The calm before the storm


It's been a big weekend for us here at Mandagery Creek Venison-central. We had a packed event at the Farm Kitchen and a houseful of friends staying, including one of our favourite people and chefs; Martin Boetz of Longrain restaurants. Martin came to cook in the Farm Kitchen yesterday and did the most wonderful job. I am just waiting for a couple of his recipes before posting some recipes and photos from that event, but in the meantime thought I'd put up a some bits and pieces from the rest of our weekend. Namely the quiet few hours on Saturday afternoon when the house was relatively tidy and we were able to do some cooking and pottering before everyone arrived.

 It's always a bit scary cooking for a chef so this weekend we played it simple; dinner was butterflied Wellington lamb with smashed garlic peas and then brioche, raspberry and dark chocolate pudding.

Smashed garlicky peas

1 cup freshly podded peas
2 garlic cloves
sea salt
1 cup mint leaves
3 tbsp nice extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the fresh peas in salted, boiling water for a minute or so. Place the garlic and salt in the bowl of a mortar and pestle smash this together before adding the drained (warm peas) and remaining ingredients. Crush until the flavours have come together in a rough paste. Serve, at room temperature, spooned over the sliced butterflied lamb. This is also beautiful spread over sourdough toast with a slice of prosciutto.

Alice and I had gone to town earlier in the day for a quick pit-stop at the markets and there bought brioche from local bakery Racine (see pudding below) and a bag of oats, rolled by bicycle as we watched via Canobolas Pure Health's inaugural Tour de Oats. The oats were folded into a walnut and chocolate chip biscuit recipe (below), and lastly we swung by organic grower Anna de Baar's stand for a few bunches of sorrel which made their way into this simple, lemony risotto.  

Sorrel risotto

This is a simple, comforting risotto made a bit special by the lemony sorrel. Thanks Anna for the base recipe and the sorrel itself!

1.2 litres chicken stock
1 cup white wine
75g butter
2 eschallots, finely sliced
2 cups arborio rice
2 bunches sorrel leaves, stems removed
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil

Heat the stock and keep warm. Melt half of the butter over a medium heat and cook the onions for a couple of minutes, or until translucent. Add the rice and stir well until every grain is coated in the butter, then pour in the wine and stir until absorbed. Add all of the sorrel except for a few leaves (set these aside to garnish) and then, ladle by ladle, the stock. Each time stirring until the liquid is almost all absorbed before adding the next one. This will take about 15 minutes. Test the rice after about this time and if almost cooked except for the slightest crunch then remove from heat, add almost all of the parmesan and very gently fold this through with the remaining butter. Place a lid on the pot and set aside for 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir through the lemon zest and juice then serve on a big warm platter with extra leaves. Shave over the parmesan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Brioche, raspberry and chocolate pudding

This classic pudding is a bit of a crowd-pleaser, and given the minor scuffles (among the grown-ups) over the leftovers, I think I'll double the recipe next time. You can make this up a few hours before dinner and let it sit for a few hours before baking.

8 slices brioche small brioche loaf
1 cup raspberries (or blueberries)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or pieces
3 eggs
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla paste

Lightly grease an oven-proof baking dish and lay the brioche slices across its base. Scatter with the raspberries and chocolate chips. Whisk remaining ingredients together then pour this mixture over the brioche, pressing the slices down so each one is immersed in the custard-y liquid. Either cover and set aside until ready to bake or place in a moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the pudding is just beginning to colour and most of the liquid has been baked into the brioche.
Serves 6

Walnut, oat and chocolate biscuits

150g butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cups self-raising flour
2/3 cup wholemeal flour
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 180C and line a tray with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Fold in the flours and finally fold in the oats, chocolate and walnuts. Roll into little balls (about a teaspoon-worth) and place on the baking tray a few centimetres apart and squash down lightly with a fork (dipped in flour). Cook for ten minutes or until lightly golden and cool on a rack.
Makes about 12 


  1. I missed getting to the farmers markets this time.
    Your recipes sound delicious.

    1. thanks Zara, maybe we'll see you at the December market!

  2. Oh my Sophie...your photos and your recipes totally inspire me. That pudding...I can almost taste it. I cannot buy decent brioche in Broken Hill. I have tried to make it but it has been a lot of hard work for mediocre results. Might have to try again!?

    1. Jane thank you, you are such a lovely e-friend to me! I have tried to make brioche at home too and it wasn't a huge success for me. Maybe stock up when you can and then freeze a few loaves? Pannetone is also great in this recipe. Sophiex

  3. That pudding sounds wonderful. We've just started growing sorrel here, although not sure there will be ever be enough to make into a risotto as my four-year-old keeps eating it straight from the garden!

  4. Love love love!! Your pictures, stories & recipes are wonderful, thankyou!!

  5. Lovely pictures as always... going to try the peas tonight. I made the jam cookies from a couple of weeks ago for my daughters birthday. They were a hit so thank you for that little recipe.

  6. Oh my stars, that pudding! I think I'll be needing to source some sorrel from somewhere as well - always nice to find a new ingredient to play with.


local is lovely All rights reserved
Design + Development by Ana Degenaar