The Friday list and a chocolate loaf

1.22.2015

It's been a while between Friday lists, I know! But these holidays have been busy for us, and what little time I could grab at the computer had to be spent on actual work, not looking for new and beautiful things to cook and read. Harrumph.

So anyway, here we are back again, with a nice little reading list for our weekend pleasure. And, in apology for being so slack this month, here's also a recipe for the above chocolate and blackberry loaf. It has been the best thing I've baked this year, and actually, just writing up that recipe and editing this pic, has put me in the mind to publish this post and make another one right now for arvo tea. Toodle pip.
Mimi Thorisson's posts are sometimes  hard to look at - all that beauty, all that incredible beauty. But always come back because, well, of all that beauty. This latest post is a new high.

Another blog I always find super inspiring is Happy Yolks - the photography, the food, the general message; all beautiful. Also just spent a lovely little while reading the House of Humble, it's another gorgeous and positive little corner of the web.

I love talky books - they’re great when I’m prepping in the farm kitchen or driving in and out of town to get the kids etc. But they do get expensive so I’m always keen to find new things to listen too...some great podcast suggestions in this post, especially the comment thread.

Sweet dukkah? Jeepers, why didn’t I think of this before. The possibilities are mouth watering...sprinkled over natural yogurt and poached fruit, over ice cream, or any kind of tart that needs something extra (don’t we all). Or you could even dip wedges of fruit into this mix as you would bread into olive oil then savory dukkah. Love the idea of the cigars too.

Armchair travel, off we go to Iceland. Especially after these pics.

Love the idea of these breakfast cookies.

As soon as it cools down a bit, we are so having a mac and cheese party like this.

2015 is going to be a year of camping for our family. I can feel it. We gave ourselves a jump on this resolve last weekend and it was great. But next time I’ll print out this master list by Hugo and Elsa (and look - there’s a paella pan in there too, great minds!)

Dark chocolate popcorn with rosemary salt.

Loved this essay, Garlic with Everything

And still on good writing, though somewhat off topic...here are 51 of the most beautiful sentences in literature

Chocolate and blackberry loaf

Blackberries are ripening on our farm at the moment, only a couple of weeks left to wait until we can pull out the gumboots, the ladder and our nerves to brave the few bushes Tim has promised never to touch, but which also happen to be in a particularly snake-y part of the farm. But in the meantime, they are popping up at our local shops and market, and while I'm not sure the cultivated, less thorny blackberry bushes produce fruit as intense and beautifully flavoured as their wild and often unwanted  counterparts, they're still pretty delicious. Especially when folded into this dense, dark chocolate tea cake.

This really is a beautiful cake and it lasts well for up to a week (wrapped etc) so I'd highly recommend doubling the quantities below and making two. Give one away or slice the second and freeze each slice (in a layer of baking paper then plastic) for lunches.

1 cup plain flour
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 cup espresso coffee (I used one shot from our little machine at home but you could also make a really strong plunger coffee and use 1/4 cup of that)
1/2 cup natural yogurt
1 tsp vanilla paste
150g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup blackberries (raspberries or blueberries would also be good)

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a large loaf tin. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb and a good pinch of salt and set aside. In another bowl, combine the coffee, yogurt and vanilla and stir well. Now cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the yogurt mixture and mix in on low speed. Then, by hand, fold in the flour mixture and finally fold through the blackberries.

Spoon batter into the tin and bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is just pulling away from the tin's sides and it feels firm to touch.



Gold in them hills

1.20.2015


Oh my goodness farming can be a tough gig. Too much rain or not enough (the latter at the moment for us), busted tractor tyres (ouch), busted cash flow, fences to put up, fences to pull down, animals to feed, dollar to watch, paddocks to improve, meat to sell and so it goes, on and on. Honestly the past few weeks have challenged us on most fronts. 

The point of all this is not to whinge, but to say that despite what this blog and my Instagram feed may sometimes imply, it’s not always brioche and picnics here at Mandagery Creek HQ. Sometimes, but not always. And after weeks like this, it takes extra effort to keep our eyes on the prize - which is, collectively, our two healthy kids, each other, our families, the beautiful part of the world we live in and the community we share it with. To remember that while we may not have the funds to renovate or take big holidays etc etc, we can make a nice cake and eat it in the garden for afternoon tea, swap some venison for a bottle or two of wine made by our neighbours, and go on the odd camping trip with friends and cook them an al fresco paella. You know, just enjoy the little things. Which I suppose, aren't really all that little.
 
By the way, if this post were to have a theme song, it'd be Gold In Them Hills by Ron Sexsmith.
 

Anyhoo... my birthday falls just after Christmas so this year I combined the two events in an excuse to buy myself a big paella pan and a tripod with a gas burner (from the lovely ladies at The Essential Ingredient here in Orange). We love picnics and entertaining outside but in summer, with fire bans in place, it’s been hard to cook anything al fresco. Until now...

So last weekend, after a fairly ordinary week, we took my new paella kit on its first proper outing. And it was awesome. While I know that I have a long way to go before my paella’s are perfect or authentic at all, this one really was very tasty and easy to make. Paella is a fantastic way to feed lots of people outside, (unlike risottos, they don’t need lots of stirring so you can just get it going then let it cook) and if camping, the pan comes into its own the next morning as a vehicle for mass bacon and egg frying.

Simple chicken and chorizo paella

I know I'm not inventing the wheel here. But I guess I just wanted to start our paella journey with a classic combination and take it from there. If you are keen on camping - please consider investing in one of the tripod/pan combos pictured above. All told it cost us a little over $200 but I can guarantee that we'll be cooking with this baby for years to come and feeding lots of people in the process so I consider it a good investment.  The recipe below feeds 10. My apologies for not including a photo of the finished dish but by the time we were ready to eat it was pretty dark and not ideal for photography!

1/2 cup olive oil
4 chorizo sausages, sliced into 1cm thick discs
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled, squashed with the flat side of a knife
3 tbsp each finely chopped rosemary and sage
1.5kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm cubes
1kg tomatoes, grated (discard skins)
3 tbsp smoked paprika
A good pinch (or more if funds allow) of saffron threads
2 litres chicken stock
1kg calasparra rice
2 cups frozen peas

Place your paella pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Cook the chorizo, garlic, herbs and chicken for about five minutes, until browned on the edges but only half cooked. Push everything to the side so you have a circular space in the middle of your pan. Tip in the grated tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they begin to dry up, don't let them burn.

Combine all ingredients and stir well. Now add the paprika and saffron and stir again. Pour in the stock then sprinkle over the rice. Gently stir so everything is evenly distributed across the pan then, and here's the best part, reduce the heat to medium/low and just leave it to cook for about 10 minutes. Top up the liquid if necessary and after that time check the rice for done-ness. It should be tender with just the slightest crunch. At this point, add the frozen peas, a little more liquid if necessary (you don't want it to be dry at all) and cook for a few more minutes.

Turn off the heat then serve.



Camping bircher muesli

I'm not an experienced camper. But I do love sleeping in the trailer, pictured above, that we borrowed last weekend and hope to one day call our own. We woke to a golden dawn then had a breakfast of bircher muesli, bacon and eggs before heading down to the dam for another day hanging out in and around the water.

Bircher is a brilliant way to start the day; easy, really fulling and I think, absolutely delicious, it's a great camping option as it's happy to sit in the Esky until needed and spooned into bowls. 

1 cup rolled oats
1 green apple, grated
1/2 cup apple juice
3/4 cup natural yogurt
A pinch of ground cinnamon

Combine all of the above ingredients and stir gently. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning, serve with crushed toasted hazlenuts, blueberries and maple syrup (that's our favourite). Or any other fruit/nut combination you prefer! Raspberries and toasted almonds are delicious too as is a combination of poached fruit and mixed seeds.


Recent work - Milla Cordial

1.12.2015

One of the best kinds of work I do is create recipes and take photos for local (and further afield) businesses so they can have some pretty pics to use in their marketing endeavours. And it's even more fun when those businesses are also friends. So when the lovely ladies behind Milla Cordial asked if I could come and snap their range of handmade cordials and also develop a few recipes to showcase them, I was in like flynn.

I've long been a fan of these beautiful cordials (I wrote about them here on this blog) last year, made with locally grown fruit (and now lavender!) and bush ingredients, and love that each batch is made by hand. Milla Cordial's Mel Ashton and Camilla Strang keep production runs small to ensure they get the most flavour and goodness into each bottle.

If you would like to chat about working together please get in touch. I can develop recipes, shoot and style them for you, and/or just get some nice product and lifestyle pics for your image library. Rates are reasonable and I work pretty quickly! Email - sophie_hansen@me.com


Lemon drizzle tea cake

This beautiful, dense cake sings with lemon and is just perfect on a hot day,  maybe with a dollop of natural yogurt and of course a big pitcher of Milla Cordial's Lemon, Lemon Myrtle and Kakadu Plum. Gorgeous!

250g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup buttermilk or natural yogurt
4 tbsp Millamolong Lemon, Lemon Myrtle and Kakadu Plum cordial
Zest of one lemon
1 cup icing sugar
Zest and juice of 1-2 lemons

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Fold through the flour, alternating with the buttermilk or natural yogurt and finally, fold in the cordial and lemon zest. Spoon mixture into the prepared cake tin and place in the oven for 35 minutes or until the top is golden and the cake is coming away from the sides of the tin. Let cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, just mix the icing sugar, zest and juice together until you have a lovely thick consistency. Drizzle this over the cool cake, let the icing set and serve!

Ruby Grapefruit & Lemon Aspen jelly with apple mint custard

2 cups (500mls) Milla Cordial Ruby Grapefruit and Lemon Aspen Cordial
2 cups (500mls) water
Juice of one ruby grapefruit
6 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 5 minutes
Apple mint custard (recipe here)

Combine the cordial, water and grapefruit juice in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Squeeze excess water from the gelatine leaves then whisk them into the hot cordial mixture.

Lightly spray a large jelly mould or six small, one-cup moulds with canola cooking spray then pour mixture into the mould or moulds, cover with plastic then place in the fridge to set overnight or for a few hours.

Serve with segments of ruby grapefruit, raspberries, almond bread and some lovely thick custard.

Lavender Shortbread Biscuits

Short, sweet and aromatic - these little beauties are great fodder for afternoon or morning tea. Recipe adapted from one by Mary Berry .

175g softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup (115g) caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour
2 tbsp fresh, unsprayed, finely chopped lavender buds
For the icing; Milla Cordial lemon, lime and lavender cordial, 1 cup pure icing sugar and extra lavender buds

Line three large baking trays with paper and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour and lavender and gently stir until you have a soft dough.

Turn this out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide mixture in two and gently knead one half (keep dusting your hands with flour if necessary) until you have a smooth dough, form into a disc shape, wrap in plastic and repeat with remaining mixture. Place the discs in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.

Preheat oven to 160C (fan) and gently roll out one disc of dough between two sheets of baking paper, you want it to be an even 5mms thick, or thereabouts. Using a 5cm round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits and arrange on prepared baking tray. Roll the reamining dough back into a ball and let chill for a while before re-rolling and cutting.

Let the tray of un-baked biscuits chill in the fridge again for 20-30 minutes before baking in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until pale gold.

Wait until the biscuits are completely cool then whisk together the icing sugar with enough cordial to achieve a nice, thick consistency. Spoon a little icing over each biscuit and sprinkle with the extra lavender buds. Makes about 20 biscuits.



Also part of the Milla Cordial story is an annual Polo Carnival coming up this March just out of Orange. We have been the last few years and it's always a really fun, very family friendly day. Ticket for the John Davis Volvo Polo Carnival on March 14/15h 2015 are now on sale via the Millamolong website.





Opening the farm gate - this year's events

1.10.2015

2015 is shaping up to be a great year for events, collaborations and good times at the Mandagery Creek Venison Farm Kitchen (and beyond). And now we're out of the fog of Christmas and New Year, I've finally put them all together right on the Local is Lovely e-store, with booking links too.

Please have a read through the below and hopefully find a date/event that suits/appeals. And please also get in touch if you'd like to organise a private event with us or have a bright idea for a workshop we could collaborate on. We have a great space here and I'd love to use it more!

2015 Calendar (more events will be added as we move into the year)

Farm Kitchen Lunch - Saturday 14th February

Feel the love with us this Valentines Day and come out for a three course lunch and farm tour at the Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen. Kicking off around 12.30pm, our afternoon together will include a farm tour, brief cooking demo and relaxed three-course lunch at our big shared tables. Cost is $75pp and lunch is BYO (save a complimentary glass of local bubbles on arrival). Please book here or call (0400 032 326) or email me at sophie_hansen@me.com with any queries.

Farm Kitchen Lunch - Saturday 14th March



Join us for a three course lunch at the Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen on Saturday, March 14.
Kicking off around 12.30pm, our afternoon together will include a romantic (sort of. Well, not really) farm tour, brief cooking demo and relaxed three-course lunch at our big shared tables. Cost is $75pp and lunch is BYO (save a complimentary glass of local bubbles on arrival). Please book here or call (0400 032 326) or email me at sophie_hansen@me.com with any queries.


Conquer the Classics Bakeclub Class and Lunch - Sunday 22nd March

In this demonstration-style workshop with Anneka Manning, author of Bake, Eat, Love, and myself,  we will tackle the classic dishes that home cooks are often hesitant to attempt. Held at the Farm Kitchen, we'll start off with basic fail-safe recipes for each one, we will also look at several variations that are sure to impress. The class will be followed by a sumptuous lunch with Anneka and Sophie, for booking and more information, please jump over to the Bake Club website.

Healthy Kids Lunchboxes Bakeclub Class and Lunch - Monday 23rd March

Our second demonstration-style workshop with Anneka Manning, author of Bake, Eat, Love, we are going to 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. For booking and more information, please jump over to the Bake Club website.


Food photography and styling workshop - Tuesday 31st March and Wednesday 1st April

Join us back at Kimbri Farm this Autumn for a completely unique Local is Lovely Pracshop™ - a practical workshop focusing 80% practical shooting and 20% theory. During practical shooting we will discuss and put in practice how to use your camera, photography basics, lighting, composition, angles, camera gear, planning your own photoshoots, and the working relationship between photographer and stylist. 20% theory will cover things like the art of seeing technique and exercises; workflow, editing and ways to help you find your own style, collaboration and social media presence. There will be shared meals in the orchard, an early breakfast in the paddock, and we'll all come away full of inspiration and content. Our two days together will be a unique experience in editorial styling and shooting. It will be a group effort. It will be hands on, delicious and inspiring. You'll go away not only shooting with confidence (using manual settings of course!) but with a whole new way of thinking about styling and composition plus loads of new recipes and cooking experience.
Cost is $900pp and includes two full days workshop, all meals and accommodation (BYO alcohol). Quick sticks if you want to come to this workshop, we only have a couple of spots left! There's also the option to come as a day student for $600 (not including accom).

Moveable Feast - Saturday 11th April

In collaboration with our friends at the Agrestic Grocer, join us for a unique and delicious Moveable Feast. Starting with bubbles and canapes at the Agrestic Grocer in town then moving out to the Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen for a farm tour, entree and main then pudding at the Farm Gate orchard on the way home. We will cook our region's best seasonal produce and share it together in the very place it was grown and raised. As this event is part of the 2015 F.O.O.D Week program, bookings will open once the program is launched in February.

See Saw Wine tasting and venison pies at the Farm Kitchen - Sunday, 12th April

Drop in for a venison pie and a tasting of our neighbour Pip and Justin Jarretts’s new label See Saw Wines. Bookings would be great (for big groups) but not necessary. Pie and salad for $15 and tastings are free. See Saw wines will be available to buy by the case, bottle and glass too. Spend a relaxed afternoon with us at the Farm Kitchen! 11-4pm. To book, please call on 0400 032 326 or email sophie_hansen@me.com

Venison cooking demonstration and lunch - Thursday, 16th April

Come out to the farm for our first mid-week cooking demo and lunch. Tim and I will show you a few of their favourite venison recipes and demonstrate just how easy it is to cook this healthy, delicious red meat. Then we’ll all sit down for a relaxed lunch together. $65pp, BYO. Book here.

Food photography and styling workshop - Thursday 25th May and Friday 26th May

Our second Autumn workshop will again bring together two of Australia's top photographers and stylists (Luisa Brimble and Stephanie Somebody) in a two-day practical workshop focusing 80% practical shooting and 20% theory. During practical shooting we will discuss and put in practice how to use your camera, photography basics, lighting, composition, angles, camera gear, planning your own photoshoots, and the working relationship between photographer and stylist. 20% theory will cover things like the art of seeing technique and exercises; workflow, editing and ways to help you find your own style, collaboration and social media presence. There will be shared meals in the olive grove, an early breakfast in the paddock, and we'll all come away full of inspiration and content.
Cost is $900pp and includes two full days workshop, all meals and accommodation (BYO alcohol), book here. There's also the option to come as a day student for $600 (not including accom).

Saturday, June 13 - Farm Kitchen Lunch

Join us for a three course lunch at the Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen on Saturday, June 13. Kicking off around 12.30pm, our afternoon together will include a farm tour, brief cooking demo and relaxed three-course lunch at our big shared tables. Cost is $75pp and lunch is BYO (save a complimentary glass of local bubbles on arrival). Please book here or call (0400 032 326) or email me at sophie_hansen@me.com with any queries.


The sweetest thing; apricot brioche

1.08.2015


There are few things nicer in life, I think, than a perfect apricot, picked and eaten warm from the tree. Almost overpoweringly fragrant and juicy; ripe apricots are on another level to the cold, hard and mealy ones we all get stuck with from the shops from time to time (though if you do find yourself with a kilo or two of these, all's not lost - just dust them in cinnamon sugar, dot with butter and roast for a bit - they'll come up beautifully).

Here in Orange, many orchards have just finished picking their apricots. These locally harvested ones can be found at our monthly markets (which are on tomorrow morning) and shops like The Agrestic Grocer and Hillside Harvest. And they are superb.


We went straight to the source the other day and asked some friends, who happen to have their own orchard, if we could please come and pick a basket or two. This family have 800 or so apricot trees on the slopes of Mount Canobolas and a pretty incredible view too. Our kids are at school together and so they all had a ball picking and playing while we did the same. 

It almost seems a shame to do anything with perfectly ripe apricots like these, being as they are, just perfect on their own. But because I was in a baking mood on the weekend, a handful or so of our haul, were tucked into soft discs of brioche dough, sprinkled with sugar and baked until collapsed on their buttery base. And actually, they were one of the best things I've made all year. Though as we're only a few days in that's not saying much. Kidding, they were amazing. 

There are plenty more apricot recipes here in the archives too; including recipes for apricot ice cream, apricot chicken, apricot frangipane tart and apricot curd.There's also one for apricot and vanilla jam, this was one of the first recipes I ever posted here on the blog and is still a favourite of many lovely readers!



Brioche isn't a particularly useful thing to make; a little too rich for breakfast and not really sweet enough for pudding. But in my opinion, absolutely perfect for a nice little brunch or morning tea.

It's also a real joy to make. Rich, golden and bursting with butter, I love working with this dough and the way it makes my hands feel and smell. I love and the gradual process of rising, shaping and pressing into smooth round discs. And of course, I love the end result.

Apricot Brioche

You can swap the apricots with pretty much any seasonal fruit, figs would be beautiful here as would berries or sliced peaches. If making these for brunch, just make up the dough the night before then divide up into smaller balls when you wake up, let them rest for a couple of hours and pop in the oven just before your friends arrive and/or you fancy eating them. This recipe is adapted from one in my new favourite cookbook Huckleberry. If you like baking, then you'll absolutely love this one.

4 tbsp full fat milk
2 tbsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups 00 baking flour (plain is ok too if that’s what you have)
1/4 cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp sea salt
5 eggs, beaten
220g unsalted butter, cubes, very soft
1/2 cup almond flakes

Warm the milk just a little then place in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Sprinkle in the yeast and whisk to combine. Set aside for a few minutes or until frothy. Add the flour, sugar, salt and eggs then mix on low for a few minutes or until the dough comes together.

Increase the speed a little and work the dough for five minutes, stopping every now and then to scrape the dough down from the sides of the bowl.

Now, reduce the mixer speed again to low and add the butter a little at at time. Pausing every now and then to scrape any dough down the sides of the bowl. Mix until all the butter is completely integrated into the dough and you have a beautiful smooth mixture. Remove from the mixer bowl and with lightly floured hands, work into a ball.

Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with plastic and place overnight in the fridge.

The next morning, take your dough out of the fridge and gently cut into four or six small balls, depending on how big you want them and how many you want!

Gently work the first piece of dough into a smooth dough, pinching the sides down to the base so the sides are all even. Then, using the heel of your palm, flatten the first into a disc (keep the remaining covered with a damp tea towel while you work), with a gentle indentation in the middle. Place on a greased, lined baking tray and repeat with the remaining dough.

Cover loosely with plastic and set aside at room temperature again for two hours. After an hour and a half, preheat the oven to 180C. Slice the apricots into halves or quarters and arrange in the indent of each brioche.

To make the egg wash, combine two tbsp double cream with 1 egg and whisk well. Brush this over your brioche and then sprinkle liberally with the extra sugar and the almond flakes.

Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the brioche are golden brown. Serve straight away!


Bookings open for our Autumn workshops!

1.04.2015

 
If you've been thinking recently that you'd like to pick up some new photography and styling skills, love the company of creative people and/or just fancy two days in the countryside eating, sharing and collaborating with others, well then...please read on...


Bookings are now open for two new and completely unique Local is Lovely Pracshops™. Co-hosted by photographer Luisa Brimble, stylist Stephanie Stamatis and myself, these practical workshops will be held at Kimbri Farm (2 1/2 hours west of Sydney, just over the Blue Mountains) and will focus 80% on practical shooting and 20% on theory. We held our first Local is Lovely workshop in November last year and it really was a fantastic event, you can read/see more about them here and here.

During practical shooting elements of the workshop, we will discuss and put in practice how to use your camera, photography basics, lighting, composition, angles, camera gear, planning your own photoshoots, and the working relationship between photographer and stylist. 20% theory will cover things like the art of seeing technique and exercises; workflow, editing and ways to help you find your own style, collaboration and social media presence. We be rolling up our sleeves and together pick orchard fruit and olives from Kimbri farm, style a beautiful table setting among the trees and cook and eat there too. Luisa and Steph will be on hand to teach us how to shoot and style the whole process (from vignettes to raw ingredients, cooking and end result). There will be shared meals in the orchard, an early breakfast in the paddock, and we'll all come away full of inspiration and content. Our two days together will be a unique experience in editorial styling and shooting. It will be a group effort. It will be hands on, delicious and inspiring. You'll go away not only shooting with confidence (using manual settings of course!) but with a whole new way of thinking about styling and composition plus loads of new recipes and cooking experience.

Cost is $900pp and includes two full days workshop, all meals and accommodation (BYO alcohol).We are also offering a few 'day student' spots for $600 (accom not included). You can book these here (for March 31 and April 1) and here (for May 25 and 26).

WHEN
31 Mar/1 April - Autumn Harvest, apples, pears and quinces
25/26th May - Autumn harvest, olives

WHERE
Kimbri Farm, 2 1/2 hours west of Sydney, just over the Blue Mountains.

WHY
Because you will learn, share, create, collaborate, cooperate and have a ball.

HOW
Jump over to the Local is Lovely e-store to book. Or call or email me with any queries (0400 032 326 or sophie_hansen@me.com). Please note that I'm travelling today so will respond as soon as I can but possibly not immediately.


All images by the amazing Luisa Brimble.

Through a glass lightly

12.30.2014



I don't imagine many wineries have a disco ball hanging over the bottling line. But Chris Derrez and Lucy Maddox of Madrez Wine Services are like that. They hold discos for their daughter in the barrel room, they love dress up parties and they are two of the best winemakers around. 

We used to be neighbours with these guys and over the years have enjoyed some really memorable meals at their table. Since the family moved a couple of years ago, to the foot of Mt Canobolas, we, regrettably, see them somewhat less. So any chance to catch up is welcome. 


The Madrez family and their winemaking business has settled itself comfortably into an old orchard and packing shed on Canobolas Road; their comfy, funky house is just metres from the winery and I love the whole set up. Lucy and recently met at the winery over tea and coconut cake (recipe below) and because I was too busy eating and taking photos to take notes, we followed up with a little e-interview. Here t'is!

Lucy, can you tell me a little bit about what you guys do here at Madrez Wine Services?

Madrez Wine Services is a contract winemaking and packaging facility.  Chris & I like to think of ourselves as ghost writers for the wine industry.  Our clients have vineyards, cellar doors and wine brands, we fill the gap, making and bottling the wines they desire from their grapes.  We also make a range of fruit wines and ciders for our clients.  We just love to make wine. 

Can you give me a bit of your background? How you came to be a winemaker?

Chris is a crazy Burgundian, he was born with cool climate winemaking in his blood.  I studied Chemistry but fell in love with the magical transition grapes to wine whilst making bucket sized batches of wine from viticulture trials for the Department of Agriculture in WA.  I studied winemaking at Roseworthy, then set out to travel and make wine.



You've made wine all over the world, why settle and set up shop in Orange?

When Chris & I left Switzerland in 2001 we were looking for an Australian home cool enough to make the delicate Northern European wine styles we love (think Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne), somewhere still a little wild frontier, somewhere with a lot of winemaking potential.


What do you love about it? What kinds of wines do you particularly love making?

What do I love about wine?  Grapes are a snap shot of the conditions they grow in, you only get the one chance to make the wine of that particular time and place.  I particularly like Nebbiolo.  It was created to vex winemakers with its delicate perfume and massive tannins.  And I love making sparkling wine and delicate Riesling and long lived Chardonnays and port and …


Your home and winery is in one of my favourite parts of NSW, the foot of Mt Canobolas in the Nashdale valley, can you tell me what you love about living here?

Proper seasons - autumn leaves, real snow, apple blossom and cherries like Christmas decorations.  The Towac Valley is a beautiful place. The clouds, the mist, the mountain.  It’s a little bit of Europe.



Your local tips? Favourite places to eat, drink and play in your neck of the woods?

Walking to Fiorini’s restaurant for  lunch, bottle of wine in hand, when the weather is frosty.  Meeting friends to share cake and coffee at Lake Canobolas or walking the loop around the Lake when the autumn leaves are falling.  The view from the Pinnacle …


And finally, the one wine you make for yourselves (at this stage!) is the Sparkling of Orange - can you describe this one for us? And what do you think is the best way to enjoy your bubbles this Christmas!?

Never say no to a glass of bubbles! My New Year’s resolution was to drink more Sparkling wine, so Chris made one!

Chris loves to serve it as an aperitif with a dash of crème d cassis, Kir Royal, how very Burgundian of him!  The black currants will be ripe shortly.  So to make the crème d cassis – pick your black currants and crush them lightly just to burst the berries.  Put them into a large glass jar and cover with Vodka.  Seal, shake to mix and place in a cool dark place for a month. Strain though a fine sieve twice and add as much sugar as liquid. Place a teaspoon of crème d cassis in the bottom of a flute and top with sparkling wine.

Lucy's CWA special (coconut cake) 

Lucy is a fantastic baker and doesn't let a small thing like vintage or stop her from making something for morning tea on most days. This is her go-to recipe for a quick treat and actually, having tasted and tried it myself - think it might be mine too. This is the easiest and quickest recipe I've ever posted here and yes, it's delicious!

1 cup SR flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup milk
1 egg
½ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 180c and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Mix everything together (mixture will be runny), then pour into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes.

Ice with icing sugar and lemon or lime juice to your preferred drizzle consistency. So easy, never fail.








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