Posts Tagged ‘Recipe’

Amazing Slow Roasted Lamb

When asked recently what my favourite meal is I didn’t immediately have the answer. After putting some serious consideration into it, I didn’t come up with a definitive answer, but an awesome roast lamb is certainly in my top 3. A perfectly roasted lamb shoulder, with roast potatoes and a red wine gravy, hell yeah.

There’s a couple of tricks to getting the most out of a lamb roast. Firstly, get a cut with the bone in, a shoulder or leg is perfect. The bone carries a lot of flavour and the meat around the bones is generally more interesting. Secondly, be sure to err on the side of less time than more, dry lamb is terrible. Finally, don’t skimp on the meat. Getting aged lamb isn’t particularly easy, but generally the better the butcher, the better the meat. Look for a good covering of a nice clean, white fat on the meat.


  • 1 x good size lamb leg or shoulder on the bone.
  • 4 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter


Leave the lamb on the bench for a few hours prior to cooking to let it come up to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 220.  Mix the spices and oil together in a bowl to form a paste. Rub the paste on the outside of the lamb especially on the top, fatty side. Place the lamb in a roasting dish and cook for 25 minutes. Cover the lamb with a tinfoil, lower the temperature of the oven to 120 and cook for 4 hours. An hour before serving, use a meat thermometer and check the internal temperature of the lamb. The temperature should be close to 77. If it’s below 73, increase the temperature of the oven to 180 and uncover to finish it off.

Half an hour before serving, take the meat out of the oven, wrap it in tinfoil and cover with a folded tea-towel and leave to rest. Retain the juice in the roasting dish for gravy.

Finally, when carving, retain the juices and and them to the roasting dish juices.

Gravy or Sauce

This recipe is not exactly a gravy, more of a jus or sauce. Take all of the retained juices from the pan and carving and either use the roasting pan or a big frying pan. Heat it up to a hard boil. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Lower the heat to a simmer and add plenty of salt, pepper and the butter. Let the sauce cook down to a slightly thick sauce and serve.

Thanks to Meat and Livestock Australia for a recent masterclass on cooking lamb. It helped quantify some of the method I’ve been using for a long time.


Spanish Style Pasta Sauce Recipe

I’m a pasta fiend. It’s my go to meal, a bit like a pizza I don’t care it’s vegetarian, meat lover, bolognese or in this case spanish style. This was a really quick light lunch – a lazy man’s paella. I was also trying to use up a heap of home-grown tomatoes, but you could easily replace with whole-tinned tomatoes.

Spanish PastaIngredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2kg quartered tomatoes
  • 1 hot chorizo
  • 2 roughly chopped cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of saffron
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 300gm pasta – preferrably tubes, spirals or shells
  • parmesan


Slice the chorizo and fry it in a good amount of olive oil. Add the garlic and when it is fragrant, add the tomatoes and cook until they are soft. Mash them with the back of your spoon and add the paprika, saffron, salt, pepper and the stock. Put the pasta on to cook. Stir the sauce and cook on medium heat. When the pasta is al dente, strain and add to the sauce and cook for a few minutes.

Serve and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin and a small sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Mushroom Risotto with Duck Marylands

I love going to the market, buying a cut of meat and then figuring out what to do with it. This week the mystery box was duck marylands. Chicken marylands are pretty much my favourite cut of any meat and I was hoping the duck would be just as good. Alas, it is far too sinewy and tough and not quite as flavoursome as I was hoping. I probably won’t be buying the marylands in the future (though I’d appreciate suggestions), sticking with breast instead.

A quick Forage and I found Abstract Gourmet’s Duck Breast and Shitake Risotto and this is based on that.

Cropped duck risottoDuck Maryland

  • Mustard seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Pimento
  • Whatever other spices you feel might go nicely.

Dry roast all the spices in a frying pan,then grind them, most of the thyme and the salt up in a mortar and pestle. Rub the mix into the skin of the duck. On high, heat the vegetable oil and the remainder of the thyme in the same pan, when the oil begins to smoke, fry the duck, skin down. Turn the heat down to medium and cook on both sides until it’s cooked, but not overcooked.

Mushroom Risotto

  • Olive oil
  • 2 handfuls of field mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 leek, quartered and chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
  • 1-2 litres Chicken stock, preferrably home made.
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Saute the leek in the olive oil in a large frying, when the leak is soft and begins to lose its colour add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme and cook until soft. Now, pour in your rice and give it a good toasting for about a minute. They say you shouldn’t stir risotto, so shake the pan instead.  Next, add the white wine and let it cook down. From now on, be careful not to let the rice go too dry. As the rice starts to dry out, add a couple of ladles of chicken stock. You will probably use about 1.5 litres of stock, but work by taste and feel. It’s important to season this as you go, you’ll probably find (depending on the stock) you will probably end up using a metric shitload of salt.

When the rice is firm, but not hard. You are almost done. Take it off the heat, and fold in the butter, and the parmesan. Serve it while it’s hot and garnish it with a few sprigs of thyme and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice.


Duck and mushrooms. The perfect ingredients to match with an earthy, intense Pinot Noir. Try something from Geelong or Yarra Valley. Our selection was the 2008 Ata Rangi “Crimson” a perfect match for about $30.


It’s been a while since I’ve mixed something up in the monthly cocktail party that is Mixology Monday and I’m well and truly past the deadline. But I’m hoping that Kevin over at Beers In The Shower (one of my all time favourite pastimes along with shower pow-wows) will accept the submission.

The concept of the “Money Drink” is one I’m so familiar with, a friend comes over, sees your bar and asks you to whip them up a tastey cocktail. They aren’t sure what they like, and you want to blow their socks right out of the water. Where do you turn? There’s a few decisions you have to make, do they want something hard or something smooth? Sweet or perhaps dry? The answers all of course depend on your punter. Old Fashioned, Manhattan or a Negroni are my favourites, the beauties that I turn to when I want to impress myself. But when I want to impress someone else, the best place to start is with a Mojito.


  • 45ml rum. I think any lighter, unnaged rum is good. Traditionally of course it is Cuban, illegal in the US. Here in Australia we don’t have a problem with that so Havana Club is a cheap option, but Matusalem Platino is amazing.
  • 30-45ml lime juice. This depends on how tangy the lime is. I usually use around 1 1/2 limes.
  • 1 barspoon brown sugar. This is supposed to be cane sugar but I  use brown sugar. Palm sugar is a good option also, it gives the drink a slightly cleaner taste.
  • Mint. Go out to the garden and grab a handful of mint, leave the stalks on there is a heap of flavour hiding in there.


Put the lime juice (and the shells if you like), sugar and mint in an old fashioned glass and gently muddle it. Add the rum, and then top the glass up to the top with crushed ice. Add a splash of soda water (or not.) Clap a sprig of mint nice and hard and garnish.

Perfect Roast Pork Crackling

There is nothing better than the feeling of biting into the crispy crackling of a perfectly cooked pork roast. A lot of crunch, followed by a tiny bit of chewiness, the textures in one mouthful are like nothing else. The beauty of it is, making your own perfect pork crackling is so easy.

Perfect Pork Crackling The trick to this crackling thing is moisture. Drawing out all of the moisture is what makes it crisp. This is a 2 step process, score the skin all the way across about 1 cm apart with a really sharp knife (I use a craft knife) and then add salt. Copious amounts of it.

Grab a bowl, add a heap of salt, crack a little bit of pepper, and a pinch of ground chilli and a few tablespoons of oil. Mix it all together with a fork and rub that onto the scored skin of your pork. Then add some more salt, all over it. I’m serious.

To cook, pre-heat the fan-forced oven to its hottest temperature, put the roast in, cook for about 5 minutes on that temperature and then turn down to your cooking temperature.It’s best to keep it on fan-forced as this keeps drawing out the moisture in the skin and helps with the crackling. About halfway through cooking, check your skin, stick it with a fork, it should be really quite hard. If it isn’t, add salt.

Before serving, if you are worried about it being too salty, wipe the skin with a paper towel. Most of the salt will just wipe off, leaving that beautifully crackling, fatty skin with just that little bit less cholesterol.

Cheap and Dirty Martini Recipe

As my housemates will attest I drink a lot of gin. It doesn’t really matter, if it is Gin and Tonics, Martinis, Negronis or Gin Gimlets they all have their place on the drink menu. This becomes a problem because going through a bottle of gin a week takes a massive toll on your bank account (not to mention kidneys and liver.) Luckily, this is a problem that has solutions, earning more money, drinking less, buying gin by the container, or, and this is my current solution, drinking cheaper gin. Don’t get me wrong, I would drink Tanq 10, Hendricks (maybe not in a Martini), or Martins every day of the week, but I can’t. Gordon’s London Dry is my regular poison and I buy it by the litre.

I’m not a fan of dry martinis at the best of times but they really don’t appeal to me when made with such a harsh gin. There are 2 solutions that go hand in hand. Wet martinis and bitters. Vermouth is an amazing flavour and I’ve never figured out why people hide all of that herby goodness in their martinis. Bitters add a good dose of whatever their flavour to the libation and are brilliant at tempering the harshness and add a level of interestingness that a regular martini doesn’t posess.

Dirti Martini with BittersRecipe

  • 45ml Gordon’s London Dry Gin
  • 15ml Dry Vermouth (Cinzano is really cheap and not altogether bad)
  • Bitters
  • 1 or 3 olives

The bitters depends on your taste, orange bitters is quite mild in flavour and I recommend a few dashes of orange bitters in the glass before you add the drink as well as a dash of Peychauds. Peychauds is great by itself, the tart works well with the botanicals of the gin. Angostura is a curious flavour and more than 2 dashes is too much.

Finally, the olive flavour of a dirty martini is sufficient to mask the burn and asperity of the low quality ingredients. To some extent olive brine is similar to bitters in that it is a concentrated flavour, but they don’t quite hold the same intensity of bitters. an extremely dirty martini consists of a further 15ml of olive brine.

Mushroom and Asparagus Soup Recipe

Mushroom and Asparagus Soup Vegetable based soups are cheap, easy and are a perfect lunch on a winters day. The trick to any soup is make sure it is seasoned well, so ensure you keep tasting throughout the process favouring the taste of a bit too salty, to a bit too bland.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch of asparagus roughly chopped
  • handful of swiss brown mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • half a handful of shitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • half a lemon worth of lemon juice


Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan on, add the onions, garlic, carrot and celery and saute for a few minutes until the onion is soft and the garlic is aromatic. It is important not to burn the garlic so keep the heat down.  Now add the asparagus and mushrooms and cook for a further 4-5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the stock, bay leaf and ample ground sea salt and simmer covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring infrequently. Take the fluid, add the lemon juice and blend in a food processor or with a hand blender into a runny puree. Serve with a garnish asparagus head garnish, a drizzle of olive oil and buttered toast.

Wine Pairing

Asparagus is very difficult to match with wine, however the creaminess of the blended mushroom soup will pair well with a buttery american-oak aged chardonnay with a medium finish.