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Local Gourmet: Winter Wonders

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Two dashes of preparation, one cup of free time

Article by Ryan Cooney
Recipes by Chef John Waller
Photos by Emily Harris

Have you ever watched those cooking shows and wished that you had the magic of T.V oven that effortlessly pops our amazing dinners? This year you do. My time spent in restaurants have taught me many valuable lessons and this winter season I am cashing in on one of the most important; preparation. A little preparation goes a long way to put you back in the party instead of hearing the distant echoes of merriment from down the hall way. Play your cards right and you may even have time for a pre-dinner cocktail.

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]Recipes and Cooking Instructions[/box]

Pork Belly with Mashed Rutabaga, and Apple Relish

Pork Belly – 2kg.
Fennel or Dill Seed – 2 tbsp
Equal Parts Sugar and Seasoning Salt to Cover – ¼ cup

Rub Pork Belly with Cure – Salt Sugar and Fennel or Dill Seed
Refrigerate overnight for best results
Preheat Oven to 250 C
Cover in foil and bake for 4 hours
Remove foil and bake at 400 C until skin is crisp and golden
Remove from oven and rest
Slice and serve with skin on or off, which ever is your preference

Mashed Rutabaga

2 Large Rutabaga
2 Green Onion, bulb on.
1 tbsp Butter

Wash and roast green onion along side your squash at 375 C for 1 hour
Peel and cube rutabaga
Quickly sauté with butter and salt in a large pot for 5 min
Add water to cover and bring to a boil
Boil until the rutabaga is fork tender
Strain and mash with butter
Slice roasted green onion into the mash
Season with salt and pepper

Apple Relish

3 apples – Fuji, Macintosh, or Pink Lady will do
2 cups Sugar
¼ Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Lemon, juice and zest
1 pinch Salt
1 Cinnamon Stick

Wash and cut apples into thin slices
Place in a pot over medium heat
WARNING: too high a heat will caramelise your sugar, leaving you with an undesirable finished product Add sugar and stir gently, letting the sugar draw out the juices
Once the sugar begins to dissolve, add juice and zest of one lemon, cinnamon stick, and cider vinegar
Simmer for 10 min, or until the apples are translucent and sticky
Let cool and serve cold, can be made ahead of time and refrigerated

Roasted Maple Squash

Banana Squash
1 tsp olive oil
Pinch Cinnamon
Pinch Ground Clove
¼ cup Maple Syrup

Pre-heat oven to 375 C
Score the Squash in a cross pattern
Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
Drizzle with maple syrup until all the score marks are filled
Sprinkle with cinnamon and clove
Cover in foil and bake for 1 hour or until soft all the way through
Remove foil and let bake for 10 min or until golden and glazed

Cauliflower Cheddar Gratin

1 Head of Cauliflower
½ cream
Pinch salt and pepper
Pinch nutmeg
¼ cup chopped thyme rosemary and sage
1 ½ Grated Aged Cheddar

Preheat oven to 375C
Cut florets from cauliflower and set aside
Bring cream to a scald in a medium sauce pan
Add herbs, salt, and pepper
For extra flavour add any vegetable trimmings from today, green onion, cauliflower, rutabaga ect.
Infuse your cream with the herbs and seasoning for 5 min
Remove from heat and strain all solids
In a cast iron or oven safe pan, place your cauliflower florets and cover them with the infused cream
Pile cheddar on top and bake for 1 hour
Remove and let cool, cheese should be golden and bubbly

…Instead of waiting penitently beside our slow cooking creations, John and I decided it best to celebrate our found time with a cocktail or two, and where better than at Victoria’s Black Hat with our favourite barman, Marc Wilson. Inspiration is contagious when it comes to the true lovers of food and drink, and Marc is one of them. He is a master of the classic sipper from the golden era of the cocktail. Immediately upon hearing of our succulent pork belly and maple squash roasting away, Mr. Wilson began shaking up something special. I present to you The Immortal, sure to stand the test of time as its name suggests.

The Immortal

1oz White Rum
½ oz Apple Brandy
½ lime juice
½ simple syrup
2 dashes bitters

Shake over ice and pour into preferred vessel
Garnish with green apple or lime zest

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