Lost in spice


Last Sunday was by far the best event we've ever had at our Farm Kitchen. We hosted a lunch by Longrain chef and friend Martin Boetz and it was a-maz-ing. Martin's menu was all beautiful fresh flavours and textures and he also served up the best venison dish I've ever had (a sort-of carpaccio with lime and green Nham Jim dressing). Thank you so much Martin, we know you are busy with your own farm now so really appreciate you spending the weekend in Orange with us. And thank you also for allowing us to post some of your recipes from the day, below.

Our entree was one of Martin's signature dishes; betel leaves with smoked trout, galangal and trout roe.

Betel Leaves with Smoked Trout, Galangal & Trout Roe

The smokiness of the smoked trout in this dish is cut with fresh lime juice and the sweet and sour flavours are very light and herbaceous. Makes 20

2 tbsp base paste (recipe below)
4 tbsp red chilli Nahm Jim (recipe at the end of this post)
400g smoked river trout, flesh flaked and skin off
2 red eschalots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 long red chillies, seeded and julienned
3 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
1 cup coriander leaves
20 betel leaves
50g trout roe
crisp-fried eschalots

Base paste
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups coconut oil
6 dried long red chillies, seeded
4 tbsp dried prawns (shrimp)
1 x5cm piece galangal, peeled and finely sliced
100g palm sugar, shaved
100ml fish sauce

To make the paste, start by blending or finely chopping the garlic. Then heat the oil in a wok and deep-fry the garlic until it is the colour of lightly stained pine. It will keep cooking after it’s taken out. Strain and drain the garlic on absorbent paper and reserve the oil. Return the oil to the wok and heat, then add the chillies and move them around in the oil until they change colour to a deep red, about 10–12 seconds. Remove and drain. Soak the dried prawns in warm water for 10–20 minutes until soft then drain. Dry-roast the galangal in a pan until fragrant and set aside to cool. Pound the garlic, galangal, dried prawns and chillies to a fine paste in a mortar and pestle or blend in a food processor with 100ml of the reserved garlic oil to help the blades move. Remove the paste from the blender and transfer to a heavy-based saucepan on a moderate heat to bring all the flavours together. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce, and stir until the paste is amalgamated and fragrant. Do not caramelise the sugar – just allow it to melt into the paste or it will set hard when cooled. Remove from the heat and cool.

To assemble the betel leaves; place 2 tablespoons of cooled paste in a bowl and add some Red Chilli Nahm Jim and stir to get a thick, sauce-like consistency. Add the flaked fish, eschalots, chillies, lime leaves and coriander and gently bring together to bind all the ingredients. Spoon onto betel leaves, top with the trout roe and crisp fried eschalots. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

The menu was matched with local white wines from Cargo Road Winery and Philip Shaw, and we were a bit stoked to have both winemakers on hand to pour and talk about their wines. That's Cargo Road's James Sweetapple above, presenting his gewurztraminer (which was a perfect match for the betel leaves) while Philip's No.89 Shiraz was beautiful with the main course.

Seared venison carpaccio with lime chilli dressing & roasted rice

This recipe pictured above, is absolutely delicious, easy to make and perfect for an easy summer dinner (or lunch). Serves 4

1 x 500g venison fillet

1 tbsp coconut oil

For the salad

10 cherry tomatoes

10 Vietnamese mint leaves

1 handful of coriander leaves, shredded

1 handful of mint leaves, shredded

1 red chilli, seeded and julienned

For the dressing

100ml lime juice

1/2 tsp roasted chilli powder

50ml fish sauce

1 birds eye chilli, finely sliced

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Sear the venison fillet in coconut oil over a medium to high heat until caramelised all over but still rare inside, (this should take a few minutes). Rest for 8–10 minutes while you make the dressing. To do this; combine all the ingredients and mix well. Then have a taste, it should be hot, sour, salty and slightly sweet. Then slice venison in rounds and place on a serving plate. Evenly spread the shredded coriander, mint, eschalot & chilli over the rare sliced venison. Dress the venison & herbs well with the dressing and place the Vietnamese leaves over the top. Finally, sprinkle evenly with the roasted rice (see below) & serve.

For the roasted rice
, add raw glutinous rice to a dry, heated frying pan. Toast over moderate heat, stirring until the rice is golden brown. Pound until fine in batches using a mortar and pestle or grind in a spice grinder until a fine powder is formed. Store in an airtight container.

For our mains, Martin made a venison massaman curry, the very same recipe he cooked seven years ago on the day Tim and I met...awww... (and there he is above, sporting a nascent 'mo'). It was as good as we remembered; with amazing flavours, meltingly soft venison and lots of texture thanks to the peanuts, kipfler potatoes and fried eschallots. Under the curry was steamed rice and next to it a simple, fluffy omelette stuffed with asparagus and drizzled with oyster sauce, chilli and coriander. Apparently it was 'life changing'. A simplified version of this recipe can be found over on our website's recipe page.

After a lovely, cool dessert of vanilla tapioca with palm sugar syrup, we retired to the garden for some afternoon sun and a little more wine. The kids all came up from the house to join us and it was a great end to the day. Thank you once again Martin - it was so fantastic to have you in our kitchen and watch 'the master' at work!

Red chilli nahm jim

(Makes 1 1⁄4 cups)

3 red chillies, seeded
2 red bird’s eye chillies
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
1 tsp sea salt
60g palm sugar, shaved
60ml fish sauce
200ml fresh lime juice

Pound the chillies, garlic, coriander roots and salt to a uniform paste in a mortar and pestle. Add the palm sugar, pound, then add the fish sauce and lime juice. Taste – the flavour should be a balance of sweet, sour and salty.


  1. did i mention that i'd quite like to come and live with you !! lol


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