Read almost any book on foraging, seasonal cooking, or sustainable living and you will likely find recipes for elderflower cordial, syrup, or soda. From what I've read I had the impression that elders would be like blackberries, cropping up in creek beds, roadsides and paddocks. That's certainly the case in some areas, but not in our neighbourhood. In December last year I asked one of our experienced Nundle gardeners where I would find elderflowers and she said I was too late for that season, but told me where I would find them the following year. She even had an elder growing in her backyard and had made elderflower cordial for her grandchildren. I ended up buying us both bottles of elderflower cordial in the supermarket to sate my curiosity and whet my appetite for the harvest.View full article →
We may have started the week mid way through November, but our Peel Valley Landcare Group held its Christmas drinks and I was searching for Christmas biscuit recipes to bake and take along. You know when you can visualise a recipe you've seen and then spend 30 minutes searching through recipe books to find it. That was me on Monday. I found the recipe for Orange and Sweet Spice Biscuits on a promotional postcard from The Healthy Baker, tucked in the back of another recipe book. At least I could stop searching and start cooking. With the combination of sugar, mixed spice, currants, and orange zest, this recipe evokes the traditional flavour and scent of a European Christmas. It felt a little early to break out the Christmas cutters, so I opted for crinkle cutters instead. On reflection I wish I'd used stars. We need all the joy we can muster after such a disruptive year.View full article →
It's such a thrill to cook with ingredients that you know the provenance of, whether they are homegrown, or grown by a farming friends. So when Annabelle Hickson opened orders for her family's Hickson Pecans my fingers hit the keyboard to enter my details in rapid fire. It was exciting to receive the box of Cape Fear pecans and our family enjoyed tasting the freshest pecans we'd ever been exposed to. Duncan compared them to, "Caramel from a tree." Gryff asked, "Are these from the woman married to the bloke with the Suzuki?" (a reference to a photograph of Annabelle and Ed Hickson with daughter Daisy on the cover of Graziher magazine). It's all about the wheels for this 11-year-old.View full article →
We didn't harvest any fruit from our quince tree this year, but when I saw their golden forms at the green grocer's I added a few to my shopping basket. My taste buds were set on baked quinces to add to porridge, but then I read Michelle Crawford's recipe for Quince and Walnut Cake and I was intrigued. Without walnuts within 60km, I substituted pistachios after consulting with my foodie neighbour Teresa. The green and russet colour of pistachios on cakes is so appealing, and this recipe calls for toasting them in icing sugar and sprinkling with salt flakes, making them deliciously crunchy and sweet. The baked quinces folded into the batter before cooking create a moist fruit cake texture, finished with everyone's favourite cream cheese icing. If you have a quince tree, know a friend with quinces to spare, or lock eyes on them when you're shopping, scoop them up and try this recipe to delight your friends, family and you.View full article →
Being in pandemic quarantine has been a chance to go through piles of magazines that I don't need anymore, tearing out recipes to add to our collection. This has the double benefit of exposing new cooking ideas and clearing corners of the house. One of the recipes that caught my eye is Persian love cake. This is very similar to Nutmeg cake, which I have been making for decades. If you're looking for a cake to share on Mother's Day, this could be it. The recipe traditionally calls for crushed pistachios, which add a vibrant pop of colour. Without pistachios at hand I used slivered almonds. The cake has an interesting texture, an almost crunchy biscuit base and softer dense body. I hope you enjoy it. It disappeared very quickly when I made it for morning tea for our family during the school holidays.View full article →
We hosted the most enjoyable Book Lunch for Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans on our shop verandah. Our 45 guests came together to hear about Matthew's book 'The Commons, A Year of Growing, Cooking and Eating on Fat Pig Farm.' This was really special for our family because we have been cooking Matthew's recipes for nearly two decades and still have a couple of recipes torn from The Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend, the earliest from 2001.View full article →
With backgrounds in journalism and fine art Duncan and I moved to Nundle in our late twenties after visiting for 18 months and falling for its dramatic hills, historic buildings and village atmosphere.
We revived a timber and iron building in the main street, re-registering the name Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores and stocking traditional kitchen and garden wares inspired by original handwritten and typed ledgers.
Some of the brands that we stock are the same vintage as the building: Burgon and Ball, Sheffield, 1730; Kilner, 1842; Opinel, 1890; TALA Taylor and Law, 1899; Mason Cash, 1901; Fowlers, 1915; Falcon, 1920s.
Our business evolved for 11 years without being online. Our online journey began in 2011 after the birth of our youngest son. Creating an online store was a way for me to work from home.View full article →
For the Murrurundi Ladies Day Out I made Black Forest Brownie Cake to demonstrate how I style and photograph an image to share on our shop social media. It is a delicious cake and I had to laugh when our 10-year-old said it was his favourite cake because he preferred dense chocolate cake to airy chocolate cake. The recipe could come in handy during the summer months when we're all called on to "bring a plate" from time to time. Your friends will love you for bringing this along.View full article →