Dispatches from the field

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Last weekend we hosted a lunch on the farm (right out on the farm) and thank goodness all the stars aligned to make it just the most fantastic day. There was no wind, it wasn’t too hot, no flies, no snakes, lots and lots of beautiful green grass and three courses of tasty seasonal goodness to share in the sunshine. The star of the show was of course our own Mandagery Creek Venison which we cooked very simply to showcase the meat’s beautiful tenderness and delicate flavour, in the very paddock it came from.

Below are some photos from the day plus a recipe for the terrine we served as part of a grazing plate for entree. I know terrines are a bit old school but they really do deserve more time in the sun (not literally of course, as that would breach food safety guidelines); a good terrine served on crunchy bread with greens and pickles can be one of the great lunch dishes of all time

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Thank you so much to our guests who walked through bright green paddocks to reach our ‘pop up’ restaurant by the creek; thank you so much to our neighbours Justin and Pip for bringing along their excellent See Saw Wines to pour, thank you Haddy of Tipi Interiors for working her magic on the tables, for handwriting 30+ menus, for being such a star helper on the day and generally for coming into our lives, big high fives to our friend Pip for helping us out in the middle of her crazy busy week as official Orange Wine Week photographer (you little Aussie battler you) and finally thank you Tim for doing all the heavy lifting, cooking the venison so beautifully and managing our grazing plan so we had this amazing paddock to share with the world.

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Venison and prune terrine

This recipe was inspired by one given to my Mum by her New Zealand based cook, Annabelle Graham. It’s really so delicious for a spring lunch with crusty fresh bread, some greens and a chutney of sorts. Serves 8-10.

10 strips prosciutto
1/2 cup prunes, pitted
1 cup ginger liqueur (I use this one from Red Dirt Distillery) or brandy
1 onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
700g venison mince
300g pork mince
2 tsp four spice (quatre epice)
1 cup finely chopped mixed herbs (I use a mix of sage, thyme, rosemary and parsley)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 150C and line the base of a terrine or loaf tin with the prosciutto. Soak the prunes in the ginger liqueur or brandy. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for five minutes on medium-high, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute then remove from heat and set aside to cool for a little while.

In a large bowl, combine the venison and pork mince. Add the herbs, four spice (quatre epice), eggs, cooled onion/garlic mixture, salt and pepper.

Press 3/4 of the mixture into your loaf tin, pushing down quite firmly. Layer over the prunes then finish with the remaining mince mixture. Cover with terrine lid or a tight layer of foil. Now transfer to a large roasting tray, fill with boiling water reaching half-way up the sides of the loaf tin and cook for one hour. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking to toast the top.

Leave to cool then cover terrine with weights (tins of tomatoes are good) and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours. Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before you wish to serve the terrine (so it’s not ‘fridge cold
when you serve, if you know what I mean) and serve with beetroot relish or caramelised onion jam.

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