• Recipes for a Good Time

    Food & Wine |
  • Rockabilly “Bodega Boys” Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz made a splash into Sydney’s restaurant scene when they opened Bodega, a Spanish/Argentinian tapas eatery in 2006. In 2010, they launched Porteno, their local take on an Argentinian asador, which won a host of Australian gourmet awards and firmly established the pair as some of Sydney’s hottest restaurateurs.

    This August they will open their latest venture: a spin-off of Bodega at the newly restored Tramsheds. Located on the northern edge of Harold Park, the heritage-listed Rozelle Tramsheds are being revived by Mirvac to retain their iconic character and their impressive, industrial proportions. Sydney’s heritage will be preserved in the brick façade and the Tramsheds' often-photographed sawtooth roof. But beneath the towering glass ceilings the old depot will be transformed into a state-of-the-art home for market food halls, boutique retailers, cafés, restaurants and a gymnasium as well as 500 square metres of community space dedicated to the City of Sydney Council.

    Milgate and Abrahanowicz have confirmed their new venue at Tramsheds will draw influence from two of their famous Sydney venues, ensuring the roasting, grilling and barbecuing that earned Porteno and Bodega such cult status will make their new venture a firm favourite for residents of Harold Park, the broader inner west community and beyond.

    Recipes and images from Recipes for a Good Time by Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate (Murdoch Books).

    As the cooler months slowly arrive, it’s time to fire up the stove for slow-roasted meats and warm winter sides. Here’s how from award winning Sydney chefs Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate, who are soon to open their latest venture at Mirvac’s Tramsheds.


    Makes 8 burgers + extra pork left over
    1 whole pork shoulder, bone-in (about 4 kg/9 lb) (see note)

    80 ml (2½ fl oz) fish sauce
    80 ml (2½ fl oz) soy sauce
    40 ml (1¼ fl oz) sherry vinegar
    25 ml (¾ fl oz) sesame oil
    1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    250 g (9 oz) molasses
    6 garlic cloves
    200 g (7 oz) tinned chipotle chillies in adobo sauce
    1 × 400 g (14 oz) tin of piquillo peppers, drained
    1 brown onion, roughly chopped

    Preheat the oven to 100°C (200°F/Gas ½). Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a blender and purée till smooth. Place the shoulder in a roasting tin that just fits it and pour over the marinade. Cover with baking paper and a double layer of foil then cook for 16 hours, or until you can lift back the skin and see that the flesh is falling off the bone. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours.

    Carefully move the pork to a board. Pull off the skin, chop it finely then put aside. Pull all of the meat off the bone, then mix the chopped skin through the meat.

    Spoon the marinade from the roasting tin into a saucepan and reduce over medium heat until thickened. Return the meat and skin to the roasting tin, pour over the hot marinade then mix together thoroughly.


    Makes 30.
    2 tablespoons lukewarm water
    14 g (½ oz) dried yeast
    280 ml (9¾ fl oz) milk
    220 ml (7¾ fl oz) cream (35% fat)
    720 g (1 lb 9¾ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
    150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
    20 g (¾ oz) fine sea salt
    canola oil spray

    Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and allow to stand for 5 minutes, or until frothy. Heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan over a low−medium heat until lukewarm. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the mixer, then add the cream and milk. Attach a dough hook and mix for 5 minutes on medium–high speed. Check the dough; if it’s still sticky, mix for 3−4 more minutes on high speed until it comes away from the sides of the bowl.

    Oil a large bowl well with the canola spray, place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1−2 hours, or until doubled in size. Knock the air out of the dough then weigh it and portion it into 30 even pieces.

    Spray a 30 × 33 cm (12 × 13 inch) baking tray about 6 cm (2½ inches) deep with oil.

    Hand-roll each piece of dough into a perfect sphere, lightly spraying your hands and the work surface as you go to prevent the dough from sticking. Place the balls into the tray as you go, arranging them five wide and six long. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise for another 1−2 hours.

    Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7) (have the fan off in your oven, if possible). Bake for 8 minutes, reduce the heat if they look like they are getting too much colour, then bake for a further 8 minutes, or until the buns are light and golden on top. One minute after removing them from the oven, spray the top of the buns heavily with canola oil to give them a nice lustre and prevent them from cracking.

    Allow to rest in the tray for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool. 


    30 milk buns, halved
    30 pieces of butter pickles
    basic mayo
    a handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves

    Cram as much pork as you can into each bun then top with a few bits of pickle, mayo and some coriander leaves.


    Serves 8
    4 racks of lamb breast (about 350−400 g/12−14 oz each, see note)

    2 x 350 ml (12 fl oz) bottles of draught beer
    150 g (5½ oz) yellow miso paste
    100 g (3½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

    cold radish, quartered
    cold cucumber, quartered
    and cut into pieces
    peeled ginger
    peeled garlic

    Preheat a combination oven with a steam function to 100°C (200°F/Gas ½) and 100% steam. Place the ribs on steamer trays and cook for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. You could also do this in a large stovetop steamer for the same amount of time.

    With a sharp, heavy knife or a cleaver, slice alongside each rib so you get single, finger-friendly portions. Place these in a nonreactive dish.

    Whisk your beer, miso paste and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined then pour over the lamb ribs and toss to evenly coat. Cover, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 24 hours.

    Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6) and place the marinated lamb ribs on lined baking trays. Bake for 10−15 minutes, or until a golden crust forms over the ribs. Serve immediately with some radish and cucumber and a little ginger and garlic microplaned over the top. 


    Serves 8

    200 g (7 oz) green Sicilian olives
    blended oil (95% canola + 5% extra virgin)
    6 long red chillies

    2 garlic bulbs
    200 ml (7 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
    beetroot salad
    2 heads of witlof (chicory)
    12 baby golden beetroot (beets), trimmed
    12 baby purple beetroot (beets), trimmed
    600 g (1 lb 5 oz) rock salt
    200 g (7 oz) feta cheese
    20 ml (½ fl oz) balsamic vinegar
    fine sea salt and freshly ground 
    black pepper
    135 g (4¾ oz) stuffed olives (see above)
    100 g (3½ oz) smoked pecans
    300 g (10½ oz) watercress, picked
    extra virgin olive oil


    Carefully pit the olives so you can stuff them later. If they’re too hard, warm them over a low heat in a small saucepan with enough blended oil to cover them. Cook gently for about 15−20 minutes, or just enough to soften them. Keep the oil to store the olives in later.

    Barbecue the chillies until blackened all over then place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to steam and cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel, deseed and chop them. Stuff the chillies inside the olives then place them in a jar and pour in enough of their cooking oil to cover them completely.

    Seal and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.


    Get your barbecue going and place the garlic bulbs directly onto the hot coals, turning occasionally until black on the outside (this should take about 5−8 minutes).

    Place the charred bulbs in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to steam and cool.

    Once cool enough to handle, peel away the charred garlic skins and retrieve each clove, carefully placing them in a small saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil. Place over a very low heat and gently cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the garlic in the oil until ready to dish up.


    Halve the witlofs by cutting down the centre of each head. Grill over the hot coals for about 5−10 minutes, or until dark all over. Remove from the heat, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and place the beetroot on a bed of rock salt in a roasting tin, cover with foil and place in the oven for 25−30 minutes, or until cooked (when a skewer passes through them easily).

    Remove the beetroot, allow to cool for 10 minutes then pull off the foil. Remove and discard the stems and peel the beetroot while they’re still warm, keeping the two colours in separate bowls. Their skins should slip off with ease.

    Remove the cooled witlof core with a knife, trying to keep it in one piece, then discard it. Place the witlof on a serving platter, spreading out their leaves, then spoon the feta cheese over them in a few spots.

    Dress the purple beetroot with balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Season the golden beetroot with salt and pepper. Slice or cut some of the larger beets into wedges if you like, then scatter them around the platter with the olives and pecans.

    Carefully remove the confit garlic from the oil and place around the platter. Quickly dress the watercress with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, then place it over the beetroot and finish with a final crack of black pepper.


    Serves 8

    8 red bullhorn capsicums (peppers)
    extra virgin olive oil
    fine sea salt
    2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    4 eggplants (aubergines)

    We like to barbecue our vegetables when the coals have reached their highest heat.

    Cook the capsicums on a grill placed quite low over the coals until their skins turn black all over. Once this has happened, transfer them to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Steaming them for a few minutes like this makes it easier to remove the skins. Once they have cooled a little, remove all their skin and seeds, dress them heavily with some extra virgin olive oil, a few pinches of salt and the sliced garlic.

    The same principle applies to barbecuing eggplant, but you need to make sure you prick the skins with a fork before cooking otherwise they will explode (not good). Cook them on a grill placed quite low over the coals, for around 10 minutes on each side, ensuring the skins burn; this adds a smoky flavour. Remove from the barbecue then rest on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.

    To remove the flesh, slice the tops off the eggplants then split them in half lengthways. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and dress with extra virgin olive oil and salt. Serve the eggplant and capsicums together on a platter.

    Recipes and images from Recipes for a Good Time by Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate (Murdoch Books).

    Learn more about Tramsheds at Harold Park.