Matt Preston: Fast Fresh and Unbelievably Delicious! (2023)

[hr]Just picking up Matt Preston’s latest bookFast Fresh and Unbelievably Delicious getsthe taste buds talking. As soon as you flickthrough the pages, you know it is goingto be a collection you use over and overagain. His first book Matt Preston’s 100 BestRecipes was a great success and this latestwork is proving to be the same with.[hr]

Food, after all, is what has made Matt Preston one of themost recognisable faces in Australia. As an award-winningjournalist, restaurant critic, renowned MasterChef judge andco-host, he has forged a career that reaches further thanAustralian shores.


Kate’s Pear and Almond Tart
A Cheat’s Plum Tart

Fast Fresh and Unbelievably Delicious, Matt says, “is full ofrecipes for stuff that is quite simply delicious and that I cook formy family and friends. “It’s a wee bit different from my first bookin that the dishes are fresher, lighter, healther.” Being a Prestonproduction, however, it does venture in to the slightly risquéand over-the-top – in fact it has its own sealed section “for thegood of your health”.

Matt has kindly shared three recipes with readers of TheRetiree, along with the anecdotes that go with them. Enjoy!


[hr]When you tie yourselfto writing cookbooksthat feature recipesthat you cook for yourfamily, it means thatyou are catering forthe toughest critics ofthem all: your kids.[hr]


Amazingly, they loved this lighterversion of Bolognese; one evencalled it ‘super-delicious’, which isabout the highest praise you canget in my house. Well, other than‘it’s almost as good as Nanna’s’.Yes, it’s fiddly browning off theingredients in three batches but itis well worth it for the taste.


  • 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 90 g (3 rashers) bacon,finely sliced into batons
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeledand chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 500 g chicken mince
  • 100 g (1 ? 3cup) tomato paste
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 250 ml (1 cup) white wine
  • 2 punnets cherry tomatoes,cut in half
  • 1 ? 2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt flakes and freshly groundblack pepper
  • 500 g fusilli pasta
  • parmesan cheese

How To

In a large heavy-based pot over medium heat, add1 tablespoon of oil and fry the bacon until brown.Remove from the pot and drain off any excess fat.Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leafand thyme sprigs to the same pot and cook untilcaramelised, about 15–20 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the pot, add 1tablespoon of oil and brown the chicken mince,don’t overcook. When the chicken mince is browned,put the vegetables and bacon back in the pot alongwith the tomato paste, stock, wine, cherry tomatoesand half the parsley. Bring to a simmer and cookuntil the sauce has reduced, about 25–30 minutes.Taste for seasoning.

Meanwhile, cook the corkscrew pasta as perinstructions in lots of salted boiling water.When ready to serve, stir the pasta and the remainingparsley through the sauce.



[hr]There’s always someone in your groupof friends who inspires awe when itcomes to baking. For us it’s my friendKate. She’s lived in France and is abit of a cake whisperer.[hr]

Whatever sweetness she brings to any BBQ or dinneris always the first thing to be devoured. What’s funny,though, is that when little kids pronounce her nameit sounds like Cake. No wonder she has become mybaking guru and helped me with lots of the sweetstuff in this book. This tart is the first thing of hersthat I ever ate. It’s a showstopper – a take on a recipefrom the River Café, in London, which was inspiredby the myriad pear and almond tarts of Italy.

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  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 ? 4teaspoon salt
  • 120 g unsalted butter, cold
  • 75 g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon iced water


  • 225 g flaked almonds
  • 225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe Packham pears, or similar

How To

Place the flour and salt in a food processor, add the cold butterand pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.Add the icing sugar and pulse until combined, then add theegg yolks and pulse again. At this point the dough shouldcombine and start to come away from the side. If the dough istoo dry, add the water, bit by bit, until it comes together.

Tip the dough onto a floured surface and bring togetherquickly into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridgefor 1 hour to chill.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and flour a loose-bottomed,28 cm tart tin.Roll out the dough quickly (so the dough doesn’t becomeoverworked) until it is about 4 mm thick. Lift the pastry quickly(so that the pastry doesn’t stretch and become uneven) overthe tin and press down into the sides. Trim the edge, coverwith foil, and blind bake for about 20 minutes until light brown.

Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.


Place the almonds in a food processor and chop until theyare like coarse sand, not too fine. In a separate bowl, creamthe butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and light. Addhe almonds and blend. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Atthis point you should have a thick almond cream that can bescooped out with a spoon.

Peel, core, and halve the pears. Place one in the centreof the cooked tart case, and the rest around it facing inwards.Pour the almond cream roughly around the pears, leavingspace between the rim and the pears, so the filling hasroom to spread. Bake the tart for 40 minutes, or untilthe top is golden brown.

This tart is best made in advance, and is even betteron day two. Serve with some good double cream.

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[hr]I have a little bit of a thing forstone fruit – from the soft fuzzand fragrance of apricots at thefarm gate to plums piled high insupermarket aisles, their dustybloom hiding shiny, dark skinsand hearts that range from palestgolden to dark, angry burgundy andevery shade in between. This simpletart lets the plums really shine –even if they aren’t at their ripest.[hr]


  • 1 tablespoon jasmine tea leaves
  • 125 ml (1?2cup) cold water
  • 1 sheet of good, frozen shortcrust pastry
  • 10 firm ripe plums
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar(or vanilla sugar if you have it)
  • 375 ml (11?2cups) port, shiraz, cabernet or muscat
  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 3 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract juice of 1 ? 2 lemon, strained
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • Whipped cream, to serve

How To

Butter a crinkly-edge metal tart tin, ideally one with a loose bottom – 24 cm in diameteris about right. Preheat the oven to 180°C.Place the jasmine tea in a large glass withthe cold water. This means that the tea willdelicately and slowly infuse the water withthe minimum of tannins. Use hot waterand it will be too astringent. The wonderfulpartnership of jasmine tea and plums is onethat MasterChef contestant Kylie alerted meto. While the pastry is still very cold, carefullyroll out the sheet until it’s thinner and about20 per cent wider so it covers the tart tin. (Ifyou are more generous than me just use asecond sheet of pastry!)

Flop the pastry into the tart tin and press intothe crinkle edges of the tin. Leave any excessoverhanging. Now blind bake the pie crust.Cover the inside base with baking paper andfill with rice or baking beans. Cook the piecrust for 10–15 minutes, or until the edgesare turning golden. Remove the baking paperand your chosen weights. Now return the piecrust to the oven until the base goes goldentoo – about another 5–10 minutes. When fullycooked and golden all over, remove from theoven and leave to cool in a safe place. Trimoff any excess pastry.

Reduce the oven to 160°C. Cut the plums inhalf from top to bottom along their crease.Remove the stones. Place the plums in aroasting pan cut-face up. Sprinkle the casteror vanilla sugar on the plums. Carefully pourthe wine into the pan. Pop in the oven andcook until the plums have started to softenbut aren’t soft. Check them after 20 minutes.You want the fruit to still have its shape on topof the tart. Remember the plum halves willcontinue to soften and cook once out of theoven. Remove the plums while they are stilla little firm. Place in a cool place on a plate.Strain and save any juices in the roasting pan.While the plums and the pastry are cooking,make your mascarpone cream. Whip up themascarpone with the honey and vanilla. Pop inthe fridge to firm up.

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While everything is cooling down, make yoursyrup. Pour the strained plum and wine syrupfrom the roasting pan into a small saucepan.Add the strained lemon juice and 1 tablespoonof caster sugar. Heat gently until reduced toa syrup. Cut the syrup with 2 tablespoons ofthe strained jasmine tea. Taste, and assumingthe tannins aren’t too prominent, you can addanother tablespoon of the tea if you like thismercurial combination of plums and jasmine.

Now that everything is cooled down, assembleyour tart. Carefully lift your tart case out ofthe tart tin and place on a flat serving plateor board. Fill with the mascarpone creamand smooth evenly all the way to the edges.Now top with the halved plums. Choose thebest, prettiest halves. Tumble these on top ororganise in an overlapping wave. Keep in thefridge until needed. Just before serving, brushwith a little of the plum juice that will haveleached from the plums while resting on theplate so that your plums glisten. If there is notenough use some of the jasmine plum syrup.

TIP Decorate with white jasmine flowers if youwant to be very on trend. Just make sure youuse Jasminum officinale identified by its ovalshiny leaves and white tubular flowers andNOT poisonous false jasmine aka woodbine oryellow jasmine!

TIP This tart works wonderfully well withpretty much any stone fruit such as peaches,nectarines or apricots.

If you are lazy, just use fresh figs and a prebakedpie case with the mascarpone cream.Instead of using jasmine tea feel free to useEarl Grey instead, which I think works betterwith other stone fruit.


TagsFrance m7 Matt Preston recipes TIP

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