Hey there avid readers

Gold Coast Food Bank is headed for bigger and better things

click on the image and you'll be off to a new Destination


Come on over a have a look at what I’ve been up to…www.destinationfood.com.au

Gold Coast Food Bank will still be here for a while but new content will now be whacked up at Destination Food.


The ratio of duck liver to butter is 1:1 to achieve a smooth almost Foie Gras like finish. Nothing compares to a well made pate.

great stuff


What you will need…

500 grams free range duck livers, trimmed and free of gall (the green part)
500 grams unsalted butter cut into 2cm cubes
2 golden shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove crushed

serve w prune puree - all pics Brian Usher

75 ml brandy
75 ml port
200 ml pure cream
2 leaves of fresh bay
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

What you need to do…

Sauté shallots and garlic in 100 grams of butter, do not allow for too much colour.
Add brandy and port, burn off alcohol and let reduce by 2/3 until rich and unctuous.
Add cream, season with salt and reduce by ½. Add livers and gently poach until just firm to touch. They should still be pink in the centre. DO NOT overcook. Remove bay leaves.
Blend in a food processor or use an immersion blender. Gradually add in the butter a few cubes at a time until well emulsified.
Season well.
Transfer to plastic lined terrine or suitable mold. Expel excess air by tapping on the bench. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours.
Remove from mold and slice with a hot knife.

Serve w prune puree, sliced pear and torn bread


Downscale Dining at it’s Best!!! (count 3 exclamation points Elaine)

Well it wasn’t long before Mark Wilson and Lee Middendorf let loose at Sandbar and Grill (Casuarina Beach Northern NSW)

Mark and Lee are keen to develop a product that oozes integrity and quality down at the Sandbar. Along with locally sourced produce, interesting wines and a focus on organics where possible, they have just launched a series of projects designed at engaging the community so that they are on board with the movement. These projects include food knowledge classes, better known as ‘flavour sessions’, cooking, intimate dinners and much more.
The first event was a wine luncheon on Sunday, October 31st. The wines featured were Kelleske Wines from the Barossa Valley, South Australia. The wines were organic and bio-dynamic as well as being bloody good booze. With octopus chargrilled on the bbq and a casual table set in the courtyard Lee and Mark hosted an affair that encouraged social and civilized interaction between all guests with conversation about food and wine splashed throughout the chatter.


Like the video and what these guys have to offer…contact Sandbar and Grill now…last Sunday of every month people…..about time someone got on the ‘shared table train’ Food with substance.
Phone 02 6674 9961 …last Sunday of the month guys.

Duck breast, witlof, fondant potato, pickled beetroot, orange gastrique

A dish of many complexities. Cooking with these duck breasts bring an amazing rich depth, the witlof will add some bitterness, beetroot ;sweetness and the orange gastrique will provide some acid to cut a swathe through the lot. A contemporary peek at duck à l’orange.

Pic - Brian Usher

Caramelized Witlof

2 witlof, halved length ways
Juice of 1 lemon
Water to cover
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of raw sugar
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 180*C. Place endive in a small oven tray. Squeeze lemon juice over the witlof and then add enough water to barely cover. Season well. Coveer the tray with foil and braise until cooked but still a little firm.
To serve melt butter in a pan until just beginning to foam, add sugar and then witlof. Cook without burning until witlof is evenly caramelized.

Orange Gastrique

1 cup of raw sugar
½ cup sherry vinegar
Juice of 3 oranges

Combine ingredients in a non reactive saucepan, reduce until a syrupy consistency. You can swirl in 2 tsp of butter just before serving if a richer consistency is desired.

Fondant Potato

2 Desiree potatoes
A generous sprig of thyme
Chicken stock to cover
3-4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Sea salt and black pepper

Peel and cut potatoes to any desire shape, keep them reasonably thick. Place in a small pan with thyme and season very well. Pour over chicken stock and bring the level just below the surface of the potato. Place butter that has been cubed over the potato and then with a low heat let them cook. They will be ready when the chicken stock has reduced and you are left with an amazing emulsified rich liquid. Remove the potato carefully and serve.

Pic - Brian Usher

Pickled Beetroot

1 large beetroot
Pickling liquid, consisting of water, white wine vinegar, peppercorns, sea salt, bay leaf, mustard seeds and crushed garlic.

Produce enough pickling liquid to cover the beetroot. Cook unpeeled until soft. Cool and then peel. Dice into neat cubes 1cm square.

Duck Breast

2 free range organic duck breasts
Sea salt and ground white pepper
Small amount of olive oil

Heat your pan gently with a ¼ tsp olive oil, add seasoned duck breasts skin side first and cook for4- 5 minutes. Ensure you r pan is not to hot as you want to render out the fat from the skin slowly, this will crisp up the skin nicely and allow the heat to penetrate into the duck. As the fat is rendered into the pan take a spoon and regularly baste the duck with its own fat. Turn over and then continue to cook for a further 2 minutes, basting the skin side as well. Remove to a plate to let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut duck breast to appropriate sized pieces and serve with the other preparations. For serving suggestion refer to my presentation.

Pic - Brian Usher


Words taken from a CNN Blog penned by Ron Eyester. He is the Executive Chef and Owner of Rosebud Restaurant in Atlanta

1. “Do you like it when people come over to your house and move your furniture around? Yeah, neither do we. We especially don’t like it when you decide to put chairs where we normally have people (i.e. our staff) walking.

the customer is not always right...

I’m sorry, but we haven’t been waiting around all day for you and your ten friends to pop in – moreover, there was actually some logic and planning that went into putting the tables and chairs where we have them, so leave them the f#@$ alone!”

2. “I love how a restaurant is expected to acknowledge your birthday like it’s a national holiday or something. Who invented the rule that you get a free dessert on your birthday in a restaurant? I guess we have T.G.I.Friday’s and Bennigan’s to thank for exploiting servers as they, the servers, clap their hands and chant a birthday cheer.

You don’t get free pair of gloves or socks from Old Navy when you buy an outfit on your birthday. I actually will kid with our guests and let them know that on their birthday, ‘unfortunately, our mariachi band is off this evening’ – and, people believe me!”

3. “One of my all time favorites: People’s utter disregard for hours of operation. ‘Oh, you all are closed? OK, well, I just get some food to go.’ No, I don’t think you get it – we’re closed. Not only can you not cash a check at the bank 30 seconds after they close – the old man locking the door actually takes pleasure in locking the door on you. In some banks, the tellers even have a nice panoramic window to gaze out of and laugh at all the folks who didn’t make it in on time.

What do restaurants have? We have that one guy – if you keep the bar open between lunch and dinner, as we do – who talks to you non-stop as you either try to grab a quick bite to eat, maybe enjoy some solitude or even get some prep work done. This guy talks about everything and nothing all at the same time while he nurses a single beer for a little over an hour and waits for the kitchen to re-open. It’s also worth mentioning that this guy is like a cat: feed him once and you get the pleasure of enjoying many a quiet afternoon with him.”

4. “You know what happens when you’re late for a flight? You miss it! You know what happens when you’re late to the movies? It starts despite the fact that you’re not there. Why am I obligated to hold your table when you’re late? Oh, you hit traffic. What’s that? – I’ve never heard of traffic.

Also, when you show up thirty minutes before we open for brunch (yes, this happens all the time), I can’t open early because ‘your body is used to eating at 9:30.’ Yet, I’m obligated to offer you a cup of coffee while you wait and make sure that the staff and I don’t drop too many F-bombs while we’re setting up so we don’t offend you.”

5. “A chef really loves when you drop his or her name – especially when you don’t have a reservation on a busy night. Or even better, when these people refer to themselves as a ‘good friend.’ Here’s a rule: coming to eat at my restaurant once a month, while I genuinely appreciate the patronage and support, does not automatically qualify us as friends. I’m probably not going to ask you to baptize my next kid.

Moreover, if you were really my friend: (a) you would have direct access to me via my phone instead of having to negotiate through the hostess, and (b) you wouldn’t repeatedly ask your server for me to stop by the table so that I could essentially put on a dog and pony show for you and the person that you are sitting with (a.k.a. the person who you told that you and I were good friends).”

And for good measure…

6. “Why do people always seem to call the restaurant at the absolute worst time (i.e. between 12:45 and 1:30 p.m. and 7 and 9 p.m.) to inquire about our menu or make a reservation?

‘Yes, please tell me about your food’ Really? Do you not have access to the World Wide Web? It’s great when they request a verbal tour of the menu. And, why is it that all these people share an uncanny, common denominator – they all talk so slow!

Or – how about when people call to make a reservation and the conversation actually turns into a conference call? This is especially entertaining when the person is in a car with a multiple talkative passengers, or the other people in the conversation are in another room of the house probably watching college football.

The person you are on the other end of the phone with is still conferring with the others: ‘What time do you want to eat? I don’t know. Is eight too late? How hungry are you? Do you think you’ll be busy at 7:30? They don’t have anything until 8:15.’”

I had the pleasure recently to sit down and chat with one of our nations culinary pioneers Cheong Liew. I was masquerading as the Food and Wine Editor for new publication Ocean Road Magazine


Here is the extended version of video footage as GC Food Bank comes to terms with AJ Scott’s top drawer free range duck. Recipes were prepared as part of a photo shoot for Ocean Road Magazine, Spring 2010.