pie does exactly that. When making a pie, it’s important to create your own luscious filling because it shows you really went to some effort and it’s so different from the stuff you buy in the store. Get your hands on a nice, sharp knife to cut and peel the pumpkin and cut a small slice off the top and bottom of the pumpkin to ensure you’re working with a flat base. Of course, making your own super buttery and moist piecrust is the best option too, but if you don’t have time then it’s ok to buy one, or better yet, make it in advance and store in the freezer a week ahead.

I absolutely love the crunch of the caramelised walnuts in this recipe. They contrast so perfectly with the soft pie filling and whipped cream; and they’re so, so simple to make. Caramelized or candied walnuts are also winners in salads too, so once you’ve made them, I know you’ll find plenty of reasons to make them again and again.

Pies are great dishes to make with kids or with friends. Half of the fun of the holidays is preparing for them in the kitchen and enjoying that time with the special people in your life. I hope you get a chance to whip up a homemade pie for Thanksgiving; it’ll be something you’ll be so proud of and remember for a long time to come! Enjoy!

Click here for the Homemade Pumpkin Pie with Caramelized Walnuts recipe or if you’re more of a Pecan Tart kind of guy or gal (or you love a bit of both), click here for this recipe.

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Maude: Eater LA’s Restaurant of the Year

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You little beauty!!! Maude won Eater LA‘s Restaurant of the Year! HUGE thank you to my partners in crime; I’m so lucky to work with the best team in LA – Ben, Brandon, Gareth, Vanessa, Kamden and the entire team at Maude. And thank you Eater LA for the love! Champagne will flow!!!!! What an incredible week and an even more incredible year for my team and I. Thanks everyone for your support, votes and for dining at our little restaurant! 

Curtis

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A Taste of Truffles

There’s nothing better than the smell and flavour of thin slices of fresh white truffle just as they hit hot food.

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Black winter truffles are hard to beat however, the white truffle from Alba, Piedmont is the daddy of all truffles. Just holding one up to your nose and breathing in has an almost hypnotic effect that is nearly as gratifying as eating it. White truffles taste best when delicately shaved over something very simple like risotto or tagliatelle, whereas the black winter truffle can either be cooked in a Madiera and veal stock, or shaved raw like its white counterpart. Whether you’ve fallen for truffles and anticipate their fleeting season or are intrigued by this ‘diamond of the kitchen’ and plan to experience them for the very first time, the time and their season is right now! They are expensive little buggars and are a real treat but in my opinion, every little shaving justifies the price. Maude‘s degustation menu in November pays tribute to this rare and exquisite ingredient.
Here is a peek of our menu:

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Keeping Up with Curtis: Edition 1

We’ve got to admit that even we have a hard time keeping up with the big guy. One minute he’s filming an episode of Rachael Ray in NYC and the next, he’s back in L.A. in chef whites in time for service at Maude, in the test kitchen planning next month’s tasting menu or whipping up some simple and seasonal recipe ideas for home cooks… and that’s just the start of it. In our best attempt to do the impossible - keep up with Curtis – we’re sharing a recap on what has gone down in Curtis’ world over the last week and what’s cooking this week.

Love Curtis’ Team x

Social Chatter 

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On Tuesday Curtis did a live chat with fans via the Food Network Facebook page, live tweeted during the Kitchen Inferno premiere and to top it all off, he took a selfie with J-Lo! ‘Not bad’ is exactly what we were thinking too…

This week

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Rachael Ray: Tune In Alert! Curtis is co-hosting with Rachael today and gives up his tips for cooking the best potatoes in town; just in time for Thanksgiving and beyond. Catch Curtis regularly co-hosting throughout this season.

Fox4: Rachael Ray gives Curtis big love in anticipation of his co-hosting gig on Monday. Fast forward to the 2:45min mark to hear her talk about Curtis carving a turkey on the show… blindfolded (and more).

The Kitchen Inferno is flaming up again this Wednesday. Tune into the Food Network on Wednesday 10/9c to see just how far Chef Viet Pham gets!

Last Week

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Kitchen Inferno: The heat reached extreme levels on Wednesday night with the premiere of Kitchen Inferno! Curtis hit up the NYC media circuit to chat about the show and Maude too.

TODAY: Curtis cooked up some delicious comfort food on TODAY that you can make ahead of time. Curtis, being the multi-tasker that he is, also had time to chat about Kitchen Inferno, the restaurant and Emerson. Catch seven great make ahead tips from him here – great to have up your sleeve this holiday season.

USAToday: The publication gave a nice plug for Kitchen Inferno prior to the premiere, saying “Kitchen Inferno is a little spicier” than other culinary competitions.

AOL Kitchen Daily: Curtis divulges everything from what makes Kitchen Inferno different, the chefs we can expect to see in the series and whether or not he is jumping into the Kitchen Inferno???

New York Live: Curtis stops by to chat about Kitchen Inferno, fatherhood and Maude.

Taste: 20 great spring cooking ideas from Curtis and other Aussie chefs. “Celebrity chef Curtis Stone pays closer attention to the shift in the seasons than most. His Los Angeles restaurant Maude bases its entire tasting menu of 10 to 12 courses around a single seasonal ingredient each month.”

iHeartRadio: Curtis and Sommelier and Assistant General Manager, Kamden Watson, talk shop about Curtis’ granny, the restaurant and delicious food and wine. Definitely worth pouring yourself a cuppa and having a listen.

Maude: The moment we’ve all been excited for; the truffle menu opened on Thursday night to some very happy customers.

And last but not least, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Curtis and Hudson Stone, happy birthday to you – these cool cats both celebrated their birthdays last week.

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Crazy About Caramel

Got a spare 5 minutes up your sleeve? That’s all you’ll need to make a perfect caramel sauce.

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I could watch this gooey, golden sauce being poured over chocolate cakes, fruits and tarts all day long, it’s a mesmerising sight to see. And it’s super simple. The most important thing to remember is to keep your eyes on the saucepan to avoid burning the sugar – burnt caramel tastes bitter and sticks to the bottom of your saucepan, which is no fun for anyone. Here’s how to make it:

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In a medium heavy saucepan, stir 1 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar) and 2 tablespoons water over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring for about 5 minutes, or until it turns a deep golden brown colour and registers 200°C (390 °F) on a candy thermometer. Add 3 tablespoons thickened cream (heavy whipping cream) room temperature, and cook for about 30 seconds, or until the cream is slightly reduced.

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Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in 110g (4 oz) unsalted butter.

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Strain through a fine sieve. Cool slightly and mix in 1 teaspoon salt.

Serve as a dipping sauce alongside a Banana Soufflé, make Caramel Popcorn or Chocolate Salted Caramel Cashews, dunk churros or Ricotta Fritters in the sauce or pour over ice cream. There’s so many ways to use it, we’re lucky caramel is ‘in season’ all year round.

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How to Make Golden Raspberry Jam

Raspberries of any colour are so delicious and inspiring in the summertime. Golden raspberries are special because their unique colour brings a ray of sunshine to a plate and delight to friends’ faces. I often hear people say, “Yellow raspberries?! Never seen them before. Amazing.” And yes, they are an amazing gift from Mother Nature to be enjoyed all summer long.

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When I pick up a tray of them from the market, ideas come flooding into my head as to what I could do with these little bright fruits. How about a raspberry soufflé, a vinaigrette for a salad, or whipped cream… however, by the time I’ve finished daydreaming, I’ve usually polished off a punnet without taking a breath because they taste that good when freshly picked and in season.

For those times when you can hold onto them for more than five minutes though, making jam is always a delicious idea. Here’s how to make golden raspberry jam (of course, you can use red raspberries when you can’t find golden ones):

Yield: 2 cups 

Ingredients

  • 300g (11 ounces) golden raspberries
  • 120g (1/2 cup/4 ounces) sugar, divided
  • 6g (1 teaspoon) apple pectin*
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) lemon juice

*Pectin is a powder that helps thicken jam and can be found in most grocery stores or online.

Method

  • In a medium bowl, combine the raspberries with half of the sugar and leave to macerate, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the raspberries have released liquid.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the macerated berries and cook over medium heat.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining sugar with the pectin. When the raspberry mixture comes to a boil, add the sugar-pectin mixture.
  • Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 215°F (102°C). Note: you can find this out by using a candy thermometer.
  • Take the raspberries off heat and add the lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a clean, dry bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the jam to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

For a really delicious dessert, I tear homemade doughnuts or ricotta fritters in half and spoon in some golden raspberry jam. See below… need I say more? Seriously yum.

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Make Your Own Labneh Cheese

Labneh is a bright, fresh, soft cheese originating from the Middle East. I love it coz it’s healthy, spreadable, inexpensive and can be flavoured or spiced up anyway you desire. It’s tasty smeared on toasted ciabatta and topped with a fruity jam or chutney and crushed toasted walnuts – and I promise, that’s just the start of it. Check out some ideas below as to how you can best enjoy it.

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Here’s what you need:

  • 3 cups Greek yoghurt
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Yield: approx 1.5 cups (but you can easily double or triple this recipe)

So the ingredients are easy done, now to the method:

a) Line a fine-meshed sieve with a double layer of muslin. In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, and salt. Place the yoghurt mixture into the sieve and cover with more muslin. Set the sieve over a bowl to catch any drippings. Using a small plate and a large can, weigh down the yoghurt to press out the excess liquid. Refrigerate overnight.

b) Or for a thicker, cream-cheese like consistency, weigh down with a couple more plates and the can, then refrigerate for a full day.

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Here I’ve smeared plain labneh on the plate and topped it with a salad below.

If you’d like to infuse your cheese with lovely flavour, there’s a couple of ways to do it.

  • Pull the yoghurt out of the fridge and whisk it up with your favourite fresh or dried spices, herbs and salt and pepper. Serve in a bowl and finish with a nice flourish of olive oil. Serve with crudités and Grilled Garlic and Herb Flatbread.
  • Or, you can roll your cheese into small balls (when following the B method above), place in a jar one on top of the other and pour in a homemade flavoured oil (e.g. extra virgin olive oil, finely minced parsley and the zest of a lemon). Allow the cheese to marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Remember that olive oil becomes cloudy and solidifies when refrigerated, but don’t fear: just bring to room temp and you’re oil will be silky smooth and golden again in about 20 minutes time. The jarred cheese should be good for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

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In Bloom at Maude

Food is king at Maude but the space in which our guests eat and drink is pretty special too. For us, there’s nothing that says ‘welcome’ more than lively and delicate flowers perched on the shelves, the countertop and placed on the little tables in the restroom – and plenty of beautifully arranged fresh and dried flowers are exactly what you’ll find at Maude. Just as our menu changes with the seasons, so does our choice of fresh flowers. If they’re bountiful and standing to attention at the flower market then you bet they’re coming back to the restaurant with our General Manager and Wine Director (and resident florist), Ben Aviram. Take a look at his handy work below.

Rasberry

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Look but do not eat! July was berry month at Maude and all kinds of varieties were threaded into each of the tasting plates but this raspberry bush was just too beautiful (and underripe) to eat.

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Dried flowers that hang from weathered wooden drying racks have become a signature design feature at the restaurant.

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Queen Anne’s Lace was first cultivated in Europe when Queen Anne reigned as Queen of England (1665-1714). It resembles delicate and pretty lace that’s fit for a queen and makes for a grand flower arrangement at Maude in the summertime.

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