Issue Twenty Three NEW

Editor’s Letter

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Editor’s Letter

For our 23rd issue of Rare Medium – I thought it was time to mix things up a bit. Same incredible contributors with some shiny new sections – but as always, showcasing the very best red meat in the business.

In Pat’s Picks, Pat Nourse takes us on a deep dive into a dish, and first up to Pat’s plate? The mighty shawarma. It might be controversial, but we love a little shawarma drama, could the greatest of them all be Paul Farag’s lamb neck version at Aalia?
Mark Best puts his best foot forward in Best Practice – and who better than to teach us a thing or two? First up its braising – Bestie’s hints, tips and tricks for better braising, and a recipe for Beef Daube to boot.
Myffy Rigby keeps us informed about the best places to eat around the country with her wondrous What’s Good in the Hood – and this time it is the incredible Adelaide Hills that gets the Rigby round up.
Two fun new sections are getting a start this issue – and I hope you enjoy absorbing them as much as I enjoyed producing them.
Hot Plates is a showcase of the coolest red meat dishes from the hottest venues around the country and in our first iteration it’s all about juicy whole cuts and licks of flaming fire – Arkhe’s roast picanha and Clam Bar’s Barnsley chop are a rollicking place to start.
20 Buck Bangers explores the tastiest red meat eats and treats for 20 bucks or less – because, you know, inflation and all that jazz. An oozing pastrami sandwich from Kosta’s Takeaway and a luscious lamb skewer from Fugazzi – shut up and take my money.
This issue we also introduce our Red Meat Eats video – a finger-on-the-pulse look at the top five red meat trends in venues around the country. Keep an eye out for the next update in February 2024.
So, sit back, relax, and let the red meat do the talking.

Mary-Jane Morse
Meat & Livestock Australia
[email protected]


Copyright: this publication is published by Meat & Livestock Australia Limited ABN 39 081 678 364 (MLA).


Pat’s Picks

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Let’s get controversial: is it possible that the best shawarma is right here in Australia? Specifically, in fact, on Martin Place.

If the heart of the financial district of Sydney seems like an unlikely place to go looking for a really good shawarma (over, say, downtown Beirut, or Osama bin Zaid Avenue in Bahrain, Marjah Square in Damascus, or the suburbs of Melbourne), consider this: it’s here on Martin Place that Paul Farag plies his trade, cooking at Aalia. And Paul Farag knows what’s up.

Paul Farag and team in the Aalia kitchen

Paul Farag and team in the Aalia kitchen

But let’s step back a bit. Defining our terms first would be a good idea. The shawarma is basically a really big kebab cooked on a rotating skewer in front of a grill. The name comes from çevirme, the Turkish word “to turn”, according to the Lebanese food writer Anissa Helou.
This is one of the things it has in common with gyros, “gyro” being the Greek term for the same thing. But the gyro traditionally turns horizontally over coals, like a spit, while the shawarma is always cooked vertically. The Turkish doner kebab, meanwhile, is also cooked vertically in a similar shape, but it’s formed from minced lamb or beef, while the shawarma is made with slices of lamb that are marinated and then threaded together into a tight mass on the skewer.

Aalia’s take on the shawarma – could it be the best?

Aalia’s take on the shawarma – could it be the best?

Lamb shoulder is the choicest cut, and in the better shawarma shops of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Palestine there might be thin slices of lamb-tail fat. The idea is that the fat, whether it’s from the shoulder, or the fat that’s added, melts over the hours that the shawarma cooks, basting the meat. And unlike smaller kebabs of the sort served on the skewer – the sis kebab, for example, or the adana – the shawarma is sliced as it cooks, the shawarmanji working their art to carve off a pleasing mix of fat and lean, juicy bits and crunchy bits.
(Side note: how the hell did they cook these things vertically before the gas grill, you might ask yourself? Joseph Abboud, chef and owner of Melbourne Middle Eastern landmark restaurant Rumi, clued me in: “They used charcoal stacked on little shelves”. Sounds crazy, but a quick Google shows it checks out. Wild.)
There’s plenty of regional variations in how it’s served, too, not least of all the bread, which might be taboon, lafah, pide, markook or even a chapati, depending on where you stand. While kebabs in Greece and Israel are loaded into pita, Lebanese shawarmas are wrapped snugly in khebez, the thinner flatbread usually sold in Australia simply as “Lebanese bread”. Here in Australia the usual compliments are tahini sauce (aka tarator), onions spiced with sumac, tomatoes, shredded lettuce and maybe some pickles.
There are also the variations that have really gone native, and the most famous example on this front is the taco al pastor. That’s right: one of Mexico’s most famous dishes is the product of the migration of tens of thousands of people from Syria and Lebanon to Mexico in the late 19th and early 20th century, where, over the course of a century, it became adapted to become pork served on a tortilla.

DIY shawarma – designed to share at the table

DIY shawarma – designed to share at the table

Then there’s the shawarma that Paul Farag makes.
Aalia is all about the Arabic food cultures (including Egypt, where his family is from), rendered in dazzlingly smart plates such as Iskender-style bone marrow with chermoula, a kibbe nayeh-inspired tartare of beef made tangy with rhubarb and black cardamom, and hawawshi, the Egyptian street sando, reimagined here as a mezze morsel of lamb with black garlic and lemon.
The spicing is just as keen on the grill, with fenugreek and biber salçasi, the red-pepper paste, accompanying 2GR flank steak, the dry-aged Stockyard wagyu rib served with rose harissa, the AACo wagyu striploin with North African mustard.

Lamb neck on the bone – Paul Farag’s pick of the carcase

Lamb neck on the bone – Paul Farag’s pick of the carcase

And, of course, the shawarma. It came about because Farag wanted to use lamb neck on the bone, as opposed to the lamb neck fillet most chefs use. “It’s the best bit in my opinion,” he says.

“It’s got the most flavour and we simply dry rub it and marinate it, then roast it low and slow at 85C with a little bit of steam for 12 hours, using its own fat to baste.”

It gets a blast at 250 to tick the food-safety box, and then for service it’s held on the oven that’s part of the kitchen’s wood-fired grill, giving it a touch of smoke, and then it’s rolled over the coals to crisp up the skin.

Chermoula is added where the main tendon is removed from the whole neck

Chermoula is added where the main tendon is removed from the whole neck

The diner gets a section of the neck nestled into a blanket of saj, a flatbread that’s almost crepe-like in its delicacy. Randomly enough it was Farag’s nostalgia for eating cob loaf when he was a kid that inspired the plating. “I guess I wanted to replicate that way of eating something which is always fun and really ties into the culture.”
It might seem distant in some ways from the shawarma more familiar to most of us, but as you sit at the table, rolling up the incredibly flavoursome, tender meat in the saj with pickled chillies and tahini sauce, it all falls into place. “Shawarma has many shapes and forms depending on which region you’re in,” says Farag, “but pickles, tarator, meat and bread is the base for me.” It’s a flagship dish at Aalia, and one Farag particularly loves because the idea of taking a less appreciated cut and making it the star holds a lot of appeal.

“Considering not long ago it was scrap and sold off as braising cuts, it’s definitely become more popular and hence harder for me to get at certain times of the year.”

The way he learned to cook, he says, “scrap is where the best flavour comes from’’.
There’s also some quietly elegant technique going on under the hood, too. “It’s one of those dishes that really is simple in its creation but works really well on many levels and ties into everything we try to accomplish here at Aalia,” says Farag, “like where we put the chermoula into the middle is where we remove the main tendon from the neck, and it also serves as a well to season the inside of the meat.”
Shawarma is the Middle East’s gift to the world. Perhaps in shawarma al Farag we’ve found something we can give back in reply.


Best Practice

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Braising, in its purest form, emerged as a frugal one-pot dish that provided sustenance using simple, seasonal ingredients. It was a nourishing meal traditionally prepared for those toiling in the fields, often serving as their sole source of hot sustenance for the day.

The name ‘Daube’ refers to both the cooking method and the earthenware pot in which the dish is traditionally cooked. The Provençal daubière, known for its distinctive elongated shape and thick walls, was designed to provide even heat distribution and retain moisture, making it ideal for slow-cooking and braising over coals, giving the Daube its unique texture and flavour. In lieu of a daubière, I have used a heavy cast iron casserole or Dutch oven; with a heavy tight-fitting lid it gives the requisite amount of moisture retention and evaporation to allow long, slow and moist cooking.

The purpose of a braise is to transform a tougher cut of meat into something succulent and flavourful. Choose well-marbled cuts of beef such as shin, neck, tail or cheeks, as they have the most to gain from the slow-cooking process.

These cuts are hardworking muscles with a far higher degree of strong connective tissues and collagen content, which yields during consistent and persistent temperatures above 100 centigrade.
The other part of the equation is usually vegetables that you can use to flavour, such as carrots, onions, garlic and celery; or to extend, using starchy vegetables like waxy potatoes, celeriac, parsnips or turnips. Simple hard herbs like bay, thyme and rosemary add complexity; and spices like vanilla, cinnamon, star anise or fennel seeds, adds some exotic depth.
The slow, gentle braising process unlocks the full potential of humble ingredients and is the most efficient way to bring delicious Winter comfort.


Serves 4


1 kg beef shin (on the bone for preference)
100g plain flour
100ml olive oil
200g pancetta or lardon (skin on), cut into 8 pieces
2tsp salt
4 large carrots, peeled and cut Rangiri style **see note
12 small onions, outer layer of skin removed
1 bottle Shiraz
500ml veal or chicken stock
3 fresh bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1⁄2 bunch of thyme
1 vanilla bean
2 allspice berries
2 cloves
1tsp black peppercorns
1 garlic bulb
Zest of 1 orange
2tsp cornstarch


Have the butcher cut the shin through the shank or leave it in one piece if preferred. For this version I deboned the shank, cut the beef into 8 large pieces and added the bone to the pot to allow all the marrow to melt into the sauce.
Preheat the oven to 120°C.
Heat you casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the pancetta or lardon and render some of the fat, turning to brown evenly. Add the carrots and onions to the fat and brown evenly. Remove them with a slotted spoon and reserve until required.
Dust the beef in the flour. Add the olive oil to the pot and then the beef shin. Brown on all sides. Add the bottle of red and reduce to a syrup. Add the vegetables back to the pot and the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Skim the first froth that comes to the surface.
Tie the bay leaves, cinnamon, thyme and vanilla bean into a tight bundle using half a dozen turns of butcher’s string and a good knot then add it to the casserole with the remaining spices, garlic bulb and orange zest.
Put the lid on the casserole and cook in the oven for 4–5 hours until the beef is gelatinous and just starting to fall apart. Whisk the cornflour with one tablespoon cold water to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the casserole over low heat until it thickens.
It should be well seasoned from the pancetta but taste and season to your preference. Serve the daube in the cooking vessel with something glutinous to mop up the sauce.
**Rangiri is a way of cutting cylindrical vegetables such as carrots or cucumbers, and consists of random, diagonal cuts made while rotating the vegetable one-quarter turn between cuts. The large, evenly cut surfaces allow for absorption of flavour, making this method particularly suitable when braising.



What’s Good in the Hood

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You could argue South Australia is one of the most diverse states in the country when it comes to its landscape, its food production, and its incredible wine scene.

You’d be hard-pressed, however, to find anywhere quite as enchanting as the Adelaide Hills. A real natural beauty, in every sense of the word.
Here’s What’s Good in the Hood Hills.

Myffy in at Magill Estate – the home of Penfolds

Myffy in at Magill Estate – the home of Penfolds



Old Norton Summit Rd, Norton Summit
A very special pub experience tucked away in Norton Summit. Sit on the balcony and watch the lights of Adelaide twinkle below, warm your toes in front of the open fire in the dining room, indulge in a few rounds of snooker (be warned: locals take it VERY seriously) or grab a group of mates and set up for the afternoon at one of the communal benches in the garden.

The menu is dialled in for comfort. Blushing slices of rump steak are served with local carrots, roasted until sticky. Make sure to order the lamb pie with its spectacularly short crust pastry. They’re all about utilising the whole beast here, breaking down a whole lamb, using the leg, shoulder and backstrap for roasts; whatever is left is minced for that pie. Oh, and don’t miss the juicy American-style cheeseburger with housemade ketchup.


1097 B26, Summertown 5141
A closed loop restaurant specialising in regenerative farming part-owned by renowned winemaker Anton Van Klopper, the winemaker behind Lucy Margaux wines. Hyper local, hyper seasonal, hyper delicious.

The menu changes weekly – sometimes daily. And while the restaurant has had a rotation of chefs pass through the kitchen, chef-buddies Jude Hughes and Calum Horn have settled in for the foreseeable future. The menu might include a barnsley chop, or hogget with mustard and lentils – the kitchen really is at the mercy of whatever the seasons throw at them. On our visit, that translated to a delicately made haggis (AKA Scottish incense) served with leeks, carrots and charred toast. Incredible. 


5 Ravenswood Ln, Hahndorf
Chef Tom Robinson (ex-Four in Hand under Colin Fassnidge, back in the day) works with very special produce at this winery-restaurant, located on The Lane vineyard. A beautiful, open plan setting allows the sun to filter in, making it a gorgeous setting for a long lunch. Horseradish, specially grown for Jurlique at the farm next door, is usually reserved for beauty products but today it’s shaved over gently cured furls of pastrami.

House-made sourdough is served with a very respectable amount of cultured smoked garlic butter. Elsewhere, an addictive mountain pepper brown sauce is served alongside house-made boerewors – part of a nose to tail experience showcasing Angus beef produced five minutes down the road by The Lane CEO Jared Stringer. 


6 Strathalbyn Rd, Aldgate
Generosity is the name of the game at this diner, where diner food rules. Four words for you: Breakfast Ice-Cream Sundae Negroni. Yes, it’s real, and yes, you can get it at this cute little Aldgate eatery where more is most definitely more. Whether that’s breakfast for supper (there’s a whole page devoted to pancakes, and you can order them all day) or supper for breakfast – perhaps the butcher’s cut steak special and a glass of wine?

To take away, there are tins of fancy maple syrup, local coffee beans and hot sauces, everything you need to up the umami quotient in your home kitchen. What started as chef Denny Bradden’s last-minute dinner after a busy service has now turned into a menu favourite. Yes, all hail the cheesy ragu toastie and those that order her. May it be a glorious reign. 


8 Main St, Crafers SA
A gorgeous sandstone-hewn boutique hotel built inside a heritage pub with one of the most impressive wine cellars in the country. There’s plenty of representation from the locals including Gentle Folk, Ochota Barrels and Lucy Margaux and if you’re really keen to push the boat out, the grand crus go as deep as your pockets will allow.

A jewel in the Hills offering boutique accommodation upstairs and fireside dining downstairs, you could really lose yourself for a few evenings here. There’s no need to leave, really. The menu spans a mix of old favourites all with a strong French accent (hello, French onion soup, crumbed chevre and steak frites) with a few choice snacks if you don’t want to leave the bar’s toasty open fire. There’s even a blackberry clafouti for afters. 


143 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling SA
Chef-owner Andrew Davies (he’s the guy behind Adelaide favourites Osteria Oggi, Press Food and Wine and Bread and Bone) is the mastermind behind this sun-drenched restaurant, set in an old sandstone architect studio. Originally the local post office and many business iterations since – it is now a haven for locals and visitors alike serving a seasonal, locally produced menu.

Dishes here are elegant in their simplicity. Goat ragu dresses house-made gnocchetti sardi with bitter greens; braised oxtail with root vegetables and creamy mash wards off the winter chill, and a rich chocolate tart punctuates proceedings nicely. The perfect setup for a long lunch.

Hot Plates

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The latest venue from the team behind Bistro 916 and Pellegrino 2000 channels New York steakhouse vibes with big steaks, big booths and big booze.

But it’s not just steaks on the plates – and we do love a good steak around here – at Clam Bar the Hot Plate is a large silver slab gloriously adorned with thick slices of juicy blushing lamb.
The Barnsley Chop of Gundagai Lamb will set you back $54 but every bite will be worth it. A thick cut of lamb from the saddle including a cross section of loin, fillet and belly; at Clam Bar the Barnsley is a beast. Simply salted, oiled and cooked over flames, the produce does the talking. Sliced and served with your choice of condiment – for us it was anchovy butter for that extra dash of decadence. Don’t forget to add a selection of sides because, balance.


If a roaring furnace and the salubrious stoking of red-hot coals gets you going, then Arkhe is the place for you.

Settle in to watch the kitchen team, led by chef Jake Kellie, artfully use the various elements of fire to bring to life exceptional South Australian produce. Case in point – this wagyu rump cap by way of Mayura Station.
At Arkhe, they use an on/off method of cooking. First the whole rump cap is seared on all sides over fire than it takes turns in and out of the wood fired oven for multiple periods of cooking and resting. The idea is to bring the meat up to temperature slowly while developing a really good crust. The result? Perfection. The thick hunk of beef is evenly cooked from top to bottom, end to end – perfectly pink and meltingly tender.
A Hot Plate to savour – the beef is sliced and served with chestnut mushrooms cooked in a basket on the coals, burnt onion and celeriac.


20 Buck Bangers

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Slices of smoked pastrami loaded between bread, slathered with butter, toasted until golden, and with change from a twenty? That’s a yes, all day long.

Kosta’s Takeaway has been churning out epic sandwiches to the good folk of Rockdale, and those smart enough to know and go, since 2021. Now you can get your sando kicks at the brand-new Circular Quay venue too.
Kosta’s takes delivery of whole pieces of Wholebeast Butchery smoked pastrami which is then sliced fresh in house. Soft, savoury rye bread is the vessel to get this goodness to your mouth, it gets a good dose of mustard followed by sliced white onion, pickles, then layers of smoky pastrami. Cheese aims to please and here slices of melty American are laid atop the beef then topped with burger sauce. Next, it’s a good slap of butter atop of the bread and into the sandwich press.
Sliced, boxed and passed over the counter to your eager little hands – this hot pastrami sandwich is a 20 Buck Banger worth waiting in line for. Don’t forget to load up on napkins, it’s going to get messy.





You really can’t go wrong with meat on a stick – but when you team this primal practice with the fiery finesse of Fugazzi; you really ramp it up in the stick stakes. Even better news is that a grilled lamb skewer at Fugazzi will set you back just $13. Winning.

Lamb backstrap with the cap still on is cleaned and then frozen. Freezing ensures a consistent, paper-thin slice when it comes time for service. The delicate slices are then threaded onto skewers, seasoned, and cooked over fire – turned and twirled to charry perfection.
Next, it’s a squirt of green pepper salsa made from charred capsicum, green chilli and seasoned with honey, salt, sherry vinegar and white soy – for a piquant punch. Next is a slather of smoked yoghurt that is lightly hung for a thicker texture – bringing a contrasting cool. Life is all about balance after all.
Dusted with an espelette pepper mix made in house from toasted cayenne, chilli, smoked and sweet paprika, and salt.
All that’s left to do is enjoy – and that is very easy to do.


Red Meat Eats

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Welcome to our first Red Meat Eats video – a visual showcase of what is trending at foodservice venues around the country. Scheduled to be produced twice-yearly in August and February, Red Meat Eats gives you an insight into the hottest and coolest red meat dishes, from fine dining to fast casual, and all the tasty treats in between.

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