Andrew McConnell’s epicurean mastery has been tickling the tastebuds of Melbourne foodies for quite some time now. Among the top chef’s most prized ventures is Cumulus Inc., the Flinders Lane eatery that has proved a consistent reminder that great food is to be shared at any time of day.
In his first foray into the printed form, McConnell has released a cookbook that comprises the restaurant’s signature dishes. Designed cleverly by our friends at Studio Round, the publication continues the synergy McConnell has created between chef and diner at Cumulus Inc., embracing interaction and encouraging the democratisation of good food. Clear recipes make McConnell’s dishes accessible and achievable, among them his famous tuna tartare and rum-soaked baba, cauliflower salad, whole roasted lamb shoulder and a marinated beetroot salad (which he’s given Broadsheet the recipe for). Earl Carter’s photographs throughout book evidence the beauty of both the dishes and the restaurant itself.
With culinary influences from around the globe, McConnell’s Cumulus Inc. book is a revelation of his passion and talent. Whether you’re a budding chef or Cumulus Inc. devotee, this is a welcome addition to any bookshelf. Besides, who wouldn’t like a little slice of Cumulus Inc. in their own kitchen?
Here’s one of our favourite recipes from the book… Enjoy!
Marinated beetroot, shanklish, lentil, apple and mint salad
This is one of the first salads we put on the menu at Cumulus Inc. Its distinctive tanginess comes from shanklish, a hard sheep’s milk cheese coated in za’atar and spices that can be purchased in many Middle Eastern grocery stores. If unavailable, substitute a good quality crumbly fetta.
(i) BEETROOT AND LENTILS
2 MEDIUM-SIZED BEETROOT
100ml OLIVE OIL
¼ TEASPOON GROUND ALLSPICE
½ TEASPOON THYME LEAVES
1 BAY LEAF
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND
100g SMALL GREEN PUY-STYLE LENTILS
5 SPRING ONIONS, FINELY CHOPPED
SMALL HANDFUL OF CHOPPED
6 MINT LEAVES, SHREDDED
1 TABLESPOON LEMON JUICE
3 TEASPOONS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
4 TABLESPOONS FROMAGE BLANC
10 WALNUT HALVES, TOASTED
¼ GRANNY SMITH APPLE, PEELED AND
CUT INTO MATCHSTICKS
¼ SMALL RAW BEETROOT, PEELED AND
CUT INTO MATCHSTICKS
(i) Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roast the beetroot, individually wrapped in foil, for about an hour – they need to be soft enough to easily insert a skewer. When cool enough to handle, peel the beetroot and cut into 1cm cubes. Combine the olive oil, allspice, thyme and bay leaf in a bowl, along with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Add the beetroot and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour. This can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated until required. Put the lentils into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then strain immediately. Cover the lentils with cold water again, bring back to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until tender, then drain.
(ii) When almost ready to serve, toss the lentils with the spring onion, parsley, mint, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Use a slotted spoon to lift the beetroot from the marinade, then mix in with the lentils. Lay the lentils and beetroot on a serving platter and top with the crumbled shanklish, dollops of fromage blanc (if using), walnuts and the matchsticks of apple and raw beetroot.