Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls



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
(see below)

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.

TOMATO SAUCE
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.

makes 600ml
V GF

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


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Citrus in the City


Wintertime means citrus season with an abundance of oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, cumquats and Seville oranges hanging on neighbourhood trees and at farmers market stalls. There are even Rangpur limes, a type of 'mandarin lime' or 'lemonadrin' – loosely translated as a mandarin orange – rough lemon hybrid. Although we don’t all have a citrus tree or two in our front or backyard, no doubt you know someone who does and so often there is an excess of fruit available beyond the needs of the average household.

Alex Elliott-Howery and husband James Grant stumbled upon a neighbourhood laden with an abundance of citrus in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Marrickville. Their café Cornersmith has remained a community favourite since 2012, a place for locals to gather and eat great food. I wrote about it here.

‘From day one the locals flocked in, and Cornersmith has since grown to incorporate a picklery, cooking school and trading system where customers can swap home-grown produce for a coffee or a jar of pickles.’
(Excerpt from - Cornersmith – Recipes from the café and picklery
– Murdoch Books 2015)


A couple of weekends ago I headed out to Marrickville to the picklery to participate in the Citrus in the City workshop. I was eager to learn any and every tip on preserving the citrus harvest and I wasn’t alone, surrounded by a class of twelve enthusiastic would-be preservers. It was a relaxed class with Alex at the helm sharing her passion and knowledge that only comes from years of simply having a go at the preserving life. Alex’s delight in experimenting and utilising every bit of produce that comes through the door is infectious, you can’t help but be excited and intrigued as she talks about her flavoured vinegars and boozy cumquats.

For three hours we were consumed with the fragrance of citrus; a marmalade bubbling away on the stove, sitting alongside the beginnings of a humble spiced lime pickle.  Meanwhile we preserved limes packed in salt and then pondered the question of adding either chilli and spices or a boozy sugar syrup with cinnamon and clove to our jar of cumquats. In between we savoured tasters of a variety of jams and pickles. Once we were finished we gathered around a platter of hand-made labne cheese, pickled cucumbers, an onion and mustard pickle, cultured butter and sourdough bread, with the option of a locally brewed beer to wash it all down. We all left with armfuls of jars of preserves, inspired and empowered by Alex to preserve the future harvest. Now I find myself wandering with eyes wide open, around my neighbourhood looking for citrus trees that are looking lonely, laden and ripe for the picking.

Citrus in the City runs again Saturday 6th August, plus a range of other wonderful workshops here
Alternatively you can grab a copy of the Cornersmith Cookbook a delightful story filled with wonderful recipes to try at home.














Friday, June 24, 2016

Our Delicious Adventure - Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel


Two advance copies of my new baby ‘Our Delicious Adventure – Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel’ arrived at my front door this week. It’s a moment I’ve waited for for months, feelings of both excitement and trepidation intertwined as I opened the package, all the while wondering will it be all I have hoped for.

I recently heard a conversation between Kevin McCloud the host of the British television series Grand Designs (a favourite program we enjoy) and a designer. Kevin asked the high-end designer working with a fussbudget client, one who was nit-picking at every crossroad of the project, ‘How do you manage someone who demands so much in both the design process and the installation of the finished product?’ His answer was so incredibly helpful to me, he said ‘my aim is to guide the client toward the understanding that the end result will be excellent, not perfect, as perfection is in fact unattainable’.

So letting go of the concept of perfection I’m thrilled to convey that we as a team have produced an excellent publication, I’m happy with the end result and I know you are going to love it too.
We are all go for receiving your pre-orders here.
(Pre-orders will be posted out end of August and we are offering (for the pre-order period July 1st to September 1st 2016) a flat rate of $10 postage Australia wide per order regardless of how many copies you purchase!)

For now enjoy an exclusive little taste of what is to come...
Plus SAVE THE DATE Saturday 3rd September 2016 from 2.30-4.30pm for our Sydney Afternoon Tea / Book Launch and Signing Celebration – more details on that real soon.



























Saturday, June 11, 2016

Wholefood From The Ground Up by Jude Blereau



Life unfolds in the strangest of ways and there are days I pause to ponder the thought - how did I get here?
Seven years ago we had what you might call a 'light bulb' moment which resulted in a decision to focus more on our inner health. I was forty years old and Mr G was forty two, middle age was upon us and we both wanted to make some adjustments to create a healthier lifestyle for ourselves. This would mean developing new cooking and eating habits to help us live a long and healthy life together for the next forty years at least.

Unlike my school days, I am now more eager to learn and in the interest of doing just that I searched the world wide web for two words 'organic' and 'wholefood'. The latter word resulted in the discovery of a new face, Jude Blereau and her website wholefoodcooking.com.au I signed up to her newsletter and went in search of her first cookbook - Wholefood - Heal...Nourish...Delight

(Published by Murdoch Books). I devoured that book from cover to cover, cooked from it and learnt a lot - it took me deeper into the nourishment of food and really helped my cooking.

Fast forward a couple of years, I'd been running my cooking school and had recently published my first cookbook Naked Food - the way food was meant to be (October 2012). Jude's newsletter arrived in my inbox one morning announcing that she had written her fourth cookbook Wholefood Baking 
(Published by Murdoch Books) and there was to be a Sydney launch/afternoon tea. Jude resides in Perth and doesn't get over to the east coast that often, so I decided to seize the opportunity and go along. It was a delightful afternoon of deliciousness, I met Jude, purchased a copy of her new book and she signed it for me. I also gifted her a wrapped copy of Naked Food with a hand-written card thanking her for being such an inspiration. There were no strings attached to my gift and I had no expectations of anything further, I was just happy to have met her.

Some weeks later to my delight a hand-written card arrived in my home letterbox from Jude. I was touched she had taken the time to thank and congratulate me on the publication of Naked Food. From that time on we stayed in contact via social media. As Mr G and I travelled across the bottom of Australia, Jude followed our journey via the photos and comments I posted. When we celebrated Christmas in Streaky Bay, South Australia, she made the comment to me - 'If you keep heading west you'll cross the Nullarbor Plain and arrive in my kitchen for breakfast! I responded boldly - 'We are crossing the Nullarbor Plain next week and will be in Perth on January 5th - what times breakfast?' Remarkably just weeks later I was sitting at Jude's kitchen table comfortably chatting and getting to know her a little more, while she cooked me her nourishing soaked grain pancakes with stewed apricots. I did say out-loud that morning - 'I can't believe I am here and YOU are cooking ME breakfast!' We laughed and I quietly thought how did I get here?

Since then I have seen Jude a lot more, each time she visits Sydney or I am in Perth we catch up for tea and cake and talk wholefoods, cookbooks and share our unfolding food journeys. Recently Jude was in Sydney on food business and I was fortunate to take her to Carriageworks Farmers Market for the morning. We had such fun jumping puddles in the rain, sharing breakfast and chatting with the farmers and producers. She bought me a gorgeous bunch of poppies to thank me for taking her to the markets. Poppies just happen to be one of my favourite flowers.

This month (as my second cookbook Our Delicious Adventure - Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel is away at the printers) Jude's fifth cookbook Wholefood From The Ground Up (Published by Murdoch Books) is being released in all good book stores across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Last Saturday afternoon I raced off to my local bookshop and grabbed a copy of Jude's new book. I spent the rest of the day reading it - it's magnificent - possibly her best yet. Then today I cooked the Rosemary, Olive Oil and Lemon Teacake from the new book, utilising rosemary from my garden, lemons from my mum's lemon tree and my favourite organic extra virgin olive oil from Rosnay Organics. Mr G was eager for a taste as the cake came out of the oven and was a little impatient when I told him he would have to wait while I first captured the right image of the finished cake. Once I was satisfied, we cut into the still warm teacake and scoffed a generous slice each. I managed to grab the end slice that was extra-soaked with the lemony, rosemary infused syrup that you pour over the hot cake as it comes out of the oven. Yum!

So I told you all that to tell you this, there will be a Sydney launch for Jude's new book on Saturday 25th June - I'll be there with my copy of Wholefood From The Ground Up in hand, lining up to get it signed, steal a hug and cheer on my wholefood friend. Jude will be in conversation with another legendary chef, cookbook author and cooking teacher Belinda Jeffrey so it is sure to be a riveting and delicious afternoon together. You can purchase tickets from Jude's dear friend Holly Davis here - Holly is another wholefood pioneer and cookbook author who will also be at the launch - so really this is a wholefood event not to be missed!
Copies of Wholefood from The Ground Up by Jude Blereau will be available for sale at the launch RRP$39.99 - Hope to see you there x j






Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Double Chocolate and Quinoa Muffins


Autumn never really had a chance this year. Summer lingered and even when we thought it couldn't last, it lingered some more. But the inevitable drop in temperature arrived this week and the frosty chill in the air certainly delivered an abrupt end, to the romance we'd had with warm breezes and sumptuous sunshine. It seems winter is here.

Occasionally I entertain thoughts of living a more rural life, where things move a little slower and there is a tangible connection with the land and the seasons. We'd find acreage somewhere in the beautiful countryside, a meandering unsealed road would lead to a gorgeous weatherboard cottage, with a red tin roof and verandahs all around. I'd open a B&B, perhaps run a cooking school and of course I'd sell baked goods, preserves and pickles, fresh eggs, cut flowers and home grown vegetables from a little roadside stall at the front gate. 
But then I remember and content myself with how much we love the coastal life, the long walks on the beach and late afternoon swims in the saltwater just a short stroll from where we live. We do already have a tin roof, a wood fire, hens for fresh eggs and a vegetable patch to grow some of our own food. Perhaps we don't need to relocate to live a more rural existence, maybe it is possible to live a little slower and simpler just where we are.

My basil plant has finally accepted the season has changed, it is has been madly producing flowers and seed pods, which the bees are now raiding. The lettuce seedlings planted a few weeks ago are thriving with the cooler weather and the morning dew. The soil, still warm has been prepared to plant potatoes soon. My neighbour Isobel gave me a jar of her golden, deliciously fragrant, honey harvested from her backyard beehive last weekend - I've been busy spreading it thickly on toasted sourdough ever since. 


Earlier in the week I found a new place by the side of the road to collect a basket of pine cones, there they were littered on the ground under some towering pine trees. They are such wonderful fire starters for the open fire. On my way home I stopped to grab some darling hydrangeas for $5 a bunch and juicy lemons for fifty cents each from the market garden stall just up the hill from our place - it is always a treat to see what they have for sale. Yesterday our firewood for the winter months arrived, the truck backed up, dumped a tonne of wood on the driveway and left. I spent the rest of afternoon labouring to move and stack the wood outside the back door. My elderly neighbour Fred wandered over to observe the activity and offered me a pair of gloves to ward of any splinters - I was grateful. Although I was weary at the end of moving all those logs I was thankful I didn't have to chop the trees down myself.

I've been baking these Double Chocolate and Quinoa Muffins from my new cookbook Our Delicious Adventure - Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel. It has been two batches a week lately as the whole family thinks they are good. As evening closes in, here I sit on the lounge warmed by a crackling fire, with the aroma of freshly baked muffins wafting from the kitchen. I'm thinking to myself, living in our little cottage on a small plot of land, in a cul-de-sac by the sea is the life and community I really do enjoy.
Recipe included below x j

   





DOUBLE CHOCOLATE AND QUINOA MUFFINS
These wholesome gluten-free muffins will deliver you double the chocolate taste, with the nourishment of quinoa flour, almond meal and natural yoghurt to sustain you. I like to make mine large, giving you six decent sized muffins, but they will work just as well smaller, giving you a dozen from this recipe.
makes 6 large or 12 medium
V GF

what you need
125g butter,
¾ cup (115g) rapadura sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup (100g) almond meal
1 cup (120g) quinoa flour
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
½ cup (125ml) natural yoghurt
100g dark chocolate pieces
what you do
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced) and lightly grease 6 large (160ml) or 12 medium (80ml) muffin tins.
2. Using electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla bean paste and beat to combine. Add the remaining ingredients except the chocolate pieces and mix well.
3. Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared muffin tins. For larger muffins use a ½ cup measure per muffin, for smaller muffins a ¼ cup per muffin. Evenly disperse the dark choc pieces between all muffins, poking them into the top of the batter.
4. Bake large muffins for 30 minutes, or medium muffins for 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the muffin. Lift out onto a wire rack to cool.
Note: It is doable and worthwhile to make your own almond meal. Process ¾ cup (100g) whole raw almonds to produce the required 1 cup of almond meal. Left over almond meal is best stored in the refrigerator in airtight glass jar.
Storage: To freeze muffins wrap in non-stick baking paper, then place into an airtight snap lock bag with the excess air expelled.

Our Delicious Adventure - Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel will be released September 1st 2016
For the early birds among you: pre-order now and have it posted to you end of August 2016.
Pre-order available here
Stay tuned for upcoming events for both the launch and Australia wide promotion of my new cookbook.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Potato and Sage Gnocchi with Tomato and Pancetta


Hello Autumn – it’s hard to believe you are here, maybe I imagined the seasons would pause and wait for me while I laboured for months in my cookbook cave! Yes it is true I have written a second cookbook and just this week I have begun to emerge from that all consuming place of cookbook construction, to find the seasons and you have indeed carried on quite capably without me. 
It has been eighteen months in the process. Beginning with twelve months of recipe writing and testing. This culminated recently with five intense weeks of cooking, styling and photographing the chosen recipes. Just last week we completed the design phase and sent the file to pre-press and ultimately to print.
Excitement and exhaustion all rolled into one, it’s not unlike pregnancy and childbirth in that I've had moments of elation and others of discomfort and frustration. But I'm imagining that when the new book arrives in my hands, I’ll forget the painful moments and smile thinking - how beautiful and worthwhile you are!
In the meantime I thought I’d share a little taste of what’s to come, one of my favourite recipes from the comfort food chapter of the cookbook. Oh and I should tell you (unlike a new baby where you don’t need to pick the name until it arrives) that we do have the name...

Our Delicious Adventure – Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel – I hope you like it!

POTATO AND SAGE GNOCCHI WITH TOMATO AND PANCETTA
This is the simplest way to make potato gnocchi, without the need for the tedious process of passing the cooked potato through a sieve or mouli. Bake, peel and mash, then utilise the lightness of spelt flour to create fluffy dough which results in tender gnocchi pieces.
serves 6
what you need
6 large potatoes (1.5kg) - Sebago or Desiree are ideal
1½ cups (225g) white spelt flour
¾ cup (60g) finely grated parmesan
1 tbsp sage, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp sea salt
3 egg yolks
sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
200g pancetta, finely sliced
½ cup sage leaves
250g cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp butter
extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan
and freshly ground black pepper, to serve
what you do
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced). Scrub the potatoes and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until flesh is soft and skins are crispy.
2. Cool slightly, then cut in half and scoop out the warm potato into a bowl. See the note below about using the skins. See the note below about using the skins.
3. Mash the potato, then mix in the flour, parmesan, sage, garlic, nutmeg, salt and egg yolks, with a wooden spoon, until a soft dough forms.
4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes, adding extra flour if required, until smooth. Divide into four even pieces. Roll each piece into a long sausage shape about 60cm x 2cm, then cut into 2cm lengths. Use your thumb to roll each piece gently over a floured fork to form a dent in the back of each one and fork marks on the other side (this creates a textured surface, helping sauces to cling to cooked gnocchi). Place the gnocchi pieces onto a tray lined with lightly floured non-stick baking paper.
5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.
6. In a large frying pan warm the olive oil, add pancetta and cook on a high heat for 3-5 minutes until crispy. Add the sage leaves and tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add butter, reduce heat to low and cook for a further 1 minute or until butter is golden brown.
7. Cook the gnocchi pieces in batches in the rapidly boiling water for 1 minute. Stir gently to stop them sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once the pieces begin to float to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon and place into a colander to drain.
8. Place the hot gnocchi into the pan of warmed sauce and gently toss to combine. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and pepper as desired.
Note: Cooked potato skins are delicious, eaten warm with a little butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. Gnocchi can be cooked ahead of time. Simply toss the cooked gnocchi in olive oil and place in the fridge or freezer until ready to reheat in boiling water.

V option: Substitute feta for pancetta. Sprinkle feta over finished dish.

GF option: Many people who have wheat allergies can tolerate spelt flour, use your own discretion.

My new cookbook will be released for sale - September 1st 2016
For the early birds among you: pre-order now and have it posted to you end of August 2016.
Pre-order a copy of Our Delicious Adventure - Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel here
Stay tuned for details of upcoming events for both the launch and Australia wide promotion of my new cookbook. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Marge's Cottage and Tamsin's Table!


Word of mouth led us to stay at the most delightful little farm cottage - a rural retreat located on a small working farm, nestled in the undulating hills of Poowong East (South West Gippsland - Victoria). For two days and nights we were treated to complete peace and quiet, enjoying tranquil views from the front deck, oh and from the claw-footed bathtub too. So beautifully restored, we found every room filled with colour, treasure and connection to the simpler way of life. Vintage timbers, pressed metal ceilings and rusted corrugated iron are weaved between the old brick fireplace, weathered boards and darling French doors. Crisp linens and a view from every room I'd found my new home!

From the moment we walked in we felt welcome and who wouldn’t with a freshly baked ‘Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Cake’ waiting on the kitchen bench for you? We were greeted with an abundance of breakfast supplies including wood fired sourdough bread, homemade apricot and lavender jam, eggs from the hens, bacon, orange juice, organic apple cider, bowls of local produce and bunches of fresh herbs that were ours for the eating and an old-school hand-written note welcoming us to Marge’s Cottage with the added suggestion of a soak in a rain water filled tub to rest and rejuvenate after our travels.  

A late morning breakfast on the deck looking out over the hills and an afternoon chat with some quite social East Friesian sheep in the paddock next to the cottage, kept us suitably occupied. On our second day at the cottage we wandered just round the corner and up the hill to visit Tamsin’s Table. Tamsin Carvan made a tree change and bravely took on the farming life ten years ago. She now opens her farmhouse for guests to share in her farm and food journey. Tamsin describes Tamsin’s Table as:
‘A shared table. A rambling kitchen garden. A hilltop farmhouse, and 113 acres. Hands on cooking workshops and joyous seasonal lunches.’

We had booked in for one of her Sunday Lunches a relaxed five hour, long-table lunch with ten guests coming together to enjoy the seasonal food grown on the farm and wines from the local area. I am not sure what was more mesmerising, watching Tamsin effortlessly make borage ravoli in front of us all as she chatted about the daily challenges of farm life and the recent eviction of a territorial possum who had taken up residence in the farmhouse roof, or listening to Tamsin describe each of the five courses we shared with such passion and a tangible sense of relief that the farm had again provided for the meal and she had managed to pull it all together beautifully.

OUR MENU:
Rye crackers, Riverine Blue Cheese and fresh honey comb
Borage ravioli with burnt butter and new season garlic
Cheryl’s geese with beetroot, freshly dug ‘taties’ and weedy greens
Almond meringue with peach leaf ice cream and mixed summer berries
Mum’s butter cake with poached Burbank plums in sherry

Desserts were served under the shade of the trees in the front garden as the much awaited breeze arrived. I asked for herbal tea and received a garden fresh brew in an instant. If you want to experience the rewards of farm life and country hospitality without any of the sacrifice, grief or heartbreak the farming life most definitely delivers, Tamsin’s Table is just the place, but do book in as it seems everyone wants a temporary slice of this way of life.

We meandered our way back down the windy road, returning to the comforts of Marge’s Cottage. Filling the bathtub just one last time, we watched the afternoon light glow, catching the reflection of the trees as the shadows faded. Agreeing we really didn’t need to eat dinner that night and that I would definitely be back one day to stay at Marge’s Cottage and eat at Tamsin’s Table again, I drifted into a delicious sleep that night dreaming of soaking in the bath and eating that ravoli!