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S p r i n g L u n c h

Posted on 10 September 2013

Last weekend the Olive & Clover blog 'Family' sat down to enjoy the most delicious Spring Lunch.
As I mentioned last post. Sophie Hansen, soon to be published chef and food stylist / blogger at Local is Lovely, will be joining us once a month to share some of her absolutely scrumptious recipes!
Sophie provided the food, I provided the girls with their clothes, and Addy Nuthall (O & C's interior expert) and her family provided the extremely stylish location. We of course brought along all of our families and used the opportunity to not only celebrate the beginning of Olive & Clover, but as a fabulous excuse for a great catch up!
We also invited along friends and local photographer Angus Waddell from Young, who along with Sophie photographed the fun we had to share with you.

I first met Soph when I was working for Style Magazine, we visited Soph and her beautiful family on their farm just outside of Orange, for a lovely  story in the magazine 'My Life in the Country'. Soph and her husband Tim, run a very successful business Mandagery Creek Australian Framed Venison that produces premium consumer ready venison.
They hold 'Farm Kitchen' lunches on the second Saturday of every month. Lunch includes a farm tour, brief cooking demo and relaxed three-course lunch. There is one coming up this weekend, and with everything in the country looking so beautiful at the moment it is the perfect time to plan a weekend away. Please call (0400 032 326) or email for bookings. 
Sydney-siders can find Tim & Soph at the Sydney Morning Herald Pyrmont Produce Market - First Saturday of every month 7am - 11am and the North Sydney Farmers Markets - Third Saturday of every month 8am to 12noon.
Lunch was held at the home of Geoff & Addy Nuthall, who live outside of Young, NSW. Addy is my great friend (and partly responsible for the Olive & Clover name!). Her home was the most beautiful back drop for out lunch. She has a great eye for colour and her home is full of life, love and fun!

'Spring Lunch' by Sophie Hansen

When Olive & Clover's Prue Hufton invited me to join her blog with a regular food post I was thrilled; I love everything about this country-based business and am very much looking forward to gradually filling my wardrobe with some of the pieces that Prue has so carefully curated into the online store. And when she mentioned that a mutual friend of ours interior designer Addy Nuthall was also joining the blog, but with design content, I had an idea - it was the perfect excuse to all catch up, have lunch and celebrate the birth of Prue's fourth 'baby'! 
Because my family and I were driving over from Orange to Young the morning of our planned lunch, and I was bringing the food;  I wanted a menu that would travel well, assemble easily and taste fresh and delicious. It helped that Addy had offered to make slow-cooked duck for our main,(Addy and her husband Geoff farm ducks and supply some of Australia's top restaurants so she knows just what she's doing on that front!), so all that remained for me to bring was a light starter of venison crostini with broadbean hummus and dukkah, a few light salads and a rich rhubarb frangipane tart for dessert.

Olive & Clover Spring Lunch, August 31st

~Seared Mandagery Creek Venison on crostini with broad hummus and dukkah
~ Slow-cooked Dutton Park duck breast with wedge iceberg salad and avocado dressing
~ Blood orange, watercress and almond salad
~ Nigella seed breadsticks
~ Rhubarb frangipane tart

Broad bean hummus on crostini with seared Mandagery Creek venison and dukkah

This is a great, easy starter; the venison is quickly seared then served atop toasted baguette slices smeared with broadbean hummus. The recipe for the latter makes quite a lot but it's so good on sandwiches, as a dip or a side-dish for barbecued lamb, that you won't mind having leftovers!

250g broad beans, podded weight
200g frozen peas
140g chickpeas, drained 
1 garlic clove
Juice of two lemons (or to taste)
2 tbsp tahini
4 tbsp olive oil
1 x Mandagery Creek venison tenderloin
1 cup dukkah
1 baguette, sliced and toasted

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the broad beans and peas and cook for two minutes. Drain and tip into a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blitz. You may need to add a little more olive oil to reach desired consistency. Season to taste.

For the venison
Preheat oven to 200C. Rub the tenderloin with olive oil and place  an oven-proof frying pan on high. Sear the tenderloin on both sides than place in the oven for 6 minutes. Remove and let rest under a tent of foil.

Spread hummus thickly on toasted baguette slices, top with a slice of  seared venison and a sprinkling of dukkah.

Iceberg salad with green goddess dressing

Another incredibly easy dish that delivers in both the looks and taste department. The dressing is smooth, creamy and just delicious and the crunchy iceberg a perfect foil. You could also add a few slices of freshly opened avocado and do also adjust the seasoning and lemon to taste, I like lots of the latter which also helps thin the sauce nicely.

serves 4 - 6
2 x iceberg salads
2 x fuerte avocados
3 x tbsp sour cream
4 tbs olive oil
2 lemons

Slice the iceberg salad into wedges and place on a platter. Halve and stone the avocados, scoop out the flesh from one avocado and place in the blender. Add the sour cream, olive oil and lemon juice and whizz until a smooth, creamy dressing. Season to taste. Pour over the iceberg just before serving.

Homemade breadcrumbs with nigella seeds

The recipe for these was inspired by one given in my cooking bible, Stephanie Alexander's Cooks' Companion. She uses fennel seeds but I find that the fennel flavour can be quite overpowering sometimes so usually opt for the somewhat more subtle nigella seeds. Of course you can skip this recipe and just buy some flatbreads or ready-made breadsticks but they really are delicious, easy and impressive so when you have a moment, please give them a try. Kids love helping roll out the long thin sticks and as the dough is very forgiving, it's a great job for them!

1 tbsp instant dried  yeast
1 tbsp salt
500g plain flour
250g semolina flour
2 tbsp nigella (or fennel) seeds
2 cups warm water
Extra semolina flour

Place the yeast, salt, flours and nigella seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook and mix to combine. Add the warm water and mix/knead for 5 minutes. Tip out onto a work surface and finish off kneading by hand for a couple of minutes. Return dough to the bowl, cover with plastic and set aside in a warm place for a couple of hours (or place in the fridge to 'cold proove' overnight). Line a tray with a tea towel and sprinkle with the extra semolina flour. Cut a small piece of the dough (about the size of a golf ball) and roll between your hands to a sausage shape, then roll out on a work surface until desired length and width. Place on the tray and repeat with remaining dough. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 200C and place two trays in the oven to heat up. Transfer the breadsticks to the hot trays and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Carrot, almond, blood orange and watercress salad

With colour, texture and flavour all combining in a big way here; this is my favourite salad at the moment and is substantial enough to serve for a light lunch on its own. In this case though, I'd add some crumbled fetta or goat's cheese.

500g carrots, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
100g almonds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
3 cups watercress, stems removed
4 blood oranges, peeled and sliced into segments

For the dressing
2 tbsp dijon mustard
4 tbsp cider vinegar
5 tbsp olive oil

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the carrots. Boil for 8 minutes or until tender, drain and cool. Place a frying pan on medium heat, toast the almonds for about 5 minutes, remove from pan and roughly chop. Toast the cumin seeds for a few minutes or until fragrant and add to the almonds. 
Place the warm carrots in a bowl, add the almonds, cumin and dressing. Toss to combine. Add the watercress and gently toss through the blood oranges.
Divide among plates and serve.

Addy's slow-cooked duck breasts

Serves 6

6 duck breasts
Chinese five spice

Preheat oven to 100C. Season the duck breasts with five spice, salt and pepper. Place the breasts (skin side up) on a baking tray and cook for 3-4 hours. Just before serving, fire up the barbecue (on high). Sear the breasts for a couple of minutes on each side then shred onto a serving platter.

Rhubarb frangipane tart with honey cream

Rich with almonds and butter, the tart rhubarb cuts and lifts this tart beautifully. It's not super quick to make but all the preparation can be done way in advance and it travels well so this tart is ideal for picnics or whenever you are asked to bring dessert
Serves 6

1 x quantity sweet shortcrust pastry, thawed (Careme makes beautiful frozen pastry - http://www.caremepastry.com/)

For the frangipane filling;
6 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg 
1 quantiy stewed rhubarb (see below)
1 tub double cream
2 tbs honey 

Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly dust a work surface with flour. Gently roll out your chilled pastry dough until you have a large, thin round. Grab a loose-bottomed tart tin (mine is 24cm in diameter) and gently drape this over your rolling pin and then unroll into the tin. Press into the fluted corners and gently roll the pin over the top of the tin to trim the pastry edges. Return to the fridge for another half an hour.
To blind bake the pastry shell, line with baking paper and then fill with pastry weights, rice, dried pulses or any spare change you have lying around the house. You want the pastry weights to almost fill the tin so the sides are supported while cooking. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until the base and sides are just beginning to turn golden. Remove the weights and baking paper and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the base is just beginning to turn golden. Set aside while making the frangipane filling.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy and add the almond meal, flour, vanilla and egg. Mix until smooth. Blind bake the tart shell then spoon in the frangipane mix and smooth out.  Press the rhubarb slices into the mixture and bake for 25 minutes or until the frangipane is golden brown and cooked through. Serve warm with a dusting of icing sugar and a scoop of ice cream.

 Stewed rhubarb

4 cups rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 5cm pieces
6 tbsp caster sugar*
Juice of two oranges
Place the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon and orange juice in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. 
*The amount of sugar you use here really will depend on the rhubarb you are using. Some forced winter rhubarb is quite sweet and only needs a touch of extra sweetness while other bunches need loads of the stuff. Start with a few tablespoons and taste the rhubarb as it cooks, adding more sugar if necessary.

Enjoy!  

For more of Sophie's delicious recipes head to www.local-lovely.com of you can follow her on Facebook or instagram.

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