Sample Food Festival Spice Lunch

A little late on posting this blog…but what a great day this was last month and what a pleasure to work alongside Monique Guterres-Harrison from Seaweed Cuisine, Shannon Smerdon from Harvest and Alex Herbert – great chefs and great people.

As the Sample launch lunch of what went on to become a really fantastic festival, it truly was a great pleasure to be involved…and cook in the name of Rockpool, a dish from Neil Perry’s book “Balance & Harmony”, and to be able to utilise the incredible Bangalow Sweet Pork. Plates were by the talented Suvira McDonald – beer and wine flowed (including the sensational Nanny Goat Pinot Noir and local hero Stone & Wood)…and so it began. Let’s hope the Spice Lunch becomes a staple of this great local festival and celebration of the Northern Rivers.

The Menu

Oysters with black bean and chilli

5 spice tempura tofu with sauteed chilli enoki


Warm macademia nuts with salted fingerlime dust

Local blue eye fillet encrusted with sesame seeds, davidson plum spice sauce and candied lemon aspen with mizuna & crushed macademias


Beef massaman curry of dry aged Hayters Hill beef with cucumber, ginger and peanuts

Sweet black vinegar Bangalow pork belly with steamed asian greens

Coopers Shoot tomato and snow pea salad with tamarind and lime


Passionfruit ginger ice cream, salty caramel tapioca & macademia: crispy pineapple



Sweet black vinegar pork belly

Serves 4 as part of a shared banquet

500g boneless pork belly, cut int 3cm thick pieces across the grain

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon shaoxing

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

60g soft brown sugar

4 tablespoons Chinkiang black vinegar

Finely sliced spring onion, to serve

Roasted sesame seeds, to serve

Mix together 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt, the sugar, shaoxing, soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Add the pork and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel.

Heat a wok until smoking. Add the remaining oil and, when hot, stir fry the pork in batches for about 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until well coloured on all sides. Return all the pork to the wok and add the brown sugar, vinegar, remaining salt and 375ml water. Bring to the boil then reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is very tender. If the sauce is a little thin, remove the pork from the sauce and return the wok to the heat. Boil until it has a syrupy consistency, then pour over the pork. Sprinkle with the sliced spring onion and sesame seeds.

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