I have a funny feeling about todays market, the sun is shinning, it's the day before Christmas and the market is full of fantastic summer produce. The berries are full and plump, the first of our delicious stone fruit is now in - peaches! Broad beans, sunripened tomatoes, capsicum, sweet little carrots, jersey benne potatoes, new season garlic and don't forget about all the wonderful herbs, meat,fish, cheese, olive oil and so on and so on...It sounds hard to resist, be prepared for the crowds and queues. But remember it is Christmas and it is a time to be happy and "patient".
Thank you and respect to all the hard working, passionate vendors who supply us with such fantastic produce week after week. Our meals would not be the same without you! And i just want to say a BIG thank you to each and everyone of you that supports our fantastic farmers market and for all that spend time with me at the mobile kitchen!
Have a very Merry Christmas and New Year. I will be back at the market on the 14 January.
ROSE PETAL MERINGUES WITH SUMMER BERRIES AND CREAM
The sweet fragrance and pretty rose petals, speckled through these delectable meringues make for the perfect festive dessert. They can be made into large cloud shapes, perfectly piped nest or as I did for a little “thank you” gift, piped into petite drops!
Decadently served with summer berries and lashings of cream you really will have a stress free Christmas!
Makes 30-40 small meringues
6 large egg whites
140g raw cane sugar
250g caster sugar blended in a food processor with 2 Tbsp of dried organic rose petals until you get pink coloured sugar
1 Tbsp dried rose petals
1 tsp rose petal water
Few drops of red food colouring (optional)
Selection of summer berries
300 ml freshly whipped cream
1 vanilla pod (optional) or 2 drops of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 110C.
Place a medium saucepan of water over gentle heat and bring to a simmer. Place egg whites, cane sugar and rose petal sugar in a heatproof bowl over the saucepan, ensuring the bowl doesn't come in contact with the water. Loosen up the egg whites and mix in sugar and heat for approximately five minutes, until a digital thermometer reaches 40C.
Place in a bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until the mixture has cooled (10 minutes approximately). When the mixture has cooled it will have taken on a deliciously light and silky appearance, add a few drops of food colouring and a scattering of rose petals. Fold through so that you get a marbled look.
Line two baking trays with greasproof paper. Using a dessert spoon place large upright dollops on to the tray allowing room in between for expanding! Bake for 1 ½ hours.
Or if you are wanting little ones
Using a small nozzle inserted into your piping bag pipe small 10cent piece size on lined baking trays, allowing room for the meringues to expand.
Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. When they are ready, they will be dry underneath but still soft in the center. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Serve piled up on a beautiful platter with a large bowl of fresh berries and cream, sprinkle over more rose petals (you can never have to many) and have a great Christmas!
STRAWBERRY TRIFLE (cheats version)
Don’t get me wrong I love trifle but sometimes even I like to cut corners on the preparation. I am using leftover (bought) sponge and you can even use ready-made custard if desired. If you tart it up with sun-ripened locally grown strawberries, nobody will be any the wiser that you have cut a few corners here and there!
Makes 4 individual trifles
200g sponge cake (leftovers)
1 cup (150g) sliced strawberries
¼ cup dessert wine, sherry or fruit liqueur
1 Tbsp caster sugar
1 ½ Tbsp finely grated orange rind
⅓ cup cream
Finely grated orange rind, extra, to serve
Divide the sponge pieces into the base of 4 x 1 cup-capacity (250ml) glasses. Place the strawberries, wine and sugar in a bowl and mix well to combine. Spoon the strawberry mixture over the brioche rounds. Combine custard and rind and spoon over strawberry mixture. Top with cream and sprinkle with extra rind to serve.
TOASTED PANETTONE WITH SUMMER BERRIES, YOGHURT AND ROSEPETALS
Panettone is traditional Italian fruit bread which is served at Christmas time. It is delicious anytime of the day but I have used it many times in puddings. It works wonderfully for bread and butter pudding, French toast or as I have done here added a few summer berries and yoghurt and it has turned into the perfect start to your Christmas day!
2 Tbsp rose petal sugar
1 cup strawberries, halved and hulled
1 cup cherries, stones removed
1 cup raspberries
1 cup (280g) Greek yoghurt
900g panettone or fruit bread, thickly sliced
Combine the berries together in a bowl and sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the rosepetal sugar and let the berries macerate to draw out their natural juices.
Combine the remaining sugar with the yoghurt.
Toast the panettone under a preheated hot grill for 1 minute each side or until golden. Place on serving plates, top with the yoghurt mixture and spoon over the berries and juices.
NEW SEASONS CARROTS and POTATOES BAKED IN PAPER
New seasons carrots are perfect for cooking in this way as are new potatoes!
4-6 small new season carrots, scrubbed and ends removed
4 small potatoes, washed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C
Place the carrots, potatoes garlic, thyme and oil in a bowl, season well and toss to coat.
Cut a square of baking paper large enough to hold the carrots comfortably (up to 4 servings per bag) and fold in half to make a crease. Unfold it and lay the carrots on one half along with the oil and herbs etc. Bring the other half of the paper over the carrots so both ends meet. Fold the edges tightly to form a pillow like shape. Make sure that the package is well sealed.
Place onto a tray and bake for 30-40 minutes. The package will puff up like a pillow. Serve immediately and open at the table.
NEW SEASON CARROTS
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
Sprig of fresh thyme
1 handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped roughly
MethodPeel and trim the carrots, if the odd carrot is larger than the rest cut into half-length ways to even the size. Put them in a fairly large pan. Add the butter, salt, honey, thyme and enough water to just cover them. Place a lid on the pot and bring to the boil then reduce the heat and cook gently until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Continue cooking, shaking the pan every few minutes, until the cooking liquor is completely reduced and the carrots are coated in a shiny glaze. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
ALISON WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU THE VENDORS FOR ALL THEIR SUPPORT AND WONDERFUL PRODUCE AND I WOULD LIKE TO WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY FESTIVE SEASON!
JUDGE ROCK WINES
SCOTCHBROOK AND GOODFELLOWS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Merry Christmas everyone!