Parties, pomegranates and leiderhosen


We hosted two lovely groups for lunch last weekend including a birthday lunch for the lovely Juliet, (below). On the menu was this quinoa salad with spiced venison, eggplant and pomegranate (recipe below) while for desert we had almond and orange cake with white chocolate ganache. If you are in the area and still wondering what to do for your Christmas party, please get in touch as we'd love to organise your a lunch, dinner or drinks here at the Farm Kitchen.

Sunday morning saw the arrival of a friend and customer Wolfgang who had just returned from his native Germany with a fancy new deer-hide Leiderhosen made especially for Tim. It took a little gentle encouragement for him to try it on and then it was all knee-slapping all afternoon. Hopefully he'll pull it on again next weekend for our Longrain lunch with Martin Boetz (a few seats still available so please email me if keen).

Spiced venison with eggplant and pomegranate

This recipe is easy, delicious and perfect for a warm spring lunch. It was inspired by one given some years ago in the New Zealand magazine Cuisine and we have since tweaked and cooked it many times, including lunch last week and Christmas day last year. 

Recipe serves 6-8

Eggplant puree
1 bulb of garlic
2 large eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
zest and juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 170C. Rub the garlic and eggplants in olive oil, wrap the garlic in foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes or until the eggplants have softened and collapsed. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for a little while. Once you can handle them. peel the eggplants (the skin should come away easily) and place in a sieve so the excess water can drain away. Squeeze the garlic straight into the bowl of your food processor and add the tahini, lemon juice and zest plus some salt and pepper. Whizz this up then add the eggplant and keep whizzing until just combined, with the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Scrape into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and either keep at room temperature if eating soon or place in the fridge.

For the yogurt sauce
Mix together one cup of natural yogurt, 1/4 cup tahini, lemon juice and a handful of roughly chopped mint. Set aside.

For the venison
2 tbsp pink peppercorns
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp sea salt
1 Mandagery Creek Venison backstrap

Toast the spices and salt in a dry frying pan until just beginning to pop then crush with a mortar and pestle. Rub the meat with a little olive oil and then rub with the spice mix. Set aside so the meat comes to room temperature before cooking.

To cook, preheat the oven to 200C. Sear the meat well on all sides (either on the hot plate or better yet, a barbecue on high) and then place in the oven for 10 minutes. Let rest under a tent of foil before serving.

To serve
Coriander, pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds

I like to serve the eggplant just warm, but it’s also good cold or at room temperature. So to serve, place a good dollop of the eggplant on each plate then slice the venison across the grain into medallions about 1 1/2cm thick. Lay these across the eggplant then drizzle with any excess juices from the pan, a little pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and pop a few coriander sprigs on top and you are ready to go!


  1. I miss cuisine magazine ! awesome covers .... the venison looks amazeballs, are you a fellow kiwi ? i've picked up a few kiwi references over here on your blog... ?

    I'd like to be sitting at that table .... we're in melbourne so its a bit of a long drive :(


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