Darren Taylor Christmas Recipes

/ 19 December 2016

Cook up a feast this summer with these impressive Christmas recipes

Earlier this year Secret Foodies hosted it’s first Black Tie event with a special Spring Soiree. You can read all about that here. They partnered with Darren Taylor Catering and hosted the event in their cool Potts Point terrace. Having decades of experience catering for events, large and small, we asked Darren Taylor himself for share a few delicious recipes with us. Enjoy!

Octopus salad ragout

Serves 10

Octopus ragout

  • 2kg fresh baby octopus
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 200ml white wine
  • Fresh water
  • 1 fresh bay leaf


  • 5 Kipfler potatoes
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 2cm cubes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Pink Murray River salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 20ml cabernet or red wine vinegar
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Pink Murray River salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh chilli, seeds removed, finely diced
  • Tarragon and parsley leaves



  • Cut open the heads from the octopus and remove what’s inside. Remove the back. Cut into even size
  • pieces and wash thoroughly, drain well.
  • In a saucepan heat up the olive oil and brown off the garlic cloves
  • Add the octopus and sauté for 5 minutes
  • Add the white wine and reduce by half
  • Pour in enough water to cover the octopus and bay leaf
  • Cook on the stove, very low and covered for approximately 1½ hours
  • When tender remove from heat


  • Wash the potatoes, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Place on an oven dish and roast at 180C for approximately 45 minutes until tender in the middle
  • In a bowl mix the eggplant cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 200C for 10-15 minutes
  • Place cherry tomatoes on a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in oven 160C for
  • approx 4-5 minutes


  • In a bowl mix together vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper

To Serve

  • Heat up 10 pasta bowls in the oven
  • Place hot octopus in a bowl and mix with dressing, tarragon, parsley leaves and chilli
  • Arrange in serving dishes with potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and celery



Lobster tail rolls with sauce remoulade

Serves 10


  • 1kg cooked lobster, meat removed
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • Rocket leaves
  • 10 long milk bread rolls
  • 200ml sauce remoulade
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 125ml vegetable/peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Finely chopped tarragon and chervil leaves
  • Capers and cornichons, finely diced
  • Pink Murray River salt


  • Sauce remoulade
  • Place the egg yolks into a bowl. Add a little salt, Dijon mustard, splash of vinegar and mix together
  • Using a whisk, slowly add the olive oil and then the vegetable oil
  • As the sauce thickens, add more vinegar to maintain a smooth sauce consistency, Not too much!
  • Add chopped tarragon and chervil, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of cayenne, chipped capers
  • and cornichons
  • Taste and adjust salt
  • Chop the lobster into small bite size chunks and place into a bowl
  • Mix in enough sauce to cover the lobster meat
  • Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour
  • Heat up bread rolls in an oven 175C until crunchy
  • Split down the middle [lengthwise]
  • Line each bread roll with sliced tomato and rocket leaves
  • Place lobster on top and serve straight away


Virginia baked leg of ham with pickled cherries



  • 1 leg of Berkshire ham [approximate weight 5kg]
  • 500g Dijon mustard
  • Approximately 30 cloves
  • 20g nutmeg
  • 20g cinnamon
  • 750g brown sugar
  • 1 bottle of good red wine
  • 1 bunch of rosemary
  • Pickled cherries
  • 1kg pitted cherries


  • 500ml red wine vinegar
  • 250ml brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon quills
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Remove the skin leaving the fat that covers the meat. The skin should be cut in a zigzag pattern around
  • the knuckle
  • Score the fat into 1 inch squares
  • Press a single clove into the centre of each square
  • Sprinkle nutmeg over entire leg
  • Spread Dijon mustard evenly on top of nutmeg
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon and pack an even 5mm thick layer of soft brown sugar over the cinnamon
  • Place the ham in a dish with 1 inch of red wine and rosemary leaves in the bottom
  • Bake at 180C until the sugar is melted and evenly browned (approximately 1½ hours)
  • Allow to cool for a few hours before slicing. It is best when eaten still a bit warm.
  • Pickled cherries
  • Syrup
  • Bring to the boil and pour over pitted cherries
  • Leave overnight to marinate


Mini Xmas Pavlova

Serves 10


  • 8 egg whites
  • 375g castor sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • Crème Chantilly
  • 200ml cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • 25g castor sugar
  • 1 punnet of raspberries


  • Preheat oven to 160C
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper using baking grease
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form; gradually add the sugar until thick and glossy
  • Fold in the vanilla, vinegar and cornflower
  • Using a piping bag, pipe individual meringue towers and bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove from oven (when cooked) and let cool
  • Beat the cream with the sugar and vanilla
  • Pipe on top of each meringue and place a raspberry on top
Director and Executive Chef of Darren Taylor Catering