The Boathouse Snapper Pie

Makes: 5

Pre-Preamble: we served this pie as course #4 of #6 at our long lunch/wedding. It is one of our favourite dishes and the restaurant – The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay – is where I asked Nat to marry me.

(She gave me a tentative yes though told me to ask a year later for the full affirmative, something I duly did.)

Anyway, so as not to cause confusion, when we first typed this recipe up, we did it as a tribute to our wonderful friends Leesh and Josh for their wedding. Here is the handsome couple at our long lunch/wedding (which was also coincidentally Leesh’s birthday):

The preamble below is what we originally wrote to them and obviously we can’t remove it!

Preamble: We are typing up this recipe as part of a tribute to our awesome friends Leesh and Josh who are getting married – at last – this weekend. Being awesome means they are awesome on the food front: cooking, eating, discussing and pairing wines with.

Here is to many meals in the future guys. We are proud to be your friends.

Enjoy the copper and cooking this pie one rainy Saturday. Keep the champagne near.


Nat and Rob

The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay is one of our favourite restaurants.

It means a slow and incredibly comfortable afternoon of great food, wine, cheese, conversation, laughter and watching the boats slowly drift by. There really are fewer, better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Of course, anyone in the know about this wonderful institution would know that the signature dish on the menu is the Snapper Pie.

And lordy, what a pie it is.

The richness of the pie. The smell, the warmth. The whole bloody thing.

And the smoky tomato? Yes please.

(Here is how Nat produced the tomatoes for our wedding: baby tomatoes, brined overnight, smoking essence and balsamic, seasoned and roasted:)

Not to speak of the obvious outcome of the Paris mash.

Anyway, we cooked this – for the second time – a few weekends ago and holy smoking duck balls it was fine. Smiles, gasps, awe.

Every hour of sweating onions paid off!

Take off the afternoon and make this.

It is pure joy.


800gm pink snapper fillet, cut into 3cm pieces (you can get from the Fish Markets)
5 dessert spoonfuls of white truffle oil
Puff pastry
1.2kg sliced onions
800mls cream
400mls fish stock
300gm diced onion
Olive oil
1 egg beaten with a little water
4 tomatoes, peeled, halved and seeded
80gm long grain rice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
Paris mash to serve


  1. Sweat the sliced onion is a little olive oil and salt and cook as slowly as you can until the onions are light golden.
  2. Add the fish stock and slowly reduce by half. Add the cream and slowly reduce by half or until you have a thick, creamy consistency and remove from the heat.
  3. In a separate pan, sweat the diced onion with a little olive oil and salt and cook slowly until light golden. Add to the sliced onions and check the seasoning.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250c.
  5. Spoon some of the sauce into 5 deep pie dishes, lay over the fish, cover with the remainder of the sauce and add one dessertspoon of truffle oil to each dish.
  6. Roll out the pastry, lay over the dishes, press down and trim at the edges and egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
  7. For the smoked tomatoes, line a wok with foil, place the rice in the base, place a wire rack over and heat the wok until the rice starts to smoke.
  8. Place the tomatoes cut side up on the rack, combine the garlic and balsamic and brush the tomatoes. Cover with foil and cook for 3 minutes until heated through and smoked.
  9. Allow the pie to rest for a few minutes before serving with the tomatoes and the Paris mash.

Banc’s Fillet of Beef Rossini


See it and weep.

Serves: 4

I cooked this dish some years back and it is truly outrageous.

It is from that iconic Sydney restaurant of the 90s, Banc; an exquisite restaurant, a bastion to the Packers, their bankers and advisers. It was Rodney Adler’s restaurant which should provide some idea of the whole establishment.

From time-to-time you need to do a blowout dish. A dish that is so far from the ordinary of weekday cooking.

You do it for the fun of preparing it, you do it because we all need a dollop of foie gras and truffle in our lives from time to time and you do it because it is a gift to anyone lucky enough to join you for the meal.

And lucky they are. The beef and foie gras is like butter. The potato galette is the last word on potatoes. And served with the creamed spinach, the truffle and that ‘OMG’ sauce… OMG.

The photo above is from the Banc cookbook. I include it to give you some idea of not only how you might plate this, but of just how special it is.



4 x 180gm fillets of beef (eye fillet)
4 thin slices of prosciutto, large enough to wrap around the beef fillet
4 x 15gm slices of foie gras (ask your partner to buy this and hide in shame around the corner)
20gm foie gras trimming (basically, more foie gras)
½ tsp chopped truffle
25ml (5 tsp) vegetable oil
4 slices of truffle
Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 x Potato Galette

3 large potatoes, cut into cylinders
120gm clarified butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

160gm Creamed Spinach

1 ½ kg fresh spinach
1 diced shallot
1 clove garlic
½ cup cream
20gm butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

100ml (7 tbsp) Périgueux Sauce

20ml (4 tsp) truffle juice
20ml (4 tsp) port
20ml (4 tsp) madeira
400ml beef base (essentially, a good beef stock based on a good veal stock)
25gm chopped truffles
20gm chilled, diced butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Begin by preparing the Périgueux sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan, reduce the truffle juice, port and madeira to a syrup over a medium heat.
  2. Add the beef base and bring to the boil and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the chopped truffle. Whisk in the butter piece by piece until it is fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and season.

Continue with the beef:

  1. Using a sharp knife, make an incision in the centre of each piece of meat to form a pocket.
  2. Mix the foie gras trimmings and chopped truffle together and divide between 4 pockets. Wrap each piece of beef in a slice of prosciutto to the hold the foie gras and truffle in place during cooking and tie with a piece of butcher’s twine.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200c.

Prepare the potato, where I have reproduced their notes as below:

“To make potato galettes, take large potatoes and slice the top and bottom ends off so that they stand upright on a chopping board. Take a 5cm diameter steel tube which has a sharp end on it and press through each potato to create a perfect cylinder. If you don’t have the correct implement for stamping the potatoes out, use a sharp knife to peel the potato and form it into a neat shape without washing too much flesh.”

  1. Using the method above to make cylinders of potato, using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut the prepared potatoes into 3mm slices. You will need 18 thin slices for each of the galettes.
  2. Place the potato slices onto a tea towel and pat try. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Each galette is prepared separately. For each one, heat 30gm of clarified butter in a blini pan. (Essentially, a small fry-pan about the size of a compact disc). Arrange one portion of potato slices in a circle, allowing the slices to overlap each other. (Essentially, you’re making a compact disc of potato with a hole in the middle).
  4. Cook the potatoes over a gentle heat for 5 – 6 minutes until slices are crisp and golden brown, Carefully flip the potato over and cook for a further 5 – 6 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
  5. Lift the galette out of the pan and drain on paper towel. Lightly season and repeat for the other galettes.
  6. These can be reheated in the oven closer to serving.

Creamed spinach:

  1. Pick the spinach, discarding all the stalks, then wash the spinach under cold water to remove any grit or sand.
  2. Blanch the spinach, cooking for 1 minute in boiling salted water, then plunge into iced water to refresh, Remove from iced water and squeeze dry. Chop spinach very finely.
  3. Place the cream in a saucepan with the glove of garlic, reduce by two-thirds and remove the garlic.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the shallots and sweat until softened. Do not allow the shallots to brown. Remove the shallots from the saucepan.
  5. To serve, heat the cream in a saucepan, add the chopped spinach and shallot and warm through. Season to taste.

Continue with the dish:

  1. In a heavy-based saucepan (which can go in the oven), heat the vegetable oil. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper and seal all over in the pan until evenly browned. Transfer to the oven and cook to your taste, though no more than medium-rare to medium or the foie gras will render down and leak out. Remove and set aside to rest in a warm place.
  2. Warm the potato galettes on the oven. Reheat the creamed spinach and check the seasoning. Gently warm the sauce over a low heat.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan on the stove. Season the foie gras slices lightly with salt and pepper and quickly sear the foie gras for 45 seconds on both sides.
  4. When both sides are golden, carefully remove from the pan.
  5. Place a slice of foie gras on top of each piece of beef and a slice of truffle on the foie gras.
  6. To serve, spoon creamed spinach in the centre of each plate. Place a potato galette on top of the spinach and place the beef onto the potato galette. Spoon the Périgueux sauce over and around the beef.

Ravioli al sole with Truffle Butter broth and Pecorino


FullSizeRender (17)
Serves: 2 – 4 as a starter

Late last year, I typed up Armando Percuoco’s Truffle Egg Pasta, a gorgeous – and outrageous – pasta made famous at his restaurant, Buon Ricordo.

In my write-up of the recipe, I said do it and certainly, if you haven’t, I still highly recommend you do.

Though if you have, here is your next recipe along the same line.

It is from Tobie Puttock from whose book The Chef Gets Healthy we have been cooking recently. This recipe however, isn’t about getting healthy.

It’s about living the good life.

In his foreword, Tobie explains that he was taught the recipe by Gennaro Contaldo who in turn is famously Jamie Oliver’s Italian mentor; Tobie ran the restaurant Fifteen for Jamie Oliver.

So there is also a bit of heritage to it all as well.

Anyway, we cooked this as a starter a few weeks ago and it is excellent. Actually, more like superb.

Truffle, pasta, butter, ricotta, pecorino and egg superb. Poaching the egg in the stock after blanching the pasta in the boiling water is a neat trick with the ultimate treat being a runny, yellow egg yolk opening up all over the pasta as you eat it.


For by-far the best result, make your own pasta and have a fun afternoon in the kitchen like we did. And an incredible starter on your hands following that.

Do it!


⅓ cup (80gm) fresh ricotta
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp grated pecorino, plus extra to serve
100gm salted butter, softened
1 tbsp truffle oil (or 2 tsp truffle paste)
40cm thin fresh pasta sheet
4 free-range egg yolks
300ml vegetable stock


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Place ricotta on a lined baking tray, season then drizzle with 2 tsp of olive oil. Bake for 12 minutes or until slightly browned and dry. Cool. Mix ricotta with pecorino, 2 tsp olive oil and a pinch of talk and cover and chill until needed.
  2. Combine butter and truffle oil (or paste) in a bowl. Cover and chill until needed.
  3. Lay pasta flat on a bench. Cut into eight, 10cm squares. Shape ricotta into 4 rounds. Place each one in the centre of 4 pasta squares. Lightly flatten the ricotta with your palm and with your fingers, make a deep well in the centre. Pop an egg yolk in each well.
  4. Brush a little water around the pasta edges then carefully top with the remaining pasta sheets. Use your fingers and a fork to seal the pasta, pushing out as much air as possible while taking care not to break the yolk.
  5. Gently heat the stock in a large frying pan over a low heat. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
  6. Plunge the ravioli into the boiling water for 45 seconds then carefully remove with a slotted spoon and place in the stock, egg yolk side up to finish cooking.
  7. Add truffled butter, in pieces and gently shake pan for 3 minutes until it melts into the stock and the pasta is al dente.
  8. Season, divide ravioli and sauce among bowls, then top with extra pecorino.