Al Brown’s latest, Eat Up New Zealand: The Bach Edition, has 150 recipes that are an ode to the humble bach or crib. Bach or no bach, these three recipes would make the perfect Father’s Day feast, fit for the hungriest paternal figure in your life - and everyone else besides.
Battered mussels with malt vinegar mayo
A good friend of mine, Rob Pooley, introduced me to the glorious world of deep-fried mussels a number of years back when he and I cooked at a large event on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. If you like fried oysters, well, this is the poor man’s version. But I swear if you close your eyes, you’ll be convinced that you are actually eating fried oysters. No joking, I swear!
Malt vinegar mayo
4 egg yolks
½ Tbsp dijon mustard
75ml malt vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1½ cups canola oil
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks
½ cup canola oil, plus 2 litres for deep-frying
1½ cups soda water
1 cup self-raising flour
24 freshly shucked mussels
Lemon halves, to serve
To make the malt vinegar mayo, place the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar and sugar in a jar or jug. Using a stick blender, blitz for 10 seconds, then slowly drizzle in the oil, blitzing all the time, to form an emulsion. Taste, season with flaky salt and pepper, and refrigerate until required.
For the batter, whisk the egg yolks and canola oil together in a clean bowl. Stir through the soda water. Using a fork, gently stir in the flour until just incorporated — be careful not to over-mix. Refrigerate for 20–30 minutes.
Heat the remaining oil in your deep-fryer to 180C. Alternatively, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. You can gauge this by adding a piece of bread to the oil; if it’s at around 180C, it will take about a minute for the bread to turn golden and crisp.
Working in batches, dip the mussels into the tempura batter then carefully place in the hot oil. Cook for a couple of minutes, until golden all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels. Keep warm while you finish cooking the rest of the mussels.
To serve, season with salt and pepper. Place the deep-fried mussels on a platter with the malt vinegar mayo on the side and bunch of lemon halves for squeezing. Eat now.
Roasted lamb shoulder with parsnip carrot hash and mint chimichurri
Roasted lamb with vegetables, peas, carrots, gravy and mint sauce will forever be near the top of the list when it comes to evoking wonderful eating memories of growing up. This recipe pays tribute to the past but feels more like a nod to the future. I like that it remains relatively old-school in the sense that it is still a roast, but it’s much lighter: gone are the gravy and the dripping-roasted vegetables. Instead, the lamb is flavoured with a spice rub, and a mint chimichurri offers up a depth of flavour and wonderfully cuts through the richness of the lamb.
1 lamb shoulder, bone in
¼ cup canola oil, plus 2 tablespoons
2 Tbsp fennel seeds, roughly ground
2 Tbsp ground sumac
1 Tbsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1½ cups mint leaves
1 cup parsley leaves
⅓ cup oregano
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
Pinch dried chilli flakes
100ml olive oil
50ml red wine vinegar
1½ tsp sugar
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parnsip carrot hash
1 kg parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 kg carrots, peeled and sliced
⅓ cup canola oil
Preheat your oven to 180C. Take the lamb shoulder and coat with the 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Mix the ground fennel seeds, sumac, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Now rub this spice mix into and all over the lamb shoulder.
Pour the remaining canola oil into a roasting pan or oven tray, then add the lamb shoulder. Roast for 1 hour, then drop the temperature down to 160C and cook for a further 2 hours. Remove and let the lamb rest for at least 20 minutes.
To make the mint chimichurri, place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to a wet paste consistency. Refrigerate until required.
Preheat your oven to 150C. Add the parsnips and carrots to a saucepan, cover with water and season with salt. Place over high heat, bring up to the boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat, drain, and spread out on an oven tray. Place in the oven for 10 minutes to dry out the cooked vegetables.
Remove the parsnips and carrots from the oven, and while still hot, roughly mash together. Season liberally with salt and pepper. If not using immediately, keep refrigerated.
To make the hash, place a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, add half the oil and half the butter. Spread out the mashed parsnip and carrot in the hot skillet and cook for 10–15 minutes, until crisp on the bottom. Prior to flipping the vegetables to crisp the other side of the hash, drizzle over the rest of the oil and dot with the remaining butter. Turn with a spatula and cook for a further 10 minutes. The hash should be golden and slightly crisp. Keep warm.
Carve and divvy out the lamb, along with the parsnip and carrot hash. Spoon over liberal amounts of the chimichurri. Serve just as is or with a simply dressed crisp green salad on the side.
Lemon delicious with stewed rhubarb
Some ingredients are just made to go together, and this pud is a case in point. This really is a delicious dessert, and most certainly one of my favourites. The lemon delicious should be served straight from the oven, with the stewed rhubarb and cold runny cream adding a delicious contrast to every mouthful.
1kg rhubarb stalks, cut into even-sized pieces
¾ cup sugar
1 star anise
½ vanilla bean, split in half lengthways
125g butter, plus extra for greasing
2 lemons, finely grated zest and juice
6 Tbsp self-raising flour
1 cup full-cream milk
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
Icing sugar, for dusting
Cream, to serve
To make the stewed rhurbarb, place the rhubarb pieces in a saucepan with the sugar, star anise and vanilla bean. Take the orange and, using a vegetable peeler, peel three or four lengths of orange zest. Add the zest along with the juice of the orange to the pan. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon, then place the pan over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, cook for 15-20 minutes or so until the rhubarb is soft and stewed. Remove and let cool. Refrigerate until required.
Preheat your oven to 160C. Grease an ovenproof dish with butter.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a handheld electric whisk, beat the butter and the lemon zest together until creamy. Slowly add the flour, milk and egg yolks until incorporated into the butter. Remove the bowl and stir through the lemon juice. It may curdle a little, but that’s okay.
In a separate and very clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, a little at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
Now fold a third of the egg whites gently into the lemon-egg yolk mixture. Carefully fold in the next third of the egg whites, followed by the final third. Be careful not to over-mix.
Pour the lemon delicious batter into an ovenproof dish. Cover tightly with tinfoil and place in a large, deep oven tray. Fill the tray with enough just-boiled water to come about a third of the way up the side of the lemon delicious dish.
Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the pudding is golden on the top and doubled in size.
Remove and dust the lemon delicious with icing sugar. Spoon the hot pudding into serving bowls, add some stewed rhubarb, then pour over liberal amounts of runny cream. Serve now.
Edited extract from Eat Up New Zealand: The Bach Edition by Al Brown, photography by Josh Griggs, published by Allen & Unwin NZ, RRP $49.99.