Summer recipes from home on the farm with the Gourmet Farmer »
Matthew Evans provides inspiration for the warmer months
By Sara Schwarz
Summer on Fat Pig Farm is Matthew Evans’ ode to summer – centred around but not limited to his home in southern Tasmania – and all the joy, warmth and delectable seasonal produce it brings.
As I sit down to review Summer on Fat Pig Farm, on one of spring’s colder and greyer days, he reminds me of all the sunshine and seasonal delights just around the corner. As Matthew puts it "Summer comes slowly in our valley. Sometimes we get a hint in mid-spring, a day when the thermometer soars. Sometimes summer creeps in, frustratingly snail-like in pace, waiting to really warm up."
For those like me, truly over the long, cold grey wet winter, Summer on Fat Pig Farm, is the perfect remedy. It is full of the promise of all that is wonderful about an Australian summer. We have family gatherings at Christmas and New Year to look forward to, lazy afternoon drinks with friends, and impromptu picnics by the coast.
And then we have the food!
Wonderfully fresh seasonal produce to be assembled, baked, barbequed, chilled, shared and devoured. Brunches of Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Basil picked straight from the garden (p62), Barbequed Corn Cobs with Smoked Paprika and Coriander Butter (p103), and Salad of Albacore Tuna, Tomato and Cucumber (p117), to be enjoyed alongside fresh summer Soup of Chicken and Lime (p144).
And then there are the desserts. I suspect the Gourmet Farmer has a bit of a sweet tooth, as it seems a fair majority of recipes in Summer on Fat Pig Farm are dedicated to sweets. Each makes use of all those wonderful fruits that are soon to ripen in our gardens, arrive at our farm gates and farmers' markets.
How can you go past a recipe of White Peaches with Blueberries with a Sauvignon Blanc Jelly (p168)? Or how about a Gooseberry & Elderflower Fool that the kids can help make and devour (p183)?
With the Huon Valley, where Matthew Evans lives, being famous for its strawberries, a Warm Strawberry and Saffron Salad with Vanilla Drained Yoghurt sounds absolutely delicious (p194). Anyone for Strawberry and Bay Cream with Elderflower Sherbet (p155)? These are fun recipes, not too complicated to recreate, that are sure to get a great response from all around the table.
Matthew Evans seems to take his drinks almost as seriously as his desserts and this is one of the books’ most enjoyable chapters. Here you’ll find recipes for cordials, sangria, sparkling gin fizzes, slushies and spiders all using in season fruits and herbs, with a dash of alcohol thrown in where appropriate for the adults.
One of his favourite ingredients seems to be elderflower, which is a common ingredient in the UK but less well known in Australia. Tasmania has some excellent producers however and it is a delight that can be added to a number of tempting concoctions such as Elderflower and Gin Sparklers (p247), Elderflower and Raspberry Cordial for the kids (238), or Elderflower Syrup drizzled over a Raspberry and Yoghurt Cake (p173).
This book’s light and sunny design and Alan Benson’s thoughtful photography complements the recipes beautifully. It is warm, relaxed and inviting and just makes me want to start planning a menu of shared delights for Christmas Day.
Summer on Fat Pig Farm would make a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone who is a fan of The Gourmet Farmer books and television series, who loves Tasmania, or who just enjoys cooking and sharing good regional and seasonal produce.
You might want to spend a bit of time flicking through it first however, to plan your own Christmas feasts. Or better still buy two copies as you likely won’t want to give the book away.
Summer on Fat Pig Farm by Matthew Evans is published by Murdoch Books (Sydney, NSW, Nov 2015, HC, 256pp, RRP A49.99) and is available at all good bookstores or directly from the publisher here »
Or search for it online at Booko.com »
See links below for our reviews of other books by Matthew Evans.
- Huon and Channel (TAS)
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