The Friday List


One of the things I love best about 'blogland' is that it allows us to discover and dive into so many kitchens around the world. To see what people are cooking and feeding their friends and families in different seasons and continents in a very personal way. The greedy voyeur in me loves this. So today lets away to Tennessee, Sweeden, New York, Switzerland and Portugal. We'll pull up a chair at far away tables and see what's for dins. Or afternoon tea..

Also, just a reminder for Orange-ites, that we still have spaces for the Bake Club classes coming up at our Farm Kitchen on March 22 (Conquering the Classics) and March 23 (Healthy Kids Lunchboxes). These are going to be great fun and I promise you'll come away having learnt loads and had a lovely lunch too! More info here

Lets all celebrate the onset of quince season this weekend by making a quince and labne pie. Sounds odd, looks amazing.

Saving this tangerine sour cream pound cake recipe for winter.

Porridge season hurry up so we can try this whipped cranberry porridge from My Blue and White Kitchen.

Cranberry, ricotta and pistachio rolls. Yes please.

The art of preserving, via For the Love of the South

Autumn upside down cake by The Artful Desperado - my new favourite blog.

Really enjoying this blog too, and also Pen and Palate

Bring on the cool weather, and any excuse to pull out the fondue set and replicate this scene. Followed closely by this one, with both waffles.

I've never had or heard of doryaki before, but thanks to Two Red Bowls. I now know that they are like a Japanese pancake sandwiches with red bean paste in the middle. And I'm also pretty keen to try this recipe for mini heart shaped ones pretty soon. 

Mandagery Creek Venison Farm Kitchen, Feb


Last Saturday, Tim and I held our first lunch at the Farm Kitchen for 2015. We welcomed a full house, and as always, at the end of the day were left feeling very grateful that those who chose to come and spend the day with us are always such great sports, so happy to meet and share a meal with new people and always so interested in the farm tour and what we do here at Mandagery Creek Venison HQ.

Our next lunch at the Farm Kitchen is on March 14 and we have ten spots left so please click here for more information and/or to book.

The menu was pretty simple and led by the beautiful produce of late summer, and as always with the Farm Kitchen, it’s important to me to source as much produce from this area as possible. Which, at this time of year is not hard to do. Stonefruit and many of the greens came from our own garden, the venison of course came from our farm, Olive oil was from Mum and Dad’s grove, and the rest of the greens plus all garlic came from my friend Libby Morgan’s incredible garden. I dropped in to see Libby on Friday morning, just as she was heading off to the Sydney farmers markets that weekend and she’d already collected bags of peppery rocket and mustard greens plus marigold, rocket and borage flowers. I also grabbed some garlic from the drying racks and then we picked a few armfuls of medlars, rose hip and bay from the garden for the table. Libby you are a good friend!

The next day, we kicked things off with an entree of seared venison carpaccio tossed with Libby's rocket, radish, Second Mouse Quark and my pickled peaches. This was drizzled with Kimbri Olive oil and seasoned. That's it - super simple but really delicious. We served this with warm garlic baguettes.

Here's my recipe for those pickled peaches. They are great with grilled meats and/or a cheese plate. If the peaches are finished where you are, you could always swap the peaches with pears. Recipe below.

Spiced pickled peaches

2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
4cm ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
1kg peaches

Combine the cider vinegar, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, peel the peaches (score a cross at the base of each then plunge into a saucepan of boiling water for a minute then remove, plunge into cold water and with a sharp little knife, pull back the skin, it should come away easily).

Halve the peaches then gently remove the stones and cut into quarters. Add these to the pickling liquid and simmer for five minutes only. Any more and you'll lose the fruit's beautiful golden colour and the quarters might start to collapse.

Transfer to sterilised jars and wait for a few weeks before using if possible. Makes two large jars, keeps for up to a year.

 For the main we had kipflers tossed in nasturtium pesto, then shaved zucchinis in a minty/lemony dressing and seared veninson backstrap on a bed of red capsicum/walnut and pomegranate puree. Yummo.

For the venison

Simply rub the fillet with olive oil and season well and cook for six minutes on each side on a hot barbecue (for a backstrap, three minutes on each side for a tenderloin). Let rest then slice into 1cm thick medallions.

For the capsicum puree

Roast three red capsicums (halved and de-seeded) until completely collapsed and beginning to caramelise. Place these in a food processor with 3 cloves peeled and roughly chopped garlic, juice of one lemon, 2 tbs pomegranate molasses, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tsp dried chilli and a few good glugs of olive oil. Blitz until well combined then throw in 1/2 cup toasted walnut kernels and the same amount of breadcrumbs. Blitz again and season to taste - you might like to add more lemon juice, more pomegranate or just another good pinch of salt. Makes about 2 cups.

For the zucchini salad

Shave three or four zucchinis with a mandolin or peeler and arrange in thin strips on a serving platter. Then place two handfuls of mint leaves, a couple of garlic cloves, the juice of a lemon (or more to taste) and a good tablespoon of dijon mustard all in a blender or food processor. Add a good few glugs of olive oil and blitz. Toss this dressing through the zucchini, really working it through each piece and finish with a sprinkling of toasted pepitas, sesame and sunflower seeds.

Our meal ended with nectarine tarts and a scoop or two of the below tarragon and spearmint ice cream. I am so sorry but I just didn't get a chance to photograph the tarts before they went out but as there was some ice cream left over in the freezer, I just shot some for this post and then ate that for my morning tea. Oops, then I remembered I'm supposed to be fasting for that nasty 5-2 diet Tim and I have just started. Ah well, it was worth it.

I first came across this recipe via one of my all time favourite blogs Golubka Kitchen, and the idea of using tarragon in a dessert really peaked my interest. Firstly, holy cow - how good is the no-churn-condensed-milk ice cream thing! So easy, so good. I may never bother with a custard base ice cream again. Secondly, the flavour combination was heaven, I used spearmint instead of plain mint and fine, freshly picked French tarragon from Libby and it was just perfect. Do give this combination a go some time, it's really interesting and lovely.

Kimbri Olive Oil


In addition to their many other talents, Mum and Dad, aka Annie and Henry Herron grow olives and press them into award winning oil. The olive grove is located at our family home at Rydal NSW and what started out as a small planting of 300 Corregiola trees in 1999 has now grown to 900. The cool climate grove (1030m above sea level) consistently produces fruit of outstanding quality (if we don't say so ourselves) and fruit is hand-picked (by family and friends mostly - these pics are from 2014's picking weekend) before the first frosts in late May then driven a couple of hours to be pressed at Billimari (near Canowindra). I know it's possible that I'll come across as biased,  but honestly the olive oil produced under the Kimbri oil label really is beautiful and we should know, we've been cooking with and consuming it for the past decade or so!  Great over salads, with bread and dukkah or anywhere you'd use a nice olive oil. And guess what - we have finally organised ourselves to actually sell the stuff online, you heard it here first...

The 2014 harvest yielded a particularly good oil which took out a bronze medal at the Sydney Royal Show last year and now that the 2015 picking is only a few months away, Dad is keen to move through this year's bottles before May and that said, he is extending to readers of Local is Lovely a very nice offer of free delivery to Sydney metropolitan and Blue Mountain areas for minimum orders of six x 250ml bottles at $12/each or a dozen for $120. A flat shipping rate of $10/order applies to other areas.

Click through to purchase or for wholesale or other enquiries, please email Henry directly.

We are gearing up for another picking weekend in late May and the 2015 oil should be ready to go in mid-winter. Watch this space...

Nasturtium Pesto


 Afternoon all! Here’s hoping everyone had lovely weekends. Just a quick post from me to kick off the week and share a new favourite recipe. Our vegetable garden is wilting a little at the moment (despite daily watering), but one plant that seems to be thriving and multiplying in this heat are the nasturtiums. Alice and I threw a couple of seeds into the herb box last Spring and they are now growing like topsy.

Loathe to waste what little we actually manage to harvest from the garden, (my thumbs, are sadly, far from green),  I hit the books and found a recipe for ‘garden pesto’ in my preserving bible, The River Cottage Handbook No.2 - Preserves. The key ingredient here is a whole bunch of nasturtium leaves and despite some reservations I gave it a go. And what do you know? Bingo, this is a really great pesto recipe. The leaves are fairly peppery (I’ve since taken to adding them to salads just raw too) and add a gorgeous fresh flavour to the pesto but I do think you need to invest in a really nice piece of cheese to carry the whole thing through. You only need 80g for this recipe so about five or six dollars should get you a lovely hard sheep or cow’s milk cheese.

We tried our jar as both a dip with carrot and bread sticks and also spread it over some fish before baking. Super versatile, you can also freeze extra in ice cube trays to pop out and add to pasta and slow cooked dishes (one or two cubes will really pep up a bolognaise sauce or heavy stew). If you have an abundance of nasturtiums in your garden please give this simple idea a go. And what a considerate plant, it comes with it's very own garnish, those beautiful (edible) marigold flowers.

Nasturtium Pesto

Recipe adapted from one found in The River Cottage Handbook No.2 - Preserves. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

50g nasturtium leaves (about 3 handfuls)
4 mint leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
6 nasturtium seed pods*
60g pine nuts, toasted
80g hard cheese (parmesan or pecorino) grated
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 nasturtium flowers
Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz until you have a nice, thick consistency. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or cheese to taste. Spoon into a glass jar and seal with a little extra olive oil then keep in the fridge until needed. That’s it!

*The green nasturtium seed pods (see  below left) add peppery flavour to this pesto but can also be pickled as you would capers, if you'd like to try this, please click over to this recipe.

Ps...I just finished writing the menu for this weekend's first Farm Kitchen lunch for 2015 (still 4 spots available) and my pickled peaches have themselves a guernsey in the entree (carpaccio). Hopefully it'll be a cool and fresh shared meal full of late summer’s best.

This is so the time of year to be writing menus, spoilt for choice in both the veggie and fruit department! If free this weekend, why not come along? Cost is $75 pp and includes the below plus a farm tour with Tim (we are BYO). Mabybe even hit the farmers markets first thing then slowly make your way out to us via some of Cargo Road’s cellar doors. Not a bad way to spend Valentines Day, whether celebrating it or not! Please email me for more information;

Menu, February 14th

On arrival - Sparkling of Orange with venison salami and salted olive crisps/

Entree - Venison carpaccio with pickled peaches, peppery greens, Jannei goat’s curd and rustic garlic loaves/

Main - Chargrilled venison backstrap with a chargrilled capsicum, hazlenut and pomegranate puree/
Kipflers with nasturtium pesto/
Salad of fresh herbs and rocket and with a caramelised verjus vinaigrette/
Shaved zucchinis with garlic, mint and toasted seeds/

Pud - Nectarine tarts with tarragon and mint ice cream/

The Friday List


We are heading down to Rydal tomorrow morning for the village's annual show and I can't wait. The kids have entered drawings into the art section and my sister is bringing her ponies across for that side of the competition (so nice to have somebody horse-y in the family). If you are in the area and looking for something to do tomorrow, consider coming along, it's a really great day out (here's a post from last year's show).

In the meantime, here are some links for your Friday reading pleasure! 

These lemon bars look amazing. As does this lemon and raspberry cake from Not Without Salt.

New season apples are hitting the shops and markets, so lets celebrate with this apple and ginger cake

I've never made a babka before but after seeing this salted chocolate and pumpkin one am very keen to have a go! Oh and what about this sweet potato one, holy moly the photography in this post is incredible...

Loved this story; one of my favourite bloggers (What should I eat for breakfast today's Marta Greber) on one of my favourite websites.

Oh hello lifestyle envy alert....Skye lives in Venice..just that for starters. But's also a very clever cook and photographer and surrounds herself with beautiful food, things and people. Sigh.

Love this Dutch house from Decor8 this week.

Bake Club back at the Farm Kitchen


Always wanted to crack the simple scone? Sponges not quite happening? School lunchboxes an endless cycle of ham sambos and apples? Well....if any of these scenarios ring true for you...then please read on!

Anneka Manning is one of Australia’s best food writers and educators and luckily, she’s also a good friend to our Farm Kitchen. Such a good friend that next month she's bringing Bake Club back to our Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen for two great new classes. Both will be loaded with practical information, Anneka will demonstrate a number of recipes (assisted by yours truly!) and then we’ll all sit down to lunch together.

Since launching Bake Club a couple of years ago, Anneka has made two road trips to Orange to teach classes (you can read more about them here and here) and each one has been not only a sell out but a really fabulous day of learning new skills, sharing delicious food and meeting new people.

Conquering the Classics (scones, souffles and sponges), Sunday March 22

In this demonstration-style workshop with Anneka Manning, author of Bake, Eat, Love, and yours truly, we will tackle some classic dishes that home cooks are often hesitant to attempt; scones, souffles and sponges. Starting off with basic fail-safe recipes for each one, we will also look at several variations that are sure to impress. This brand new addition to the BakeClass line-up will arm you with all the techniques and confidence you need to master the three scary yet sublime “S’s”.

The class will be followed by a shared lunch with both Anneka and myself. Book here.

Healthy Kids Lunchboxes

Discover the four ‘nasties’ you need to be aware of when packing your kids’ lunch boxes and arm yourself with a collection of easy-to-make recipes that will help you avoid them…and that your kids will LOVE! In this demonstration-style workshop, we tackle the often-stressful challenge of the kids’ lunch box. It might seem impossible to provide options that are quick to make, healthy and still yummy. But this class will arm you with everything you need to deliver this stress-free...every day! Anneka will introduce you to the four ‘nasties’ you really want to stay away from when it comes to kids’ lunch boxes and explain to you why it is so important to be aware of them. She will also share lots of hints, tips and fantastic, simple sweet and savoury recipes for healthy alternatives to the store bought products that are so often filled with these ‘nasties’.

This class promises to fill you with new-found confidence to fill your kids’ lunch boxes every day with food that they will LOVE and DEVOUR. A fun and healthy lunch with Anneka and Sophie, where you will get the opportunity to discuss all things baking and cooking with them, will conclude the session. Book here.

Both classes include:

  • Expert baking advice, guidance and inspiration
  • An invaluable recipe & information kit
  • A special bakeware gift from BakeClub's wonderful partners Wiltshire
  • Morning tea on arrival
  • Fun and healthy lunch with Anneka and Sophie
  • Lots of laughs!

With school now well and truly back (my Tom started in Kindergarten only this morning...sniff), I also asked Anneka to give us a preview of the March 23 'Packing Healthy Lunchboxes’ class. And in keeping with her ever-generous nature, she came back with a recipe for the above vegetable frittatas (above), which are definitely going to pop up in Ali and Tom’s lunchboxes tomorrow.

If you can make it to either or both of these classes please join us - I promise you’ll have a great day and learn heaps.

Vegetable frittatas

Anneka - These individual frittatas are dead simple and super quick to make – perfect for lunch boxes either for lunch or as a substantial snack that is packed with energy and goodness. Try different combinations of favourite vegetables (corn kernels, chopped capsicum and grated pumpkin all work well also) and throw in a can of drained and flaked salmon or tuna to boost the protein.

130g small short pasta, such as macaroni
Olive oil, to grease
2 medium zucchini (about 270g), coarsely grated
1 medium carrot (about 120g), coarsely grated
100g (1 cup) coarsely grated extra tasty or vintage cheddar cheese
8 eggs
80ml (1/3 cup) milk
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
125g small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush a 12-hole medium (80ml /1/3 cup) muffin tray with the oil to lightly grease.
  2. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water, following the packet directions, until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
  3. Put the drained pasta, zucchini, carrot and 75g (3/4 cup) of the cheddar in a large bowl and mix to combine well. Divide the mixture evenly among the greased muffin tin holes.
  4. Use a fork to whisk together the eggs and milk in a large jug until well combined. Season to taste with pepper and salt and whisk again. Pour evenly over the vegetable mixture. Press the halved tomatoes, cut side up, into the tops of the frittatas and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until just cooked through and lightly golden. Stand in the tin for a few minutes before running a palette knife around the outside of each frittata and lifting out. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The Friday List and muffins


It's almost the weekend, whoop, and I hope you all get a chance to read, do, eat and make some lovely things. Here's some inspiration for your Friday afternoon reading pleasure...

Oh, and also a little muffin recipe that went down a treat in our house this week. Sx

Here in Orange we are gearing up for our annual FOOD Week celebration in April and the program is now available. There are some fantastic events on offer, including ours at the Farm Kitchen! Download it here.

It's almost apple season and I'm saving this recipe for brown butter apple tart to celebrate the looming harvest.

Cream puffs with lemon curd - yes please

Very keen to try this light granola from Mostly Saturdays

And maybe pull out the popsicle moulds this weekend to make these strawberry, peaches and cream ones with amaretti crumble, and/or these buttermilk and rose geranium ones.

This apricot and poppyseed crostata, a big mug of strong tea, the papers and a quiet morning tomorrow would all make me very happy. Instead we are back into Saturday sport and my breakfast will probably be half of the sausage wrapped in bread that Tom decides he doesn't want after dropping it at Alice's T-ball game.

Very happy with this new discovery - Wit and Vinegar is the source of many good things to eat, read and look at.

And also...spiced carrot, almond and pistachio cake.

We are going through a bit of a gnocchi phase here and this recipe is next up

I've not been to New York (yet) so am quite liking getting to know the city through my new blog crush, Hey Natalie Jean

Wow - this is a great post. I  love the idea of committing to host a regular Friday night dinner for family and friends. Nothing fancy, just a big pot of meatballs, no stress about making the house look perfect, just a meal with some mates in amongst the detritus of everyday life. Definitely going to adopt something like this for 2015.

Peach and blackberry muffins

While I don’t pretend that these are a health food (there’s a fair whack of sugar in there for starters), these muffins contain lots of goodies (chia seeds and wheat germ etc), plus they make delicious use of the beautiful fruit in season right now and yes, they are light, fluffy and very tasty. Makes 12.

1 cup plain flour
2 tbsp almond meal
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 cup natural yogurt
2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 cup rice bran oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled a little
1 tbsp vanilla paste
1 large egg
1 large peach, cut into small pieces
1 cup blackberries

Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12-hole/1 cup capacity muffin tray with paper cases. Mix the flour, chia seeds, baking powder and wheat germ together in a large bowl and whisk so there are no lumps.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, oil, sugars, salt, butter, vanilla and egg until a smooth thick consistency.

Gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together. Add the fruit and fold until just combined. Divide between the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly golden and just firm to touch.

Adapted from my new favourite baking bible, Huckleberry

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