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Ideas for cured meats

27 Jan
Coppa, sopressa, paradise pears, mustard fruits and red vein sorrel

Coppa, sopressa, paradise pears, mustard fruits and red vein sorrel

Coppa and Sopressa are great Italian cured meat
Hot, sweet and with a surprising depth of flavour, Mustard fruits can be used in sauces, cheese plates and especially with cured meats
Paradise pears are a new favourite of mine, little one bite wonders.
Red vein sorrel is lemony and its sharpness gives any cheese or cured meat a nice kick


My menu 28/1/14

25 Jan

Dehydrated and activated nut fruit Muesli

Portuguese baked eggs with rye toast

Banana bread & seasonal fruit salad

Tuesday Lunch:
Chunky angus pie and a green salad or vego pie
Guilt free, grain free Chia and chocolate cake

Wednesday Lunch:
Market fish steam roasted with lemon and oregano and served with a Greek salad
Chewy low fat banana nut oatmeal cookies

Thursday Lunch:
Chipotle and peanut chicken wings with celery wedges and coriander yoghurt
Healthy Carrot Cake

Friday Lunch:
teriyaki salmon with mushrooms and brown rice
English cheeses and Australian beers

rancheros eggs

rancheros eggs


Pear braised pork cutlets with smoked paprika Kipfler chips

20 Apr

Photo by Paul Mcmahon
Photo by Paul Mcmahon Styling by Amanda Talbot

Preparation time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours
Serves: 4
Cost per person $6.71
Prices are based on Black onion seeds bought from a specialist spice supplier

Pear relish ingredients:

  • Half a kilo of William Bartlet Pears peeled and cored diced (Oxidizing the pears or letting them turn brown will enhance their sweetness)
  • 250 ml red wine vinegar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 4 large shallots
  • a cinnamon stick
  • a star anise pod
  • Two teaspoons of black onion seeds
  • A generous dash of extra virgin olive oil
  • Main dish Ingredients:

  • Four pork cutlets
  • A large tablespoon of pear relish per cutlet
  • a bottle of pear cider
  • 250ml of brown stock (I used duck stock but you can use any meat stock)
  • 1 Kilo of Kipfler potatoes cut into quarters
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • Two teaspoons of sea salt
  • A generous dash of extra virgin olive oil
  • Pear relish directions:

    First thing first the pear relish. This Relish you will be able to use for other things like a cheese board. Saute the shallots in a pan wait until they are transparent and then add the spices and the sugar. Do not stir just gently agitate until the sugar starts to caramelize then add the vinegar and reduce this mixture by half. Add the pears and keep on stirring until most of the liquid disappears and you are left with a gelatinous mixture. Leave to cool and leave over night if possible to allow the flavors to mature.

    Main dish Directions:

    Lightly flour the pork cutlets and seal in a hot pan. Once browned nicely then take out of pan and deglaze the pan with the pear cider allow the pear cider reduce by half. Add the stock and pear cutlets to the pan with pear relish. To braise the cutlets cover with a lid or tin foil and place in the Oven at 160 degrees for at least 2 hours.

    Meanwhile bring to the boil the Kipfler potatoes then allow to simmer for 5 minutes and strain and air dry. To increase crispness try cooling in the freezer. Deep fry the Kipflers at 170 degrees then pat off any excess oil and season with smoked paprika and salt. Or if you prefer bake in the oven at 200 degrees for forty minutes with olive oil and occasionally turn then season once cooked.

    Allow the Pork cutlets to rest for at least half an hour then serve together with the chips and an ice cold pear cider.

    Head chef and good backing

    22 Nov

    I have just got to Australia and for me sydney and Melbourne are two of the worlds food capitals, why? The produce here will just simply blow your taste buds. All you have to do as a chef is embrace the quality you have at your disposal. I have got a job as a head chef for a wonderful Sydney company Cique, my boss Natascha is a virtuso of food and has an unrivalled thirst for food which I cant help but admire. I cooked for my proprietor David tonight lamb shank, chestnut puree and cramalized seasonal vegetables, mmmmmmm


    Proper pies

    4 Nov


    A good pie is a labour of love, there is no quick pie. The beauty of pies is you can create your own combo housed under your choice of buttery pastry. I have fond memories of a duck, ginger and spring onion pie that a chef friend of mine makes. This is where I struggled to be able to impart to you a pie which I could call my ‘favourite’ I love rabbit, red wine and pancetta. But my favourite at the moment is Veal and pale ale.

    The techniques I pass on in this recipe can be adapted to your perticular favourite combo. The important thing is the cooking time of the meat. For example chicken will take a lot less time to stew then the veal. The reason for the length of cooking time is you will be using stewing cuts of meat. This is meat with a higher complexity of fat as it has worked more, the veal I used was leg. The second class cuts as their know in the trade are cheaper. This does not mean they are less flavoursome, famous chefs often take great pride in creating something special from a cut of meat that is considered inferior. It is all about the preparation of your chosen meat.

    Preparation time: 24 hours
    Cooking time: 4 hours
    Total time: 28 hours
    Serves: 4
    Cost per person £2.23

    Prices are based on apart from veal which can be bought from a butcher, you can substitute with stewing beef


  • 500g diced veal leg
  • 750ml beef stock
  • 1 bottle of pale ale or 1 can of lager
  • 3 large carrots chopped
  • 50g flour
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 3 potatoes diced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Pastry

  • 300g plain flour
  • 150g butter
  • Roughly 50ml of ice cold water
  • 1 whisked egg for egg washing
  • Directions:

    First of all you are looking at the prep time and your saying ‘he is shitting me’ This is my first important tip and will aid the meat to be melt in the mouth. Marinate your meat in your ale cover and put in the fridge for 24 hours. This helps break down the fat in the meat and enriches the meat with flavour.

    Then make your pastry I used home made short crust. Which I used a slightly different technique with. I grate the cold butter into the flour then breadcrumb them together. Then I bring the mix together with stone cold water, flatten slightly, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to rest.

    Take the meat out of the ale (keep the ale) and pat dry with a kitchen towel then cover in seasoned flour. This flour will help thicken your pie liquor. Fry the the veal chunks in a very hot oil to sear them, take them out and set aside when they are a nice golden brown. Put into a saucepan the ale that you marinated the meat in, reduce over a high heat skimming the froth or impurities from the top.

    Meanwhile sweat the onions until translucent, then add the stock, reduced ale, garlic and herbs. Bring this mixture to a boil add carrots potatoes and veal, bring back to a boil then simmer for an extra 5 minutes or so. Transfer the mix into to a oven dish, setting aside some of the liquor. Bake in a oven at low heat 180-160 degrees Celsius for 2 to 3 hours. Check mixture occasionally to make sure it does not stick to the dish and taste. Take out when satisfied and set aside to cool.

    Roll your pastry to over hang the sides of your pie dish slightly. Egg wash the edges of your pie dish and put your cooled pie mixture in. Then drape your pastry over the dish, use a fork to slightly depress the pastry around the edges of the dish. Egg wash the top of the pastry and cut a blow hole in the centre this will allow the steam of the hot mixture to escape when you bake the pie. Place the pie in the fridge to rest the pastry for half an hour. Then bake the pie for half an hour or until the pastry is a golden brown all over at 200 degrees Celsius.

    I have served my pie with some of the set aside pie liquor reduced. Also with Brussels sprouts that have been boiled in water from cold until just tender. Then cut in half and fried off with some bacon lardons and a zest of a lemon. Mmmmmmmmm


    Gammon and pineapple

    19 Aug


    Well as I am in France at the moment, I would like to give a nod to a local food hero in the vendee, ham. France is all about region of origin and the vendee is famous for 5 things in France Mussels, Oysters, Muscadet, Mogettes (a White bean) and ham.

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes

    Serves: 2

    Cost per person £2.75

    Prices are based on and includes all sides

    • Ingredients
    • 2 gammon steaks
    • 1 sprig of rosemary

    • A quarter of a pineapple cored and sliced
    • 2 teaspoons of creme de casis
    • 100g of new potatoes
    • 100g of french beans
    • 1 garlic clove
    • A knob of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil

    Gammon and pineapple is proper peasant food as it is cheap, easy and very tasty. You can serve it with chips, a casoulet as is favourite in the Vendee or with French beans and new potatoes as I have.

    First you need yo get the taties into a pan of cold salted water and put on a pan of water for the beans. Monitor the potatoes until cooked for roughly around 10 mins. Whilst these cook heat up your skillet, the secret to girdling any meat is a fucking hot pan. Make sure you use the olive oil to cover the surface of the gammon steak, this is instead of oiling the pan.

    Fry the gammon with the sprigs of rosemary for roughly around 5 mins or how you like, I used the creme de casis as a gastric. A ‘gastric’ alcohol in this case is a device for heightening flavour, you do not need the flavour of the alcohol you just want the alcohol too enhance the flavour of the ham and it will. Add a very small amount of alcohol too each steak when you flip the gammon during cooking. Rest the ham for the same amount of time you cooked it. You can cook the pineapple at the same time as the gammon depending on the size of your pan. You do not want to crowd the gammon in the pan otherwise it will alter the end result of cooking the meat lessening the flavour, cook the pineapple whilst the gammon rests. Add the beans to boiling water and cook for roughly around 5 mins.

    To serve add salt, pepper and butter to the potatoes and stir. Crush the garlic with the base of your hand and chop finely stir through the beans with a little olive oil. Serve all together with the gammon and the pineapple and a dash of tobasco if you like a chilli hit, yum.


    Smoked duck breast salad

    10 Aug

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 5 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Cost per person £3.25


    • Salad Ingredients
    • 250g smoked duck breast
    • 1 whole lettuce I like Oak leaf or Lambs leaf

    • 100g of bacon lardons
    • 100g of frozen blanched button onions
    • Half a cucumber chopped into thin slices
    • 200g of tomatoes roughly chopped
    • Raspberry vinaigrette Ingredients
    • 2 tbsp of frozen raspberries
    • 2 tsp of Dijon mustard
    • 30 ml of red wine vinegar
    • 30 ml of extra virgin olive oil
    • A pinch tof salt and pepper
    • 1 tsp of hot water


    Smoked duck breast is a fantastic ingredient, similar to Parma ham in texture but not as salty and more of a creamy distinct flavour. It might be tricky to get hold of, specialist deli’s will do it, alternatively you can smoke a duck breast yourself. (I will place a video guide in video section of my site :o)

    First you need to make your bacon lardons crispy, you can do this by several different methods my preferred method is to oven roast them for 5-10 minutes. Next make the vinaigrette by simply blitzing all the ingredients together with a stick blender, the hot water is too help the dressing emulsify. If making by hand mix all ingredients bar oil & water then add oil in gradually and continually whisk to emulsify then add hot water still whisking. Pan fry the button onions with a little butter and a tsp of sugar. Now to pull together the salad, vinaigrette in the bowl first then mix cucumber, lettuce and tomato into the dressing. Mix in the bacon and onions then slice the duck very thinly and place on top.