25 May Seasonal Update – Wednesday 25th May, 2016

Call Elizabeth on 0419505438 to enroll to join us for next week’s Cookery Class in one of Melbourne’s finest Cookery Schools.


Fuss Free Menus: Everyone Loves a Roast!

Monday 30th May: 1130 – 2.30pm – Meredith St, Elwood

The cooler months welcome the roasting of meats for a meal of comforts.  Perhaps today we will roast a chicken – Thomas Keller style – a must for every home cook’s repertoire. We may bake a tray of heirloom vegetables and prepare an interesting garden salad.  How about an open fruit tart to finish?  A platter of seasonal nuts and fruits.  It really will be splendid!

Fuss Free Menus: No Meat Mondays

Tuesday 7th June: 1030 – 1.30pm

Need to give your body a break from protein?  Having a repertoire of appetizing meat free dishes is a great healthy option for everyone.  We will make a seasonal soup of vegetables, prepare a delicious salad of raw greens and interesting grains, and prepare a vegetable curry or tian or couscous dish.  Not quite raw-vegan I know but you will be amazed at how delicious it all is!

Call Elizabeth on 0419 505 438 to join us in this small hands on class :$165 / person

Still In season: May

Apples – look for heritage and unwaxed varieties – Hazeldean Forest Farm has the most exquisite French heirlooms such as Golden Reinette (perfect for Tarte Tatin) and Bel de Boskop (available this Saturday at Bentleigh Farmers’ Market);  Cumquats – to prepare with brandy or to make Cumquat Marmalade;  Lemons and Limes for simple curds – Go to previous recipe of Lemon Curd for Lemon Tarts for Mothers Day; Mandarins for lunch boxes and snacks off the kitchen bench; Nashi Pears, Oranges – look out this week for Navelinas from Kingfisher Citrus;  Passionfruit to mix in your yoghurt in the morning;  Pears and the last of the Persimmons for interesting fruit and cheese platters;  Rhubarb for the most delicious and easy to make compote.


Chestnuts – Visit earlier post for Chestnut and Mushroom soup; new season Walnuts are essential for any cheese platter or an assortment of seasonal fruits and nuts – see if you can get some that are still green and dry them yourself.


When the slugs in the gardens allow – Asian greens for quick stir fries and breakfast smoothies, Beetroot – baked with carrots and Kohlrabi are a simply delicious meal or side dish; Broccoli of course and look out for beautiful baby Brussel Sprouts still attached to the stem; Cabbages for nourishing soups, Cauliflower and what must be almost the last of the eggplant for a gratin with chopped lamb;  Fennel – whole bulbs roasted and the fine fronds integrated into garden salads with a variety of Lettuces; Mushrooms – cooked to eat on toast in front of the television or made into a delicious soup – with or without chestnuts – see previous Recipe posts; Parsnips – try pureeing these; pumpkins for soups even the 8-year-old can make;  Shallots, Silver Beet and Spinach, Swedes and Turnips, Celery and Leeks  to enrich casseroles, soups and nourishing dishes of lentils; Potatoes to eat a thousand ways – why not try your hand with Potato Dauphinoise using the versatile and delicious Dutch Creams from Jones Potatoes. 


I cannot imagine not growing my own herbs – impossibly inconvenient to not have my own supply. Bay, Parsley, Mint, Rosemary, and Thyme.  Chives and Oregano, Marjoram, Sage, Watercress and Witloff too.  I have never had sustained success with Coriander but it is in season now.

Accredited Farmers’ Markets

Wednesday 25th May: Weekly – University of Melbourne

Thursday 26th May: Weekly –  Goldsborough Lane (CBD) 4.30pm – 7.30pm

4th Saturday of the Month: Saturday, May 28th

Bentleigh, Coburg, St Kilda Primary, Lancefield, Abbotsford

5th Sunday of the Month: Sunday 29th May

Ringwood, Eynesbury, Flemington, Wedderburn.

This week I will see you in Lancefield!

For details visit: www.vicfarmersmarkets.org.au

Dining In

So in the last week, I cooked Yottam Ottolenghi’s Semolina Orange Marmalade Cake – delicious as a dessert with orange blossom flavored yogurt or fabulous as a tea cake – demanding hydrating tea.  (Yottam Ottolenghi, ‘Jerusalem’).

I did get rather carried away last Saturday morning at Gas Works and having over purchased at the Hazeldean Forest Farm store (www.hazeldeanforestfarm.com) I have a number of beautiful Golden Reinette apples to contend with, so I made a delicious Tart Tatin with my own Pate Sablee Shortcrust Pastry under the guidance of Damien Pignolet.  (Recipe in his cookbook ‘French’).  You really have to be nuts to not make your own shortcrust pastry! I suffered a minor metabolic crisis from the first mouthful but everyone else declared it a hands down winner!  I am supplying the recipe soon as a reward for anyone who can track down these fabulous apples. 

On Saturday I had my first crack at bottling my own fresh tuna – Fresh Tuna Confit – another suggestion from our friend Yottam Ottolenghi.  Never need the tinned stuff again.  It not only looks beautiful it makes every other tinned or bottled tuna (no matter what you pay for it – pale into insignificance).  (Yottam Ottolenghi, ‘Jerusalem’)

I had picked up some turkey necks and bones also at Gas Works.  Placed on a simmer mat over low heat for nearly 24 hours, with some leek, onion, and carrots, it created the most glisteningly golden Consomme!  There were liters of it so I reserved some to make a most satisfying Mushroom Soup.  Field mushrooms purchased from Gasworks – so irregular in size and spattered with dirt I could have claimed to have picked them myself!

Dining Out

I met some girlfriends for a long and lazy lunch last Friday at Entrecote CBD.  Now that is fabulous.  So different to the bustle of Entrecote in South Yarra.  Gorgeous service, beautiful space, fabulous company, an Alsace Pinot Gris was positively perfect with the Vol au Vent and the French Onion Soup.  Heavenly day.  www.entrecote.com.au

Gardens To Visit

Spouse and I tottled off to the Australian Garden at Cranbourne Botanical Gardens (rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-cranbourne) recently.  Needing to familiarise myself with some of the Australian natives for a family project in the Grampians we were positively spoilt on our private guided tour.  A passionate guide offers their services for $6.90 per person.  I am now the biggest fan of whispering She-Oaks – so long as they are planted 3 or 4 deep along a meandering path and we have exactly that in mind for such a thing


Union Dining Richmond and Curly Flat Winery just outside Lancefield collaborated on a wonderful winter luncheon menu last Sunday.  It was such a treat – we traveled by train to Woodend, were picked up by bus and taken to the winery.  We joined a party of close to 100 other guests in the cozy dining area, loved the wines, loved the food, made some new friends and then piled back into the bus and home again. Now that is a good way to spend a Sunday when you have no other responsibilities!

In the Garden:

Ohh look – it is still trying to rain. At last, it is cold at least!  I removed the last of the fallen leaves from the garden last week, poured on the remains of the duck poo and gave it all a lovely drink!  Cannot believe my hellebores!

The slugs are getting the best of my greens at the moment but there are enough to pick over still. I am espaliering a coral coloured bougainvillea on a north facing the wall on the upstairs terrace – with the hope that it will eventually cascade over the top onto the comparatively chilled south facing side of it which overlooks the back garden. Spring will tell because I suspect that there is not such a lot of growing going on between now and then in the bougainvillea department.

The garlic I planted about a month ago has really taken off. There is still time to get some in – try and get some that have already sprouted. Pop it into some good soil – green shoot pointing up and sit tight until the summer!

Upcoming Masterclass:

Gravlax – Tuesday 7th June 2016.  For International Wine and Food Society Members only.  I will be repeating this class in time for Christmas preparations.

Sour Dough Bread making Masterclass with Greg Dee of Elwood Bread.  Keep the date: Saturday 13th August 2016. Everyone gets to take some mother home in a jar. Not to be missed!

Confit Duck – Tuesday 16th June 2016. For International Wine and Food Society members only.  This class will be repeated on Saturday 3rd September.

Further information coming.

Gift Vouchers:
A cookery class in Melbourne’s leafy Elwood is the perfect wedding gift, also ideal for someone moving out of home. Don’t forget birthdays and Christmas too.  Ohh, and of course Father’s Day – in September.  Call Elizabeth on 0419505438 for a gift for someone you love.