Forage takes place every year during Orange’s F.O.O.D Week, and, having participated in the last three events – the first two as a volunteer and this year as a ‘real’ paying person – I really think that this one of the best, most unique and well organised food events anywhere. In the world.
A truly progressive lunch, Forage asks just under 800 lucky ticket holders to walk four kilometres through Orange’s Nashdale Valley, stopping along the way to eat and drink six courses of the region’s best.
Our venison was prepared by Michael Manners and served as a canape with a delicious quince relish (recipe on its way). Next we had an amazing chicken and mushroom pie by Tony Worland of Tonic Restaurant, then the below tagine followed by a palate cleansing sorbet from Gina Allen. Dessert was a pear Tiramisu from Lolli Redini and then we had cheese via the Old Convent. Each course was matched with beautiful local wines and between each one we strolled through vines, past orchards and over rolling hills.
These sorts of events rely on the hard work of many volunteers, including my husband, Tim, above, and our mate James Sweetapple of Cargo Road Wines. James was in charge of ‘team Forage’ and put hundreds of (unpaid) hours work into making it such an amazing day. Thank you so much to all of you.
Edwena Mitchell’s Lamb tagine and cous cous
Edwena Mitchell is a local caterer and the President of F.O.O.D Week 2013. Along with F.O.O.D week’s many volunteers, worked incredibly hard to make Forage happen, and happen so perfectly.
She was also responsible for the lamb tagine we all enjoyed so much on the fourth stop. This is a fantastic recipe for wintery dinner or lunch parties; it can be made entirely in advance, it reheats wonderfully and is just delicious. I’m going to give it a whirl this weekend with some diced venison shoulder and am expecting great things!
Edwena’s notes: For Forage and the 750 serves I was making, we used 70kg diced lamb and about 900 young onions (Greg Kocanda from Canowindra’s Gaskill Greens pulled up almost a whole paddock for me!). This is one of the easiest dishes I know, and even though the method is probably not exactly how tagine’s are traditionally made, it’s how I do it and always gets good reviews!
We served this with some parsley, lemon and garlic gremolata but a sprinkle of parsley and lemon zest will nearly do!
1.5kg diced leg lamb
1 tbsp Herbies Tagine spice
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 sticks celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
3 young onions, diced or 3 bunches of spring onions, finely sliced
1 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
300ml chicken stock
300mls red wine
300mls V8 juice
1/2 cup plain flour
Preheat oven to 180C. Rub the meat with tagine spice, salt and pepper and mix well. Place meat in a large casserole pan with a lid, add all remaining ingredients (except the butter and flour), stir well and cook for about two hours. Once the meat is tender, remove from heat. Melt butter and stir in the flour. Add this paste to the hot tagine, stir to combine and serve with the below cous cous.
Israeli cous cous with currants and hazlenuts
250g Israeli (pearl) cous cous
2 cups water
1 heaped tsp Herbies Ras el Hanout spice
1 tbsp currants
1 tbsp roasted hazlenuts, roughly chopped (or pine nuts)
Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the salt, spices and cous cous, stirring constantly. When the mixture has come back to the boil, add currants and nuts and continue to stir until cous cous is cooked through.
Note – Israeli cous cous does absorb more water than the regular variety so don’t worry if you need to add more during cooking.
Finally, thank you to my walking partners, from left to right, Bel, Jocie and Pip (looking the wrong way!). Last month the four of us walked the 50kms from Palm Beach to Balmoral as part of Coastrek 2013 and because the conditions that day were so awful and the walk itself such a challenge, we thought we’d reward ourselves with Forage. And yep. It was awesome.
Tickets for this year’s event sold out almost the day they were released so if keen to join us all for Forage 2014, please keep a close eye on the website or better yet, become a social member of F.O.O.D Week. This means, among other good things, you will be entitled to priority booking status. Bingo.