a gourmet inspired long weekend – part three: sunday


home grown lamb shanks with white wine & chickpeas

Having family friends over for dinner can be such a laugh…sharing gossip about the neighbours….exchanging quince marmalade recipes….seeing who can get away with the most risque stories….and the worst ‘dad jokes’….an easy camaraderie…black & tans for the boys and kir royals for the ladies…..there’s nothing like it…especially when it’s the Sunday night of a long weekend and the fire is roaring…all good things…..

sunday night shanks
blue eye brandade with sauteed witlof and sourdough crostini
home grown lamb shanks with white wine and chickpeas
roast radicchio with proscuitto & balsamic vinegar
quince crostata with double cream

blue eye brandade with sauteed witlof and sourdough crostini
serves 8 as a starter

This recipe was adapted from Karen Martini’s trevally style brandade and the brandade recipe in the antipasto cookbook supplement from the May 2006 Australian Gourmet Traveller. For a largeish group I prefer to serve something shared and interactive to start a meal.  It keeps things more casual and opens up the group.

500g blue eye fillets or other large firm white fleshed fish
500g rock salt
500mL milk
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 peppercorns
2 large desiree potatoes. boiled until cooked through and pureed in a potato ricer or well mashed
2 lemons, juiced
300mL extra virgin olive oil
1 sourdough baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
1 large witlof, leaves separated
2T olive oil
2T white wine vinegar
1 large handful marinated black olives

Place half the salt in a ceramic dish. Top with skinned fish and then cover with remaining salt and refrigerate for 12 hours. Drain fish and discard salt. Rinse thoroughly.

Add fish to milk in a small saucepan with  half the garlic and the pepper corns. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8mins or until fish is cooked through. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Whizz with extra garlic until a fine paste is formed. Add lemon juice and then gradually add olive oil in a fine stream while motor is running.

Transfer to a bowl and stir through potato and season with pepper and add additional oil if too thick.

To serve, heat oil in a large frying pan and saute witlof until just starting to wilt. Add vinegar and olives and toss to combine and warm through. Serve alongside a bowl of brandade with sourdough toasts.

home grown lamb shanks with white wine and chickpeas
serves 6

Adapted from a recipe by Riccardo Momesso from Il Bacaro restaurant in Melbourne, published in the May 06 Gourmet Traveller magazine. Of course if you aren’t lucky enough to be able to get your Dad to produce some shanks for you, store bought ones will work as well.

250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or as long as you’ve got)
6 lamb shanks, frenched
2T olive oil
4 small brown onions, peeled & quartered lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sticks celery, diced
1 bunch baby carrots, tops trimmed
3 large rashers bacon, cut into matchsticks
8 anchovies, chopped
1 tin tomatoes
2C dry white wine
4C chicken stock
4 sprigs rosemary
shaved parmesan or pecorino, to serve

Heat a large oven proof casserole dish over medium low and add oil. Add onion and cook until soft, approx 10mins. Add garlic, carrots, celery and bacon and cook stirring for approx 5mins.  Add DRAINED CHICKPEAS, anchovies, tomatoes, stock, wine, shanks, and rosemary and bring to a simmer.

Cover tightly and tranfer to a preheated oven at 160oC. Cook covered for approx 3 hours or until shanks are meltingly tender and almost falling off the bone. Allow to cool and refrigerate until needed. You could skip this and serve right away but the shanks really taste better if you give the flavours a chance to mingle overnight.

When ready to serve. Skim solidified fat from the surface and place shanks, uncovered in a 180oC oven. and allow to heat through. Season with s&p.

Serve in shallow bowls with sauce and vegetables divided between and scattered with shaved cheese curls.

roast radicchio with proscuitto & balsamic vinegar
serves 6-8

I love radicchio and this recipe treats it more like a vege than a lettuce. It was adapted from a combination of both a recipe in the Antipasto supplement of the May 06 Gourmet Traveller and another in Jamie’s Kitchen.

2 heads radicchio (preferably the long noble treviso variety)
8 thin slices proscuitto
3T olive oil
3T balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 180oC. Remove outer leaves from the radicchio and then quarter lengthwise. Wrap a slice of proscuitto around each quarter and secure with a toothpick.

Place in a baking dish large enough to just hold the radicchio in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and season with s&p.

Bake for approx 20mins or until proscuitto is golden and radicchio is slightly crispy.

quince crostata with double cream
serves 8-10

Quince are one of those magical fruit…the way they change from boring white to a divine rosy pink when cooked for a long time is like some form of alchemy.

This recipe is adapted from the orange crostata recipe by Emma Knowles in the May 06 Australian Gourmet Traveller. With my favourite sweet crust pastry recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver.

for the quince:
4 medium quince, scrubbed and halved
1.5C sugar (330g)
3C water
for the pastry:
250g plain flour
2 egg yolks
120g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
100g icing sugar
pinch salt
2T water
for the filling:
1C milk
3 yolks
3/4C (110g) caster sugar
75g unsalted butter
2.5T plain flour
60g almond meal
double cream to serve

For the quinces, combine sugar and water and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Add quinces cut side up and bring to a simmer. Cook covered at a simmer for approx 3 hours or until soft and a bright rosy pink colour. Allow to cool slightly in syrup before cutting into segments and removing any woody core or seeds.

For pastry pulse butter and icing sugar, salt, and flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the 2 yolks and water and pulse until mixture almost comes together. Pat together into a ball and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1hr.

Roll out pastry between two flowered sheets of baking paper. Then transfer to line a 28cm tart tin with removable base. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and freeze case for at least 1hr.

Preheat oven to 180oC and bake tart shell straight from the freezer for 20-30mins or until pastry is lightly golden. Allow to cool.

For filling, heat milk in a small saucepan and almost bring to the boil.  Meanwhile whisk half the sugar with the yolks until pale and creamy. Whisk in flour and then warmed milk.  Return to the saucepan and cook over medium low heat stirring until mixture starts to boils and is thickened.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Cream remaining sugar and butter and add vanilla and cooled custard and mix until well combined. Transfer to the base of the tart tin. Top with slices of quinces in a circular pattern and bake at 180oC or until golden. Served slices drizzled with a little of the quince cooking syrup and double cream passed separately.

quince crostata


  • Great to see a record of this wonderful meal. However the text and photos can not convey the ease and graciousness of the chef nor the tastes and overall effect of a perfectly planned and executed evening. Not so sure about the risque jokes-cannot recall.

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