Warm delights of Winter on the Farm revealed by Matthew Evans
The Gourmet Farmer shares his recipes for cool times
By Kerry Scambler
It just seems so perfectly apt for writing this review – sipping on a warm spiced apple drink (P236) with rain steady on the roof and the fire glowing in the lounge.
Although this reviewer is just ‘across the Derwent and up a bit’ from Matthew Evans’ home in Cygnet, the thick frost, frozen ponds and mysterious fogs of the Huon so beautifully captured in this book don’t frequent our bush block very often.
And of course, ambient temperature and anyone’s sudden desire for comfort food are all relative. If you’re from warmer regions, you’re unlikely to comprehend Matthew’s obvious enthusiasm for standing in a Tasmanian Higlands lake trout fishing in the middle of winter, as he did in series one of Gourmet Farmer.
That there is surrounding mist, a light rain and obviously a need for thick waders and beanies may well add to the puzzlement. Even the ensuing warming pepperberry whiskey, hot smoked salmon and the earthy delights of truffle butter may not help some understand the rugged beauty and delights of winter in Tasmania but it has a very real appeal to many.
To better understand this and indulge in some authentic seasonal dishes, Winter on the Farm is the perfect book. Not just with articulate and inspiring text but with evocative photography that captures the beauty and the crisp cold air of this season. And the mud, just a bit of it, from the Huon Valley’s good winter rainfall which generates the verdant valley.
The true highlight of the book of course is the range of recipes guaranteed to give you plenty of excuses to stay inside in a warm kitchen and produce copious amounts of tasty comfort food.
Whether it’s ‘sleep-in food’ like corned beef hash with a poached golden-yolked free range egg and yoghurt pancakes with drunken brown sugar salted pears or full bodied soups to warm you through, there are recipes for every time of day and inclination.
I love the variety of ‘rib-sticking meals’ featuring slow cooked meats from cider-cooked bacon with star anise and 'Not your ordinary meatloaf' to Ross’ twice cooked pork shoulder. The latter is on my list for this weekend – Matthew says ‘This recipe, kindly shared by my mate Ross O’Meara is pork cooking for dummies…’ What a perfect place to start on a forecast wet and windy Sunday afternoon.
There are recipes for sweet things to eat while drinking a hot cup of tea or puddings to finish off those rib-sticking meals followed by some wonderful hot drinks and nibbles. Blood orange and gin hot toddy, mulled wine and my favourite so far, the warm spiced apple drink. Speaking of which, the fire needs stoking, the curtains closing and, more importantly, my glass is empty.
Winter on the Farm by Matthew Evans is published by Murdoch Books (July 2011, hc 256p) and is available at good bookstores RRP A$49.99., Find it online via www.booko.com.au
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