Baby Octopus, Potatoes, and Preserved Lemon

If you follow GourmetMale on Twitter or Instagram (@gourmetmale), you’ll see that I have a serious addiction to cool cookbooks. I’m up to over 350 of them and will be shipping over 25 (!!!) boxes of cookbooks to Singapore in a month or so for the new job. Recently I got my hands on the Broadsheet Melbourne book and was inspired by the MoVida octopus recipe to create a little riff of my own. This was mainly because I couldn’t get octopus tentacles (even frozen) but I wanted to do a few different things to change it up. The feedback was great and I’ll definitely be making this one again.

To serve 4 people you’ll need:

  • 20 baby octopus (about 300g)
  • 3 medium waxy potatoes
  • 1 preserved lemon rind quarter
  • smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt

Bring the water to a full boil and then drop the baby octopus in. Let them boil for about 2 ½ minutes, checking one at that time to ensure it’s cooked but still very tender. Remove the octopus, set aside, and add the potatoes.

While the potatoes boil, chop the octopus into halves or thirds. After about 7 minutes the potatoes will be soft and start to lose their skin in the water. Remove the potatoes, let them cool a bit, and then cut into eighths.

Chop the preserved lemon finely. Scatter the octopus, potato, and preserved lemon on a plate. Sprinkle generously with paprika and salt. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil on top of all ingredients. And then serve!

This is a 15 minute dish that will definitely be a crowd pleaser!

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

FOR THE STUFFING

  • 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

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

Lobster in Chorizo Broth with Summer Veggies

Every time I travel back to my home in the States, near Boston, I can't believe how much more expensive things are in Sydney. Cars, houses, clothes, electronics... you name it. But nothing quite compares to how much we pay for lobster here in Sydney compared to home. The Gourmet Female still marvels when we drop into Stop & Shop and pick up a couple live lobsters for around $20US. Here in Sydney it's nearly impossible to find live lobsters outside the fish markets so options on lobster usually are limited to cooked lobster tail - at about $35 for one half tail.

Expense aside, we wanted to splurge a little bit last weekend and we picked up a half cooked lobster tail and went about creating a creative dish to make it really sing. I'd much prefer fresh lobster tail but you can still make a really tasty dish with cooked meat.

lobster peas potatoes chorizo broth.jpg

This dish uses a variation of a broth that I learned from Ben Shewry, from Attica Restaurant, that he taught at the Sydney Seafood School. It complements the lobster and the fresh veggies really round things out. And it's pretty easy to make. You'll need (feeds two):

  • 750ml water water
  • 220 gram cured chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 160 gram sliced prosciutto, diced
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 handfuls fresh peas in pods
  • fresh tarragon, thinly sliced

With a melon ball tool cut out approximately 10 little potato balls. Shuck the pea pods and set the fresh peas aside. Remove the lobster tail from the shell and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Start the broth by bringing the water to the boil and adding the chorizo and prosciutto. Let the broth simmer for 35 minutes. Add water if necessary to finish with about a cup and a half of broth. 

Add the potatoes and cook for a further 7 minutes. Add the peas and finish for another 3 minutes.

Place equal amounts of lobster into each bowl and then fill with broth, potatoes, and peas. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and top with a few slices of tarragon. Not much work but it's one of our new favourite dishes.

Did you make this dish? What did you think? Let us know!

Lunch at Max's - Scallops, Roast, Potatoes

My work colleague and friend Max and his wife have recently moved into a new place and we popped over for lunch recently. To start, how about the view??

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I know that Max loves his food but I didn't realise how much of kindred spirits we really are. Firstly, his cooking library is extensive and he has many of the titles that I have in mine. But his cooking is fantastic and while we thought we were coming over for a casual lunch he started cooking at 6am!

We started with our homemade wholemeal bread and Tetsuya's truffle butter (those recipes to come soon). That was a good start as the entree was pan seared scallops topped with crispy pancetta, on a bed of creamed corn with truffle oil. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the crispiness of the pancetta really offset the creamed corn.

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The main course was long roasted beef on a bed of vegetables and bay leaves. It had cooked slow and long enough that the bones literally pulled out of the finished roast. The meat just pulled apart with a fork and was very juicy. I'll have to ask for the details of how it remained so juicy after so much time.

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On the side we had some roasted potatoes and a salad. The salad was rocket and baby spinach, roasted pine nuts, lychees (lychees!!), parmesan, and jamon. It was dressed with a lychee vinaigrette. I was so into my meal by this point that I forgot to grab a photo. It was fantastic and the colours and contrasts certainly were unique.

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To finish we had my baked blueberry cheesecakes. That recipe will come soon as well.

We had a great afternoon with amazing food and good friends. It was a hell of a lot of work for Max and his wife but it just goes to show that it's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.