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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

Always after different things to grow in the garden, a couple years ago Leonie from Brushtail foods gave me a couple yacon rhizome. A tuber root vegetable, that tastes a bit like an apple crossed with a water chestnut crossed with a potato. You seem to be able to bake, roast, stir fry and bake into a cake.

What’s a Yacon?

yacon web

Like all good bloggers, I went to the source of all correct information – Wikipedia, and asked. A species of perennial daisy, related to sunflowers and hence Jerusalem artichokes. They contain an indigestible polysaccharide (geez, that’s a big word) which is made up of fructose. This makes the tuber sweet tasting but allows the vegetable to pass through a human unmetabolized, with a very low-calorie intake. That’s enough scientific talk.

Let’s make a cake …

Let’s make a processed sugar-free, gluten free, dairy free, basically vegan cake

I promise it will taste great

Yacon and Date Cake

yacon cake

Ingredients

200 grams Dates

300 grams Yacon

200 grams Vegan spread

50 grams olive oil

300 grams almond meal

1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 pinch of salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Line and grease a 23-cm cake tin.
  2. Place dates in heat resistant bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then drain off the water.
  3. Place the dates, yacon, vegan spread, and olive oil in the bowl the food processor. Puree until smooth. Add the almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Pulse to combine.
  4. Pour into your prepared 23 cm cake tin. Bake for 25minutes or until cooked through.

Enjoy!!

Jaci

PS: If you would like any of your own yacon to plant, I have rhizome to plant out, as I dig up and use the tubers. Drop by sometime, during opening hours and I will have a piece ready for you.

golden kipher pan fried

There is nothing better than golden kipflers, fried in Gippsland butter, seasoned with a little pink salt and rosemary. Mirboo North farmer – Tony Cummaudo has taken this variety of potato to market, just this year. I was lucky effort to be given some of the first dig for 2018.

Ingredients

Golden Kilper potatoes

Unsalted butter

Pink salt

Rosemary

Method

  1.  Finely chop rosemary. You will only need a little bit, as Rosemary is a very strong flavoured herb.
  2. Clean your kipfler potatoes under running cold water. Scrub the dirt off, but not peeled the potato.
  3. Steam the whole potatoes for 15 minutes, or until they are cooked through when pierced with the pointed end of a knife. Remove from heat. You can let the potatoes cool a little, to become easier to handle.
  4. Cut each potato in half long ways. Heat a teaspoon of butter for each potato you are going to cook in a frypan, until foaming. For example, if you are going to cook 2 potatoes, 2 teaspoons of butter, if 8 potatoes, 8 teaspoons of butter.
  5. Place the potatoes in the foaming butter, cut side down and fry until golden brown colour. Be careful, as the butter may spit. This should take about 2 minutes. Turn over the potatoes and fry the skin side until the same golden brown.
  6. Remove from hot butter. Place on serving a dish and sprinkle with pink sea salt and chopped rosemary.

golden kipher pan fried 2

gnocchi

Gnocchi is easier than you think to make. Best of all, it can be made ahead of when you would like to eat it. I like to eat my gnocchi triple cooked – blanched in boiling water to cook through, pan-fried in butter, then finished off under the grill. For this recipe, I picked up a box of Marguerite potatoes of Stu the farmer, Jennings farms - Thorpdale.

Ingredients

1-kilogram Marguerite potatoes - cleaned

1 egg

250 grams plain flour

1 pinch of salt

Method

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer until cooked.

2. Strain the potatoes. You could peel when still hot but move straight onto step 3.

3. Place the potatoes in a mouli and process the potatoes straight onto the bench into a mound. You may need to do this in steps, as the weight of one kilo of cooked potatoes, may be too heavy to hold.

4. Make a well in the centre of your mound and shift over the flour. Add the egg and a pinch of salt to taste.

5. Using your hands, gently bring the dough together until just combined and the dough is slightly springy. Divide the dough into 6.

6. Roll each piece of dough into a long cigar shape. Cut into 3 cm lengths, using a pastry scraper or knife. Roll each piece on a gnocchi pad or press with a fork to create sauce groves in your gnocchi.

7. Line an oven tray with a clean tea towel. Put this aside until you cook your gnocchi.

8. Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to the boil. Add the gnocchi and return to the boil. The gnocchi will be cooked when it floats to the top of the water.

9. Remove the gnocchi from the water using a slotted spoon and place on your clean tea towel lined tray.

At this point, you can add your cooked gnocchi to your chosen sauce. I like my gnocchi finished in butter, top with an aged sheep’s milk cheese.

To finish

Cooked gnocchi

Unsalted butter

Kongwak sheep’s milk cheese – Shaved

Method

1. Heat butter in a frypan, until foaming. Add gnocchi and pan fry until gnocchi has started to colour. Place the gnocchi is the heatproof dish. Top with shaved Semi-hard cheese.

2. Place the heatproof dish of gnocchi, under the grill. Allow the cheese, on top of the gnocchi to brown to golden. Serve.

gnocchi 2

chip 2

One of the things I remember from chef school was the chips you get from your local Fish n Chips shop should be triple cooked.

Frozen chips are normally pre-cooked before they are snapped frozen – the first cook. The second cook is to blanch the chips in the deep fryer set at a temperature of 150C. The third cook is to deep fry the chips until golden brown and very crispy at 190C. At home, this may take you up to three days to create the best triple cooked extra crispy chips possible.

For this recipe, I used Cream Royal potatoes from Cummaudo farms.

1-kilogram potatoes.

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Salt

Method

  1. Peel your potatoes and wash very well. And I mean very well, as mine come with a little of the famous red Thorpdale dirt still on them.
  2. Cut your potatoes into large chips, by hand. Place your cut potatoes chips in a large saucepan of cold water with a little cooking salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer, until your potatoes and cooked through and very soft.
  3. Drain your potatoes very gently, as they will be so soft that they will want to fall apart. Line a tray with a clean tea towel and place the potato chips on the tray, not touching each other. Place your tray of potatoes chips in the freezer overnight.
  4. The next day, heat the oil in your deep fryer to 150C. Slowly and carefully place the chips in the deep fryer and fry until a light golden colour and cooked through. Drain your potatoes well and once cool enough to handle, place back on the tea towel lined tray, not touching and return to the freezer. They will need to be in the freezer for at least two hours, but overnight would be ideal.
  5. On day three, heat the oil in your deep fryer to 190C. Slowly and carefully place the chips in the deep fryer and fry until deep golden-brown colour and the chip are extra crispy. Drain well and season with salt.

chip

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