Lunch at the Farm Kitchen, July


Yesterday's Farm Kitchen lunch really was great fun; thanks entirely to the 20 lovely guests we had the pleasure of hosting and chatting with all afternoon (and well into the evening). After we'd served dessert and packed away the mess Tim and I gladly joined everyone for a glass of red by the fire and it was well after 7pm when the last of them beetled back to Orange. 

As always, once we began serving lunch, it was tricky to take photos in between plating up the food and clearing the previous course so my apologies for the quality of the food pics! We kicked off with mugs of beetroot soup with horseradish cream, then after a farm tour (that ran a touch long as Tim and the group got to chatting out in the paddock), then we served small tasters of venison osso buco on garlicky cannellini beans. The main course was seared tenderloin with braised red cabbage and a walnut and currant agrodolce. And for pudding we had a dense chocolate cake with pears poached in zinfandel and double cream. I promised yesterday to post a few of these so here they are below...

And just before getting to the recipes, I also wanted to write a quick thank you to the lovely Pip, (pictured below with Tim). Pip helped in the kitchen and aside from being a wonderful photographer, has a background in catering. Her help and kitchen chat was awesome.

If you would like to join us for lunch at the Farm Kitchen, please jump over to the events page and/or send me an email.

Braised red cabbage with apple and fennel

Serves 6 (as a side dish)
This is just gorgeous with pretty much any grilled meat, but especially our venison...

1tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, peeled and diced

2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, finely sliced (I used a mandolin)
1/2 red cabbage, finely sliced (again with the mandolin)
140mls verjuice (we used Orange Mountain’s Caramelised Verjuice)

Toast the fennel seeds in a hot, dry casserole dish until aromatic. Add the onions and the olive oil and cook, on a gentle heat, until soft and translucent (about five minutes). Add the apples and cook for a further few minutes. Tip in the cabbage, stir until well combined and add the verjuice. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for one hour (stirring every now and then).

Seared venison tenderloin

Serves 3-4

1 x Mandagery Creek Venison tenderloin (about 380g)
Sea salt and pink peppercorns
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C or light a barbecue with a cover and heat well.  Crush the pink peppercorns and rub these, with the sea salt, all over the venison. Set aside to reach room temperature.

If cooking on the barbecue - ensure it is hot as possible then cook for about 4 1/2 minutes on each side then let rest under a tent of foil for five minutes before slicing across the grain and serving with the above cabbage.

If cooking in the oven, heat a little more olive oil in an oven-proof saucepan and place over high heat. Cook the tenderloin for one minute on each side, until well seared and then either place in the oven for four minutes. Remove from heat and let rest under a tent of foil. Slice across the grain and serve.

Pears poached in zinfandel

Serves 6

Easy, pretty and delicious; these pears are great on their own (with a little vanilla ice cream), but even better next to the below chocolate cake.

1 x 750ml bottle zinfandel (we used Cargo Road Wines' sparkling Zinfandel)
300mls water
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of two oranges
1/2 cup sugar
6 firm Beurre Bosc pears

Combine the zinfandel, water, vanilla and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile peel the pears (leaving them whole), and gently lower into the warm poaching liquid. Cover with a layer of baking paper (to protect against discoloration) and simmer for about 25 minutes.

The River Cafe's Easy Chocolate Nemesis

Serves 6
This famous recipe belongs to Ruth Rogers of London's great River Cafe. It is dead easy and just delicious. It was printed in one of my all-time favourite cookbooks; River Cafe Cook Book Easy.

340g dark chocolate 70 per cent
225g unsalted butter
5 eggs
210g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 120c. Using the extra butter, grease a 25cm cake tin and line with parchment paper. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt with the butter in a bowl over simmering water. Beat the eggs and 70g of the sugar in a electric mixer until the volume quadruples.

Heat the remaining sugar with 100mls water until dissolved into a light syrup. Pour the hot syrup into the melted chocolate and cool slightly. Add the chocolate to the eggs, and beat slowly until the mixture is combined. Pour into the tin.

Put a folded kitchen cloth in the bottom of a baking tray. Put in the cake and add enough hot water to come three-quarters of the way up the side of the tin. Bake for 50 minutes until set. Leave the cake to cool in the water before turning out.


  1. Such a beautiful looking lunch! Wish I lived a little closer so I could come one day :-)

    1. Thanks Emma, we'd love to have you here for lunch one day! Sophie

  2. I think these farm lunches are a wonderful idea....lucky to those who live close by I say....Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

    1. Thanks Kathy! Come and visit us one day! Sophie x

  3. I wish I was closer too Sophie! Your farm lunches look so good x

    1. Thanks Jane, hope all is well with you! Sophiex

  4. Your writing and photos warm me almost as much as your Osso Boco (which I made from your VV recipe last Saturday night - delish!!) x

    1. Oh Bron...thank you! I always love it when you pop by and comment here! Sx

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  6. Gorgeous photos Sophie, I am loving those poached pears.

    I have been reading your blog for awhile, and I have to let you know I think your photos are just beautiful. I am also slightly envious of the farm life (I live 5 minutes from the city). Thank you for sharing such beauty on your lovely little space.


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