This month we were lucky enough to be included in Graziher’s Christmas Eve Shoot with recipes by the very clever Sophie Hansen and dreamy images by Clancy Job. I have both of Sophie’s cookbooks and they are always the ones I reach for when needing flavoursome recipes when cooking for a crowd. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to enjoy a meal with Sophie.
It was a gorgeous, mild evening at Sophie’s family property in Orange, NSW, we even had a little shower of rain which seemed so hopeful, especially after last year. It also meant I was so comfortable in my Awning Stripe Shirt in red/white which made me feel appropriately festive.
The whole menu was so divine in its simplicity and taste but my favourites were the ‘Little Corn Fritters with Chorizo Crumbs and Herbed Labne we had for starters partnered beautifully with Elderflower & Prosecco Sprtiz.
Please enjoy Sophie’s simply scrumptious recipes pulled from this season’s Graziher magazine.
Little corn fritters with Chorizo crumbs & Herbed Labne
Makes 2 cups
3 cups of fresh corn kernels
½ red onion, roughly copped
Zest of one lemon
3 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup canola oil
In your food processor, combine two cups of the corn, onions, lemon zest and a good pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper them blitz into a rough batter. Add the flour and baking powder and fold together until just combined. Fold in the remaining corn.
Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Drop a good tablespoon of the batter in the pan, and two more if they fit, and cook for a minute or so on each side, or until golden brown and puffed up. Then flip and cook for another minute.
Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and cook remaining fritters, using up the remaining oil as you need ti.
Makes 2 cups
¼ cup olive oil
2 chorizo sausages, cut into cubes
1 handful of breadcrumbs
Zest of one lemon
1 cup of skin on almonds
Heat half the oil in a frying pan on medium-high. Cook the chorizo for about 10 minutes or until golden and smelling amazing. Tip into your food processor, scraping in as much oil as possible. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and almonds and blitz until you have a rough crumb consistency.
Return e frying pan to the heat with the remaining olive oil and fry off breadcrumbs mixture five more minutes or until crispy and golden. Remove from the heat and set aside is too cool. Store in an airtight container.
Start this recipe 24 hours ahead
2 cups natural Greek style yoghurt
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup soft hers, roughly chopped (tarragon, mint, chives)
Juice of one lemon
Combine the yoghurt and salt in a medium-sized bowl and stir well. Transfer to a sieve with muslin. Gather the edges of the muslin together and tie tightly. Set the sieve over a saucepan and leave for 24 hours to drain.
The next day stir the herbs and lemon juice through your strained yoghurt and transfer to a serving bowl or keep in the fridge until needed.
Elderflower and Prosecco Spritz
If you can get your hands on a bottle of beautiful, fragrant Elderflower cordial, use it here. If not, swap in for any other sweet yet slightly acidic fruit syrup or fancy cordial. Pour about 20mls of cordial in each glass, top with a slice of fresh or dried lemon. And top with ice cold Prosecco or sparkling wine.
Pearl barley, red onion and blackberry salad
4 red onions, peeled and quartered
500g pumpkin, peeled and quartered
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp thyme leaves
2 cups pearl barley
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup blackberries (of blueberries)
Pre-heat oven to 180°. Place the onions and pumpkin on a baking tray, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with time leads. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper, toss together then pop you me at them for 14 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and the onion caramelised.
Meanwhile, Play the barley in a large saucepan and cover with 3L of water. Bringing to the boil then thinner for a bout 15 minutes or until the pearl barley is completely tender and fluffed up. Drain and tip into a large bowl. Whisk together the remaining olive oil with the mustard and balsamic vinegar and while the pearl barley is still hot, add in the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter, top with the warm onions and pumpkin and dot with the blackberries. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Prosciutto-wrapped venison backstrap with horseradish cream
(If you can’t get your hands on some of Sophie’s family farmed venison you can use a beef fillet for this recipe)
1kg venison back strap (or beef)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp thyme leaves
12 slices prosciutto
1 cup crème fraiche
3 tbsp horseradish cream
Rub the back strap in olive oil and thyme leaves then wrap with the prosciutto. Preheat your barbeque to high.
Cook the venison for 8 minutes each side (or to your liking, this timing gives us a beautiful medium-rare result).
remove from heat and let rest under foil for 10 minutes.
meanwhile, to make the horseradish cream just mix together the horseradish cream and crème fraiche in a small bowl.
Slice the venison across the grain into medallions about 2cm thick. Serve with some roasted baby potatoes, horseradish cream and some quince jelly.
Green beans with dukkah
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and top and tail a few handfuls of green beans. Plunge beans into the water and cook for a few minutes. Drain, then tip back into the saucepan and while still warm, toss with a few good tablespoons of olive oil and about ¼ cup of homemade or store bought dukkah. Toss and transfer to your serving plate.
Brandy-soaked fruit and custard tarts
These tarts can be made in advance and served at room temperature. Sophie used individual tart tins but you could make one big tart if you prefer.
200g plain flour
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup icing sugar
150g chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1.4 cup iced water
1 cup single pure cream
¼ cup caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 cups mixed dried fruit (currants, cranberries and raisins are a good mix, anything bigger can puff up and burn while baking)
1 cup brandy
First start by soaking the fruit; heat brandy in a small saucepan until just simmering then add fruit, stir so it’s all submerged and set aside.
To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and icing sugar on a work surface. Bring into a small mound and make a well in the centre. Fill this well with the cubed butter and a splash of water. Use the heel of your hands to bring the mixture together, working the butter into the flour and adding more water as needed. Keep working and smooshing with the heel of your hand until you have a rough dough. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic and place in the fridge to rest for half an hour.
Roll out the pastry until you have a large round disc about 3mm thick. Cut pastry into 8 rounds and gently drape over and into your individual tart tine, pressing pastry down into the crease where the base meets the side. Roll the rolling pin over the top of each tart shell, cutting away the excess pastry to create a nice neat edge. Return to the fridge for half an hour before blind baking.
Preheat the oven to 200°. Prick the base of each tart a few times with a fork. Line with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, uncooked rice or dried beans. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove the weights and baking paper and bake for another 10 minutes or until the pastry looks pale and dry.
Meanwhile to make the custard filling. Combine the cream, eggs and sugar in a bowl. Using a small knife, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthways, scrape out the seeds and add them to the cream mixture. Whisk together.
Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of the fruit mixture on each tart then gently pour over a little custard so it reaches just under the pastry edge. Bake for 35 minutes or until the custard is just turning golden.
What a gorgeous night. Thank you to Graziher magazine for giving me the opportunity to spend an evening with these talented women.