Get Away Melbourne
— Visiting Merri Creek

In the spring of 2015, Food Studio travelled to Melbourne to explore Merri Creek and its long and compelling food growing history. Have a look at the menu of the evening and to recipes by local food hero Matt Wilkinson!

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Menu Food Studio visits Merri Creek

ENTREES

Mix tomatoes and raw milk cheese salad

Zucchini with ajo blanco dressing and spiced nuts

Burned eggplant dip, crudités

MAINS

Cooked over the open flame Warialda Belted Galloway brisket slow cooked finished on coals

Foraged seasonal greens

Little fresh bean stew

DESSERT

Torn figs, blue cheese & mascarpone cream, honey & walnuts

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Zucchini with ajo blanco dressing and spiced nuts

A joyus way to eat the zucchinni, especially when you are sick of the sight of them towards the end of the season. Serves 2 as a large share or 4 smaller serving

Ajo blanco dressing

  • 75 g (23/4 oz) white bread, crusts removed
  • 115 g (4 oz/3/4 cup) blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 110 ml (4 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 75 ml (6 fl oz) ice-cold water

First soak the bread in water for 5 minutes, drain & place in a blender with the almonds, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. Gradually add the cold water and blend on high for 30 seconds, or until a smooth purée forms. Set aside in a bowl until serving time.

Zucchini with spiced nuts

  • 120 ml (4 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 600 g (14 oz) mixed heirloom zucchini (courgettes), cut into random pieces
  • 15 g (3/4 oz) hazelnuts, chopped
  • 15 g (3/4 oz) blanched almonds, chopped
  • 15 g (3/4 oz) walnuts, chopped
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt flakes
  • 1 small handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, washed, chopped
  • 1 small handful mint, washed, dried and chopped

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4), and heat a chargrill pan or barbecue to high, until slightly smoky.

Use 80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) of the olive oil to coat the cut sides of the zucchini pieces. Place them on the chargrill until they are branded all over Place on a baking tray and finish off in the oven to cook through for 3-5 minutes untill cooked through, but you want to leave a bit of texture and crunch to the zucchini. Once cooked, set aside and keep warm.

Place the nuts and remaining olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and warm through until fragrant. Transfer the nuts to a bowl, then season with the paprika and salt flakes to taste.

To assemble the dish, place the warm zucchini in a large mixing bowl, along with the herbs and nuts. Add a little salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste, if needed.

Dollop most of the ajo blanco dressing around the bottom of your serving dish, then arrange the zucchini salad on top. If desired, add more ajo blanco dressing on top, for that creamy, nutty flavour and texture.

From “Mr Wilkinson’s simply dressed salads” by Hardie Grant

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Torn figs, blue cheese & mascarpone cream, honey & walnuts

A simple and delicious dessert. Serves 2

  • 4 ripe figs
  • 60 gr soft blue cheese like Gorgonzola
  • 30 gr Mascarpone cheese
  • 20 ml cream
  • 1 tsp icing susgar
  • 100 gr Caster sugar
  • 10 pieces walnut
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp strawberry balsamic
  • 1 tbsp verjus

Tear the figs into 3-4 pieces and leave somewhere warm. In a bowl mix together the blue cheese, mascarpone & cream then fold in the icing sugar and set aside. Place the 100g sugar into a flat frying pan and place on a medium heat. Once the sugar has started to turn to a light caramel add the walnuts, honey, strawberry balsamic & verjus then add the figs. To plate add the figs to your desired bowl, add a dollop or quenelle if your feeling posh, then drizzle with the pan juices making sure you get a few walnuts in there.

Recipes by Matt Wilkinson

Cream & Milk – Demeter Bio Dynamic (Powelltown, VIC)

Bread – Huw Murdoch (Brunswick, VIC)

Vegetables – Grown & Gathered (Tablik, VIC) / Matt’s Garden (Northcote, VIC)

Beef – Wariald Belted Galloway (Clonbinane, VIC)

Olives & figs – Pope Joan neighborhood friends

Honey – Matt’s hives via Melbourne City Rooftop Honey (Alphington, VIC)

 

Wine Notes for Food Studio

Curated by Lou of Clever Polly (North Melbourne, VIC)

Patrick Sullivan, freshly fermented wines

Pat is one of the young winemakers who has set tongues a-wagging in the wine industry in the last few years. Why? Because he strives to make wines that don’t necessarily fit into anyone’s ideas of what they should be or how they should be made; his goal is to make delicious wines that express where they’re from. That, and the wines, says a lot about Pat as well.

We’ve assembled a small collection of some of Pat’s freshly fermented wines from vintage 2015- incomplete some might say, but representing a taste of what is to come.

Mac Forbes ‘RS7’ 2014 Riesling, Strathbogie Ranges

In Mac’s own words, he strives to create “honest wines that reflect extraordinary sites.” There is certainly something very pure about his wines, a trademark finesse in every bottle.

This Riesling is from the decomposed granite soils of the Strathbogie Ranges, around 600m above sea level. A few hours of skin contact, light oxidative handling, and time on lees, all contribute to a savoury character that balances 7 grams of residual sugar. Thrilling, energetic minerality.

Two Metre Tall ‘Aromatic Spelt Ale’ Derwent Valley

In another life, Ashley Huntington lived in and made wine in France. Moving back to Australia to realize his dream of having his own winery in the Derwent Valley, Ashley became fascinated with perhaps one of the greatest icons of the region- the hop fields. Plans for planting a vineyard on his property having been laid aside, Ashley is now a brewer and beef producer.

Made from Tasmanian-grown spelt and home-grown hops, plus the waters of the local Derwent River and indigenous souring yeasts, this is a refreshing and aromatic terroir-driven beer.

Tommy Ruff ‘Romanee Tuff’ 2014 Syrah, Barossa

Tom Shobbrook grows grapes and makes wines in the Barossa from biodynamically-farmed fruit, much from his own family farm. Having spent time in Italy learning about and making wine, Tom returned with the dream of making wine as simply as possible- without commercial yeasts or chemicals, with emphasis firmly placed on caring for the land.

This is Tom’s Syrah offering for spring and summer- bright red berry fruits, crunchy acidity, and a hint of savoury smokiness across a lean palate.

 Friends of Punch ‘Berry’s Creek Vineyard’ 2011 Noble Riesling, Gippsland

The 2009 bushfires saw the devastation of the fruit from the Lance family’s own vineyard in Saint Andrews. Out of necessity, they took fruit offered by other generous vineyards and Friends of Punch was born. Many of those relationships that were established in a time of need remain today.

Shrivelled by botrytis to around 50%, this was foot stomped, soaked overnight and then pressed to tank. Lovely aromatics of white flowers and honeysuckle, with a bright palate of citrus and quince flesh.

Read more about Food Studio visiting Merri Creek and have a look at our day by the creek.