Eggplant Tofu with Pickled Vegetables and 'Burnt' Bread

AGDA judge Mathew Macartney spends his days creating culinary works of art at Eleonore's Restaurant- Chateau Yering in the Yarra Valley . He kindly shared this extraordinary autumn recipe, that showcases technique driven ways to complement seasonal vegetables with dairy. Try if you dare, or jump in the car and experience his creations firsthand!

For the Eggplant Tofu

1 large eggplant, peeled & cut into wedges
2 tablespoons white miso
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
juice of ½ lime
juice of ½ lemon
good amount of vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to season
5g Iota Carrageenan Powder (available at specialty food stores)
100ml full cream milk


  1. Steam eggplant immediately (to avoid discoloring) at 100°C for 10-12 mins until eggplant is tender then place eggplant in a tea-towel and ring out moisture.  Place in blender with miso, mirin, vinegar, lime and lemon and puree until smooth, gradually adding vegetable oil until light and pale. Pass through a sieve, then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine eggplant puree, Iota Carrageenan and milk bring to a simmer, season. Remove from the heat and pour into lightly greased containers. Refrigerate until set.  When set and ready to serve, carefully turn out onto a tray and portion into 10cm long x 2cm wide x 2cm thick pieces.


For the Ash

1 leek, white part only, split in half and separated into strips
10 cloves garlic, peeled

1 brown onion, finely sliced

50g hay



  1. Lay all ingredients separately on trays and dry out overnight. Once all ingredients are completely dry blacken them in an oven on 170°C for roughly 10 minutes. To finish off the hay set fire to it and ensure it is completely burnt out. Combine all burnt elements and process in a high speed blender until it becomes a fine powder.

For the Ash Water

25g onion ash (same process as the other ash)
40g hay ash (same process as the other ash)
500g water


  1. Combine all ingredients and bring to the boil. Stain through a fine cloth.

For the ‘Burnt’ Bread

200ml full cream milk
40g butter
20g sugar
8g salt
25g yeast
275g 00 flour
18g ash
ash water and clarified butter, for finishing


  1. Warm milk and butter in a pot to 30°C no higher and add yeast to the milk.
  2. Place all ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer and knead with a dough hook at full speed for 7 minutes, until the dough turns elastic. Place the dough in bread tins ensuring that it sits no more than half way up. Prove for 40 minutes until the dough reaches the top edges.
  3. Bake at 200°C for 25-30 minutes. Turn out and allow to cool. Slice the bread into 3cm slices and remove the crust. Tear the bread into chunks and spray with Ash Water (see recipe below) and leave to dry for 2 hours.
  4. Just before serving, spray the bread with clarified butter and bake at 200°C for 2 minutes. Then lightly blowtorch the bread.


For the kale chips:

6 leaves kale
vegetable oil, to deep-fry


Remove stems from kale and fry in hot oil until crisp. Season to taste.


For the Pickled Vegetables

1 green zucchini sliced into ribbons and lightly grilled
1 yellow zucchini sliced into ribbons and lightly grilled
100g wild autumn mushrooms such as pines or slippery jacks cut into small wedges
250ml pickle mix (see below)

For the Pickle Mix

375ml white vinegar
40 ml lime juice
190g caster sugar
½ tbsp. coriander seed
½ tbsp. fennel seed
½ bay leaf
½ tsp peppercorns
½ chilly split
½ tbsp. salt


  1. Combine all Pickle Mix ingredients, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Pour some of the hot liquid over the mushrooms and allow remaining mix to cool. Strain and pour over zucchini.


To Construct:

Place one piece of the cut Eggplant Tofu on each plate and decorate with the following:

12 violet flowers
Kale Chips
160 goat’s curd (2 x 20g balls per serve)
Ash Bread
2 x black radishes washed and finely sliced
Pickled Zucchini
Pickled Wild Mushrooms