Farm Kitchen, December


Last weekend we hosted our final Farm Kitchen lunch for 2014. As always, our guests were a collective delight and we shared a really fun farm tour and meal together. And as always, the menu was simple and seasonal. Here it is below, with recipes too. Thank you so much to everyone who supported us at the markets and Farm Kitchen this year, we have loved feeding and getting to know you all! Our event calendar for 2015 is almost finished with a new booking system on its way too. This will go live on Monday December 29 and we have some really fantastic events, collaborations and workshops in the pipeline so watch this space!

December 2014 Farm Kitchen Menu

Sweet potato and caramelised onion tarts/
Spiced venison and cherry carpaccio/
Prosciutto-wrapped venison with feta and walnut bean salad, beetroot relish and crispy potatoes/
Squash braised in garlic and tomato/
Brown sugar pavlovas with roasted apricots and apple mint custard/

Sweet potato and caramelised onion tarts

These tarts are a great little appetiser, especially with a chilled glass of bubbles! Makes 8 small tarts (see picture).

1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
4 tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup pouring cream
2 eggs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper to taste
8 small tart shells*(see note)

Preheat oven to 190C. Toss the sweet potato with a tablespoon of the little olive oil and place on a roasting tray, pop this into the oven for 25 minutes or until the potato is cooked through and just beginning to caramelise around the edges.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil a frying pan over medium-low heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are completely collapsed and golden brown (this will take about 15 minutes).

Whisk together the cream, egg, cheese and seasoning and set aside. Place the tart shells on a baking tray then divide the roasted sweet potato and caramelised onion up between them. Carefully pour in the cream mixture, filling the tart shells up about 3/4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and just firm to touch.

*Note - you can make this extra easy and buy good pre-made shortcrust tart shells or make your own pastry (here’s my recipe).

Spiced venison carpaccio with cherries, horseradish cream and thyme

Possibly my favourite way to serve and share our venison, this simple carpaccio is just beautiful. You could swap the fresh cherries with pickled ones or even wedges of ripe figs. On Saturday we served it with a garlic baguette but any crunchy bread would be great too.

400g Mandagery Creek Venison tenderloin or leg piece
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
Salt to taste
2 tbsp horseradish cream
1/3 cup creme fraiche
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and torn in half
1/2 cup shaved pecorino or parmesan cheese
Thyme (to serve)

Combine the spices and salt in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Cook until fragrant and just beginning to pop then crush mixture in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Rub this mixture over the tenderloin and set meat aside for a moment.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a frying pan over high heat then add the meat and brown on each side for a minute on each side. Let rest under a tent of foil. Then mix the horsedradish cream and creme fraiche together with a squeeze of lemon to taste. Slice the meat thinly and place on a serving plate. Top with the cherries, shaved pecorino, creme fraiche mix and thyme. Beautiful. Serves 4.

Proscuitto-wrapped venison 

As venison is such a tender, lean meat - we think that by far the best way to cook it is quickly and over a high heat. The barbecue is ideal for this. Today we wrapped striploins in prosciutto and rubbed them with olive oil before cooking for five minutes on each side. We then let the meat rest before serving it with the side dishes and relish, recipes below.

 Beetroot and fennel relish

Just perfect with venison, this mellow, sweet relish is also great with barbecued steaks or lamb chops and keeps for ages. Make an extra batch for Christmas and give a few jars away as presents. Just remember to serve this warm or at room temperature - cold chutney is the worst. Makes 4 cups

1.25kg beetroot
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 green apple, unpeeled, grated
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp fennel seeds, dry toasted

Place the beetroot, sugar, red wine vinegar, onion, apple, salt, pepper and fennel in a large saucepan over medium and stir well. Bring to the boil and cook for half an hour or until the mixture is lovely and syrupy. Divide between sterilized jars.

Bean salad with walnuts and feta

This is a fantastic salad, and as it can be made entirely in advance and served cool, it’s perfect for big lunches or dinners when you want most of the prep done before the main event. The idea comes from a recipe printed in this month’s Country Style magazine and written by Annie Smithers. Serves 6-8.

3 cups green beans, trimmed
1 cup walnut kernels, roasted and roughly chopped
3 baby cornichons, finely chopped
1 tsp capers, finely chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
2 tbsp chervil, finely chopped
2 tbsp parsely, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
250g marinated feta, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, throw in the beans and cook for three minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water, or better yet, plunge into an ice bath (this will keep their colour and crunch nicely). Set beans aside while you make the dressing. To do this, just mix together the cornichons, capers, herbs lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste (remember the cornichons, capers and feta are all quite salty so you probably won’t need to add any/much salt). Just before serving, mix together the beans, dressing, walnuts and feta and toss to combine.

Garlic and tomato braised squash 

My favourite way to serve this vegetable, which by the way, in our part of the world at least, is super cheap at the moment and really delicious, this is summer in a bowl to me. Great as a side dish, or if you chop the squash and zucchini a little more finely, tossed with fresh pasta. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 8 as a side dish.

4 fat cloves of new season Australian garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 yellow squash, cut into eighths
3 zucchinis, thinly sliced
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp finely chopped fresh red chilli
One lemon
One handful of fresh basil leaves

Combine garlic and olive oil in a heavy-based pan over medium-high heat. Cook for a minute or until garlic is just becoming fragrant, add the squash, zucchini and cherry tomatoes and stir well. Cook, stirring often for five minutes or until the squash is soft and cooked through. Remove from heat, stir in a squeeze of lemon, the fresh chilli and top with a handful of fresh basil leaves.

Crispy potato bake with thyme

2kg sebago potatoes, unpeeled
1 bunch thyme leaves
Olive oil
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 200C and grease one large or two small gratin or roasting tins. Slice the potatoes as thinly as possible (we use a mandolin - carefully!). Arrange in layers in the prepared tin or tins, sprinkling with sea salt and thyme leaves as you go. Drizzle with olive oil then pop in the oven for an hour or until golden and crunchy. Just before serving, drizzle with a little extra oil and season with freshly ground pepper. Serves 8

Brown sugar pavlovas with toffee, roasted apricots and custard

6 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 130C and line two baking trays with paper. Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until white and frothy. Add the sugar, a little at a time until the mixture is thick and glossy. Whisk for another few minutes then spoon mixture in large rounds onto prepared tray. Place in the oven for 45 minutes then turn oven off and leave in there to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

For the baked apricots

Halve a kilo or so of apricots and remove the kernels. Arrange on a tray and sprinkle with caster sugar and drizzle lightly with verjuice or sweet white wine. Roast until the apricots are completely collapsed and just beginning to caramelise.

For the custard and toffee

3/4 cup caster sugar

For the toffee, 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.

For the custard, I used this recipe but stopped before churning the custard into ice cream! The apple mint is a gorgeous, fresh addition but you could certainly leave it out. 


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