Woodle’s Butter Cookies

Makes: 40

Course #6 at our Long Lunch/Wedding was called ‘Cookies and Cream’.

Plates of assorted cookies served with a shot of Baileys. A really nice, comfortable way to end a long lunch.

This particular cookie – expertly baked by Nat’s best friend Woodles – was the perfect pair to the cream; think shortbread with even more butter.

And Baileys.


Woodles (and Billy) mean a lot to us and we’ve had some pretty crazy times together. Baiting Woodles is one of my favourite pastimes, especially when it comes to food.

What I wont disagree with was how wonderful these cookies were, nor how important it was that we had Woodles and Billy at our long lunch.

Here’s to our next meal guys!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk for brushing
1 tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whist together the flour and salt.
  3. In another medium bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy: 4 – 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Divide. The dough in half.
  4. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk with two teaspoons of water. On a floured surface, roll each dough out evenly to a bit over half a centimetre thick.
  5. Punch out round with a 5cm cookie cutter, placing them about 3cm apart of the prepared baking trays.
  6. Use the tines of a fork to create a “+” pattern on the cookies, then brush tops of cookies with egg wash.
  7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are beginning to turn golden. Cool completely before serving.
  8. Eat with Baileys.

Curtis Stone’s Corn and Bacon Muffins (with Herb Butter)

Makes: 12

I am a sucker for savoury muffins though apart from my popular Spinach and Feta Muffins, it would seem the house has a sweet tooth.

Therefore your decision to cook this particular muffin recipe really will come down to whether you like savoury muffins or are all-in the sweet camp.

If you are like me – and Curtis Stone – you should pass GO, collect $200 and have these baking tonight.

Because if you’re like me, you’ll agree they are really great, savoury muffins.

(Like muffins should be.)


350gm smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
2 ½ cups self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup fresh yellow corn kernels (cut from a cob)
⅓ cup coarsely chopped fresh chives

For the herb butter
115gm softened unsalted butter
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. In a large pan, cook the bacon over a medium heat for about 8 minutes until brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels and reserve the bacon drippings.
  3. Grease 12 muffin cups/tins with some of the reserved bacon drippings.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cayenne pepper to blend. In a separate large bowl, whisk the milk, eggs and the remainder of the bacon drippings to blend; stir in the bacon, 1 ½ cups of the cheese (leaving ½ cup), the corn kernels and the chives. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just blended.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the greased muffin cups and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for about 18 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  7. For the herb butter: combine the butter ingredients. Use immediately on the muffins or form into a log on some baking paper, roll and twist and refrigerate.

(Not) Butter chicken

(Not) Butter chicken

Serves: 4

The last ‘generic’ curry I I typed up, I commented that I had always steered clear of the Indian take-away favourites – Rogan Josh, Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken – because, well, they’re the sold-out, hardly Indian curries. 

In fact, butter chicken was the worst of the lot.

Often a flavourless, nuclear yellow/orange goop, I literally only entertain it because the boys will eat it: validation that it must be bland. (Sorry boys).

So by typing this up, you must have guessed it.

This is a seriously good curry. A seriously good, rich, flavoursome, moorish butter chicken, so much so, that you’d say it isn’t butter chicken.

So maybe after-all I haven’t cooked butter chicken.

Either way, you will love it. Just tell them it’s not butter chicken.


1 kg chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 stems, curry leaves
1 red chilli, chopped including seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 x 400gm can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
165ml coconut cream
1 tsp golden syrup
½ concentrated chicken stock cube


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Season the chicken thighs well and add to the pan; cook until golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Add the butter to the pan and when heated, add the onion and cook cover a medium heat until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the curry leaves, chilli and spices and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and coconut cream; add the golden syrup and stock cube and stir to dissolve.
  5. Return the chicken and cook on a low heat for at least an hour; several more if you have the time.
  6. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with the fresh coriander and steamed white rice.

Sylvia’s Cornbread with Bacon and Chive Butter

Obama at Sylvias. Note the cornbread in the basket!

Serves: 15

Nat and I visited the famous Slyvias Restauarant in Harlem two years back. Starting her restaurant 1962, Slyvia was known as the Queen of Soul Food and everyone has eaten there.

It is a complete institution.

Among other things – fried chicken, you name it – we had cornbread. And as far as cornbread goes, it was amazing.

Come last Saturday and we’re cooking as part of a big Southern American themed meal – fried chicken, you name it – and we nominated this cornbread complete with a butter we felt befitted the theme.

The bread is fabulous. Served warm with butter, it is simply heaven.

You’ll explode (in goodness) if you eat this as a side with every meal, though as an amazing once in awhile, this bread will have you coming across as a genius baker to anyone lucky enough to get a slice.



2 c yellow cornmeal (polenta in Australia)
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c granulated sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups milk
1 c vegetable oil
5 large eggs

Bacon and chive butter

3/4 c butter, softened
2 tbs fresh chives
2 strips bacon, finely diced and cooked
1 clove garlic, minced



  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Grease a baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, sift or stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the milk, oil and eggs. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined. (Batter will be wet and a little lumpy.) Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cornbread is pulling away at the edges.
  5. Cool in the pan, then cut into 15 squares.

Bacon and chive butter

  1. Stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl until combined and evenly distributed.
  2. Spoon onto a piece of cling film and roll into a cylinder. Twist the ends and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

Whole Fish with Roast Capsicum and Chilli Butter

 Serves: 4

I typed this recipe up a few years back though haven’t made it since.

Next weekend, I will right that wrong.

Using whole ocean trout as your fish – truly the most beautiful fish in the world – and cooked in foil on the BBQ, when fish meets chilli butter and with perhaps some greens and potatoes on the side, something special happens.

Sure, it isn’t quite restaurant fare though it’s certainly bistro fare and it is a great recipe to dip your toe into the ‘cooking whole fish on the BBQ’ trick.

Of course, you could cook the fish in the oven by laying them down on baking paper, cutting two or three slashes into the thick flesh and baking, though I think the BBQ adds to it.


4 whole ocean trout
2 tbs olive oil, plus extra to brush
1 roasted red capsicum (or a jar of chargrilled capsicum, drained)
100gm unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 small red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped


  1. Heat the BBQ to medium-hot. Brush the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. By all means, stuff lemon and coriander and garlic and butter and whatever else your grandpa included into the cavity of the fish. Wrap in foil and cook for 10 – 12 minutes, turning once.
  2. Meanwhile, very finely chop the capsicum then place in a small saucepan with the olive oil, butter, lemon zest and juice, coriander, chilli and garlic. Season. Stir over a low heat until butter is melted and well combined. Keep warm.
  3. Serve the fish with the capsicum and chilli butter drizzled on-top.

Café de Paris Butter

OK, I am going to tread very carefully here and after my brief intro, I am going to revert to a piece I found online many years ago by Franz Scheurer on the topic of Café de Paris Butter.

The reason for treading carefully is threefold:

  1. The original recipe was (and is) a secret and cooked only in one French restaurant in Geneva.
  2. It was so good that apparently the Germans during WWII booked the restaurant out night after night.
  3. There are many interpretations though they are just that; nobody really knows and suggesting that this take on Café de Paris Butter is correct would be dangerous.

Though I think, from what I have read, that this particular recipe is close if not it!

And lordy, of all the butters I have made, it is freaking good.

Don’t be inundated by the extent of the ingredients. Roll up your sleeves and do the hard yards. It freezes and you’ll have the best steaks in town for weeks and weeks.

The excerpt I found by Franz Scheurer:

Created by Freddy Dumont in 1941, specifically to go with sirloin steak, and served in the Restaurant Café de Paris in Geneva, this herb/spice butter was an instant success. So much so that it was almost impossible to get into the restaurant for years. The exact recipe is probably still secret today, and only a few restaurants world-wide are reputed to serve the original recipe, amongst them the Parisian ‘Le Relais de l’Entrecôte’ and the ‘L’Entrecôte de Paris’ and the ‘Café de Paris’ in San Francisco. The original Restaurant Café de Paris in Geneva still exists (albeit under new management) and still has the butter on the menu.

You won’t find a recipe for Café de Paris in Escoffier, Larousse or the Sauce Bible. Nor is it listed in the Oxford Companion to Food, Food Essentials A-Z or in the Cook’s Encyclopaedia. I did eventually find it in the German edition of ‘Der Grosse Pellaprat’, printed in Switzerland in 1966. Interestingly, it closely matches the recipe I have from my father, from his time as a chef at the Savoy in London in 1943.

Surfing the internet it becomes obvious that there are a lot of ‘chef’s versions’ out there, some quite close to what you would expect and some really way-out, like a German hotel chef’s version mounting a herb butter based on thyme, tarragon and parsley with sweetened condensed milk!

In Sydney Café de Paris butter is on the menu at quite a few restaurants and one, Bistro Moncur, is certainly very well known for this dish and their version is superb. 

Below my father’s recipe from 1943:

Beurre Café de Paris


1 kg butter
60g tomato ketchup
25g Dijon mustard
25g capers (in brine)
125g brown eschalots
50g fresh curly parsley
50g fresh chives
5g dried marjoram
5g dried dill
5g fresh thyme, leaves only
10 leaves fresh French tarragon
Pinch ground rosemary
1 garlic clove, squashed then chopped very finely
8 anchovy fillets (rinsed)
1 tbs good brandy
1 tbs Madeira
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp curry powder (Keens)
Pinch cayenne
8 white peppercorns
juice 1 lemon
zest of ½ lemon
zest ¼ orange
12gm salt


  1. Mix all ingredients with the exception of butter in a glass bowl and leave to marinate for 24 hours in a warm part of the kitchen (a slight
    fermentation occurs).
  2. Purée the mixture in a blender and push through a chinois (a sieve to save you looking it up!).
  3. Foam the butter and mix with the purée. Cover and store in the fridge.
  4. It is customary to form the butter into a log, freeze it and cut off slices as you need them.

Keeps for several weeks.

Upon service a round of frozen butter is placed on the cooked sirloin and put under a VERY hot salamander for just long enough to begin to brown the top of the butter (while the butter underneath stays cold).


Cook your steak, let it sit, slice some of the butter on top and put it under the grill until it starts to melt.

Serve with thinly sliced and baked potatoes and an avocado and watercress salad and Vive la Revolution!

Bearnaise Sauce

Serves: 8

There are a million Bearnaise Sauce recipes online and so here is the one millionth and first; oh, and it is Neil Perry’s.

Of course, the heart of Bearnaise Sauce is consistent across all its recipes so don’t get too excited. This Bearnaise will taste as good as any other classically cooked Bearnaise.

This said, I have had better, though I think that has been more about technique than anything. There used to be a restaurant in Crows Nest called La Grillade that my father took us to when we were kids and just how they got their Bearnaise to be so fluffy, I can only imagine.

But I’m not La Grillade and I don’t make Bearnaise for a living so this is Neil Perry’s version and I commend it to you.

Last time I served this was with a 240-day aged Angus fillet, potato gratin and beans with burnt butter and toasted almonds. You can imagine the effect.



250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes – bring to room temperature
2 eschalots, sliced
2 tarragon sprigs, 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
5 whole peppercorns
1/2 cup (125ml) white wine
1/2 cup tarragon vinegar (I substitute white wine vinegar)
3 egg yolks


  1. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat, add eschalots, tarragon sprigs, peppercorns, white wine and tarragon vinegar and reduce until 1/3 cup (80ml) remains.
  2. Put three egg yolks in a bowl that will sit comfortably over a saucepan. Strain the tarragon reduction and pour over the egg yolks, whisking to incorporate.
  3. Put the bowl over the saucepan of barely simmering water and start whisking.
  4. As it approaches the point at which it is fully cooked, the mixture will thicken by doubling or tripling in size.
  5. Once the sauce is thick, start adding three to four cubes of butter at a time, whisking to incorporate.
  6. When all the butter is incorporated, remove the bowl from the heat, add 2 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon and check the seasoning.