•August 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

BeerBQ is on this weekend. Come and join us for Maximum Barbecue Saturation! Tickets are on sale now.

Get four Sierra Nevada beers, beef brisket, pork ribs, lamb sliders and chipotle wings and free lawn bowls for $65 BARGAIN!!!!

BeerBQ Invite

Boneyard Golden Ale + Black Pepper Crab = Yumsticks

•November 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Boneyard Brewing has finally been unleashed on the world! It’s taken a heck of a lot of tasting, recipe testing, brewing, cleaning, bottling, labeling, and a fair amount of drinking, but it’s finally out there and, in my opinion, it’s damn good.

First beer from the tanks is our hoppy Golden Ale. It’s a dry, refreshing little number, designed to be completely sessionable. As I may have mentioned once or twice, my favourite way to enjoy a good beer is perfectly matched with some good food, and this is good food indeed. We’ve tried this beer with a load of different foods, and while it works nicely with most things, I like it best with seafood, especially if it has a bit of spice to it. Singapore Black Pepper Crab certainly fits the bill. It’s a classic seafood dish with all those sweet, salty, spicy flavours and a nice amount of chilli and pepper kick to make you want, nay need, a big mouthful of cleansing ale. This dish is the ultimate in tactile eating; if you don’t end up with face, hands and possibly shirt covered in sauce, you’re not doing it right.

Check out Boneyard Brewing (including our stockists) on our website – – or on Facebook –

Singapore Black Pepper Crab

3 tablespoons oyster sauce 3 tablespoons caster sugar

4 raw blue swimmer crabs

1 1/2 tablespoons oil

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 -2 red chilli, finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

2 spring onions, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

Put kecap manis, oyster sauce, sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl, stir, then set aside.

Pull back the apron of each crab, remove top shell, then intestines and feathery gills. Rinse quickly. Cut each crab into quarters and crack the legs gently so the flavours can enter.

Heat the oil in a very large wok over high heat; add the crab pieces and stir fry in batches until the shell is bright orange and the meat almost cooked (about 5 minutes). Remove and repeat until all is cooked.

Add the butter, ginger, garlic, chilli, black and white peppers and coriander to the wok; stir fry 30 seconds.

Add the sauce mixture and stir; bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes. Return the crab to the wok and toss to coat in the sauce.

Cook a further 2-3 minutes to finish cooking the crab then garnish with the spring onions and coriander leaves. Serve at once.

Boneyard Brewing launches

•August 23, 2012 • 2 Comments

Well MasterChef Allstars is finally over. I hope everyone had as much fun watching it as I did making it (ie a heck of a lot of fun). It was awesome to hang out with everyone again, and there really is something addictive about being in that kitchen.

Quite a few people have asked me about a certain beer that I used on the show – black bottle, gold skull logo… sound familiar? Well, I have a big announcement to make – I’m launching my own beer. More accurately, me, Julia and some of the team from Josie Bones are launching a beer. Called Boneyard Brewing, our first beer is a hopped golden ale.

The idea was formed by Brendan, our resident beer nerd who is now our head brewer, and myself during many a mid-service conversation and it’s finally just about ready to go. The beer is a great all-rounder – approachable, great in any season, at any time of day. Most importantly to me, it works really well with a great variety of foods. It has a bright malt background, and Australian and American hops which create gorgeous peach and grape flavours, and grapefruit undertones. We like it best with Singapore Black Pepper Crab, but there is a whole host of dishes it will also work with.

Check out the Boneyard website at for more information including loads of recipes, and more information on where to find it! It will be available at Josie Bones soon, and at other good retail outlets soon after.

When you find a bottle, let me know what you think!

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event at Josie Bones… Don’t miss out!

•February 1, 2012 • 1 Comment

Josie Bones new summer menu starts today!

•January 5, 2012 • 1 Comment

Salami Fest

•July 22, 2011 • 3 Comments

This past weekend I was welcomed into the inner sanctum; I worshipped at the church of pork, was baptised in the cool flowing river of mince,

In other words, I made Salami.

This new awakening started with an actual awakening, at 4am, dragging myself out of a warm bed into the icy morning to drive three and a half hours to even icier Bright in the Victorian Alpine Region, or more accurately be driven to Bright by my lovely girlfriend who only fell asleep once behind the wheel. Accompanied by James my trusty beer guy, we were there to meet a brewer and a salami maker – Scott from Bright Brewery had invited us to spend the day with his old friend Ralph, an Italian gentleman and long-time resident of Bright who has been making salami for longer than I’ve been alive. Suffice to say he was a bit of an expert.

We were greeted at the door and bundled inside, bleary eyed and desperately in need of caffeine, and welcomed into the room that I will now only refer to as the Room of Salami Awesomeness!! (*double exclamation point mandatory). A large white table dominated. The action had already begun by the time we arrived, so we were handed a sharp knife, a chunk of pork and were instructed to trim, slice and dice to prepare the meat for mincing. We de-boned, de-sinewed, de-fatted skin and generally reduced a 130kg pig into piles of its various parts. (Sadly no offal or head as these are kept by the abattoir).

Next the mincing. After processing most of the mince into a course grind with their regular mincer, the guys cracked out their semi-industrial number to go through the skin and blood meat, for the cotechino. Then we discussed, over a table spread with mince, what styles of salami we would like to make. We settled on about one-fifth plain, two-fifths garlic, and the rest chilli and garlic.

The first step in seasoning is the salt and pepper. Salt was added in the exact percentage (2.7% if you’re curious) but pepper was an estimate based on years of experience. Trying to get a recipe is ludicrous as “about this much” doesn’t quite cut it in an ingredients list. Ralph spread these liberally over the mix and we began the task of mixing it by hand. The instruction was to mix it until the texture was sticky, and when your hands are too cold and tired to move, you’re about half way there. Here is where I developed my patented “punching” technique to mix the meat – something that caused much amusement to my fellow charcuterers. With freezing, aching hands we divided the meat up, added the chilli and garlic (again, recipe not: “about this much” and “enough” respectively) and then it was a break for an early lunch before the stuffing began (keep in mind this was still well before midday).

But lunch… I mean LUNCH! Wow! I would do the early morning thing and freezing our buns off thing and aching hands thing just to have a crack at this lunch. It was a simple but amazing spread of last year’s salami (plain and chilli), four types of cheese, pickled wild mushrooms (from their top secret foraging grounds), pickled eggplant, bread, home made wine… and then Scott says anyone for a beer. Perfection. I cannot begin to express the generosity of the people we’d met only that morning.

NB: We tried his experimental blueberry and blackberry wild ales, and his 18% abv ice-distilled dubbel. All delicious.

Wine in hand we had a quick tour of the Zonta property. It brought the surface all our fantasies of living the agrarian ideal, being almost entirely self sufficient with vegetable gardens, vines, smoking house, various poultry; basically everything but a pig. I offered to become their surrogate son in order to have a crack at playing on their land, but I think their own son Roger, who gave us the tour, is probably far more qualified for the role, seeing as he had a major hand in the salami making, building of the property, upkeep et al.

Back into the warmth of the wood-fired stove, we got on to the stuffing. These guys had salvaged and restored an old water-powered sausage-stuffing machine from an ex-butcher shop. This baby was seriously impressive, holding around 40kg of meat per go, being run completely on the town water pressure, and completely silent. They affixed a beautiful brass nozzle and the fun began. The skins (real intestine, ground, remade, dried and reconstituted in warm water) were threaded onto the nozzle. Salami after salami were quickly filled, dunked in hot water to tighten the skins, expertly tied and netted and then “spoodged”. Clearly not a traditional Italian term, probably spoodging is something amusing these guys made up to describe pricking the salami, which still sounds rude. Really, anything to do with sausage, salami, pricking, stuffing, spoodging sounds rude. However when googling “spoodge” and “salami”, lets just say it wasn’t edible meat I found…

Anyway, minds out of the gutter, after all the pricking and spoodging the salami is hung (sorry, couldn’t resist) in a cool, dry place with lots of circulating air for two months – so we can’t get our grubby little hands on it until September.

Next we made the cotechino, which is a favourite for sure. It’s made from all the leftover bits – the skin, fat, bloody meat that can’t go into the salami. We tried the Zonta’s own version and it was an orgy of sticky, porky, need a moment alone goodness.

A few more drinks and a long goodbye (and cleanup) and it was over. A perfect day in perfect company making (hopefully) perfect salami. Mind you, the day wasn’t quite over, as we headed straight off to Bright Brewery for a little more Alpine hospitality from Scott and his crew.

Did I mention that Salami is a fantastic accompaniment to beer such as 3 Ravens Dark (smoked beer), Samuel Smith India Ale or the Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale.

Beer Donuts

•May 8, 2011 • 6 Comments

BEER DONUTS with Chestnut Ganache

It is now well and truly Autumn and one of the highlights of this great season for me is the chestnut. Either used in sweet or savoury dishes, or simply served roasted, they sum up the flavours of the colder months – rich, warm and nutty,

Donuts are one of those sinful desserts that are almost always good, whether served as churros or loukoumades (a staple of so many restaurants nowadays), or eaten warm from a paper bag, slightly crispy, slightly soggy, coated in far too much sugar and cinnamon. The addition of chestnut flour to my standard Beer Donut recipe adds a depth of sweet, nutty flavour to the dough and the chestnut ganache centre, well let’s just say it’s a wee bit sexy.

I’ve used Little Creatures Single Batch Marzen to make the batter as it displays a great malt character and subtle nuttiness. Being a lager it has good carbonation to lift the batter, ensuring the donuts are fluffy and light.

We experimented with these at Josie Bones the other day and they were so good we added them to the menu for the night. The staff probably would have preferred we didn’t, judging by the speed the testers and leftovers disappeared. In the words of our Italian chef de partie, “If you made one hundred, I would eat one hundred.”


I’ve been thinking about a few other combinations for this base recipe. How about Porter donuts filled with dark chocolat ganache, or Framboise donuts with raspberry jam filling? I think it’s time for some tasty experiments!

RECIPE                                                                       Makes 12+

150 ml Little Creatures Marzen

100 ml milk

10 g fresh yeast

300 g bakers flour

100 g chestnut flour

50 g caster sugar

100 g butter (at room temperature)

2 free range eggs (at room temperature)

1 cup caster sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

40 ml cream

200 g sweetened chestnut puree

120 g dark chocolate, chopped

Vegetable oil for frying

Combine the beer and milk, add the yeast and stir to combine.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flours and sugar.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the beer mix. Cover with cling film and rest in a warm place for 45 minutes to enable the yeast to activate.

Add the butter and eggs gradually and mix in a kitchen mixer with a dough hook fitted until you have an elastic, smooth batter.

Cover with cling film and let prove for at least another 30 minutes. The longer you leave it to prove, the lighter and fluffier the mixture will get.

For the cinnamon sugar, combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside until required.

For the ganache, combine the cream and chestnut puree and heat to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and mix until the chocolate has melted and the mixture completely combined – add more chestnut puree to taste. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and set aside until required.

Pre-heat deep fryer to 180˚C.

Deep fry donuts in batches and drain on paper towel. We used a disposable piping bag and scissors to pipe the dough into the oil, but a well-oiled spoon or your hands will also work. They may end up a little misshapen, but they’ll still be delicious. When just cool enough to handle (use a kitchen towel to hold) fill with chestnut ganache, roll in the cinnamon sugar and devour.


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