Chef Jason Saxby - Risotto of Green Peas with Fermented Black Garlic

Today we are very honoured to have a guest recipe from Chef Jason Saxby, the head chef at Russo & Russo in Enmore, NSW. Jason is the 2011 winner of the prestigious Josephine Pignolet Award. He's spent time at Pilu@Freshwater, Quay, Per Se (NYC), The Ledbury (London) and Pollen St Social (London). He has a passion for proper, regional Sardinian cuisine and loves the freedom he has at Russo & Russo to create amazing Italian inspired dishes!

Many thanks to Jason for offering to provide this amazing recipe. Please let him know if you try it and what you think! Even better, drop by the restaurant and taste his food in person...

Risotto of Green Peas with Fermented Black Garlic, Pecorino Sardo and Charred Pea Tendrils - by Jason Saxby (Recipe: serves 4)

For Finishing:

  • 100 g of pea tendrils. (These are the leaves off the pea vine)
  • Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil for finishing
  • Black Pepper in a Grinder
  • 100 g Pecorino Sardo, shaved into rustic but very thin slices with a vegetable peeler (this is a hard sheep's milk cheese from Italy, in the region of Sardinia.)

Vegetable Stock:

  • 2 brown onion
  • 1/3 bunch celery
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • also use the scraps of any vegetables you have lying around. As long as its not leafy
  1. Chop all veg into rough 2 cm pieces (mirepoix).
  2. Heat a large pot on medium heat
  3. Add a Tbl of oil. 
  4. Add mirepoix and sweat in the pan until softened but not coloured. Its important you don’t brown the vegetables as it will make your stock brown, which will make your risotto brown.
  5. Top with 2 litres of water. This will make more than you need but its very handy to have around and it will keep for one week in the fridge.
  6. Simmer for half an hour and strain, discarding the solids. 

Pea Puree:

  • 1 kg Fresh Peas (if you can’t get really good peas fresh, then use IQF frozen peas, make sure to get good quality)
  • 1 L of water
  1. Remove the peas from the pods by pulling the tip and snapping while pulling one half of the pod off. Remove peas. Continue until all are done.
  2. Keep a few handfuls aside to finish your risotto, you need about 2 tbls per serve.
  3. Bring the water to boil in a medium pot with a pinch of salt added.
  4. Meanwhile set up a blender and a container for your puree to go into ready as you need to move fast.
  5. Put the rest of the peas in the boiling stock and boil until tender, about 2-3 minutes
  6. Strain the peas, reserving a bit of the water for blending. Blend on high speed in your blender until completely smooth. Adding blanching water as necessary. Season to taste.
  7. Transfer quickly to your container. Set aside.

Black Garlic Puree:

  • 100 g of fermented black Garlic
  • 50 ml water
  • 50 ml balsamic vinegar
  1. Peel skin off garlic.
  2. Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively use a hand blender with all ingredients in the cylindrical jug the blender comes with. Set aside in a squeezy bottle or a container.


  • 1⁄2 small brown onion - Very Finely diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic – minced
  • 250 g Carnaroli rice
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 100g butter, diced and kept cold
  • 50 g Pecorino Sardo, Grated 
  • salt and pepper
  • 250 g of the Pea Puree you prepared earlier
  • Fresh Peas that you reserved
  1. Put Vegetable stock into a pot and put on medium flame to bring to simmer.
  2. Place another medium, heavy based pot on a medium to high flame and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. When olive oil is hot Add diced onion and garlic and sweat until softened, do not colour.
  4. Then Add carnaroli rice. Heat whilst stirring around until it is very hot to touch.
  5. Add wine and stir quickly. The wine will quickly evaporate.
  6. Immediately Add 3 medium ladles of veg stock. Stir. Keep adding a ladle of stock as your previous ladle starts evaporating. Do not add too much at once. 
  7. Occasionally stirring, keep the rice at a fast simmer as you want to cook it quickly to avoid soft and soggy rice. It should take around 12 minutes to cook your rice until al dente. Depending on your stove and pot. 
  8. Meanwhile heat your char grill, BBQ or a large frying pan ready to cook the pea tendrils.
  9. When the rice is al dente and the last ladle of stock you added has almost evaporated add the fresh peas and the pea puree. Stir well. Bring back to simmer. Remove from heat. Add the grated Pecorino Sardo and the diced butter. Stir until vigorously until it is emulsified and the risotto looks creamy. Check for seasoning. If necessary adjust consistency with a splash of extra vegetable stock or pea puree. You want the risotto to move like a wave when you shake the pan. Let rest for 30 seconds.
  10. Meanwhile toss the pea tendrils with a little olive oil and flash on the char grill, bbq or large fry pan. Season. Remove from heat

To Plate:

  1. Spread risotto evenly amongst 4 plates.
  2. Spread flat by banging the palm of your hand underneath the plate. 
  3. Drizzle black garlic puree over the top. 
  4. Spread shaved pecorino cheese.
  5. Lay charred pea tendrils next.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and crack fresh black pepper over the top
  7. Serve immediately. Timing is crucial with risotto. enjoy


Russo & Russo
158 Enmore Road
Enmore, NSW
02 8068 5202

Broccolini - Add Some Spice!

I've always said that the Gourmet Female is an incredible cook. In fact, she's the reason I stepped out of my "pasta in a packet and sauce in a jar" phase and really grew to love fresh and locally produced food. And I certainly don't envy that she's the one who cooks the mid-week meals while I get to cook for show on the weekend. But lately I've been asking if she could do something different with the greens than just steam in the microwave. So this Sunday she asked me to step up and do something different!

To start, I'm a fan of pan frying eye fillet steaks with a little bit of olive oil and smoked salt and that's it. So tonight I decided to throw the broccolini in the pan while the steaks were resting and give them a little fry. Here's what you need:

  • pinch garlic salt
  • pinch smoked paprika
  • pinch dried saltbush
  • pinch dukkah
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

This is incredibly simple. Once the steaks are out of the pan toss in the broccolini and drizzle with the olive oil. Squeeze on the lime juice and then add the spices. Toss each minute for five minutes and then serve. That's it! Simple. And it's much tastier than just steaming or boiling the veggies. Give it a go!

Joe Bean - A Passion For Coffee

I pass many of them every day. I visit one or two on most days. Since I moved to Australia almost thirteen years ago I have developed a love of coffee and our café culture. And I’ve always known that friends of ours own a café in Erskineville, NSW but we’ve never spent much time talking about it. Lately, I dropped by for brunch and the conversation quickly turned to coffee - their love of it and the passion and history behind their homegrown brand, Joe Bean.

Meet Antoun and Joel. Friends of ours for many years and the owners of Bakerman café in Erskineville and proprietors of Joe Bean.

Antoun’s parents owned a small shop in their village in the north of Lebanon where they used to make their own cakes and sweets, roast their own coffee. The locals would hang out, play cards, drink booze and enjoy copious amounts of fresh coffee. After a couple years Antoun’s father purchased a gas operated espresso machine, which was a first in the area. It transformed the little shop and soon coffee was flowing in the family’s blood. It’s obvious now where the passion for coffee and food came from. 

The boys always wanted to roast their own coffee and to move on from the big name coffees they used in the past, but Joel was sure that the punters wanted the “name” and weren’t that interested in having variety and freshly roasted coffee. So to make his point Antoun started roasting on the stove in a pot. He purchased 5kg of green beans online and got roasting. That is, in the middle of summer with the kitchen hitting temperatures above 40C regularly and beans shaking in a heavy pot every fifteen minutes, waiting to crack. Imagine a lather of sweat, bean dust, and more than a few times, “Shit, it’s hot!”

The logical next step was to host a cupping evening with some of Bakerman’s best customers. It was a hit and Joe Bean was off and running. In the heat of the moment the boys rushed off and bought a 1kg coffee roaster – you can still see it sitting, unused, on the counter today…

To roast coffee you need a well-ventilated space with a proper exhaust system attached to the roaster. Well, that’s the normal set up. Let’s just say that the initial system was “makeshift”. It was quite a creation, utilising plumbing pipes, expanded hose and metres of temporary hose running through the false ceiling. While the coffee was showing promise it was a bit disconcerting that customers were  “walking into a wall of smoke” (one bit of customer feedback). So they purchased a larger roaster and took on a space in western Sydney that was in an industrial estate with the correct ventilation. They now have two of these operating.

This took a while to arrive from overseas, so they continued to roast on the stove and use the branded coffee they were using, as it was too much work to hand roast 40kg per week. When the new roaster arrived they stopped using the branded coffee and started using their own roast. There were social occasions where Antoun would speak to friends and dream a fresh roast coffee company. The boys were interested in the wholesale side, selling to cafes and they had a friend who was into the retail customers buying for home use. Roast to order was their mantra, ensuring the customer always gets the freshest product.

The original plan was to allow customers to design their own bespoke blends, so they ensured that the system was designed for this – which will be reality when have a higher volume. This is to give the customer control of the beans and the roast, so they can create their own flavour.  

The boys have four blends and ten single origin beans. Some are sourced locally, but most are imported as the selection in Australia is very limited, plus the cost is prohibitive. This gives them a great variety of flavours and bean profiles. The importance of freshly roasted coffee, like any other food product is the quality and flavour. Coffee needs to rest for up to seven days after roasting to allow the coffee to degas, but it should always be used within twenty-one days to get the best flavour and crema. Their objective is to have more cafes serving freshly roasted coffee, rather than beans that have been warehoused for months.

They don’t want Joe Bean to become a massive company, as this is where companies lose the ability to roast to order. They will stop taking on more customers if they are not able to roast to order and give the best service. They dream of having Joe Bean coffee in cafes that have well trained staff, who understand the delicate nature of making coffee, not just every cafe. They are not into selling equipment and supplies, even though this is where many large coffee companies make much of their profits. Their ultimate goal? Keep our prices reasonable and keep people drinking great coffee.

Running a café seven days per week is hard enough, let alone trying to grow a coffee brand at the same time. The boys bake their own cakes and pastries, which makes for an all night operation. Time is at a premium. But in the end, coffee is their love. It’s their passion. And Joe Bean is the fruit of their labour. So here’s to you, gents! And we are all looking forward to a warm cup of tasty Joe Bean coffee in our near future.


Chef Mark Hix - Roast Chicken With New Season Garlic Sauce

Here at Gourmet Male we are always on the lookout for guest chefs who can share their incredible recipes with us. We've had some crackers over the years but today's guest chef, Mark Hix, is definitely one of the best we've had. If you don't know Chef Hix, educate yourself! He is the Chef/Owner of Hix Oyster and Chop House, Hix Oyster & Fish House, and Hix Soho. And we're lucky enough to feature his recipe at the time when he's just launched Hixter Bankside in July (details here)! 

As I've found so many times, if you just ask you'll be surprised at how gracious people can be. So, thanks to Chef Hix for his "Roast Chicken with New Garlic Sauce". Enjoy!

This dish was inspired by several visits to L’Ami Louis in Paris, where the food is simple and honest, respecting the quality ingredients used.  We buy Swainson House Farm chickens, which have an amazing gamey flavour.

  • 1 free-range chicken, about 1.5kg, with livers
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a few sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
  • a few generous knobs of butter


  • 60g butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g chicken livers, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 80-100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve


Baked new season garlic sauce (see below)

Straw potatoes (see below)

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.  Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.  Put the herbs into the cavity.  Rub butter all over the breast and legs. 

For the stuffing, melt the butter in a pan.  Add the onion, livers and thyme, season and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Off the heat, mix in the breadcrumbs, parsley and seasoning.  Either use to stuff your bird or cook separately in an ovenproof dish wrapped in foil for the last 30-40 minutes. 

Put the chicken into a large roasting tin and roast in the oven, basting regularly and adding the livers to the roasting tin for the last 6 minutes or so.  Test the chicken after 1 ¼ hours by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh.  The juices should run clear; if not roast for a little longer.

Lift the chicken onto a warmed platter and rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with some more chopped parsley and serve with the roasted livers, stuffing, garlic sauce and straw potatoes.

Baked new season garlic sauce

  • 4 heads of new season garlic
  • a few sprigs of curly parsley
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard, or more to taste
  • 70g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 tbsp duck fat, warmed, or the pan juices from the roast chicken
  • a little milk, to mix
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Makes enough for 4

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.  Wrap the garlic bulbs in foil and bake them in the oven for 1 hour.  Unwrap and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel away any tough outer skin.

Put the garlic into a blender with the parsley, mustard, breadcrumbs and warm duck fat or chicken juices and blend until smooth.  Add enough milk to give the sauce a thick pouring consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with roast chicken.

Straw potatoes

  • 4 large chipping potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, Spunta or Maris Piper, peeled
  • vegetable or corn oil, for deep-frying
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • sea salt

Serves 4

Using a mandolin with a shredding attachment or a sharp knife, cut the potatoes into long matchsticks, about 3mm thick.  Wash them well in a couple of changes of cold water to remove the excess starch, then drain and pat dry on some kitchen paper.

Heat an 8cm depth of oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 120-140C.  Deep-fry the potatoes in manageable batches (a couple of handfuls at a time) for 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.

Increase the temperature of the oil to 160-180C and re-fry the potatoes with the garlic slices in batches, moving them around in the pan, until golden and crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.  Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

Alternatively, you can keep the straw potatoes warm, uncovered, on a baking tray in a low oven until ready to serve.  They should stay crisp but if not you can briefly re-fry them in hot oil to crisp them up again.

 The best way to cook a quality chicken is simply, and on the bone.  Try varying the vegetables