Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Bags filled with cooking equipment, summer clothes and boxes of books, we jumped on a plane north and before we knew it we'd landed in balmy Ballina. Heading inland to the colourful village of Bangalow, we stopped in at the 'one street' town of Newrybar for a bite of lunch. Harvest Cafe was a welcome sight, we grabbed two bar stools and ordered from the bar snacks menu; sharing woodfired sourdough with wattleseed butter, pressed lamb with harissa and cauliflower, and sugar loaf cabbage with bunya cone vinegar and parmesan. A housemade ginger beer, cool and refreshing, took the edge off the thirty degree temperature we were suddenly having to come to terms with. No coastal breeze in this little Hinterland town. The Harvest ethos is local, seasonal, sustainable, self sufficient and fresh - all the things I love in food - it is not cheap food, not fast food, instead it is well thought out food, simple, fresh produce, cooked with tangible flavour and texture. We left with a loaf of seeded sourdough under our arm - we were off to a great start!
Our home for the next three days was The Gardeners Cottage in Bangalow, a delightful self-contained cottage nestled in a sprawling garden, with resident hens laying eggs for our breakfast. A towering jacaranda tree generously dropping its flowers, leaving a lilac carpet on the driveway for our arrival. It was a lovely, spacious and quiet place to stay, walking distance from the main street of Bangalow.
Early the next morning we drove twelve kilometres out to the coast to Byron Bay Farmers Market to source local and seasonal produce for the two events I'd be cooking at over the coming weekend. Lush blueberries, fragrant ginger, garlic, zucchinis, corn, beetroot, pears, bananas, salad greens, abundant bunches of dill, coriander, parsley, rocket, and sweet Cooper Shoot tomatoes bursting with flavour. My farmer friend Liz gifted me a bunch of her exquisite freshly cut garlic flowers, while Mr G bought himself a 'second breakfast' of the most delicious blueberry pie with clotted cream. These markets are held weekly on Thursdays from 8am - 11am at Butler Street Reserve.
As the heat again began to take hold, we enjoyed a late morning swim at the hidden treasure that is Wategos Beach. Greeted with azure waters, gently rolling waves, crisp white sand and the striking foliage of the Pandanus trees lining the banks of the shore. It was a glimpse of long summer holidays to look forward to, once the book promotions are all done, for now we seized the opportunity and soaked it up. A delicious burger and a glass of iced Kombucha enjoyed under the shade of a fringed brolly, at another Byron Bay favourite The Top Shop meant lunch was sorted, before we headed back to the Bangalow cottage to escape the middle of the day heat and unpack our market finds. Early evening a wood-fired pizza from The Italian Diner Gamberi; prawns, scallops, capsicum, fi or di latte mozzarella, chilli flakes & watercress, went down well sitting in the cool of the cottage garden.
Another early start Friday morning, I headed out to the Mullum Markets, while Mr G spent his morning working in the cottage. Unfortunately he missed out on a scrumptious breakfast omelette with corn, paprika and lime from The Nomadic Kitchen stall. This just happened to be the same folk who had delivered the epic blueberry pie the day before, so I grabbed another slice for us to share together later, perhaps for afternoon tea. These north coast markets all exude an endearing community vibe and homely touches such as serving food on proper vintage plates, giving this nourishing nosh the respect it deserves. I spent my morning wandering the stalls, gathering asparagus, pineapple, bush lemons, limes, plump avocadoes, thyme in flower, olive sourdough from Gina and a soft feta cheese from my new friend Deb. As the live music played and the colourful locals collected their weekly supplies, I caught up with two talented, passionate foodie friends who live in the area, Brenda Fawdon and Kate Walsh. We talked all things cookbooks, workshops, events and local produce under the shade of the ancient fig tree.
So enough preparation and procrastination had now been done...it was time to get working. Saturday morning we travelled one hour south to the gorgeous seaside town of Yamba, where I was teaching at Kitchen To Table Cooking School. An intimate class, we utilised the baskets of local produce I'd gathered at both markets, and worked our way through four recipes, two from Naked Food and two from Our Delicious Adventure. We began with a simple seasonal asparagus dish, next thing handfuls of flour were flying as I guided the group through the ins and outs of rolling and shaping potato and sage gnocchi. Later these fluffy white pillows were deliciously paired with the sweet Cooper Shoot tomatoes and crispy pancetta. A salad with bitter greens, roasted beetroot, pear and parmesan was served with the gnocchi. To finish, still warm from the oven, double chocolate and quinoa muffins, meant everyone was smiling and well satisfied by the end of our three hours together. Mr G had easily managed to occupy himself for that time, happily fishing for bream in the nearby river. Leaving Yamba later that afternoon, we travelled north-west out to Greenridge, near Casino in the Northern Rivers region. Here we had an afternoon tea, cooking demonstration and book signing in 'The Barn' on a friend's rural property scheduled for the following day.
An early rise on Sunday morning gave me the time to bake for the afternoon tea, mixing and baking two spelt banana loaves, a chocolate and beetroot cake with buttercream icing and three dozen hazelnut and lemon curd tartlettes. As friends Kelvin and Priscilla, Renate and Mr G set up and styled the venue, I further prepared for the cooking demonstration. By midday the temperature had hit a searing thirty eight degrees Celsius, making for challenging working conditions for all involved. However to my delight, when I walked into 'The Barn' to set up my table, it looked absolutely magnificent, scattered hay bales, old ladders, gumboots and magnolias, were just a few of my favourite things. At 2pm the crowd gathered in "The Barn' and these country folk were clearly not as daunted as I was by the unrelenting heat of the day. Iced sparkling water flowed and friends chatted and found their seat on a hay bale for things to begin. I shared about the journey of both living and then writing Our Delicious Adventure and then demonstrated a favourite recipe from the book, my Sweet Corn and Zucchini Fritters with Avocado, Almond and Feta. I think they were impressed! Expressions of delight as afternoon tea was consumed, left me content my baking had been up to scratch and well received. I'm always more apprehensive baking for country people.
So with a few more boxes of books sold and a lovely time shared with dear friends, we bid farewell to the Northern Rivers and headed back home to Sydney to prepare for the next adventure. There is still more work to do and much fun to be had, further promoting Our Delicious Adventure, with events at Tamsin's Table in Victoria (tickets still available), The Black Hen in Tasmania (now sold out) and many days with my stall at The Beaches Market, before Christmas is here.
Monday, October 3, 2016
A long weekend at our place usually means a sleep in and late breakfast together on the holiday Monday, and today was no different. Pancakes are always a favourite to cook when it is a slow morning without schedule. This recipe originated on a rainy morning in Hobart, where we were holidaying for a few days. There was abundant produce available, including delicious local honey, stoneground spelt flour, a succulent selection of well-priced berries and some very tasty wood smoked bacon. The recipe is included in the breakfast chapter of my new cookbook Our Delicious Adventure - Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel.
I hope you enjoy x j
HONEY AND VANILLA PANCAKES
On the only rainy day we had of our few days in Hobart, I cooked these sweet pancakes. Served for breakfast with a berry compote and smoked bacon, it was just the sustenance we needed to spend the rest of the day playing poker together in our pyjamas!
makes 12 pancakes
what you need
6 rashes smoked bacon
2 cups (260g) white spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (250ml) milk
½ cup (125ml) natural yoghurt
1/3 cup (80ml) honey
1 tbsp vanilla paste
2 tbsp butter, melted
4 tbsp coconut oil, for cooking
1 cup berry compote (see below)
1 cup (250ml) natural yoghurt
½ cup (125ml) pure maple syrup
what you do
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced) and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the bacon rashes onto the prepared tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, and add the eggs, milk, yoghurt, honey, vanilla and butter. Whisk to make a smooth batter.
3. Lightly grease a large frying pan with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and heat over medium heat. Drop ¼ cupfuls of batter into the pan, spreading out to 10cm rounds. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn over and cook for further 1 minute, until golden brown. Add more coconut oil to pan as required.
4. Serve the warm pancakes with the bacon, berry compote, natural yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Note: You will probably only be able to cook 3-4 pancakes at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Either serve in shifts, or keep warm on an oven tray in a very low oven, covered loosely with foil, while you cook the rest.
V option: Omit bacon.
GF option: Many people who have wheat allergies can tolerate spelt flour, use your own discretion. Use gluten-free baking powder.
honey is a thick sweet liquid and the accomplishment of bees using the nectar from flowers. Honey is gathered from wild bee colonies or domesticated beehives. Flavours vary depending on the nectar source. Once the honeycomb is removed from the hive, the honey is then extracted and filtered to remove beeswax and other debris. Known for its medicinal properties when raw, unfiltered honey can be used orally to treat gastric complaints, and topically for ulcers, burns and wounds.
This is a simple way to use up a glut of seasonal fruit. You could use one type of fruit or a mix of berries, apricots, plums, apples or pears. Served warm or cold, it is great for breakfast as an accompaniment to pancakes, yoghurt or your favourite muesli, or for dessert with ice cream.
makes 1 cup
what you need
2 cups (250g) berries,
(fresh or frozen depending on season)
¼ cup (45g) rapadura sugar
1 cinnamon stick
½ vanilla bean, split
what you do
1. Place the berries into a small saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and ¼ cup (60ml) water. Bring to the boil, stir, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and syrup thickens.
2. Remove from heat and serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold.
Note: Rapadura sugar is a whole sugar that undergoes minimal processing. This allows it to retain a higher nutrient content than white sugar, which when refined to create crystals loses much of its nutrients. Rapadura sugar is simply the product left behind after evaporating the water from the sugar cane juice and has a unique, caramel flavour. Substitute the same quantity of rapadura sugar for regular sugar in any recipe. It is available from health food shops, and is usually an organic product.
When cooking fruits such as apricots, plums, apples or pears increase the simmering time to 20 minutes.
Storage: Berry compote will keep in the fridge for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
compote is French for "mixture" and refers to fruit cooked or stewed in a sugar syrup. Commonly served as a dessert, whole fruits or their pieces are cooked in water with spices and sugar. The syrup may be seasoned with lemon or orange peel, vanilla, cinnamon sticks/ ground cinnamon, dried fruit or cloves. Serve either warm or cold.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Last Saturday or was it the one before? Time is racing by....I saw Christmas Puddings in the shops yesterday and wondered where has this year got too!
I digress...back to the topic Jane, it was on Saturday 3rd of September, in the words of my special guest and food-writer Barbara Sweeney - "family, friends and fans gathered to celebrate with me - the arrival of my new book - Our Delicious Adventure - Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel."
It was a delightful afternoon and with the help of my family and some very precious friends it all came together beautifully. Many of you were there to share in the moment, others were unable to make it due to just as important occasions elsewhere or travel miles that simply made it geographically impossible for you to attend. However whether you joined me in person or were enthusiastically cheering me on from afar - I thank you for your love and support.
An original 1830's one room, weather board school house, with a sprawling lawn dotted with grand old trees, natives shrubs and blossom trees in flower, and sunshine instead of rain made the setting sing. Gorgeous tunes from songwriter and music maker Ruby May, Sweet Pea Organic Moscato from Spring Seed Wine Co. and Flour and Stone Panna Cotta Lamingtons were all devoured, resulting in much praise. It was such a winfall to have such willing, clever, passonate and creative friends contribute to the afternoon. For the gluten-free peeps in the crowd my Double Chocolate and Quinoa Muffins filled the void. Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls, Potato, Leek and Gruyere Frittata and mum's (now even more famous) Chicken Sandwiches with celery and almond went down a treat.
The formalities were jovial, Mr G said a few kind words and then introduced Barbara and I to converse about the journey of creating and publishing this second book of mine. Barbara has a gift for drawing out the story behind the product that people see. She easily makes her obvious intelligence so palatable for those listening, I did my best to answer the questions and seem just as articulate! A hearty toast to another book completed and a moment of thanks, to the wonderful team who helped make it happen and we were done.
A book signing followed and an opportunity to unveil my new range of linen aprons and tea towels based on the 'almost edible' illustrations by local artist Nicky Hodgson, that appear in the pages of both my books. My daughter Molly Grover designed the pattern, and the fabric was printed and apparel made in Melbourne. They are available for sale online at janegrover.net or from my stall at The Beaches Market every Friday.
There are lots more events planned over the coming months, as I travel far and wide to launch and promote Our Delicious Adventure - visits to Brisbane, Northern Rivers of NSW, Yamba and East Gippsland, Victoria are all planned and you'll find all the details here soon. In the meantime I'll be doing a book signing with The Lost and Found Department at The Final Flea sale this Saturday 17th September at 81 Dickson Road, Artarmon, NSW from 10am - 4pm and I'll be at The Beaches Market with my stall of cookbooks, linen aprons, tea towels and home-made preserves every Friday 8am - 1pm.
Gratitude to Tyler Antcliff Photography for capturing the record of the day with such beautiful images - he comes highly recommended! x j
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Once the site for an historic one-room school, there is a tiny little school house nestled in the Oxford Falls Peace Park surrounded by a large tranquil garden. It is here we will celebrate the launch of my second cookbook Our Delicious Adventure - Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel with a delightful afternoon tea.
A little about the book:
Yearning to break with the routine of the everyday, Jane Grover and her family – fisherman husband Mr G and their brave teens – spent a season exploring Australia’s southern coastline from Sydney to Perth and recorded their adventures in delicious, juicy detail.
Enjoying the simple life, they camped under the stars, fished for dinner and cooked on campfires on the beach as they took on this beautiful country.
As a chef and author of best-selling cookbook Naked Food, Jane is always on the lookout for food experiences. Join her as she gathers cockles on the Fleurieu Peninsula, nets blue swimmer crabs in Streaky Bay, savours local raspberries from Albany Farmers’ Market and eats freshly shucked oysters from the shoreline of Bruny Island in Tasmania.
In Our Delicious Adventure – Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel, Jane entertains with the family’s travel adventures and shares more than 75 of her simple, healthy, wholefood recipes designed for health and happiness. Who knows, her travel tales might inspire you to embark on a delicious adventure of your own.
A favourite recipe from the new book:
PORK AND FENNEL SAUSAGE ROLLS
I’m not sure who was the first to think of this wonderful combination of pork and fennel, it’s food genius and works as well as the pairing of pork and apple sauce. These simple to make and delicious to devour sausage rolls won’t last long on anyone’s kitchen table.
makes 40 bite-sized rolls
(or 16 meal-sized rolls)
what you need
3 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
200g celery, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp thyme leaves
800g pork mince
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp sea salt
½ cup (60g) dry breadcrumbs or rice crumbs
4 sheets ready-made butter puff pastry
¼ cup (60ml) milk for glazing
2 tbsp fennel seeds, extra
2 tbsp sesame seeds, extra
tomato chutney or tomato sauce, to serve
what you do
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan forced) and line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
2. Place the fennel and cumin seeds into a dry frying pan. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, tossing frequently, until toasted and fragrant. Cool slightly, then grind the seeds, pepper and paprika in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add onion and celery cook for 10 minutes until soft and mushy, then add the garlic and thyme and cook a further 1 minute. Allow to cool.
4. In a large bowl, combine the pork mince, ground spices, onion mixture, eggs, sea salt and crumbs. Use your hands to mix thoroughly.
5. Cut the pastry sheets in half and divide the pork mixture into 8 equal portions. Using wet hands, roll each portion into a long sausage shape and place into the centre of each piece of pastry. Fold the edges of the pastry over and overlap slightly to enclose the filling.
6. Place the sausage rolls onto the prepared trays, seam-side-down. Using a sharp serrated knife cut each roll in half or into 5 smaller pieces. Brush with milk to glaze and generously sprinkle with the extra fennel seeds and sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot with your favourite tomato chutney or tomato sauce.
GF option: Use gluten-free pastry, and rice crumbs instead of breadcrumbs.
Note: Rice crumbs are a natural, gluten-free alternative to using wheat breadcrumbs, they are available from health or organic stores or your local supermarket.
fennel is from the celery family and its bulb, foliage and seeds are typically used for both culinary enjoyment and medicinal benefits. The plant’s delicately flavoured leaves are similar in shape to those of dill. Dried fennel seed is an aniseed-flavoured aromatic spice, which is brown or green when fresh, turning a dull grey as the seed ages. The bulb itself is a crisp vegetable with a subtle aniseed flavour and can be braised, stewed, sautéed, grilled and even consumed raw. Fennel seeds are a key ingredient in the making of Italian sausage.
This is a rich, flavoursome tomato sauce, the perfect alternative to store bought sauce or ketchup. It will match perfectly with sausage rolls, meat pies, spread on a classic beef burger or dolloped in a crispy bacon sandwich.
what you need
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, grated
200g tomatoes, quartered, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
handful of thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
400g can diced tomato
what you do
1. In a large saucepan on a medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery for 3-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fresh tomato and cook for a further 5 minutes with the lid on.
2. Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, honey, thyme, salt, pepper and canned tomato. Cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes stirring regularly to prevent the sauce from sticking and burning.
4. Allow the sauce to cool. Puree with a stick blender, or in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a glass jar.
Storage: Tomato sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Local retailers are now stocking Our Delicious Adventure
You can grab a copy at Avalons Organics, Little Paper Lane Shop, The Lost and Found Department, The Source Bulk Foods (Willoughby and Crows Nest), Tongue Teasers Gourmet Delicatessen, Warriewood Health Shop, Berkelouw Books and many more very soon.
A little about the Sydney launch party:
Join Jane Grover in conversation with our special guest Barbara Sweeney. Barbara is a Sydney-based food writer. She is also the founder of Food and Words - a delightful annual food writers’ festival and the Talking Cookbook at Carriageworks Farmers Market. Simply put, she has a thing for food and books.
A scrumptious afternoon tea of my pork and fennel sausage rolls, chicken sandwiches made by my mum and decadent Flour and Stone lamingtons, with fabulous live music, a champagne toast and book signing by Jane. We'd love you to join us Saturday 3rd September 2.30pm - 4.30pm
Limited tickets $25 can be purchased here