About Lyndall Vandenberg

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So far Lyndall Vandenberg has created 11 blog entries.

Ricotta & Broccoli Gnudi with Sage & Butter


Gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato. The result is often a lighter, “pillowy” dish, unlike the often denser, chewier gnocchi.

500g broccoli, chopped
1kg fresh ricotta
2/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, whisked
pinch of dried chilli flakes
2/3 cup plain flour
pinch of finely grated nutmeg
200g butter
1 bunch sage

Cook broccoli in salted boiling water until tender, then drain, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Set aside to cool.

Place broccoli in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, eggs, chilli, flour and season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine ingredients.

Shape the mixture into smallish balls, place on a plate covered with baking paper then refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add gnudi, in batches, and remove with a slotted spoon as they rise to the surface. Drain on paper towel then place the gnudi on a warm serving dish.

Melt butter in a large fry pan, add sage and nutmeg then cook for a few minutes until brown. Pour the butter over the gnudi and scatter with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serves 6-8.

 

July 25th, 2017|Food|0 Comments

Sunshine Ice Blocks

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Recently, I visited the Bull Creek property of Willunga Farmers Market stallholders Brendan Lineage & Courtney Stephen.

As I step out of my car, the natural beauty and the steep, steep hills are the first things I notice. It is also serenely silent. From my comfortable vantage point I hear cheerful voices as I stare out, up towards the magnificent, hill peaks.  Two figures, barely recognisable because of the distance to the top, let go of a huge roll of fallen pine needles from the pine tree forest, and I watch with amusement as it bumps and rolls its way to the bottom.

A pretty, trickling creek runs between the hills and winds its way along the new garden beds that are being prepared by Brendan and Courtney’s three young children. They’re busy laying newspaper for weed suppression, chatting with their Oma about how best to make a scarecrow, whose destiny it is to guard this garden.

Nearby is the shed that houses the impressive, purpose built kitchen and meticulous production facility for their business Sunshine Ice Blocks. “It was the people and the region that inspired us to buy the farm and to live here, and to trade and sell locally” Courtney explains.

Sunshine Ice Blocks produce a range of small batch, hand crafted ice blocks, gelati, sorbet and shaved ice, using all natural, fresh and seasonal produce direct from the farmer.  “We source all of our ingredients from the Willunga Farmers Market, even the milk, and only go further afield when necessary.” explains Brendan. “The local enthusiasm and passion for food is infectious. It really is important to us that we connect with the growers, know what’s in season, develop relationships and trial new products for instant feedback.”

“We both get very excited about every new product we bring out and we love experimenting.” Products are created to meet customer demand and offer an abundance of flavour combinations to suit any palate. Ice block flavours include lavender lemonade, blood orange and honey, rhubarb and pear, rhubarb and cream, chocolate and avocado. What’s comes next for summer? “Strawberry, peaches, nectarines, plums, the list explodes but the challenge, is to keep the flavour range manageable.” explains Brendan with a grin.

“A perfectly healthy summer treat that children love, is our shaved ice. It goes straight into a cup, then we pour our own, all natural syrup over the ice. Right now the flavour is strawberry.  There’s no crazy colours or chemicals and it’s dairy free.” Brendan says. “We also have blood orange, lemon and strawberry sorbet flavours on offer, all made from local produce.”

The new gelati is not to be missed either. Brendan is very pleased with his latest flavour combinations of dark Belgian chocolate, vanilla bean and cold brew coffee which has been through an eighteen-hour extraction technique, in collaboration with local barista Rebecca Moore (From Humble Grounds), who knows how “to get the coffee flavour perfect.”  The sample pots are delicious; smooth, wickedly creamy and full of flavour!

What’s next? “Growth!” says Courtney. “We were awarded a manufacturing and innovation grant by the SA Department of State Development which is great recognition of us as a viable business. We are being assisted with ways to improve production costs and efficiency. We’ve also recently received accreditation to the South Australian Dairy Board which has enabled us to expand our range to include gelati.”

Brendan and Courtney credit their success to the Fleurieu Peninsula, to which gives their family a better sense of community and a healthy combination of work and lifestyle. It’s no wonder they chose this stunning location.

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November 24th, 2016|Food|0 Comments

Strawberry and Almond Meringue

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This beautiful French dessert, made with layers of meringue, cream and seasonal strawberries is gloriously easy to make and seriously easy to enjoy! The components can all be made ahead, ready to assemble just before serving. As elegant as this looks, there’s no elegant way to cut into it – just smash it up and serve.

strawberries, 4 punnets
orange, juice of 1
rum, 150ml
pure icing sugar, 50gm sieved
egg yolks, 4
thickened cream, 1L
raw almonds, a small handful roughly chopped

Almond meringue
egg whites, 5 (700g eggs)
caster sugar, 150g
icing sugar 150g, sieved
almond meal, 150g
½ orange and ½ lemon, zest finely grated

Method
For the almond meringue, preheat oven to 100C and line 3 baking trays with baking paper. Whisk egg white, caster sugar and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until firm peaks form (6-7 minutes), fold in icing sugar, almond meal and zest, then spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe meringue mixture in concentric circles to form three 20cm diameter rounds on prepared trays and bake, swapping trays part way through cooking, until crisp but not coloured (1 ½ – 2 hours). Turn off heat and cool completely in oven.

Combine strawberries in a bowl with orange juice, 50ml rum and 2tlb icing sugar, and set aside to steep (20 minutes).

Meanwhile, whisk yolks and remaining rum in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and pale (3-4 minutes), then place in an electric mixer and whisk until cooled completely (6-8 minutes). Whisk cream in a bowl until very thick, fold in icing sugar and egg yolk mixture then refrigerate until required.

To assemble, place a meringue disc on a serving plate, spoon 1/3 of the cream mixture over evenly, scatter with a third of the strawberries, then top with another meringue disc. Repeat step, then finish with remaining meringue disc on top, spread remaining cream then strawberries, and chopped almonds. This is best served within 20 minutes of assembling.

November 24th, 2016|Food|0 Comments

Asparagus antipasto

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The saying less is more is apt, when you have the opportunity to cook with seasonal, freshly harvested asparagus. Be it barbecued or pan-fried then adorned with a scatter of salt and pepper, some extra virgin olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice, it’s hard to find a food that means spring more to me than asparagus.

Antipasto is more about amazing ingredients and method than precise ingredient quantities. You will need a couple of adequate fry pans, platters for serving and a bottle of good wine. I’ve also listed a few producers from whom to source the ingredients from.

asparagus
mushrooms
shallots
cherry tomatoes
slices of prosciutto
cheese
extra virgin olive oil
thick slices of your favourite crusty bread
wedges of lemon
butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim the asparagus by cutting off the hard ends. Heat a little olive oil in a fry pan and when hot, cook for about 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. Season with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice.Cut the mushrooms into thick slices.  In a separate pan, add a tablespoon butter and place on medium/high heat to melt then place the mushrooms in the pan in a single layer, turning them over as they brown. Once brown on both sides, add thick slices of shallots and the tomatoes then stir the pan occasionally until the mushrooms are cooked through and the tomato skins begin to wrinkle. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange all ingredients on platters, drizzled with a little olive oil. Enjoy!

October 5th, 2016|Food, Food we love, Recipes by Lyndall|0 Comments

Najobe…Rise above the Ordinary

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It was the mantra “rise above the ordinary”, recounted to Ben Heath by his father Bob throughout his upbringing, and a genuine interest in farming that inspired Ben to join the family business Najobe, a registered Red Angus cattle stud.

Together, father and son forged a successful business partnership based on a commitment to providing a pure paddock to plate experience, one that remains true to the source. But, it is Ben’s commitment ‘to do it really, really well’ that truly sets Najobe apart.

It is clear that a great deal of thought has gone into every step of business planning and development. Najobe was originally developed to breed quality seed stock for the beef industry, and a niche market for the grass fed beef was beginning to transpire, then Ben saw an opportunity. He wanted total quality control over Najobe’s meat, so he set about developing a unique genetic registration system, to complement their commitment to sound cattle management.

‘Free range to us is all about ethical animal husbandry. Our cattle are run at a stocking rate of 1 cow per 4 acres, which is appropriate for our area because the cows can eat their natural diet of grass. They follow the ute when we want to move them, encouraged by the bale of hay on the back, and we never forcibly move them.’ Ben explained.

‘We match bulls with herds; we know where they were bred and what they feed on. We have charts to map birth and growth weights.’ explains Ben. ‘All of the meat can be analysed and traced back to Najobe, the source. It’s our guarantee of 100% traceability.’

The main family farm is at Wistow in the Adelaide Hills. In addition, Najobe has commercial agreements covering 16 other properties from Verdun to Port Elliot, which makes 2500 acres of farming land available for cattle and more recently lamb and pork.

‘Our pigs are grown in an open free style barn. There are no sow stalls and the floors are soft. They can wander outside where they are able to forage freely. We also work with a nutritionist who has helped us to develop a premium, portion controlled diet for our pigs.’ explained Ben. ‘Our customers are therefore assured of a full flavoured meat. Each carcass weighs only 55-60kg which means the flavour is so much better and there is less fat content.’

With Ben’s vision and drive, it was inevitable that a shop front and fully accredited butchery was opened in 2015. ‘We are genuinely providing our customers with something that’s true to the source from start to finish.’ said Ben. Long may that vision endure. najobe.com.au

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September 19th, 2016|Food|0 Comments

Chicken Baked in a Red Grapefruit Marinade

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Pink grapefruits are low in acid and yield a wonderfully sweet and aromatic flavour when slowly cooked. This is a perfect flavour match with this combination of spices and herbs, they transform a chicken to an absolute treat. Serves 4-6.

1 medium whole chicken
1 medium pink grapefruit, juice and zest
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1tsp cinnamon, ground
1tsp allspice, ground
1tlb oregano, dried
2tsp paprika
4tlb olive oil
1 small bunch parsley, chopped

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the marinade, along with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Next, spread some of the marinade into the cavity of the chicken and between the skin and breast, then rub the remainder over the skin. Place the chicken into a baking tray, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

Heat the oven to 180 degrees (fan forced) then bake the chicken for about 1 ½ hours. To test for doneness, pull the leg away from the body. The flesh not be pink and the juices should be clear. Allow the cooked chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Serve the chicken with the juices spooned over it together with baked potatoes and a fresh salad.

September 19th, 2016|Food|0 Comments

Red D’Anjou Pears poached in Cabernet Sauvignon

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Mclaren Vale Orchards produce the fruit, wine and pistachios featured in this divine yet ridiculously simple recipe. Red D’Anjou pears are ideal because they hold their texture and flavour really well throughout cooking. The grapes that make the cabernet sauvignon are pesticide free and and are grown lean so that the vines work harder to produce more skin which gives the wine its ballsy flavour, and the pistachios are harvested from some of the oldest trees in Australia. Try them, they are deliciously sweet. Serve the pears in their juice, scattered with the roughly chopped pistachios and a big dollop of Alexandrina Cheese Company’s pure jersey cream.

6 Red D’Anjou Pears, peeled
150ml McLaren Vale Orchards cabernet sauvignon
150ml water
150g raw sugar
1 star anise
1 vanilla bean, scrapped
1 cinnamon stick

Pour the wine and water into a saucepan then bring to the boil. reduce the heat to medium then add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the spices then simmer until the sauce reduces by 1/3.

Gently slide in the pears and cover with baking paper. Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 30-40 minutes, depending on the pears. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.

September 18th, 2016|Food|0 Comments

Kate Washington from VIVE

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Kate Washington of Vive knew she had a big decision to make before she accepted the Willunga Farmers Market’s 2015 Young Farmers Scholarship grant.

As she weighed up the realities of small-scale farming, the sort that involves long, physically demanding hours, irregular income, and limited resources to do the job profitably; she took a deep breath, and decided to follow her dream. It set Kate on a career path that’s changed her life – and what she hopes, is contributing to sustaining and valuing the traditional methods that support our precious food systems.

Having already invested her own money into irrigation, seedlings, seed and compost, the scholarship assisted Kate to take the next step towards growth as it covered costs for business insurance, key hand tools, water bills as well as improving irrigation.

“The grant allowed me to operate at a scale that could turn my market garden into a viable business.” Kate explains. “This has been achieved” and in less than one year “I now have reasonable part time income because I was able to expand and grow more food crops.”

“I’ve developed an efficient irrigation system and mulching helps to reduce evaporation. I grow crops that aren’t water greedy – such spinach, chard, French breakfast radishes, zucchinis and potatoes. Watermelons actually improve their sugar content through water stress, making them beautifully sweet and flavoursome.”

A typical week for Kate involves one full day of harvesting and two full days of labour which includes weeding, clearing crops, preparing beds, fertilising, planting, building infrastructure such as more than 100 meters of hand dug irrigation and a shed.

Kate’s farm is located on a picturesque block that was once a vineyard in the heart of McLaren Vale’s farming district. The block is very small, about three quarters of an acre.

“Because I don’t have a lot of land I have to find ways to draw an income more regularly. I’m working towards increasing my supply of baby vegetables because they allow me to continually rotate my crops. I’ve also found that baby vegetables are in high demand from my customers. I’m experimenting with heirloom, purple sprouting broccoli, leeks, baby kiplfler and dutch crème potatoes and smooth skin beetroot.” Kate explains. Especially popular are the French breakfast radishes “they always sell out.”

Under the scholarship program “I was mentored by Annemarie Brookman who was fantastic because she gave me the confidence to develop my own crop plan and other farm management systems. It’s vital to get the diversity of crops and rotational planting right at the beginning because it helps with the biodiversity of the block. A planned and effective system confuses the pests and reduces the amount of soil born diseases, and from an organic perspective there is less need for sprays. Sometimes sprays are necessary so I use organic based sprays such as garlic spray, which I make myself.”

“Currently I’m planting and growing cover crops – fava beans & clover. They fix nitrogen and at the end of season I will cut them down and feed them back to the garden as mulch. It helps build up the organic matter.” Kate informs me.

Kate has also learnt how to work with the sandy soil, which allows her to get plants into the ground earlier than other local growers. “The soil temperature is important because it determines if a seed will germinate”.

Mentoring in brand development and effective social media presence benefited Kate’s business enormously. “My mentor, Malcolm Leask’s advice was invaluable and he was also incredibly generous. He reinvested his fee to employ a promising young graduate graphic designer to develop my visual brand and it looks fantastic!”

Sitting next to her farming commitments, Kate also works as a garden specialist with the Stefanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program at Woodend Primary School. “It’s full on but I love it and it takes the financial pressures of full time farming away”. She works with about 125 primary school children every week, teaching them all about seasonal planting, building their own compost piles, companion planting, seed propagation and harvesting techniques.

Kate recalls her previous life, achieving a Masters in Environment at the Australian National University while working as a public policy officer for the federal Department of Agriculture. “I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I’ve learnt to value hard work, resilience, simple living and farming has made my passion for growing food even stronger. In the end, I wanted to grow food where the method for growing was as important as provenance, but the biggest reward is that people are eating this precious nutritious food.”

September 18th, 2016|Food|0 Comments

Pork Cheeks Braised in Pale Ale

Braised Pork Cheeks in Honey Wheat Beer

Prancing Pony Brewery produces a pale ale and sufficiently bitter beer of delicate flavours and floral aroma. The special thing about this dish is the beers transition to a deliciously fragrant, light and golden sauce as a result of slow cooking. The surprise is the Wistow Springs Pork which is ethically grown and free to roam. It ends up as a feast of firm yet tender flesh, so full of flavour, protected beneath its soft golden fat of molten sweetened pork essence.

It holds the promise of a meal so good; you won’t stop thinking about it.

1.5kg Wistow Springs Pork cheeks
3tlb olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 small fennel, sliced
2tsp fennel seeds
2tsp coriander seeds
375ml Prancing Pony Brewery Pale Ale  (approximately)
2tlb honey Try Do Bee Honey for beautiful, pure, cold extracted honey
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
In a non stick fry pan, Dry roast fennel and coriander seeds until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Choose an ovenproof casserole with a tight fitting lid. Heat a little olive oil in casserole and add onion. Fry for about five minutes over medium heat or until softened. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the spice and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to combine then add the honey and let it bubble up for a minute. Place the pork in the casserole and pour in enough beer to reach halfway up the sides of the pork but not right up to the skin. Cover with the lid, turn up the heat and bring to boil. Place in the oven. Cook the pork for approximately 2 hours, spooning the pan juices over the pork three or four times, or until the pork is very tender and caramel in colour. Set aside and rest for 15 minutes.Slice pork and serve with pan juices, sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes. Serves 8

September 11th, 2015|Food, Food we love, Recipes by Lyndall|0 Comments

For the love of PAELLA

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For a number of years I’ve been working toward mastering PAELLA and I’ve come to appreciate that mastery is all about the technique! Amazing paella is about cooking each individual ingredient in a way that allows the natural textures and flavours too shine.

Last Sunday I cooked a jumbo paella for 20 friends and family and it was sensational! Here is an adapted recipe that serves 6-8 people. Simple, delicious and soul pleasing!

100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion diced
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1tlb thyme leaves
Paella spice mix – ¾ tsp each of mild, sweet and smoked paprika, a pinch of saffron threads
1 red capsicum, deseeded and diced
1 cup sofrito (slow cooked tomato sauce consisting of onions, garlic, tomatoes, salt and a liberal amount of olive oil)
1 fresh chorizo, sliced
500g firm fleshed white fish, chopped into large chunks
500g mussles and or cockles, scrubbed, cleaned, debearded
1 raw crab, broken up into pieces
1 squid, sliced
2 cups paella rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water

In a 45cm paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Next, add the garlic, chilli and thyme, stir and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant.
Add the paella spice mix, stir continuously and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Next, add the capsicum and chorizo, and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the sofrito, stir well to combine with the other ingredients and leave it to bubble for 5 minutes.
Next, add the seafood and combine with the other ingredients so that each piece is well coated with the sofrito. Sprinkle the rice around the pan then pour in the wine and wait until the rice absorbs it. Pour in the stock and water, season with salt. Check that the rice is evenly distributed and that the grains are below the surface of the liquid. Do not stir again.
Cook uncovered until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and the rice grains are tender – 15-20 minutes. If the rice is still not cooked then add a little water – tablespoons at a time and cook for a few more minutes. Remove the paella from the heat, cover with paper towels, then rest for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley, then carry the paella to the table and serve from the pan. Share and enjoy with lemon wedges, aioli and a crisp green salad dressed in olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt.

June 19th, 2015|Food, Food we love, Recipes by Lyndall|0 Comments