Al Brown's Roasted Lamb Backstraps with Baby Beetroot, Watercress and Feta Salad

Posted on August 19, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

Lamb, beetroot and feta, is one of those heavenly combinations that is just a perfect marriage of flavours. The lamb backstraps, Te Manaia beetroot and Kingsmeade Castlepoint Feta used in this dish combine beautifully to create a delicious Winter salad.

Serves 6

Step 1. Cooking Beetroot

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Remove any leafy tops off 2 bunches of baby beetroot (or 500g of big beetroot) and discard. Place them in a small oven proof dish, pour over 1/3 cup canola oil along with 1/3 cup water. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for an hour or so until the beetroot are soft through. Remove and cool before peeling and discarding the outer skin. Slice beets into quarters, then refrigerate until required.

Step 2. Cooking and Serving


600 gm lamb backstraps 
Sea Salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Canola oil 
Cooked baby beetroot
1 bunch watercress (leaves picked roughly)
1 cup green peas (cooked)
1 cup basil leaves (torn) \
100 gm Kingsmeade Castlepoint Feta 
4 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Bring the lamb up to room temperature.

Season the pieces of lamb liberally with sea salt and fresh black pepper.

Place a skillet or similar on high heat, once hot add a little oil followed immediately by the pieces of lamb. Cook for a minute or two on both sides until nicely caramelised, then place in the oven .

Finish cooking for another 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and then rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.

To serve, place the beetroot, watercress, feta, peas and basil in a large mixing bowl. Mix the olive oil, sugar and balsamic vinegar in a separate bowl until combined. Pour dressing onto beet salad and toss gently until coated.  Arrange the salad on serving plates.

Slice the lamb into half centimetre thick slices. Top the salad with the lamb and serve immediately.

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Al Brown's Side of Salmon with Honey Lime Chili Glaze & White Bean Salsa

Posted on August 06, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

This 3 step recipe has a lean towards Tex Mex and has summer written all over it! I really enjoy the combination of the sweet with the citrus and heat from the chilli in this dish. The hot glazed Salmon fillet served on the chilled white bean salsa works a treat also.

Serves 8 (light lunch)

Step 1. Honey Lime Chili Glaze


1 cup honey 

Zest of 2 limes (grated fine)

1 Tbl cumin powder

2 tsp Chipotle Tabasco (or regular)



Heat the honey in the microwave for 20 seconds to liquefy. Fold in the lime zest, cumin and Tabasco. Season with a healthy pinch of salt. Store in a jar or plastic container until required.

Step 2. White Bean Salsa


3 x 400gm tins of buttered beans

2 x avocados (med dice)

½ cup red onion (fine dice)

2 x roasted red capsicums (medium dice)

2 x fresh chilis

1 to 2 lemons (Zest and Juice)

1/3 cup Lime Avocado Oil or Similar.

1/3 cup coriander (rough chop)

1/3 cup basil (rough chop)

Salt and pepper to season


Strain off the liquid from the butter beans and add them to a large bowl. Add the diced avocado, red onion, roasted capsicum. Mince and add the chili’s, with or without the seeds. Next add the zest and the juice of lemon, followed by the oil, freshly chopped coriander and basil. Lightly mix and fold together. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until required.

Step 3. Cooking and Serving


1x whole side of Mt Cook Alpine Salmon (Skin on)

Honey Lime Chili Glaze

White Bean Salsa

1/3 cup Lime Segments

1/3 cup Basil Leaves (torn)

1/3 cup Coriander Leaves

4 Limes


Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Place the salmon fillet skin side down on an oven proof dish. Brush with the glaze and place in the oven. Cook for five minutes, then place under the grill for a couple of minutes until the glaze caramelizes.

To serve, garnish the top of the cooked salmon fillet with fresh lime segments and torn basil and coriander leaves. Spoon onto each plate a good amount of salsa, then add a portion of the cooked salmon. Drizzle a little more glaze over each plate, add half a lime on the side and serve.

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Al Brown's Sausage, Kale, Leek & Butter Bean Stew

Posted on June 09, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 2 comments

Hayden, Al's Sous Chef, came up with this dish and it fast became a family favourite for the Winter months. It’s sort of a cross between a stew and a soup, with wonderful rich and comforting flavours.  It can be made a few days ahead or frozen down. Perfect for lunch with some crusty bread after kids sport on a Saturday morning.

Serves 6


50 ml olive oil
800 gm pork or Italian sausages
3 garlic (rough chopped)
1 cup onions (finely diced)
½ cup celery (finely diced)
2 cups leeks (sliced into thin rounds)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs fresh thyme (finely chopped)
2 Tbs fresh sage (finely chopped)
2 1/2 L chicken stock
2 handfuls green kale (stem removed, torn into pieces)
2 handfuls cavelo nero (stem removed, torn into pieces)
2 cups golden kumara (peeled, cut into 2cm cubes)
2 cans Butter Beans
1/2 cup Italian Parsley
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Leeds St Bakery White Sourdough or similar crusty bread



Take a large heavy based saucepan and heat to medium to high temperature on the stovetop. Add the olive oil. Cook the sausages (whole) in the saucepan until they have an even golden brown colour. Remove from the pot and hold.

Add the garlic, onion, celery, leeks and herbs to the pot. Cook at a medium/low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened and have a light golden colour.

Pour in your chicken stock and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat so stock is gently simmering.

Cut the browned sausage into 2cm long chunks, and add to the stew along with kale, cavolo nero, kumara and butterbeans. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove stew from the heat and season to taste with sea salt and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper.

Stir the parsley through the hot stew and serve straight away with some warm crusty bread and a lathering of butter.

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Al Brown's Roasted Groper with Tomato Basil Salad and Tamarind Dressing

Posted on April 09, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

I eat dishes like this all the time. Simplicity is the key. Beautiful product handled as little as possible without a whole lot of muddling and confusing flavours on the plate. Super fresh groper (or other fish with thick flakes), vine ripened tomato’s, basil and a terrifically simple Tamarind dressing. Make it, you’ll love it!

Serves 6

Step 1. Tamarind Palm Sugar Vinaigrette


75gm Tamarind 50gm Palm sugar (Brown Sugar is also fine)

2/3 Cup Hot Water

1 Tbl Lemon Juice

1 tsp Salt

Fresh Grind of Black Pepper

¼ Cup Canola Oil


In a bowl, break up the tamarind with your fingers, then rough chop the palm sugar and add along with the hot water. Let this sit for five minutes. Rework with your fingers to make sure the sugar is dissolved, then pass the liquid through a fine sieve and discard the tamarind coarse pulp.

Add the lemon juice, salt and fresh black pepper, then finally whisk in the canola oil. Check seasoning then refrigerate.

Step 2. Rustic Croutons


1 Baguette

40gm Butter

¼ Cup Canola Oil

Salt and Pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Carefully remove the crust from the baguette. Now with your fingers just rip up the inner white bread into small rough pieces.

Place a skillet or sauté pan on medium heat and add the butter and oil. Once melted, toss in the ripped up bread. Coat with the butter and oil, season salt and pepper, then tip onto an oven tray and place in the oven. Cook for around five minutes until golden. Remove and cool before storing in an air tight container until needed.

Step 3. Cooking and Serving


1.5 Kg Tomatoes

2 Red Onions

1 Bag Basil

1.2 kg Groper Fillet

Cooking Oil

Rustic Croutons

Tamarind Dressing

Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper


Slice the tomatoes into rounds and spread out onto a platter. Top these with thin rings of red onion. Randomly rip up the basil leaves and sprinkle over the salad.

For the Groper heat up a skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Cut the fillets into 6 portions and season liberally. Once the pan is hot, add a little cooking oil and cook 3 pieces of the Groper at a time. Once golden on the first side flip on to the other and turn the heat down a little to finish cooking through. Remove from the pan and keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining 3 portions.

Portion out the tomato salad, spoon over some of the Tamarind dressing then top with a piece of Groper. Sprinkle over some of the rustic croutons and serve immediately.

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Al Brown's Poached Warehou with Rice Noodles and Red Curry Dressing

Posted on April 09, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

Hayden, my chef who works along side me, developed this dish.  This is perfect for summer… but still delicious on a crisp Autumn day.  I love cold poached fish, especially with some sharp and slightly spicy dressing.  This ticks all the boxes and gets the heart healthy nod as well.

Serves 6

Step 1. Red Curry Dressing


1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbl thai red curry paste
3 Tbl sugar
3 Tbl fish sauce
1/2 cup lime juice from limes (freshly squeezed)


Place the rice wine vinegar, red curry paste, sugar and fish sauce in a small saucepan place on medium low heat and stir until the sugar and curry paste have dissolved. Remove and allow to cool.  Finish by stirring fresh lime juice through the red curry mixture. Refrigerate until required in a sealed container.

Step 2. Poached Warehou


6 x 150g Warehou Fillets from the Fish Factory (or a similar fish with thick flakes) 
2 lemons
8 kaffir lime leaves (ripped)
Salted hot water


Pre heat your oven to 150 degrees.

Take a paring knife and remove three or four large pieces of zest from the lemons. Use an appropriate oven proof dish, where the fillets sit snuggly in place.  Heat up enough salted water just to cover the Warehou portions. Pour this over the fillets, toss in the lemon zest, squeeze in the juice and add the ripped up kaffir lime leaves. Cover with foil and place in the centre of your oven.

Check after five minutes, then in regular intervals. Remove the fish when it is still slightly translucent in the centre. Take the fish out of the poaching liquid immediately and let both it and the liquid cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place the fish back in the poaching stock and refrigerate until required.

Step 3. Rice Noodles


200 gm dried rice noodles
2 cups sliced spring onions
2 cups carrots (grated)
2 handfuls mung beans
1 chilli (thinly sliced)
1 cup coriander leaves (roughly chopped)
1 cup mint leaves (roughly chopped)
Red curry dressing


Cook the rice noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes until tender. Strain into a colander once cooked and run cold water through them to cool rapidly.  Drain and place into a large mixing bowl.

Combine the noodles, vegetables and herbs in the large mixing bowl.  Dress with a liberal amount of the red curry dressing. Mix thoroughly using clean hands or tongs. Refrigerate until required, or use immediately.

Step 4. Serving


Poached Warehou
Rice Noodle Salad
Coriander leaves (optional)


Dish the rice noodles into deep bowls, top with chilled Warehou. Dress with a squeeze of lime juice and extra coriander leaves if desired.

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