Braised Oxtail with Orange Coriander Gremolata

 

Serves 4

  • 2k oxtail, cut into joints
  • 1 hot chilli, seeds removed
  • 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 500ml dark ale
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, skin removed
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • Peel from ½ an orange
  • Parsley stalks from ½ bunch parsley
  • 1-2tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime cheeks and steamed rice to serve

Gremolata

  • 1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 130C. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole over a medium heat, and brown the oxtail in 2 stages until golden brown. Add tomato, ale, onion, garlic, rosemary, cinnamon, star anise, orange peel, parsley, salt, pepper and enough water to just cover the oxtail. Bring to a simmer, skimming any scum that rises to the top, cover with a sheet of crumpled parchment paper, and the lid, and put into the oven for 3 hours, or until meat is falling off the bone.

Remove oxtail, take all meat off the bones, and set aside covered while you strain the sauce, and reduce slightly over a medium heat until thickened slightly*. Taste for seasoning, return oxtail to casserole, let cool, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove from fridge, and scrape the solidified fat from the surface, it will peel away easily in large pieces. Combine all ingredients for the gremolata in a small bowl.

Gently reheat over a low heat, and serve with steamed rice, gremolata, and a lime cheek.

*I prefer to have the sauce slightly on the thin side, as the rice soaks it up perfectly. However, just make sure the sauce is seasoned well, when it’s the consistency you like.


Fried Coconut Rice with Duck, Prawns and Cucumber Pickle

 

Coconut Rice

  • 350g Basmati rice
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cardamon pods, crushed
  • 3 cloves
  • Pinch of sea salt

Rinse the rice, drain and tip into a heavy based pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Take off heat and leave to stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves and spices, fluff the rice with a fork, and leave to cool. This makes around 4 cups, you’ll need 3 cups loosely packed rice for this dish.

Preferably make this a few hours before starting to prepare the fried rice.

Cucumber Red Onion Pickle

  • ½ cup brown rice vinegar
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut in half lengthways and finely sliced
  • 2 red Asian shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 small hot red chillies, seeded and finely sliced

In a small saucepan over a medium heat simmer the vinegar and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a bowl, add cucumber, shallots and chillies, stir to combine and refrigerate for no longer than 30 minutes.

Fried Rice

Serves 4

  • 300g chopped Peking duck
  • 300g shelled and chopped raw prawns
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, tender part only, sliced
  • 3 cups loosely packed coconut rice
  • 1/2tbsp sesame oil
  • 2tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 green chillies, seeded and sliced
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • ½ bunch spring onions, sliced
  • 1 handful each of mint and coriander sprigs
  • Wedges of lime, and cucumber red onion pickle to serve

In a wok over a medium heat sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass in the coconut oil until fragrant and soft. Add the chopped prawns, cook until pink, then toss in the duck, stirring constantly for a minute or two, then add 3 cups of coconut rice. Turn up the heat, combine well with other ingredients, and fry for about 3-4 minutes.  When hot, and slightly crispy, add sesame oil and fish sauce, stirring through. Taste, adding more if you think necessary. Fold through chillies, lime leaves and spring onions. Spoon onto a platter and top with pickled cucumber and onion, and sprigs of fresh herbs.

Serve with wedges of lime on the side.


Seared Salmon, Chèvre with Fresh Dill and Quinoa Salad

 

Serves 4

  • 4 salmon fillets, skin off
  • 1 packet ‘Meredith Dairy Chèvre with Fresh Dill’
  • 200g Quinoa, rinsed
  • 50g eschalots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups shelled peas and broad beans
  • 2 tbsp diced preserved lemon
  • 2 tbsp shelled pistachio nuts
  • A large handful of watercress sprigs with a little fresh mint and parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh dill fronds
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil, plus 2tbsp extra
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges to serve

In a small saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add the quinoa, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes. The quinoa will absorb all the water. Transfer to a large bowl to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sliced eschalots with lemon juice and 1tsp salt in a small bowl, and set aside. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, add a teaspoon of salt, and quickly blanch peas and broad beans. Rinse under cold water, and drain well.

Now add eschalots, including all the lemon juice, peas, broad beans, preserved lemon, pistachios and soft herbs to the quinoa. Add ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and gently combine. Set aside while you cook the salmon.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, brush salmon with 2tbsp olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook the salmon for about 2 -3 minutes on each side, remove from pan and allow to rest while you break up the chèvre into small pieces.

Put generous spoonfuls of the  quinoa salad on four plates, top with a piece of salmon, and scatter the chèvre and dill fronds over the fish.

Serve with wedges of lemon.


Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry with Natural Goat Milk Yoghurt

 

Serves 4

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2tbsp red curry paste
  • 600g sweet potato, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 250g Meredith Dairy Goat Milk Yoghurt
  • 1 bunch coriander, rinsed and torn into sprigs
  • 1 lime cut into four wedges
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and fry the onion and garlic over a low heat for 3 minutes.

Add the curry paste and the sweet potato, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes, add enough water to just cover the sweet potatoes, and simmer until just cooked, about 30 minutes.

Turn down the heat to low, fold in the chickpeas and the yoghurt to warm through. Do not boil, or yoghurt will become grainy.

Season with salt and pepper, top with coriander sprigs, and serve with steamed rice and wedges of lime.


Osso Buco with Pancetta, Spring Peas and Broad Beans

 

Serves 6

Preparation: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 2.5 – 3 hours

  • 6 pieces Osso Buco, 2cm thick
  • 50g plain flour
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • 100g pancetta chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, peeled and sliced
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ bottle dry white wine
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 200g shelled baby peas
  • 200g double peeled broad beans
  • 2-3tbs fresh tarragon leaves

Tarragon and Parsley Gremolata

  • Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1.5tbs parsley, finely chopped
  • 1.5tbs tarragon, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 150C. Dust each piece of osso buco with flour, salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan that will hold all the osso buco in one layer. Brown and seal the meat well on both sides, then remove from the pan, pouring out the fat. Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper.

Add the butter, and when melted, gently fry the pancetta, celery, onion, and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the bay leaves and thyme, and pour in the wine, and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes until reduced a little and then place the osso buco back into the pan. Pour in 300ml of the stock, it should just cover the meat, bring to a simmer and cover with a sheet of crumpled baking paper. Put the lid on, place in the oven, and cook for 1 hour. After an hour, turn heat down to 130C and cook for another 1.5 - 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender, almost falling away from the bone. Check every now and then to see if there is enough liquid, if not, add more of the stock.

Whilst the osso buco is cooking, combine the gremolata ingredients together and set aside. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and quickly blanch peas and broad beans until bright green and just cooked. Drain, and run under cold water to preserve green colour.

When osso buco is cooked, add peas and broad beans to warm through, and taste for seasoning. Serve scattered with tarragon leaves and gremolata.


Grilled Rib Eye with Romesco Sauce

 

Serves 4

Preparation: 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes seasoning time for Rib Eye. Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

  • 4 x 5cm thick Rib Eye steaks at room temperature
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Romesco Sauce

  • 3 ripe Roma tomatoes, about 250g
  • 1 large red capsicum, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 35g skinned almonds
  • 15g fine breadcrumbs
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • 1.5tbs sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat a large cast iron pan over a medium heat and lightly toast almonds. Transfer them to a food processor and process until the almonds are a mix of fine and chunky bits. Remove, and place in a mixing bowl. Place the tomatoes, capsicum, onion and garlic in the pan and cook until the skin of the vegetables are charred in spots and soft, about 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat, remove vegetables, skin and seed the tomatoes and capsicum, squeeze garlic flesh from skin and process until fairly smooth. Add to almonds and stir in the breadcrumbs, olive oil, vinegar, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and a little salt and pepper. Taste, and add more vinegar and salt if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge until needed.

Rib Eye

Preheat barbecue to a medium/high heat. Rub olive oil into the steaks and generously season with salt and pepper. Let them stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Put the steaks on the grill and cook uncovered for 8 minutes. Turn the steaks over and cook, still uncovered for 5 minutes, then put lid down and cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove to a board, tent with foil and let rest for about 8 minutes before slicing into 1cm thick slices and serving on a warm platter with the juices and Romesco sauce.


Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Salsa Verde and Mint Yoghurt

 

Serves 6

Preparation: 15 minutes, plus ½ hour marinating. Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

  • 1 butterflied leg of lamb weighing 1.2 kilos
  • 1/3 cup rosemary leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Salsa Verde

  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup tightly packed mint leaves
  • ½ cup tightly packed parsley leaves
  • 1tbs capers
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Mint Yoghurt

  • 1 cup natural Greek yoghurt
  • ½tbs dried mint
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Sea salt

Blend rosemary, garlic and oil in a blender until finely chopped. Season lamb all over with salt and pepper and smear with rosemary mixture. Put aside for ½ hour to marinate, and preheat oven to 190C.

Combine all the ingredients for the mint yoghurt and put in fridge until needed.

Process all the ingredients for the Salsa Verde in a blender until herbs are finely chopped, season with salt and pepper, and put aside.

Place lamb, skin side up in a shallow baking dish lined with baking paper and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. This time will result in pink lamb. Cook for 5 minutes more, if you prefer the lamb to be less pink.

Take lamb out of oven, tent with foil for 10 minutes, slice thinly, and serve with mint yoghurt and salsa verde 


Pork and Veal Meatballs with a Spiced Tomato Sauce

 

Serves 4

Preparation: ½ hour. Cooking: ½ hour

Meatballs

  • 500g pork and veal mince
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1tbs chopped marjoram leaves
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2tsp cumin seeds
  • 2tsp fennel seeds
  • 2tsp coriander seeds
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 2tb butter
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • Reserved toasted spices
  • 600ml tomato passata
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 125ml water
  • 1.5tbs ‘Salumi Australia’ Nduja ( This is a soft, spicy spreadable salami. If you can’t find it, use 1tsp chilli flakes.)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped marjoram leaves
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Put the pork and veal mince into a large bowl, add garlic, lemon zest, marjoram and breadcrumbs and onion. Toast spices gently in a small fry pan for a minute or two until they start to smell fragrant and begin to pop. Immediately tip into a mortar and pound with the pestle until finely ground. Add half the spice mix to the meat, and set aside the other half for the sauce. Season the meat generously, and mix well. Shape into 14 large meatballs, and set aside.Melt the butter in a large wide saucepan over a low heat. Add the garlic, the reserved toasted spices and the bay leaves, and gently cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in the tomato passata, sugar, salt, pepper and 125ml water. Turn up the heat, and bring to a simmer. Add the Nduja working it well into the sauce. Cook for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the meatballs to the sauce, turn down the heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. Taste the sauce for seasoning, add a good squeeze of lemon juice and the chopped marjoram leaves. Serve with thick slices of toasted bread drizzled with olive oil.


Pork Cutlets with Currants, Sicilian Olives, Fennel and Sage

 

Serves 4

Preparation: 10 minutes. Cooking: 8 minutes

  • 4x 2cm thick pork cutlets
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 2tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2tbs currants
  • 40g Sicilian olives, pitted
  • 2tbs pine nuts
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ bunch sage leaves
  • 1tbs butter
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges to serve

Chop olives roughly, peel and slice garlic finely and combine with currants, pine nuts, fennel seeds and sage in a small bowl.Heat oil in a large fry pan over a medium-high heat. Season pork cutlets with salt and pepper, place in pan, and cook for 3 minutes. Turn, and cook other side for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add vinegar, careful, this will splatter. Quickly add currants, olives, pine nuts, fennel seeds, garlic, sage and butter. Tilt pan and spoon sauce over pork chops, basting well for about 1 minute. Remove pork and sauce from pan, and serve with lemon wedges.


Coriander and Citrus Marinated Chicken with Cucumber Pickle

 

Serves 6-8

Preparation: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours marinating. Cooking time: 35 minutes.

  • 2x butterflied 1.5-1.6 Chickens cut in half
  • 2 cups coriander, stems and leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3tbs freshly grated ginger
  • 2tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2tsp sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1tbs lime juice
  • 1tbs orange juice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • Extra oil for cooking
  • 6-8 lime cheeks

Cucumber Pickle

  • ½ cup brown rice vinegar
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut in half lengthways and finely sliced
  • 1 red Asian shallot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 small hot red chillies, seeded and finely sliced

Before starting the marinade, soak eight wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes to stop them from burning during cooking. With a sharp knife, slash each chicken half a few times on the breast and legs to allow the marinade to penetrate. Run a skewer through the flesh of each chicken half to secure it and keep it flat whilst cooking. Place chickens in a large dish.

Marinade

Put the coriander, ginger, pepper, salt, garlic, juices and oil in a blender and process until smooth. Pour marinade over chickens, massage well into flesh, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours, then bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before coking.

Cucumber Pickle

In a small saucepan over a medium heat simmer the vinegar and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a bowl, add cucumber, shallot and chillies, stir to combine and refrigerate until needed.

Chicken

Barbecue the chicken on the cast iron hotplate, not the grill. Preheat your barbecue to high, rub the hotplate with a little oil, and place the chicken halves skin side down for 5 minutes, lid closed. Reduce heat to medium, turn chicken over, close lid, and cook for another 25-30 minutes. Rest covered in foil for 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving with cucumber pickle and lime cheeks.


Mushroom and Spinach Galette

 

Serves 2-4 depending on appetites

The pastry

  • 110g plain flour, sieved
  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 1 small egg
  • Salt

Put the flour, butter, egg and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until it forms a ball, this won’t take long. Remove from processor, shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours so that it loses all elasticity and will not shrink during baking.

Mushroom Duxelles

Makes 1 cup

  • 1tbsp butter
  • 250g field mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1tsp roasted and crushed coriander seed
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a fry pan over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme leaves, crushed coriander seed and a pinch of salt, cook, stirring until mushrooms have released their liquid,  then raise heat to high, cooking until all liquid has evaporated. Stir in parsley, a good grating of nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Let cool before using,

The Galette

  • 300g mushrooms of your choice, sliced
  • ½ bunch spinach, washed well, and stems removed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 25g toasted pine nuts
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve:

  • Large handful of soft herbs like dill, mint, rocket, baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup of crème fraîche mixed with a little roasted, crushed coriander seed, and nutmeg to taste.

Heat a decent slurp of olive oil in a large frypan over a medium-heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown, but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. In the same pan, heat about 1/2tbsp olive oil over a medium heat, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach, and toss until just wilted, and transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms. Stir in the pine nuts, taste for seasoning, and let cool to room temperature.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 200C, remove pastry from fridge, unwrap, and roll out to a diameter of approximately 30cm between 2 sheets of baking paper. Put a layer of the mushroom duxelles in the middle, leaving a 5cm border around the perimeter. Now, place the mushroom/spinach mix over the duxelles and bring the sides of the pastry up to cover some of the filling. Just loosely drape it, it doesn’t need to be perfect, rustic is better. Make an egg wash with the egg yolk and milk and with a pastry brush, gently brush the exposed pastry with the glaze. Place the tart, still on baking paper, in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, turn oven down to 180C and bake for another 10 minutes. The tart will be golden brown, and the pastry will be crisp. Remove from oven, scatter with the fresh herbs, drizzle with olive oil, and serve warm with the crème fraîche.


Coq au Vin. Revisiting a Classic: No1

 

Coq au Vin

Serves 4-8 depending on appetites

  • 8 large trimmed chicken thighs
  • 2tbsp butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Bouquet garni made of 3 fresh bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary and a few parsley stalks
  • 200g piece of speck or pancetta
  • 24 French eschalots
  • 400g mushrooms, cut in half if large
  • 3tbsp brandy
  • 2/3 bottle red wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 150C. Pat chicken dry with kitchen paper and season well with salt and pepper. In a large casserole melt 1tbsp butter and a little olive oil and brown the chicken thighs on both sides. Remove, and drain well on kitchen paper. Put the chopped onion and garlic in the casserole and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft. Replace chicken in casserole, pour in brandy and ignite with a long match. Please be careful of your face! When flames have died down, put bouquet garni in the pot, and pour in the red wine and the chicken stock to just cover. Season, and bring to a simmer over a medium heat, pop on the lid and place in the preheated oven. Immediately turn down the oven to 140C, and cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the ecshalots, and cook them in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain and set aside. Cut the speck into lardons, place them in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Immediately drain, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Now heat a fry pan over a medium heat and add the lardons. Fry until crisp and brown, remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper. In the rendered fat from the lardons, brown the onions, set aside, and then fry the mushrooms, adding the extra butter, and season when golden brown.

After 45 minutes, check the chicken, if tender, remove to a warm dish with the lardons, onions and mushrooms, and reduce the sauce over a high heat to a light syrup consistency, skimming off any matter that rises to the surface. Then check seasoning, and strain through a fine sieve. Discard bouquet garni and other solids. Pour back into the pot, add the chicken, lardons, onions and mushrooms and reheat gently in the sauce, Serve scattered with parsley, and big spoonsfuls of garlic mash.

Garlic Mash

Serves 4

  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 100ml milk, heated
  • 4tbsp butter, plus a few extra knobs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes and garlic in a salted pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until they are tender and can be pierced with a knife. Drain well, and put potatoes through a ricer back into the saucepan. (If you don’t have a ricer, just mash very well).  Over a low heat toss the mashed potatoes to dry out a little, then add the heated milk and butter, and whisk well to combine. Season well, and whisk in a few extra knobs of butter for a rich, silky finish.

Chicken Stock

  • 1kg chicken wings
  • 3 chicken carcasses, chopped into pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 leek, cut in half, split lengthways and rinsed
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
  • 2 carrots, rinsed and cut into pieces
  • 1 large brown onion, rinsed and cut in half
  • ½ head garlic, crushed
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • Stalks from 1 bunch parsley

Preheat oven to 200C. Toss the chicken wings and carcasses in enough olive oil to coat and transfer to a large baking tray. Put in the oven and roast until they are a golden brown, shaking the tray occasionally so they don’t stick. When golden, remove tray from oven, and transfer bones to a large stockpot. Pour 1 cup of water into the tray, and deglaze the tray on the stovetop over a medium heat. Tip this mixture into the stockpot with the bones. Add the vegetables, herbs, and enough water to cover the bones. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, skimming off any grey scum that rises to the surface as you go, then reduce the heat and allow to gently simmer for 4 hours. Turn off the heat and let cool. Skim off fat and gently ladle the stock through a fine sieve and portion it into even batches to store. The stock will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, and freezes for 2 months in the freezer.


Beef Cheeks in Burgundy

 

  • 8 beef cheeks, trimmed
  • 1 strip orange peel
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • A few sprigs thyme, rosemary and parsley 
  • 1 bottle red wine, preferably a pinot
  • About ½ litre good chicken stock
  • 3tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3tbsp unsalted butter
  • 500g mushrooms, whatever you like. If large, tear apart into smallish pieces
  • 225g speck or pancetta, cut into lardons
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • A handful of parsley, chopped, to serve

Put the beef cheeks in a large bowl. Add the orange peel, carrot, onions, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Pour over the wine, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 140C and remove the beef from the marinade. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Drain the vegetables and herbs, reserving the wine. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large casserole, like a Le Creuset, heat 2tbsp olive oil and 2tbsp butter over a medium heat and brown the beef cheeks on all sides until caramelised. Add the reserved marinade ingredients except for the wine and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and chicken stock to just cover, bring to a simmer and cover with a sheet of crumpled baking paper. Put on the lid, and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Have a look after 2 hours, if the cooking liquid is simmering rapidly, turn down the oven to 130C.

Meanwhile, put the lardons into a small saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Drain, and pat dry. Now, heat a fry pan over medium heat, add 1tbs olive oil, and fry your lardons until they are nice and crisp. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper. In the same pan, add the remaining 1tbsp butter and fry the mushrooms over a high heat until brown. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.

When the beef cheeks are cooked, that is when the meat breaks apart easily, remove from oven and gently lift them out and place in a bowl. Leave vegetables and herbs behind. Now bring the cooking liquid to a boil, and reduce until it thickens to a syrup like consistency (this can take a little while). I like to skim off any grey scum that rises to the surface, as getting rid of it makes for a clearer sauce. When the liquid has reduced, turn off the heat, and put the whole lot through a sieve into a bowl pressing hard on the solids. Return to the casserole with beef cheeks, mushrooms and lardons. Reheat, taste for seasonings, add parsley and serve hot.


Confit Salmon with Rhubarb

 

Firstly I made Thomas Keller’s ‘green salt’ to lightly confit the salmon.

  • 1 cup course salt
  • 2 fresh bay leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2tbsp thyme leaves
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 1tsp black peppercorns

Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until the consistency is fine, and the colour is bright green. You will need only 3tbsp of the salt for this dish, it keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

  • 4 pieces skinless salmon fillets, weighing 150g each
  • 1tbsp olive oil for cooking the salmon

Rub the salmon with only 3tbsp of the green salt, place in a glass container, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour only. After 1 hour, take out of fridge, wash off salt, and dry on kitchen paper.       

  • 300g rhubarb cut into 10cm long pieces, and cut in half lengthways if they happen to be thick stalks
  • 2 pencil leeks each
  • 2 spring onions each
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1tbsp castor sugar
  • 2tsp sherry vinegar
  • ¾ tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 2tbsp maple syrup
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • Tarragon and parsley sprigs to serve

Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place rhubarb on one side of the tray and sprinkle with the castor sugar. Place leeks and spring onions on the other side of the tray and scatter the thinly sliced onions over all. Mix together the sherry vinegar, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup and olive oil and drizzle over rhubarb, leeks, spring onions and red onion. Place in the hot oven for between 6-8 minutes, rhubarb should be just cooked. Remove from oven, set aside and turn down oven to 170C.

Now, heat a medium sized fry pan over a medium heat, add 1tbsp olive oil and gently seal the salmon fillets on both sides, then put into the oven on a baking sheet lined with paper and cook for 5-8 minutes until just cooked.

Served on a bed of crushed new potatoes with the rhubarb, leeks, spring onions and wedges of lemon or lime and scatter with tarragon and parsley sprigs.


Onglet with Salsa di Rucola and Fresh Horseradish

For 4 people allow 200g – 250g of trimmed Onglet per person, depending on your appetite. Some extra virgin olive oil,sea salt flakes, freshly ground pepper and fresh horseradish. Ask your butcher to trim the Onglet for you and flatten it to a thickness of 1.5 – 2 cm. Onglet is also called Hanger steak in some countries.

Salsa di Rucola

  • 1/2 slice day old soughdough bread, crust removed
  • 150g (5oz) pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 100g fresh rocket (approximently 4 handfuls)
  • 50g (2oz) small capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper

Tear the soughdough bread into pieces and roughly pulse/chop to coarse breadcrumbs. Put aside. Pulse the rocket until finely chopped, add to breadcrumbs. Pulse the pinenuts to resemble the breadcrumbs, add to rocket and bread.

Using a pestle and mortar lightly pound the peeled garlic clove with a little salt. Add the capers, bread, rocket and pine nuts and mix together with the olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Season the trimmed Onglet with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and rub into the meat. Set aside and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Heat a cast iron ribbed griddle pan over a high heat. When smoking, place the Onglet onto the griddle and cook for 1 and a half minutes each side (2 minutes each side at the most, otherwise you will have something that resembles shoe leather). Remove from the pan and rest for 2-3 minutes.

To serve, carve each piece diagonally into 3-4 slices and place onto spoonfuls of the Salsa di Rucola on warm serving plates. Finely grate the horseradish on top and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.


Roasted Lamb Rack with Peperonata

 

Although this requires a little preparation, the peperonata can be made the day before and is served at room temperature.

Serves 4

  • 2 lamb racks, with 8 cutlets each, French trimmed*
  • 1 large red capsicum
  • 1 large yellow capsicum
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and torn in half
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 1 handful of fresh marjoram sprigs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra, to brush
  • 1-2 tbs sherry vinegar
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper to taste

Firstly, place the capsicums under a preheated grill and grill, turning constantly until the skin has blackened all over. Place in a plastic bag, turn off grill and leave capsicums for 10 minutes until cool enough to handle. Slip the skin off and discard. Split open the capsicums and remove the ribs and seeds. Now cut into strips approximately 7mm wide. This does not need to be exact. Set aside.

In a medium fry-pan heat the olive oil and gently fry the diced onion. When starting to soften, add the minced garlic and the capsicums. Cook gently for about 10 minutes,, then add the black olives, capers and tomatoes. Gently cook for another 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Place the mix in a sieve over a bowl to collect the liquid.  Put the liquid from the peperonata back into the fry-pan and over medium heat reduce it until it looks syrupy. Remove from heat, add 1 – 2 tbs vinegar and combine with peperonata and marjoram in a bowl. This can be made the day before, just bring to room temperature before serving and then add the marjoram.

Preheat the oven to 190c. Cut the lamb racks in half, then brush with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan over a high heat and brown the lamb racks, fat side down, for 2 minutes. Turn over and sear for another 2 minutes, then transfer the pan to the oven and roast fat side up for 10 – 15 minutes for medium rare. Remove from oven and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before cutting the lamb racks into double cutlets. Put a large spoonful of the peperonata onto each plate and place two double cutlets on top. A few marjoram leaves and a little drizzle of olive oil can also be added.

*French trimmed or “frenched” is a chef and butcher’s term for trimming and cleaning bones of meat, fat or sinew.


Duck Ramen

 

For 3 – 4 people

  • 3 duck legs
  • 1 – 2tbsp red curry paste. More if you like it hotter, less if you don’t
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock
  • A walnut sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • Sake, sesame oil and soy sauce
  • About 300g thin noodles, mine were a fresh chowmein variety
  • Sliced spring onions, soft boiled eggs, fresh greens and herbs
  • As long as they are beautifully fresh I see no reason to dictate to you exactly what and how much to use

Firstly pat dry the duck legs with kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof heavy based casserole over low heat (I use a Le Creuset). When hot, add your duck legs skin side down. Cook slowly; you want the skin crispy and golden, and the fat to render. Turn over to crisp the other side. As the fat starts to render from the duck, spoon it off into a bowl. When the duck skin is golden and crisp remove the legs to a plate and drain on kitchen paper. Now, use 2tbsp of the fat to cook the curry paste stirring over a low heat for a couple of minutes, then add the stock and sliced ginger and bring to a simmer. When simmering, add the duck, skin side up, put the lid on and place into a preheated 150C oven for 1 hour. After an hour, take the casserole out of the oven, remove the lid and let cool to room temperature. When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 180C, place your duck on a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper and place in the oven for about 15 minutes to warm through and crisp the skin. Warm the spicy chicken broth; add sake, soy and sesame oil to taste; cook your noodles and greens; take duck out of the oven and tear into bite sized pieces and start assembling; noodles first. Then, dive in and enjoy.


Chicken with Sage and Milk

 

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 180C and find a snug pot for a 1.5kg chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown, turning it, in about 50gm butter and a little olive oil until golden. Put the chicken on a plate, discard oil but keep any sticky bits. Return chicken to the pot, add 1 cinnamon stick, leaves from 1 bunch of fresh sage, the zest of one lemon, (I use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin in big strips), 10 unpeeled cloves of garlic and 570ml milk. Bring to a simmer and put in the oven,( do not cover), cooking for 1.5 hours, basting occasionally with the milky cooking juices. At the end of the cooking time there will be milky curds and juices in the bottom of the pot, spoon these gorgeous curds over the chicken when serving. No need to carve the chicken, just pull it apart with a fork and spoon. Leftovers are great too.


Poussin with Chestnut and Pancetta Stuffing

 

For the brine

  • 3.8 litres water
  • 1 cup rock salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 12 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 bulb garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 large rosemary sprigs
  • 1 large bunch thyme sprigs
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley sprigs
  • Stalks and fronds from 1 bulb fennel
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using.

I make this brine the day before I use it, and refrigerate it overnight. Never add meat to warm brine, or leave it longer in the brine than the specified time because it will become too salty.

If you intend to brine your birds, put them in the cold brine and place in the fridge for 4-5 hours, no longer, and then remove from brine and pat dry, inside the cavity too.

Recipe serves 4

For the Poussin

  • 4 Poussin weighing about 500g each. (These are also called Spatchcock)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • Half bunch fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 6 large cloves garlic
  • 2 brown onions peeled and thickly sliced

For the mushrooms

4 handfuls of mixed mushrooms, whatever you desire. This will depend on the time of year. 1tbsp butter,1 clove garlic, 1tbsp chopped parsley, approximately ¼ cup each of chicken stock and pouring cream.

For the Chestnut stuffing

  • 21/2 cups day old sourdough breadcrumbs, coarsely torn apart
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 pork sausages, meat removed from casing and formed into little chunks
  • ½ cup hazelnuts toasted, skin removed and roughly chopped
  • 150g pancetta, skin removed, and cut into small cubes
  • 3 eschalots, minced
  • 3/4 cup chestnuts, crumbled. I’ve used a tinned French brand
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup parsley, minced
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the breadcrumbs, thyme leaves, hazelnuts, chestnuts, garlic and parsley into a bowl. Gently mix. Heat a small fry pan over medium heat, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil and gently cook the pancetta until crispy. Remove with a spoon, and add to breadcrumb mix. Now gently cook the little chunks of sausage meat with the eschalots and garlic in the same pan until the sausage is just coloured, and the eschalots and garlic are soft. Combine with breadcrumb mix, season with salt and pepper, don’t over do it, remembering that the Poussin will already be well seasoned from the brine. Set aside to cool.

Now preheat your oven to 180C. Take your Poussin, season the cavity only with pepper, and loosely stuff the birds, then truss the legs with cooking twine and rub with 1 tbsp olive oil. (There will be a little stuffing left over, bake it for ½ an hour in a gratin dish with a few nobs of butter on top).  In a medium baking dish, make a bed of the sliced onions, thyme sprigs and garlic, and then place the birds on top. Cook in the oven basting occasionally with the juices, and after an hour test to see if they are cooked by inserting a skewer into the plumpest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, the bird is cooked. If they aren’t ready, cook for another 15 minutes, and test again.

When ready, remove from the oven and put aside to rest covered with aluminium foil.

For the mushrooms, heat a medium sized fry pan, add the butter and sauté the mushrooms over a high heat for a few minutes, Add garlic, cook for a minute or two without burning, add stock, and reduce until syrupy. Add cream and turn down the heat, letting it gently thicken. Pop in the parsley, season with restraint and spoon onto warm plates. Remove the twine from the Poussin, and place on top of the mushrooms.  I serve a large bowl of crispy potatoes cooked in duck fat, and a bowl steamed green beans with these little birds. Also, amongst family, no need to be too polite, fingers are allowed.


Charred Rump Steak

 

Steak Night

 I’m doing a lot of cooking at the moment, recipe testing for myself, and clients. I get  to the end of the day, and seriously, the last thing I want to do is prepare dinner, let alone eat it. But I have a family, and they need to eat. I usually whip up a quick pasta, but in this time I opted for a quick, delicious steak cooked on the barbecue, instead: charred on the outside, pink on the inside. No potatoes tonight, just a simple salad put together in the same time it took to barbecue the meat.

 Charred Rump Steak 

 First, choose your steak. I had a thick piece of gorgeous rump steak in the fridge weighing about 600-700g. Generously salt and pepper the steak, drizzle with a little olive oil and massage into the steak, we want it to be well seasoned, but not dripping in oil. Set aside and heat up the barbecue. When barbecue is smoking, put steak on and cook to your liking. I like it rare, my family, medium rare. Whatever your choice, please don’t over cook it! It’s also important to let it rest for 10 minutes after cooking. This enables the juices to settle, and the steak will be tender.

Salad

  • 1 avocado, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, halved, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 small, crisp cucumbers, peeled, sliced lengthways and thinly sliced
  • A handful of baby greens. Spinach, chard, beetroot leaves, sorrel, arugula. Whatever is fresh and seasonal
  • 2 small hot chillies, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 fresh limes
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Put avocado in a serving bowl and squeeze over the juice of one lime. Put tomato and cucumber on kitchen paper to drain. Just before serving add tomatoes, cucumber, chillies and greens to the bowl, season and gently toss with your hands. Lay on a serving plate as I’ve done in the picture above, and place the thinly sliced steak on top. Drizzle with olive oil, season, and serve with lime wedges on the side.


Anytime Hash

 

For 2 people you will need,

  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1.5cm bite sized pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled, and cut into 1.5cm bite sized pieces
  • ½ bunch cavolo nero, tough stem removed, leaves washed and shredded
  • 2 small Chorizo, cut into 1.5cm pieces
  • 100g pancetta, cut into1cm pieces. This is optional, if I have it in the fridge, it goes in
  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Optional, Greek yoghurt and my homemade Dukkah. Dukkah recipe under: Recipe>Little Things on my website.

Firstly, drizzle a thin layer of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and heat to a medium heat. Toss in the chorizo and pancetta if you are using it and cook until nicely browned. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on kitchen paper. Turn down the heat, add onion and garlic to pan, and cook until soft. Turn up the heat to medium, add potatoes and carrots to pan, and cook, turning now and then until nearly cooked, add shredded cavolo nero, and reintroduce the chorizo and pancetta if using. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes, we want the potatoes to become crispy, and then make 2 indentations in the hash for your eggs. Crack an egg into each hole, cover the pan with the lid, and cook for about 2 minutes until the yolks are just set. Season with sea salt and pepper and serve immediately, with Greek yoghurt and Dukkah if you wish.