Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Chicken with forty cloves of garlic is a classic casserole dish that is just made for the middle of winter. As we are coming up to the winter solstice I thought it would be appropriate to serve up this amazing dish. Actually I should credit Kathy, my Mother-in-law for this one – she’s a big time foodie and an inspirational cook. She’s the kind of cook that start’s planning for the main meal the night before, and she’s not the type to just throw together something bland and uninteresting. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal cooked by Kathy.


Not quite there…

I think Kathy made this on my first trip over to Florida with Katie when we first got engaged about 9 years ago. I was dubious about a dish that contained 40 actual cloves of garlic – I mean I like garlic – but that sounded like some crazy future mother-in-law move to keep Katie and I from making out – for the next 10 years… But being new, I played along. Kathy served the meal with green beans, mashed potato and fresh bread. And of course some pretty good wine as is always the case at the Steen table.It took about two bites of this dish for it to go straight into my top meals of all time. It really is that good. It’s a pretty old recipe and the version that Kathy uses is based on a James Beard recipe:


  • 4 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 medium-size onions, diced
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • cup olive oil
  • 2 medium sized chickens, cut up into quarters
    • I keep the breast on the bone with the skin on and the wing drumette attached
  • ½ cup dry vermouth (I Use martini Brand – Vermouth is only good for two things, and both need the good stuff…)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 40 cloves garlic peeled

Yep – there really is 40 cloves of garlic. I think the original recipe calls for unpeeled garlic – I’ve never had it that way but if you really can’t be bothered peeling 40 cloves, (And you can’t buy there already peeled) I’m sure it’s great with the garlic unpeeled…


Put all the herbs and chopped veg into the bottom and then the chicken on top


  1. Preheat the oven to 190c
  2. Chop the celery and the onions and cover the bottom of a heavy casserole dish – I use my Le Creuset French Oven
  3. Sprinkle in the parsley and chopped tarragon
  4. Rub some of the oil over the chicken pieces and place in the casserole dish
  5. Pour the remaining oil (Kathy often uses less oil – I throw it all in) and the Vermouth over the chicken
  6. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and nutmeg over the dish and tuck the garlic around and under the chicken (You can put in half before you put the chicken in the dish)
  7. Cover the top of the casserole dish tightly with aluminium foil and place lid over the top to create an airtight seal.
  8. Place in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes without removing the cover.


You will be amazed at how much liquid is created – and this is the best part of the dish… The fished product really doesn’t look all that flash. And if it were a restaurant, I’m sure they would pan off the chicken pieces a bit like confit duck, and then serve it with the sauce. Don’t bother, leave it as is – it tastes a good as it smells – not as it looks.


You can see here just how much liquid is created – these pan juices are delicious

Spoon over as much of the sauce as you can – it’s delicious to sop up with some fresh French bread – baguette. It’s also great if you serve it with gnocchi, or mashed potato. You can also spread the tender garlic cloves onto the bread, it really is quite delicious.

This really is one of my favourite meals to make and eat at home, and apart from the peeling of the garlic, it’s a pretty easy meal to make.






cooking 2 Coles now sells burgers patties made by Heston himself… Hmmm… Chris and I decided to make them and eat them. They were good. OK, It’s more complicated than that, and since I am clearly lazy, my good friend and fellow burger adventurer Chris – who also happens to have a cool blog has decided to write the whole thing up and thus record the event for posterity. Below is his take on events – I’m might have edited a little bit here or there… Still think my burger was the best.. The Heston Burger Challenge Andrew says that he likes burgers as much as the next guy, as I’m often the next guy I have to agree. I love a good burger but I have to say that until Andrew started this challenge, my life was in a barren landscape where my burger experience was sorely lacking. I had tried all the supposedly good burger places, Grilled, Urban burger, Babu’s Ball Burgers on Chapel and they had all turned to ashes in my mouth. Especially Babu’s ball burgers…terrible and I was starting to feel that maybe burgers were something that I would never really enjoy again. But Andrew showed me there was a better burger way and he has been responsible for some of the best burger experiences of my life (Rockpool I’m looking at you). So I have thoroughly enjoyed going to some of the most rated burger places in Victoria. But given both Andrew and I are fairly handy in the kitchen we often talk about making our own burgers at home. What would our ultimate burger be like? What would you put on it? What cuts of meat would you use for the patty? What sauce would you use? What kind of bun would be perfect for your burger? Pretzel? Milk? Brioche? Well on Monday (The Queen’s Birthday) we decided to go halfway there. I say halfway because I had been taken with the new Heston range from Coles. Now I’ve been a Heston fan for a long time and was excited about him putting food that I might actually be able to eat into a supermarket I could potentially go to. But would it be any good? Could you make a truly great mass produced burger patty without sacrificing flavour or quality? The Heston range seems to be geared to for you making burgers; they have Heston’s specially prepared burger patty which is a steak patty that proudly boasts itself to be 97% “Angus beef seasoned with Pink Lake Salt, minced one way then cut against the strands for a juicy burger with a big flavour.” This is the same as the burger that Heston made in his TV series “In search of perfection”. You can also get a “Brioche dough makes a bun that’s soft and rich with a touch of buttery sweetness” And a Ketchup that is “Rich in umami it’s the perfect balance of savoury, sweet and acidity, with just a hint of a fiery kick.” So off to Coles I went and purchased the patties, the buns the sauce and some other odds and ends. Lettuce, Onions, cheese, mushrooms, dried porcini, and importantly a patty to compare. I chose Coles Wagyu beef patties which are according to Coles “Gourmet burgers made with finely ground Wagyu beef sourced from one of Australia’s best breeders, then lightly seasoned with Murray River rock salt.” I chose this because it was basically the same price, was the same weight: 320gms (160gms per patty) and was supposedly a quality burger patty. Cooking 1 First Impressions: The Buns look a little stale despite being baked the day before, the patties look enemic and bland although the sauce seems to have great flavour. The Coles Wagyu beef patty however looks the right size and the right colour. The Test: We decide to make four burgers for the test. One will be a plain burger with minimal ingredients with the Coles Wagyu patty on it. One will be my dream burger using the Heston patty, one will be Andrews dream burger with the Heston Patty and one will be a control using the Heston Patty, all burgers will use the same basic sauce and the same bun. Andrew makes an amazing basic burger sauce that was frankly so good I’m going to share it with you. cooking 3 Ingredients:

  • Heston’s Burger sauce
  • Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • American Mustard
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper

Add ingredients according to taste. Or get Andrew to do it. I make a porcini mushroom duxcell and caramelise some onions whilst Andrew is manning the flame grill. We settle on the closest thing we can find to American cheese on a public holiday and Polish pickles. 20140609_122949   cooking 4 The Results: The first burger just had sauce, lettuce, tomato, caramelised onion, cheese, pickles and the Coles Wagyu patty. It’s fine. A fine burger, the patty is a little rissoley a quick read of the ingredients reveal it to have 10% “filler” which we assume is mostly circus animal and sawdust. But it’s not terrible. The bun is very good, refreshing it on the grill made it come to life. Burger cut The next burger is mine; I have mushroom duxcell, caramelised onions, cheese, lettuce, sauce, tomato and the Heston Patty. Wow! That patty is pretty good, it’s doesn’t have that aged steaky flavour that we were both hoping but it is a prime beef burger patty without a hint of “sausage” flavour too it which in retrospect the Wagyu Patty certainly had. The only criticism is that it’s massive, 160gms? Yeah… I don’t think so. More like 200gms. Doesn’t quite fit the bun. Which is odd because that’s the bun it was made for. burger chris Andrews burger is almost the same as mine but he nixes the mushroom and the onion adds some raw onion and some bacon. Mnnnnnn, yep these are some good burgers. The control is eaten by our test subject who was bought in to support our findings. Apart from deciding that my combination of flavours was nowhere near as good as Andrews (although as he’s editing this he’ll probably change the results – *edited) she agreed Heston’s patty was WAY better than the alternative. Burger me 1 Conclusion: If you want a burger and it’s a toss-up between heading out and eating in. Go out, there are tons a great burger places that do at least as good a burger if not better with much less hassle. However if you are making burgers for people that are coming over? Or you just really want to cook a burger and eat it in front of the TV? There’s no way you wouldn’t get this over any mass produced burger patty, bun, sauce combination on the market. Come BBQ season these are going to fly off the shelves.