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Fine Food from Four Kitchens

As co-owner of acclaimed Sydney restaurants Four in Hand and 4Fourteen, controversial guest judge on My Kitchen Rules, and GQ Chef of the Year in 2013, Irish chef Colin Fassnidge has become a highly recognised personality in the food scene. 

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He has just released his first cookbook Four Kitchens, which draws inspiration from the four kitchens in his life – the two restaurant kitchens, the home kitchen, and the outdoor kitchen. Drawing on diverse culinary influences to illustrate his love of food, each recipe reveals some of his key food philosophies: using local produce, wasting as little as possible through nose-to-tail eating (for which he is well known), handling everything with a light touch, and food he loves to cook at home for his family.

Four Kitchens has more than 100 recipes and magnificent illustrations to inspire and is a testament to the enduring connection between food and family, as well as the relationship between a chef and his demanding public.

The Retiree is fortunate to be able to share three of Colin’s recipes from Four Kitchens, all ideal for delicious spring dining.

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Whole Roast Chicken with Famous Chicken Bread 


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After all the hours of slaving away roasting chickens, it’s actually the bread in this dish that ends up being the show-stopper. It’s crispy on the outside, soft in the middle and chock-full of chickeny goodness.


  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4kg chicken
  • 80g butter, softened
  • 1 garlic bulb, smashed
  • 1 good-quality sourdough loaf
  • 1 potato, sliced
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 bunch tarragon
  • 300ml extra virgin olive oil
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Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the whole lemon inside the chicken. Combine the butter and half the garlic, and slide under the skin on the breast and thighs. Smooth the skin to spread the butter mixture.

Cut bread in half horizontally (set top half aside for another use). Slice the potato and arrange in a roasting pan for the bread to sit on. Put the bread onto the potato. Rip the herbs and scatter over the bread with the remaining garlic. Drizzle with half the oil, and season. Place the chicken on top of the bread. Drizzle the remaining oil over the chicken, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 140°C and cook a further 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and rest for 20 minutes.

Break up the chicken on the bone and cut the bread into slices. Squeeze the cooked lemon over the chicken and bread to serve.

Swede Gratin

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The vegetable of my childhood, which I have fallen in love with all over again as an adult. This dish is a meal in itself.


  • 1kg swede
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 40g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 800ml cream
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
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Preheat the oven to 150°C. Finely slice the swede, onion and garlic (a mandolin is best for this). Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and add the onion and garlic. Sweat over medium-low heat until soft but not coloured.

Add the wine and bring to the boil. Add the cream, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 3 minutes.

Layer the swede and the onion mixture into a medium ovenproof frying pan or dish to make four layers in total. Make sure you finish with a layer of cream. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Place the pan onto a baking tray to catch any spills during cooking. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Crumble with Poached Rhubarb

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  • 500g plain flour
  • 250g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 250g demerara sugar
  • 100g hazelnuts, crushed
  • 100g rolled oats
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 6 tbsp crème fraîche, to serve

Poached Rhubarb

  • 2 bunches rhubarb, stalks trimmed and diced
  • 600ml ginger beer
  • 20g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 200g caster sugar


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To make the crumble, preheat the oven to 160°C, and grease a 3cm-deep baking tray. Use your fingertips to mix the flour and butter to a sandy texture. Mix in the sugar, then the remaining ingredients.

Spread the crumble into the prepared tray and cook for 10 minutes or until golden. If not using immediately, cool completely, and store in an airtight container.

For the poached rhubarb, place all ingredients into a saucepan (including vanilla bean). Bring to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes, or until the rhubarb is just tender. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and remove the star anise, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the rhubarb, and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, to reheat.

Remove from the oven and serve with crème fraîche.


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Alana Lowes

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