Tag Archives: Roast


My friends all seem to enjoy good food and are good cooks; Mandy is no exception. Not all of my friend’s cooking has been represented on my blog; this is not because I have not enjoyed their food, warmth and hospitality, but more because I may not have had a camera or it was inappropriate to take photos when food was about to be served.

This is a photo of a leg of goat that had been marinating in a chemoula my friend Mandy made with a mix of ghee, extra virgin olive oil, some of her own preserved lemons and harissa.  She purchased the goat from friends who like her live on a property near Cowra in New South Wales. Goat is a lean meat and benefits from being larded or having some extra fat added.


Mandy placed the meat on a rack in an old fashioned, baking dish (which is a delight in itself). She kept the lid on throughout the cooking time and ensured that there was a bit of water below the rack in the bottom of the baking dish; this provides a bit of steam and keeps the meat from drying out. Marinating the meat beforehand and this method of cooking prevents shrinkage; the meat was very tender, moist and tasty.

Score the surface of the meat in a 1 cm criss-cross pattern to help the marinade penetrate the meat. Preheat the oven to 160c and cook for 6 hours.

Add about ½ cup of water to the pan after the first 30 minutes and then every hour. The juices and the scrapings from the pan made an excellent gravy.

But it is not just the meat that makes a good meal. We ate the meat with silver beet grown in her garden. This was mixed with whole chickpeas and sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic, chilli and cumin.  A tahini dressing (tahini, garlic, salt, oil, lemon juice, cumin and a little warm water) accompanied this dish.


We had unpeeled kiffler potatoes roasted in extra virgin olive oil and a bowl of cucumber mixed with yogurt, mint and garlic.

Mandy also made a hot mint sauce using a recipe from Sam and Sam Clark’s Casa Moro, The Second Cookbook. I too have this book and here is the recipe:

4 tablespoon’s extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons good quality sweet red wine vinegar (add a pinch of sugar to normal red wine vinegar or use balsamic)
salt & black pepper
½ a teaspoon caster sugar (optional)

Place a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When it is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown – stir once or twice to ensure it colours evenly. Add half the mint and all of the cumin. Cook for a further minute then add the red wine vinegar and simmer for 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining mint. Season and add sugar if needed to balance the flavours. Serve hot.

Goat (capra in Italian), like mutton is the mature beast; kid (capretto in Italian) is the young animal. As a rule Italians prefer to eat kid.

For other kid or goat recipes see previous posts:


And there was more food. We finished off the meal with a rhubarb cake (the rhubarb is also grown in her garden) and accompanied by some of her saffron ice cream made with eggs from her hens. This fantastic meal was prepared by this very busy woman, who could have been spending more time in her studio painting (you can see some of Mandy’s paintings on the wall behind her).

Thank you Mandy, another memorable meal.



When we first arrived in Australia, we lived in Adelaide and one of the favourite things that my mother cooked when we had guests, was vitello arrosto (roast veal).

It was not vitello as we had been used to in Trieste (veal which was very pale in colour and young), however, we were very fortunate to have a good Hungarian butcher who did his best to supply us with cuts of meat that we were better acquainted with.

When I was a teenager I often had friends who came to stay and I used to tell them that what we were eating was roast veal, they were confused. Firstly because it was not roast lamb (my mother thought the lamb as pecorona – ultra big sheep), but secondly because it was not roast cooked in the oven, so why did we call it roast?

Ovens were not commonly used, baking was not common, but wet roasting was, and if you look at recipes for vitello arrosto you will find that the most common way of cooking it is in a pan with a close fitting lid on top of the stove. The juices do not dry out and the roast will be tender and very flavourful.

This is not a recipe my Sicilian relatives cooked – their arrosto was cooked slowly in the oven, with onions, a little tomato, bay leaves and usually with potatoes. This was also moist and cooked for some of the time partly covered. The photo was taken in Sicily; the cut of meat that my relatives often use for a boneless roast is called a reale.

Ask your butcher for a piece of veal that you can roast.  A girello is suitable, but it is more likely to be yearling beef (most Australian butchers label this piece of meat as such, if not it is also called silverside – but not pickled). A leg of veal is also suitable, but it will be gelatinous and not every one likes this.

The pan often called a Dutch oven, is a good shape to use for vitello arrosto.

roasting veal in one piece of 1.5 – 2 kg
extra virgin olive oil, ½ – ¾ cup
white wine,  up to 2 cups or 1 cup wine, 1 cup stock
onion, 1 cut into quarters
carrots, 3, leave whole
fresh rosemary, sage and whole garlic cloves to stud the meat
salt and pepper to taste
Make holes in the meat (use a sharp, thin knife) and stud the meat with the flavourings – use separate flavours for each hole.
Heat the oil, brown the meat well on all sides.
Pour in 1 cup of the wine and evaporate.
Add the onion and carrots, a few more sprigs of rosemary and sage, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook over low heat for about 1½ hours, but keep on adding a little more wine (or stock) so that the meat is kept moist and does not stick to the bottom of the pan (add extra water or stock if necessary).

When the meat is cooked, cut the roast into thin slices and serve it with the sauce (I always include the bits of onion and carrots, some cooks use a mouli to passare (grind/ mash) the vegetables into the sauce.

My mother always presented the veal with spinach sauteed in butter and nutmeg and patate in teccia…but these are part of another story.

Patate in teccia


MAIALINO ARROSTO (Roast, suckling pig)

Cooking large pigs roasted on a spit is a festive dish in many parts of Italy. Ariccia is a town south of Rome famous for its maiale (pork) especially popular at festivals and sold as street food.

Smaller versions of this dish are cooked in homes – the piglet is called a maialino di latte (it is still being fed by its mother’s milk) and the cooked dish is called porchetta (roast suckling pig) a popular dish in in the Lazio region of Italy and Rome is its principal city.

This maialino di latte- milk fed /suckling (and one other piglet) was cooked by a chef at Libertine, a French restaurant in North Melbourne. It was one of the courses for a festive occasion – a farewell lunch for friends who were going to live overseas for six months. It was also their twentieth wedding anniversary.

The piglet needs a fair sized oven. In villages in rural Italy the piglet was often roasted in the local baker’s large wood-burning oven – this would be made available to the local residents usually on a Sunday when the baker was not likely to be working.

In Italy some cooks bone the piglet before cooking – this makes carving and stuffing easier (usually a flavourful mixture of minced meat and often the organs of the pig).

The piglet can also be stuffed simply with herbs (regional Italian variations exist – in Sardinia it is called porceddu and it is likely to be flavoured with myrtle leaves, in Rome it could be rosemary and garlic and in other parts of Italy fennel seeds are used. Grated lemon rind also goes well.

Maialino is not something I cook, but I am familiar with this dish which is often cooked as the celebratory meal at New Year by some Italian families living in Australia (Porchetta). If you intend to use your oven, make sure that the piglet fits.

Begin preparations a day before cooking – the piglet will benefit from steeping in the herb mixture overnight.
Cooking time is approx. one hour per kilo (piglets available for sale in Australia are usually 7-10 kilos in weight or larger).

1 small suckling pig
extra virgin olive oil,1 cup for basting
wine (or water) approx 2 cups

Mixture to rub into piglet:
About 1 cup of fresh rosemary leaves cut finely, 3-4 tablespoons of crushed fennel seeds, 6-10 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed, salt
(liberal amount), and black pepper, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Ensure that the cavity of the piglet is clean with organs removed.
Make the mixture that you will use to rub into the pig.
Make slashes on its skin (at least two over the hips and two over the shoulders and others evenly spaced elsewhere) and insert some of the mixture into the slashes and on the inside cavity.
Place the piglet on a wire rack, over a tray, cover it with a large plastic bag and place it in the fridge overnight (keeping the outside skin of the piglet dry will help the crackling to form).
Preheat your oven with the fan on to 220 C.
Place the piglet in an oiled roasting pan (belly down, with its legs close to its body and tied together with string).
To prevent burning wrap the ears and tail in foil.
Place about 1 cup of white wine in the bottom of the pan to create steam and keep the meat succulent.
Rub the skin with more oil all and sprinkle salt over it (for crackling).
Place into the oven and roast it at 220C for 30 mins.
Lower the temperature to 200 C and cook it for the required number of hours. Turn the pan (but not the piglet – handle it gently) around every 30 mins and baste it with more oil and place some more wine
(or water) in the bottom of the pan each time.
Increase the temperature to 210-220 C in the final 30 minutes of cooking – remove the foil from the ears to allow the whole piglet to brown. The piglet should be a golden brown
Take the piglet out of the oven and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes to set.
Add more water or wine to the roasting pan and make a sughetto (gravy)
Carve it and serve with the sughetto.

See posts:

PORK SALUMI  (smallgoods). Tasting Australia 2010