Executive Chef Jozsef Nyeste has been overseeing the transformation of Daydream Island Resort and Spas signature restaurant Mermaids. Jozsef has long experience in putting his stamp on Queensland restaurants and now the newly refurbished Mermaids is benefiting from his experience with the introduction of some classic dishes with a twist.…

MERMAIDS RESTAURANT – CLASSICS WITH A MODERN TWIST

Executive Chef Jozsef Nyeste has been overseeing the transformation of Daydream Island Resort and Spa’s signature restaurant Mermaids.

Jozsef has long experience in putting his stamp on Queensland restaurants and now the newly refurbished Mermaids is benefiting from his experience with the introduction of some classic dishes with a twist.

“My food philosophy and style is to play around with some favourites and modernise them with my own ideas,” Jozsef says.

“While I’m classically trained in European cuisines, particularly French, I’m not an ‘old school’ chef by any means.

“Removing some unnecessary complications allows diners to enjoy some of the hidden simple flavours in food.

“One of my favourite dishes is the Caprese salad with chargrilled zucchini, where the sweetness of the heirloom tomatoes and the rather underwhelming mellowness of the buffalo mozzarella is emphasized by the smokiness of the zucchini and the toasted pine nuts.

“We also do a popular Sunday roast of pork and apple. The pork loin is filled with a spicy and smoked chorizo sausage and cooked sous vide with fresh sage, butter and baby apples. It is then served with pan-fried kipfler potatoes and a cider reduction.

“One dish that has become popular with many of our guests is one of the desserts I have created, chocolate ganache with raspberry gel, red soil, spun sugar and raspberry sorbet. Our very talented pastry chefs are producing it to a very high standard.

“Whilst it’s a rather technical dish with more than basic knowledge required to achieve the required result, the effort is worth it if you’re willing to master it at home.”

Seating 150 guests Mermaids has undergone a soft driftwood-style refurbishment with a boathouse theme that gives it a contemporary look and feel with modern earthy colours.

Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the 4.5-star Daydream Island Resort and Spa offers 296 beautifully appointed rooms, comprehensive facilities such as the Rejuvenation Spa and Living Reef lagoon, a wide variety of activities, sparkling bays and secluded beaches, which all combine to provide a superior tropical island experience.

Sunday roast pork and apple

Ingredients per person:

200g lean pork loin (whole)
1 piece of spicy chorizo sausage
80g Butter
3-4 baby apples (tinned) or 1 large granny smith
Salt and pepper
Fresh Sage

For the sauce:

150ml apple cider (dry)
2-3 medium kipfler potato boiled

Preparation:

With a sharp fileting knife cut a “hole” into the centre of the pork loin just wide so the chorizo sausage can be inserted like a stuffing.

Trim the sausage to the appropriate size to match the length of the loin.

Place the stuffed loin in a sous vide bag with the butter, seasoning, the apples and 2-3 sage leaves.

Seal the bag and sous vide the loin for 90 minutes at 65 degrees.

Remove the pork and apples from the bag just before serving. Keep all the juices.

To serve:

Heat a frying pan with a little oil. Add the pork loin and just colour the outside then set aside. Cut the potatoes in half and add to the pan and again just light fry them to get a bit of colour on the cut side. Remove and set aside.

Add the cider to the pan and cook off all the alcohol (about 30 second) then add the juices from the sous vide bag. Reduce the juices to a sauce consistency.

Slice the pork 2-3 slices across the stuffing. Place the potatoes on the plate, rest the slices of pork on top. Garnish the plate with the apples and finish with the cider reduction.

Chocolate ganache with raspberry gel, red soil, spun sugar and raspberry sorbet.

For the ganache:

500g high quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
250ml cream
2 gelatine leaves

For the gel:

200g frozen or fresh raspberries
2 tbs glucose
0.5g agar (approx. ½ ts powder)

Spun sugar:

200g castor sugar
100ml water
50g glucose
Water based food colouring

Sorbet:

Simple sorbet recipe
400g raspberries
100g icing sugar (not icing mixture!)

Red soil:

It is made with maltodextrin that is not often seen in grocery shops. So here is a cheat version:

200g butter
200g sugar
100g flour
150g rolled oats
Raspberry cordial or red food colouring

Process:

To make the ganache melt the chocolate over steam. Soak gelatine leaves in cold water to soften. Bring some of the cream up to 60-70 degree temp and add the gelatine. Add the rest of the cream and the gelatine mix to the melted chocolate. Pour mixture on a flat shallow tray (line it with baking paper will help) so the ganache mix is approx. 1.5cm thick. Let it set in a fridge until it firms up.

To make the gel use the juice of the fruit (better to use frozen fruit for this). Crush the berries through a fine sieve. Add agar powder and the glucose and slowly bring to boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Set it aside to cool.

For the sorbet simply heat the fruit until all the sugar is dissolved. Option one: cool it and then churn it in an ice-cream machine or option 2: pour mix in a flat tray and freeze in freezer. Option 1- sorbet Option 2 – granita.

For the red soil mix all ingredients gently. Add enough colour to make the mix as red as you like. Gently sprinkle the mix on a baking tray and cook in oven at low 130-135 degree for 30 minutes. The low temperature will help to preserve the colour. Let it cool and crumble the mix gently.

The hardest part of the dish is the spun sugar.

Add sugar and water to a very clean pot. Bring mix to a gentle simmer allowing the sugar to dissolve. Add glucose and food colouring, if required, at this stage. With a wet pastry brush wash down any sugar crystals that may have stuck on the side of the pot. Bring the mixture up to a hard crack stage, 146-155 degree. Coat a hard plastic, metal or wooden tubular object (wooden rolling pin for example) and cover the surface with baking paper. Drizzle thin streams of the sugar mix onto the surface while turning the tube slowly around. We actually designed a tool to allow us create more than one per day. Once the sugar is cooled remove it from the tube.

There’s no other island quite like Daydream, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. With a fringing reef a mere flipper’s kick from the beach and a Living Reef on the island itself, it’s an incredible place to not only live and learn about one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, but to experience it first hand.

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