S1, Ep 6: On With the Daffs and a Dachshund called Dahlia

 
 Gillian remembers her holidays in a bondwood caravan

Gillian remembers her holidays in a bondwood caravan

 

Gillian wonders how to slow down time as she reminisces about her childhood beach holidays in the bondwood caravan, while Annabelle tries to pack for a camping trip of her own but gets distracted by the gardening greats on YouTube. The girls then meet up at the pecan farm and have a chat at the sink while they do the washing up.

 
 The fundraising party at the pecan farm. Gillian cooked the food - roasted pork with fennel, pecan nuts and apple among other things - and Annabelle set the scene with this chestnut branch installation

The fundraising party at the pecan farm. Gillian cooked the food - roasted pork with fennel, pecan nuts and apple among other things - and Annabelle set the scene with this chestnut branch installation

 
 
 Dinner in the paddoxk

Dinner in the paddoxk

 Autumn pumpkins from the neighbour

Autumn pumpkins from the neighbour

 
 
 A ute filled with chestnut branches

A ute filled with chestnut branches

 Annabelle arranging the chestnut branches on a steel structure from  The White Cottage  in Tenterfield

Annabelle arranging the chestnut branches on a steel structure from The White Cottage in Tenterfield

 
 
 Chairs and trestle tables from the Bonshaw Hall - thank you Bonshaw!

Chairs and trestle tables from the Bonshaw Hall - thank you Bonshaw!

 
 
 Free range pigs at  Arrajay Downs  just out of Tenterfield, NSW.

Free range pigs at Arrajay Downs just out of Tenterfield, NSW.

 
 
 Gillian dreams of bondwood caravans and Annabelle digs up some caravan photos from her camping trip to New Zealand

Gillian dreams of bondwood caravans and Annabelle digs up some caravan photos from her camping trip to New Zealand

 Ally from Willowbank Flower Farm with some of her field-grown dahlias we used for the dinner in the paddock

Ally from Willowbank Flower Farm with some of her field-grown dahlias we used for the dinner in the paddock

 Another caravan snap from Annabelle in NZ.

Another caravan snap from Annabelle in NZ.

 

Gillian's fennel, apple and pecan stuffing to serve with roast pork

 
 Roast pork with superb crackling. Pork from  Arrajay Downs .

Roast pork with superb crackling. Pork from Arrajay Downs.

 

The roast pork that we served for guests was exceptional. I visited the farm to see the pigs in the fields and saw how they were cared for by Rhonda and Dave Fowler of Arrajay Downs and was very impressed. This time of year, the animals are feasting on windfall apples and pecans, as well as grass free of any chemicals or pesticides.  Annabelle and Ed are harvesting their first crop of pecans, and new season apples are in plentiful supply too as they are grown locally. Along with a fresh Florence fennel bulb, also in season, I knew we were in for a treat.

Tip: keep the fennel trimming for your homemade stocks.

The quantity you require of these three ingredients will depend on how many guests you wish to serve.

 

You will need:

2 kg of apples. I used new season Pink Lady and Fuji. Peeled and quartered.

A handful of fennel seeds, lightly toasted (optional) and roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar

A large Florence fennel bulb. Trim it up, removing the tougher outer leaves, and fronds. Slice the bulb thinly.

2 handfuls of freshly shelled pecans (if you can’t get pecans, replace with another nut). Chop the nuts up roughly if they are large.

 

In a large hot frying pan, add a generous knob of butter, the fennel and quartered apple. Cook, stirring often, until both start to soften. You want them to break down and soften but don’t take it so far that they just turn to a puree. Add the toasted fennel seeds and nuts. Season to taste. Combine everything well, then spoon into a large serving bowl or plate. Keep warm and serve along with your roasted pork

Tip: I like to add some of the chopped fennel fronds and nuts on top just before serving.

 

Gillian's apple and rosemary clafoutis

 
 This is a peach clafoutis Annabelle made in the summer, but below Gillian gives us her recipe for a much more autumnal apple and rosemary version.

This is a peach clafoutis Annabelle made in the summer, but below Gillian gives us her recipe for a much more autumnal apple and rosemary version.

 

A clafoutis baking in the oven is always welcome at this time of year. You can smell the butter, apples and rosemary cooking as you come through my front gate. It’s apple harvest time, and with rosemary growing in the garden, along with some staples from the larder, this dish is quick and easy to make.

Tip: Clafoutis is a French dessert of fruit with a batter poured over it and baked in a buttered dish in the oven.

3-5 medium/large apples. I used new season Fuji and Pink Lady

3 -4 sprigs of fresh, young rosemary tips, finely chopped
3 large organic eggs
1/2 cup thickened cream
1/3 cup milk
75g caster sugar
2 tablespoons of plain (all purpose) flour,  sifted
A couple of handfuls of slivered almonds
Large knob of butter

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Butter the bottom and sides of a flan dish and dust it with a little caster sugar.

Toast your almonds in the oven or in a pan on the hob. Keep your eye on them - they’ll burn quickly because of the oil in them.  Put aside.

Peel and slice your apples. Brown the apples quickly in a hot frying pan with the butter. They don’t need to be tender, just caramelised a little. Line the bottom of the flan tin with them. Place the flan in the hot oven.

Make the batter by whisking together the flour and sugar and gradually adding the milk and cream. Once combined,  add the eggs and rosemary and continue whisking until smooth.

Pour the batter over the apples in the oven, trying not to displace them. Sprinkle the almonds over the top. Bake until the centre of the batter is firm. Check after 30 mins. 

Remove from the oven and allow to stand in the dish.  Serve warm with crème fraiche and a little honey, if you wish.

 


Links

Mirabel Osler A Gentle Plea for Chaos

A great article about the family Gillian mentions, who were worried that their children's urban life had detached them from the seasons. They decided to go on an adventure, spending a whole year foraging.

And then the cookbook on seaweed.

Gardener Carolyn Robinson can be found here.

And there is a great article about her New England garden 'Eagle's Bluff' in The Planthunter here.

Here is a little one minute video of Carolyn Robinson showing us how to plant a potted plant. I found the trimming of the roots part very interesting. Others may already have this under control!