Welcome to Jacican

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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.

Jaci

tatin 2

There are many potato farmers surrounding my food studio in Gippsland, so there is not much point growing normal potatoes in my vegetable garden. By normal potatoes, I mean white fleshed, great for frying, gnocchi, and chips. For this dish I use the potatoes I grow in my vegetable garden, a purple variety that has the brightest purple fresh.

You don’t need to use a special potato for this recipe. The golden kipflers would be fantastic to use as well.

Ingredients

500 grams of washed potatoes

Salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and extra for greasing the tin.

2 red onions, peeled and sliced

½ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Fresh oregano

Fresh thyme 

1 sheet puff pastry

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line the bottom of a 20cm loose bottom cake tin with a round of baking paper. Grease the walls of the cake tin with butter. Place the cake tin on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Bring the sheet of aluminum foil up the outside of the cake tin, to enclose the tin. This is to prevent leakage.
  2. Wash your potatoes very well, but do not peel. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water, with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are cooked through, but do not fall apart. Drain and put aside to cool.
  3. Heat the first 2 tablespoons of butter in a frypan, until foaming. Add the sliced red onion and reduce the heat. Allow the red onion to cook down and caramelize. This may take half an hour. Once the red onion has caramelized, remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Set aside until needed. Wipe out the frypan, you will need it again.
  4. Return the frypan to the stove and heat the extra two tablespoons of butter, until melted over a medium heat. Add the brown sugar to the pan and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the brown sugar has melted. De-glaze the brown sugar with the red wine vinegar. Remove from heat. Stir to combine vinegar with brown sugar to make a toffee.
  5. Pour the toffee into the bottom of the lined loose bottom cake tin. Sprinkle fresh oregano and thyme over the toffee.
  6. Slice the potatoes into 2 cm lengths and place potatoes atop of the toffee, cut side down. Cover the bottom of the cake tin with the potatoes. Top the potatoes with the caramelized onion. Let the onion fall between the potatoes.
  7. Cut the corners of the sheet of puff pastry. This is to make it easier to fit in the cake tin. Place the sheet of puff pastry on top of the onions. Place the tart into your pre-heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
  8. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes, before turning out on a plate.

tatin

Late last year, Stu the farmer, just down the roads in Thorpdale nominated me on Facebook as part of AusVeg's Nutrition week. The photo Stu picked, of me holding cucumbers, I'd grown in the garden, with a silly grin on my face, won a prize for the week. In return, I received a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty, vegetable cookbook.

Why the menu changes

I'm not one for following chef much these days – too busy in the kitchen, but I do know about Yotam,s work with vegetables. This is my take on his caramelized garlic tart.

To share this recipe with you, I have used store-bought puff pastry, but I normally make a ruff puff pastry from scratch, when I bake the tart in the food studio. In my version, I use Sheep's milk cheese, but you could use goats or cows or yaks or any sort of cheese that you wish.

How much garlic do you need?

The original recipe said '3 medium heads'. Firstly, what's a head of garlic – I thought it was a clove or bulb of garlic*. I used three small hands full of garlic cloves, after I had planted it, waited 5 months, dug it up, dried it out, broke up the cloves and peeled it.

Anyway, I am, serving this tart as one of the many things to sample at my Garlic Dinner, coming up this February, if you would like to come along.

Garlic Tart

garlic tart 02

Ingredients

1 and ½ sheets puff pastry

3 bulbs of garlic – separated into cloves and peeled.

1 Tablespoon butter

2 Tablespoon Sherry (or good quality wine or balsamic) vinegar

200 ml water

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

100 grams sheep's milk feta cheese

100 grams Semi-hard sheep's milk cheese

1 teaspoon chopped Rosemary

1 teaspoon thyme leaves & flowers (if you have any)

2 eggs

200 ml cream

pinch of salt

White pepper

This is, as I call it, my vegetable garden shop – kitchen garden, where I grow a vast variety of the fruit and vegetables that I use to prepare meals in the food studio.

 kitchen garden

This is why, each week there is a changing seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch, and cakes based on what is growing in the kitchen garden. This week’s its beans, broccoli, greens, zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin, plums, and garlic. Next week it may be something else. What isn’t turn into fresh meals, is preserved for later in the pantry. There is always bottled fruit and tomatoes to cook with.

I have to be truthful to you and myself, I can’t grow everything, so when I need to I buy what’s available and in season in Mirboo and Gippsland. This week I visited the local farm gate to pick up purple cauliflowers, fresh sausages from the butcher and one of my favorite potato farmers drop around two different potatoes.

All this has come together to create a menu of ...

Rosedale Worcestershire sausage with pickled cauliflower, golden kilper potato

Fettuccine with broccolini & Prom Country Blue

Zucchini fritters, Gippsland free range poached egg, Jindi Farms dukkah

Garden Frittata with garden salad & tomato chutney

Roasted Wattlebank Park farm beef, Prom Country cheese on Oak & Swan sourdough

Plum Tart

Lemon yogurt cake

Rum & Raisin Cheesecake (GF)

I hope you enjoy!

Jaci

jaci in Jacican kitchen garden

The menu at Jacican changes each week, depending on what I have at hand, what is growing in the vegetable garden and what local farmers and artisans are growing, harvesting and producing on any given day.

Food miles are important to me. I do my best at reducing the distance produce has to travel to reach Jacican. The three thing I do to reduce food miles are:

I grow as much fruit and vegetables as I can in my kitchen garden.

I receive a veggie box from I love farms, just outside of Mirboo North, each week for the extra stuff.

I purchase directly from Gippsland farmers and producers: cheese, potatoes, onions, proteins, small goods, sourdough, honey, drinks, herbs, and spices.

Why the menu changes

I am not saying that I only use Gippsland producers (the sugar and chocolate have to come from somewhere), but I try my best to make everything as local and seasonal as possible. This is why the Jacican menu changes every week.

If you would like to know what is on the menu this week, feel to ask or check out Facebook or Instagram for menu updates.

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