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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.

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.

Grilled Steak with Watercress

PREP 15mins
COOK 10mins


1 bunch watercress
100g unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp soft green peppercorns in brine, drained
1kg floury potatoes, such as sebago
rice bran oil, to deep-fry
4 x 200g aged grass-fed scotch fillet steaks
1 tbsp olive oil


  Pick half of watercress into small bundles and wash gently. Place stalks in a small bowl of iced water and set aside. Trim large stalks from remaining watercress.

2 Bring a medium saucepan half-filled with water to boil and add a large pinch of salt. Drop in trimmed watercress and blanch for 1 min, to set colour. Drain and place in a bowl of iced water to cool. Drain again, squeeze dry and place on paper towel.

3  Place butter, green peppercorns, blanched watercress and a pinch of salt in a food processor and process until well combined. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Peel potatoes, if you like, and cut into fat chips. Place in a large saucepan, cover with water and add a good pinch of salt. Bring to boil on high heat and par-cook for 2-3 mins. Drain, spread out on a tray and place in fridge for 3 hrs or overnight, to dry out completely.

5 Heat rice bran oil in a deep-fryer to 180C, or add enough oil to a wok to reach a depth of 7cm, and heat on medium until a cube of bread sizzles on contact. Cook potato in batches for 3-4 mins, until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel and season with salt..

Meanwhile, clean and lightly oil a chargrill or barbecue and heat on high. Season steaks, drizzle both sides with a little olive oil and smear lightly all over. Cook for 1 min, lift and turn at a 45 degree angle, and cook for another 1 min, until browned. Turn and repeat on other side. Remove from heat and set aside to rest for 2 mins. Top each steak with a dollop of watercress and peppercorn butter, and serve with chips and reserved watercress.


Gary’s secrets 
 •   Look for French green peppercorns that come in small cans. They’re soft and, though peppery, have a pleasant sweetness. If they’re a little hard, pound them lightly until soft..

 •  Put the par-cooked potato in the fridge for several hours or even the night before to dry out, to get that nice starchy crust that makes a great chip.



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