Food & drink

Chef, Moda Restau­rant, Bris­bane

The Weekend Australian - Life - - FOOD & WINE -

Take Three: Javier Co­d­ina with rab­bit, green beans and figs. John Leth­lean: restau­rant crit­ics in the age of en­ti­tle­ment. Max Allen; Beer Gog­gles. es.


Vis­it­ing Bund­aberg’s Win­ter­feast 2015, I met Dave and Meg Rosen­gal, who grow amaz­ing hand­picked beans. In sea­son I source flat beans, bor­lotti, but­ter beans, peas and green beans from Dave’s farm. (At Sig­norelli Fresh, Mt El­iza Vil­lage Fruits and oth­ers in Mel­bourne; Flats Farm­ers Mar­ket, Bund­aberg, July 16.)

Green beans Mum’s way

Peel four medium de­siree pota­toes, slice each into six. In cold salted wa­ter, cook five min­utes over high heat; when boil­ing, add three saf­fron stems. Add 250g washed, tailed flat green beans; boil un­til veg­eta­bles are just cooked, strain. Gen­tly fold to­gether pota­toes, beans, four sprigs finely chopped flat-leaf pars­ley, 12 pit­ted ar­be­quina olives, four ta­ble­spoons ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, sea salt, black pep­per. Serve on four serv­ing plates, plac­ing a small, fresh free-range egg yolk in a well in the cen­tre of each. Driz­zle veg­eta­bles with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.


With my Cata­lan her­itage, I was nur­tured on the spoils of hunt­ing ex­pe­di­tions. There is still ro­mance in the thought of hunted game but with mod­ern farm­ing tech­niques rab­bit is del­i­cate and pale, un­like wild rab­bit’s darker flesh and earthy aro­mas. Rab­bit is low fat, high in pro­tein and nu­tri­ents. Some of the best I’ve sourced are from Bur­ra­wong Ga­ian in Ma­cleay Val­ley, NSW. From a rep­utable sup­plier, there is no ar­du­ous prepa­ra­tion. If you can cook chicken, they can cook rab­bit. De­li­cious.

Rab­bit bal­lo­tine, gnoc­chi, red wine sauce

Place whole, deboned rab­bit (1.2kg-1.5kg for six; re­serve bones) on 50g cre­pinette (sheet caul fat, just larger than but­ter­flied rab­bit). Fold 20g raw pis­ta­chios through 200g chicken mousse (home­made or bought). Spoon evenly down cen­tre of rab­bit. Roll length­wise, keep­ing cre­pinette out­side, into a sausage shape. Firmly roll in four lay­ers cling wrap, twist ends tightly, knot close to rab­bit. Steam at 65C ap­prox­i­mately 105mins. Re­frig­er­ate. Make gnoc­chi: 200g cooked, peeled, riced de­siree or royal blue pota­toes, quickly com­bined with two free-range egg yolks, 50g flour, 20g grated parme­san. Roll into two 2cm-di­am­e­ter lengths; cut into 2.5cm pieces; gen­tly boil half at a time in two litres salted wa­ter, two min­utes un­til float­ing, then 30 sec­onds. Drain. Serve sliced bal­lo­tine (from fridge, or warmed briefly in steam oven), driz­zled with red wine sauce (use caramelised rab­bit bones, herbs, chicken stock), gnoc­chi (seared one minute each side in but­ter) and au­tumn veg­eta­bles.


Plump, sen­sual figs are ex­tremely ver­sa­tile, sweet or savoury. All va­ri­eties are de­li­cious; my favourites are Black Genoa (pur­ple, sweet crim­son flesh) from McMartin’s Farm (Sun­shine Coast) and Lava Val­ley Pro­duce (on­line); and Brown Turkey (pur­ple-brown, pink-brown flesh) from Wise’s Farm (Ma­roochy­dore). Brook­field Farm­ers Mar­ket is also a great source.

Al­mond and fig tart

Pre­heat oven to 170C. Melt 200g un­salted but­ter on stove top; once bub­bling, re­duce heat, cook un­til just browned. Slowly add 50ml amaretto liqueur. Re­move, cool to warm. Beat 500g egg whites, 300g caster sugar into soft peaks, add zest of one or­ange. Grad­u­ally add 240g sifted al­mond meal, 60g sifted plain flour, tea­spoon of cin­na­mon; com­bine well; slowly add warm but­ter, mix well. Lightly spray 27cm tart mould. Just warm in oven. Re­move, im­me­di­ately pour in bat­ter. Gen­tly place 12 ripe figs (halved, tip to base), cut side up, on to mix­ture. Bake 15 min­utes; re­duce to 130C, cook fur­ther 15 min­utes. Serve warm wedges dusted with ic­ing sugar, or with whipped cream and driz­zle of Pedro Ximenez sherry.

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