Month: June 2013

Roast Potatoes



How we all love a good roast potato – they should be deep brown in colour, crispy and soft and fluffy on the inside. Then why are they so hard to achieve sometimes??

For more serious reading on how to get a good roast spud read this article written in the age.


My tips for a great roast potato

1. Look for firm, even sized young potatoes – they shouldn’t be green. Darker skinned or potatoes kept in their dirt coat are better. Keep your potatoes in a dry dark place not in the refrigerator.

2. Floury potatoes are best for roasting as they have a lower water content . Examples are russet burbank,idaho, coliban,king edward and spunta

3. Peel the potatoes and if you have time place into cold water – bring to the boil and precook the potatoes. Allow to cool and dry well with paper towel.Cut into smaller pieces.

4. Place into a very heavy oven dish – cast iron – or cast aluminium is best. This provides a hotter environment for roasting and this combined with a very hot oven 200 – 200c will help produce a cripser result.

5.Coat dry potato in good olivie oil or duck fat and roast

Slow Cooked Lamb

Last Night we caught up with old friends Sandy and Sandra – it was their first dinner party in their very beautiful new home. Sandra was very clever with her menu, as having five children means she has to be super organised . The hero of the menu was a slow cooked shoulder of lamb, that she had slowly braised for around six to seven hours.This allowed her to spend time out of the house running around after her busy children.

Those old fashioned cuts of meat such as lamb shoulder, are often overlooked – but with long slow cooking can quickly create a delicious main course and don’t even require carving – they will simply fall apart and this can be done with a fork and knife. I love to see it served on a large wooden board with minimum fuss. A squeeze of lime and lemon will help cut the fat and Voila !!

My tips for slow cooked food

1. Keep meat on the bone – it will help deepen the flavour
2. Cover and cook slowly, around 120c for minimum 4 hours but up to 6 hours is good
3. Keep the meat from sitting on the bottom of the dish – sit on a raft or roof vegetables such as onion and carrot – this helps prevent it from drying out
4. Keep moist and flavour with beautiful flavours – there are some delicious spices such as cumin and coriander

See recipe below

Roast Chicken


Lately I have been asked by several people what makes a great Roast Chicken. This batch of chilly Melbourne weather has made my want to eat baked food hot from an oven and Roast Chicken remains a firm favourite. My good friend Paul happily whips up a couple of Roast Chooks at a dinner party with all the roast trimmings and everyone loves it.I always admired his decision to serve a simple roast and not making his preparation too complicated.

Here are my tips for a successful Chicken roasted

1. Buy a free range chicken from a good supplier like Ionica. Free range food will taste better simply because the animal has had a happier life and the best tasting animals will have a natural varied diet.

2. I think it is better to roast a smaller chicken and will often roast two small birds if having a few extras at the dining table. Smaller chickens are sweeter. I long for the cornfed free range birds you find in every supermarket in Italy – boy do they taste so much better. Am sure if we insist on better farming conditions for chickens and support farmers markets we too can have great tasting chicken.

3. Stuffing a bird will add flavour and my mother always placed her stuffing under the great skin – this helps keep the breast insulated from the heat in the oven and adds better flavour.

If i am too busy to make a stuffing pop a lemon in the cavity with some unpeeled garlic.

4. For best crisping results wash the bird, pat dry with paper towel – place uncovered in the refrigerator. It will be perfectly fine like this. Leave in the refrigerator for the day or even better the night before.

5. Rub a little olive oil into the skin – a grind of salt and pepper and place into a hot oven – 180c for 30 minutes per 500g. Cook until the juices run clear.

6. Rest for at least 10 minutes and carve.

Maggie Beer makes a great roast chicken – here is a link to one of her recipes