RECIPE: Glazed Kurobuta pork belly with Lions Mane mushrooms, Turnip Tops & Local kelp

1kg     Skin on, bone out, Kurobuta Pork Belly
100g   Turnip top Koshō
100g   Shio Koji paste
500g   Lions Mane Mushrooms (cygnet Mushrooms)
500g   White Chestnut mushrooms
500g   Local kelp
20ea   Purple turnip
50g     Red elk or Red mustard leaves
20ea   Nasturtium leaves (Empress of India)


900ml Apple juice
300ml vincotto
100ml Tamari soy
20 peppercorns
10 Coriander seeds
5ea Bay leaves
5ea Garlic cloves
25g salt
100g sugar
80ml mirin
60ml Brown rice vinegar


2L Water
85g Rishiri Kombu
30g Dried shitake
20g Bonito flakes
45g  Aged Mirin
50g White soy
200g Butter
50g Kuzu

Combine all ingredients for glaze and bring up to boil. As this is happening remove skin from pork belly. Rub in Shio Koji and a little of the Turnip Koshō. Place into a small baking tray, cover with half the glaze (strained), cover in foil and roast in  oven at 150 degrees for 1 hour.

For the Dashi: Combine bonito flakes, dried shitake and water in a pot and bring up to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool to 80 degrees. Add the kombu and cling film for 30- 45 mins. Remove cling film and taste, season with aged mirin and white soy then strain. Add in the mushrooms and lightly poach for 5 mins then strain and reserve.

In a small bowl combine the Kuzu and a little water to make a paste, whisk into the Dashi just before boiling and cook out till thickened. Strain and remove from the heat.

When the remaining pork glaze is almost at a boil thicken with kuzu and strain then reserve for later.

Clean and cut the turnips, Wrap the mushrooms inside the local kelp with a little butter and check Charcoal BBQ is hot.

Remove pork from the oven and cut into 4 portions remove from cooking liquid and place onto the bbq and start to brush with thicken glaze constantly moving and turning. Add the kelp wrapped mushrooms to the coals and allow the outside kelp to burn. when you are 2 minutes away from platting add the turnips to the thickened dashi and poach for 2 mins.

Platting: Remove pork and mushrooms from the grill, Strain the turnips and reserve on a tray. Brush the bottom side of the pork with the remaining turnip top Koshō and give one last brush of thickened glaze. Place the pork belly down on the plate first followed by the mushrooms down the side, place the turnips on top spooning a little thickened dashi over. Cover with red elk and place nasturtium leaves around



RECIPE: Salt & Pepper Chocolate Cake, Dill & Honey Labneh, Caramel Macadamia Crumb, Rosemary

2018 Appetite for Excellence One-to-Watch Jess McEwan from Hogget Kitchen created a delicious dessert canape for our Awards Evening

1kg Salted Butter
1kg Sugar
1.25kg Dark Chocolate
1kg Almond Meal
30 Egg Yolks
30 Egg Whites
100g Pink Salt
50g Black Cracked Pepper
4 litres Yoghurt (Strained Immediately – 2 Days)
100ml Honey
½ Bunch Fresh Dill
800g Peeled and Raw Macadamias
300g Castor Sugar
Rosemary Flowers (Garnish)

Salt & Pepper Chocolate Cake

Melt the Butter and sugar in a large pot, add the salt and pepper and bring to a light simmer.
Once the sugar has melted, remove from direct heat and add the chocolate and almond meal. Stir immediately until combined.
In a mixer add half the egg white and beat to a medium peak. Meanwhile add the egg yolks to the chocolate mix and stir until the egg yolks have completely been mix in and the mixture is slightly glossy.
Fold the egg whites gently into the chocolate mix.
Beat the remaining egg whites to a medium peak and then fold into the mix.
Line four gastro trays with backing paper and divide the mixture evenly over the four trays. Careful not to lose any air. The mix should only make a 1/3 high of the tray.
Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for approx. 30 mins.
Place in the cool room to cool completely.
Once cooled, using a pastry cutter (1 ½ inch) circles and place on flat tray ready to garnish.

Once the yoghurt has been strained through muslin cloth for two days, remove the whey.
Add the Labneh to a medium bowl.
Finely chop the fresh dill (leave some sprigs for garnish later) , add to the Labneh and gently fold in the honey.
Put mix into a few piping bags for service.


Caramel Macadamia
Lightly roast the raw macadamias until golden, then roughly crush until the size of a pea.
Spray and line a tray with baking paper ready for the nuts are coated.
Pour the sugar and macadamias into a high saucepan at medium heat.
Continually stir the nuts until the sugar begins to melt and turn into a caramel. At this point it’s important to monitor the heat.
Stir the nuts until the sugar starts to crystalize, then eventually the sugar will re-melt and coating the nuts.
When the macadamias have been evenly coated in the remelted sugar, immediately pour and separate the nuts onto the line tray and cool at room temp.
Once the sugar has set and nuts are cool, using a mortar and pestle, gently crush the nuts into a chunky crumb ready for service.

Rosemary flowers
Clean the rosemary flowers and place on a lightly sprayed cold chux or paper towel ready for service.

To assemble
Snip the Labneh piping bag end to aprox 0.8cm.
Pipe directly onto the chocolate cake rounds, making sure the ratio of Labneh to cake is more.
Be generous with the caramel macadamias on top
Garnish with a few rosemary flowers and a sprig of dill
Then gently transfer to serving tray

RECIPE: Ora King Salmon sashimi with seaweed and pickled karkalla

2018 Young Chef Finalist Georgia Doherty from Qualia, QLD created this delicious creation using Ora King Salmon for our Awards Evening in August

Black Vinegar Gel
300ml shao xing
400ml soy sauce
600ml black vinegar
600g dark Palm sugar (gula Melaka)
400g grapeseed oil
23g agar

Combine all ingredients except agar in pot. Let sugar dissolve
Add agar, bring to the boil and simmer for a minute
Set in gastro, oil will split out
Blend in thermomix and the oil will emulsify itself back into the gel
Pack into bottles or piping bags for service

Seaweed Salsa Verde
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch chives
4 lemon zest
8 nori sheets
lemon juice
olive oil

Chop parsley and chives
Zest lemons
Lightly torch nori to dry out and crush into small pieces
Mix all herbs, lemon zest and nori with olive oil
Season with lemon juice and salt
Keep to consistency of a salsa verde, this is a dressing/coating for the salmon

Puffed Wild Rice
Black wild rice
3L veg oil

Heat oil until smoking
Lace small amounts of black rice in a small chinois at a time
Cool rice and lightly blitz to form a chunky crumb

Salmon sashimi
Ora King salmon

Fillet salmon, pin bone and take the skin off
Divide the side down the middle and cut sashimi slices around 3mm thick

Pickled karkalla
900ml water
600ml rice wine vinegar
300g sugar

Boil pickle and cool
Pour cooled pickle onto pickled karkalla and store in fridge. To be done 6-8 hours before serving


RECIPE: Oxtail, Popcorn, Pyengana Cheddar, Pickles, Lime

2018 Finalist Rhys Connell created this delicious canape for the 2018 Appetite for Excellence Awards Evening

7kg Oxtail
5 x Carrots
4 x Stalks of Celery
2 x Heads of Garlic
1 x Bunch of Thyme
5 x Fresh Bay leaves
15g Back Peppercorns
4 x Star anise
8 x pieces of Clove
2 x Sticks of 15cm Kombu
750g Madeira
800g Soy
500g Mirin
250g Shrio Dashi
10 x Ears of Corn
8 x Limes
8g Kuzu Starch
6 x leaves of Gold Gelatin
200g Butter
3 x Jars of McClure’s Spicy whole pickles
1.2 kg Pyengana Cheddar Cheese
1.2 kg Popcorn
1.2 kg Rye Crumbs
800g Cornstarch
400g Finley ground Polenta

For the Oxtail

Coat Oxtail in ground white pepper, and using a little oil, brown in a large stockpot in batches. Once completed, tip excess oil out of pan and wipe, deglaze the pot with Madeira but don’t reduce. Add to the pot the oxtail along with 10L of water, Peeled whole carrots, whole celery, halved garlic, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, kombu thyme and bay leaves, soy, mirin and shiro dashi. If the liquid does not cover the oxtail, top up with water. Braise until tender and meat is falling off the bone around 4 hours. Once cool enough to the touch pick meat from bones making sure to separate the cartilage and small bones in the process. Run a knife through the meat to cop finely. In a large mixing bowl, mix meat and about a cup of the braising liquid together and using your hands mush meat up making a firm mix. Place enough meat mix into a cryovac bags and press flat to make a sheet of meat mix about 75mm high. Sous-vide and seal. Using a rolling pin, roll bags evenly and flat. Chill mix for around an hour. You will need to keep the mix cold while you work from here. Cut mix out of bags but keep in flat sheets. Cut fingers 800mm in length x 75mm x 75mm of the cold oxtail mix and freeze on a tray.


For Corn and Lime

Cut the Kernels from the corn and blend to make a corn juice, pass through muslin cloth for a fine bright yellow juice. Soak gelatin leaves and hydrate kuzu Starch. Place the corn juice in a pan and gently heat while stirring with a spatula, watch as the juice begins to thicken and stop from catching on the bottom of the pan, when you have the texture of thick cream, mount the butter into the corn puree, add kuzu starch and cook for a further 2 minutes while still stirring. To finish add in gelatin and mix till melted. Cool over ice bath. Once cool whisk to a smooth puree and pass to remove any lumps, season with lime zest, and salt. Add just a little limejuice, to have a sauce similar in texture and flavor as aioli.


Popcorn Crumb

Cut the crust off of the rye bread and slice thinly, dry in a dehydrator overnight. Once dry, blend to a fine crumb. Blend the popcorn to a similar texture. Reserve


To Crumb Oxtail

Make a slurry of cornstarch and finely ground polenta, crumb fingers of oxtail in popcorn crumbs.


Deep fry Fingers of Oxtail in oil at 180c until crisp and brown, making sure the meat is warm in the center.

Pipe corn mix on top of the fingers and place a little of the finely dice pickles on top, shave Pynegana Cheddar over the top and serve.