Warm weather, summer holidays, a shimmering pool — there’s no better time to entertain your family and friends with a meal that will wow them with its taste sensations — and your culinary skills.
As a special treat, Sydney Hills Living has convinced Darren Pettit, owner and chef of Meze Me Grove restaurant in Annangrove, to share some of his culinary secrets in a menu of his signature dishes. You’ll amaze and delight your friends with these spectacular dishes.
Meze Me Grove, one of the Hills’ finest restaurants, offers a dazzling fusion of Middle Eastern, Moroccan and French cuisines in a delightfully relaxed, spacious setting.
Darren has worked as a chef in Sydney for many years, and includes the Ritz Carlton Sydney, Sumac Darling Harbour and Kazbah Sydney in his impressive resumé. During this time he has developed and perfected his own unique take on Middle Eastern and Moroccan flavours.
A major attraction of these cuisines for Darren is the ability to include a wide variety of wonderful tastes on one plate, and they’re so easy to share among friends — one of life’s great joys, says Darren.
We agree wholeheartedly! Here is a menu, specially prepared for you by Darren, to share with family and friends in the unique beauty of the Hills in summer.

# Baharat spiced beef short rib tagine, medjool date, beans, golden couscous Ingredients: * 2kg beef short rib * 2tbs olive oil * 100g dates * 2tbs baharaat (Lebanese 7 spice powder) * 1 cinnamon quill * 3 green cardamon pods * 3 cloves * 2 onions diced (sautéed) * 2 garlic cloves (sautéed) * Rich beef stock (to cover) * 1 tbs salt * 2 tbs brown sugar

Marinate the beef with the baharaat and olive oil for one hour.
On a high heat seal the beef on all sides.
In a tagine add all the ingredients with enough beef stock to cover them. Cover and cook over a low heat for 2-3 hours. Keep checking the liquid — you will have to add more beef stock regularly.
Cook until the meat is tender and just falling off the bone.

Golden couscous


Boil the carrots in vegetable stock until soft, and blend until smooth.
Add the chermoula, salt and pepper.
Pour hot stock over the couscous in a large bowl, and cover with cling wrap until cooked.
Remove the cling wrap, fluff with a fork, and mix with olive oil or butter.

# Sumac salmon, smoked green wheat, orange, fennel, avocado salad, citrus dressing ## Sumac Salmon Ingredients: * Fresh Atlantic salmon, skin on, 180g * 30ml Olive oil * 20g Butter * Maldon sea salt * Sumac * Cracked pepper

Season the salmon with sea salt and cracked pepper, especially on the skin side.
Place a non-stick pan on heat until hot.
Add the oil, then add the salmon skin down in the hot pan and add the butter.
Lower the heat slightly, leave the skin until really crispy — around 4 to 5 minutes — then turn the salmon over on low heat for 1 minute until cooked opaque [medium rare].
Sprinkle the salmon with sumac to taste.
Serve on top of the orange fennel salad.

Baby Fennel and Orange Salad


Fennel seed dressing


Combine all the ingredients, and whisk until emulsified.



Sweat the onion and fennel, and deglaze with white wine.
Add the freekeh and vegetable stock, and cook until tender.

# Pomegranate macerated strawberries, spiced meringue, crème diplomat, strawberry sorbet, mint Meringue Ingredients: * 50g egg whites * 80g caster sugar

Whisk the eggs until fluffy, rain in the sugar, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
Pipe onto baking trays and bake at 90°C for
1½ hours.

Macerated Strawberries


Creme Diplomat


Fold them together.

Pistachio Crack


Toast the pistachio nuts and place them on baking paper on a tray.
Place the sugar and water into a pot and boil until a golden colour is reached.
Remove from heat carefully, add the butter and spices, and pour over the pistachios, allow to cool.
Blend to a coarse powder.

Pastry Cream (Creme Patisiere)


Bring the milk and vanilla to the boil.
Whisk the yolks and sugar together, followed by the corn flour.
Pour over the milk, whisk continuously over low heat until boiling.
Allow to cool.