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Campfire - Ox ‘Fried’ Over a Bonfire with Roots, Dark Berries and Ash

The inspiration for this dish is based on a feeling and fragrance we all know ... sitting by a bonfire cooking food over an open fire. Demonstrated at the 2011 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.


  • Braised beef cheeks

  • 1 beef cheek per person

  • 5 litres strong beef broth

  • Beetroot Purée

  • 1kg beetroot

  • 250g butter

  • Salt and vinegar to taste

  • Beetroot Strips

  • 3 large beetroots

  • Stock

  • 100g beetroot vinegar

  • 100g sugar

  • 5g allspice

  • 5g pepper

  • Thin Parceled Beetroot Slices

  • 3 large beetroots

  • Bonfire Malto

  • Maltodextrin

  • 200g clarified butter

  • Salt, for seasoning

  • One piece of wood for smoking

  • Leek Ash

  • 2 leeks

  • Salt

  • Sugar

  • Crispy Black Porridge

  • 3.5l water

  • 2kg rolled oats (gardens meal)

  • 6 tsp malt flour

  • 100g sugar

  • 2 cups isomalt

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 7 tbsp honey

  • 1/2 tsp of ash

  • 50g additional butter

  • Bonfire Smoked Marrow

  • 50g marrow, melted

  • One piece wood for bonfire

  • Chopped Cranberries and Beetroot

  • 100g dried cranberries

  • 100g finely chopped beetroot

  • 20g cranberry juice

  • 20-30g mixed freeze-dried berries (blackberries, elderberries, blackberries, aronia berries and blueberries)

  • Sorrel, to garish


  • Braised Beef Cheeks:

  • 1.

    Braise beef cheeks in strong beef broth at 80˚C for 12 hours in a water bath. Reserve beef both.

  • Beetroot Puree:

  • 1.

    Bake beetroots in their skins with salt for 2 hours at 160˚C.

  • 2.

    Blend beetroot with butter and salt while still hot.

  • 3.

    Drain puréed beetroot so it has a creamy consistency.

  • 4.

    Add salt and a little vinegar to taste.

  • Beetroot Strips:

  • 1.

    Using a mandolin, cut beetroot into long strips.

  • 2.

    Mix stock ingredients and bring to a boil.

  • 3.

    Pour stock over beetroot strips.

  • 4.

    Place strips on iced water for later use.

  • Thin Parceled Beetroot Slices:

  • 1.

    Using a mandolin cut beetroot into thin slices.

  • 2.

    From the beetroot slices, cut circular rounds.

  • 3.

    Immerse beetroot rounds in ice water.

  • Bonfire Malto:

  • 1.

    Melt the butter and smoke using the piece of wood.

  • 2.

    Blend maltodextrin and the smoked butter. Season with salt.

  • Leek Ash:

  • 1.

    Wash leek and pull it apart. Bake on a tray at 170˚C until leek is dark brown and slightly burnt.

  • 2.

    In a coffee grinder, grind burnt leek with a little salt and sugar to a fine ash consistency.

  • Bonfire Smoked Marrow:

  • 1.

    Melt marrow and smoke with piece of wood 4–6 times.

  • Crispy Black Porridge:

  • 1.

    Combine all ingredients and boil together well.

  • 2.

    Add additional butter and 20g of bonfire smoked marrow.

  • 3.

    Spread mixture onto a silicone sheet (2-3mm thick) and bake in the oven at 150˚C for 35 minutes or until crisp.

  • To Serve:

  • 1.

    Warm the beetroot purée, beetroot tapes and reserved beef stock.

  • 2.

    Fry the braised beef cheeks in a hot pan with a little fresh thyme and garlic and glaze.

  • 3.

    Sprinkle the plate with crushed dried berries, porridge, leak ash and a little coarse salt.

  • 4.

    Serve with the glazed beef cheek, ash, cranberry, beetroot, bonfire smoked malto and sauce.

  • 5.

    Garnish with sorrel.

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