Entries Tagged as 'Recipes'

Lamb Biryani and Cabernet Franc

Lamb Biryani

For the upcoming Jan 26th feast lamb is the choice de jour, and thanks to the suggestion from the team at The sector7g experience it’s Lamb Biryani time.

We’ve had this recipe from Persiana previously to great success, so it’s no hardship to break it out again. No photos as yet, we will document properly on the day.

Serves 6-8


  • vegetable oil – although we’ll use olive oil
  • 6 large onions
  • 800g lamb neck fillets cut into 2.5 cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp green cardamom pods
  • 6 black cardamom pods
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt flakes
  • 600g basmati rice
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 125g butter


Preheat a large saucepan and add 250ml of olive oil. Chop 4 of the onions in half and thinly slice into 5mm half moons. Fry the onion slices in the oil (the oil should just cover them), stirring every few minutes until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove the onions and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper and set aside.

Pour out the oil, leaving just enough to coat the base of the saucepan. Dice the remaining two onions and fry them over medium high heat until translucent. Add the diced lamb and sear it until it begins to turn brown. Put in the black and green cardamom pods, bay leaves, turmeric, cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks and mix well. Pour in just enough water to barely cover the meat and cook the lamb for about 1.5 hours until just tender. Leave to cool. Once cooled add the yoghurt to the lamb, stir well and set aside.

Fill a large saucepan with boiling water and add the rice with a generous handful of crumbled sea salt. Boil for 6-8 minutes until the rice is parboiled. The grains will change from a dullish white to a more brilliant white, while becoming slightly elongated and begin to soften.

Drain the rice and rinse it immediately under cold running water to wash off all the excess starch until it is cool. Line the bottom of the saucepan with non-stick baking paper and set aside.

Add 2 tbsp of boiling water to a small cup. Grind the saffron with a mortar and pestle and pour over the boiling water and leave to infuse.

Back to the rice, using the paper lined saucepan pour in a generous drizzle of oil and a couple of knobs of butter. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt flakes. Scatter in enough rice to cover the base of the pan with a good layer, add a drizzle of the saffron water over this layer of rice. Take the yoghurt marinated pre-cooked lamb and devide it into two portions. Layer one portion over the rice, then cover with a thin layer of rice, sprinkle over some more saffron water, then add a generous layer of crispy onions and dot more butter on top. Repeat the layers until the rice, lamb, crispy onion and butter are all used up.

Wrap the pan lid in a tea towel, cover the pan and cook the rice on the lowest temperature possible on gas, or low medium with electric, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

When ready to serve, either flip the rice on a serving dish or decant onto a serving platter. Scape the crispy tahdig from the base of the pan and serve it onto the top of the rice.

And to go with it we have a Cabernet Franc from our winetasting excursion at Squitchy Lane in the Yarra Valley

Squitchy Lane Reserve Cabernet Franc, Yarra Valley AUS, 2019, $45, 9/10


Lamb Shank, Black Garlic and Tomato Tagine with Gamay Noir

Lamb Shank, Black Garlic and Tomato Tagine.

Today we return to Persiana to try the Lamb Shanks which were amongst the recipes that had this book calling to us. After the success of the Shirazi Salad naturally our hopes were high for the shanks.

Serves 4

Shanks a cooking


olive oil
2 Large Onions, diced
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 lamb shanks
sea salt and black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 x 400g cans of tomatoes
6 large tomatoes halved
4 tbsp syrupy balsamic vinegar
2 black garlic bulbs, cloves peeled


In a large saucepan add a some olive oil and fry the onions over medium heat for a couple of minutes before adding the dry spices and the lamb shanks. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides then fold the onion and spice mixture over them again and season with the sea salt and black pepper.

Add the bay leaves, thyme, canned and fresh tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, then pour in enough water to cover the meat. Reduce the heat to low-medium, place a lid on the saucepan and cook for two hours, stirring every 30 minutes to prevent sticking.

We weren’t sure what black garlic bulbs were, nor did we have any. So we took two normal garlic bulbs, peeled the cloves and fried them separately in olive oil until lightly browned.

Once cooked, add the soft black garlic cloves, stirring them into the sauce. Add a little more weater to the saucepan if needed. Taste the tagine and adjust the seasoning if required., then cook the shanks for a further hour without the lid on before serving.

We served ours on a bed of potato mash with some sprigs of parsley.

And the taste? I’m going to use words in a futile attempt to do justice to the taste. In the process of the shanks slowly cooking they absorbed the amazingly rich tomato flavour deep within them and the sauce was a richly flavoured thick broth. The best shanks I can remember having had anywhere, any place.

And to go with it we tried our first Gamay Noir, and its rich flavour did a stirling job of accompanying the Tagine.

Vinoque Gamay Noir, Yarra Valley AUS, , $25, 8/10


Shiraz Cab and a new cookbook

So on Saturday we wandered down to Hawthorn and Readings bookshop and after an hour or so we emerged with a new cookbook Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour. Our Sunday tradition is that my son and I cook dinner together so Sunday morning was spent going through the book to find something yummy. Actually to be fair it was more of deciding which of the many yummys we were actually going to cook. After sadly noting that the fridge was bare of lamb shanks and chicken we decided upon a salmon main and a salad.

The book is lovely and one of its upsides is it will force us to travel far afield in search of ingredients we haven’t tried before. Our chosen recipes with sumac, pomegranate and dried rose petals sounded deliciously exotic. However dried rose petals was a bridge too far for a Sunday evening shop so we had to do a poor substitute and the salmon dish did suffer for it. Luckily our local supermarket Maxis was able to provide pomegranates and the Shirazi salad was beyond delicious.`

Shirazi Salad

Serving 4-6


  • 1 cucumber
  • 6 ripe vine tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • olive oil
  • sea salt flakes
  • black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 heaped tsp of sumac
  • 200g pomegranate seeds


  • Dice the cucumbers and the tomatoes.
  • Add them to the salad bowl
  • Finely dice the red onions and add them to the salad bowl
  • Drizzle olive oil over the ingredients, season with sea salt and black pepper
  • Add the lemon juice and mix.
  • Sprinkle over the sumac and the pomegranate seeds, pop into the refrigerator and served chilled

The Tokar Estate was fair but didn’t quite match up to the brilliance of the salad.
Tokar Estate Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley AUS, 2011, $23, 7/10

I’m loving this cookbook so far and I’m looking forward to trying more recipes! I see Lamb Shanks in my future.


Duck Pizza and aged NZ Pinot

Duck Pizza with Green Tomato, Cardamom and Ginger Jam

Duck Pizza with Green Tomato, Cardamom and Ginger Jam

Duck Duck Duck Duck Duck Duck.
Now that that is out of the way.. When we were in Adelaide we got to know a brilliant organic pizza restaurant called Good Life Pizza and while we were renovating our house we got to know the staff and the menu there extremely well. One of the dishes we have made an effort to recreate is their Duck Pizza. It should be world famous and we are doing our part in bringing it to its earned glory.

Pizza such as this needs to be shared, however with pizza such as this you can’t invite just any old riff raff, so after much deliberation we invited two dear friends of ours who just happened to have a pair of bottles of aged Carrick Central Otago NZ Pinot Noir. It was a hard decision but at heart we are softies and we let them come along with their wine.

Wine List

  1. Carrick Pinot Noir, Central Otago NZ, 2006, $35, 8/10
  2. Carrick Pinot Noir, Central Otago NZ, 2005, $35, 7/10

Recipe: Green Tomato, Cardamom and Ginger Jam


  • 2kg green tomatoes
  • 4 1/3 cups superfine sugar
  • Juice (and zest) of two small lemons
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, finely minced


Cut tomatoes into wedges. Remove juice, seeds and the white center parts, then roughly chop the remaining tomato flesh.
In a large bowl, combine the tomato pieces, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to macerate.
The next day, pour the tomato mixture into a preserving pan together with the cardamom and ginger (if you don’t have a preserving pan, a wide heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan will do just as well – I used my big Lagostina saute pan, and it worked a treat). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight once more.
The third day, return the mixture to the preserving pan and bring to a boil, skimming if necessary. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 10 minutes, check the set – if it’s still quite runny, continue cooking, checking the set every 2-3 minutes until it reaches the proper consistency. Remove the cardamom pods, then pour jam into sterilized jars immediately and seal (or for small batches, just refrigerate).

Sourced from Crumb Blog

For More Information

Good Life Pizza

Movida-Rustica Spanish Tapas and Rockford Wines

Movida Rustica

Movida Rustica

 Dinner Party Aphorisms

Dinner parties give rise to a number of aphorisms, here are a couple

  • Dinner parties are a wonderful excuse to find out what is lurking in the bottom of the cellar.

They are the greatest excuse to bring out that bottle of aged yumminess and share it with an appreciative audience. Of course to properly choose which of the denizens of the cellar will come into the light you need to know what meal it is going with.

Which leads to the second of our aphorisms…

  • Dinner parties are a wonderful reason to try out a new cookbook.

A captive and willing audience and a brand new cookbook, a great combination!

For our cookbook we had recently purchased “Movida Rustica” by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish, Spanish Traditions and Recipes. It is a beautiful book in itself, as well as a great cookbook. and served as the starting point for our dinner party planning.


Tapas was the theme and we had a couple of dishes in the book that had to make it onto the table. After much deliberation our final menu consisted of:

  1. Adobo de Pollo
    • Chicken Skewers marinated with Paprika and Oregano
  2. Picadillo de Atun
    • Pan-fried tuna with Smoky Paprika
  3. Churrasco
    • Grilled Pork Loin, with sides of Salsa Verde and Salsa de Piquillo
  4. Arroz con Trompetas de la Muerte
    • Rice with Mild Mushrooms

Rockford Basket Press Shiraz 2005

Rockford Basket Press Shiraz 2005

Naturally a menu like that needs some quality wine to match it…

Wine List

And to go with it some aged red wines ferreted out from the bottom of the cellar/wardrobe in the back room, a pair of Shiraz’s

  1. Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, Barossa AUS, 2003, $35, 9/10
  2. Rockford Black Sparkling Shiraz, Barossa AUS, 2002, $35, 9/10

Recipe: Adobe de Pollo

Serving size: Makes 12 tapas, or 6 portions


  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) skinless chicken
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) virgin olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge overnight.

Thread the chicken meat onto skewers. Heat a barbecue plate to high. Cook the chicken skewers for 5 minutes, or until coAllow to cool slightly then serve.


For More Information

Movida Rustica can be found at:
Movida Rustica:Spanish Traditions & Recipes
Rockford Wines
Rockford Wines, Barossa Valley AUS

Cooking Wine and Kaesler Chops.

I received the call as I reached the train station, “We need some wine for the dish I am cooking for dinner!”. Naturally I leapt to the nearest wine shop and grabbed up a $500 bottle of Shiraz, thereby saving the meal and the future of mankind.

Ok that is a smidge over the top, however having heard the chef’s chant that one should never cook with a wine one wouldn’t drink, and that it should be a fine wine I find myself ambivalent. I have cooked with wine I wouldn’t drink straight, Old Hayshed Red, made of haysheds as opposed to in one, when added as the essential ingredient of Coq-au-vin absolutely made the meal. A dinner that needs a rough and ready wine to bring it to its full potential.

Tonights dinner was a conundrum, what wine is required to cook red cabbage? A side dish recipe from Jane Lawsons “Snow Flakes and Schnapps” recipe book to go with Kaesler Chops. A robust wine I felt, so probably not a Merlot or Sangiovese. A Pinot Noir may have been adequate.. however… In the end I chose a Tatachilla Partners Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz. Now as the dish would only require one or two glasses itself, the rest would need to serve as Cooks Wine ( as opposed to cooking wine )

So although I may cook with a wine I wouldn’t necessarily choose to drink, cooks wine does demand something a little better.

Google Books link to Spiced Red Cabbge in Jane Lawsons “Snow Flakes and Schnapps”

Amazon Link to Jane Lawsons “Snow Flakes and Schnapps”

Shiraz and Red Curry

Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2007 – Thai Red Curry Chicken

It has been a while, but the cellar was beckoning and we needed something to go with a spicy homemade curry.
Thai Red and Green Curry have become a staple dish, replacing the spag bol when I first moved out of home.

Grant Burge is also a staple member of our Adelaide wineries to visit list. Filsell though was never high on my tasting list, it doesn’t suit my palate when it is young. However the first time I had an aged one I realised what a good bargain it is. It gains character as it ages. Almost as much as my cooking.

Homemade Thai Red Curry.

  • Cooking Oil, I use olive oil, sesame or peanut oil is also good
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Garlic and ginger to taste ( at least one clove )
  • 1-2 teaspoons Red Curry Paste
  • 250gm chicken
  • Lime juice to taste ( a couple of squirts? )
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 Swiss Brown Mushrooms
  • A cup full of cauliflower
  • 200gm chopped baby corn
  • A generous handful of beans
  • Half a red capsicum, chopped
  • Half a green capsicum, chopped
  1. heat olive oil in a wok
  2. saute onions and garlic until the onion is brown
  3. add chicken, curry paste and a squirt of lime
  4. stir chicken until brown
  5. add the coconut milk, mushrooms, cauliflower and corn
  6. simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and watching fluid levels. Add Water if it gets low
  7. add the capsicum and beans
  8. continue to cook until the beans are heated through, but still crisp (5 minutes? )
  9. serve with Rice and a spicy wine

Grant Burge Wines