Food queen's menu inspires and delivers at Aurrum
FOOD ambassador Karen Martini inspires and delivers exciting recipes for seniors who have chosen to be a part of the Aurrum aged care community.
For the last three years the passionate chef, restaurateur and television cooking personality has been developing a range of meals that match Aurrum's goal of providing its clients with an exceptional aged care experience in an extraordinary environment.
Every six months she contributes about 20 new recipes and then teaches the Aurrum staff how to prepare and present the exciting eating experiences in each of the Aurrum's nine facilities.
Karen's release of her spring recipes has coincided with the opening this month of Aurrum's newest premium aged care facility, Aurrum Terrigal Drive, at Erina on the NSW central coast.
Nearby Aurrum Erina residents were the lucky ones to taste test 10 of Karen's spring recipes.
"They sampled them and gave me their feedback. Now they will get tweaked," Karen said.
"It's a great process and very inspiring as it's not just about supplying the recipes.
"I take feedback from the clients through our food forums," she added.
Karen's approach to the recipes she develops for Aurrum is different; modern, but in an old-fashioned way. She looks at food as being not just daily fuel, but also delicious, vibrant, exciting, and nutritionally sound.
"We are trying to change the attitude to aged care in what should we serve. It's not fine dining, it's about those comfort dishes that make people feel good," Karen said.
"I don't have a medicinal approach to it. I always chase flavour first. And if you have cooked from scratch and used seasonal ingredients, it is going to be nutritionally sound anyway, especially with the methods of cooking that I suggest we use.
"It's got to have some spunk in it, be vibrant and enticing.
"Flavour comes first, but appealing to the eye as well is very important."
Her recipe that has caused a "stir" among the residents has been her lamb shanks. It's been very popular. But now she is shaking that recipe up with a new version.
It's a sticky spiced lamb shank, braised with honey, currants, parsnip and cinnamon. It's very rich and nurturing.
"The lamb flavour is something a lot of residents really appreciate. The touch of spice and sweetness really brings it to life," she said
Some of her other new recipes are chicken and corn soup with sour cream and a touch of smoky paprika, a spiced lamb strap with pomegranate molasses, spinach and smashed almonds dust, and moussaka.
While Karen is slowly introducing some new ingredients, the old favourites are still on the menu, such as spaghetti bolognaise and shepherd's pie.
"There's even been a request for braised pork belly with sauerkraut," she added.
Karen's role is hands-on as she works intensely with the facility chefs and their staff, teaching them her food philosophy and showing each of them how to prepare her recipes so that they can have ownership of the new eating approach.
"We are achieving great change," she said.
"Everything I do comes down to a love of food and this is another avenue which is very satisfying."
Aurrum's Terrigal Drive has 71 beds across the five-star facility. Each suite has high quality fittings and fixtures and is complemented by a marble ensuite.
It will operate with 24 hour, seven days a week nursing care.
The delightfully landscaped garden with its tranquil hinterland views and the nearby al-fresco dining area, wellness and hydrotherapy centres where individualised programs will be delivered, on-site hairdressing salon, café, private dining and cinema makes this a premium aged care facility.
"It's got outstanding social spaces with quite luxurious surroundings," Karen said
"From a kitchen point of view, it's a very fresh idea and approach in an open and convivial space that has a more restaurant environment.
"I think Aurrum is extraordinarily different and innovative.
"We are pioneers in this industry and we still have a lot of goals we want to kick.
"Exceptional aged care in an extraordinary environment is true," she added.
For more information on Aurrum Terrigal Drive, go to www.aurrum.com.au or call 1800 287 786.