You’d be forgiven for thinking that The Commons was all about cocktails in the sun…
What is it that makes a dish iconic?
What does it take to make food that is raved about in Canberra, even the world? What indefinable qualities make people line up for hours just to experience a fleeting taste?
We asked four Canberrans who should know…and we begged them to share their secrets.
They’re the fully loaded milkshakes that put Manuka on the map. They are, of course, Pâtissez’s ‘Freakshakes’, aka the Muddy Pat, Nutty Pat, Nutella & Salty Pretzel and French Vanilla shakes.
With queues for hours and international hysteria, co-owner Anna Petridis reveals that the ‘Freakshakes’ almost didn’t make it into the menu. Luckily Anna’s business partners didn’t prematurely kill the golden goose and the rest, as they say, is history.
We asked Anna how we could get re-create the Patissez milkshake at home. While she wasn’t keen to give out the exact recipe, she did pass on some valuable tips.
“Pick a flavour you love and go from there,” suggests Anna. “You have to be messy and just have a lot of fun with it, however, the point is not to go to the lolly section in the supermarket and buy absolutely everything and just jam it in the top. Create something based around a dessert or flavour you really love!”
And “Garnish garnish garnish!!!! Not just the top but the whole jar or cup or whatever you use. It should be an experience where you feel like a kid again and you’re licking your fingers clean at the end.”
The eightysix Caramel Popcorn Sundae
Six months after it opened its doors in 2013, Braddon’s l’enfant terrible eightysix made the cover of Australian Gourmet Traveller with their modern take on a childhood favourite.
“Some say it was the dessert that put Canberra dining on the map,” says owner Gus Armstrong.
“The most important element of this dish is the caramel. It needs to be dark and carry a rich flavour. Before adding butter and cream, the sugar and glucose is taken to 182 degrees. Dark toasty caramel will give great contrasting flavour to the cool buttery ice cream.”
Gus says that fresh popped corn, dressed while hot with just enough butter and fresh sea salt, is essential; so, too, is temperature. Aim for piping hot caramel and cool ice cream to ensure your sundae is bang on.
1 cup sugar
2 tbl spoon glucose 2 tbl spoon butter 125ml cream
2 cups plain popcorn
Grape seed oil
Season to taste with sea salt & unsalted butter
crushed peanuts small ice cream cone
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 1⁄2 cups glucose
3/4 cup finely chopped peanuts 2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp baking soda
Buttered Popcorn Ice cream
500ml heavy cream 500ml full cream milk 8 egg yolks
2 vanilla beans
250gm seasoned popcorn
Combine sugar, glucose and water in
a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until dissolved. Then increase the heat and cook, swirling occasionally, brushing the sides down with warm water and a pastry brush, until the mix reaches 120°C (dark amber color). Remove from the heat and mix in
the butter followed by the cream in a slow stream.
Strain your caramel through a fine sieve.
Combine water, sugar and glucose and boil without stirring until hardball stage—127°C. Now add
the peanuts and continue cooking until hard crack stage-148°C, stirring constantly, making sure nothing catches in the saucepan.
Then take off the heat and stir in the butter, baking soda. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared baking sheets and spread out as thinly and evenly as possible. Leave to cool and set. Then break into desired shapes.
Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream
Heat the cream, milk and vanilla bean gently in a pot and pour over the popped corn, leaving it to infuse for 24 hours in cool room. Now strain the infused milk and slowly bring back to the boil. While the cream is heating up, combine the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl with a whisk until light and fluffy. Once cream has come to the boil, temper into sugar and yolks and transfer to a clean pot. Cook mixture until it has thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Cool mix and churn in ice cream machine.
Build dessert in a glass by layering warm caramel, peanut brittle pieces, popcorn, crushed peanuts, two perfect scoops of popcorn ice cream, more caramel, more peanut brittle, more popcorn, more peanuts until the glass is full.
We garnish our sundae with a small cone placed on top.
It all started in 2009 with a tiny red caravan in a lonely carpark next to Lake Burley Griffin; six years on, Brodburger is synonymous with ‘Canberra’s best burger’.
Queues are a given; there’s even an app to let you order your burger in advance and avoid the hour-long wait. So, what is it about Brodburgers that inspire this dedication? We asked co-founder Bou-Jaoude for her tips on creating a perfect burger.
“The idea of a perfect burger differs from person to person. For us it all starts with knowing your ingredients, knowing where they come from and their freshness. For perfection and quality there is no cutting corners,” she says.
“One of Brodburger’s biggest secret is the quality of meat and consistency. When you eat a burger the beef patty should speak for itself and not need anything more than being cooked to perfection (medium) on a flame grill with nothing but a pinch of salt and pepper.”
“All you need is a soft bun….good quality meat…your favourite cheese and the sexiest of sexy sauces to bring it all together,” teases Joelle. “The rest, we would like to leave to your imagination.”
Frugii’s Bacon Ice Cream
Described as the ‘ice cream alchemist’, Frugii’s John Marshall is the closest thing Canberra has to Zumbo. Whipping up flavours like Tim Tam, salted butter caramel, candied orange, cardamom, musk stick, popcorn, black licorice and sambuca … plus the more ‘out there’ blue cheese, cloves, and bacon, he pushes the boundaries of the traditional ice cream experience.
“I was of course inspired by Heston Blumenthal’s TV Series, and book where he did his now infamous ‘Bacon and Egg’ Ice Cream,” explains John. “However, not one for ice cream tasting ‘eggy’ I decided to make my own version where it’s more of a balance between sweet and savoury flavours.”
Here’s how you can create it at home.
Bacon Ice Cream Base
Full Cream Milk 375g
Egg Yolks 40g
Bacon Fat (rendered) to taste!
Cubed smoked Bacon 200g+
Heat milk to 30c; add half the sugar, stir frequently.
Whisk the egg yolks, and remaining sugar to a light colour
At 50c, add half the milk to the Egg Yolks stirring quickly (this step is called tempering), then return egg and milk mix to remaining half of milk in saucepan – continue stirring.
At 84c, custard through sieve into a container, add hot rendered bacon fat, cover surface with gladwrap, and chill overnight.
Churn using equipment instructions.
All images by Rebecca Doyle Photography
Read this article and more in our latest edition of Magazine, ‘The Hidden Issue’, available for free while stocks last at these stockists and locations.