We just had a beautiful weekend at our friends’ property in Fosterton NSW, about 3 hours north of Sydney. The last time we visited they cooked for us, so it was time for us to return the favour.

Here’s the menu, I cooked the spanakopita and osso buco, D cooked the pancakes, crumpets and nasi goreng. He’s a keeper.

Friday night- Spanakopita (which is a meal in its own right but…a long drive and ravenous children mean the addition of pork and ginger sausages from Feather and Bone https://featherandbone.com.au/

Saturday morning- Sourdough ricotta pancakes served with extra ricotta, lemon curd and maple syrup

Sat lunch- Nasi goreng with prawns and bok choy

D usually makes it with lap cheung (Chinese sausage…delicious!) but I forgot to pack it so we used the leftover sausages from the night before

Sat night- Osso buco, broccoli, crisp rosemary and garlic potato chips

I cooked 3 times what I normally would so we’d have enough for all 8 of us plus leftovers for lunch the next day, we still had a bit extra so the scraps went in the freezer for puppy treats for next time.

It was interesting trying out the gas oven. Hagar had made rugelach last time and noticed it took a while to bake so I allowed extra time (I started making dinner at 2pm) and had plenty of time to leisurely get dinner on and then left it to do its thing. The potatoes would normally take an hour, but took 2 hours to really crisp up. It will take me some time to figure out this new oven but it did make really nicely crisp potato chips!

Sun am- Sourdough crumpets with butter and local honey

We were fighting over them at the end, and D had made 22! Everbody adored them, they were so moreish.

Sun lunch- leftover spanakopita and osso buco plus a nice salad by Hagar (queen of salads) of all the crisp veg in the fridge plus feta

After all that food we needed a big walk so we took a stroll down to a neighbours farm and (with permission of course) the kids played on the hay bales. It’s pretty fun taking a running leap up onto a hay bale.

Ever fearful of running out of food (as if we could have!!) I had brought with me a tray of nutella brownies and a tray of lemon slice just in case anyone was hungry! The brownies got demolished by the kids, cramming them into their little mouths with gusto. I prefer the sweet tartness of the lemon bars…so I’m happy to have some leftover 🙂

 

Chewy on the outside, tender in the middle. These delicious friands are best served warm straight out of the oven, but will keep for several days…

Ingredients

180g salted butter, plus extra to grease

6 egg whites

240g pure icing sugar, sifted

120g almond meal (finely ground almonds)

75g plain flour

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 

80g lemon curd

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (not fan forced). if you only have fan-forced as an option, set it to 180C fan forced)
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan, you can let it go a little bit brown, it will add a nice nutty flavour. Don’t let it burn though.
  3. In a large bowl add egg whites and stir in sugar. Add melted butter in a thin stream whisking as you mix. Add almond meal, flour and lemon zest.
  4.  Grease a 12 hole friand tin (oval shaped), or muffin tin with extra melted butter and divide mixture evenly between holes. Mixture will be runny. Drop one teaspoon lemon curd into the centre of each friand.
  5.  Bake for 25 minutes, friands will be deeply golden. Use a butter knife of palette knife to run around the edge of each friand and remove gently to a cooling rack. Serve warm.

Tips

  • Icing sugar goes hard over time, buy fresh icing sugar to make sieving easy. Or give yourself extra time to sieve old lumpy icing sugar!
  • Almond meal goes rancid over time so store in the fridge or freezer and use within the best before date

References

I have been making these for years, but think I got the original quantities from the Australian Women’s Weekly website. 

My favourite comfort food – rabbit and pasta. The ragu is from Stephanie Alexander, it’s her ‘hare pasta sauce’ but made with rabbit.

The pasta is saffron linguine from Marrickville markets. Parsley, thyme and bay from the garden. The wine to deglaze the pan and relax the chef is a McLeish Estate cabernet sauvignon/merlot.

So, it seems I’ve jumped on the apple cider bandwagon. Those who know me will smile at yet another new found food addiction. I started with Magners (Irish), late last year, which is refreshing with ice, but I now have others which I prefer, given the choice. I’ve been enjoying Monteith’s (NZ) which has a crisp, sweet finish, and Dirty Granny (Matilda Bay, WA) which has a drier finish, which, growing up drinking dry white wine on special occasions suits my palate. I also like the name. 🙂
I quite like 5 Seeds cloudy apple cider, and they are doing a lot of advertising at the moment. I’ve tried the pricey Rekordorlig Strawberry Lime and the Pear. I haven’t tried the Apple yet. I found both of the ones I’ve tried to be delicious but too sweet for my taste to drink a whole bottle. Also the price seems exorbitant for buying while out, $12 at our local, almost $6 a bottle at big name booze stores.
I don’t mind pear cider – I think the Monteith’s is less sweet than the apple, which can be nice to have a drier drink with food – but I prefer the apple if drinking it on its own. I’m looking forward to trying the apple and pear blend.
Bilpin ciderThe newest kid on the block is Bilpin original cider, bought today at Marrickville markets. They were $4 each, and after chilling all afternoon in the fridge it’s going down beautifully while my spatchcock chicken marinates in Chris Manfield’s recipe for Spicy roast chicken. Freshly made garam masala, ground ginger, chilli, garlic, turmeric and yoghurt. Can’t wait to roast it up and eat it with some BBQ corn. Might do the corn Mexican style with a little chilli jam and grated parmesan to finish.
Where was I? Cider. Drink some. Is nice.


I’d been looking forward to a week at home, starting each day with a coffee from my Rancilio Sylvia before venturing out into the world; and then Sylvia went and got sick and I had to take her to the vet.
While at the ‘vet’- Dibartoli coffee centre in Bondi Junction, we got to chatting about great cafes near St Peters and one of the guys there recommended Coffee Alchemy, a coffee house in Marrickville who roast their own beans. I went there the next day and had a delicious coffee and was determined to go back. I did read on their website that they close at 2pm but somehow in my caffeine deprived state the next day, I forgot. So I found myself coffee-less. Luckily I took a wrong turn on the way home and found the Petty Cash Cafe, whose coffee rivals that of Coffee Alchemy, or was that just to do with the sunshine on Enmore park and the balmy smell of summer in the air? Either way, I’ve found just two of what I’m sure are many more great local cafes to discover…
Oh yeah, and Sylvia is all better too 🙂

I seem to be living off beef pho at the moment, and my favourite right now is phd Vietnamese restaurant at Marrickville, only $9 for a delicious takeaway dinner, yum. I’m also hoping to try Yen For Viet a few doors down soon as every time I walk past they’re packed. We tried to get in one night without a booking and they were fully booked, so will have to plan ahead for that one.

I watched all four available episodes of Gourmet Farmer last night on the SBS website. Now I am hanging out for Thursday night 7:30pm for episode 5. I haven’t felt that happy and contented watching a TV program for a while. There is something satisfying about watching a city boy give it a go at farming and country life. Matt Evans is also more personable than I expected. Whatever it is, the shows have been put together with consideration and respect for farmers and how hard they work.
Some have complained that GF glamorises the ordinary. But for people who don’t live with acres of land, a thriving kitchen garden, and chooks out the back, it isn’t ordinary, it is fascinating. It is also the knowledge that one would probably fail if you set out to do something as crazy as expect to create a farm that is financially stable with no experience. Somehow though, with the support of local farmers and a humble attitude Matt manages to be hopeful, and at times successful, which is what makes this show so Australian and a pleasure to watch.
I hope this show does well, cause this city girl still has a lot to learn about farming.