Eating from farm to plate might be a touch unachievable for most of us urban folk, but if you’re in the mood to put in some elbow grease there is the satisfying reward of a home-cooked meal. Consider it skills-building for when you move to Tasmania someday to live off the grid and become an artisanal cheesemaker.
In keeping with seasonality, here is a three-course meal plan a la Matthew Evans, using his best recipes from across the past five seasons of Gourmet Farmer.
How about a nice freshly baked focaccia with cultured butter and a wheel of fresh cheese? Well, you’d better get cracking because we literally have the recipe for homemade butter and cheese. Embrace the #GourmetFarmer life.
The glut of zucchini has us using every trick in the book to try to preserve their delicate flavour. Fermenting extends their life, and keeps that ethereal flavour that is so readily lost when you pickle using vinegar.
You can culture butter using a tablespoon of yoghurt, sour cream or buttermilk. We’ve started using kefir, because it adds a whole other level of flavour to our exceptional jersey cream.
A fresh cheese is a young cheese that has not be heat treated to the same extent as hard cheese, and prepared in a way that retains a lot more moisture. It relies solely on the quality and flavour of the fresh milk it is produced from. When a hard cheese is made, it’s heated to a much higher temperature to cook the curds further. This caramelises the lactose, bringing out more sweet nutty flavours. The curds are then cut further to remove more moisture and are matured longer. As with all cheese making, it’s very important to make sure your utensils are sterilised – it’s a good idea to have a large pot of boiling water on hand so you can dip and sterilise all utensils as you go.
Autumn can be a bit chilly, especially in Tasmania, so a big plate of steaming choucroute will pair well with falling leaves and a glass of wine.
"Sauerkraut in German is 'sour cabbage' and I love it for the taste and it's a great source of vitamins and probiotics." Matthew Evans, Gourmet Farmer Series 4
Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you, the classic English fool is soft, sweet, fruity and will give mousse a run for its money. Pair with honey biscuits on the side, crumbled on top, or alongside a post-meal beverage.
How hard can it be?
Matthew Evans is back in his brand-new series of Gourmet Farmer, 8pm Thursday nights from August 1 on SBS and SBS On Demand. Visit the Gourmet Farmer website for recipes, the episode guide and more.