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Friday, 14 December 2012 07:27

Potato Gnocchi With Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 4
PREP 30mins
COOK 25mins

1kg desiree potatoes
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 basil sprigs, plus extra small leaves, to serve
1/3 cup (80ml) red wine vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, diced
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
2/3 cup (50g) grated parmesan


Tip- The secret to great gnocchi is not overworking the dough. Press the flour into the potato by folding and pressing again. This way it won’t end up a gluey lump.


1 Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 20 mins, until tender.

2 Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan on medium. Cook onion for 3-5 mins, until soft but not coloured. Add garlic and basil sprigs and cook for 30 secs, until fragrant. Add vinegar, sugar and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 mins, until thickened slightly. Add diced tomato and remaining oil and cook for 5 mins, until thickened slightly. Add cherry tomato and simmer for 3 mins, until just soft.

3 Drain potato. When cool enough to handle, peel. While still hot, mash or put through a ricer. Season with salt. Add egg and stir until smooth. Sprinkle half of flour onto bench and top with potato. Flatten potato to a 4cm thickness and sprinkle over remaining flour. Press mixture down with your fingers then fold it over. Repeat process until all flour is incorporated. Gather gnocchi mixture together. Press down with your finger, it should spring back or have a touch of resistance.

4 Divide gnocchi dough into four. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into long sausage shape. Cut into little pillow shapes.

5 Drop gnocchi into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for 1-2 mins, until gnocchi rise to surface. Drain and refresh under cold water. 6 Reheat sauce on medium heat. Add gnocchi and toss gently to combine. Top with parmesan and extra basil leaves. Serve.

Published in Recipes

Serves 4
PREP 20mins plus chilling
COOK 5mins

1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (70g) panko or fine fresh breadcrumbs
200g goat’s cheese
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
50ml extra virgin olive oil
100ml peanut or rice bran oil
1.6kg seedless watermelon, peeled, cut into wedges
1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup small watercress sprigs


 Tips- I always keep crusts and leftover bits of bread in a container in the freezer. Buzz them in a food processor for super-fresh breadcrumbs.

• Watermelon works well with both salty and sweet flavours. Combine watermelon and a salty cheese, such as fetta, and serve with grilled quail, chicken or fish.

• Goat’s cheese comes in many guises, from soft and fresh to aged, ashed or dry varieties. If you’d prefer not to crumb and fry it, simply slice a nicely aged ashed goat’s cheese to serve with the salad.

Place flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Season each with salt and pepper.

2 Cut half of goat’s cheese into 2cm cubes. Dust cubes with flour, dip in egg, then press in breadcrumbs to coat. Transfer to a plate and chill for 30 mins.

3 Meanwhile, whisk honey, mustard, lime rind and juice in a small bowl, then whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Season and set aside.

4 Heat peanut oil in a deep-sided frying pan on medium to 175C, or until a cube of bread sizzles on contact. Cook fritters, turning, for 3 mins, until golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Season immediately with a pinch of salt.

5 Divide watermelon wedges and cucumber slices between serving bowls. Use fingers to break up remaining goat’s cheese and add to salad. Drizzle with vinaigrette and season to taste. Top with goat’s cheese fritters and watercress sprigs. Serve.



Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 23:55

Roast lamb with apple & asparagus salad

Serves 6
PREP 30mins 
COOK 1hr 25mins


1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic bulb
1.5kg easy-carve lamb leg
2 rosemary sprigs, broken small sprigs
12 eschalots, peeled
1 bunch asparagus, peeled, trimmed
2 golden delicious apples
100g baby spinach
1/2 bunch dill, fronds only
1 bunch tarragon, leaves only
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves only
1/4 cup (35g) shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1/4 cup (40g) blanched almonds, roasted, roughly chopped

mustard dressing
grated rind of 1/2 lemon, plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil


 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Toast cumin seeds in a small frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 mins, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and roughly grind. Stir in olive oil and a pinch of salt. Season with freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

2 Separate garlic cloves. Peel two cloves and thickly slice. Make small incisions in skin of lamb and insert rosemary and garlic slices. Place lamb in a roasting pan and brush with cumin mixture. Roast for 35 mins, then add eschalots and remaining garlic cloves to pan. Roast for another 45 mins for medium, or until lamb is cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile, to make dressing, mix together lemon rind and juice, mustard and honey. Whisk in oil and season to taste. Set aside.

Cut asparagus diagonally into 5cm lengths. Bring a small saucepan of water to boil on high heat. Add a pinch of salt and asparagus, and cook for 2 mins, until tender crisp. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain on paper towel.

Core apple and cut into 2cm pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add asparagus, baby spinach, dill, tarragon, parsley, pistachios and almonds. Drizzle over dressing. Gently toss to combine. Serve with roast lamb, eschalots and garlic.


Tip- Use a meat thermometer to check when the lamb is done to your liking. Test the thickest part of the meat. As a guide, it’ll read 60C for rare, 65C for medium-rare, 70C for medium and 75C for well done.



 Gary's secrets

•  Easy-carve lamb is a leg with the chump end removed. It is rolled and tied into a uniform shape, so it cooks evenly and is easy to carve into individual portions. Easy-carve lamb legs are available from butchers or use lamb shoulder, on or off the bone.

•  Roasting the lamb at a slightly lower temperature will reduce the amount of moisture lost during cooking. I reckon the flavour is better, too.

•  Experiment with different combinations of herbs and spices – sumac, coriander, oregano and thyme are all lovely with roast lamb.

•  To vary the colour and flavour of the salad, try using different leaves, such as witlof, radicchio and frisée. Hazelnuts and sliced fennel would also work well in this dish. 

Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 20:37

Calamari with cannellini bean puree & chilli

Serves 4
PREP 15mins
COOK 5mins

2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
3/4 cup (185ml) extra virgin olive oil
8 small whole calamari
4 birdseye chillies, finely sliced
2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted, lightly crushed
finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
50g baby rocket


Tips- Remember the “tender/tough” principle with calamari. Cook it quickly and it will be tender, but go that bit further and it begins to toughen.

• Fresh is best; frozen calamari just won’t do. Ask your fishmonger to clean the calamari if you don’t know how.

• Try using the fennel and chilli oil in the recipe to flavour grilled fish or chicken. • Unlike wine, olive oils do not improve with age, so buy local and check the use-by date. 


1 Place cannellini beans, 1/2 cup of oil and 2 tbsp water in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season and set aside.

2 Clean calamari, remove tentacles (do not discard) and leave hoods whole. Rinse, drain and pat dry with paper towel. Place in a shallow bowl and drizzle with 2 tbsp of oil. Scatter over chilli and toasted fennel seeds. Season well.

3 Heat a barbecue or chargrill on high until almost smoking. Cook calamari in batches for 45 secs each side, until golden. Transfer calamari and juices to a bowl. Add remaining oil, and lemon rind and juice. Toss to combine.

4 Spoon cannellini bean puree onto serving plates. Top with calamari, drizzle with juices and scatter over baby rocket. Serve.

Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 17:04

Slow-roasted pork belly

PREP 15mins
COOK 2hrs


1 tsp cumin seeds
4 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
11/2 tbsp salt
1.5kg deboned thick pork belly, skin on
12 eschalots, peeled
12 garlic cloves
6 golden delicious or granny smith apples
20g butter
1/3 cup (75g) firmly packed brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1/4 cup (60ml) cider vinegar
100g sultanas
lemon cheeks, to serve


 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Coarsely grind cumin, 3 star anise, fennel seeds and salt with a mortar and pestle. Score skin of pork and rub in ground spice mixture. If possible, do this several hours beforehand and leave in fridge to help draw out excess moisture and produce a really crisp crackling.

2 Place pork, skin side down, in a large heavy-based roasting pan. Roast for 11/2 hrs, until almost cooked through. Add eschalots and garlic, and turn pork skin side up. Increase heat to 240C or 220C fan and roast, basting regularly with pan juices, for another 30 mins, until skin is crisp. Remove from oven and rest in a warm place for 10 mins.

3 While pork is cooking, peel apples and, leaving them whole, remove cores and slice off tops and bases. Heat a medium frying pan on medium and add butter. Place apples into pan, flat sides down, and caramelise gently for 2-3 mins each side, until light golden. Sprinkle with brown sugar, and scatter over cinnamon, cloves and remaining star anise. Allow to bubble and melt for 1 min, and add vinegar, then sultanas. Cook for another 5 mins, until apples are tender and sauce is syrupy.

Thickly slice pork and serve with apples, eschalots, garlic and lemon cheeks..


 Gary’s secrets 

 • ork belly is at its melting best when cooked slow. Try reducing the initial oven temperature to 160C or 140C fan and cook for an extra 40 minutes.

 • Make gravy while the pork is resting. Heat pan on medium. Add 1/2 cup white wine, scraping sediment from base. Simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Crush eschalot a little and pour in a cup of good chicken stock. Bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes, until reduced by half. Add fresh thyme.

Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 13:55

Grilled Lamb with Smokey Eggplant & Dried FIgs

Serves 4
PREP 25mins plus standing
COOK 40mins

2 eggplant
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp tahini paste
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 birdseye chilli, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
1/4 cup mint, plus extra to serve
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
4 x 180g lamb backstraps
1 tbsp sumac
1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup (45g) dried figs, halved 



1 Preheat a barbecue on high. Cook eggplant, turning often, for 20 mins, until softened and coloured all over. Remove from heat and cool. Scrape or scoop eggplant flesh from skin, place in a sieve and drain for 15 mins. Discard skin. Grilled lamb with smoky eggplant & dried figs

2 Meanwhile, dry-roast coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan on medium-low heat for 2 mins, until fragrant. Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, crush to a fine powder.

3 Heat half of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan on medium. Cook onion and garlic for 4-5 mins, until soft and translucent but not coloured. Add half of spice powder and cook for 2 mins, until combined. Add eggplant and cook, stirring, for 2 mins, until combined. Cool.

4 Blend eggplant mixture, tahini, lemon rind and juice, and chilli in a blender until smooth. Add remaining olive oil. Season with salt. Add parsley and mint. Blend for 30 secs, until smooth.

5 Heat extra virgin olive oil, remaining toasted spice powder and turmeric in a pan on low for 4 mins, until fragrant. Cool.

6 Season both sides of lamb with salt, pepper and sumac. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of turmeric oil and barbecue for 3-4 mins each side for medium-rare, or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate. Rest for 2 mins before slicing.

7 Spread eggplant mixture over base of each serving plate. Top with lamb. Scatter over pine nuts and fig. Drizzle with remaining turmeric oil. Top with extra parsley and mint and serve.

Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 09:19

Ginger chicken with water chestnuts & radish

Serves 4
PREP 20 mins plus chilling
COOK 15mins

2 eggwhites
700g chicken breast fillet, thinly sliced crossways
6cm piece ginger (half very finely sliced, half cut into thin matchsticks)
1/4 cup (55g) white sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1/3 cup (80ml) Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1/3 cup (80ml) light soy sauce
1/4 cup (60ml) chicken stock
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
300g snow peas, trimmed
4 red radishes, thinly sliced
227g can water chestnuts, drained, finely sliced
3 cups steamed rice (from 1 cup raw), to serve



1 Use a fork to lightly beat eggwhites and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat. Chill for 30 mins.

2 Heat sliced ginger, sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small pan on high. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10 mins, until syrup is thick and ginger is tender. Remove from heat.

3 Meanwhile, heat 4 cups water in a pan on high. Bring to boil. Drain chicken. Add to boiling water. Cook, stirring once, for 1 min, until white. Drain immediately. Pat dry with paper towel.

4 Combine cornflour, rice wine, soy sauce, stock, sesame oil and 1 tsp water in a small bowl.

5 Heat peanut oil in a wok on medium. Stir-fry garlic and ginger matchsticks for 30 secs, until fragrant. Add snow peas and stir-fry for 1 min, until bright green. Add chicken and stir-fry for 1-2 mins, until chicken is cooked through. Add soy sauce mixture and stir-fry for 30 secs, until heated through. Remove from heat.

6 Scatter radish, chestnut and candied ginger over chicken mixture. Serve with rice.

Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 01:29

Smoked chicken wings & caramelised onion

Makes 12
PREP 1hr 15mins
COOK 1hr 5mins


12 chicken wings
1 cup (200g) long grain ric
e 2 cups (160g) wood chip
s 150g rock salt
1/3 cup (15g) loose leaf oolong tea
1 lime, sliced
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, plus 1 tsp extra
2 onions, halved, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1/3 cup (40g) dried sour cherries
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 fennel bulb
1 tsp lemon juice
1 pickled walnut, roughly chopped
baby herbs, to serve


  Cut each chicken wing into three pieces by cutting through both joints. Keep centre sections and freeze remaining pieces for making stock. Place one centre section on a chopping board. Cut in between two bones at each end to separate. Using a knife, scrape meat back from smaller bone. Remove smaller bone. Cut around larger bone at thinner end to release tendons, then pull back meat from thinner end towards larger end to make a small drumstick. Repeat with remaining centre sections.

2 Line a wok with two sheets of foil. Fill with rice, wood chips, rock salt, tea leaves and lime slices. Heat wok on high until beginning to smoke. Cover with a lid and heat for 2-3 mins, until smoking well. Turn extractor fan on high.

Place prepared chicken wings on a wire rack and place rack in wok. Cover, reduce heat to low and smoke for 15 mins, until cooked through. Remove chicken wings from wok and set aside. Cool wood chip mix and discard.

 Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan on medium. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 30 mins, until onion is very soft and caramelised.

Meanwhile, place dried cherries in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for 5 mins, until softened. Drain. Add cherries and vinegar to caramelised onion. Cook for 2 mins, until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

6 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan on high. Cook chicken wings, turning occasionally, for 5 mins, until golden brown.

7 Place caramelised onion mixture in a medium casserole pan and top with chicken wings. Bake for 8 mins, until chicken is cooked.

8  Meanwhile, use a mandoline or sharp knife to thinly slice fennel. Place in a bowl and add lemon juice and extra oil. Toss to combine.

9 Top chicken wings with fennel, pickled walnut and baby herbs. Serve.


TIP- Preparing the chicken wings this way takes a little time. If you’re not up to the task, feel free to leave the wings whole and cook them the same way. Alternatively, you could use 20 drumettes.


Gary's secrets

• You can make a main meal of this canapé simply by smoking larger chicken pieces, and increasing the amount of caramelised onion and fennel in the recipe.

•  In Britain, pickled walnuts are a traditional accompaniment to beef and cheese. They’re made by pickling green walnuts before the shells harden. Pickled walnuts are available in jars at certain delis. They add depth to the flavour of the chicken wings – what we call at the restaurant “added interest”.

•  A wok is perfect for smoking, but you do need a tight-fitting lid and a wire rack that will sit three-quarters of the way up the side of the wok. You could also use an Weber-style barbecue for this recipe – which will keep all of those smoky smells out of the kitchen!


Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 01:12

Bastilla of Kumara, Olives & Goats cheese

Makes 20
PREP 45mins
COOK 45mins


700g kumara, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 tbsp olive oil, plus 1/4 cup extra to brush
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of ground white pepper
1/2 cup (75g) pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels), toasted
1/2 cup (60g) pitted black olives, roughly chopped
1/4 bunch coriander, finely chopped, plus sprigs to serve
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
grated rind of 1 lemon
100g firm goat’s cheese, crumbled
20 sheets filo pastry
sumac, to dust

tahini yoghurt
3/4 cup (200g) natural yoghurt
2 tbsp tahini
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

2 Place kumara on one prepared tray. Scatter over garlic and thyme, drizzle over olive oil and season with sea salt, cumin and white pepper. Bake for 35 mins, until tender. Roughly mash kumara mixture. Stir in pepitas, olive, coriander, chilli, lemon rind and goat’s cheese.

Brush 4 filo sheets with extra oil and layer to form a stack. Cut filo stack in half lengthways, then in half crossways to make four rectangles. Place a heaped tablespoon of kumara mixture in centre of each filo rectangle and fold long sides over filling to enclose (A). Fold one short end under parcel and fold other short end over parcel (B). Flatten slightly. Repeat with remaining filo sheets, extra oil and kumara mixture. Place filo parcels on remaining prepared tray. Brush with oil and bake, turning once, for 10 mins, until crisp and golden.

Meanwhile, to make tahini yoghurt, mix together yoghurt, tahini, rind and juice, and salt. Spoon into a serving bowl and drizzle with oil.

Arrange bastilla and tahini yoghurt on a serving platter. Top with coriander sprigs, dust with sumac and serve.


Gary's secrets

• Traditional bastilla is a large flat Moroccan pie. I love these little filo parcels because it’s so easy to vary the filling. Try spicy mince; fetta, onion and spinach; or even crushed potato with a pinch of ground cumin and salt, and a little fresh coriander. • Instead of baking the bastilla, you can fry them gently in olive oil until golden on all sides, then pop them into the oven for 3-4 minutes.

•  To make perfect little pies, line small ramekins with filo stacks and fill with kumara mixture. Enclose and bake until golden.

•  You can make the bastilla in advance and freeze them for up to two months..

•  Filo pastry dries out easily, so protect the sheets you’re not working with by covering with a clean tea towel, then a damp tea towel. Brushing the sheets with oil ensures a flaky result.

Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 00:52

Mini Scotch Eggs

Serves 12
PREP 1hr
COOK 15mins


500g mixed pork and veal mince
3/4 cup (75g) fine fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
3 eggs
12 quail eggs or small (45g) chicken eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup (50g) plain flour, plus extra to dust
1 cup (50g) panko crumbs or fine fresh breadcrumbs
3 cups (750ml) vegetable oil, to deep-fry

salad cream
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/3 cup (80ml) thickened cream
1/4 cup (60ml) white wine vinegar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp olive oil


  Place mince, fine fresh breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano and 1 egg in a large bowl. Season. Using wet hands, mix until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.

2 To make salad cream, mix together flour, sugar, mustard powder and turmeric. Season well. In a separate bowl, mix together cream, vinegar and egg yolk. Pour cream mixture over dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in olive oil until combined. Transfer mixture to a small pan and heat on medium, whisking constantly, for 3-5 mins, until thickened. Cool.

Bring a pan of salted water to boil on high heat. Gently lower quail eggs into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 mins. Remove eggs from pan. Immediately immerse in iced water until cool. Drain. Gently roll eggs on a work surface to crack shells. Carefully remove and discard shells.

Dust quail eggs lightly in extra flour. Divide mince mixture into 12 equal portions and roll into balls. Flatten balls slightly, then carefully mould mince mixture around quail eggs .

Whisk together remaining eggs and a splash of water in a shallow bowl. Place flour and panko crumbs in separate bowls. Roll Scotch eggs in flour and pat off any excess. Dip in egg, then panko crumbs, pressing lightly to coat.

Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 170C, or in a heavy-based saucepan on medium until a cube of bread sizzles on contact. Deep-fry Scotch eggs in batches for 3-4 mins, until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel. Serve Scotch eggs warm or at room temperature with salad cream for dipping.


Gary's secrets

• Using quail eggs isn’t essential, but they are a nice touch. They’re sold at farmers’ markets and specialty food shops. Use 45g hen eggs as a substitute.

•  I use pork and veal mince because it’s lean and has great flavour. You can use good old sausage meat, but it will increase the fat content significantly.

•  Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs. They are available from Asian grocers and give a crisp coating. Try adding grated parmesan and chopped herbs.

•  When deep-frying, keep the oil at about 170C to prevent the coating absorbing too much of it.

Published in Recipes
Thursday, 13 December 2012 00:25

Grilled spatchcock with piri piri sauce

Serves 4
PREP 25mins
COOK 15mins


4 x 500g spatchcocks
1 tsp sea salt flakes
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges, to serve
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dried oregano

Piri Piri Sauce
4 long red chillies
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 avocado, roughly chopped


  To butterfly spatchcock, place on a flat surface, breast down and cavity facing you. Using kitchen scissors, cut along each side of backbone and remove. Turn over spatchcock and open out to flatten, Repeat with remaining spatchcocks. Reserve backbones to make stock, if you like.

2 To secure spatchcock so it keeps its shape during cooking, insert one bamboo skewer through bird thighs and breasts and another skewer through wings and breasts. Repeat with remaining spatchcocks.

Season spatchcocks well with sea salt flakes, pepper, lemon rind and juice, thyme and oregano. Rub into skin. Set aside. To make piri piri, finely chop chillies. Place in a bowl and add garlic powder, paprika, remaining oregano and pinch of salt. Stir in olive oil.

Preheat a chargrill or a barbecue on high. Cook spatchcocks breast side down for 10 mins, until skin in well browned. Meanwhile, toss to combine tomato and avocado.

Turn spatchcocks and spoon over half of piri piri sauce. Cook for another 5 mins, until cooked through. Serve spatchcocks with tomato and avocado salad, lemon wedges and remaining piri piri sauce.


Gary's secrets

 •  Chillies vary in heat. For example, small chillies are extremely hot, whereas long red chillies tend to be quite mild. The seeds are where the heat is found, so the hotter the chilli the more usual it is to remove the seeds and use just the flesh in cooking.

 •  To seed a chilli, use a sharp knife to split it lengthways, then tap out the seeds or slide the knife along the core of the chilli to remove the seeds.

 •  Always wash your hands immediately after handling a chilli, and take care not to wipe your eyes before doing so – make this mistake once and you will never forget the pain!

 •  I tend to use fresh herbs over dried, however herbs such as marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme all retain their unique flavours when dried. Drying your own is best, or buy the smallest packets of dried herbs you can find, as they lose their resilience and flavour quickly once opened.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 18:45

Dark Chocolate Soufflés

PREP 15mins
COOK 15mins


40g unsalted butter, plus extra, at room temperature, to grease
150g caster sugar, plus 1/4 cup (55g) extra
200g good quality dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids, chopped, plus 75g extra, grated
2 egg yolks, plus 5 eggwhites
150ml pure cream 


 Preheat oven to 220C or 200C fan. Brush six 1/2-cup soufflé dishes evenly with extra butter (see my secrets, below right). Chill for 5 mins. Brush lightly with another layer of extra butter. Place 1 tbsp of extra caster sugar into a soufflé dish and roll around inside of dish to evenly coat. Pour any excess sugar into another soufflé dish. Repeat with remaining extra sugar and soufflé dishes.

2 Half-fill a small saucepan with water and heat on medium-high. Bring to boil, then remove from heat. Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl that fits neatly over pan without touching water. Place bowl over pan and set aside until chocolate and butter slowly melt together. Remove bowl from pan and stir. Add egg yolks and stir to combine.

3 Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat eggwhites and 2 tbsp of caster sugar until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in 80g of remaining caster sugar, beating constantly until soft, shiny peaks form.

Using a flexible spatula, fold one-third of eggwhite mixture into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in a clockwise direction several times, making sure you mix from centre of base of bowl. Turn bowl in an anticlockwise direction a full turn and repeat mixing process, until eggwhite is thoroughly incorporated. Add remaining eggwhite and repeat mixing process, making sure you don’t knock too much air out.

5  Divide mixture between soufflé dishes, filling dishes almost to top. Bake for 10 mins, until soufflés rise 3cm above tops of dishes.

6 Meanwhile, whip cream and remaining caster sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in extra grated chocolate. Serve soufflés immediately topped with chocolate cream.


Gary’s secrets 
 • Use softened, not melted, butter to grease the soufflé dishes. Dip a pastry brush into the butter, wiping off any excess, then evenly grease each dish, including the lip. When brushing the dishes for the second time, use even, upward strokes to grease the sides. 

 • It’s so important to be careful when incorporating the beaten eggwhite into the chocolate mixture. Stirring too roughly can knock the air out of the eggwhite, which will result in dense soufflés that barely rise.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:54

Egg-fried Broken rice with chinese sausage

Serves 4
PREP 20 mins plus standing 
COOK 25mins

1 cup (200g) Vietnamese broken rice
1/4 cup (60ml) peanut oil
1 tbsp julienned ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 eschalots, finely sliced
120g lup cheong (Chinese sausage), sliced
2 birdseye chillies, finely sliced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g enoki mushrooms, trimmed, separated
100g oyster mushrooms, halved if large pinch of dashi powder
1 tbsp tamari
1/4 cup coriander leaves lime cheeks, to serve 



1 Rinse rice thoroughly under cold running water and drain well. Heat rice, 1 cup water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan on medium. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 mins, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and stand for 15 mins. Spread rice over a tray. Cool. Chill for 6 hrs or overnight, until dry.

2 Heat 2 tsp of oil in a wok on medium. Stir-fry ginger, garlic, eschalot, sausage and chilli for 1 min, until lightly browned. Remove from wok.

3 Heat 2 tsp of oil in wok on medium. Cook egg, stirring once, for 1-2 mins, to make an omelette. Remove from wok. Roughly chop.

4 Heat 1 tbsp of oil in wok on high. Stir-fry mushrooms for 1-2 mins, until lightly browned. Remove from wok.

5 Heat remaining oil in wok on high. Add rice and stir-fry for 2-3 mins, until lightly browned. Return sausage mixture and egg to wok. Add dashi and tamari and stir-fry for 30 secs, until heated through.

6 Divide rice mixture between serving bowls and top with mushroom and coriander leaves. Serve with lime cheeks.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:51

Shrimp rice noodle rolls with stir-fried gai ian

Serves 4
PREP 15mins
COOK 5mins

1 cup (80g) beansprouts, trimmed
1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
2 tbsp peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes, lightly crushed
100g snake beans, trimmed, cut into 8cm lengths
2 tbsp chicken stock
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp tamari
750g fresh shrimp rice noodle rolls
1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into wedges lengthways 



1 Rinse beansprouts under cold running water and drain well. Set aside.

2 Cut gai lan in half, then cut stems diagonally into 8cm lengths. Cut leaves in half lengthways.

3 Heat oil in a wok on medium. Cook garlic cloves and chilli for 30 secs, until crisp. Remove from heat. Strain oil through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Reserve fried garlic mixture.

4 Return garlic oil to wok and heat on high. Stir-fry gai lan and snake beans for 2-3 mins, until starting to soften. Add stock, rice wine, vinegar, sugar and tamari and stir-fry for 30 secs, until heated through.

5 Place rice noodle rolls in a steamer basket and set over a pan of boiling water. Cover. Steam for 3 mins, until soft and heated through.

6 Place rice noodle rolls in a shallow serving bowl. Top with gai lan mixture, cucumber and beansprouts. Scatter over reserved fried garlic mixture. Serve.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:45

Smoked Ham Hock, Vegetable & wheat Soup

Serves 4
PREP 30mins 
COOK 3hrs 40mins

1 garlic bulb, unpeeled, plus 4 cloves extra, finely chopped
1 large (600g) smoked ham hock
1 fresh bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
2 thyme sprigs
6 cups (1.5L) chicken stock
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
100g freekeh (roasted green wheat)
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 cup (180g) macaroni
1/2 bunch cavolo nero or kale, washed, shredded
1/2 cup (80g) fresh peas
1/2 cup (60g) peeled broad beans
4 slices sourdough bread (optional) 


tips- Freekeh is a lovely, slightly chewy green wheat. You can substitute with pearl barley, faro or dried white beans.

• For a cheaper alternative, smoked bacon bones work really well in this soup, producing a delicious stock.

• I love cavolo nero. It’s meaty, dense and full of goodness. Chard or savoy cabbage can be used as a substitute.

• If you don’t have three hours to cook the ham hock, why not try a pressure cooker – the job will be done in a third of the time!



1 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Wrap garlic bulb in foil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 45 mins, until soft. Cool.

2 Meanwhile, place ham hock, bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme in a large saucepan. Pour over stock and heat on medium until just boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 hrs, adding a little water if necessary to keep ham hock covered, until hock is tender. Remove hock and set aside. Strain stock though a fine sieve. Discard solids.

3 Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a clean saucepan on medium. Cook extra garlic, fennel, onion and celery for 2-3 mins, until fragrant. Add freekeh, tomato and strained stock. Simmer for 15 mins, until freekeh is almost tender. Add macaroni and cook for 15 mins, until pasta is tender.

4 Meanwhile, remove meat from bone of hock and roughly chop. Add to soup with cavolo nero, peas and broad beans. Season to taste and simmer for 5 mins, until peas and beans are tender.

5 Meanwhile, preheat a chargrill on high. Cook sourdough for 1 min each side, until toasted. Drizzle with remaining oil. Squeeze roasted garlic from skin and spread over toast.

6 Ladle soup into large serving bowls and serve with garlic toasts.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:32

Braised Veal Shanks with Tomato & capers

Serves 4
PREP 30mins 
COOK 2hrs 20mins

4 (2kg) veal shanks
1/4 cup (35g) plain flour, seasoned
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
3 garlic cloves
2 fresh bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
2/3 cup (165ml) dry white wine
4 cups (1L) chicken stock
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp baby capers, rinsed, drained
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
4 slices crusty bread, to serve

1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped 


tips- Choose smaller shins, or osso buco, which have a brighter, lighter colour than the larger cut. They make for easier handling and are more tender.

• Take the time to brown the veal evenly and thoroughly. The caramelisation will meld into the sauce as it cooks and add depth to the finished dish.

• Polenta is the traditional accompaniment but I sometimes like to stir in a drained can of cannellini beans at the end instead.



1 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Dust veal shanks in flour, shaking off any excess.

2 Heat half of oil in a large flameproof casserole pan on high. Cook veal, turning, for 8-10 mins, until browned on all sides. Remove from pan. Wipe out pan and heat remaining oil on medium. Add carrot, onion, fennel, garlic, bay leaves and thyme, and cook, stirring, for 5 mins, until starting to brown. Reduce heat to low. Add paprika and cook for 1 min, until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste then return veal to pan. Pour in wine and cook for 5 mins, until reduced by half. Add stock, tomato and capers, increase heat to high and bring to boil. Cover with a lid and bake for 2 hrs, until veal is very tender.

3 Meanwhile, combine gremolata ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste and set aside.

4 Remove veal from oven and stir through gremolata. Scatter over parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:29

Spicy chicken with couscous & cauliflower

Serves 4
PREP 30mins plus marinating
COOK 1hr

2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, halved, plus lemon wedges to serve
size 14 (1.4kg) chicken, wing tips removed
75g Israeli couscous
1/2 cauliflower, cut into very small florets
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1/2 preserved lemon, rind only, finely diced
1/4 cup (40g) blanched almonds, toasted
1/2 bunch mint, leaves only
1 tsp sumac lemon vinaigrette
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil


1 Using a mortar and pestle, grind cumin and pepper. Add garlic and coriander and pound to a paste. Add paprika, turmeric, oil, a pinch of salt and juice of 1/2 lemon. Rub over skin and inside cavity of chicken. Place remaining lemon half in cavity, then truss. Marinate for 30 mins.

2 Preheat a barbecue with a hood on medium. Turn off burners on one side. Place chicken, breast side up, onto side with burners turned off. Cover and cook, turning every 20 mins, for 50 mins, until cooked through. Rest for 10 mins.

3 Meanwhile, cook couscous according to packet directions. Add cauliflower for last 30 secs of cooking time. Drain. Place in a bowl.

4 To make vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, honey, and rind and juice. Gradually whisk in oil. Add to couscous and toss to combine. Cool.

5 Add remaining ingredients and reserved fennel fronds to couscous mixture and toss to combine. Serve with chicken and lemon wedges.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:24

Lamb Brochette with Romesco Sauce

Serves 4
PREP 20mins plus marinating
COOK 25mins

3 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
800g boneless lean lamb leg, cut into 4cm cubes
1 large onion, cut into wedges
4 Greek pita breads, lemon wedges, to serve

romesco sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 ancho chilli, seeded
1 red capsicum, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 eschalot, finely chopped
1 slice sourdough bread, crusts removed, cut into 1.5cm pieces
1/3 cup (50g) hazelnuts, roasted, skins removed
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil


1 Combine spices, 1 tbsp of oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Add lamb and marinate for 30 mins.

2 Meanwhile, to make romesco sauce, heat olive oil in a pan on medium. Cook garlic and chilli for 30 secs, until fragrant. Add capsicum, tomato and eschalot. Cover and cook for 15-20 mins, until vegetables soften. Cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor and add bread, nuts, vinegar and 2 tbsp water. Process until smooth. With motor running, add extra virgin olive oil in a thin, steady stream, until thick. Stand for 20 mins.

3 Preheat a barbecue on medium. Thread lamb and onion onto skewers and brush with remaining oil. Cook for 4-5 mins for medium, or until cooked to your liking. Grill bread for 2-3 mins each side, until browned. Serve lamb skewers with bread, lemon wedges and sauce.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:21

Grilled Veal Cutlets With Asparagus & Mushrooms

Serves 4
PREP 15mins
COOK 30mins

1 garlic bulb, cloves separated
100ml extra virgin olive oil
800g baby potatoes
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
4 French-trimmed veal cutlets
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed, stalks peeled
4 king brown or flat mushrooms, trimmed, halved lengthways
2 tbsp vincotto, aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze


Tip- Vincotto is made by cooking the juice of wine grapes until it is reduced to a thick syrup. It’s available from delis, or substitute aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze.


1 Preheat a barbecue on medium. Place garlic cloves in centre of a square of foil. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of oil and enclose to form a parcel. Cook on barbecue grill plate for 30 mins, until soft.

2 Cook potatoes in a pan of salted boiling water for 15-20 mins, until tender. Drain.

3 Meanwhile, combine rosemary and 1/4 cup of remaining oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

4 Brush veal cutlets with 2 tsp of remaining oil, then season. Drizzle asparagus and mushroom with remaining oil and season.

5 Cook cutlets on grill plate for 4 mins each side for medium-rare, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from heat and brush with rosemary oil.

6 Cook asparagus and mushroom on grill plate for 2 mins each side, until lightly browned and tender. Remove from heat and brush with rosemary oil. Cut asparagus in half.

7 Arrange vegetables and garlic on a platter and drizzle with vincotto and remaining rosemary oil. Place veal cutlets alongside vegetables and serve with potatoes.

Published in Recipes
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:14

Roast Chicken salad with egg, radicchio & walnuts

Serves 4
PREP 25mins
COOK 1hr

1 lemon, quartered
2 thyme sprigs
1.2kg (size 12) chicken
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 eschalots, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
4 slices flat pancetta
2 tbsp raspberry or red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 witlof
1 radicchio, torn
1/4 cup (30g) chopped toasted walnuts



1 Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan. Place lemon quarters and thyme in cavity of chicken and tie legs with string. Season with salt. Heat olive oil in a roasting pan on high. Cook chicken, turning, for 5 mins, until lightly browned. Place chicken breast side up in pan, transfer to oven and roast for 20 mins.

2 Baste chicken with pan juices. Add eschalots and garlic to pan. Roast for 20 mins, until chicken is browned. Place pancetta over chicken. Roast for 10 mins, until pancetta is crisp and chicken juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer. Transfer chicken to a platter. Rest for 10 mins. Pour juices from chicken into pan.

3 Place roasting pan on medium heat. Use back of a fork to crush garlic and eschalots. Add vinegar. Stir using a wooden spoon, scraping base of pan to dislodge any brown bits. Add a splash of water, if needed, to extract flavour. Strain juices through a sieve. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Season.

4 Meanwhile, heat a pan of water on medium, until simmering. Gently add eggs. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 mins. Transfer eggs to a bowl of cold water to cool. Carefully peel. Trim witlof and split each leaf down centre.

5 Cut chicken into quarters. Thickly slice breast. Remove bones from thighs and legs, and break meat into pieces. Arrange witlof and radicchio in serving bowls and top with chicken. Scatter over walnuts. Gently open eggs and place on top. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Season. Break crisp pancetta into pieces and add to salad. Serve.

Published in Recipes

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