Tag Archives: autumn

Dinner Club ~ Autumn

14 May

Autumn, a beautiful, rustic display of autumn’s colours & flavours set the scene

This balmy Autumn evening was our 7th dinner club, spread across 2 years, and it was Fi & Reid’s 2nd time hosting.  Fi is our resident food stylist, recipe developer and tester.  Superb presentation and a thoughtfully designed theme is a highlight of dinner at Fi & Reid’s . Fi also has a passion for homegrown, organic, seasonal & local produce which features in this menu. We are delighted to be her guinea pigs for her experiments.


The Menu

Quail eggs with dukkah
Local wild mushroom bruschetta w herbs & cheese
Rabbit broth
Slow cooked lamb w pickled quince & kale
White polenta
Roast baby vegetables
Poached pear with olive oil icecream

The secret ingredient for the night was verjuice. All dishes except the quail eggs used it. Fi was working on a project for recipes including verjuice, although she was very secretive about it, and I don’t think she even told us that on the night.

One thing Fi loves about Dinner Club is the shared appreciation of what it takes to plan, prepare and create a meal for a group of friends. I have peeled a few quails eggs in my day, and trust me Fi, I know how long it takes and how hard it is to not only peel them, but to peel them perfectly. Appreciated.

Wild mushroom bruschetta, topped with a mix of piquant blue cheese and marscapone.

Take one rustic platter… they looked beautiful. There was something very ‘fresh’ about the taste, not as oily maybe? Slight zing to them? Yep, it’s the secret ingredient of the night… verjuice, it really lightens it up, or a splash of lemon juice for a similar effect.

Rabbit broth. Fi had sourced an array of quaint vintage teacups to serve this flavoursome broth into, the slithers of rabbit could be prised out daintily with the wee forks.

Any Italians in the house? We need to stir the white polenta for 20 minutes.

Lucky we have Joe, the Italian wine guy, he stepped up to the plate.

Roasted baby beets and mixed heirloom varieties of small tomatoes with herbs

Piled onto the perfect polenta

The main course featured a long slow roasted shoulder of lamb, accompanied by Fi’s homegrown pickled quince.  A fresh handful of sauteed kale with red onion and a hint of chilli. Superb. Our contribution, this amazing bottle of Barbera from a special release range of wines from Dalzotto Wines.

For me, dessert was the dish of the night…. everyone was floored by this dish. Homegrown pears poached in verjuice, then roasted, served with olive oil icecream. The icecream was completely dairy free and amazing. Olive oil, egg & sugar. Maybe some other stuff too, but that’s the main part. So delicious.

Thank you Fiona & Reid for sharing the bounty of the seasons harvest with us.

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The Wild Mushrooms of Red Hill

13 Apr

The first mushrooms of the season are always so exciting. Today was the first time this year there has been enough to get buckets full.

Checkout this one, probably shouldn’t each it, it looks a bit like the one that might be edible unless it mixes with alcohol in which case it is deathly. Do not touch.

This is what I am after, the perfect little pine mushroom. Known locally as Pineys, they can also be called saffron milk caps, pine caps it botantial name is Lactarius deliciosus they are common in Red Hill as they grow around the bases of pine trees, of which we have many.

Here are a few perfect little specimens.  Smaller than the palm of your hand, only a day or two old, they will be delicate and tender and fresh.

The fairy toadstool also grows around them in the same conditions.  This one is only for the fairies to live in, do not eat.

The fields are paved with them.

Bucket loads in one quick outing

My dinner tonight, a selection of a few of the smaller, perfect ones.

And this is how I like to eat them. Quickly panfried with some butter, herbs & olive oil piled onto a crusty baguette with Main Ridge Dairy marinated chevre. I also did one round where I fried pancetta in the pan first before adding the mushrooms.  So simple and tasty.

Whilst foraging, may as well get a few bags of apples too!

I love Autumn.