Riccardo Momesso’s Chicken and Clove Ragù with Polenta Pasta

Serves: 6 – 8

This wonderfully aromatic pasta is really quite sophisticated and absolutely memorable. A great example of how simple yet elegant a white ragù can be.

I didn’t have the time to make the polenta pasta though I have no doubt that would even further the wow factor. Next time.

I freshly and coarsely minced chicken thigh to make the chicken mince and if you can do so, it is so much better than store bought.

Served alongside Rodney Dunn’s Leaf Salad with Anchovy Salad Cream, this was a perfect Autumn lunch.

Just add Pinot Gris or better, Pinot Noir!


1 bunch cavolo nero, trimmed, roughly cut and ribs removed (about 350gm)
60ml olive oil (1/4 cup)*
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 anchovy fillets
40gm finely grated pecorino, plus extra to serve (1/2 cup)

Polenta pasta

100gm polenta
500gm plain flour (3 cups)

Chicken ragù

60ml olive oil (1/4 cup)*
3 golden shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1kg coarsely minced chicken
1ltr dry white wine
4 cloves, cracked


  1. For the polenta pasta, bring 350ml of salted water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then add polenta in a thin, steady stream while whisking continuously until all is incorporated. Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally until the polenta is cooked and thick (35 – 45 minutes; you may need to add extra water). Spread thinly on an oiled tray, cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate to chill. Transfer polenta to a kitchen mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until smooth. Add flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (8 – 10 minutes), adding extra flour if too sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest (30 minutes).
  2. For chicken and clove ragù, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until tender (8 – 10 minutes). Add chicken and fry until juices reduce and chicken begins to brown (35 – 40 minutes). Add wine and cloves, and simmer until liquid is almost evaporated (30 – 40 minutes). Add 1 litre water and reduce by half (30 – 40 minutes). Season to taste and set aside**.
  3. Meanwhile, divide pasta into quarters and roll each out on a lightly floured surface to about 2mm thick. Cut into triangles of about 3cm and transfer to flour dusted trays.
  4. Cook cavolo Nero in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender (2 – 3 minutes). Drain, refresh and set aside. Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the garlic and anchovies and cook until starting to colour (2 – 3 minutes). Add cavolo nero, season to taste and cook until starting to colour (2 – 3 minutes). Transfer to chicken ragù and stir to combine.
  5. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of simmering salted water until al dente (1 – 2 minutes). Drain, toss with ragù, sprinkle with pecorino and serve hot with extra pecorino.

* I used extra virgin olive oil and it was fine.

** I cooked the water down further though don’t push it. The liquid is wonderful when tossed through the pasta and it really is the wow factor I referred to!

David Leite’s (Orange) Moroccan Salad

Serves: 4

Every time we cook Moroccan, we agree it is too many drinks between meals.

So the start of autumn and I put on a slow Neil Perry tagine (I substituted chicken thigh), prepared the world’s best couscous and then platted this salad.

Easily, the best orange Moroccan salad I’ve had. Could be the tarragon, not sure, though it is as simple as it is yum. And its very yum.


3 large tomatoes
2 oranges, preferably seedless
1 small red onion
10 – 12 black olives

For the vinaigrette

1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Slice the tomatoes into circles about 1/2cm thick. Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, trimming as much white pith as possible from the underlying oranges. Slice the oranges into thin, 1/2cm circles. Peel and slice the onions as thinly as possible. Pit and quarter the olives lengthways.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the herbs, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper, to taste, until emulsified.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes, oranges and onion on a platter, overlapping the pieces. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and scatter the olives over everything.

Kwality Restaurant’s Bhatoore

Serves: 4

One of best meals Nat and I had in India on a recent trip, was a meal at Kwality Restaurant in Connaught Place, New Delhi.

We had spent days and days eating the most wonderful, traditional Indian foods. Incredible foods from the tandoor, delicate momos, street foods, incredible breakfasts of spiced puffed rices and eggs. And my goodness, the potato.

And yet here we were in a Colonial Indian restaurant for the first time, living our best 1950s life. An ornate, dark dining room with secluded tables and waiters in whites.

What fun.


1940 it seems!

We thought it might be a trap, though the food was incredible. We literally laughed at how good the whole sum of the parts was.

The food, the wine, the service, the ambience.

The starter – a subtle, spiced, chicken mince paddy shallow fried and finished in cream and butter – was a recipe they gave me, and one I will type up in due course.

Though their most famous dish – Chhloe Bhatoore – was a recipe they could not share.

Bhatoore: a fried bread made with potato that blows up to be balloon of the most moorish pastry you can imagine. Sweet almost.

I mean, these people have had 60+ years to get this right. Right?

And then with the Chhloe – their signature twist on spiced chickpeas left overnight. Together, one of those seminal moments in food for us.

Incredible. Just perfection.

Plenty of recipes for both Chhloe and Bhatoore out there, though how to find the recipe of Kwality?

Well, Nat found it. And yes, it was the potato in the Bhatoore and not the traditional addition of yoghurt that made the difference.

Nat’s tips here are firstly to fold the dough before rolling to get as many air bubbles as possible. And to ensure your oil is bloody hot.

And a few test runs in, we were there. (Check out this guy’s video on the technique.)

Get the oil super hot.
And there you have it.

Nat has become the queen of bread in our house and this was her finest yet.

Our next Indian banquet, this is going to bowl people over.



1/2 c plain flour
1/2 c potatoes, boiled and grated
1 1/2 vegetable oil
Oil for deep-frying


  1. Combine the flour, potato, 1 1/2 tsp of oil and salt and need into a firm dough without using any water.
  2. Knead the dough very well until it is smooth. (We used a KitchenAid.) Cover with a wet muslin cloth and rest the dough for 10 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll out into circles of 12.5cm diameter. (Nat’s tip, fold in on itself a few times to really help those air pockets form.)
  4. Deep-fry in hot oil until the bhaturas puff up and both sides are golden brown.
  5. Serve with chhloe, sliced red onion and lemon wedges.

Ada D’Urzo;s Pollo Alla Cacciatore (Hunter’s Chicken)

Serves: 4

This is an absolutely classic dish from Tuscany and I’m sure I’ve cooked various iterations over the years. Or at least eaten them.

This iteration is magic.

I added a sliced zucchini as the vegetable, though mushrooms or capsicum or really anything would work if you feel like the addition of a vegetable; though by its own, it is just so bloody good.

A big sprig of rosemary, the marjoram and the white wine. A slow braise of the chicken with the tomato. Stop!

Stretch for a parmesan polenta or a mash and this is just comfort and very simple comfort. Classic.

(I’ve very slightly adapted the recipe.)


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1kg chicken thigh cut into pieces
250ml white wine
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 rosemary sprig
1 marjoram sprig
Salt and pepper
Zucchini or vegetables of your choice


  1. Gently heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over low heat, add the onion and cook until transparent. Remove the onion and set aside. Increase the heat to medium, then add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
  2. Return the onion to the pan and add the wine, tomatoes, rosemary, marjoram, salt and pepper as well as any vegetables you want to add. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, turning the chicken pieces occasionally.
  3. If it starts to dry out, add a little warm water, Serve with a drizzle of extra olive oil.

Rosaria Ferrara’s Insalata di Polpo e Patate (Octopus and Potato Salad)

Serves: 6

Every time we cook octopus, Nat and I tell each other we need to do more.

This salad is why.

It is so classic, so fresh, so moorish. And that splash of white wine!

Do better at your next BBQ and present this. Level up!


1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
2 – 3 bay leaves
1 x 600gm octopus, well cleaned (ask your fishmonger to do this)
1 1/4 tbsp rock salt
400gm potatoes
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Good splash of dry white wine


  1. Put the celery, carrots onion and bay leaves in a large saucepan, add 2 litres of water and bring to the boil. Continue boiling over a medium heat for 10 minutes to make a broth.
  2. Take the octopus by the head, with four fingers into it like a handle, and dip it into the boiling broth for 30 seconds. Repeat this two or three times until the tentacles start to curl, then release the octopus into the broth (this process should stop the octopus becoming hard during cooking).
  3. Leave it to boil over a medium heat for 30 minutes, adding some rock salt to taste. Test by piercing with a fork – if it pierces easily, it’s ready; if its still hard, let it cook for a little longer. When it’s ready, remove it from the broth and set aside until it is cool enough to handle with bare hands.* Reserve about 250ml of the broth as you may need it later.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in their skins until cooked but not too soft. Leave to cool slightly, then peel and cut into a 2cm dice, Set aside.
  5. Pull each cooled tentacle down lengthways, squeezing at the same time to remove the suction pads and gelatine coating. Chop the flesh into 2cm pieces.
  6. Combine the octopus and potato in a bowl and dress with the oil, salt, parsley and garlic. Mix well, then finish with a splash of white wine to give the salad perfume. If the salad seems a little dry, add some of the reserved broth and to see gently.
  7. “Serve with Amore!”

* When it comes to pulling down the tentacles and gelatine coating, the octopus must be warm or hot.

Nat’s Black Eyed Bean Salad

Serves: 4

A couple of years ago, we spent New Years up in Newcastle, about two and a half hours north of Sydney.

We really like Newcastle. We have some very good friends there, the restaurant and bar scene gets better every year and with an AirBNB with a good enough kitchen, the show can go on.

We did a Greek/Mediterranean cook off and Nat made this wonderful salad along-side a braised octopus. Incredibly fresh, a wonderful simplicity of flavour and healthy.

Definitely a keeper for any Greek lunch, and a salad Nat has served a few times since.


2 c dried black eyed beans
1 l chicken stock
1 celery stick, finely diced
1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
1 white onion, finely diced
Big handful of Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Braised octopus optional


  1. Soak the beans overnight.
  2. Heat the stock to a simmer in a large saucepan, add the beans and simmer for 45 minutes or until softened. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine with the remaining ingredients and serve.

Josh Niland’s Salt and Vinegar Whole Coral Trout

Serves: 6

A few points here.

We used Rainbow Trout here and whilst it is likely a distance from the turbot Josh Niland originally cited as his inspiration for this dish, I think it is an acceptable distance.

Not coral trout sure, though who doesn’t love Rainbow Trout.

Fish over charcoal is always just bloody brilliant. The addition of the salt and vinegar spray misted over whilst we cooked was just an incredible touch.

Nat served it with a celeriac slaw and my goodness, this was two-hat simplicity. Just sublime. Sublime.

An incredible slaw, also from Josh Niland.

We should have dried the skin more and that would have seriously changed the profile. Next time.

The concept was not lost how good this simple approach to BBQing fish really could be.



1 x 1kg whole coral trout, gutted and pin boned
1/4 c best-quality seaweed vinegar or white wine vinegar (not too sweet)
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes


  1. About 45 minutes before grilling, remove the coral trout from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  2. In a spray bottle fitted with a misting nozzle, shake together the vinegar, olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Set aside.
  3. For the charcoal grill, make sure the grill is hot and the charcoal has cooked down to hot embers. Divide the coals across the floor to create a cooler side and a more intense side of the grill.
  4. Season the coral trout liberally with salt flakes, then either securely skewer lengthways, or place it in a grilling basket; set it over the hot side of the grill. Cook until the skin begins to blister slightly, about 4 minutes, then carefully tun the fish over and cook for another 4 minutes, generously misting the first blistered side with about one-third of the vinaigrette as you go.
  5. Flip the trout back over, and cook the first side for 3 – 4 minutes until the skin is well blistered and the flesh is opaque, misting the second side with half the remaining vinaigrette. The fish is ready when the skin is evenly coloured and the internal temperature registers 44c on a probe thermometer.
  6. Remove the coral trout from the grill and rest on a large serving platter for 8 – 10 minutes, then spoon over the remaining vinaigrette.
  7. Carve the trout, discarding the spine and reserving the collar and head, and transfer the fillets to serving plates. Pour the resting juice from the serving platter into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, whisking to form a glaze. Spoon the glaze over the fillets and serve right away.

Bourke Street Bakery’s Humble Beef Pie

Makes: 6 or 1 family pie

A few years ago I cooked a copycat of the Bourke Street Bakery Pork and Fennel sausage roll and wow, there is a reason people line up on a Saturday morning for their bread and pastries.

This beef pie by the Bourke Street Bakery is less famous, though it is a very good, classic chunky beef pie and clearly, very bakery: the vegetables are tossed and you’re left with a classic, chunky beef filling.

Like the very best you could expect from a bakery.

Shortcrust base.
Puff lid.

Ensure you retain enough liquid and substitute corn flour is you do not have potato flour.

Open a big red, and this is what a good night in should look like.


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150gm onions, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
150gm carrots, cute into 1cm cubes
150gm celery, cut into 1cm cubes
375gm tomatoes, roughly chopped
55ml malt vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
900gm cubed beef cheeks, trimmed of fat, cut into 2 – 3cm cubes*
1 tsp potato flour
1 quantity savoury shortcrust pastry
1/2 quantity puff pastry
Egg wash, for brushing


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over low heat and cook the onion, garlic and thyme for 5 minutes until softened. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato, vinegar, salt and pepper and simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring to combine.
  2. Add the beef to the pan and pour in enough water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 hours, skimming and stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the meat is just tender but still with texture. The beef should not be falling apart and the liquid should be noticeably thicker. Do not overcook the beef, as it will continue to cook when it cools down and will be cooked again when you bake the pie itself. If the beef cheek is poorly trimmed, you may end up with pieces that are mainly gristle – these pieces should be spooned out of the mix and thrown away.
  3. When the beef pieces are just tender, remove to a plate and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid and return to the warm pan over high heat.
  4. Continue cooking the liquid until reduced by about one-third. Mix together the potato flour and 2 tsp water and add to the cooking liquid, stirring/whisking well to combine. Return the beef to the liquid. Season with more salt and white pepper, to taste. Pour the mixture into a container with with a large surface area, to cool the mix down as quickly as possible, stirring every now and then as it cools.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200c. Rollout the shortcrust pastry and use it to line the base and sides of six 12.5cm pie tins/one large pie tin. Roll out the puff pastry ready to neatly cover each tin.
  6. Spoon the beef mixture into the pastry-lined pie tins/tin, filling them to the brim. To attach the puff pastry lids, brush the rim of the pastry base and lid with a little egg wash and lay the lid over the base. Pinch gently between your thumb and index finger to make a good seal around the circumference edge. Brush the top of the pie lid with egg wash and make a small hole in the middle to allow steam to escape. Reduce the over temperature to 180c and bake the pies for 30 – 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pies from the tins and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

* Two points to make here. We substituted a gravy beef and the effect was fine, though based on experience, beef cheek would be even better. And don’t cut the cubes smaller that 2cm. You are going to be fishing for the beef amongst all the vegetables after 2 hours of braising and so the bigger, the easier and faster at this point in the recipe.

The Glenorie Butcher Chicken and Corn Sausage

Makes: 80 – 100 sausages

My father-in-law Rob would often visit the outer-Sydney suburb Glenorie both for work and to pick up kilos of this sausage.

He would message the family on WhatsApp and we would all put in our orders. Nobody ever missed out on an order.

When Nat and I were married, late in the night after my brother James’ leg ham and bread roll station had been exhausted, Rob and I hauled up a BBQ and cooked dozens and dozens of these.

Everyone was blown away. The best chicken sausage.

Sadly, during Covid, the butcher shut up shop. Hard enough being an independent butcher, during a pandemic, when your rent goes up and you’re old enough to get out of the game.

On his last visit to the butcher, Rob asked for the recipe and given quite literally the tonnes he had purchased over many years, they were happy for it not to go to the grave.

Nat and I decided to take the plunge and recreate; hand-on-heart, this is the recipe. Served on these incredible bread rolls with Lurpak butter and a tomato sauce by Nat: hearty BBQ at its best.

The original recipe.
What are the chances of living 750m from one of Sydney’s best butchers?! (Yes, that’s Jamie our Groodle watching on hoping this is for her!)
A Weber due for a clean.
Could this be it?!
The gentleman that owns our local IGA drives these bread rolls in each morning from a Vietnamese bakery somewhere in the South West of Sydney. He brings in a pallet and they’re gone by 10am. When we go camping, my kids specifically request them for breakfast each morning. Add Nat’s homemade tomato sauce and some good butter and this is BBQ as good as it gets.

A few tips we picked up on the journey.

  • Use chicken thigh with the skin on to give you the fat you need for a wonderful sausage. As with the various sausages we’ve made in the past, fat is key.

    Also, use a quality brand of chicken or sourced from a good butcher. And frankly, you won’t be able to get thigh with the skin on outside of a chicken specialist or an order to your butcher.
  • Use a thin, natural casing. They’re harder to handle, though they’re thinner and much nicer. Run water through the casing to wash and rinse the salt from the outer.

    I used our local butcher – Hummerstons – for both the chicken and casings and as a butcher, they’re the real deal. Many butchers are reluctant to sell casings, though these guys are not precious at all. They just love meat and what can be done with it.

    Every time I tell them how I am going to cook a cut of their meat, they’re genuinely excited.
  • The seasoning is from J Delaney & Co in Warriwood. They will sell you a 1.5kg bag of Chicken Supreme which will do 15kg of chicken.
  • Rest the sausages for two days prior to cooking.

Immediately after the first batch, Nat literally ordered us a semi-commercial sausage stuffer. We can easily foresee the demand from the family!

Unquestionably, the greatest chicken sausage we’ve had and we’ve cracked the code! Farewell Glenorie Butcher and also farewell to my old man Bill whom we farewelled yesterday.

He loved the Chicken and Corn sausage as much as we did and he would have been proud. He gave us a wonderful bottle of the Giant Steps Tosq Vineyard Pinot Noir from Central Otago and wasn’t it a like-for-like swap!

I’m dedicating this blog and this recipe which is now ours, to Bill.

Nat and Bill. 💧

We miss you Billy. You’re love of wonderful food and even better wine always inspired us.


500gm J Delaney & Co Chicken Supreme (no added water)
5kg chicken thigh, skin on cut into pieces
500gm corn kernels
1/4 c honey
Thin, natural sausage casings – 15 meters at least


  1. Grind the chicken on a 6mm blade in your meat grinder.
  2. Mix together the chicken with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Stuff into the casings using your stuffer. BBQ and enjoy.

Josh Niland’s Scotch Eggs

Makes: 8

As with so many things with Josh Niland, his seafood interpretation of famous dishes are better than the original, meat dish.

Nat and I had his famous Coronation Sandwich at his restaurant Saint Peter and it was remarkable. When I typed up his fish tagine, I commented that it was the finest I had ever eaten.

It’s not a coincidence at this point.

Nat cooked these scotch eggs as the starter for a long seafood lunch and they are incredible. Serve with mustard or a mayonnaise and nobody is going to believe it.


10 eggs
1 c plain flour
Sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
2 1/2 tbsp full-cream milk
120gm white panko breadcrumbs
Canola oil, for deep frying


2 tbsp ghee
10 French shallots, finely diced
250gm ocean trout belly, cut into large chunks
Chilled water, if needed
250gm skinless, white fish fillet (ling, cod, groper or snapper) cut into a 1cm dice
1 1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp freshly ground fennel seeds
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon thyme leaves
2 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 c finely chopped chives
Dijon and whole egg mayonnaise to serve


  1. To make the filling, heat the ghee in a small saucepan over a medium heat to a light haze. Add the shallot and sweat for 6 – 7 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat and chill in the fridge.
  2. Working in small batches, blend the ocean trout belly in a food processor to a small mouse, adding a splash of chilled water to help everything emulsify if the mixture seems too oily. Add the remaining filling ingredients, including the chilled shallot, and blend until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Fill a bowl with iced water. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Carefully lower eight of the eggs into the boiling water and cook for exactly 8 minutes, then transfer immediately to the bowl of iced water and leave to cool for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. With clean hands, divide the filling mixture into eight even portions and roll into balls.
  5. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the shells. Place each portion of filling between between two sheets of plastic wrap and flatten into a circle large enough to enclose the egg, then remove the plastic wrap. Place an egg in the centre of each filling circle, then wrap the filling around the egg, gently pressing together to seal but being careful not to press too hard. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  7. Place the flour in one bowl and season with salt and pepper, then beat the remaining eggs in another and stir in the milk. Tip the breadcrumbs into a third bowl.
  8. Roll each egg in the seasoned flour, gently tapping off any excess, then dip it into the beaten egg mixture. Finely, roll it in the breadcrumbs, making sure it is evenly coated.
  9. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fryer or large saucepan over a medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 190c.
  10. Working in batches of two, add the Scotch eggs to the oil and fry for 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack over a baking tray. When all the eggs have been fried, place the tray in the oven for 3 – 4 minutes, then serve immediately while the yolks are still runny.