When photographer and collaborator extraordinaire Luisa Brimble suggested we host a Local is Lovely workshop with German-based photographers and stylists Marta Greber (she of one of my all time favourite blogs What Should I eat for Breakfast) and Simone Hawslich of Fraulein Sonntag I was beside myself. These two women are powerhouses of talent and add Luisa into the mix – boom there it is. The idea was floated about this time last year and we lived the dream about this time last month.
The workshop itself was a blur of cooking, laughing, moving chairs and tables in and out of paddocks and so much talking. And as happens at the end of each one, I did think to myself late Friday night after the rooms were all cleaned, the laundry pile still enormous and my energy levels completely depleted – I just can’t do this again. But of course, after a couple of weeks and editing these photos, I’m all ‘I can’t wait to do this again’. And it won’t be long – our sold out workshop with Molly Yeh is coming up in late July. Whoop.
Here is a collection of photos from this past workshop, and a few recipes from the menu (below). But first, big huge thanks as always to the kitchen dream team Pip Farquharson and Lily Hahn-Stevens who make it fun at every hour of the day. And also, thank you so very much to the producers who supply us with nature’s best props; the beautiful fresh produce from Epicurean Harvest and First Farm Organics, the cheese from local dairy Jannei, the venison from our very own farm Mandagery Creek Venison and the apples and quinces from Mum and Dad’s orchard – which also happens to be the amazing location for our Local is Lovely workshops. Thank you very much all of you guys.
Day 1 – Afternoon tea
Goat’s cheese and fig galette
Lily’s amazing donuts, all natural flavours and colours.
Fig and goat’s curd galette
This is a really easy and delicious tart, and of course while figs and goat’s curd are an amazing combination, the former are on their way out of season for another year so if you’ve missed them in your neck of the woods, I’d suggest you swap with something citrus-y, grapefruit and goat’s curd are a good mix. The curd we use comes from local goat dairy Jannei and it’s absolutely beautiful. You can visit the dairy and purchase cheese directly so if ever driving past Lithgow towards Mudgee or Bathurst and you have a bit of free time I’d highly recommend stopping in.
For the pastry
150g cold butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 egg, cold
For the filling
1 cup goat’s curd
4-6 fresh figs, quartered
3 tbsp caster sugar
Place the flour and icing sugar in a bowl and pop in the freezer for half an hour. Tip your cold flour and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and blitz for a moment. Add the butter and blitz until you have a coarse sand-like texture. Add the egg and blitz for a moment more. Tip the mixture out onto a work surface and bring together with the palm of your hand, working it until you have a lovely, smooth disc of dough.
Wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with paper. Roll out the pastry to a large circle about 3mm thick. Spread the base with goat’s curd, leaving about a 4-5cm border then top the curd with the sliced figs and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Fold the edges over and crimp together with your thumb and forefinger creating a little ‘wall’ that will keep your filling in. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Day 1 – Evening drinks in the olive grove
Punch (golden rum, prosecco, white peaches, mint, mineral water)
Pear and blue cheese crostini with walnut on toasted fruit bread
It was the golden hour, we drank punch with white peaches and mint and shared big boards of pear and blue cheese crostini with walnuts and venison salami. It was the perfect welcome to our workshop.
Day 1 – Dinner
Day 2 – Breakfast
Honey and cinnamon granola with poached quinces and natural yogurt (recipe below)
Pitt and George Croissants with fig and ginger jam
The first morning of a workshop is always particularly loud in the kitchen with all of us a bit excited about the day ahead, the coffee in front of us and the warm croissants and/or poached quinces and granola on offer. And down one end of the kitchen table is Pip, Lily or I rolling dough or mixing up a cake for morning tea. Chaos, but in a good way.
Honey and cinnamon granola
Easy to throw together and absolutely delicious sprinkled over any fruits, poached or fresh, yogurt or just with a pool of nice cold milk. This is a great granola recipe to keep in the files and a jar or big brown bag of the stuff makes a really nice present to take somebody when they ask you over.
1/2 cup honey syrup
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups quinoa flakes
2 cups mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame etc)
2 cups toasted almonds
Finely grated zest of one orange
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla paste
1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 170C, dig out two large baking trays and line them with paper. Now toss all ingredients together in a nice big bowl until everything is well coated. Spread across the trays and place in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and toss everything about a bit then return to the oven and repeat this process four times (so your granola cooks for 4o minutes or until it is golden brown).
Day 3 Morning tea
Schiacciata and Sweet dukkah wreath (recipe below)
The schiacciata recipe is just beautiful and comes from Emiko Davies’ blog and also appears in her stunning book Florentine which I recommend everyone buying, cooking from and reading from cover to cover.
Sweet dukkah wreath
This wreath is a super satisfying thing to make; the dough is warm, forgiving and completely satisfying to work with and then there’s the twisting into a wreath which I find pretty fun. You absolutely don’t need to do this if feeling at all put off by the idea. Instead, just roll out the dough as you might for cinnamon scrolls. This recipe is closely adapted from one given in Made from Scratch by the Australian Women’s Weekly test kitchen. Which, by the way, I highly HIGHLY recommend to anyone who loves cooking (full stop). It’s best on the day it’s made or reheated the next day and served with a little jam. Serves 8-10.
10g dried yeast (3 tsp)
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 cup warm buttermilk
2 egg yolks
100g butter, melted
3/4 cup warm water
3 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g butter, softened
1/2 cup sweet dukkah (I always use this recipe)
Combine the yeast, sugar and warm buttermilk in the bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook (or a large bowl if you are kneading by hand) and leave, covered for 10 minutes or until frothy. Add the yolks, butter, flour and salt and knead for 10 minutes or until lovely and smooth. If doing this by hand, please note the dough is fairly sticky and needs to be so don’t add too much flour as you go. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Line a large baking tray with paper and lightly dust a work surface. Gently roll out the dough into a large rectangle and transfer to the tray, cover with plastic and place in the fridge for an hour. This will make the twisting/rolling part much easier. Preheat oven to 200C. Beat the soft butter together dukkah and set aside. Now, once ready to roll, take the dough out of the fridge and spread with the dukkah mixture.
Roll dough, from the longest edge of the rectangle into one long sausage. Now, cut this in half lengthways, take the two ends and twist together into a braid, pressing the ends together. This bit can take a bit of practice but honestly it’s quite fun and if you take a look at this website and the various steps, you’ll get the idea. Gently transfer back to the lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 200 then reduce heat to 180C and bake for a further 25 minutes or until the wreath is golden brown.
Day 2 – lunch
Roasted cauliflower, beetroot and grapes with lentils and orange tahini dressing
Greens with seeds and green godeess dressing
Eggplant and tomato bake with tarragon
Dessert – set cheesecake
We broke for lunch in the garden before heading straight back to the studio for hands-on styling and photography sessions in small groups.
Day 2 – Dinner
Trio of dips with seeded crackers and pickles
Lily’s rabbit ragu with homemade pasta
Dessert – White chocolate and hazlenut nougat and more wine.
These are just delicious and the perfect thing to serve with a few vibrant dips and pickles like the ones our gorgeous Lily made above. Recipe closely adapted from Anna Jones’ a modern way to cook.
100g sunflower seeds
100g pumpkin seeds
100g sesame seeds
50g poppy seeds
50g chia seeds
200g rolled oats
1 tsp sea salt
1tbsp maple syrup
3tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
Preheat your oven to 180C and pull out a couple of baking trays.. Combine all the dry ingredients and mix to combine. In a jug, mix together the syrup, coconut oil and water then add this to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
Take half the mixture and place on a sheet of baking paper, cover with another sheet of paper then roll out until about 5mm thick. Remove the top sheet of paper and transfer to a baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the sheet of crackers over and bake the other side for another 10 minutes or until golden and crunchy.
Break into shards and store in an airtight container or serve straight away. Makes about 20-30 crackers.
Day 3 – Breakfast
Fig and hazlenut cobbler with yogurt
Almond milk chia tea with vanilla syrup
Our traditional breakfast in the paddock was as always, a highlight and included, as always, a big tray of warm fruit baked under a blanket of sweetness. In this case figs with a, a not-too-sweet clafoutis style batter.
Fig and hazlenut cobbler
4 tablespoons butter, melted plus extra for greasing
8 figs, quartered (or other seasonal fruit, poached rhubarb, pears or quinces would be beautiful here)
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup golden caster sugar plus a little extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup buttemilk
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 cup toasted hazlenuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 170C and generously butter a baking tray. Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a jug, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, vanilla and egg .
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, crystallized ginger, and zest. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, beat together the milk and the egg. Whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Fold wet and dry ingredients together then pour over the base of the tray, top with the figs and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until the batter is golden but still a little wobbly (don’t over cook as it will dry out). Sprinkle with the hazlenuts and serve warm with thick Greek-style yogurt.
Day 3 – Morning tea, plum frangipane tart
I’m a big fan of the old frangipane tart – a short, sweet pastry case filled with vanilla and almond butter mix and topped with fruit before baking. Perfect with a strong coffee at around 11am.
Plum frangipane tart
For the pastry
This is my go-t0 sweet pastry recipe.
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
Place the flour, butter and icing sugar in a bowl in the freezer for half an hour before starting. Then tip mixture into the bowl of a food processor and blitz for a moment. Add the egg and blitz again until you have a sand-like texture, if you feel it needs a little splash of cold water then add that too. Don’t wait for it to form a ball or it might be over-processed. Tip the mixture out onto a work surface and bring it together with the palm of your hand to form a lovely yellow disc of dough. Wrap this in plastic and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll it out between two pieces of baking paper until about 5mm thick and then gently drape into your tart tin (about a 22c, diameter seems to work perfectly with this quantity of dough), trim the edges by rolling over them with your rolling pin and return to the fridge for another half an hour or so.
For the frangipane filling
6 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
1 tbsp plain flour
1 vanilla bean
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the almond meal, flour, cornflour and the egg and mix until soft and smooth. Stir through the seeds from your vanilla bean and set aside.
Blind bake the tart shell for 10 minutes. Then slice the plum into thin crescents and arrange in a star-shaped pattern on the tart shell. Spoon in the frangipane mix and smooth it out around each pear. Then bake for 15-20 minutes. This is just delicious warm but after a couple of hours the flavours seem to have mingled a little more. So good.
Day 3 – Lunch
Tomatoes, vanilla salt and olive oil
Carrot and hazlenut soup
I honestly can’t remember but we did have a couple more salads!!!
The idea of serving tomatoes with vanilla salt belongs to American chef Renee Erickson and it’s absolute perfection. You do need to use lovely room-temperature home-grown tomatoes that are naturally sweet and juicy and let them sit and soak up the olive oil and salt for at least half an hour before serving to have them at their best. Vanilla salt is really easy to make; just scrape the seeds from one vanilla bean into 1/3 cup sea salt and really rub them into the flakes. A little jar of this makes a great present and the salt is also really delicious on red meat or sprinkled on the top of chocolate chip biscuits just before baking. Renee also sprinkles it on good vanilla ice cream.
Before finishing up with a really great seminar-style session with questions and answers by our teachers and students and lots of talk about finding your voice on social media, we did a few more scenes mostly revolving around quinces. We made jam that ended up being ‘burnt quince and vanilla jam’ because we kept it over the heat for so long taking pics (it’s actually delicious) and decorated the jars with goodies from our goodie bags supplied by Blank Goods. Thank you so much guys, I’m still loving playing around with mine.