1.8kg chicken, thoroughly cleaned (brought up towards room temperature)
Boiling water

500ml chicken stock
100ml soy sauce
150ml chinese cooking wine
1 cinnamon quill
2 star anise
1 clove
5cm ginger sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and bashed
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
50g oyster mushrooms
1 bunch coriander, stalks only
2 generously heaped tablespoons brown sugar

3cm ginger, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
50g oyster mushrooms
half bunch coriander, leaves only

Combine stock ingredients in pot large enough to snugly fit chook. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes to let flavours infuse. Place chicken in simmering stock, breast-side down, making sure to fill cavity with stock. Add boiling water as necessary so as to cover chook. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered and allow to sit for 1 to 1.5 hours. The chicken will continue to cook gently.

Towards the end of the chicken cooking time, prepare the sauce by frying all the ingredients apart from the coriander. Add stock from the chicken pot with the coriander to create a slightly runny sauce.

Remove skin from chicken, carve flesh and serve with sauce and steamed rice.

Pork Shoulder

Two variations on preparing pork shoulder for pulled pork. The brine is based on a Thomas Keller recipe.


3kg pork shoulder on the bone

2 litres water
12 bay leaves (dry)
1/2 cup sage leaves (dry)
2 tbsp thyme leaves (dry)
4 sprigs rosemary
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 whole head of garlic, skin on, crushed
2 tbsp black peppercorns
140g plain salt

Bring brine ingredients to the boil, cook for 1 minute, then take off heat and allow to cool in pot. Once merely warm, transfer to non-reactive container and chill overnight in fridge. Once chilled, add pork shoulder to the brine and refrigerate for 6-7 hours.


1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp white pepper corns
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 large garlic cloves, sliced finely
2 tbsp olive oil

Lightly crush whole spices and combine with other ingredients before massaging into pork shoulder. Leave to marinate overnight.

Short crust pastry, crème pâtissière, caramelised pears. Based on a Damien Pignolet recipe.

The first jar from winter’s preserved lemon efforts has been popped open and they’re turning up in everything. Aside from adding some welcome zing to end-of-week rescue pilau, the last two Sundays have seen more considered uses.

Baked Ocean Trout with Preserved Lemon

You’ll be making two things here: a stuffing for the fish cavity and a dressing for the final result. The two complement each other: the stuffing infusing the fish in the cooking, the dressing allowing the final dish to have a freshness of flavour.

Serves 6

1.2kg whole ocean trout, gutted and well-cleaned
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1 preserved lemon, rinsed and rind only, thinly sliced
stalks from half a bunch of dill, chopped
half a red onion, thinly sliced
juice of half a lemon
1 orange, peeled, diced
a splash of white wine (optional)

half a red onion, very finely diced
1 preserved lemon, rinsed and rind only, finely diced
fronds from half a bunch of dill, chopped finely
juice of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 220°C (conventional). In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the stuffing ingredients except for the wine and season with pepper. Place the fish on a lightly oiled aluminium foil sheet large enough to wrap it up in. Salt the skin lightly. Pack the stuffing into the gut cavity of the fish. Splash white wine over the fish, wrap it in the foil (so that no steam or liquid will escape in the oven), place it on a baking tray and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by first quickly blanching the onion in some boiling water to mute its taste. Then mix with the rest of the ingredients and stir through a few tablespoons of olive oil until you have a balanced dressing.

Once the fish is baked, use a knife to cut fillets and a spatula to ease the flesh away from the bones. Serve skin side-down with the dressing on top. Goes excellently well with roast potatoes, sour cream and asparagus.


Chicken Thighs with Yoghurt and Preserved Lemon

Serves 2

2 free range chicken thigh fillets, skin on

half a preserved lemon, rinsed and rind only, finely diced
2 heaped tbsp yoghurt
2 tsp sumac
juice of half a lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

To serve
half a preserved lemon, rinsed and rind only, finely diced
4 tbsp coriander, finely chopped

Clean the chicken thighs and cut away or cut through tendons and bone. Score the skin in a few places. Mix the marinade ingredients, using the salt to help crush the garlic. Pour the marinade over the chicken and rub it in well. Place in the fridge overnight or for a few hours.

Heat a frying pan or barbecue (I used a cast iron frying pan lightly greased with rendered chicken fat). Depending on the size of your pan, fry one or both thighs skin down first until the skin is well-browned. Turn and fry the other side for a couple of minutes until the chicken is only just cooked through. Remove the chicken from the hot pan, sprinkle with coriander and preserved lemon and cover with foil for the meat to rest and the coriander to slightly cook. Serve with fresh bread and a green salad.

The Easy Dinner
Dinner for 12: 1 table, 2 chefs, 3 pheasants, 4 days of cooking, 6 hours of eating.

The Easy Menu
Oysters with chorizo, tomato and pomegranate molasses dressing (variation on Greg Malouf recipe)
Scallops with crispy jamon, parsley, breadcrumbs and butter (variation on Tessa Kiros recipe)
Simple Country Terrine of chicken, pork and spinach (Damien Pignolet)
Jerusalem Artichoke soup with Mushroom Pouch (Drakamöllans)
Cypriot Lamb with Potatoes, Tomato and Cumin (Tessa Kiros)
Pheasant Bestilla (variation on a Tess Mallos recipe)
Sherry Vinegar Mushrooms (Frank Camorra)
Grilled Polenta with Parmesan (traditional)
Caramelised Orange, Witlof and Asparagus Salad (Maggie Beer)
Campari and Grapefruit Granita (variation on River Cafe recipe)
Baklava (family recipe)

Za’atar blends vary but the mix of fragrant herbs (thyme, oregano) with sumac’s citric tang and the texture of sesame seeds, makes it a great thing to dredge fish in before frying.

Serves 2

2 fillets of blue eye (skin scored)
2 tbsp za’atar
1 tbsp flour
sprinkle sea salt
sprinkle black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley, juice of half a lemon to finish

Put the za’atar, flour, salt and pepper into a dish and mix. Dredge the fillets in the za’atar mixture and fry in olive oil, skin side first. Turn fish over after a few minutes (once skin is crispy) and seal the flesh side til the crust is crisp. I then take the pan off the heat, put a lid on and steam the fish til they’re just cooked — you lose some of the crispiness that way, but retain more moisture in the flesh and don’t stink out the kitchen with fried fish smell. You could also seal and then finish in a low oven. Garnish with lemon and parsley and serve (with asparagus, green beans, salad, potatoes whatever).

Another one checked off the list. Duck. I’m definitely going to be at the Vic Markets buying up big when I get back. So rich, but so good. This recipe is complex and all over the place because I picked it up at a cooking class in Paris and I couldn’t be across all the components (eg the vegetable stock came from vegetables cooked as an accompaniment).

Serves 2-4 depending on size of duck breasts

2 duck breasts, fat on
1 large eggplant
vanilla olive oil
250g fresh yellow and black cherries, pipped and quartered
very small bunch of basil, leaves only
a good splash of white wine
a small splash of vegetable stock

Halve eggplant lengthways and then finely slice (< 5mm). Drizzle with vanilla-infused olive oil and cook in a steam oven until tender (obviously we don’t all have steam ovens like a professional kitchen, so I’ll try to find an improvised work-around; as for the infused olive oil, buy a vanilla bean, pop it in oil for maybe a fortnight and whammo!).

With a sharp knife, clean the duck breast of any blood or sinew. Trim the fat so that it fits the breast neatly, but keep the fat cuttings. Salt the meat side of the duck rather generously. In a hot pan, seal both sides of the duck until brown (fat side first; give the meat side 2-3 min). Put aside to rest.

In a separate pan, cook down the excess fat trimmings until you’ve got charred crispy bits and rendered fat. Strain this rendered fat into the rendered fat from the duck breast cooking. With the charred bits, add a good splash of white wine and reduce (we’re looking for crackling here). Then add the splash of vegetable stock to create an emulsion.

Meanwhile, pop the pitted cherries and basil leaves into a small pot and begin to cook. Strain the emulsion of stock and crackling into the pot. Add the juice that has drained from the resting duck breasts (add some of the rendered fat if you feel it needs it). Reduce it hardcore.

While that’s reducing, pop the duck breasts into the oven that’s previously housed the eggplant to bring them up a few temperature notches. After 5 minutes, take them out and slice them crossways.

Present by alternating the duck slices with eggplant slices and drizzling the cherry-basil-duck-fat sauce over the top. Bon appétit!

Somehow I’d managed never to cook pork in anything but mince form until this dish. But with pork being the only readily available meat at the Bretenoux markets, I had to come up with something to sate our carnivorous urges. Et voilà!

Serves 2

6 baby carrots, peeled
2 scallions or spring onions, halved lengthways
500g kipfler potatoes, peeled
50g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
cup of stock (vegetable or chicken)
8 sage leaves
2 pork loin chops

Place scallions and carrots on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season and roast in a medium-hot oven (the scallions will obviously start to caramelise much faster than the carrots, keep an eye on them).

On the stove, boil kipflers in salted water until just tender (10 min). Meanwhile, heat half the butter and half the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the leek and half the garlic and cook until tender (5 minutes).

Also meanwhile, heat the remaining butter and olive oil in a frying pan, add the sage leaves and fry until starting to crisp. Remove the sage leaves to a bowl and add remaining garlic. Once the garlic has become slightly golden, remove it to the bowl as well. You should now have some happy sage and garlic-infused fat in the pan. Fry the pork in it to your desired state of doneness.

Back with the vegetables, drain the potatoes and add them to the leek, coarsely crushing them with a wooden spoon, cook until golden (5-6 minutes). Add the stock and cook until almost fully reduced, season to taste and keep warm.

Plate up as shown, garnishing with crispy sage leaves and garlic.

* I was improvising and amending on the go, so measurements and timings are approximate. *

This recipe started when I found some orphaned ouzo hanging out in a pantry. My days at Maha taught me that arak (Middle Eastern ouzo) can make a lovely dressing for a watermelon salad, so I triangulated that information and came up with this little summer’s night delight. It makes for a lush rosy mixture that can be made into a granita or a sorbet.

Serves 8 – 12

500g fresh strawberries, hulled
500g seedless watermelon
juice of 1 large lemon
up to 200g icing sugar
60ml ouzo
mint leaves to garnish (optional)

In a food processor, blitz all of the ingredients (except for the mint) at a slow speed until it’s a smooth liquid and check for sweetness. For an unfussy granita, pour into tupperware and place in the freezer for a few hours before removing and stirring. Depending on the temperature of your freezer and how soon you’ll be serving the granita, you’ll need to play around with if and when to fridge or freeze it. For a sorbet, pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to instructions. Serve in short glasses with a mint leaf.

Another late summer essential is tomato sauce. I’m not talking condiment here, I’m talking sugo. Until now, I’d been well-versed in the old blanche, peel, blitz and boil methodology (deseeding was tiresome). It took an Englishman with floppy hair to suggest otherwise (this one) and it seems quite a useful way of doing things. He prefers using lovely heirloom varieties, but what’s in big supply in SA right now are Romas. I’ve done it in two different ways, both with excellent if divergent results. One yielded a rich roast tomato purée that I used as the basis and liquid for a quinoa and vegetable melange, the other made a rustic tomato base for a pasta sauce.

Method 1: purée

Makes about a litre depending on tomatoes

1.5kg Roma tomatoes
2 cloves Australian garlic, crushed with some salt
freshly ground black pepper
50ml extra virgin olive oil

Cut tomatoes in half and place in a baking tray with cut side up. Splash on the other ingredients then roast in 180°C oven for 35-45 minutes, until soft, browning and oozing. Remove, allow to cool slightly, then rub the tray contents through a sieve, discarding the seeds and skin that get left behind.

Quinoa pilaf

Quinoa is à la mode right now with its whole urfood thing going for it, so who am I to skip it.

Serves 3-4

1 quantity of the above tomato purée
1 cup dry quinoa
a big splash of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots, sliced (optional)
1 red capsicum, cut in chunks (optional)
2 small zucchini, cut in chunks (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the carrots and capsicum (if using) and then a few minutes later add the quinoa and tomato purée. Stir well and simmer. The quinoa should take around 15min to soften (the white ‘tails’ become more prominent) so add the zucchini (or any other vegetables you might be using instead) as required.

Method 2: sugo

Makes just over a litre depending on tomatoes

1.5kg Roma tomatoes
2 cloves Australian garlic, crushed with some salt
freshly ground black pepper
50ml extra virgin olive oil
a mixed bunch of parsley, basil and oregano leaves

Cut tomatoes in half and place in a baking tray with cut side up. Splash on the other ingredients then roast in 180°C oven for 35-45 minutes, until soft, browning and oozing. Remove, allow to cool slightly, then blitz it all in a food processor. The result should be a thick, rich, slightly smoky sugo that’s a perfect base for strong tomato sauces like puttanesca or amatriciana.

Rampant basil in the garden is one summer glut that’s always welcome. Basil pesto makes sense at no other time. Recipes don’t really differ that markedly, but this one is based on Tessa Kiros’ Tuscan recipe in Twelve. I’d usually use pine nuts but since they’ve reached $100/kg, I decided to swap in some macadamia nuts that were loitering with intent in the pantry. If you have patience and a big mortar and pestle, pound away for that extra flavour, otherwise blitz it up in a food processor. Use immediately or refrigerate it with a layer of olive oil on top in a tight container.

1/2 cup macadamias
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 fat cloves of Australian garlic, crushed
60g pecorino, grated
90g parmesan, grated (grate extra for serving on pasta)
as much basil as you can fit in your food processor (2-3 large bunches)

Lightly toast the nuts in a pan. Then pound or blitz it all to a coarse paste.

Why anyone buys tzatziki is beyond me. If push comes to shove, you can make it with nothing more than yoghurt, cucumber and garlic and still have it taste better than the bought stuff. I never really measure anything while I make it because I enjoy tasting it to see how it’s shaping up, so treat this as a guide.

Serves 8 as a meze

2 cloves of Australian garlic
a sprinkle of salt
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled and coarsely grated
extra virgin olive oil (optional)
juice of half a lemon
around 750g Greek yoghurt
small handful of mint (or dill), finely chopped

Peel and finely chop the garlic. On the cutting board, sprinkle salt over the garlic and then use the flat of the knife to mash it into a paste. Having grated the cucumber, squeeze the water out of it between the palms of your hand or in a sieve. Place the garlic paste and drained cucumber in a bowl and mix well with a fork. I add a splash of seriously good extra virgin olive oil at this stage because I like the grassiness it adds, but don’t do it unless it’s oil good enough to take intravenously. Add two thirds of the yoghurt and a splash of the lemon juice and mix well. Taste (a subjective thing, but check for the balance between the garlic’s heat, the yoghurt’s cool and the lemon’s acidity). Add the rest of the yoghurt and lemon juice to taste. Add the mint, mix and taste again. Refrigerate or serve with bread to dip or as an accompaniment to a meal, especially something like roast lamb.

This is a favourite lunch during summer. The recipe gets tweaked every time depending on what’s in the fridge and, therefore, doesn’t always resemble a traditional fattoush. Indeed, on one key point I always fiddle with the Lebanese standard — the bread. Fattoush is traditionally served with toasted pita bread (khoubz) in the salad but because we tend to eat this salad by itself for lunch, with no other accompaniments, we tend to crave a bit of leavened bread in there, hence the Turkish pide. (note: if you are going to use khoubz, tear the bread apart, separating the two ‘sides’ and rub with olive oil and sumac before toasting in the oven). If you’re looking for a more authentic recipe, check out Tess Mallos’ seminal Middle East Cookbook, but this one’s a rough approximation and uses pretty standard buy-it-for-other-things groceries. Fiddle with the ingredients and the quantities as much as you like…

Serves 2

1 clove of Australian garlic
half teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
60ml extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

4 ripe tomatoes
1 Lebanese cucumber
half a red capsicum
half a red onion (or half a cup spring onion)
a few leaves of cos lettuce (optional)
half a cup parsley leaves
half a cup mint leaves
half a large Turkish pide

Make the dressing first. Crush the garlic into a measuring cup or jar and add the salt. Stir together into a paste and then add the lemon juice, oil and pepper. Stir to emulsify.

Chop tomatoes, cucumber and capsicum into chunks. Roughly shred the lettuce and finely chop the onion. Cut the pide open horizontally and place under the grill until lightly browned. Cut the toasted bread into bite-sized chunks. Finely chop the parsley and mint and toss all the above with the dressing in a large bowl.

Chocolate Truffle Cake

Sometimes the lure of a minimal ingredient list really gets the better of me. This comes (barely adapted) from the River Cafe Cook Book and the brevity of it was appealing but I can’t say it’s something I’m going to make again. Not that it didn’t turn out well — it’s just insanely rich, quite stupidly expensive to make and essentially a great big flavoursome wad of fat on a plate (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Anyway, if that seems like a fun night out rather than Type II diabetes, carry on!

Update: I have since made a chocolate ganache from the Bentley cookbook using couverture chocolate and water that provides a much more satisfying and less debilitating dessert. See photo here.

Serves 16 at least

400g bitter chocolate, broken into pieces*
900ml double cream, at room temperature**
cocoa for dusting

Line a 25cm cake tin with Glad wrap (if it’s a spring form, all the better). Slowly melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Don’t stir the chocolate and don’t let the bowl touch the water. Thanks to a coolish ambient temperature, the top of my chocolate stubbornly retained the shape of the pieces even though it was melted and the rest was liquid underneath. Rather than stirring the chocolate, I simply pierced the top ‘skin’ with a skewer to check that the chocolate was liquid underneath. Once liquid, allow the chocolate to cool ever so slightly. Meanwhile, whip the cream in a large bowl until it can form very soft peaks (be careful not to over do it). Add a large spoonful of the whipped cream to the bowl of chocolate and fold in quickly until there are no white streaks visible. Then quickly transfer the contents of the chocolate bowl into the bowl of whipped cream and fold everything together. You should have a lustrous milk-chocolate-coloured batter to pour into the lined cake tin. Chill for at least 2 hours, then invert onto a plate or do a sneaky slide and pray if you have a spring form to get the top looking all swirly like I did. Dust with cocoa and cut with a sharp knife.

* I went with good 70% cocoa Fair Trade stuff … there’s no point skimping on quality when there’s only two ingredients at work.
** none of that half-arsed thickened cream, this is all about having at least 50g of fat per 100g serving … check the “nutrition” information on the cream tubs.

The blueberry glut has largely been dealt with. Many of them have been eaten fresh and some have been frozen for later use. AF made some muffins yesterday and methinks I’ll concoct a clafoutis for tomorrow night. But today was all about jam.

Almost 5 years ago, I tried making lemon marmalade with a swag of lemons I ganked after climbing a neighbour’s fence. Alas, I cooked it too long, not having a thermometer, and I renounced jamming there and then. Nevertheless, the call to jam was undeniable and I took time to consult the oracle … but the CWA cookery book doesn’t have a single effing entry on blueberries. Anyway, this is approximately what I came up with…

Makes about 7 cups jam

6 cups fresh blueberries
4 cups sugar
juice of 1 lemon
40g pectin

Don’t wash the blueberries but do remove manky looking ones, stems etc. Crush or blitz half the blueberries, then put them in a very big pot (jam bubbles up like crazy when it’s cooking so you don’t want the ingredients to sit even halfway up the walls before cooking). Add the other blueberries whole along with the rest of the ingredients. Heat slowly til the sugar has dissolved then crank up the heat and boil them intensely for 5-7 minutes depending on how runny or set you like your jam. There’s plenty of thorough info on all the vagaries of pectin, jars and sterilisation on the web and on the back of pectin packets, so I won’t go into that here.

We picked around 12kg of blueberries today from a friend’s property. The blueberry bushes have been there for decades and are now completely untended, unwatered, unpruned and unsprayed. With dozens of rows of bushes, we barely scratched the surface. Having eaten around 2kg with our hands, the next few days will involve trying to work out how the hell to use them all. Stay tuned.

A great market day lunch. Straight from the monger to the pot. It all takes 15 min tops.

Serves 2 to 3

a big splash of extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves Australian garlic chopped finely
1 can diced tomato
1 kg fresh Tassie mussels debearded
plenty of chopped parsley
bread to mop up with

In a deep stainless steel pot, fry the garlic in oil until just golden, add tomatoes and cook for a minute or two until that tomato is practically krumping with bubbles. Add the cleaned mussels in one go (not too violently) and slam on the lid. Leave for 6 minutes. Add chopped parsley at the end, stir through and then ladle mussels and the attendant juices into big bowls. Provide napkins and a bowl for shells, it’s gloriously messy stuff. If you have enough bread, you could eat the whole dish without cutlery.

Best banana loaf recipe ever. Baked New Year’s Night as a treat for the W’town and Glenlyon crews. Massive props to the Penmans for sharing. You can halve the quantities to fit into a standard bread tin, just reduce the cooking time to 45min.

Serves plenty, unless you’re a fatty

225g butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
4 free range eggs
5 or 6 bananas (tip: put overripe bananas in freezer and then thaw them, they come out pre-mashed)
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
a sprinkling of Australian walnuts

Cream the butter and sugar. Mix through honey, then eggs one at a time, then bananas. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together and mix into batter. Pour into a greased or lined cake tray of about 25x40cm, top with walnuts and bake at 180°C for 60min.


My first go at baked eggs happened impromptu for New Year’s Day breakfast. Taking my cue from a half-remembered dish at Birdmann Eating, this could pass as an eggy riff on puttanesca though the feta adds a pleasingly Hellenic touch.

Serves 2

drizzle of olive oil
1 teaspoon Carmelina Spaghetti Condiment (a shortcut way of adding chilli and sundried tomato flavour … if you’re in Melbourne, get it at Mediterranean Wholesalers)
1 can diced tomato
1 gregarious tablespoon of capers
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 free range eggs
a wad of Dodoni feta
parsley to garnish
sourdough toast plied with extra virgin olive oil
bacon (optional)

In a cast iron frying pan heat the first five ingredients on the stove top until the tomatoes have reduced and the whole thing looks the colour of a British tourist in Dubrovnik. Take off the heat and crack the four eggs on top of the sauce, then crumble the feta on too. Put in a preheated oven of around 200°C (I played around with the temperature as I peered through the oven door, so don’t take my word on it) and leave in there until the egg whites are semi-cooked (keep an eye on them, we’re talking a few minutes here). Fry some bacon while all this is going on and toast some bread, you know how to do that. Then put the eggs and tomato under the grill to finish off. The idea is to have the bottom cooked, the top cooked and the centre on its way, so that the yolks can still break free once you spoon them over your toast. Chop some parsley for prettiness and season for saltiness.


Oven: 175º. Approx. 45-60 mins baking time.

Bring 500 g phyllo pastry (1½ packet) to room temperature. Cover with a slightly dampened tea towel while you work with the pastry to prevent it drying out.

Mix in a bowl:
2 cups almonds finely chopped
2 cups walnuts finely chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ cup caster sugar

Melt in another bowl:
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup margarine
(or 1 cup Devondale Extra Soft salt reduced)

Brush a large oven tray with melted butter.

Then, to that tray, lay out:
4 layers of pastry, each layer brushed with melted butter.
Sprinkle with a fine spread of nut mixture.
Then add 2 layers of pastry, each layer brushed with melted butter.
Sprinkle with nut mixture.
Repeat until nut mixture is finished.
5 layers of pastry on top of last layer of nuts. Lots of melted butter on the last sheet.

Cut into parallelograms. Do not cut through the 4 bottom sheets. (Push a whole clove into the middle of each piece).
Sprinkle with water before placing in pre-heated oven (a Greek blessing, but also it helps the pastry crisp without curling)

Syrup (make as soon as tray is put into oven):
3 cups caster sugar
2 cups water
juice from one lemon (or ½ cup glucose syrup)
rind of one lemon
Bring to the boil slowly while stirring. Boil rapidly for 5 mins. Allow to cool.

Pour syrup onto the hot baklava as soon as it is taken out of the oven.

Allow the baklava to absorb the syrup completely and to cool down. The baklava will be at its best 2 days after making it. It can sit, covered, at room temperature for several days.