We catch up with Boys Weekend chef Miguel Maestre to find out about his hot new show Miguel’s Tropical Kitchen which explores the stunning locations and exotic taste sensations of north Queensland.
This is your first solo hosting gig, are you excited or nervous, or both?
Are you serious?! I get excited just to get up in the morning and make breakfast, I just love cooking! And then I get the chance to host my own show in a place like tropical north Queensland…
What have been some of your favourite spots up north so far?
Some of my favourites were the ones I didn’t expect. I got up at 5:00am one morning to cook breakfast at sunrise at a place called Thala Beach in Port Douglas. We had the whole beach to ourselves and it was absolutely spectacular. We also spent a week filming in an exclusive resort called Elandra in Mission Beach. I had an incredible kitchen by the pool on the cliffs overlooking Dunk Island. I felt more like a rock star than a chef.
Can you tell us some of the delicious recipes you’ll be featuring?
There’s a crayfish risotto with soy sabayon that I cooked on Green Island with one of the biggest crayfish you’ll ever see. I whipped up the lightest yoghurt mousse with chargrilled passionfruit next to the stunning Millaa Millaa waterfalls; there was a bus load of tourist lining up to try that one!
What are some of the more unusual ingredients you’ll be using?
I was blown away by some of the exotic fruit we discovered in tropical north Queensland. There’s one called a black sapote, which tastes just like chocolate pudding. The jackfruit is a huge prickly beast which tastes like a tropical cocktail, and soursop is amazing, like kissing a mermaid from Cuba.
CRAYFISH RISOTTO WITH SOY SABAYON
1 massive crayfish 2 eschallots, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1⁄2 stick lemongrass 1⁄2 bunch coriander 100g butter 1 cup arborio rice 200ml fish stock Splash of mirin
FOR THE SABAYON
Pinch palm sugar 2 egg yolks 1⁄2 cup soy sauce
Portion the crayfish into bite-size pieces with shell on and fry in a very hot pan for two minutes, then set aside. In a medium saucepan sauté the butter, the eschallots, garlic, lemongrass and coriander until soft. Once cooked add the crayfish pieces and sauté all together. Add the rice and slowly add the stock, stirring occasionally until rice is cooked. To finish add a splash of mirin and chopped leaves of coriander.
For the sabayon, cook palm sugar, egg yolks and soy sauce over a bain-marie, stirring with a whisk in a metal bowl until mixture thickens. Then pour over the risotto. And wow!
This article first appeared in OPTUS magazine, January 2010