The Blue Ducks in the Country

The Blue Ducks in the Country


The Blue Ducks in the Country

The ducks have spread their wings.

After the incredible success of their Bronte cafe, Mark LaBrooy, Darren Robertson and the the rest of the Blue Ducks upped sticks and opened a new restaurant and produce store at The Farm in Byron Bay. Here, they have nurtured and built upon their garden-to-plate ethos to create real food that is locally sourced, reared humanely and supportive of the local community. At The Farm, the Ducks' love for sustainable food is taken to the next level as they cook with the produce that is literally on their doorstep, creating new and exciting dishes while learning the ropes of farm life.

This book is the sum of their adventures. It is filled with the very best recipes that celebrate their love for good food: from simple salads and veggie dishes with bold flavours, to the ultimate barbecue recipes that will have you building your own fire in no time. There are recipes for foraged foods that showcase the true bounty that the Australian land and coast have to offer, while the Ducklings chapter will keep the little ones quiet, even if just for a while. Those with a sweet tooth can indulge in the Ducks' finest cakes and desserts from their sweets cabinet, and you can toast the success of your new culinary creations with some of the most inventive cocktails around.

The Blue Ducks in the Country is accessible, creative and truly makes the very best of the produce available to us.

Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy are trained chefs with an impressive list of restaurants on their CV but their biggest love in life is cooking food to share with friends and family and working on the farm together. In more recent years and after the success of two cookbooks, the boys have relocated to Byron Bay where they own a farm café and help run a hobby farm. It is this that will be the focus for their new book.

The Blue Ducks in the Country
Macmillan
Authors: Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy
ISBN: 9781925481440
RRP: $39.99

Almond Porridge with Turmeric and Roasted Winter Fruits

Serves 4 kids

Growing up in the UK, I was brought up with porridge for breakfast. It was sold to me as the quickest way to keep warm on those cold mornings – I didn't need any more convincing! Now it's what I feed my little boy. He has porridge every day, usually with banana or  blueberries – he loves blueberries. This version is one for the colder months, using almond milk instead of cow's milk for added nutty deliciousness, and fresh turmeric, which gives it a light spice and wonderful golden colour. Roasted fruits are a great way to concentrate flavours, boost sweetness and make everything just that little bit softer. Apples and pears work well, as do plums, peaches, nectarines
and pineapple.


Ingredients

 
1 orange
80 g honey
pinch of ground allspice
1 apple, skin on, cored and cut into wedges and slices
1 pear, skin on, cored and cut into wedges and slices
3 cm piece of ginger, finely sliced


Almond Porridge:
150 g rolled oats
500 ml almond milk
100 ml orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated turmeric
pinch of ground cinnamon
salt flakes (optional)
honey, to serve
1 tablespoon chopped roasted almonds



Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced.
Cut the orange in half and set one half aside. Peel the other half, dice the flesh and set aside.
Heat the honey and allspice in a large, non-stick frying pan until the honey darkens slightly. Carefully (it will be very hot and can spit) add the apple, pear and ginger. Coat the lot in the honey mix, then transfer to a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the porridge, add the oats, almond milk, orange juice, turmeric and cinnamon to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until thickened. Once cooked, season with a small pinch of salt (if using) and add honey to taste.
Remove the fruit from the oven and squeeze over the reserved orange half.
Serve the porridge in small bowls with the roasted fruit, reserved diced orange and almonds on top.



Barbecued Whole Lamb with Chilli, Garlic and Rosemary

Served 12

Alright, admittedly this probably isn't something you're going to cook after a long day at work.It's a special thing, an experience that takes planning and care. But holy smoke, it's worth it! We try to cook a whole lamb at Rosebery or in Byron as often as possible. As well as a good-sized barbecue, you'll need a few friends around. You can of course cook a whole lamb crucifix-style with a pit in the ground, but this is how we do it at The Ducks.

The fuel source is up to you. We sometimes use red gum but, for a more convenient option, we mainly use charcoal from the gidgee tree, as it doesn't smoke out people quietly enjoying their breakfast. There are also some key things to watch out for: ensure that you cook over white coals; cook low and slow, ideally for around six hours; and make sure that it doesn't get too hot, or the fat will catch and the lamb will go up in flames – never a good look. Seriously, though, if you only do this once, even with a half or quarter lamb, you'll be hooked.

 

Ingredients

1 whole lamb (about 15 kg), prepared by your butcher
1–2 tablespoons grapeseed oil salt flakes
Salsa Verde (see page 56), chimichurri or lemon juice, to serve
 


Basting Oil:
200 ml olive oil
200 ml grapeseed oil
5 garlic cloves
2 long red chillies
3 rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped

 


Method

Using a hacksaw, saw the lamb up from the pelvis, cracking the rib bones out as you cut (it takes two of you to do this) until you can flatten out the hind legs. Set the lamb aside at room temperature for a good hour before you cook it.
For the basting oil, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor. Pour the oil into a container and keep a pastry brush handy.
Now for the barbecue, arrange a good pile of charcoal in the barbecue and light it up. Burn until the flames have died down and the coals have a coating of white ash. Once ready, spread the coals to the same width and length as the lamb. Brush the lamb very lightly with grapeseed oil (too much and the fire will flare up), season with salt and place on the grill bone-side down – the bones will heat up and cook the meat evenly.
The cooking time is around 6 hours, but the basting is only done over the last 15 minutes before you take the lamb off the heat, so the main thing you need to take care of is keeping the heat low and constant. Have a small pile of coals burning away from the lamb to top up the white coals when the heat begins to drop – this will keep the cooking consistent. We turn the lamb a few times, starting at the 2 hour mark to start to crisp up the skin. There are no rules for when to flip, but if it gets too hot the fat will ignite, so just keep an eye on it. We also flip it a couple of times in the last 15 minutes as we baste it with the oil.
Once the lamb is cooked, let it rest for 15–20 minutes before carving it into big chunks – don't try to make it look too fancy, just pile big chunks of lamb onto a big platter so people get to enjoy the textures of each different part. Serve with a bowl of salsa verde, chimichurri or just good old lemon juice and salt.



The Blue Ducks in the Country
Macmillan
Authors: Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy
ISBN: 9781925481440
RRP: $39.99




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