…Our Mushroom foraging continues, with us collecting the 'best of the best' for use on the menu as we open.
However, we haven’t been in the restaurant during the entirety of our Covid closure, we took the opportunity (spotted through a Facebook advertisement) to go and work at the Organic vegetable farm of one of our suppliers here in the Adelaide hills. Which not only kept us busy, but was a real insight into the growing cycle, hard work and passion that many of our suppliers have for their produce.
The job started out as ‘garlic planter’, to which I thought… “can’t be that bad” – well one day in and hundreds of garlic cloves planted whilst shuffling on our knees, and I could barely stand - the other chefs faired much better than I, but I guess that shows that age is catching up with me.
The property is vast, with a large mansion house dating back to some of the earlier recorded buildings in the area, and has had a somewhat disgruntled past, but it now sits sleepily amongst the landscape of autumnal orchards and lush vegetable patches.
We returned for a further 3 weeks; strawberry picking (last of the season), digging up potatoes, planting fennel, brassica, alliums, lettuce, picking figs and apples from the heritage orchards, some of which is usually gracing restaurant tables but for now is almost exclusively for the high end retail and grocers.
Produce tasted directly from the earth in which they are grown is certainly even more delicious – or is that because we knew the origins, and had felt the effort that had gone in to the growth? - Watch this space as we endeavour to start our own 'Vineyard Garden Project' - although the amount of garlic we plant will not get near to the 70,000 cloves we planted over our time here.
Many of these ingredients will be on our menu as we open in June, which is exciting enough, but even more so, as we have been involved in the growing process.
We are thinking, young organic leeks with Port Lincoln shellfish, the humble celeriac paired with earthy Adelaide hills truffle and toasted hazelnuts, spiced apple cake and brown butter custard…. More delicious ideas to come I am certain.