Last month’s Farm Kitchen Lunch should really have been called Christmas in July. There was snow on the ground, deer on the snow on the ground, a fire in the grate and a gathering at the table. But I’m not a huge fan of celebrating my favourite time of year out of December. So instead we put together a menu that celebrated the best of winter’s harvest; from fresh horseradish to pumpkins, beetroot, fennel, onions, citrus and of course our venison!
As always, our guests were great fun, enthusiastic and happy to rug up for Tim’s farm tour but possibly even happier to settle in at the long table for a shared lunch in the warm kitchen. Below are some recipes and photos from the day. If you’d like to join us for lunch here one day, we are still taking bookings for lunches on August 22 and September 12. Please click on the dates or jump over to our online store for more information.
Fennel, apple and lime salad
This crunchy little salad packs a big flavour punch and is fantastic served alongside richer, wintery dishes like this osso buco or with char-grilled venison as we did on the day. Serves 6-8.
3 small fennel bulbs, trimed and finely shaved (use a mandolin if you have one!)
2 green apples, finely sliced then cut into batons
2 bunches radish, finely sliced
1 bunch each parsley and mint
2 tbsp nigella seeds
For the dressing
Finely grated zest of two limes
1/4 cup lime juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
Put all the ingredients a in a big bowl and toss to combine. Whisk the dressing ingredients together then mix through the salad with your fingers then serve. Yum.
On arrival, we warmed everyone up with little cups of spiced pumpkin soup with dukkah. The recipe was this one, but with less garlic, and a teaspoon of cardamom and a little chili thrown into the roasting mix and this dukkah but with black sesame seeds instead of white. Just because.
Venison osso buco with lentils
Red wine, juniper berries and orange – three of venison’s best friends and they all come together here to make a really beautiful dish. You could swap the venison osso buco with beef if you like. Serves 8
1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves,
finely chopped rind of 1 orange
3 tsp juniper berries, crushed
2 cups cabernet sauvignon
8 pieces of venison osso buco
2 cups veal stock
Heat half the oil in a saucepan, add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Add orange rind and juniper berries and cook until fragrant, just a couple more minutes. Add wine, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer five minutes, then cool. Pour marinade over the venison, cover and place in the fridge to marinate overnight (turn a few times). Preheat oven to 150C. Remove the venison from its marinade and pat dry. Strain, reserve the vegetables and heat remaining olive oil in a casserole dish on medium-high.
Brown the venison on both sides (in batches) then place in a baking tray. Wipe out the casserole, add a splash more olive oil and then the vegetables from the marinade. Cook for five minutes then add the wine and stock. Bring mixture to the boil then pour over the venison. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 6 hours. Gently reheat when ready to serve. Serve with braised lentils and orange gremolata.
For the gremolata – combine 1 handful finely chopped parsely, zest of one orange and a very finely chopped garlic clove.
Roast beetroots and spring onions with fresh horseradish
This may well be my favourite side-dish for our venison. Ever. And mostly it’s because of the eye-watering heat and flavour from the fresh horseradish, harvested the day before by our mate Dougal Munro. Serves 6-8.
6 beetroot, scrubbed and quartered
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch spring onions, quartered
4 tbsp verjus
2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp brown sugar
Freshly grated horseradish, to serve
Combine beetroot and olive oil in a roasting pan and season to taste. Roast until tender (1-1½ hours). Remove from oven. add the onions, verjus, thyme and brown sugar, toss well and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Just before serving, grate the horseradish over your vegetables to taste.
Unfortunately my camera was nowhere to be found by the time dessert rolled around so this photo of pears roasted with butter, verjus and brown sugar is all I can offer. Actually, they are so beautiful on their own, or perhaps with a dollop of ice cream or cream that I’d happily serve just this for pud any/every night of the winter week.