Favourites List – February and March


Good morning all! A little late I know, or early depending on how you see things – but welcome to my February/March favourites list…I hope you have all had a great February – for us it’s been dry dry dry, but otherwise good and busy with the kids back at school, and for me, lots of workshops and events to get organised for this coming Autumn. Who is coming to F.O.O.D Week here in Orange next month? It’s going to be soooo fun (ps we have six spots left for our pop-up in the paddock lunch on April 9. It’s going to be awesome and you can book here. Just saying…)

Raspberries-3 Raspberries

Favourite things to cook, read and think about…

I recently visited friend and farmer Dougal Munro of Boutique Garlic just on the other side of Orange – his raspberry canes are dripping with juicy little berries and while I wish I could say we came straight home and made something fancy like this, they were eaten very quickly with a little puddle of cold cream and great satisfaction.

This orange ricotta cake with whipped mascarpone is on my list of things to bake very soon.

Can’t wait for the weather to cool down a little so we can have Nordic rice porridge with caramelised cinnamon plums for breakfast

What really happens on tv cooking competitions – according to Chrstina Tosi

Green tahini sauce and how to use it for a week of meals – lots of good inspiration in here.

I’ve always suspected that muffins were just cakes pretending to be a breakfast food and now the New York Times has confirmed it to be true. But they’ve also offered up a healthy-ish recipe that seems totally acceptable breakfast material to me…

I LOVED this article about cooking with small children by Molly of Orangette,

Relearning the art of healthy eating “This is not about being thin. It’s about reaching a state where food is something that nourishes and makes us happy rather than sickening or tormenting us.”

And right now I’m baking everything in this.

What do bay leaves really taste of? Do bay leaves really taste of anything? The vast bay leaf conspiracy (we really cover the big issues here at Local is Lovely don’t we!)

Well I’m not sure if this is the right place to put this but it is new – last Tuesday night I received the NSW/ACT RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year award at Parliament House in Sydney. And I’m still on a high. The whole award process has been such an incredible opportunity and I’ve met some seriously inspiring women along the way. So now, after taking many deep breaths I need to actually deliver on the project I applied with; My Open Kitchen. I will be writing LOTS more about it on this blog very soon so watch this space! In the meantime, here’s a link to the ministerial press release about the announcement and below, a few photos from the night, that’s me below standing between NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Land and Water Niall Blair (left) and NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant. And below that with my fellow 2016 Award finalists, all incredible women; from left Fiona Mead, Aimee Snowden and Hannah Wandel.

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Photos above by Toby Peets.

Favourite things to cook.
Well despite the fact that February is always a pretty ordinary time on our own farm – just too hot, dry and dusty. It’s boom time all around us – grapes are being harvested, stone fruit is dropping from the trees, figs, apples, zucchinis raspberries and tomatoes are all flush and it’s a good time to be in the kitchen. I’ve been making lots of zucchini related recipes – the classic zucchini slice but of course, but also a couple of zucchini loaves, that have been a bit hit. First up, a zucchini, walnut and chocolate loaf from Seven Spoons which was DELICIOUS (below).

Zucchini loaf-2

And a few days later, still with a glut of zucchinis to work through, we made another loaf (below). This one I rather loved for breakfast, toasted coated with a light slick of butter and sprinkled with sea salt.

Cardamon and zucchini loaf

1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon if you prefer)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 medium zucchini or 2 cups grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin with paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Then in a separate bowl whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gently fold dry and wet ingredients together then spoon mixture into loaf tin.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake feels springy to touch and is beginning to pull away from the tin’s sides. Let cool on a wire rack then serve warm or toasted.

Zucchini loaf

I’ve also done a few big batches of venison meatballs – and controversy plus, have stopped browning them before cooking. BREAKTHROUGH. So much easier and less messy. And honestly, by the time you’ve covered those babies in tomato sauce, a bit of shredded mozzarella and loads of parmesan then baked and spooned them over a big bowl of noodles, whose going to know? They certainly didn’t lack at all in the taste department. Thank you to Smitten Kitchen for giving me the confidence to go into the future confidently not browning my meatballs (now that was a mouthful) and for the recipe inspiration too.

Zucchini loaf-3

And lastly in my list of favourite things at the moment – the garden at Kimbri Farm. This is my parents’ place and where Mum runs her 5-day residential art classes (I help with the cooking) and where we run our Local is Lovely Workshops. I spent all of last week there cooking for an art class and am heading back tomorrow for our first 2016 workshop and can’t wait.

Zucchini loaf-4Zucchini loaf-5


  1. says

    Congratulations Sophie on the NSW/ACT Rural Woman of the Year Award. All the best for the National Award in October. Keep up your wonderful work!

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