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BEETROOT RISOTTO, GOAT’S CHEESE, PICKLED GOLDEN BEETROOT & CANDIED WALNUTS

Serves 6 

Pickled Golden Beetroot:
50ml white wine
80ml (1/3 cup) white wine vinegar
80g caster sugar
a pinch of saffron threads
3 baby golden beetroot, peeled

Candied Walnuts: (makes 2 cups)
200g (heaped 3/4 cup) caster sugar
200g (2 cups) walnuts
vegetable oil, for deep frying
table salt

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 golden shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g (2 1/3 cups) risotto (arborio) rice
500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock, boiling
500ml (2 cups) freshly squeezed beetroot juice
200ml red wine
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large beetroot, cooked in boiling salted water until tender, cooled,
peeled then diced into 1cm pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar, to taste
100g (1 cup) candied walnuts
100g goat’s curd
½ cup small watercress sprigs

To pickle the golden beetroot, put the white wine in a small saucepan and bring the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the wine reduces slightly. Add the vinegar, sugar, saffron and 125ml (½ cup) water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, use a mandolin or very sharp knife to thinly slice the beetroot. Put the slices in a non-reactive bowl and pour over the pickling liquid. Set aside to cool to room temperature. The beetroot is best pickled the day before use.

For the candied walnuts, combine the sugar and 200ml water in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the walnuts, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer very gently, adjusting the heat as necessary, for 45-55 minutes, or until the liquid reduces and the nuts are glazed. Stir occasionally so the nuts cook evenly. Remove from the heat.

Heat some vegetable oil in a deep fryer or wok to 165°C (320°F/Gas 2-3). In small batches, use a slotted spoon or spider to scoop the walnuts from the saucepan into the hot oil, allowing any excess syrup to drain off. Fry for 2 minutes, moving them around, until they become a rich golden colour. Remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon or spider and place on baking or parchment paper; repeat with the remaining nuts. Season the candied walnuts with salt whilst still hot, then cool completely before storing in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

To make the beetroot risotto, heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and gently sweat for 8-10 minutes, or until the shallot is soft and transparent. Add the rice and stir until the rice is well coated with oil. Reduce the heat to low.

Meanwhile, combine the hot vegetable stock and beetroot juice.

Add the red wine to the rice and stir briefly. Allow the risotto to cook until the wine is almost completely absorbed by the rice before adding 250ml (1 cup) of the combined vegetable stock and beetroot juice. Allow the risotto to cook until the stock is almost completely absorbed by the rice before adding another 250ml (1 cup) of stock. Continue to gradually add stock, stirring frequently, until the rice is almost cooked.

Fold in the parmesan, butter and diced beetroot. Season to taste with sea salt, black pepper and a little red wine vinegar.

To serve, divide the risotto among serving bowls. Garnish with the pickled golden beetroot, candied walnuts, teaspoons of goat’s curd and the watercress sprigs. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and finish with a grind of black pepper.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE, POACHED RHUBARB, CLOTTED CREAM & RASPBERRY SORBET

Serves 8 – 10

250g good-quality dark (bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
2 tablespoons strong espresso coffee
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
6 eggs, separated

Poached Rhubarb:
70g unsalted butter, melted
100g soft brown sugar
6 rhubarb stalks, chopped
a good pinch of ground cinnamon

icing sugar, for dusting
good-quality store-bought raspberry sorbet, to serve

Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2-3). Grease and line the base of a 28cm spring-form cake tine with baking paper.

Put the chocolate, brandy and coffee in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring to melt the chocolate. Add the butter and sugar, mixing well, then fold in the ground almonds. Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks then add to the chocolate mixture.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk to egg whites to stiff peaks. Stir a spoonful into the chocolate mixture, mixing well, then fold in the remaining beaten egg whites.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake will have a delicate crust but be will be fudge-like in the centre. Cool completely in the tin before turning out.

To poach the rhubarb, combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the rhubarb and cinnamon; cook slowly over low heat until the rhubarb but still holds its shape. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To serve, cut the cake into wedges, dust with icing sugar and place on serving plates. Arrange the rhubarb and scoop of raspberry sorbet alongside.

IBÉRICO HAM, BURRATA, ROCKET, VINCOTTO, OREGANO, TOMATO FONDUE & TOASTED CIABATTA

Serves 6

Tomato Fondue:
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
2kg ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced
100ml balsamic vinegar
100g soft brown sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

six 2cm thick slices ciabatta
extra virgin olive oil
6 burrata, brought to room temperature
2 large handfuls of wild rocket leaves
½ cup oregano leaves
vincotto
12 slices Ibérico or Serrano ham

To make the tomato fondue, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over very low heat. Sweat the onions and garlic, without colour, until very soft. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar; season with sea salt and black pepper and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer, using a ladle to force the mixture through. Cool to room temperature then store in a sealed container until required.

To serve, preheat the grill (broiler) to medium heat. Drizzle the ciabatta with a little extra virgin olive oil and toast on both sides under the hot grill.

Place the burrata in the centre of each serving bowl. Scatter the rocket and oregano around the burrata and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and vincotto. Drape two slices of ham over the rocket around the burrata. Finish with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper. Spread a generous amount of the tomato fondue over the toasted ciabatta and serve alongside.

Note: Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it a unique soft texture. The name burrata means buttered in Italian. Substitute with mozzarella cheese if unavailable.

RARE-SEARED TUNA, ZUCCHINI, PECORINO, SALTED LEMON, PARSLEY, OLIVES & SALSA VERDE

Serves 6

4 large zucchini
2 French shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 salted lemon, flesh discarded, zest finely sliced into strips
a large handful of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
juice of ½ lemon
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
60g finely shaved pecorino cheese
100g pitted black olives, such as Ligurian or kalamata, cut into quarters
½ quantity of salsa verde
six 140g sashimi-grade tuna steaks

Use a mandolin or vegetable peeler to shave the zucchini into ribbons then finely slice lengthways. In a bowl, combine the zucchini, shallot, garlic, salted lemon, parsley, lemon juice and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Season lightly with sea salt and black pepper. Place a pile in the centre of each serving plate. Scatter over the pecorino then the olives. Spoon a little of the salsa verde around each plate.

Brush both sides of the tuna steaks with oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Sear the tuna for 10-15 seconds each side – it should be well coloured but still raw in the centre. Immediately remove from the heat as the tuna will continue to cook once off the direct heat.

To serve, arrange the tuna steaks over the zucchini salad.

FIELD MUSHROOMS ON OLIVE TOAST WITH ROCKET, PARMESAN AND TRUFFLE OIL

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
20 field or Swiss brown mushrooms
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a knob of unsalted butter
60g rocket leaves
4 slices sourdough bread
truffle oil
shaved best-quality Italian parmesan cheese
4 lemon wedges

Tapenade:
250g (2 cups) pitted black olives
30g (about 10) anchovy fillets, drained
1½ tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
60ml (¼ cup) best-quality balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
a pinch of caster sugar
180ml (¾ cup) good quality extra virgin olive oil

To make the tapenade, put the olives, anchovies, capers and garlic in a food processor and process until well chopped. With motor running, drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Season with black pepper. Store the tapenade covered with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a sealed container in the refrigerator until required. Tapenade will keep for several weeks.

To make the balsamic dressing, put the vinegar, garlic and sugar in a bowl with some sea salt and black pepper. Gradually whisk in the extra virgin olive oil until well blended. This dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based ovenproof pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, toss briefly, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Add the butter then transfer the pan to the oven and bake the mushrooms for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Drain the mushrooms on paper towels. Keep warm.

In a bowl, toss the rocket with enough balsamic dressing to moisten.

To serve, toast the sourdough and lightly spread with tapenade. Arrange in the centre of serving plates, then top each toast with five mushrooms. Drizzle with truffle oil, scatter with shaved parmesan and arrange the rocket on top. Finish with a lemon wedge and a good grind of black pepper.

SEARED SCALLOPS, POTATO CARBONARA, CRISPY BACON, EGG YOLK & PARMESAN

Serves 6
350g smoked bacon
1 golden shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
15 thyme sprigs
125ml (½ cup) white wine
1 litre (4 cups) pure cream
550g pink-skinned waxy potatoes, such as desiree, peeled
30g finely grated good-quality Italian parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
olive oil
24 large scallops, roe removed
a knob of unsalted butter
1 egg yolk, whisked
a large handful of mixed small-leafed herbs, such as tarragon, chervil, flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, baby shiso and baby basil

Trim any fat and rind from the bacon, reserving the trimmings, then cut into ½ long pieces (lardons).

Sweat the bacon trimmings in a non–stick frying pan over medium heat to render down the fat. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and continue to cook until the shallots are tender and the mixture starts to stick to the base of the pan.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring well, then add the cream. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain the cream sauce through a fine sieve, discarding the aromatics. Refrigerate in a sealed container until required.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the bacon lardons until crisp and well coloured. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Use a Japanese turning slicer to make potato ‘spaghetti’. Immediately plunge the potato into chilled water to prevent it from browning. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the potato for exactly one minute then refresh in iced water. Drain as soon as the potato has chilled then set aside.

Reheat the cream sauce gently over low heat. Add the potato and bring to a gentle simmer to heat through – this should only take a minute or so. Add the parmesan and bacon lardons then remove from the heat. Season with sea salt and black pepper then fold through the chives.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over high heat. Season the scallops with sea salt and black pepper then in batches, quickly sear in the hot pan on both sides until opaque – they should only take about 20-30 seconds each side. Remove the pan from the heat and add a knob of butter. Set aside for the 20 seconds to rest, spooning the butter over the scallops.

To serve, use a fork to twirl some potato into the centre of serving bowls. Spoon a little of the cream sauce over the top, then a little of the egg yolk. Scatter over the bacon then arrange four scallops around the plate. Garnish with a small handful of the herbs and finish with a grind of black pepper.

BBQ SEAFOOD SKEWERS, PAPAYA, LEMONGRASS, LIME & CHILLI SALAD

Serves 6

12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
500g salmon or ocean trout fillets, skin removed, pin-boned and cubed
500g white fish fillets, skin removed, pin-boned and cubed
24 large scallops, roe removed
25 large raw prawns (shrimp), shelled and deveined, with tails intact

Marinade:
125ml (½ cup) olive oil
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
Salad:
1 red papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
½ lemongrass stem, white part only, very finely diced
1 red chilli, seeded, very finely diced
5 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced
a handful of mint leaves, torn
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons grated palm sugar

Thread the seafood onto the skewers, alternating with the salmon, white fish, scallops and prawns. Lay the seafood skewers flat in a flat shallow tray.

To make the marinade, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the seafood skewers, turning so they are well coated on all sides, then cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

To make the salad, combine the red papaya, lemongrass, chilli, kaffir lime and mint in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Pour enough dressing over the salad to moisten.

Heat a barbecue or ridged grill pan to high heat. Sear the seafood skewers on the hot grill for 1 minute each side.

To serve, divide the salad among serving plates and place the seafood skewers alongside Serve with lime wedges.

Note: These seafood skewers also work well served on their own as part of a barbecue banquet or as an appetizer. Drizzle them with an Asian-inspired sauce or dressing (the papaya salad would work beautifully), serve with lime mayonnaise to dip or with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

HAZELNUT MERINGUE, FRANGELICO CUSTARD & HAZELNUT CARAMEL SAUCE

Serves 6

250ml (1 cup) cream, softly whipped, to serve
Hazelnut Meringues:
4 egg whites
190g (heaped ¾ cup) caster sugar
100g ground hazelnuts

Hazelnut Caramel Sauce:
140g chopped good-quality milk chocolate, such as couverture
30g honey
200g caster sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
250ml (1 cup) pouring cream
225g (1 2/3 cups) hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and chopped

Frangelico Custard:
6 egg yolks
120g caster sugar
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour, sifted
500ml (2 cups) milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
30ml Frangelico liqueur

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease and line two baking trays with baking paper.

To make the hazelnut meringue, whisk the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add one-third of the sugar and whisk until all the sugar has been used and stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar with the ground hazelnuts, mixing well. Fold into the beaten egg whites. Spread the meringue evenly over the prepared trays. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden and firm. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Use a round pastry cutter about 4.5cm in diameter, to stamp out twelve discs. Break the remaining meringue into small pieces and reserve for garnish. Store both separately in airtight containers until required.

To make the hazelnut caramel sauce, put the chocolate and honey in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the chocolate melts. Set aside.

Put the sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil, without stirring, until the syrup becomes a dark golden colour. Immediately remove from the heat and very carefully, as hot caramel spits, stir in the cream. Pour the caramel over the melted chocolate, stirring well to combine, then fold through the hazelnuts. Cool then store in an airtight container until required.

To make the Frangelico custard, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale, then stir in the flour.

Put the milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a large saucepan over medium heat and slowly bring to the boil. Pour a little hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking until smooth. Add the remaining hot milk and return to a clean saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden or heat resistant spoon, until the mixture has thickened and comes to the boil. Add the Frangelico then whisk for a further minute to ensure it is smooth. Strain into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on to the custard to prevent a skin forming. Cool.

To serve, place a large spoonful of Frangelico custard in the bases of six 250ml (1 cup) capacity serving glasses. Top with a large spoonful of the hazelnut caramel sauce, then sprinkle over a small handful of the reserved meringue pieces. Repeat to make a second layer then finish with a spoonful of cream on top. Serve the hazelnut meringues alongside.

SHAVED PEAR & FENNEL SALAD WITH GOAT’S CURD

Serves 6 as a starter

2 medium fennel bulbs, very finely sliced
¼ cup Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
6 pears, unpeeled, core intact, thinly sliced lengthwise
240g goat’s curd
full flavoured honey, to serve

Lemon & Dijon Dressing:
25ml lemon juice
75ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp seeded mustard
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tsp full flavoured honey

sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

To make dressing, whisk together all ingredients until well combined, then season to taste.

In a bowl, combine sliced fennel, parsley and onion. Moisten with lemon and Dijon dressing.

To serve, place a slice of pear in the centre of each plate, then top with a small pile of salad. Top with another pear slice and continue to build using remaining salad and pear slices. Place small spoonfuls of goat’s curd on top and around salad. Drizzle lightly with honey and finish with a good grind of black pepper.

Philip’s tip: If you have a mandolin this is ideal for slicing the pears evenly.

ROAST GARLIC & CHICKEN TERRINE, CORNICHONS & SALSA VERDE

Serves 10 as a first course

2 bulbs of garlic
extra virgin olive oil
two x 1.5-1.7 kg corn-fed chickens
a large handful of basil leaves
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
grated zest of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large handfuls of rocket leaves
30 cornichons
12 slices crusty bread such as ciabatta, or other Italian-style bread
salsa verde

Balsamic Dressing:
60ml (1/4 cup) best quality balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
a pinch of caster sugar
180ml (3/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil

Salsa Verde:
2 large handfuls of basil leaves
2 large handfuls of flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and drained
3 anchovy fillets, drained, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF/Gas 6).

Cut off and discard the top one-third from the garlic bulbs. Sit the bulbs, root end down, in the centre of a square of foil. Drizzle the cut tops liberally with extra virgin olive oil, then wrap the foil around to enclose completely. Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 1 hour, or until the garlic is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. The garlic will keep for several days in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container.

Carefully remove skin from the chicken in one piece, if possible, and use it to line a 30 x 10 x 8cm terrine mould.

Dice the leg and breast meat into 1-2cm pieces and place in a bowl. Squeeze the flesh from the garlic confit into the bowl and add the basil, thyme and lemon zest. Mix well.

Weigh the mixture and, for 1kg of terrine mix, add 10g of sea salt and a good grind of black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4).

Pack the mixture into the lined terrine and fold the skin over to enclose the filling. Cover with foil and place in an ovenproof dish. Fill the dish with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the terrine and bake for 1 hour.

The terrine is cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 70ºC (158ºF). If you do not have a meat thermometer, insert a metal skewer into the centre, wait a short time, then remove and feel the temperature of the skewer – it must be quite hot to the touch. Remove the terrine from the water bath and allow to cool. Sit a flat weight in the terrine as it cools and refrigerate overnight.

To make the balsamic dressing, put the vinegar, garlic and sugar in a bowl with some sea salt and black pepper. Gradually whisk in the extra virgin olive oil until well blended. This dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

To make the salsa verde, put the herbs, garlic, capers and anchovies in a food processor. With the machine running, drizzle in the vinegar, then add the extra virgin olive oil. Whisk in the mustard, then season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Salsa verde is best used freshly made and at room temperature, although it will keep for 1-2 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, put the rocket leaves in a bowl and toss with enough balsamic dressing to moisten. Remove the terrine from the mould and cut into 1.5cm thick slices.

To serve, lay a slice of terrine on each serving plate. Place a small pile of sea salt flakes and black pepper on one side with a few cornichons. Arrange the rocket on the opposite side with a slice of crusty bread. Drizzle a little of the balsamic dressing around the plate and add a spoonful of salsa verde. The terrine will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

MIXED BERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE TIRAMISU

Serves 10-12

Base:
2g gelatine leaves
1 ½ tablespoons cream
4 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
grated zest of ½ lemon
375g mascarpone
3 egg whites
300g sponge finger biscuits (savoiardi)
600g assorted fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries (cut in half if large)
165g grated good-quality white chocolate, such as couverture
shaved white chocolate, to serve

Raspberry Coulis:
500g fresh or frozen raspberries
200g caster sugar
1-2 tablespoons Cointreau

To make the coulis, combine the raspberries, sugar and 250ml (1 cup) water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat then purée the mixture in a blender. Strain through a fine sieve then stir in the Cointreau to taste and set aside.

Line the base and sides of a 24cm spring-form tin with baking paper. Soften the gelatine in cold water and squeeze to remove any excess water. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until almost boiling, remove from the heat then whisk in the softened gelatine, stirring until dissolved.

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest until thick and pale. Stir in mascarpone until just combined then fold in cream mixture. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and carefully fold through mascarpone mixture.

Lightly soak the savoiardi in half the warm raspberry coulis then arrange in a single layer in base of the prepared tin. Reserve the remaining coulis for serving. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the savoiardi then sprinkle with one cup of the berries and half the grated white chocolate. Repeat to form a second layer. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

To serve, cut the tiramisu into wedges and place on serving plates. Moisten the remaining berries with the coulis and spoon over or alongside. Top with the shaved white chocolate.

NOTE The coulis for this recipe varies slightly to a regular coulis as it needs to be of a thinner consistency to soak the savoiardi biscuits.

SLOW-COOKED DUCK, RED CABBAGE, PANCETTA & HAZELNUTS

As seen in QWeekend

Serves 6

6 duck Maryland portions from 2.2kg ducks
500ml duck or goose fat or light olive oil, enough to cover legs
jus, demi-glace or veal glaze (available from good delicatessens)

Duck marinade:
2 litres water
150g sea salt, such as Fleur de Sel
1 head garlic, cut in half
zest of 1 orange, in strips using a potato peeler
zest of 1 lemon, in strips using a potato peeler
few sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
1 bay leaf
3-4 star anise

Red Cabbage, Pancetta & Hazelnuts:
olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 small or ½ large red cabbage, shredded
125ml good-quality red-wine vinegar,
90g brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, picked, washed and roughly chopped
12 slices pancetta, grilled until crisp
50g hazelnuts, roasted and skins removed

Place all the ingredients for the duck marinade in a large saucepan over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the salt. Bring to the boil, remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

Prepare duck portions by removing each thigh bone, then running a sharp knife around the bone just below the knuckle of each leg – this allows the meat to shrink down during cooking. Place portions in a shallow dish and pour over cooled marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove duck portions from marinade, rinse in a bowl of fresh cold water, changing water several times. Drain then pat dry with kitchen paper. Lay in a baking dish that will hold the legs fairly snug.

Preheat oven to 130°C. Heat duck fat or oil in a saucepan until very hot. Pour over duck, enough to totally cover the legs, then place dish in oven and slow cook for 2-3 hours or until tender. Cool, then store duck in a clean container covered with the cooking fat to seal and preserve. Refrigerate until required.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Remove duck from fat and heat in oven until warm, then place under a preheated hot grill until just prior to serving, to crisp skin.

Meanwhile, for the red cabbage, heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over moderate heat. Add onion and garlic, sweat until onion is transparent. Add cabbage and sauté until soft. Add vinegar and brown sugar; mix lightly, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook a further 5 minutes. Lastly fold through parsley.

To serve, divide warm cabbage among serving plates; top with pancetta and hazelnuts. Place duck legs over the cabbage. Drizzle jus over and around.

PRAWN SALAD WITH RUBY GRAPEFRUIT, AVOCADO & SHAVED FENNEL

Serves 6

Base:
50g Japanese (panko) breadcrumbs
2 baby fennel bulbs
juice of 1-2 lemons
60g watercress sprigs
2 ruby grapefruit, cut into segments
1 small red onion, finely sliced into rings
24 cooked prawns, peeled and deveined, with tails intact
1 large or 2 small avocados, quartered then sliced into 5mm slices

Ruby Grapefruit Dressing:
600ml ruby grapefruit juice, strained
60ml (¼ cup) verjuice
1 heaped tablespoon brown sugar, plus extra to taste 100ml grapeseed oil
60ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice of ¼ lemon

To make the ruby grapefruit dressing, put the grapefruit juice, verjuice and brown sugar in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture reduces to 250ml (1 cup). Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then whisk in the combined oils. Adjust the seasoning with sea salt, black pepper, lemon juice and extra sugar is necessary to suit the tartness of the grapefruit. The dressing can be made in advance and will keep stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, season with a little sea salt and black then toast in the hot pan, tossing frequently so they toast evenly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Using a mandolin, very thinly shave the baby fennel then immediately place into a bowl of water and lemon juice (acidulated water) to prevent it from discolouring. Drain then pat dry with paper towels.

In a mixing bowl, toss the fennel, watercress, grapefruit segments, red onion and half the breadcrumbs with enough ruby grapefruit to moisten.

To serve, arrange half the prawns and avocado over the base of each serving plate. Top with a handful of watercress salad, then the remaining prawns and avocado. Finish with another handful of the salad on top, ensuring the grapefruit segments are distributed evenly among serving plates. Sprinkle over the remaining breadcrumbs and drizzle a little of the dressing around the plate.

WINE SUGGESTION 2008 Wenzel ‘Furmint’ Burgenland $30

DUCK BREAST, PUMPKIN PUREE, BALSAMIC BRAISED RED CABBAGE & CANDIED WALNUTS

Serves 6 

6 x 240g duck breasts, trimmed
olive oil
100g (1 cup) candied walnuts
jus, warmed, to serve

 

Pumpkin Purée:

1.5kg jap or kent pumpkin
100g unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100-150ml pouring cream

 

Balsamic Braised Red Cabbage:

250ml (1 cup) good-quality balsamic vinegar
250ml (1 cup) red wine
150g soft brown sugar
1 small red cabbage, outer leaves and core removed, shredded

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

To make the pumpkin puree, cut the pumpkin half horizontally through the middle. Use a large metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and pith. Put half the butter and 2 garlic cloves in the cavity of each half, season with sea salt and black pepper then wrap tightly in foil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour, or until very soft. Remove from the oven. Carefully open the foil and leave the pumpkin to cool slightly; discard the garlic. Scoop the flesh into a sieve and let stand for 10 minutes for any excess liquid to drain off. Transfer the pumpkin to a food processor, season with sea salt and black pepper and blend until very smooth. Adjust the consistency with the cream, as needed. Refrigerate until required.

To make the balsamic braised red cabbage, put the balsamic vinegar, red wine and sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the cabbage begins to soften and the liquid has reduced by half. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until no liquid remains and the cabbage is completely cooked and shiny. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Score the skin of the duck breast with a sharp knife and season with sea salt and black pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and place the duck, skin side down, in the pan. Cook slowly to render down the fat, draining off any excess. Increase the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes then turn over and continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Rest the duck breast for several minutes.

Meanwhile, gently reheat the pumpkin purée and red cabbage if necessary. Dress the mixed herbs with a little olive oil.

To serve, place a spoonful of the pumpkin puree to one side of each serving plate, with a large spoonful of the braised red cabbage alongside. Slice each duck breast into five or six slices and arrange over the cabbage. Top with a small handful of the mixed herbs, scatter over the candied walnuts and drizzle a little of the warmed jus around the plate.