Summer in Australia is bejewelled with cherries. Christmas cake, upcoming classes, Christmas catering and probiotic culturesPosted: November 5, 2011
Naturally leavened Christmas cake in the making, one for tomorrows class and one for the pantry.
If you are keen and very quick, there is a place in my Sourdough baking, including cake class tomorrow November 6th. The class is being held in a private home, an intimate event with only 6 participants and lots of time to get your baking questions answered. It runs from 11-4 at Coaster retreat, access is by ferry from Palm Beach wharf, give me a call if you are interested to join us. I ran this class while in Perth last and it was a massive success. Using a natural sourdough leaven and slow fermentation ensures that the delicious sweetness of organic fruit is supported by the most digestible organic flour. My Chistmas cake gets its light, moist texture and rich flavour from the addition of Coopers stout and a little unpasteurised white miso!
The November 9th class, Quick Spring Delights; wholefood meals in 20 minutes is full to bursting. Jude Blereau was just here in Sydney, lucky us, she coined this The Little Black Dress Class!– Due to the rush of interest Michele and I have opened a new date for this same class on Wednesday November 30th from 11am-3pm, cost $125. Michele’s Balmoral address is provided after booking. Places are already being snapped up so if your interested or know someone who might be, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience.
Christmas Catering I have already taken a few bookings for Catering jobs leading up to Christmas. You might like to consider having me cook you a range of delicious wholefood canastables for stocking your festive fridge. If you are planning events prior to December 20th or during January please be in touch soon, to assist me in planning and to avoid disappointment. Here are a few ideas for the sorts of things that keep well, which I could deliver to you to make your Christmas delicious and a little easier. Beluga lentil salad with assorted mushrooms, Gravlax King fish (a more sustainable and healthier option than farmed salmon), Organic Mushroom and chicken liver pate, Organic cucumber, ginger and mint salad, Star anise and ginger roasted organic pork neck for slicing cold, Mirin and vanilla poached organic summer fruits, Gin and orange pickled organic cherries-these are fantastic with cold meats or summer fish dishes, Cultured organic red cabbage pickles, Organic Kim chi pickles, and of course an organic Chrissy cake and so much more… The price for such home delivered treats? The food costs plus $70 an hour to shop, cook and depending on your location, to deliver.
I have Probiotic cultures and cultured vegetables for sale too, these are fabulous to have on hand to prepare your digestive system for the festive times ahead and to aid recovery afterwards. I have Kombucha, dairy kefir and water kefir SCOBy’s, to give away if you come to Palm Beach or for sale when posted to you. I charge $25 for one $35 for two or more; they come with instructions for maintaing them. I also make and sell a range of cultured vegetables which make a fabulous addition to many meals, these valuable foods help to reduce sugar cravings whilst also supplying vast amounts of beneficial bacteria, vitamins and live enzymes. Red cabbage, lemon and ginger is a favourite of mine. I will post the basic recipe for making your own soon. Many people who have not been to a Capturing Cultures Class, and actually also many who have, prefer to buy these pickles; rather than make their own. The cost when collected is $25 per 750 mls glass jar or $40 per 2 litre glass jar. It isn’t difficult to make these pickles but many folk fear the B word!
Lightness of being and stunning light itself makes Spring into Summer a glorious time. Enjoy every moment…
I am moving slowly and it seems that Easter came and went too quickly and so these beautiful eggs hang before me still, to be enjoyed a few more days. I spent lots of easter cooking, not a great surprise to any who know me. I spent time cooking for us and for friends and did a wonderful catering job that challenged my ‘real’ foodiness. The menu included four dozen freshly shucked Pacific oysters, three Eastern rock lobsters; hand picked on Saturday and killed on Sunday, and three rock cod that were speared at Palm Beach in the morning and brought to me to kill. By days end I was done with death and chose to use the experience to take note of and value the life I am surrounded by. Once dispatched the lobsters were halved and cleaned the meat loosened from the tails and tarragon butter poured beneath them before they were placed to grill on the barbeque and served in the shell, there were plenty of happy noises and not a morsel to discard later and so, I think they were appreciated and did not die in vain. At home the fare was simpler cooked at low temperature for longer, which suits this season and the produce on hand.
This slow cooked Potti Morran pumpkin made a memorable and delicious meal. I stuffed it with lamb mince I cooked with quinoa and pomegranate molasses. Antonio, who features in my last post inspired the filling and he and Camilla grew the pumpkin. Look out for small dense fleshed pumpkins to fill with whatever delicious thing you can think of. I have made them with a filling similar to the Millet recipes from a previous post and mushrooms are seasonal and go wonderfully with pumpkin. It works best to rub the outside of the pumpkin with a little duck fat or ghee, cut the base so it will sit flat on a baking tray, cut off a lid and remove all the seeds. Spoon in a fairly wet, pre-cooked meat, vegetable or grain based filling, replace the lid and pour a little stock or water into the baking tray, cover loosely with foil and bake at 140C for an hour or two, depending on size. Remove the foil and continue to bake until a small sharp knife passes easily through the flesh at its thickest point. Rest a few minutes, transfer to a platter remove the lid and sprinkle with freshly shucked pomegranate and lots of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley. This is a truly Autumn offering that will help keep out the chill. Then there is the Coq au Vin recipe I promised you…
I turned Camilla’s gift of one of her much loved cockerels into my version of a Coq au Vin. The secret to delectability here is lots of good organic red wine and thyme and time and looong low slow cooking. A free ranged cockerel whose time has come, is quite a different beast to the young chooks we are used to buying. The meat is stringy and much drier and so the wine provides more than its delicious flavour, it helps to soften the sinews and ensures it does not dry out, adding lots of eshallots and sweet root vegetables also adds great texture and flavour and the addition of a litre or two of gelatinous stock ensures fabulous, easily digested nutrition. You may wonder, why eat a stringy older bird, when sweet juicy hens abound, its all about the amazing flavour and fabulous texture and making the most out of a life well lived scratching in the dirt. Since you may not have a cockerel to use, you can make this with a regular chook, reduce the cooking time to an hour and a half but none the less, keep it low and slow and serve some fresh raw fermented foods and a lightly simmered side dish to ensure there are plenty of live enzymes to aid digestion of the fats and proteins in the dish.
I’ll post a recipe for this dish…soon, in the meantime I am off to spend four days with 11 women at Seal Rocks. There will no doubt be tails to tell.
The photo’s above were taken by my much loved friend Cloudy Rhodes. Cloudy is a well recognised surfing talent and an up and coming young photographer. Clouds has a delicate yet quirky eye and many of her photos express a painterly sensibility I love. Watch her space at http://cloudyrhodes.tumblr.com We spent a lovely day shooting a range of dishes; the results will be available soon.
Oh and who is coming to class? I have a fabulous sourdough baking class coming up May 22nd in Bondi, see Bondi Programme tab to the right here. Please tell whoever you feel might like to know how to make and active leaven so that this ‘No Knead Fruit loaf’ is at their fingertips and so much more besides, naturally leavened cakes and pastry to eat with divine cultured cream and ….
Perfectly cooked fish is complimented by crisply fried kombu shreds. Cooking fish is easy when you let it dictate its needs. The fish let me know that 17 minutes was all they required and the result was delightfully juicy morsels flaked from the bones. A fish kettle is a fine investment and mine has never let me down.