We spent most of yesterday out on the farm with a picnic and some friends. It was a bright, cold winter’s day and loads of fun. The kids went wild and didn’t stop running all afternoon while we kept warm with some beautiful local red wine…to the point that our entire household was out for the count by 8pm. I woke this morning to a kitchen bench piled with baskets of cold, greasy plates, bowls and chopping boards – always the worst part of a picnic.
For lunch we had our new venison salami (available from next month at the farmers markets), caraway lavosh with cheddar cheese, pear and parsnip soup, lamb chops and salsa verde with mustard greens (recipes all below). Dessert was an apple cake and marshmallows.
This recipe is an adaption of one given by Annabel Langbein in her fantastic book The Free Range Cook. Also beautiful with fennel seeds or poppyseeds.
3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup wholemeal flour
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup water
Preheat the oven to 165C and line a tray with baking paper. Mix the flours, seeds and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and oils. Mix well until you have a nice soft dough. Divide this into five balls. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out each ball as thinly as you can. Cut into uneven squares and bake, in batches for 10 minutes each (or until just beginning to turn golden).
This sauce is just fantastic with pretty much anything – on crackers, lamb chops, tossed through warm potatoes, with fish…etc etc. I made this version with mustard greens from our garden (the only thing I seem to be able to grow at the moment, probably because they are a weed).
1 cup parsley
1 cup mustard greens
1 cup olive oil
2 tbsp capers
juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 red onion
1 hard boiled egg yolk
Blend all ingredients until as smooth as possible and keep in a jar in the fridge for up to a month.
Pear and parsnip soup
This is a pretty basic cake but great for picnics as it travels, slices and eats beautifully.
150g butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups brown sugar
grated zest of one orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural yogurt
2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup apricot jam (I used Lynwood’s Apricot and Vanilla)
Preheat the oven to 180C, grease and line a 24cm round cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Fold through the orange zest, vanilla, yogurt, cinnamon and flour, taking care not to overmix. Spoon batter into prepared cake tin and top with the apple slices. Finally, pop the jam in your microwave for about 30 seconds to soften a little and brush all over the apple slices. Place in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. You might find the apple slices start to caramelise a little too much during the cooking time, in this case just place a sheet of lightly greased foil on the top of your cake about half way through cooking to protect them from burning.