Eating should be a pleasure but today it is so often fraught. Issues such as nutrition, how and where the food was grown, how it was transported, how it’s labelled, who manufactures it ... This is a blog to explore some of the ideas behind food.
February 5th, 2013
RABBIT remains a largely forgotten meat in a country that once was overrun with these lovable but pesky and still tasty creatures. It was a staple during the 1930s Depression, when it acquired the epithet ‘underground mutton’ as a more affordable — and often free — alternative to sheepmeat. It has enjoyed a small revival since rabbit-farming was licensed but the availability of wild rabbit remains something approaching a rarity. Yet you can order wild rabbit from Granny Smith and if you try the pork and rabbit rillettes of the English doyenne of French provincial cooking, Elizabeth David, you are sure to discover a smart and very contemporary marriage of meats.
Gourmet Chick blogger Cara Waters gives her ‘tweaked’ version of Mrs David’s recipe. Here’s Cara’s how-to:
900g rabbit meat with bones removed (wild rabbit is best)
1.8kg pork belly with bones and rind removed (keep the fat on)
couple of sprigs of thyme, rosemary, parsley and bay leaves
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to season
Preheat the oven to 140C. Cut the pork belly and rabbit into little strips and place it in an oven proof dish like a Le Creuset stock pot. Add 300ml of water and create a bouquet garni by tying the herbs in a bunch with string. Bury the bouquet garni in the meat along with the garlic cloves and season with salt and pepper. Put a lid on the dish and cook in the preheated oven for four hours. By this time the meat should be very soft and swimming in limpid fat. Taste to see if more salt and pepper is needed as the rilletes will be insipid if not properly seasoned. Turn the contents of the pan into a wire sieve placed over a bowl so the fat drips through. When well drained, set aside the fat and shred the pork and rabbit using two forks until it is almost like a paste. Pile lightly into glazed earthenware containers and then pour the fat over the top of the rillette completely filling the container. The rillettes should be served at room temperature so if they have been refrigerated they should be removed a couple of hours prior to serving. Feasting on the rillettes placed on top of toasted baguette and teamed with cornichons is one of the easiest ways to feel like you are truly in France. Serves 12 with an aperitif or as an entree.
Cara writes that the rillettes were meaty and moist and could easily be kept in the fridge for a week before serving.
Pork belly from Tim Elwin at Urban Food Market butcher can often be bought from Granny Smith’s meat fridge, but it is best to order in advance to make sure that we have stock to hand. Wild or farmed rabbit can be ordered from us, too.
The New York Times: Rillettes: the pride of France’s Touraine
February 5th, 2013
WEEK # 5 / 2013 — It’s difficult to let your tongue go past the blue mould cheese called Berry’s Creek ‘tarwin blue’. Made by Barry and Cheryl Charlton at Poowong in Victoria’s southern Gippsland from milk from a herd of jersey cows on the Hutchinson family’s nearby farm, this semi-hard blue is superbly balanced. Rhys Evans from Australia on a Plate, Granny Smith’s supplier, says that ‘the pâté of tarwin blue is straw-coloured with striations of greenish-blue mould. It should be moist and not too crumbly. It has a creamy texture and long intensity with definite earthy tones on the finishing palate. It continues to be a cheese-of-choice among many our of customers. And we tasted it last Sunday with a glass or two of French Sathenay cremant de Bourgogne brut NV. A lovely match (bought next door at C’ellar Vie) it was for the cheese. ‘Another unprepossessing label design concealing a very good French sparkling wine,’ writes Ralph Kyte-Powell in The Sydney Morning Herald’s goodfood. ‘Stone fruit, shortbread and yeasty characters mark a smooth wine of good depth and richness. A trace of sweetness fills out the palate and it finishes with a sustained tingle in the mouth.’
Granny Smith’s weekly, numbered ‘cheese choice’ is part of a series featuring the varieties in our cheese cabinet. We stock Australian-only fine cheeses and dairy products as a matter of principle. We think that this is a first for any grocer or cheesemonger in the country. (We make an exception only for organic parmesan from Italy, as we’re yet to find an Australian-made cheese to match it, but when we do we’ll offer it.) We’re also working in our quiet way to try to encourage change to Australia’s dairy regulations that would allow our farmers and cheesemakers to offer responsibly-produced raw milk products to grocers and eaters.
Granny Smith’s Australian ‘first’
December 22nd, 2012
GRANNY Smith will be open throughout the Christmas 2012 and New Year 2013 summer holiday season except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Please note shorter trading hours for the week after Christmas and from Wednesday 02 to Saturday 19 January 2013:
Christmas to New Year’s Eve 2012
Sat 22 Dec: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Sun 23 Dec: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Mon 24 Dec: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Tue 25 and Wed 26 Dec: closed
Thu 27 and Fri 28 Dec: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Sat 29 Dec: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Mon 31 Dec: closed
Wed 02 to Sat 19 Jan 2013
Weekdays: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Mon 21 Jan 2013
Normal trading hours resume
November 23rd, 2012
JERSEY and a small mix of holstein friesian cows grazing on grass pastures containing shepherd’s purse, chicory, self heal and persian clover produce the certified organic milk now stocked by Granny Smith Natural Food Market. Josef and Antonia Gretschmann emigrated to Tasmania from a Bavarian village in Germany in 1986 and afterwards bought Elgaar farm near Deloraine, in the island’s north. They soon set about changing the farm’s agricultural system to organic methods and achieved certification in 1991. The Gretschmanns and their cows have since been producing award-winning organic milk and cream and the Gretschmanns making yoghurt, butter and soft and hard cheese.
The Gretschmanns say that maintaining the ‘absolute best of ingredients’ — milk — is at the heart of their business and approach to dairying. ‘Elgaar Farm’s contented cows graze on lush organic meadows and aromatic hay free from pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers, supplemented with organically grown wheat and oats in the winter months,’ says Joe. ‘The high quality of the milk our cows produce is a reflection of the richness and diversity of grasses and herbs of the fields they graze.’
‘Every one of our valued cows given a name and this is very much a reflection of the way we care for them. Our herd grazes in rich pastures surrounded by trees, providing both shade from the sun and shelter from the weather. They are treated with respect and dignity, and any illness is treated with natural remedies and no antibiotics, hormones or any other artificial inputs are administered.’
Most Australian dairy cows are sold after producing milk for five years, but the Gretschmann cows yield for up to 10. On retirement the cows graze the Elgaar paddocks for the rest of their natural lives, although they still present at the dairy for the twice-daily milking routine. Antonia says that one of their cows lived to 38.
The farm and its products are certified by Tasmania Organic-Dynamic Producers (TOP), the island state’s own Australian Quarantine Inspection Service-accredited organic and biodynamic certification system. All Elgaar milk, cream and yoghurt is packaged in returnable glass bottles and jars. Each bottle and jar is returned an average of nine times.
Read more about Elgaar dairy.
November 22nd, 2012
WHEN Jean Giffen Monro emigrated from Scotland to Sydney in 1922 she carried a recipe for fruit cake that was a favourite of her brother Bill. Through family connections, we’ve been privileged to leaf through Jean’s cherished recipe book and to test ‘Uncle Bill’s cake’ for Christmas 2012.
We made what turned out to be a beautifully moist, handsome, fruit-enriched cake — containing fresh dates and dark molasses in place of treacle — from Jean’s hand-written recipe. But the method was missing. We think the recipe was written out by Jean in 1931 or 1932 in her kitchen at ‘Inverary’, near Borambola in the Murrumbidgee valley, east of Wagga Wagga, where she farmed with her husband Bert.
At the end of the list of ingredients, the recipe simply shows, in her bold hand, ‘3 hours’ as the cooking time, but no method was recorded. So we tracked down a fruit cake method from Barossa chef and Slow Food’s number one cardholder in Australia, Maggie Beer, adapted it, and made a test cake. This we offered as samples at Granny Smith’s Turramurra store at the start of November. It was delicious and led to a commission for the Christmas table of one of our customers! (Must get on to that.)
Download Jean’s recipe and try it for yourself.