A Dinner in the Balingup Lesser Hall with two (2) Long Tables and Music

doris dinner_6847_1

Back to Balingup again – lovely local food region and gateway to more lovely local food regions. Apparently it was once its own shire and duchy or something but anyway it does have a neat old town hall – the greater hall and the lesser hall. The greater for badminton and the lesser, well I got to use it.

I’d agreed to do a dinner of 50 or so while Doris (not to be confused with Japanese art noise stoner rock exponents, Boris) – one half of which is food writer/editor Jane Cornes – played an acoustic set. Once again our Southern foresty/valley region placed inordinate faith in my cooking skills and Katrina Lane of Taste of Balingup went one step further to get me back a second time. Fool me twice etc

Basic principles. We had lovely local lambs from Emu Park Lamb for killing and butchering. There were two long tables. I didn’t want to do a spit and I didn’t want to do platings and thought it would be nicer if people shared everything because that’s how I like eating. So I settled on doing the lamb three ways. One in the hope of being able to say ‘doing the lamb three ways was a pretty romantic night in Kojonup’ but also it’d offer a variety of flavours and interest and get the best out of each cut. There’s an excellent pig farmer nearby so I thought I’d do a pork terrine for entree so I could have everything good to go in advance and be nice and local in my produce use.

Anyway a lot was done but the fave of an evening where a lot of plates came back empty and I saw nothing of the lamb shoulder, the overall winner was the terrine. I kind of suspected this as when I tasted it for the first time, I asked that all guests be notified of the need for a spare set of underwear.

pork terrine orange and rhubarb jam

Appley Pork Terrine with Figs and Walnuts

3 kilos of pork – coarsely minced
3 kilos of pork belly – skinned and boned
1 kilo of duck livers
4 granny smith apples, peeled and grated
1 cup of chopped dried figs
1 cup of chopped walnuts
150ml calvados (or brandy) – to marinate the figs and walnuts in.
400ml of single cream
salt, pepper, bunch of thyme leaves

1kg of prosciutto – sliced at a thickness just above breaking into bits.

Pork was from Killara Pork in Boyup Brook. Butcher, Steve at Boyanup Meat Supply, did the mincing. I left the pork belly to myself and indulged in my seventh favourite thing in the world – reducing bits of meat to little chunks with a couple of cleavers. Clean and very finely chop the liver – to a paste.

Then just mix everything together. You can taste and adjust your mix by frying up little bits of it. Remember, it’ll be served cold, which dulls the flavours so increase the seasoning accordingly. In this terrine the liver compensates magnificently – it’s rich enough in flavour so that when the terrine is cold, you still get that punchy ‘mugh‘ you get from hot food. The lighter pork /appley flavours float on this like the synthesiser wash and horn section over the bass in The Slab

Wasn’t that great?

Once you’re happy with your mix, line loaf tins with greaseproof paper and then strips of the prosciutto. Fill with filling and fold over the prosciutto. Given it’s smaller than bacon, you will need to double up with coverage.

Pace in a water bath up two thirds up the sides and cook for at 180C for two hours. Meanwhile cut out little bits of cardboard the size of the top of your loaf tins and cover with foil – you may have seen these on Dr Who as the baddies. Take the tins out, allow to cool a little, drain off excess juices, put the ‘galagons’ on top of your terrine and then a heavy weight like a can of chick peas on top and put in the fridge.

I’ve got three days in the fridge for this somewhere and I think that would be optimal for slicing density. However, this stayed in for a day and was fine and cohesive when sliced and served.

pickled cauliflower


Rhubarb and Orange Jam: This recipe plus half a dozen star anise.

Candied Walnuts: this recipe. But very sweet so a light sprinkling of salt at the end (taste) made them more savoury, completely magnificent, and brought out the chilli and orange notes.

Pickled Caulifower: This Delia recipe. It’s awesome because she presses her pickles like the Japanese, which makes for crunchy. Mine’s quite different – just cauliflower and finely sliced onion. Apple cider. No idea what golden caster sugar is so just caster sugar. Garlic and a couple of teaspoons of sumac. Only kept it for 5 days rather than  a month or so but kept it nice and sharp – there was plenty of sweet to counteract.

the oven


Other Things for Mains

Won’t bore you with too much detail but – Marinated lamb rack with mushrooms and Lamb Shoulder with Juniper Berries – it’s a Marcella Hazan recipe that’s a lamb shoulder with a soffritto with a tablespoon or two of juniper berries and some rosemary, a couple of glasses of dry white wine and then cooked in a casserole dish at 130C for 5 hours with gradually increasing lid openings to reduce as you go along – or added wine if you get a bit carried away. And a Deboned Leg of Lamb Rubbed with Sumac – nothing tricky if I recall correctly, just a lovely leg of deboned lamb rubbed down and marinated with olive oil and a few tablespoons of sumac.

salad radish and broad bean slow cooked lamb with juniper berries

salad butterflied lamb with sumac carrots

There was also the bulgur for the Lamb with sumac – boiled in vegetable stock and then sauteed sliced leek and finely diced zucchini stirred through. A radish, broadbean and green tahini salad and a mixed herb salad – both from the Ottolenghi cookbook I’ve been borrowing heavily from. The vegetables and green were all brought from just down the road at Newies in Kirup and they’re produce is always very special – not many places will pop out the back to pick more basil for you. Katrina made roasted artichokes, which were brought in by the grower, and dutifully went through the not fun process of prepping them while I made sure various things weren’t burning. Oh and lots of carrots for some reason. Many of them heirloom – slow roasted with honey nd served with yoghurt and sesame seed.


Yes well it went very well. I got it out with some excellent help from my ace team of helpers. My only meltdown was a sense of humour blackout that lasted an hour and the only technical fault was a cooler than expected oven, which slowed the ribs down. The music was fun and delightful. The crowd a good one and perhaps the hi-light was David from Emu Park thanking me for cooking his lamb and getting it right. Easy to do, it was great lamb and when you have good produce, you let it speak. Once (before?) dessert – the frangipane tart with maple syrup double cream and fresh berries – was done, the calvados came out and more fun was had.


frangipani tart with maple syrup double cream


  1. Elodie’s avatar

    I couldn’t see this on my handheld for so long bc it is such a fucky device & only just now have desktop leisure-time.

    Everything looks really delish. And what a pretty party of tidy people, all looking well, thanks to nationalized medical.

    And now I’m hungry. And Mr Sloane will be happy, because reading this has just reminded me we have a lamb shoulder roast in the freezer & I am going to take it out now to eat Sunday. You are a model for us all. Cheers!

  2. anthony’s avatar

    Everything was really delish and I can now say things like that because I’m all cocky now.

    A nation of well-fed, well-cared for people. Hooray for socialism!

    Enjoy the lamb! Small, plastic and covered in glue – sounds like me.

  3. Elodie’s avatar

    Who said you were plastic & covered in glue? Oh, a model. Clever, down south mouth.

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