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stop to smell the rosehips

Wild Rosehip Shrub

I’ll be the first to admit to reaching for my rose coloured glasses whenever the notion of foraging is mentioned, but there really is a lot to be said for gathering what you might otherwise whiz past roadside. Food for the taking. Olives polka-dotting trees, gnarly old quinces hanging like lanterns, and rosehips that announce their whereabouts via your nasal passages well before you spot their perfectly muted red tones in the landscape. How good do rosehips smell?! Such a distinctive mix of sweet and sour. Which is exactly how it tastes. But beyond drying them for tea (which we do), there’s not a lot that I have come across to make the most of a glut of ripe rosehips – until I discovered shrubs. The non-bushy kind.

Shrubs are a perfectly old-fashioned way of drawing out, and preserving the flavours of fruit, into an apple cider vinegar based syrup. Then all that stands between you and your inner mixologist is a bottle of bubbly water and a particularly pretty glass. Here’s how I’ve been making our little ode to Autumn foraging…

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Wild Rosehip Shrub

2 cups rosehips, stripped clean of leaves and branches
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 cups natural sugar

To make the shrub, simply bring the vinegar to the boil, add the sugar and continue to boil until dissolved. Then remove from heat and put the rosehips into the hot vinegar/sugar liquid.

Pour into a jar and cover, leaving in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks.

Taste, and if the rosehips have steeped for long enough to draw their flavour out to your liking, then strain them out of the syrup and pour into a sterilised bottle. Store in the fridge and add to soda, kombucha or whatever might take your fancy, in the same way you would a cordial.

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Barcelona on toast(ados)

Saffron Poached Pear & Dark Chocolate Frangipane Tart

I’m not sure what part of my brain thought that a ‘quick trip’ to Barcelona, while I was in Bangkok for this year’s San Pellegrino Awards, would be a clever plan. Once we arrived though, it was clear my stomach had orchestrated the trip all along. The food. Oh my Lordy, the food. And the beautiful shops, catwalk-ready locals, and effortlessly cool design. I would have happily spent a month there, but 4 days were all we had, and considering how many times per day we ate across that time, I’m kind of glad we didn’t have any chance to linger (or rent the apartment I had my eye on by mid afternoon on the first day).  A quick list of what we got up to if you’re keen to jam-pack a Barcelona trip with food, shoes, restaurants, food, architecture, food, amazing bars, sleeping in bakeries and eating really good food. Don’t eat too much on the plane is all I’m saying!

We stayed at Praktik Bakery which as the name suggests, is a bakery. Really cute design, great location and the aroma of freshly baked bread ducted through your room. I’m not kidding.

On the first morning, I downloaded an app called Shopikon Barcelona, ridiculously helpful for fast tracking your way through each area of Barcelona along with food shops, bars, clothing, museums, espadrille makers and markets. And because each place is a link on maps, it means you just click on where you want to go and let your phone talk to you on route, so you don’t look (as much) like a tourist but just someone who checks their phone a lot. Which is everyone really.

From Shopikon I found the most amazing old-school handmade espadrilles shop, La Manual Alpargatera, seriously beautiful clothing store, Coquette and a whole shop dedicated to the olive called Olive Delicatessen.

Every day we ate at Flax & Kale. Everyday. And because we couldn’t get enough of the plant-based goodness, we also ate at the big sister outlet and namesake restaurant, Teresa Carles. So good.

Drinks amongst the glamour of corner gin bars and the ever gorgeous Boca Chica, where I went to the bathroom twice in a half hour, and not due to a weak bladder. That bathroom is too beautiful to take in in one visit!

But my favourite, favourite meal in all of Barcelona (the 4 day version) was at Mano Rota, where chef Bernat, whipped up an 8 course (plant-based) degustation for me and I couldn’t stop saying, ‘Oh my God’ and ‘this is amazing’ on high rotation. My exclamations would have been so much cooler in Catalan, but no less heartfelt. Seriously delicious food.

And if anyone ever says that the Sagrada Familla is ‘too touristy’, or ‘not worth the line ups’, please, please ignore them. I was completely gobsmacked by the incredible collision of symbology and Gaudi’s wild imagination made manifest in architecture. And that was before going inside! It is too, too mind-blowing to even consider wrapping words around something of this scale, it has to be felt to be believed. Buying tickets online beforehand is an excellent tip, but even if you don’t, the time spent lining up is all forgotten when you walk into that profoundly beautiful space.

I came home with a veritable Spanish delicatessen of my own; saffron of course, grassy green olive oil, more chocolate than is reasonable for any one person to consume, saffron salt, smoked olive oil and some amazing little toffee coated almonds set between sheets of rice paper, can’t remember what they were called – whatever ‘crazy good’ translates to in Catalan!

 

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Anyway, once home again, and never ready to let go of being somewhere I’ve fallen in love with, I wanted to make something that reminded me of how Barcelona tasted. Chocolate and saffron had to be part of things. Add that to the fact I’ve been dying to figure out how to do a vegan version of a frangipane tart, and here’s where things ended up after dinner on the weekend…

 

Saffron Poached Pear & Dark Chocolate Frangipane Tart 

Chocolate Pastry for 1 x 28cm tart

1 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

3 teaspoons rapadura sugar

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/3 cup cold coconut oil

60 ml iced water

Saffron Poached Pears

3 pears, peeled, halved and cored

good pinch of saffron threads

2 cups water

1 cup natural sugar (not rapadura as it will make the colour too dark)

Dark Chocolate Frangipane

2 1/4 cups almonds

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

100g dark chocolate, shaved

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

200g rapadura sugar

150g coconut oil, at room temperature

3 tablespoons egg replacer* in 6 tablespoons of water

2 teaspoons vanilla powder

To poach the pears, simply bring the saffron and sugar to a boil in the water and then add the pear halves. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the pears are soft but not falling apart. Remove the pears onto a plate to cool and reduce the poaching liquid to about 1 cup. This will be the saffron syrup to brush over the tart when serving.

To make pastry, prepare a fluted tart tin with removable base, by greasing it with coconut oil and a dusting of flour. I always line the base with a cut out round of baking paper too.

  Add flour, sugar, salt, raw cacao and dark chocolate to a food processor. Blitz. Add coconut oil and blitz again, until you have a crumbly mixture, then with the processor still going, add in the iced water from the top until the dough pulls together.

You won’t need to chill the pastry at this stage. Roll the dough into a circle about 33-35cm and about 3-4mm thick. I always use a sheet of baking paper to roll pastry out and then it’s an easy transfer to flip it into the tart tin and peel away the paper once it’s in place. Press the edges into the sides of the tin and neaten any extra bits with a sharp knife. Prick the base with a fork and place the tart tin into the freezer while the oven preheats to 175C. 

Bake the pastry case (no need for weights) for about 20 minutes, until it is set but not cooked through completely. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Increase the oven to 180C.

To make the frangipane, into a food processor, add the almonds and blitz until you have almond meal. Then add the cacao, salt, sugar and shaved chocolate. Blend until you have a crumbly ‘meal’ and add the coconut oil, egg replacer mix and vanilla.

Pour the frangipane mixture into the cooled pastry case and smooth with a spatula to even it out. Place the pear halves, cut side down, in a circle across the top of the tart and gently push each half into the mixture a little bit.

Bake the tart at 180C for 45-55 minutes, until the frangipane is nicely puffed around the pears.

Brush the saffron syrup reduction across the top of the tart before serving.

*I make this egg replacer when I want something lighter than flaxseed, but feel free to use 3 flax eggs if you don’t have the ingredients to make a batch of this powdered form of egg replacer.  This will make a batch that you can store to use beyond this recipe. To make it, mix together 1 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, 1/4 cup baking powder and 1/2 tablespoon xanthan gum. Store it in a glass jar for up to 6 months.

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garden decides

Cashew & Spelt Gnocchi

We had a massive clean out in the garden this weekend, kind of an everything-must-go clearance of spent broccoli, earwig-eaten kale and woody fennel. And just in time to grab the last of the nettles too. The season turned really quickly this year – it seemed to take forever to get here, but the transition was complete in 2 days, according to the wilted and browned state of the veggies. So we did what we do every year, and pulled everything out ready for the next season’s efforts. I’ll admit to getting a bit sentimental over this process at times, I always feel bad pulling anything out that may still have a skerrick of green about it, but all it takes to quash that and buck up, is to think about the many pioneering hands that have worked the very same soil on our hill in the 100 or more years there’s been a veggie garden here. Our little patch is a good place for big thoughts.

Had to laugh at myself though, when I interrupted my subconscious mulling over the idea of changing my Instagram name. All romantic notions of connecting with my pioneering forebears ran off right about then. Thing is, the idea of an Instagram name wouldn’t have even been on my radar 5 years ago. Maybe 6. Does it ever make your brain hurt at where things might be at for all of us in another, oh, 5 years? Anyway, I did change it. My Instagram name, that is. Figured I write it in the wet cement of our renovations so it would be there in another 100 years. It’s bound to have historical significance. Having sorted that pivotal point out, I also made plans for dinner. To be honest, the garden decided that one without me. Here’s what the days gardening efforts became…

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Cashew & Spelt Gnocchi 

Serves 2

I make good use of the cashew cheese I make each week for the Scullery’s Saturday pop-up, so this recipe is exactly what I’ve been promising our cashew cheese customers, for maybe 6 months now. Eeep. Or you can always follow the recipe for cashew cheese here if you’re not able to call in to the Scullery this Saturday!

I make my own egg replacer for things like gnocchi too, but you can just as easily use 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons of water.

If you’d like to make the egg replacer, it’s great for when you want a lighter finish, with things like biscuits and cakes. This will make a batch that you can store to use beyond this recipe. To make it, mix together 1 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, 1/4 cup baking powder and 1/2 tablespoon xanthan gum. Store it in a glass jar for up to 6 months.

For the gnocchi:

1 cup cashew cheese

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour

1 tsp Himalayan salt

3 tsp egg replacer mixed in 6 tbsp water

Mix cheese and egg replacer liquid mixture in a medium sized bowl and add flour and salt, stirring together until you have a dough consistency. You should be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands. If it’s still sticky, add a little more flour, bit by bit.

Roll into sausages about 1 cm thick on a floured board and cut into 1-2 cm pieces with a sharp knife. On a floured board, make sure to keep them from touching, while you’re preparing the remaining gnocchi, you don’t want them to stick.

When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently drop the gnocchi in. Wait until they float to the top and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Serve with pesto immediately.

For the nettle pesto:

A generous handful of each of the following herbs –

organic nettles

organic fennel fronds

organic mint

organic sage

organic oregano

1 clove garlic

extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp capers in salt (don’t rinse)

Blitz together in a food processor until you have the consistency you prefer, adding the olive oil as you go.

To serve the gnocchi, drizzle generous spoonfuls of pesto across the hot gnocchi, top with extra rocket flowers, fresh herbs or whatever takes your fancy. These little guys are filling, so don’t be put off by what seems like a small amount!

 

digging the dirt(y)

Dirty(y) Food Saag Aloo

Way back when the idea of the Full Moon Farm Gate started percolating, dirt(y) Simon Bryant was one of the first foodie types I thought of calling to see if he’d be keen to be on board. He was. His diary wasn’t. It’s taken since 2013 until now to find a happy collision of his free time and our popping up, but that junction is here and it’s happening! This is a very cool thing for lots of reasons, but the most of them are about Simon’s food and his approach to how and why things end up on a compostable plate. If you didn’t get any ‘celebrity’ vibe in that, it’s because there isn’t any of that with Simon. Really. And he’s more than entitled, believe me. Instead, there’s the ‘sure, we can cook to order in a stone stable in unpredictable weather, not knowing how many people are coming, and we’ll talk to all the local producers to make sure we get as many things grown down the road as we can.’ That’s Simon. Clearly a Full Moon Farm Gate kind of guy.

You’d think, knowing all the above, that I wouldn’t possibly ask him for anything else, but when he told me what he had planned for Saturday night’s menu, “hey, would you guest blog one of the recipes for me?” was out of my typing fingers before I could add, “please say yes!” And he did. So here’s one of the ‘wokked to order’ dishes he’ll be serving come Saturday night at Langmeil. It’s from his new book. The one that hasn’t actually been released yet. If that doesn’t make us all feel loved…

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 Dirt(y) Food Saag Aloo by Simon Bryant

500 g starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

(Syd Lewis’ Pontiacs)

60 ml dirt(y) raw pressed red skin peanut oil *

2 onions, diced

(from Alnda Farms)

4 cloves garlic, crushed

(from Krondorf Farm)

1 tsp freshly grated turmeric

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 big bunch English spinach, leaves roughly chopped

(from Alnda Farms)

salt flakes

100 ml raw coconut oil

½ large green chilli, sliced

coconut yoghurt and steamed basmati rice, to serve

 

Start by boiling the spuds till they are tender and set aside and keep warm. 

Heat a large heavy-based pan (with a lid), add the peanut oil and once hot sautee the onion and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes or until soft. Turn the heat up a little and add the spices to fry for about 30 seconds or till aromatic – but don’t burn that fenugreek or it will turn bitter! 

Add the spinach along with ½ cup water and toss gently so the spinach is covered with the spice mixture. Place the lid on and cook covered for around 3 mins or until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt flakes. Grab a stick blender and puree the mixture, adding the raw coconut oil while the mixture is hot. 

Add the potatoes and gently fold through the pureed mixture.

Garnish with the green chilli and serve with coconut yoghurt and steamed basmati.

 

A note from Simon…

* dirt(y) is my brand of Australian grown, gm free, wholefoods. So I guess this is my shameless plug for our peanut oil…

dirt(y) raw pressed red skin peanut oil is made with red skin peanuts grown in sunny Kingaroy, Queensland – Peanut Capital of Australia. The peanuts are raw pressed, an authentic, artisan-style process that captures all the intensity of the peanut’s flavour and aroma.

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Bring on Saturday night, we’re so ready for this meeting of worlds!

wake up tea

Alu Paratha with Lemon Achar

Every morning that we were trekking in the Himalaya, we were woken up with hot tea brought to our tent; if that one action doesn’t set the scene for how much we loved being in India, I don’t know what could. Beyond stating over and over again how extraordinary the magnitude of the Himalayas is, and how I tried to find new spaces in my head and heart to cram it all in, I really can’t find a way to wrap words around the experience. It was as though every spiritual teaching I have ever happened upon, all the beautiful passages of poetry, every minute of yoga practice, and all the meditation I have ever sat in, all met in a point of singularity, and what really, really blew my mind was how they all just fell away, in an instant. And there I was breathing and walking. Breathing and walking became the most incredible things. Stuff I’d be doing, let’s face it,  for quite sometime now, these everyday things, all of a sudden became truly sacred. And that’s pretty much how it played out, from one moment to the next, so overwhelmed with the beauty of breathing and walking in surroundings that asked nothing more or less of me. Insane levels of peace right there. Wake up tea indeed. And that’s before we found ourselves sitting in the kitchen of an 1100 year old Buddhist monastery. Crazy beautiful.

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And of course there’s so much more, there always is. And it’s still coming, even now that we’re home. I love that. And Alu Paratha, I love Alu Paratha. If there was a quintessential meal for me while we were in India, it was Alu Paratha, with Achar (pickle) and chai. So good. It’s our new Sunday brunch now that we’re back, and if the Gayatri Mantra is loud enough in the background, it just about tastes like the real thing – only with Spelt Flour, Vegan Butter and Almond Milk. Here’s our rendition of the originals if you’d like to create your own Little (Vegan) India.

Lemon Achar (Pickle)

The lemon achar will need to be made a few weeks before hand to allow the skins of the lemon quarters to soften, this is when you’ll know it’s ready.

1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds

1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3-4 strands of saffron

1 small dried chilli

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt 

4 organic lemons

300 ml mustard seed oil

Lightly dry roast the spices in a pan until fragrant and popping, then add the salt and saffron and roughly crush in a mortar and pestle.

Cut the lemons in quarters and remove the pips. Put in a bowl and stir the spices through to coat the lemon quarters. Put the quarters into sterilised jars, stacking the fruit as you would for preserved lemons.

Gently heat the mustard oil in a pan until it is hot, but not smoking. Add the small chilli into the jar and pour the hot oil over the lemons. Make the jar airtight and leave for at least a week until the lemon skins have softened, again in the same way preserved lemons do.

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 Alu Paratha

For the paratha:

1 cup organic spelt flour

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

For the alu:

2 organic potatoes

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Boil the potatoes, drain and cool. Mash together with the spices, salt and lemon juice.

Mix the spelt flour with the salt and rub in the coconut oil. Slowly add the water until you have a workable dough.

 Split the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece out to about 1/2 cm thick. Place a tablespoon of the potato mix in the centre of each and fold the edges of the dough over the potato like you were wrapping a present.  Turn the dough over and gently roll out as thinly as possible to spread the potato mix throughout the bread, but trying not to break the dough and let the potato bust through. This can take a little practice!

Heat a flat grill plate and cook each paratha until golden, flipping halfway through the cooking time to cook both sides evenly.

Serve with lemon achar and chai.

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real lemonade

Real Lemonade

I’m not sure I can quite pull the old ‘we’re still recovering from a huge Breakfast Rave’ line now that we’re a fortnight on from the actual event, but hoping you can humour me. It is true. Mostly. It was such an amazing day a couple of Sunday’s ago, the weather was perfect, the location at Chateau Tanunda just gorgeous, great food, music, coffee, tea, green smoothies, and an all round good vibe for everyone’s start to the day. I thought I’d made enough lemonade but Spring came along dressed for Summer and we sold out, so here’s the recipe for everyone I promised it to. Over 2 weeks ago now. Ooops.

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Real Lemonade

 

3/4 cup organic panela sugar (or other unrefined sugar of choice)

1 cup water 

1 cup organic, freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 lemons worth)

1 vanilla bean, stripped

 

3 to 4 cups still or sparkling water (to dilute)

 

Make a simple syrup by heating the panela sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely. Add the lemon juice and vanilla seeds and stir through.

 

Remove from heat and leave to cool before diluting to taste with either still or sparkling water.

 

The panela sugar will make this lemonade a darker colour but the flavour is wonderful.

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peace & vinegar

apple cider vinegar

There’s that kind of silence that can make you feel a bit panicked. And then there’s the kind of silence that wraps around you and starts seeping into your skin before you notice it. The later usually comes with early morning light, and it’s the very coolest thing. It feels nourishing somehow. Like your insides had been waiting for it all along but didn’t know how to get through your skin to soak the quiet up. It was a soak it up kind of morning out on the hill this morning, and everyone was keen to pass the silence along in foggy puffs of warm breath. It started with the cows, and then passed to a lone sheep, who begged me not to give away his true identity in a bovine dominated paddock, and then it rolled over to Stella, and she wet-nosed it into my hand so I could hang at the back fence holding it for a while. Super quiet in the winter sunshine.

It didn’t last for long. I haven’t figured out how to catch it completely yet, but  I felt like I had packed enough peace into my pockets to get me through the first part of Sunday morning at least. I really try not to have too many plans for Sundays beyond tea drinking and riding of big brown horses. So there was tea. And then there was apple cider vinegar making. Mostly because we haven’t done that before, and because it didn’t seem to taxing an idea for a Sunday.

We were given a box of beautiful organic homegrown fruit from a friend’s orchard a while ago and after munching our way through fresh apples and adding them to our juice every morning, vinegar popped into my head. We whip through apple cider vinegar like no tomorrow, so it seemed like a grand idea to know how to make it ourselves. It gave us the perfect chance to put our finally finished cellar to good use too. And I completely appreciate this isn’t everyone’s idea of a relaxing Sunday, so feel free to skip homemade vinegar making, but give the ‘tonic’ recipe a go if you’re keen. It’s unbelievably good for you because of its alkalising effects, helping issues with fluid retention, cholesterol, memory, PMS, arthritis, blood circulation etc etc. The list goes on. And if you’ve developed any kind of ‘culture’ obsession, like we have with sourdough and yoghurt, kefir grains and mushrooms, then you can just call this good fun!

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Apple Cider Vinegar

 

organic wax free apples

champagne yeast

vinegar ‘mother’ (we got our’s from a friend)

 

 

We used our juicer to juice the apples. This gives a slightly cloudier version of vinegar but it continues to settle over time.

Once you have juiced your apples, put the juice into a large preserving jar and add the amount of champagne yeast recommended by the brand you are using. Don’t use yeast for making bread, they’re two completely different things!

Stir the yeast into the apple juice and cover the top of the jar with muslin held in place by a rubber band. This is the fermenting stage and will result in alcoholic apple cider. Depending on temperature, yeast culture and amount of sugar in the fruit you should have a fermented cider in about 5-7 days. You’ll notice the mixture will stop bubbling and start to settle in the jar.

Strain off the yeast from the cider into another jar as best as you can, leaving a little isn’t a problem, so no need to be too thorough.

When you have the strained apple cider add the vinegar mother culture and recap with a fresh lot of muslin to allow the cider to transform into vinegar as the mother culture works its magic.

Taste the vinegar after about a month and see if it’s to your liking. If yes, strain the mother off and begin a new batch of vinegar, otherwise leave things as they are to continue the process until you have the flavour you’re after.

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Daily Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

 

2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar

1 cup filtered water

1/2 tsp raw organic honey, or to taste

 

Mix together and sip on throughout the morning. If your tummy is handling the change then you can gradually increase the amount of vinegar to 2 tablespoons in the same amount of water.

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