barbecued spiced pomegranate rabbit - december 2014 #letslunch post

Down here in Australia, December is summer and sunshine, with many of Aussies spending their time by the beach, the pool or the air conditioning!

However all of my teenage and university Christmas holidays were spent working on our farm in the north west of NSW.
Sometimes it was a family affair, sometimes it was just my dad and me.

When it was just the two us, dad created a little rule that of we had to 'live off the land’ shop bought meat or poultry allowed.  I only agreed if I was allowed whatever vegetables, spices, herbs and condiments I desired....well at least what I could buy from the general store.

Although our farm is a sheep property, as with many farms in Australia, it also abounded with wild kangaroo, boar and rabbit....though never came across a bush turkey!

Being an inquisitive foodie eating game is heaven and I used dad's rule as a license to experiment, exploring a new cuisine or flavour combination to create something new with our bounty. 

Dad relished my inventions and though his culinary skills were not as varied mine, he loved trying new things....he'd often joke that anything I created would be leaps above his curried kangaroo stew or goulash!

But it wasn’t always me hogging the kitchen....Dad would also don the apron, and on those hot December evenings it would often involve him cooking up a storm on the open woodfired brick barbecue he'd built.

Barbecued rabbit was a traditional staple for Dad, and I'd watch him cook it on a wire rack over slow burning logs, regularly turning it to keep the moisture evenly within the meat, sometimes throwing a little of his beer on it or placing some of the local grasses on the woodfire to give it a herbaceous note.

I miss Dad’s fired delights......I haven’t had barbecued rabbit for a’s been 10 years and 10 days since I said my eternal goodbye. So this little recipe is a tribute to our tradition of ‘living off the land’ in December.....and my ever continual desire to create something new.

barbecued spiced pomegranate rabbit
serves 4
2 x 1kg rabbits, cut into 6 pieces
1 pomegranate
Spinach salad, to serve

2 cups (500ml)  pomegranate juice
4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
3 tablespoons oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  1. To make marinade, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Measure out 1 1/3 cups of the marinade and set aside. Add rabbit to  remaining marinade, in the bowl, to  coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile transfer reserved marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until reduced by half. Transfer the glaze to a heatproof jug and set aside to cool. 
  3. Roll the pomegranate a little on the bench (this helps loosen the seeds). Cut pomegranate in half, then turn seed side down and hold over a bowl. Tap the skin with a large cook spoon  or wooden spoon to release the seeds. Discard skin.
  4. Remove rabbit from marinade and allow to come back to room temperature. 
  5. Heat a barbecue, or chargrill pan, to medium heat.  Brush rabbit with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook the small legs for 6 – 8 minutes each side and larger legs and saddle pieces for 10 – 15 minutes, turning regularly and occasionally brushing with marinade.Transfer to a large tray, loosely cover with foil and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Arrange the rabbit on a serving plate, drizzle over some of the pomegranate glaze and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve with remaining glaze and a spinach salad.
This was my post for this month's #LetsLunch, a monthly Twitter based food blogger's virtual lunch club.

If you'd like to join the LetsLunch group, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #LetsLunch or post a comment below!

 For more non-traditional festive recipes from the #letslunch blogger crew click on the links below. I'll continue to update them as they come in.

Lisa @ Monday Morning Cooking Club's Duck Confit

Mel @ the cook's notebook Christmas sausage rolls

easy baked lemon & berry cheesecakes

I've always loved baked cheesecake but often don't make it as I feel it takes soooo long to make.

However I've now found a quick and easy way to make this delicious treat........with the help of your trusty food processor and a muffin pan you too can create these.

Being little individual cakes they're the perfect size for a work morning tea, to take to a friends place, for a picnic or even pop in the kids lunchbox....though for me it's the perfect sneaky afternoon treat....the only hard part is stopping at one!

easy baked lemon & berry cheesecakes
Makes 12
12 butternut snap cookie biscuits*
125g sour cream
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
2 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
375g cream cheese, softened, cut into cubes

Fresh blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries, to garnish
Icing sugar, to garnish

1.    Preheat oven to 160°C or 140°C fan-forced. Line each hole of a 12-hole ½ cup (125ml) muffin pan with paper cases. Place a biscuit into the base of each paper case, pressing down slightly.
2. Place sour cream, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice and eggs into blender jug and secure lid.  Process for 10 - 15 seconds until just combined.    
3. Add cream cheese to food processor bowl and secure lid. Process for 30 seconds until mixture is smooth and combined.
5. Pour cream cheese mixture into cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Turn off the oven. Leave the cheesecakes in the oven with the door ajar for about 1 hour to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until well chilled. Remove and discard the paper cases. Transfer the cheesecakes to a serving plate. Top with berries and dust with icing sugar. Serve.

*for my non-Australian readers you can use any plain round sweet biscuit  just make sure it fits into the base of your muffin pan. 

A few delicious twists:

lime & passionfruit : Use lime rind in place of lemon and passionfruit pulp instead of lemon juice.

choc orange: Use choc ripple biscuits instead of butternut snap. Use orange rind and juice instead of lemon. Before baking place 2 teaspoons choc chips on top of the biscuits then pour over cheesecake mixture.

cherry & vanilla: Omit lemon zest and juice, add 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste with the eggs. Before baking top the cream cheese mixture with a few pitted fresh or frozen cherries.


lamb, dukkah, kale and fetta scrolls....alfresco treats for Lets Lunch July 2014

Alfresco or 'picnic' food needs to be portable, delicious warm, or at room temperature, and suitable to eat with your hands or on paper plates.Something that fits the bill is a pastry....but there are so many combinations....where to start???

Looking around the kitchen for inspiration I found my 'muses'.... that jar of my pistachio and hazelnut dukkah, a box of filo pastry and the lamb shoulder mum brought back from our farm. With a little more hunting and some Middle Eastern insights I created this flavourful filo scroll.

Now all I need is the perfect outdoor spot to sit and enjoy the delights!

Ukrainian Vegetarian Borscht.... a pot full of vegetables! Let’s Lunch August 2013

When the Let's Lunch team posted their topic for this month 'Eat your Vegetables' in celebration of the launch of Joe Yonan's new book I was not sure where to start then Sydney's winter weather suddenly turned cold and what better than create a soup close to my heart.

When I was a young girl winter always meant a big pot of borscht would be it at home or my Baba's place... and it still instills a comfort that no other soup can replace.

Borscht may be a staple national dish in Ukraine every region and every home has their own 'special' recipe. Some are full of beetroot, others more carrots and cabbage, some have lots of tomatoes and only a little beetroot, some add pork, beef brisket, smoked pork sausage or speck, some add beans and others add barley.....though my Baba would always keep beetroot the hero.

A few little tips my Baba taught me were to initially cook the beets separately, then chop them and toss them in vinegar to keep their colour and add a little more vinegar just at the end which gives the soup a little tart zing that lifts the soup to a whole new level.

My baba would make her everyday borscht with her homemade pork rib stock that had been simmering for hours....however in keeping with the Let's Lunch theme, and in the name of speed, this creation is 'purely' vegetarian.

Baba....I hope I did your recipe proud xx