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Three Blue Ducks

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Three Blue Ducks is an intriguing restaurant in an intriguing location in the lovely seaside suburb of Bronte in Sydney.

My long time friend Ms M was visting Sydney, her former home, from Cleveland Ohio, where she has lived for the last thirty plus years. We catch up every visit, and it’s lovely to hear her Australian accent to which she has stayed true all these years!

We met at the restaurant, tucked away in a suburban street, almost easy to miss. However the location is deceptive – much bigger than you think,  the restaurant is spread over 2 shop fronts with a little alleyway in between. Melbourne quirk meets Sydney trend – the alleyway is vibrantly decorated with street art and the ineterior is rustic and casual with bar and table dining.

The menu is flexible, designed for sharing or not, depending on the diners’ mood. Ms M and I shared some dishes with a Middle Eastern bent.

We started with sourdough bread from the famous Iggy’s Bread in Bronte,  with house-made cultured butter, which as a butter nut I found utterly delicious!

We shared a “Big” roast barramundi, pumpkin, kale & chickpea salad and harissa. The barramundi was crisp skinned but still moist. The harissa was spicy rather than overly hot. I’m not a huge fen of kale so I missed out on this element of the dish.IMG_5860

The next “Big” dish was my favourite: pressed lamb shoulder, babaganoush, israeli cous cous salad & flatbread. The lamb was compressed into a rectangular slice, and was soft enough to eat with the proverbial spoon. It was served with a lovely flatbread to mop up the babaganoush and the lamb pieces.

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Along with these dishes we had the “Small” roast beetroot, goats curd, pickled carrot, grains & yoghurt, heirloom beets of different colours with a slightly sweet curd and an interesting carrot pickle.

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We finished with orange blossom baklava, berry labneh, fruit & pistachio, an additional Middle Eastern twist on a Middle Eastern sweet, perfect as a shared after dinner treat.

It was a great venue for a catch-up. Ms M was delighted to be eating out in Sydney, in seaside Bronte,  sampling the current food vibe in foodie Sydney. A nice memory to take back to snowy Cleveland!

Three Blue Ducks is located at:

Bronte
141-143 Macpherson st
Bronte NSW 2024
02 9389 0010

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins, Pomegranate Couscous and Avocado Salad

Since I acquired and first used my beautiful crimson red tagine, featured in the post on Rozelle Village Markets, I have been very keen to give it a proper Road Test.

A working dinner with old friends allowed me to to give it the Top Gear treatment, and it passed with flying colours.

Pre-dinner nibbles  – toasted flatbread with rocket pesto, and tomato and green olive dip.

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The Top Gear team provided the production values. Jeremy photographed the Event,  Richard the director gave creative advice and James brought some curious items from his Man Lab to enhance the theatricality of the Event. The Stig was notable for his absence. Perhaps he doesn’t like lamb…

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins

Ingredients
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder or sambal oelek
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon tagine spice (Essential Ingredient make a fabulous blend)
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
1 kg diced lamb shoulder
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
Pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

Method

Combine spices and salt in a large bowl.  I prefer to grind my own in mortar and pestle. Add the oil, rind and half the juice and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well coated in the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or longer.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Put the lamb mixture into a tagine or heavy bottomed casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chicken stock and remaining lemon juice. Stir until well combined.

Cover and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried apricot roughly chopped and raisins. Cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.
Tap half a pomegranate over the tagine to release the jewel like seeds, and scatter with a sprinkling of pistachio kernels. 

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Pomegranate Couscous

Cook your favourite couscous recipe – mine has lots of oil and butter to enrich it  – and serve with the seeds of the other pomegranate half scattered as artistically as the slippery seeds will allow!

Avocado Salad

A selection of your favourite salad greens  – on this occasion mine were rocket and baby cos lettuce – with baby Shepard avocados, and a great dressing.  Lindeman’s E.V. Olive Oil and Raspberry Vinegar worked well.

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