Category Archives: Poultry

Back in black

Life got a bit complicated so willeats unfortunately took a bit of a backstep for the last couple of years, but my cooking is a good barometer of mental wellbeing. So here we are……

What better way to get back into this than with week messing around with one of the finest gastronomic ingredients, the black truffle. I think I last had one of these fellas back in Bristol, roughly 2003? and it cost about 30 quid for one (this 28g specimen cost just $50, 14 years later, the same???).  I think I that one too long, which was a shame. This time, I was going to come out of gates flying- this lump of pure black gold wasn’t going to last more than a few days.

Australia is a damn fine place. I am constantly in awe of the amazing quality of the boutique wines and beers that we produce. So in addition to insanely good vineyards another offspring of the retiring baby boomers is the advent of the downunder trufferie. Well, we have to get some crumbs from that silver spooned generation??? A quick internet search for local truffles came up with this company.


A few PMs and a dodgy meetup in a car park, and here we are.


Appropriate T


So, what to do. Interesting the phrase Louise the supplier used was keep it simple. Now, it’s a curious thing that one of the recipes I had in mind was poached chicken and truffle, which I had mis-appropriated to Simon Hopkinson. Now, follow me here, but I was in the local secondhand bookshop, and low and behold, there is a copy of Keep It Simple by Alastair Little. In it was the recipe for poached truffled chicken. Even more witchy as my mum would say, is that the last entry I wrote, ‘send in the tarts’, below, I referenced the same book. Anyway, I thought that was interesting. Here’s the recipe……



So, this is what I did. I tracked down some good looking chicken from the local organic shop- it had black skin on the legs (I’ll check breed/ supplier)*. It was mightily pricey, but then, chicken is woefully undervalued, poorly treated, and therefore mostly tastes mediocre. I was happy to pay for a chicken of fine heritage deserving of trufflation. Given this was no caged beast, I cooked it for a bit longer than the suggested 60min so 90-100mins. It was just the legs mind you, (as it was only myself and my lovely wife). If It had been the whole chook I would have jointed it and removed the breasts after an hour.

*Somerlad poultry 

The only change I made to the recipe was adding some blanched/ squeezed spinach to the leeks at the end as shown, and a plainly boiled potato. Oh yes, I didn’t have any stock to add, and didn’t see the need to be honest. It makes it’s own.

Improvements? I might not blanch the leeks next time, though black truffle and leek is beyond sublime, I think slowly sweating them with the truffle butter might be better. Maybe remove the chicken skin and fry it with the potato? The truffle would look more attractive just stuck on the side of the meat, like a badge of honour.

The wine was divine, a gloriously perfumed Yarra valley 2014 pinot that my non-wino, not-so-truffly wife identified 4 flavours in……..(she more than liked the whole dinner, but interestingly didn’t like the fresh truffle smell. Then again, she’s not into……)

As the leeks and truffle seemed somewhat fine, here they are again in a risotto made with the leftover chicken broth. Some sprouts with chestnuts, and fried pork ‘rib eye’.

And the final

Outing, the eggs become an omelette with just a bit of superb unpasteurised Swiss cheese called ‘my love’ from the wonderful

Fromart cheese company in Queensland. A nod to the old world with some delicious Riesling.

An omelette and a glass of wine. Now where have I heard that?



Coq and Bull

There has been a deplorable lack of output from ironchefnt of late, possibly due to the intervention of bored gods, who knows. Anyway, poor Cockie the ex-cockeral has been hibernating for way too long at -19c in the bottom of the freezer. So before a natural disaster forced a thaw, he was exhumed from his icy grave.

I’ve been wondering what to do with him for a long time, and have been wavering between coq au vin and a Mexican Mole. Though a mole might be more appropriate to our similarly tropical climate I have failed to find any of the dried peppers essential to a good mole. A pity, since a Oaxacan (chocolate based) mole in particular is one of the finest expeditions an ex-bird can make off the table. However, I had three bottles of Tasmanian pinot noir to choose from and two from Bogong estate to put to good use. Coq au vin it was.

In the end I plumped for a recipe from Simon Hopkinson over Robert Carrier, though saying that I adjusted it as usual. Even though I accidentally invited a vegetarian to this blood fest, one coq wasn’t going to be enough so a rump ‘tri-tip’ joint was added to the mix. In fact when I had this thought, I wondered about doing more of a pot au feu. Interestingly this is the cut the Austrians use for Tafelspitz; slow simmered and with dumplings, apple  horseradish sauce- very tropical(?), but sounds divine. Add to this was the revelation of a bag of pigs trotters in the department freezer. Previously these had been used for suturing practice under the auspices of a vegetarian specialist friend and colleague. I am abhorrent of waste and this is the second time I have had to rescue bits of pig that have been used for medical training.

It is obvious now why it has taken me so long to decide what the hell to do with Monsieur Cockie.

One bottle of Bogong Estate Pinot Noir reduced to half volume with

  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion stuck with 2 cloves
  • 2 chopped celery sticks
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 4 cloves garlic, bruised
And then strained.
The following dipped in flour and fried in butter in batches till golden
  • M. Coq jointed to 8 pieces, breast still attached to bone, and skinned. I left out the wings and spine and made a stock with these and a pigs trotter.
  • 1kg tri-tip rump cut into large chunks

Wine and meat combined and simmered exceedingly slowly until tender, adding a little stock for richness. This might have been time to use the slow cooker. Next time. Simon seems to add small onions, button mushroom and bacon/ pancetta lardon for the entire cooking. I thought these were meant to be cooked separately and served as a garnish. Failing to find a source of small onions, I jut cooked the mushrooms with my homemade pancetta.

Kipfler potatoes, parsley and my Romanesque walnut, mustard and lemon condiment.

A fitting exit indeed.

And I have half a turkey for a Oaxacan Mole…….