The friday list


This weekend we are home with no markets and no commitments, just some farm jobs, ballet for Alice and family for lunch on Saturday. Thank goodness. So here's a list of things I'd like to read, cook and do.

This is the prettiest cake I think I've ever seen
How cool is this community garden in Berlin?
Orangette's Molly writes so beautifully, and these breakfast biscuits look amazing.
Stamped French biscuits, cute idea
And still in France, one day I'd like my kids to learn how to shop in a proper French bakery like this

Beautiful blogs
Pratos e Travessas is an absolutely beautiful Portuguese food blog (recipes are given in English too)
And from rural Virginia comes the lovely Casa Yellow

My writing elsewhere this week
Baked cinnamon and apple porridge (pictured above) is a delicious way to start these cold mornings
Chicken with tomato and rosemary over at Village Voices
Make the batter for carrot and orange muffins the night before you need them. Easy and delicious.
Sweet jammy granola clusters on Village Voices

And that's how we roll


It's mid-winter here in Orange and our orchards and berry farms are being pruned and bedded down till spring. So, aside from citrus, and cold-storage apples and pears the fruit basket is looking a little sorry. Not to worry - it's time to put those preserves into action!

Inspired by the wonderful Food in Jars blog, we are starting a new series today on Local is Lovely called Raising the Jar. It will be a scrapbook of recipes and ideas for your preserves, bought or made, and to get the ball rolling I've just started a Raising the Jar pinterest page, if you like, you can take a look at it here. Please also send through any ideas via the comments page below.

For now though, we'll kick off with a lovely little jam roll (recipe below).

I'm a fairly keen on the odd jam session but am also happy to admit most of our preserving is currently outsourced. It's a time thing. Anyway, this afternon Alice, Tom and I swung by our favourite shop in Orange; the Guildry. You can (and really should) find it in a sweet little cottage in the middle of our beautiful Cook Park (here it is in warmer days). A team of clever (voluntary) country women keep the store stocked with jams, chutneys, slices, biscuits, cakes, hand knitted jumpers, beanies, baby blankets and so on. It's all good, all incredibly well priced and open every day from 10-4pm. Tim courted me with their chocolate caramel slice and I promise it's as good as it sounds.

Apricot jam roll

3 eggs, separated
185g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
1/4 cup pouring cream
1/2 cup apricot jam

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a lamington tin with baking paper. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, gradually add 3/4 of the caster sugar and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy. Whisk in the yolks one by one and then fold through the (sifted) flour. Gently spread the cake mixture across the prepared tray, it should be an even 1.5cm thick (or thereabouts). Cook for 10 minutes or until the top is a pale golden colour. Meanwhile place a clean tea towel flat on your kitchen bench and very lightly sprinkle with the remaining caster sugar. Remove the cake from the oven and carefully turn it out onto the prepared tea towell, over the sugar. Remove the baking paper and gently roll the cake, with the tea towel and leave all wrapped up to cool.

Unwrap the cake, gently, and spread with the cream then jam. Re-roll with out the tea towel. Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container for a couple of days.

An eye for a pie


We have just finished washing up two days worth of cooking. And now, finally...can sit down by the fire, finish the last of the red wine and maybe the crumble and honey ice cream too. 

The Farm Kitchen was going great guns this weekend; we had a venison pie cooking class and lunch on Saturday (recipes below) and a relaxed Sunday lunch of osso buco and crumble today. Thank you to our lovely guests for making both lunches so much fun. Alice has just returned to us from her first sleep over and Tom spent a happy day with the undivided attention of his favourite babysitter (thank you Kathy!).

Gina Allen's venison pie

2kg venison chuck steak cut in 3cms pieces
1 8mm slice of smokey bacon cut into lardoons
1 red onion diced
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tbls each rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram finely chopped
1 tbls juniper berries lightly crushed in mortar and pestle
Plain flour
Salt and pepper
2 x 375ml bottles James Squire amber ale
1 cup veal stock
¼ cup sultanas
5 roma tomatoes-quartered and halved
1 eggplant cubed
Puff pastry

Cook onions in olive oil till translucent then add garlic and bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add herbs and juniper berries. Mix flour and a tspn of paprika and coat meat and shake off excess.Fry in batches in hot oil to brown and put in pan with onion, bacon and garlic.
Add beer and bring to boil then add stock and bring back to boil.
Taste and add salt and pepper.

Cover with a lid and put in fan forced oven 160 C for about 1 hour. Check meat and add eggplant and tomatoes and sultanas and cook for another 40 mins or until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily. To thicken make a roux (50gm butter, melted and then whisk in 50 gm p flour) and add liquid to the roux and then add back into pot and cook for extra 15 mins. Cool down and when cold make individual pies of a large pie with a puff pastry lid, glaze with eggwash and cook in oven 200 C till golden, about 15 mins. 

Elizabeth David’s Chocolate Cake and chocolate ganache sauce
If you haven't made this cake before please give it a try. It's so easy, freezes beautifully and always, always tastes amazing. Yesterday we served this with spiced poached pears, hot chocolate ganache and honey ice cream. Um. Yum.

250 g bitter dark chocolate 
150 g caster sugar

150 g butter

100 g ground almonds

5 eggs, free range, separated

Preheat oven to 180°C. Melt chocolate, sugar & butter in a double boiler, stirring regularly until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from heat, stir through the almonds and then beat in the egg yolks, one by one.
Beat the whites to stiff peaks then fold those in also. It helps to mix in about a quarter of the egg to the mix first to lighten it, then fold in the remainder. Turn the batter into a greased and floured cake tin - 20cm round or square and bake for 40-50 minutes.

The Friday list


This weekend we are hosting two lunches at the farm kitchen and are expecting snow at some stage and so Tim will be busy putting out silage for the deer so they can keep their energy up during these bitterly cold days. All up it's going to be a busy and cold weekend.  But just for the moment I’m going to pretend we are having a nice quiet weekend at home and I’ll be able to make and read the following;

Elephantine’s Easy apple tart
101 Cookbook’s rose petal granola
Raspberry ice cream pie from another new favourite blog Eat Sleep Cuddle
The latest issue from Fete Press
Pip's winter superfood salad

Beautiful blogs about living locally:
A word of warning, spending time over at Manger might leave you with a touch of lifestyle envy. Mimi is beautiful and clever. She lives in France's Medoc region with her cool French family and makes and blogs about delicious regional French food. Sigh.

Imen McDonnell married an Irish farmer and blogs about it with great humour and style. Her recipes are gorgeous, I'm definitely going to try the one for hay ice cream next.

Sam and Catherine's blog Island Menu makes me want to go to Tasmania and fish, cook and shop there for weeks. 

My posts elsewhere this week
Six ways to make food shopping with kids (much) more fun
10 more dishes to make from the cupboard over on Village Voices
Poppyseed cake with roasted vanilla and rosemary oranges over on JustB

Gin and bear it


Visiting a distillery with two tired and irritable children is tempting fate. Both my little people had throwdowns at Bathurst's Stone Pine Distillery last Friday (Tom had issues with leaving the mini ride-on tractor behind and Alice was reluctant to leave George the cat).  I admit I stood in that lovely room, next to the big shiny still and took some deep breaths hoping to inhale some alcohol and find inner calm. 

Stone Pine Distillery is about five minutes from Bathurst's bustling CBD and there you will find Ian and Bev Glen. Both expat Scots they established the distillery four years ago and now make a range of spirits and liqueurs. The gin is my favourite; in addition to the requisite juniper berries, Ian and Bev also use (mostly) locally sourced native aromatics (finger line, lemon myrtle, wattle seed, river mint and iron bark) to make this dry gin and it's really good. I should know. I tried it with some tonic, ice and lemon at 7pm on the dot that night. And again at 7.15pm.

As well as the classic gin and tonic, we also tried Ian's gin in this beautiful trifle. It's one of the easiest desserts you could imagine and really does showcase the spirit's flavours quite well. Just a warning though; don't have seconds if you plan on driving home.

Gin and ruby red grapefruit 'trifle'

Serves 4

4 slices madiera cake (store bought or home made - here's my recipe)
6 tbsp Stone Pine Gin
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp almonds
1 ruby red grapefruit, segmented

Slice the cake and place it on a nice platter. Sprinkle over the gin and let sit for a little while. Whip the cream until nice and floppy. Pour the sugar into a saucepan over medium high heat. Line a tray with baking paper and scatter it with the almonds. Swirl the sugar around until it melts and turns into a lovely golden syrup. Once all the sugar is dissolved pour over the almonds, swirling until you have a large disc of toffee. Let set and then break into shards. Spoon the cream over your cake, top with the grapefruit segments and almond toffee and serve.

Singe factor


This weekend’s life lesson; never stick your head in a wood-fired oven. Even if it’s to check the chicken isn’t burning because in all likelihood you’ll loose your eyelashes and possibly your eyebrows too. I write from experience.

We have just spent a cold, wet and very fun weekend at Mum and Dad’s house. My brothers and brother-in-law made then launched rockets, we lit the wood-fired oven and cooked in it and the six cousins (all under 6) had a ball. The original plan was to make pizzas in the wood fired oven but sleeting rain sort of killed that idea. Instead we baked chicken with fennel and stuffed apples and they were both beautiful. 

This afternoon Tim and I hosted the lovely team from Byng St Local Store for our first private lunch booking at the Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen. Thank you guys for coming to to see us!

Baked chicken and fennel

Serves 6
4 chicken breasts 
olive oil
1 brown onion
2 tsp wholemeal mustard
2 tbsp thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
1 cup stock
1 large bulb of fennel, sliced into thick chunks
Preheat oven to 200C. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and brown the chicken breasts on all sides. Place them in an oven-proof casserole dish. Add a little more olive oil, reduce the heat in the saucepan and cook the onions for five minutes or until soft. Add the mustard, thyme, wine and stock and bring the sauce to the boil. Pour this over the chicken breasts, tuck in the fennel and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken feels firm. Serve with a beautiful green salad and some crusty bread to mop up all of the sauce.

Baked apples 

Core one apple per person. Stuff the centres with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and sultanas. Pop a small nob of butter on the top of each apple and bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes.

This weekend ...


This weekend I'd like to...

1. See the for the North Sydney market on tomorrow morning. We will be there with antlers on
2. Plan to have a kitchen like this ... one day
3. Read Manger, my new favourite food blog and make this cake as soon as berries are back in season
4. Order a copy of this fancy new online food magazine Sated
5. Browse the classes on offer at Megan Mortan's The School, save up and go to one
6. Book some Frost Fest events (and be inundated with bookings for our Farm Kitchen ones!)
7. Spice up my bircher muesli with this version from raw food queen Sarah Britton (no strawberries  here in Orange right now but spiced pears or dried figs would also be beautiful)
8. Make these cream tarts, but with citrus, apples or pears instead of berries.

My posts elsewhere this week
Bircher muesli at JustB 
10 dishes you can cook from the cupboard on Village Voices
Making pot sticker dumplings with Alice, over at Village Voices

Some like it cold (and muddy)


So the long weekend is over and this household is a bit flat. Our visitors are driving back to Sydney, the laundry pile is enormous and we'd really just like to rewind back to Friday afternoon. Orange was at it's best this weekend with beautiful cold, clear days and a really great market on Saturday morning to kick things off. Tim 'manned' our stand and earned lots of brownie points for setting up at 6am in sub-zero temperatures while the rest of us ambled down (much) later to eat bacon and egg rolls and shop. We came home with Condobolin oranges, freshly milled flours, bread and other good things.

One of our visitors was the lovely Cookie, (that's her above in the red boots). As her name suggests she is a bit handy in the kitchen and is also one of Alice's much-loved God-mothers. Cook made lots of good things for us over the course of the weekend, including a big plate of buckwheat fritters for Saturday lunch. I was feeling wholesome with all our healthy flours so also made a spelt gingerbread and some orange curd to spread on it. Both recipes are below. 

Cook's buckwheat fritters

1 corn cob
2 zucchinis
2 eggs
1 cup toasted buckwheat flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp melted butter
1 rashers thinly sliced crispy bacon
Creme fraiche and lemon wedges to serve
Mix all ingredients together and then shallow fry with some light oil until golden on all sides. Serve with a little creme fraiche and lemon. 

Spelt gingerbread loaf with orange curd

This loaf isn't very sweet but has a lovely warmth from all that fresh ginger. My recipe was inspired by one given in the excellent 'Breakfast Lunch Tea: Rose Bakery' book. 

70g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground ginger
a pinch of cayenne pepper (skip this ingredient if cooking for kids)
a pinch of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs, beaten

Line a loaf tin with baking paper and grease the sides then preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter, sugar, syrup and ginger together until pale and smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder and spices. Then in a jug, mix the bicarbonate of soda with 3/4 cup boiling water. Mix this liquid into the creamed butter, sugar and ginger and stir to combine. Then fold through the flour mixture and finally the eggs. Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top. Bake for 35 minutes. 

Orange curd
4 egg yolks
1 cup caster sugar
200g soft, unsalted butter
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
100mls orange juice

Beat the yolks and sugar together in a heatproof bowl. Add the butter, zest and juice and place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until the mixture has thickened. This will take about 10-15 minutes so does require a bit of a time investment but it's a pretty brainless task and quite therapeutic if you aren't in a big rush. This recipe makes about two cups.

This (long) weekend...


We have some friends arriving tonight for the long weekend. They're making the trip from Sydney and Melbourne and we are excited - big time. Two of them happen to be Alice's godmothers and she is beside herself. So, Elise, Sam, Simon and Eddie - this is our plan for you: we're going to kick off by visiting Tim and our stand at the Orange Region Farmers Market on Saturday morning, then home for lunch and an afternoon in Canowindra. Maybe a little shop at the beautiful Bendy St Emporium, two doors up we'll have a drink or two at Swinging Bridge's new cellar door and then red wine and venison pies by the fire that night. On Sunday we'll head to the Old Convent Cafe for lunch and maybe if it's not too cold, a bonfire that afternoon. 

Have a great long weekend everyone, and if coming to Orange - bring your beanies! Monday is a public holiday so once everyone heads home I might...

1. Dream of balmy dinners at the beach
2. Spend some time at my new discovery Kirsty. This website is incredible
3. Go fishing with Island Menu
4. Make this beautiful almond cake 
5. Bookmark these spelt and yogurt rolls by Sisters in the Kitchen
6. Stock up on citrus at the farmers market and maket this grapefruit and ginger curd.
7. Eat a sandwich like this

Oh, and please also take a look at Orange's 2012 Frost Fest program. We are hosting a few events during the festival and would love to see you there.

My posts elsewhere this week
Caramel apples on Village Voices
My 'Mom Story' on Bloesem Kids

Caramel apples


Just weeks ago Orange's apple orchards were finishing up harvest, but today it's a bitter three degrees outside and the trees look all bare and bunkered down for winter. We picked up a box of Pink Ladies from a nearby roadside stall, ate a few and then came home to dip the rest in rich, buttery caramel. If you have the time and inclination to do the same (please do, they're delicious), I've just posted the recipe over at my Tuesday spot on Village Voices.  

Sunday lunch, just quietly


It’s wet, cold and foggy here at Mandagery Creek HQ and we are spending the day doing NOTHING. Tim is good because for once he’s managed to watch a whole episode of Landline and I'm in my happy place because I have managed to spend a couple of hours quietly cooking for just us four. We did the markets in Sydney yesterday and returned with lots of beautiful produce plus a few unsold venison tenderloins so this was lunch today. And just to gild the lily, Tim and I shared a bottle of Philip Shaw pinot (because we're worth it).  

Market vegetable and sorrel ‘gratin’ with Venison medallions

With its gentle flavours and textures, we think this deconstructed gratin is perfect with venison, but that said, it would also be delicious alongside some hot smoked trout or even a simply roasted chicken. 

for the vegetables;
2 purple carrots, peeled and finely sliced
1 bunch baby beetroot, peeled and finely sliced
6 small new season potatoes; pink fir or chat would be good, scrubbed and peeled if you think it’s necessary (I don’t bother)
For the gratin;
2 cups sourdough breadcrumbs (very roughly chopped or processed)
100ml milk
25g butter, melted
For the sorrel sauce;
1 bunch bloody doc sorrel
25g butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup boiling water
100ml cream
1 bunch sorrel, stems removed and roughly shredded
2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves

For the vegetables, very lightly steam the carrots and beetroot and set aside. Place the potatoes in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.  For the gratin, preheat the oven to 200C, then soak the breadcrumbs in the milk and butter for at least 10 minutes, and  spread out on a baking tray and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are crispy and golden. Now to make the sauce; first boil the kettle then heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-high. Once melted and bubbling, add the flour and stir well, cook this for a minute or so, stirring regularly and then pour in the white wine and boiling water. Cook for a few minutes, whisking all the time until you have a nice thick sauce consistency. Pour in the cream and add the sorrel and thyme leaves. Whisk well and remove from heat. 

For the venison;
1 x Mandagery Creek Venison tenderloin
1 tsbp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the olive oil in an oven-proof saucepan over high heat. Brown the tenderloin on both sides and then place in the oven for five minutes. Season to taste and allow to rest under a tent of foil for a few minutes.
To assemble; gently toss the vegetables together (be careful though as the carrots and beetroot are generous with their colour and can tint the whole dish pink if allowed to). Place these on a warmed serving platter, spoon over the sorrel sauce and top with the breadrcumbs. 

Once the venison has rested, slice into medallions about 1 1/2 cm thick and place these next to the gratin on your serving platter. Serve immediately.

Steamed orange and jam pudding

150g softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup jam (I used plum because that's all we had but marmalade would also be great)
200ml milk
finely grated rind of one orange

For the syrupy oranges
1/2 orange, finely sliced
1/2 cup orange marmalade

First make the syrupy oranges by placing the slices in a saucepan just covered with water and simmering for a few minutes. Drain away the water, add the marmalade and another splash of water and cook for a few minutes more. 

Generously butter a 2-litre capacity pudding bowl, preferably with a lid. Line the base of the pudding bowl with the syrupy oranges. Cream the butter and sugar together and once and light and fluffy, add the eggs once at a time, mixing well between each addition. Fold through the flour, jam, rind and milk and gently combine. Spoon mixture into the pudding bowl and either attach its lid or if it doesn't have one, tightly cover with foil and tie up with string. Pull out your biggest saucepan (also with a lid), place the pudding bowl in it's centre and then gently fill the saucepan with hot water (so it comes about 3/4 up the sides of the pudding). Set the stovetop to medium and steam the pudding for 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Invert the pudding onto a nice plate and serve with custard, cream, ice cream or yogurt.  

This recipe was inspired by one given on page 124 of the June 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller. Incidentally it's a fantastic issue and full of beautiful recipes. 

This weekend


This weekend I'd like to ...

  1. Be as cool as these guys. And make pie like them too. 
  2. Get inspired by Slow Food Italy's school market garden project
  3. Cook from the beautiful Australian blog; the Food Dept
  4. Bake for the Queen with this Jubilee layer cake
  5. Make this chocolate fudge sauce
  6. Be all raw and healthy with these tacos 
  7. Plan a pretty party like this one
  8. Print out these produce charts 

My posts elsewhere this week
One beautiful pound cake and ten other Jubilee baking ideas for JustB Australia
One pot chicken and tomato rice on Village Voices
Apple and hazlenut crumble and custard on Village Voices
A little piece by me on the NSW Rural Women's Network blog

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