Annie’s Festive Duck Roll

My friend Annie made this delicious and festive duck roll, stuffed with sour cherries, pistachios and chicken mince. The flavours were perfect to kick off our Christmas lunch yesterday, served with sparkling burgundy and/or Prosecco.

Victor Churchill – Haute Couture butcher in Sydney

Going to Victor Churchill’s “Haute Couture” butcher shop in Woollahra, Sydney is always inspirational and it is very difficult to leave without a delicious treat in hand.

It is a total experience, being able to watch the master butchers at work and ogle the mind bogglingly array of super-delicious products. Or better still go home with some of it!

Their is a special air drying room producing delicious charcuterie and their is also House smoked salmon and trout.

If you are feeling really indulgent or running out of time, you can order home dining – certain cuts of meat and chicken are cooked on their rotisserie and word is that their roast potatoes are delicious. They also offer charcuterie platters. Their desserts are just as divine as the rest with mouth-watering meringue tarts and more to tempt.

Today it was their Terrine de Campagne that enticed us. Here’s a taste of what you can expect.

Or visit

Definitely worth a visit especially if you are looking for the best quality meats and unusual cuts.

Persian inspired Lamb Shanks with paprika, saffron and rosewater

This is my version of Persian lamb shanks slow cooked in a mixture of lime juice, orange juice, rosewater, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, paprika, pepper, thyme, garlic and saffron. The combination of spices and citrus permeates the lamb and the resulting dish is fragrant and delicious.

Don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients, the end result is worth the preparation and slow cooking.

We had these with a spinach salad with orange segments and pomegranate seeds which complemented the flavours of the lamb perfectly. It would also go well with Caramelised Brussel Sprout, spinach and pomegranate salad.

A definite new favourite winter comfort food dish!

Preparation time: 1.5 hours Cooking time: 2-2.5 hours

4 frenched lamb shanks

Powdered/ ground spices:
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Fragrant mix:
2 teaspoons saffron threads
1 teaspoon rosewater
Juice of 2 limes
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of half an orange
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup warm water

Braising ingredients:
1 litre chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
1 large onion finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 bunch thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil

Chopped mint, parsley and/or coriander, and extra orange zest


1. Place lamb shanks in a large bowl and add powdered and ground spices. Using rubber gloves thoroughly rub spices into lamb shanks and allow to marinade for at least and hour.

2. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

3.Put saffron threads in seperate bowl and add 1/2 cup warm water, rosewater, lime juice, orange juice and let this infuse for at least ten minutes.

3. Chop onions, finely slice onions, and strip thyme leaves off stems.

4. Heat oil in large casserole pot, brown lamb shanks 2 at a time ensuring a nice “crust” forms and set aside.

5. Remove excess oil from pot, leaving only a thin layer of oil to cook onions and garlic in.

6. Sautée onions and garlic over medium heat, adding salt to mixture, cook until soft and translucent.

7. Add bay leaves, thyme, orange and lime zest and add back lamb shanks and mix through.

8. Cover lamb shanks with hot chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer on stovetop for 10 minutes.

9. Cover pot with lid in pre-heated oven for 2-2.5 hours until lamb is tender and falling off the bone.

10. Remove lamb shanks from pot and set aside in cooling oven.

11. Strain stock mixture that is left in the pot and return strained sauce to pot to reduce to a thick jus.

12. You can serve shanks as is with jus poured over or shred the lamb and serve with jus on the side. Garnish with parsley or coriander and serve with rice and/or couscous and salad.

Lamb Xacuti – Goan curry

Cooking this recipe was inspired by the beautiful story and recipe posted by The Storyteller’s Kitchen Chicken Xacuti but I made it tonight using lamb. It was certainly very delicious and is easy to make but does involve quite a number of steps for the three seperate spice mixes involved.

I didn’t have any mace so just gave it a miss but the original recipe calls for it to be included in the masala (dry spice mix).

I have added extra coriander and curry leaves and was pleased with the result.

I have also divided the recipe up into the different components into groups to help follow the recipe. Hope it helps!

This is almost like an Indian version of Indonesian rendang except sharper tasting through the use of green chillies and lots of fresh coriander. We had a tangy cucumber, tomato, carrot and spinach salad with it and plain basmati rice. A very More-ish dish!

Prep time: 35 minutes Cooking time: 60 minutes Resting time: 30 minutes


Coriander Spice Marinade:
8 garlic cloves
1.5 cm piece of ginger
6 small green chilies
1/2 bunch of coriander
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon turmeric

Coconut and onion paste:
1/3 cup of desiccated coconut
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil

Spice Masala:
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
7-8 cloves
7-8 black peppercorns
1 star anise
7-8 dried red chillies
2 small pieces cinnamon bark broken into bits
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder

1kg lamb on the bone – I use 5-6 lamb chump chops with the fat removed and diced into small chunks with the bone left in

Braising mixture:
3 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
Handful curry leaves
1 large onion finely diced
1 tomato roughly chopped
2-3 cups water
1 cup coriander leaves ground to paste

Coriander chopped
2-3 small Green chillies chopped


1. Chop all ingredients for marinade, then grind ingredients into a paste, chop meat, add marinade to meat and marinate for 30-45 minutes

2. Dry roast dry spices for Masala in a small non-stick pan over medium heat until fragrant, allow to cool then grind to a fine powder in spice blender or coffee grinder – set aside

3. In the same pan, dry fry desiccated coconut over gentle heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning, until golden brown. Then add 2 tablespoons oil and fry 1 diced onion until browned. Allow onion and coconut to cool, then grind together in mortar and pestle until onion is melted into coconut into a thick paste. Set aside

4. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottom casserole pot with a lid, then add curry leaves and fry until just fragrant, then add diced onion and fry until golden brown stirring to ensure onion doesn’t burn. Add tomato and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes have disintegrated and oil reappears.

5. Add lamb mixture and additional ground coriander paste and 1 cup of water to onion and tomato mixture and boil for 15 minutes.

6. Add Masala mix and coconut-onion paste and another cup of water and simmer for another 25 minutes until lamb is really tender.

7. Take off heat, allow to rest for 30 minutes, garnish with coriander and green chillies and serve.

Brined Pork Chops

I had never thought of brining pork chops before I cook them before but after another recent successful turkey brining experience at Christmas , I though I would try it with pork. Of course then I found a host of articles about how brining is great for adding moisture to pork chops, cutlets and roasts and avoiding having dry pork ever again! (Took me long enough to find out!).
I just brined the chops for half an hour before cooking them and I cannot tell you what a difference it made to browning the chops and creating a delicious sauce to go with them. The chops were juicy and delicious. I can’t wait to try the technique with my next pork roast.

Prep time: 35-40minutes cooking time: 15-20 minutes including making sauce

Brining ingredients:
2 cups water
1/4 cup salt
Juice of half an orange
Half an orange sliced
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tspoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon or so of fresh rosemary leaves
2 pork chops or cutlets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tspoon paprika
1 tspoon dried Italian herbs (mixed or just oregano)
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Juice of 1 orange
1/2 tspoon cornflour
1/2 cup of water
Pepper and salt for seasoning


Mix together brining ingredients and cover pork chops in a single layer, leave in brine for 30 minutes.

Drain off brine and pat chops dry, then rub with olive oil, paprika, dried herbs and black pepper.

Heat heavy based frying pan, then add pork chops and cook for 4 minutes on each side, as well as 1-2 minutes on rind side, check to see if pork is cooked – juices run clear. Allow pork chops to rest in pan, off the heat. Juices will run into pan. Remove chops from pan.

Return pan to stove on medium heat, deglaze with orange juice then add water and using a wooden spoon scrape all the yummy bits from bottom of pan and bring to a simmer.

Mix cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water to a smooth paste and stir into gravy off the heat to avoid lumps from forming. The cornflour thickens the sauce and also gives it a glossy look.

Strain sauce through fine sieve and serve alongside pork chops.

These chops are delicious with rosemary roast potatoes.

Turkey and Pea Curry Puffs

We are now at the very end of the roast turkey leftovers (promise). Today we were heading to the beach for a picnic so I decided to use it all up by creating some curry puffs. The shredded roast turkey meat goes well with Indian spices and sweet peas and the curry puffs are perfect picnic food.

Prep time: 15minutes + 30 mins cooling Cooking time: 15 minutes
1.5 cups shredded roast turkey meat
1 onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 tspoon chilli powder
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tspoon cumin seeds
Handful of curry leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup water
1 beaten egg yolk for brushing pastries
3 sheets puff pastry

Remove puff pastry from  freezer to thaw.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add cummin seeds and curry leaves until they splutter and are fragrant.

Add onions and cook until transparent, then add crushed garlic and mix through for a minute until heated.

Add cummin powder, turmeric and chilli powder and mix thoroughly through onion mixture, heating until fragrant but be careful not to burn.

Add turkey to pan and stir fry, then add 1/2 cup after and peas – simmer for 5-8 minutes until all the water has evaporated and peas are just cooked.


Cool mixture completely.

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celcius.

Cut pastry sheets into thirds lengthwise and horizontally to make 9 even squares.

Using a teaspoon, spoon small amounts of the turkey and pea mixture into one square at a time, fold over and use a cake fork to seal the edges creating a neat pattern across all edges. Repeat until all the mixture is used.


Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, then place filled pastries evenly spaced apart. Brush with beaten egg yolk and place in Pre-heated oven.

Bake for 15 minutes or so until pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Allow to cool, or pack for picnic between layers of kitchen towel paper.