Eating from farm to plate might be a touch un-achievable for most of us urban folk, but if you’re in the mood to put in some elbow grease you'll be met with the satisfying reward of a home-cooked meal. Consider it skills-building for when you move to Tasmania to live off the grid.
In keeping with seasonality, here is a three-course winter meal plan a la Matthew Evans to warm your cockles, using his best recipes from across the past five seasons of Gourmet Farmer.
Seafood doesn’t have to just be a summer item. Throw in some more robust flavours like toasty paprika and tomato for a starter with a difference. The secret to this baked squid and chorizo dish is that it’s cooked long and slow to guarantee tenderness. With squid, it’s either a flash fry or slow braise, that’s unless you want to be eating big fat rubber bands.
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.
Winter weather calls for slow-cooked meat, a pillow of carbs for it to lay on and some roasted vegetables cooked in fat, for energy. Unbuckle your belt for this jam-packed course of osso buco, soft polenta and caramelised Brussels sprouts. Don’t be scared, most of the prep for sides can be done while your osso buco braises in the oven. #multitasking
You can use white polenta made from white corn, if you can find it, for a more subtle result. Use the polenta as an accompaniment to a ragu of some kind, or ossobuco. Italians have told me to only stir in one direction, but I’ve found that it has made no difference to the end result when I reverse the stirring to rest my arm.
It’s apple season, so Matthew has handed over a recipe that makes two cakes. It also contains six apples so one whole cake is like three servings of fruit, right? Best served slightly warm with a nice thick dollop of cream. A nip of sloe gin on the side doesn’t go astray either.
Matthew Evans is back showcasing homemade goodies in his brand-new series of Gourmet Farmer, 8pm Thursday nights from August 1 to October 3 on SBS, with an encore 8.30pm Fridays on SBS Food (Channel 33) and streaming on SBS On Demand. Visit the Gourmet Farmer website for recipes, the episode guide and more.
Sloes are members of the plum family, and are the fruit of the blackthorn shrub that grows prolifically around the United Kingdom as part of the traditional hedgerows. Early settlers planted the blackthorn around northern Tasmania to create field boundaries and a sense of home. Some of these hedgerows still exist. Sloe gin is actually a fruit infusion rather than distilled from the berry itself, and the sugar/fruit ratios vary according to the maker’s taste. Many use cheap gin but we believe in quality and therefore use the very best ingredients throughout. London-style dry gin is a legal term that defines the best quality gin.