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Christmas Dining with Locavore Bali
IF YOU'RE PLANNING your Christmas dinner and visions of turkey, ham and roast beef are dancing in your head, go ahead - there's really no reason to deprive yourself in the name of sustainability just because it's the trendy buzzword now.
Take it from Eelke Plasmeijer - the chef-owner of Locavore, the epitome of sustainable dining and acclaimed restaurant on the Indonesian island of Bali.
''Christmas is about putting nice things on the table and for a lot of people that means meat, so you should go ahead - it's what you do for the rest of the year that is more important, '' says the brand ambassador for luxury kitchen appliance brand Sub-Zero and Wolf, who was in town to cook a private charity dinner at its showroom premises in McNair Road.
He's all for a vegetarian Christmas menu, but ''you don't have to stop eating meat - just have a small quantity from an animal that has been well-raised and had a happy life''. Another way is to cook with lesser cuts of meat such as flank steak or lamb shank. ''Pick a secondary cut, and make it beautiful with a lot of care.''
He especially likes cooking vegetables in animal fat, which gives a richer more complex flavour. Like his recipe for Carrot Steak: ''It's just a carrot but it's thinly sliced, rolled like a flower and then cooked in smoked beef fat so the vegetable is the main ingredient and the animal component is second. We add a vinaigrette made from the carrot trimmings, passion fruit and sesame oil, a creamy cashew nut dressing(a puree of more carrot trimmings and cashews for texture); and we lacto-ferment and dehydrate the trimmings into a powder for acidity and complexity.''
While Locavore is almost 100 per cent sustainable, Chef Plasmeijer says he and his partner Ray Adriansyah didn't open their restaurant in 2013 with that intention. ''Sustainability wasn't even a thing at the time,'' says the chef who grew up in Holland where recycling was more second nature than a lifestyle choice. ''We just wanted to open our own restaurant using only Indonesian produce and see it we could make it successful.'' Which of course they did.
''We're lucky because labour is not a high cost so we have the luxury of a test kitchen team that develops uses for leftovers. We make kombucha out of fruit and vegetable trimmings, and garum - animal protein like fish guts, babi guling bones and chicken carcasses fermented with salt and koji to make an intense seasoning that we use instead of salt. We also have a guy who takes away our used cooking oil for recycling - while some of our team take home our food waste to feed their pigs.''
He knows that as a small restaurant their efforts are a drop in the bucket - ''there are bigger problems in Indonesia than teaching people how to separate their waste'' - but he believes in leading by example in the hope that his local team bring home the habits they learn at work and influence their family members.
While in Singapore, guests at Sub-Zero and Wolf's private dining space got to taste a ''non-sustainable'' luxurious feast that included caviar, truffles and imported mushrooms. But he did get to show off a couple of vegetarian dishes like barbecued broccolini with a horseradish and sourcream sauce that he finished them off on Wolf's outdoor gas grill, a brand which he says offers the best precision of all the kitchen appliances he's had.
''I sound like a brand ambassador but I really do believe that,'' says Chef Plasmeijer, who freely admits he has broken every appliance he has laid his hands on but hasn't been able to destroy his Sub-Zero and Wolf fridge, oven or cooking range. ''They're idiot-proof and I can't break them,'' he says. He also vouches for their versatility, such as Wolf's warming drawers designed to keep plates warm but which can be used to dehydrate ingredients or start the fermentation process. ''All our products are sustainable because it's our policy to keep the earth clean and green,'' says Karen Gonzago, Marketing and Communications Division Director of SZ & W (Southeast Asia) Pte Ltd.
Which is a perfect match with Locavore, and for sustainable home chefs, a kitchen to lust after too.
All Sub-Zero and Wolf products are designed and tested to last for decades. For existing owners, get a free diagnosis check to ensure your appliances are in optimum condition. Email email@example.com for details. Or visit House of Sub-Zero and Wolf at 31 McNair Road. Tel: 6386-9335.
200gm Kecap manis
200gm Coconut aminos
100gm Raja rasa sauce
5pc Shallots, quartered
4pcs Garlic, bashed
2cm Ginger, peeled and bashed
1pc Lemongrass, bashed
1tsp Black peppercorn
Simmer all ingredients in a pan for 30 minutes. Strain.
1kg Carrots, peeled
5pc Shallots, quartered
½-1 pc Curly chilli, sliced 1 cm
50gm Smoked beef fat for glazing Kecap glaze
Method (Steps 1) Slice carrots 1.5mm thin, toss in salt and arrange evenly in vacuum bag. Let it sit for 30 minutes. (Steps 2) Remove from bag and stack in 100gm bundles. Roll each stack and tie tightly with. (Steps 3) In a pan, heat the smoked beef fat and sear the carrots till caramelized. (Steps 4) Add the shallots, curly chilli, kecap glaze and continue cooking until caramelized on both sides, basting continuously. (Steps 5) Let it rest and then cut it into half. Keep it warm before serving.
300gm Carrot, peeled and grated
5pc Shallots, sliced
1pc Curly chili, sliced
10gm Ginger, grated
10gm Galangal, grated
2pcs Lemongrass, thinly sliced
1 liter Carrot juice
3tbsp Passion fruit juice
25gm Coconut aminos
25gm Raja rasa sauce
1pc Star anise
½ tsp Coriander seeds
¼ tsp Black peppercorn
¼ tsp White peppercorn
1tbsp Peanut oil
(Steps 1) In a pan over medium heat, saute shallots, curly chili, ginger, galangal, lemongrass using the peanut oil until aromatic. Add the grated carrot and cook longer about 5 minutes. (Steps 2) Add the carrot juice, passion fruit juice, coconut aminos, raja rasa, star anise, coriander seeds, black peppercorn, white peppercorn and let it simmer for about 30mins. Strain and keep pulp for carrot puree and the stock for the vinaigrette.
320gm Carrot stock
40gm Peanut oil
25gm Rice vinegar
1gm Xanthan gum
Blend carrot stock with peanut oil, rice vinegar, salt and xanthan gum until well combined.
300gm Carrot pulp (from carrot stock)
50gm Cashew nut, roasted
50gm Passion fruit juice
25gm Shio koji
0.5gm Xanthan gum to taste salt
(Steps 1) Blend carrot pulp, cashew nut, passionfruit juice, shio koji until smooth. (Steps 2) Add xanthan gum and blend it one more time to combine. Pass the puree through fine sieve and season it with salt.
SMOKED LACTO FERMENTED CARROT POWDER
1kg Carrot, thinly sliced
5pcs Shallots, quartered
3pcs Garlic, bashed
1pc Curly chili
1tsp Coriander seeds
(Steps 1) In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and massage. Transfer to vacuum bag, seal tightly. Ferment at room temperature for a week. (Steps 2) Take out the carrot and grill till it has a smoky aroma. Dehydrate until dry enough to blend into powder