Since Christmas we have been on self-imposed ‘lock-down’. Tim, who usually travels most weeks for work has been home and friends from Melbourne came to stay so we’ve been swimming in our newly cleared waterhole, picking and eating lots of fruit and generally laying low.
But now, the weather has turned a little extreme and day after day of dry, windy weather and high temperatures are all taking their toll. So for us it’s all about trying to keep cool, checking the stock and their water, listening for bushfire news and hitting town to go swimming.
Apricot frangipane tart
This tart does require a little love and time but is just delicious. Freshly ground almonds make a big difference.
For the pastry;
150g cold butter
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
Place the flour and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and blitz for a moment. Add the butter and blitz until you have a coarse sand-like texture. Tip this out onto a work surface and bring together with the palm of your hand and work until you have a lovely, smooth disc of dough. Wrap this in plastic and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper until about 5mm thick and drape into a loose-bottomed tart tin. Return to the fridge for another half an hour.
For the frangipane filling;
6 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups apricots, sliced thinly
Preheat oven to 180C. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy and add the almond meal, flour, vanilla and egg. Mix until smooth. Blind bake the tart shell then spoon in the frangipane mix and smooth out. Press the apricots into the mixture and bake for 25 minutes or until the frangipane is golden brown and cooked through.
Last week Alice, our friend Anna and I visited Beau and Katie Baddock’s orchard and picked sour cherries, apricots and peaches. Their fruit is always beautiful and it was pretty exciting to source some of the season’s best directly from the tree. Since then we’ve been making everything from upside-down pavlovas (pictured above) to frangipane tarts (also above) and tons of jam and are almost due for another visit.
Katie and Beau take their produce to markets across Sydney every weekend.
Morello cherry jam
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring to a rolling boil. Cook like this for about 20 minutes or until you have reached setting point. If you have a sugar thermometer, this is about 100C. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal well. Makes about 4 cups of jam.
‘Shaking’ venison salad’
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
500g venison leg steaks
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup runner beans, trimmed and blanched
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (for frying)
Morello and torn bread salad
This salad, pictured below, is just beautiful with pretty much any grilled meat, but of course we love it most with our seared venison steaks.
3 red onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic
4 tbsp olive oil
2 handfuls rocket
1 loaf of day-old sourdough bread
1/2 cup morello cherries
Preheat oven to 150C. Place the onions on a baking tray and scatter with the brown sugar, drizzle over half of the olive oil and balsamic. Slow-roast for one hour, or until the onions are soft and almost caramelised. Tear the bread into chunks and place these on a separate baking tray. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes or until the bread is golden and crunchy. To assemble the salad, place the rocket on a big platter and add remaining ingredients. Toss well and serve with a good drizzle of pomegranate molasses.