Ode to the microwave

Two culinary experts got together to cook up a Christmas storm with the LG NeoChef™ microwave and what they came up with was pretty spectacular, to say the least!

NeoChef

The microwave has become a household staple, but rewind almost four decades and it was a luxury item, mainly used to warm up food in South Africa…

It all started when a passing salesman wandered into the first Hirsch’s showroom and placed the foreign looking appliance on the table. Having no idea what it did, Allan Hirsch took the problematic appliance to his wife, Margaret. Margaret saw the potential in the product and started cookery schools to show the public. They loved the fact that Hirschs went out of their way to make their lives easier – from cooking demonstrations to superb customer service. The name Hirsch became synonymous with service excellence.

Meanwhile, Food & Home Entertaining started out as a supplement in Your Family magazine! Called Think Microwave, it was created in response to South African consumers’ increasing demand for the convenience of microwaveable recipes. As the saying goes: “The more things change, the more they stay the same” and this is certainly true of microwave cooking when one reads the words of Christine Cashmore’s first editor’s letter in Think Microwave: “The world of microwave cooking is a world in which superb meals are prepared in a fraction of the time, and with much less effort, than is possible if you have to rely on conventional methods. Do you have to sacrifice nutritional value, appearance or taste appeal for all this extra convenience? Not in the least.” Rooted in the same belief in the mere microwave, Food & Home Entertaining’s editor, Andrea Pafitis-Hill and Margaret joined their culinary forces to honour the appliance and create mouth-watering festive dishes using the new LG NeoChef™ microwave.

Walnut-and-sage-stuffed rolled turkey crown

NeoChef

Serves 8 A LITTLE EFFORT 7 hrs (slow cooking)

COOK’S TIPS: A turkey crown’s wings and drumsticks have been removed. Ask your butcher to debone it for you. Ciabatta breadcrumbs work best for the stuffing.

THE FLAVOUR COMBINATIONS

STUFFING

60g salted butter

1 large brown onion, peeled and finely diced

15ml (1 tbsp) fresh sage, chopped

50g toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

60g dried cranberries

180g fresh breadcrumbs

5ml (1 tsp) fresh rosemary, chopped

30ml (2 tbsp) fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

5ml (1 tsp) lemon zest

1 extra large egg

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

TURKEY ROAST

2 – 2,3kg turkey crown, deboned

salt and freshly ground blackpepper, to taste

250g smoked streaky bacon/pancetta

sage leaves, to weave

15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

125ml (½ cup) white wine

(chardonnay/chenin blanc)

GRAVY

250ml (1 cup) chicken stock

125ml (½ cup) fresh cream

7,5 ml (1½ tsp) cornflour, mixed with

30ml (2 tbsp) water

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

roast potatoes, to serve

steamed vegetables, to serve

HOW TO DO IT

1 For the stuffing, melt the butter in a pan and sauté the onion, about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool, then place the onion, 15ml (1 tbsp) chopped sage and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. Season to taste.

2 For the roast, open the turkey with the skin facing down. Trim excess fat. Cover with cling film and flatten with a rolling pin. Season the meat lightly. Place the stuffing down the centre spine and roll in tightly from one side.

3 Wrap the bacon/pancetta around the turkey and tie with butcher’s string. Weave the sage through the string. Drizzle with the olive oil and transfer the turkey to an ovenproof roasting dish. Pour the wine around the roast and cover with foil.

4 Set the LG NeoChef™ function to Slow Cook, 110°C. Roast, 6 – 6½ hrs, until the juices run clear. Remove the foil and select the Grill function. Place the dish on the low rack and grill, about 8 minutes or until the bacon/ pancetta is crisp and browned.

5 Lift the turkey out of the dish and cover with foil to rest. Skim off any excess oil, strain the juices and return the turkey to the roasting dish.

6 For the gravy, add the stock, cream and cornflour paste to the pan juices. Select the Microwave function and microwave on 1 100W power until thickened. Adjust seasoning to taste.

7 Serve the turkey carved, with roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and the warm, creamy gravy alongside.

Pavlova Christmas tree stack

NeoChef

Serves 16 EASY 1 hr 30 mins + time, to cool

COOK’S TIP
The Pavlova layers need to be cooked one at a time for best results. For each egg white, use 40g castor sugar. The cooking time for the meringues is slightly longer than usual to accommodate the weight of the 4 tiers.

Guide for the 4-tier stack

1st layer – 4 egg whites

2nd layer – 3 egg whites

3rd layer – 2 egg whites

4th layer – 1 egg white

THE FLAVOUR COMBINATIONS

MERINGUE

10 egg whites

pinch salt

400g castor sugar

500ml (2 cups) fresh cream, to whip

250ml (1 cup) mascarpone, at room temperature

5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

15ml (1 tbsp) icing sugar

fresh raspberries

cherries, dipped in white chocolate

silver-coated chocolate buttons (optional)

HOW TO DO IT

1 Place 4 egg whites in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and whisk slowly until frothy and small bubbles appear. Increase the speed to high and add 1 tablespoonful of castor sugar at a time. Whisk until the sugar is well incorporated and the meringue is glossy and firm.

2 Spread the meringue onto a greased and lined baking sheet. Select the Convection Cooking function on the LG NeoChef and preheat to 150°C. Decrease the temperature to 120°C and bake the meringue on the lower rack, 1 hour 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the oven before removing. Store in an airtight container until ready to assemble.

3 Repeat these steps with the remaining egg whites until you have 4 layers.

4 Whisk the fresh cream until soft peak stage. Add the mascarpone and vanilla extract, and whisk until combined and thickened.

5 To assemble, place the largest meringue base on a cake stand. Dollop over a generous layer of whipped cream. Stack the second meringue layer on top, followed by another layer of cream. Repeat these layers until you are left with 4 tiers.

6 Sift over icing sugar and stud the sides and top with cherries, raspberries and chocolate buttons. Serve within 30 minutes of assembling.

3 reasons why Margaret loves the LG NeoChef ™

  1. The built-in air fryer is the best part about the LG NeoChef™! No oil whatsoever is needed, which is not only healthier, but also makes it much safer than frying with hot oil.
  2. The LG NeoChef’s Defrost Cycle is brilliant – it defrosts evenly all the way through, so you don’t have the food cooked on top and the centre still frozen.
  3. The Slow Cook function of the LG NeoChef™ is heaven-sent! Simply turn on the Slow Cook programme in the morning and select either the standard six-hour cooking time or adjust it to your preferred time (it switches off by itself). Plus, with this microwave’s Smart Inverter technology, you’re assured of even and perfectly cooked ingredients for example, in a slow-cooked casserole, you won’t have to worry about the carrots being overcooked and the potatoes undercooked.

 

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