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Dad’s Recipes with David Burton



Aussie father and businessman, David Burton, is a self-taught cook—learning mostly from books and TV shows such as Iron Chef and Chopped. David is the first to admit that his own mother and father weren’t big on cooking but “mum could open a great can of beans and dad was a master of scrambled eggs.”

Growing up on the Gold Coast of Australia, with year-round sunshine and outdoor life, gave David a love of fresh ingredients and clean, vibrant flavours but it’s his love for travel that has influenced his cooking style the most. “Living in Doha gives ordinary people extraordinary opportunities. We’ve been able to travel around the world extensively and experience true cultural diversity with many types of food and cultures. Although my core cooking style is from Australia, travelling has truly influenced my personal style. I’ve been exposed to many different ingredients from around the world.”

Asia has become a major source of inspiration for David—every year, the whole family treks out to Sri Lanka to surf the waves and sample the local cuisine. “I’ve developed a real love for Asian food from Sri Lanka, Japan and Thailand. I like spices and simple ingredients that combine to give a distinctive taste. Italian food also features heavily in my cooking with pasta as a firm weekly favourite. It’s super easy and my cupboard essential! My two sons, Alexander and Walker, love it.”

When the weather cools down, David likes nothing more than dusting off the barbie for a spot of grilling with family and friends. It’s a great way of gathering his close-knit circle of friends for a catch up after the hectic working week. “We all lead very busy lives and I think it’s important to find an interest or hobby to meet other like-minded people. I started playing golf when I first arrived in Qatar and met a group of men who have become great friends. We now play squash twice a week and we love getting together for family events such as BBQs on the weekend.”

David has created a few tried and tested techniques to help juggle his work, family and social commitments. So what advice would he give to other parents trying to stay on top of family mealtimes? “My best advice is to pre-plan for the week. I always choose a protein for the daily meal and work around it. Then I write it down on my whiteboard on the fridge—it’s a great reminder. Every week I have one major shop for bulk buying and two ‘top-up’ shops. We hardly eat processed or packaged food so I buy a lot of fresh ingredients. I try to use the ‘farm to fork’ concept by cooking with as much local and seasonal produce as possible. Over the years I’ve moved from being an unconscious to a conscious cook.”

David is keen to share his love of cooking with his two sons. “My goal is for my boys to be able to create ten great meals by the time they go to university!”

Simply Amazing Pasta

Serves three to four

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into fine slivers
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced, divided by green and white sections
  • ¼ cup capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1 box angel hair pasta (approximately 450g)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine olive oil, garlic, chilli, tomatoes, spring onion (white parts only), capers, salt, pepper and basil. Mix together and set aside
  2. Cook pasta al dente as per instructions on the box. Remove from heat, drain and return to pot
  3. Add the olive oil mixture to the pasta. Stir and toss well. Cover and let sit for five minutes. The hot pasta will warm the rest of the ingredients
  4. Serve into bowls. Top with a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with sliced green onions and parmesan cheese

Salmon with Asparagus

Serves four

Ingredients

  • 2 cups short-grain brown rice
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 salmon fillets, bones removed
  • 2 bunches asparagus (approximately five stalks per person)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the rice and water to a boil. Stir once, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer undisturbed for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for five minutes before fluffing the rice with a fork and mixing in the butter
  2. In a large frying pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil and place the fillets skin side down in the pan. Cook for one to two minutes on both sides or until fully cooked. Remove and place on a paper towel to rest
  3. In a medium frying pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the asparagus for one minute
  4.  Place one serving of rice onto a plate. Add salmon and asparagus. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with chopped dill. Season with salt and pepper

David’s Top Tips

  • Invest in a magnetic white board for your fridge to track your weekly meal plan
  • Learn to create new variations on basic recipes
  • Keep your knives sharp
  • Know what’s stocked in your fridge and pantry
  • Clean the kitchen as you go

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