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Gently Poached South Australian squid, Octopus, Garlic Custard, Radishes, Scented Flowers, Roasted Squid Consommé

At Sydney’s acclaimed Quay restaurant, Peter Gilmore’s graceful, harmonious, nature - based cuisine fights for attention with the beautiful harbour views – and still wins hands-down, as every mouthful reveals layer upon layer of flavour. Look, learn and, best of all, taste this truly great chef’s beautifully balanced food, with its almost Asian respect for texture.


  • Squid

  • 2 kg whole southern squid

  • 500g octopus

  • 8 red core radishes

  • 500ml clarified butter

  • 24 small cherry bell radishes

  • 16 sweet violets

  • 16 native violets

  • 24 rosemary flowers

  • 24 society garlic flowers

  • 24 radish flowers

  • 16 pea flowers

  • sea salt

  • Roasted Squid Consommé

  • 500g squid trimmings

  • 500g chicken wings

  • 50ml grapeseed oil

  • 100g unsalted butter

  • ½ small brown onion, peeled and chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 1 stick celery, peeled and chopped

  • 300ml sake

  • 3 litres water

  • Raft

  • 250g chicken breast meat

  • 100g squid trimmings

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 clove garlic

  • ½ onion

  • 1 celery stick

  • 6 egg whites

  • Garlic Custard

  • 20g unsalted butter

  • 3 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • 380ml full cream milk

  • sea salt

  • 1 whole egg

  • 3 egg yolks

  • Other ingredients

  • peel the red core radishes and slice into fine discs about 1mm thin.

  • cut the tiny cherry bell radishes in half and put aside.

  • sort through the flowers and have them ready to serve.


  • Squid:

  • 1.

    To prepare this dish you will need reasonably large squid (approximately 200g weight per squid).

  • 2.

    Remove the tentacles, head and intestines from the squid. Reserve the tentacles and discard the head and intestines.

  • 3.

    Cut the squid tubes in half lengthways and spread them out on a bench. With a clean kitchen towel rub off all the skin and with a sharp knife cut the squid into even rectangles. Reserve all the trimmings.

  • 4.

    Use a sharp, flexible filleting knife to cut the squid horizontally into thin continuous strips about 1mm thin. Each squid rectangle should yield six to seven strips. Each strip is then cut into 1cm thick ribbons.

  • 5.

    This is a highly skilled technique. If you find it too difficult the squid rectangles could simply be julienned into fine strips. Refrigerate the squid ribbons until required.

  • Roasted Squid Consommé:

  • 1.

    Chop the chicken wings into small pieces using a cleaver. Slice the squid trimmings roughly and keep the tentacles whole.

  • 2.

    In a heavy based saucepan heat the grapeseed oil, when the pan is hot add the chicken wings and squid trimmings. Roast the wings and squid until they are nicely browned.

  • 3.

    Add the butter and vegetables and continue to brown for another four or five minutes, using a wooden spoon and stirring continuously until all ingredients are well coloured.

  • 4.

    Add the 300ml of sake and reduce on a high heat until virtually no liquid remains. Add the three litres of cold water and simmer on a low heat for 2½ hours.

  • 5.

    Strain and reserve the stock, remove any fat from the surface with a ladle. You should have 1½ litres of stock remaining after cooking.

  • Raft:

  • 1.

    Combine the chicken breast meat, squid, peeled carrot, garlic clove, onion and celery in a food processor and process until mixed.

  • 2.

    In a separate bowl lightly whisk the egg whites until very soft peaks form. Combine the egg white and chicken/vegetable mix.

  • 3.

    Place the strained stock in a clean saucepan on the stove on a low heat. Vigorously whisk the raft into the stock then increase the heat and allow the stock to come to simmering point. The raft will form a solid mass at the top of your stock.

  • 4.

    Turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting; you want the liquid to be just ticking over just under the raft. Do not stir the raft again at this point. You can make a small hole in the raft to see this is happening. Leave on the lowest possible heat for about 30 minutes. The raft will clarify and enrich your stock.

  • 5.

    Remove the pot from the heat and carefully strain the stock through a muslin cloth without breaking the raft up too much. Aladle is useful for this process. Once the stock is strained you should have a clear, pure, intensely flavoured squid and chicken consommé.

  • 6.

    Put the consommé in the fridge to be reheated later.

  • Garlic Custard:

  • 1.

    Melt the butter in a small saucepan and gently sweat the garlic in the butter but do not allow it to colour.

  • 2.

    Add the milk and bring the liquid to the point just before simmering (about 90C).

  • 3.

    Remove the pot from the heat and allow the garlic to infuse into the milk for about 15 minutes. Strain the milk and discard the garlic. Season the milk with sea salt to taste.

  • 4.

    When the milk has cooled sufficiently, whisk the milk onto the egg and egg yolk in a stainless steel bowl. Place the egg and milk mixture into eight ceramic containers approximately 50ml in each. At Quay we use small round ceramic dishes like a dariole mould but with a curved base.

  • 5.

    Cover these moulds tightly with cling film and place in the refrigerator until needed.

  • Octopus:

  • 1.

    Remove the legs from the octopus and thoroughly rinse them under cold water to remove any slime and grit.

  • 2.

    Slice the legs across into very fine discs; when these fine discs are heated in the butter they will curl up.

  • To Complete:

  • 1.

    Heat the clarified butter in a medium size saucepan allowing the butter to have a depth of at least 10cm. The butter will need to be at 75°C, use a thermometer for accuracy.

  • 2.

    Place a small stainless steel basket in the butter. Alternatively use a small strainer so that you can quickly remove the squid and octopus once it is cooked.

  • 3.

    Place the garlic custard ramekins into a steamer and steam on high for approximately eight minutes.

  • 4.

    While this is happening reheat the consommé and blanch the radishes in boiling water for one minute. Line each serving bowl with a ring of red core radish slices. Keep the cherry bell radishes warm.

  • 5.

    Poach the squid strips and sliced octopus tentacles in the clarified butter. Do this in at least three to four batches so the squid cooks evenly. The squid and octopus will take approximately one minute to cook in the butter. The squid will turn opaque and the octopus will curl.

  • 6.

    Remove the squid and octopus from the butter and drain well on a kitchen cloth. Repeat this process until all the squid and octopus is cooked.

  • 7.

    When the custards are ready remove them from the steamer and re move the plastic. Use a round soup spoon to remove the custards from the ramekins.

  • 8.

    Place a custard in the middle of each bowl and top with squid and octopus. Arrange the cherry bell radishes on top and garnish evenly with the flowers.

  • 9.

    Pour the consommé into a small serving jug. Serve the squid immediately and pour the hot consommé onto the squid at the table in front of your guests

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