Four-courses from Flemington

Elevate your at-home race day menu with VRC Chef Ryan Flaherty’s four course luncheon, complete with wine pairing suggestions.

“In the members’ Carriage Paddock the footmen would take out from the compartments fitted below the floor of the drag, carefully packed chests. An al fresco luncheon was set up and the footmen served, with white-gloved aplomb, a variety of cold meats, crisp salads, a generous accompaniment of iced Champagne and, always on Derby Day, home grown strawberries and cream.”

First Tuesday in November: the story of the Melbourne Cup

Gala luncheon parties at Flemington have been an attraction throughout Cup Week throughout the racecourse’s history. Whilst we may not be feasting in the restaurants or lunching in the carparks this year, we can still create Carnival magic at home.

The VRC’s Chef Ryan Flaherty has designed a menu with the same Flemington flair to cook at home. Follow his gourmet guide to elevate your cooking skills, and impress the guests lucky enough to enjoy your at-home dining experience on race day.

Chef’s note: “When your guests arrive, start with a great charcuterie board: it buys you some time to spend with your guests or that little extra to get the entrées ready. Making entrées that are cold or at least room temperature and can be pre-plated also helps with timings”.

Entrée: Mud crab, shellfish emulsion, pickled pumpkin and orange vinaigrette


  • All mud crab* bones including the roe and liquid
  • 4 large shallots, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife
  • ½ stick lemongrass, smashed
  • 3 over-ripe tomatoes, crushed with your hands
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled and chopped
  • 100ml Noilly Prat (vermouth)
  • 50ml pastis or Pernod
  • 100ml cheap brandy
  • 40g tomato paste
  • 1 cup mixed tarragon, parsley and thyme
  • 300ml good vegetable or canola oil


  • Roast the crab bones in a good pan with half the oil on high.
  • Add the vegetables and aromatics. Once it catches, add the tomato paste and roast until it smells delicious.
  • Lower heat to medium, add the alcohol and reduce until sec (dry).
  • Add the remainder of the oil and the herbs and bring to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat after it simmers and leave to infuse for one hour.
  • To make the shellfish oil*, strain through a fine mesh or cheesecloth and chill.

If you source live mud crab, be sure to put it to sleep in the freezer first, then place in salted boiling water and cook for one minute for every 100g, (i.e.1.2kg for 12 minutes), then allow to cool in the fridge. Clean and pick meat from crab. Set aside in the fridge, keep all the shells and all unusable meat for the shellfish oil.

If you cannot find fresh mud crab you can get some really good quality frozen picked meat and also frozen shells from your local seafood supplier/shop.

Use the leftover crab that is NOT usable meat to make the oil. This will extract every bit of flavour from the bones, which is crucial for the emulsion.


  • 350ml shellfish oil
  • 10g mustard
  • 5g honey
  • 2g smoked paprika
  • 35g rice wine vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • salt to taste


Combine mustard, eggs, honey, rice wine vinegar and paprika then whisk in shellfish oil to create the mayonnaise. Season to taste.


  • 1 butternut pumpkin
  • 10 threads saffron
  • 150ml rice wine vinegar
  • 150ml mirin
  • 20g sugar
  • 150ml water


Peel pumpkin and slice sheets 3-4 mm thick. Cut them out with a circle cutter approximately 4cm in diameter.

Boil saffron, mirin, sugar, rice wine vinegar and reduce by half then add water to bring back to the boil.

Add pumpkin discs and cook for 30 seconds then remove the liquid from the heat and allow the pumpkin discs to cool in the pickling liquid.


  • 4 large oranges
  • 200ml grapeseed oil
  • 50ml pickling liquid from pumpkin
  • 50ml orange juice


Peel oranges then blanch the peel in boiling water and refresh in ice water three times.

Dry the peel and place in a dehydrator overnight (or in your oven on pilot – pilot is when the oven is on with just the ignition flame, without any heat).

Blend the peel to resemble a powder and mix with the pickling liquid, juice and grapeseed oil. Whisk together well, and be sure to mix together just before serving.

  • 5g small brunoise / small dice - celery
  • 5g small brunoise / small dice - radish
  • 5gm small brunoise / small dice - shallot

In a bowl mix 70g of picked mud crab meat with 10g of emulsion and the brunoise vegetables. Season to taste, and form a ball and place in the centre of the plate. Layer the pickled pumpkin pieces all around the crab using as few pieces as possible whilst still trying to cover the crab. Just before serving, pour one tablespoon of the orange vinaigrette over the dish.

T’Gallant ‘Grace’ Pinot Grigio, Mornington Peninsula, VIC

This wine has lovely flavours of pears, citrus and almond. The texture and mouthfeel has the right amount of weight to play with the fresh seafood, slight spice and balanced acidity to marry with the vinaigrette. A lovely springtime pairing.

Second entrée: Salt-baked celeriac, puffed Mount Zero grains, herb oil and blood mustard leaf


  • 1 large celeriac peeled
  • 150g table salt
  • 250g plain flour
  • 70g egg whites
  • 70ml water


Combine all ingredients except celeriac in a mixer with a dough hook attachment and work on medium till it all comes together.

Roll out to 0.5cm thickness and wrap around the celeriac, fully encasing it.

Bake in the oven on baking paper on 180 degrees for 1.5 hours, then cool.

Remove celeriac from the crust and set aside.

When cool, cut in half and place cut side down on a hot grill for 4-5 minutes till charred bar marks are rich.


  • 100g Mount Zero red quinoa
  • 100g Mount Zero millet
  • 100g Mount Zero pearl barley


Bring each grain to a simmer in separate pots with lightly salted water and cook for: millet 12-15 minutes, quinoa 20-25 minutes, barley 45-50 minutes. Each grain needs to be cooked and just breaking apart.

Drain and lay grains separately on baking trays lined with baking paper and place in oven with fan on 50 degrees overnight.

Fry grains separately in oil at 195 degrees for four seconds then dry on a paper towel.

Combine grains with a little olive oil and finely chopped chives to finish.


  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch chervil
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 1 bunch chives
  • 750ml grapeseed oil
  • 500ml Mount Zero olive oil


Blend grapeseed oil with picked and washed herbs for seven minutes on 80°C in a thermomix, if you don’t have a thermomix just blend till gets to warm.

Strain and add in olive oil, blend for another 30 seconds.

Pass through a fine strainer and reserve the oil, discarding the pulp.


  • 1 large celeriac
  • 250ml mirin
  • 200ml rice wine vinegar


Bring mirin and rice wine vinegar to boil then allow to cool.

Slice celeriac into approximately 0.2cm slices then cut out with the largest possible ring cutter to maintain a circle.

Cover celeriac slices with warm pickle and allow to sit for minimum two hours.


  • 750g peeled and grated celeriac
  • 800ml milk
  • 300ml cream
  • 300ml water
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 80ml Mount Zero olive oil
  • 10g salt
  • 100g butter
  • 15 blood mustard leaves


Sweat celeriac off in a large-based pot with oil, butter and thyme be careful not to let it catch any colour for five minutes.

Add milk, cream and water. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Strain off liquid and blend on high for 3-4 minutes.

Reserve and allow to cool.

Place the warm half of the celeriac on a plate and lay one slice of pickled celeriac on top. Cover with a small mountain of puffed grains and three leaves of blood mustard.

Place one spoon of celeriac cream on the side, and drizzle 10ml of herb oil around the cream.

Devil’s Lair Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA

Rich, slightly creamy, yet elegant could describe both this wine and the flavours of this dish. Both will also have a lovely length of flavour, intertwining the savoury and complex flavours, with balanced acidity that will sit well with the pickled celeriac.

Chef’s note: Your main course is all about letting the produce shine, keeping things simple yet sophisticated, with great quality flavours, which are clean and sharp.

Main course: Pastrami rubbed lamb shoulder, herb fregola, peppered yoghurt, smoked cabbage


  • 40g picked flat leaf parsley
  • 40g picked dill fronds
  • 20g picked oregano leaves
  • 10g picked marjoram leaves
  • 80ml good extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ clove raw garlic
  • 15ml mirin


Add lemon zest, olive oil, garlic and mirin to food processor or vitamix

Blend, add all herbs and blend on high, add ice cube by cube, until emulsified.

Season with salt.


  • 150g herb puree
  • 200g fregola
  • 1 shallot sliced
  • 1 garlic clove sliced
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 50g butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 50ml olive oil


Sauté shallot, garlic, thyme and olive oil for four minutes in a large wide-based pot be careful not to let it brown or catch too much colour.

Add fregola and sauté for another three minutes.

Turn down to medium heat, add half the chicken stock and cook for five minutes slowly, adding more chicken stock over the next 10 minutes as it absorbs.

Check the fregola after around 10-15 minutes, adding more stock until it is cooked.

Once the fregola is cooked and all the stock is absorbed, remove from the heat, add butter and herb puree then season to taste.

Chef’s note: This is a similar process to making a risotto. Only make it just before you need it as the herb puree will discolour in time.


  • 70g black peppercorns
  • 20g coriander seed
  • 5g Szechuan peppercorn
  • 5g garlic powder


Toast all ingredients and blend coarsely, you can do the peppers for the yoghurt also afterwards.


  • 100g pastrami spice mix
  • 1 oyster-cut lamb shoulder
  • 3L lamb stock


Rub spice mix over the lamb shoulder and let sit in the fridge overnight.

Seal the lamb shoulder in a pan, lightly colouring all sides.

Cover the shoulder with the lamb stock and place in the oven for 14 hours at 85 degrees.

Remove from the oven and take the meat off the bone. Set aside until needed.

Strain off the remaining liquid and reduce down until it has a jus consistency, then set aside till needed. Keep warm.


  • 10g pink peppercorns toasted and blended in a food processor to a cracked-pepper consistency
  • 10g szechuan peppercorns toasted and blended in a food processor to a cracked-pepper consistency
  • 10g black peppercorns toasted and blended in a food processor to a cracked-pepper consistency
  • 200g natural Greek yoghurt


Place yoghurt in a sieve lined with a chux cloth to let hang for six hours then remove thickened yoghurt and fold through peppers and set aside until needed in the fridge.


  • 1 green cabbage
  • Red gum smoking chips
  • Olive oil
  • Good flaked salt
  • Fennel tips to garnish


Peel the outer leaves of the cabbage, keeping them as large as you can.

Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well.

Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for seven minutes, then place leaves on a cooling rack.

Toast the smoking chips in a pan on high until they are well smoking then cover with aluminium foil and leave for 30 mins.

Put the smoking chips in the baking tray and place the cooling rack with cabbage over the top. Then wrap in cling film and let smoke for 30 mins then remove and set aside till needed.

Place one large serving spoon of hot fregola on the bottom of the plate, then cover with one serve of the hot lamb shoulder. Season with a good flaked salt and a little drizzle of the warm lamb jus, then a tablespoon of the cold yoghurt. Cover with warm pieces of smoked cabbage and garnish with fennel tips.

Seppelt St Peters Shiraz, Great Western, VIC

This wine highlights the plummy and berry flavours we love from Shiraz and showcases the light spice elements that this wine region is famous for. Medium to full bodied, it will beautifully combine with the spice rub, flavours and textures of the lamb, smoked cabbage and accompaniments.

Chef’s note: By the end of the meal you will be glad to have a dessert pre-prepared so that you can simply serve and relax. The easier the better, but still with a bit of wow factor. Simple yet beautiful.

Dessert: Chocolate tart with macadamia ice cream


  • 80g almond meal
  • 60g Dutch cocoa powder
  • 240g butter (room temperature, diced)
  • 390g plain flour
  • 4g salt
  • 180g icing sugar
  • 100g whole eggs


Add all ingredients except the eggs to a mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until it resembles breadcrumbs (1-2 mins).

Add egg and mix another 30 seconds until it comes together and forms a ball.

Wrap in cling film and let it rest for 10-30 mins.

Roll the dough out between baking paper with a rolling pin until it is approximately 0.5cm thick. Be sure to roll around 26cm squared in size, then line a tart shell (approximately 15cm diameter). Be sure to let the crust overhang at least 3cm.

Prick the base with a fork and blind bake (fill with rice, dried beans or baking weights to stop the pastry rising during cooking) in the oven at 160 degrees for seven minutes.

Remove the paper and whatever you use to blind bake and bake for another 3-5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool then trim off the excess overhang. Keep all the off-cuts as you will use these to crumble up and sit under the ice cream.

You should now have a nice tart shell ready and waiting.


  • 220g good-quality chocolate, chopped up into small pieces
  • 560g cream
  • 155g egg yolks
  • 25g sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 30g Dutch cocoa for dusting


Bring the cream to the boil.

Pour over the chocolate and mix until melted.

Add sugar, eggs and salt. Incorporate well then pass through a sieve.

Pour into your tart shell and bake in the oven at between 110-115 degrees for approx. 30-40 minutes. Be careful to not overcook. If you see it rising, turn the oven down and remember to rotate the tart every 10-15mins.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a minimum of 45 minutes.

Remove from the shell, dust well with cocoa powder and cut into desired portions.


  • 225g peeled macadamia nuts roasted till golden brown
  • 460g milk
  • 180g sugar
  • 200g cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt


Blend milk and macadamia nuts on high for four minutes, then pass through a sieve, discarding the macadamia and keeping the milk.

Add cream and salt to milk, then warm in a pot to 60 degrees.

Whisk in the yolks and stir slowly and continuously with the whisk on medium heat until it reaches 82 degrees (make sure not to let the bottom stick.

Strain through a sieve and allow to cool.

Then churn in an ice cream machine and store in the freezer.

Place a slice of the tart on the plate with a small pile of the tart biscuit crumbs next to it. Sit a scoop of the ice cream on top of the crumbs and enjoy.

Baileys of Glenrowan ‘Classic’ Muscat, Rutherglen, Victoria

This muscat has a lovely richness across the palate that pairs well with chocolate, with flavours of dried fruits and a hint of orange.Through barrel aging the wine has developed some nutty characters that will play well with the ice-cream. Not too heavy, not too light, just right.

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