So Easter came and went, it kind of passed me by except for an epic Easter Sunday lunch, (soon to be eclipsed by an epic Mother’s Day lunch), and all that time I only managed to get hold of one hot cross bun! Which is a shame, because I really am a big fan of the old fruit buns, and kept a lookout for who was apparently making the best ones this year – Tivoli Road Bakery? Personally I prefer the Babka ones, if you can actually get a hold of them before they sell out. Next year then.
Apart from a lamb roast for Sunday lunch the only other Easter themed dish we did was Jambon Persillee, the ham and parsley terrine with white wine traditionally prepared in Burgundy around this time, served with gribiche or some such tangy egg based sauce. Also such a great example of a charcuterie prepared in season.
Couldn’t resist a picture of the kilograms of pine mushrooms (aka saffron milk caps) we’re using at the moment, both sautéed in garnishes and pickled. Love them! Chestnuts have also arrived and make a great partner, although a pretty tedious job in the kitchen! If you like peeling chestnuts, give me a call!
Blood plums are done now, but we served them compote style with chocolate cake – their colour is so irresistible, I swear that together with pomegranates and blood oranges they are the most persuasive ingredients on the plate, for both cook and customer. You can’t help but want to eat them!
Another ingredient that should probably be added to those above is rhubarb, which together with quinces, needs some careful coaxing towards being anyhow edible, and when done, it really delivers! I’m a fan of ‘natural’ partners like lemon and vanilla, but orange and ginger work really well too, but we’ve got a lot of cold months to get to those.
Jerusalem artichokes are in too and their first incarnation on the menu is in a creamy gratin, with romanesco cauliflower (which I love because it looks so alien). Yes, you can have a dish comprising of cream, milk, butter, 3 cheeses and some vegetables – its winter time after all…
We also took a long drive down the Surf coast all along the Great Ocean Road, which is an incredible drive with beautiful sights spilling out everywhere. We saw all the incredible eroded rock formations coast side , and just generally relaxed which was quite a nice feeling for a change!
I was pretty interested in all the coastal plants/herbs growing in this area – just walking along all the coastal sights, it was easy to pick out the edible sea plants. However I still think they look better on the cliff than on some sculpted restaurant plate. Travelling in this part of the coast the flora looks ancient, the last thing we need is to have everybody plucking the slow-growing plants. If you have the chance, try to see this part of Australia, its worth the drive and fantastic!