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Lamb Shank Pot Pie


Photography Andy Arnfield – The Gourmet Grocer

Pulling out the winter warmers at the moment so a visit to my local butcher Darling Street Meats to get some delicious lamb shanks is in order.  I love lamb shanks as when slow cooked you can do loads of stuff with them from sliders to soups and pies to stews. Here is a show stopper that always gets a gasp when it is brought to the table! It’s a really easy dish to prepare and the result are not only stunning but delicious.  Tip! in my opinion the best store bought puff pastry is by Careme which is available in good gourmet food stores and deli’s. Enjoy ;0)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Serves 4


100g plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil
4 lamb shanks, approx. 350g each
1 red onion, peel, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peel, chopped
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
350ml Guinness
750ml good quality chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon
2 sheets Careme puff pastry
Egg yolk mixed with a little milk for glazing
Olsson’s sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160C.
Place the flour in a plastic bag, add a pinch of salt and pepper, add the lamb shanks and shake well to coat.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan, add shanks and cook to brown then remove to a plate.
Add onions, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pan with the rest of the oil and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
Stir in the remaining flour from the bag. Add rosemary, dates, Worcestershire sauce, Guinness, stock, tomato paste, and lemon juice, and stir well to incorporate. Bring to the boil.
Return lamb shanks to the pan, cover with a heavy lid or foil and place in the oven to cook for 3-3½ hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone easily. The sauce should be nice and thick – if it’s not, boil it down to reduce it a little more.
Take the lamb shanks from the oven and set aside to cool.
When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones (keeping the bones to one side for presentation later) and cut into chunks.
Mix with the thickened sauce and divide between 4 small (500ml) oven-safe bowls.
Turn the oven up to 200C.
Cut out lids from the pastry, making sure that they are about 2cm larger than the bowls all the way around and cut a small criss-cross in the centre of each.
Stand the bone in the middle of each pie then place the pastry over the top, with the bone sticking up through the criss-cross and the edges of the pastry overhang the sides of the bowl.
Brush pastry lids with a little egg wash and return to the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, until pies are hot and the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve.

Recipe adapted from

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Stuffed Cheddar Chicken Breast With Root Vegetables


I love this dish as the flavour, of the cheese, the salty prosciutto and the juicy chicken ,just makes my taste buds dance! I also like to serve it with crab apple jelly for that extra bit of bitter sweetness, similar to cranberry with turkey. A bit of a tip here, once you have stuffed your chicken and wrapped it in the prosciutto, then roll up in cling film tightly to make a sausage shape and put in the fridge for an hour before cooking, this will help keep the chicken in a perfect shape and hold it together during roasting.  Enjoy!  ;0)

Serves 4
Ready in 1 1/2 hours

1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 2½ cm chunks
400g swede, peeled and cut into 2½ cm chunks
2 large potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2½ cm chunks
2 medium parsnips, scrubbed and quartered lengthways
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
a few sprigs of sage
4 skinless boneless chicken breast fillets, weighing about 140g
250g chedder cheese
8 slices prosciutto

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6 /fan 180C. Put the celeriac, swede, potato, parsnips and garlic in a large roasting tin. Sprinkle with the olive oil and cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables together so they are lightly coated in oil. Put in the oven towards the top and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice open chicken and stuff the inside with the cheddar cheese laying a couple of sage leaves on each, then wrap each chicken with a slice of prosciutto to enclose.Take the roasting pan from the oven and turn the vegetables over. Now lay the chicken on top. Roast for 30- 35 minutes more, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is done. I love to serve with dish with crab apple jelly!


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Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder on White Beans and Root Vegetables


I am a huge fan of Kitchen By Mike in Alexandria and of course his cookbook and his products, which we sell at the the Gourmet Grocer. One of my favourite recipes from his cookbook, is the Lamb Shoulder With White Beans, it is simply delicious! We make this all the time and is a great winter warmer. In the book the recipe calls for soaking white beans, which I never have the time for and always forget, so I add a tin of cooked wash beans in the last 30 mins of cooking time and it is every bit as delicious. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Enjoy ;0)

15g duck fat
1X 2 kilo lamb shoulder on the bone
450g pork belly, skin on, cut into strips
1 small onion diced
1 large carrot diced
1/2 small swede, diced
1 small leek, cut into quarters lengthways the sliced
200 ml white wine
1 ltr chicken stock
1 bay leaf
200g kale, well washed, stems chopped and leaves shredded
400g tin white beans
350g waxy potatoes (such as nicola) diced
handful of flat leaf parsley leaves chopped
handful of marjoram leaves chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
8 thick slices sourdough bread
150mls extra virgin olive oil

Heat the duck fat or oil in a large flameproof casserole, or heavy based roasting tin, over medium-high heat and sear the lamb shoulder on all sides until well coloured. Remove the lamb, then add the pork, onion, carrot, swede and leek and saute until lightly coloured. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Return the lamb and pour in enough stock to cover the vegetables by about 2cm. Add the bay leaf, then cover with baking paper and simmer gently for 2 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.

When the Lamb is done add the kale, potato and parsley and cook for a further 30 mins or until the potato is just cooked. Add the marjoram and garlic, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Take off the heat and let rest for 20 mins . Shred the lamb and return to the casserole tin. Serve in bowls with chunks of crusty bread and garnish with a sprig of fresh marjoram for decoration. Enjoy.



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A Weekend On The Mornington Peninsular


Our weekend started with an evening in South Yarra with our amazing friends Robyn and Michael who had decided to throw an early Birthday feast for my partner Colin. A delicious meal that consisted of Eye Fillet of Beef cooked to perfection and the best chocolate pavlova you have ever tasted! The table, as always, was like the cover of a high end home styling magazine



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Robyn’s Mustard Baked Eye Fillet Roast with Red Wine Jus

1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery,chopped
12 button mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

5 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle dry red wine
2 cups quality beef stock
2 tablespoons red current jelly
Salt & freshly ground black pepper


To make the red wine sauce melt 3 of the 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large frying pan and add the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, sage, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the onions and other vegetables are browned and caramelised. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes, until it begins to darken. Add the wine and the beef stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any residue from the vegetables. Boil for 30 minutes. Pour everything through a strainer into a saucepan, and squeeze the juices through the strainer with a ladle. Boil over high heat until it is reduced to about 1½ cups. Add the redcurrant jelly and stir until it is thoroughly dissolved. Turn off the heat, taste and season with salt and pepper and swirl remaining butter until it is thoroughly melted.

Eye fillet roast

2kilo eye fillet roast

4 tablespoons mustard

Cover eyefillet with seeded mustard and refridgerate for 2hours. Bring eyefillet to room temperature. Preheat oven to 180C (fanforced), and heat up BBQ grill. Sear fillet on all sides and transfer to oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes depending on your preference for rare – medium. Remove from over and cover in foil and leave to rest for 10mins.



Colin’s Chocolate Meringue Birthday Cake

for the chocolate meringue base
6 large egg whites
300 grams caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (sieved)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
50 grams dark chocolate (finely chopped)

for the topping
500 ml double cream
500 grams Strawberries
3 tablespoons dark chocolate (coarsely grated)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm / 9 inches in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/gas mark 2/300ºF and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it’s ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.
When you’re ready to serve, invert on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don’t want the raspberries’ luscious colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate’s rim.


After a couple of hour drive from Melbourne we arrived at Mornington a pretty seaside town and the home of The Rocks

Established in November 2001, by the De Santis Family, after 30 years of history in various restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula, the rocks offers a unique fresh air, waterfront dining experience for the whole family to enjoy.

Being positioned on the water, the rocks is primarily a modern seafood restaurant. Having said that, it also offers an array of non seafood and vegetarian options along with light lunch alternatives.

Executive chef, Xavier Nailty has been at the helm for the past 5 years, delivering his modern approach to classical cooking.

With a pantry so diverse on its alluring doorstep, being the Mornington Peninsula, and a team that strives to extract its fruits, it is no wonder its annual reviews and recommendations in various media over the past 12 years, along with the support of its loyal customers, has led the rocks to become a recognized institution for fine food.



Being in such a pretty harbour town we couldn’t go past the fish and chips which were cooked to perfection, with light crispy batter and thick home cooked chips and to our surprise and delight they had Malt vinegar, which is a must in my opinion


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Spring is a beautiful time for the Mornington Peninsular and all the springtime flowers are bursting with colour






A little further along we spotted the Red Hill Cheese Company and being a cheesemonger myself I couldn’t resist a visit. Trevor and Jan Brandon established their small Cheesery and Cellar Door on the farm at Red Hill in April 2000, producing distinctive, handcrafted regional cheeses to complement Mornington Peninsula wines. They were first inspired by farmhouse cheesemaking in Europe, and draw upon Trevor’s experience as a food microbiologist.

They are joined by their son Burke and his family. Burke is a graduate in agriculture, with extensive training in cheesemaking, and has a particular interest in the management of cheese maturation and flavour development. During 2008 Burke & wife Bronwyn began milking their flock of East Friesian sheep and made trial batches of sheep blue and luscious yoghurt. They have since released the mild Prom Picnic Pecorino, a true sheep milk Pecorino, as well as two soft pure sheep cheeses.


The highlight of our weekend was dinner at The Port Phillip Estate,  The Dining Room a refined space offering exceptional food and wine. The space extends to an expansive outdoor timber deck taking advantage of the sweeping vineyard and coastal views to Westernport Bay and Bass Strait.

Head chef Stuart Deller Stuart began his career in London, working at a number of fine dining establishments including Quo Vadis and the Oak Room under Marco Pierre White. In the early 2000s Stuart relocated to Australia and following senior positions at a variety of highly-regarded regional restaurants assumed the role of Head Chef at Port Phillip Estate.

Stuarts’ cuisine is infused with a strong European sensibility. His menu changes regularly, highlighting the best of the season. The relationship between food and wine is symbiotic, in both pursuits we strive to highlight terroir and seasonality.

The menu expresses a strong sense of the European influences that lie at the core of Port Phillip Estate. The winelist showcases Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate wines and is complemented by a carefully selected cellar of old and new world vintages.



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Rabbit dish from the Port Phillip Estate.

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Australia’s very own London Bridge which is a coastal rock arch formed by wind and wave action at the western end of Portsea’s Back Beach. On either side of the rocky outcrop there are sand beaches


To finish off a wonderful weekend we took the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, this was our first trip to The Mornington Penninsular and it certainly won’t be the last.




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The Ultimate Truffle Hunt


What a fantastic day ! We were lucky enough to be invited to a truffle hunt at Tarago Truffles  NSW by Alex Olsson from Olsson’s Sea Salts and what a stunning day it was,  we left at the crack of dawn to meet up at Stones Tea rooms in Berrima for the best bacon and egg roll and coffee that I have had in years, I would travel for this amazing fayre!!!! We then headed off another hour South and into the middle of nowhere to Tarago Truffles, but what a treat, the landscape is breath taking and truffiers Denzil and Anne Sturgiss were there to welcome us into their world!!! We arrived at the farm, which was at the end of a dirt track, to discover 6 acres of hazelnut and french oak trees and to meet up with Dalene Devonshire one of Australia’s best truffle dog trainers.  Dalene uses the same techniques  adopted  at Sydney Airports, where the dogs were primed to discover drugs and explosives, and taking to country living, she in her heart and wisdom  decided to rescue some of mans best friends from the dog pound, Lucy and Lilly and trained them to hunt the nuggets of black gold!! This story is real and heartwarming and not a flowered up version from a creative writer!! Slow food at its best!!





Once we got in around the trees , it was all paws on deck with Lucy and Lilly scratching at ramdom patches around the root systems and of course every scratch was rewarded with a treat from Darleens pocket. Once we were all on our hands and knees and scraping around in the soil it was time to get your nose right in there ! Seriously you can smell the soil that incases the truffles , so like something out of an archaeological dig we carfully scratched and scraped to find our amazing truffles.  When we got home later that night we tried the same thing with Barney and Jasper our Schnauzers, but we didn’t get the same effect just a sideways glance and a where’s my dinner!!!


You really have to get your nose in there!!!!!!


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Now its time to go back to the grading room ,to clean wash and prepare the truffles for sale, this is where Anne waves her magic wand making sure everything is perfect for your plate.


OK now onto the highlight of the day !!! THE FOOD!  As Tarago Farm is also a sheep farm, we were invited into the wool shed which was laid out like a scene from Henry the 8th’s banquet room, with long tressle tables laid out with cheesy bubbling fondu pots and bowls of Olsson’s truffle salt.  Then, a huge 350g truffle was brought around and grated generously into the molten cheese, where we dipped , dunked and truly made an indulgent  mess.


Auntie Liz’s Egg Pate With Fresh Truffle
4 hard boiled eggs
1.5 teaspoon curry powder
1 finely chopped onion
60gm cream cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Olsson’s Sea Salt & Pepper
Lightly sautee onion in butter, cool and blitz this with all other ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate. and then grate fresh black truffle over the top to serve


Truffle infused Australian Gin makes that perfect and decadent Slow Martini



Whole Baked Truffle in Olssen’s Salt Recipe from Gourmet Traveller August 2014
You’ll need 4 small whole fresh truffles of similar size
4 paper-thin slices of pork fatback or lardo, blanched if salted
340 gm salt 2 large egg whites

Method 1 About 35 minutes before serving, preheat oven to 220C. 2 Wrap each truffle in a slice of fatback. 3 Line 4 brioche moulds with foil. 4 Combine salt and eggwhites in a bowl. Make a layer of salt mixture about 1cm deep in the base of each mould. Place a truffle in each and spoon salt mixture around the sides of each truffle, pressing the mixture with your fingertips to pack. Spoon at least a 1cm layer of salt mixture over the tops of the truffles. Press firmly with your palm to completely seal truffles in salt and flatten salt, so when it’s turned out, the casings won’t wobble. (The recipe can be prepared to this point 1-2 hours ahead.) 5 Bake for 25 minutes for medium-sized truffles, then turn out and remove foil. 6 To serve, place each truffle on a serving dish. Crack each casing lightly and remove the truffle. The truffles will not be salty. In fact, you will probably need to season them with a pinch of salt. Eat them as they are or sliced with bread and toast, and dressed with good walnut oil.


Truffle Cheese Fondue Sauce
This amount of sauce will serve 4 people as the main course.

1 garlic clove
50ml  cup kirsh 2 tsp. cornstarch
75g fresh black truffle
400 g Gruyère cheese (aged at last 8 to 12 months), shredded
400g  Emmenthaler or Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese, shredded (Please use real Emmenthaler. A generic ‘Swiss Cheese’ will not do. Note that in Switzerland you can buy bags of pre-shredded mixed cheese called “Moitié-moitié”, meaning ‘half and half’.)
1 piece of ‘spreadable’ cheese, e.g. Laughing Cow/La Vache Qui Rit (not the mini-Babybel type, the triangular foil-wrapped soft gooey double-creme type)
1 1/4  cups of young slightly sour white wine such as Chasselas or Sauvignon Blanc

Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove. Discard the garlic. (This optional step adds a little extra flavor to the sauce.) Dissolve the cornstarch in the kirsch. Set aside. Put the fondue pot on a medium-heat. Add the wine and cheeses. Heat while stirring, until the cheeses melt. Add the kirsch and keep stirring until the sauce is smooth and bubbly. This takes about 20 minutes. Grate the fresh black truffle into the fondu pot and stir through. Now, set up your fondue pot stand and burner and transfer the pot to the stand. The burner flame (or tabletop cooker) should just be hot enough that the sauce stays how and just sort of seething on the surface. Any hotter and the cheese will burn on the bottom.

I would like to Thanks Denzil and Anne Sturgiss and Alex and Co from Olsson’s  Salt for their hospitality and we look forward to working with you all in the future

For all your gourmet truffle products and Olsson’s Salts and rubs goto

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Tondo Lemon Infused Balsamic


The desire to find out ever-new has produced the fruity sweet and sour line produced with scented grapes from Emilia Romagna, Italy, the only Italian region known for authentic vinegars.
This vinegars combine the precious characteristics of the balsamic with the versatility of the flavors they got from infused lemons. The Lemon Balsamic is ideal with seafood, white meats and raw foods! Buy Here


Gourmet Grocer St Clements Shredded Chicken Salad


St Clements Caper Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons Clementine Juice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped drained capers
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons Tondo Lemon Balsamic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 whole free range organic chicken
6 clementine’s
1 lemon
6 cloves of garlic
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley

150g baby salad leaves
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 small, thin zucchini
12 clementine’s
250g soft feta
½ red onion
salt and freshly ground black pepper




In a ziplock bag place the Chicken,lemon juice, lemons, clementine juice, clementine’s, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper. Seal bag and marinate for at least 12 hours. When ready to cook pre heat oven to 240 degrees. Stuff the chicken with the marinating ingredients from the bag Place the chicken in the roasting tray and put it into the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook the chicken for 1 hour and 20 minutes. When cooled shred chicken







Make the vinaigrette
In a medium bowl, whisk the shallots, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, clementine juice, parsley, garlic cloves and Tondo lemon balsamic vinegar together. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper


Make the Salad. In a large bowl, combine the baby leaves and tomatoes, red onion slices, clementines. Trim the ends of the zucchini. One at a time, lay the zucchini flat on a work surface and, using a vegetable peeler and working from the stem end to the blossom end, shave off long, thin ribbons until you reach the seedy center. Turn the zucchini around and repeat on the second side, then repeat on the third and fourth sides. Add the ribbons to the bowl and discard the seedy centers of the zucchini.
Using your hands to avoid breaking the ribbons, gently toss the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Assemble the Salad, shredded chicken and feta cheese and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.

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The Sunday Roast


Sunday Lunch is my favourite meal of the week, it was once a time that the whole family got together around the table and though I now live on the opposite side of the world from my family I still undertake a full roast and all the trimmings every Sunday, yes even if the temperatures in Sydney hits 40 degrees!  We just close the doors, crank up the aircon and roast the meat outside in the BBQ.  Being the best Yorkshire Pudding Cook Down Under, even tho I do say so myself, for me  the classic Sunday Roast cannot exist without them and of course the inevitable bowl of brussels sprouts and roast potatoes, smothered in pan juice gravy, made the old fashioned way.  I always like to use this recipe from Janelle Bloom as it works perfectly every time.  Last tip is don’t forget to rest your meat after it comes out of the oven!!!!


2kg standing rib roast olive oil

4 red onions, thinly sliced

Processor béarnaise sauce

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup dry white wine

2 eschalots, finely chopped

½ bunch tarragon, leaves and stems finely chopped

6 black peppercorns

125g butter, chopped

3 egg yolks, at room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Serves 6

1 Preheat oven to 200°C fan-forced. Remove the beef from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, and drizzle with oil and season with freshly ground pepper.

2 Grease a roasting pan. Scatter the onions over the base of the pan, and stand the beef on top. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C fan-forced. Cook for a further 1 hour and 40 minutes for medium, or until cooked to your liking. Stand for 15 minutes before carving.

3 Meanwhile, for the bearnaise sauce, combine the vinegar, wine, eschalots, tarragon and peppercorns in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, then boil for 2–3 minutes or until mixture has reduced by half. Set aside to cool.

4 Strain the sauce mixture into a food processor, discarding the solids. Melt the butter in the small saucepan until it bubbles, but do not allow it to brown. Add the egg yolks to the food processor with the vinegar mixture and process until well combined. With the motor running, gradually add the hot butter, processing until the sauce thickens. Spoon into a warm bowl, stir in the chopped tarragon and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with the roast.

If your beef is not 2kg, roast at 200°C fan-forced for 20 minutes, then reduce to 180°C and cook for 17 minutes per 500g for rare, 25 minutes per 500g for medium, 30 minutes per 500g for well-done.


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