Finding Fire is a book about cooking with fire. Now with a new cover, it tells the story of how the UK-trained chef Lennox Hastie learnt the language of fire and the art of harnessing it. The book presents more than 80 recipes that celebrate the instinctive, focused cooking of ingredients at their simple best using one of the oldest, most fundamental cooking tools.
In Finding Fire, Lennox explains the techniques behind creating a quality fire, and encourages readers to see wood as an essential seasoning that can be varied according to how it interacts with different ingredients. Recipes are divided by food type: seafood, vegetables, meat (including his acclaimed steak), fruit, dairy, wheat and bases.
Alongside his recipes, Lennox tells of his journey from Michelin-star restaurants in the UK, France and Spain to Victor Arguinzoniz’s Asador Etxebarri in the Basque mountains and, ultimately, to Australia to open his own restaurant, Firedoor. The result, is an uncompromising historical, cultural and culinary account of what it means to cook with fire.
In 2020, Lennox’s story was featured on the critically acclaimed Netflix series Chef’s Table, in season seven, BBQ. As well, he stars in David Chang’s Ugly Delicious season two episode on steak.
Blood orange upside-down cake
Blood oranges have a rich crimson hue and a distinct, almost raspberry sweetness. Semolina flour provides texture, while a purée of blood oranges roasted in the fire imbues this cake with the warm flavour of caramelized citrus, which pairs wells with the exotic fragrance of cardamom. The rich caramel incorporates pomegranate molasses, which balances the sweetness and makes the sunset intensity of blood orange shine even brighter.
RECIPE TYPE sweet
WOOD TYPE ironbark
HEAT medium embers
ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT tripod and 23 cm (9 in) Dutch oven, or 23 cm (9 in) springform cake tin, wood-fired oven and laser thermometer
4 blood oranges
6 cardamom pods
250 g (9 oz/1 cup) butter, diced, at room temperature, plus extra to grease
150 g (51⁄2 oz) soft brown sugar
200 g (7 oz) fine semolina
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest and juice of 2 blood oranges 200 g (7 oz)
crème fraîche, to serve
For the caramel
100 g (31⁄2 oz) pomegranate molasses
100 g (31⁄2 oz) soft brown sugar
50 g (13⁄4 oz) Smoked butter (page 227)
juice of 1 blood orange
- If using a Dutch oven, prepare your embers and set up a tripod over the fire. If using a springform cake tin, heat a wood-fired oven to 200°C (390°F).
- Nestle 2 whole oranges in the ashes and bake for 20 minutes until charred on the outside and soft in the centre.
- Remove the oranges from the ashes. Wipe the ash away and cut open to remove the seeds. Blend the oranges to form a purée. Reserve.
- Grease a Dutch oven or springform cake tin and line with baking paper. If using a springform cake tin, cover the outside base and side with foil to stop the caramel from leaking out.
- Prepare the caramel. Heat the pomegranate molasses, sugar, smoked butter and orange juice in a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, for 4 minutes until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Pour the caramel into the base of the Dutch oven or cake tin and allow to cool completely.
- Slice the remaining 2 oranges into 5 mm (1/4 in) thick rounds. Arrange the orange slices in concentric circles in a single layer on top of the caramel, starting with larger slices around the edge and using smaller slices as you work towards the centre.
- In a small frying pan, lightly toast the cardamom pods over a medium heat, remove the outer pod and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle.
- Prepare the cake. Beat the butter, sugar and crushed cardamom until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of semolina between each. Add the remaining semolina and the baking powder, and mix until combined. Add the orange juice, zest and burnt orange purée.
- Pour the mixture into the Dutch oven, cover with the lid securely
and suspend from the chain of the tripod over the burning embers. Alternatively, pour into the cake tin and place in the centre of the wood-fired oven. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. After removing from the heat, leave the cake in the Dutch oven or cake tin to cool for 10 minutes.
- Run a knife around the edges of the cake, then turning over the Dutch oven or cake tin to remove the cake. Carefully place onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve with crème fraîche
The blood orange purée can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. If blood oranges are not available, you can use navel oranges.
This can be made in a conventional oven; simply bake at 180°C (355°F).
Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.