A warming winter menu from Annie Smithers

Annie Smithers
18 July, 2017

Try this seasonal menu from the beautiful new illustrated cookbook, Annie’s Farmhouse Kitchen by Annie Smithers, complete with wine matches from our friends at Halliday Wine Companion.

Gascon tomato & Dijon tart
Serves 8

I know some people are a little timid about making their own pastry, but this recipe could change that. It is the most user-friendly pastry I’ve come across, and so forgiving that you can make it by hand on a benchtop or in a bowl, in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a food processor.

Kate’s Excellent Shortcrust Pastry*
125g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Salt flakes
210g plain flour
1 egg

60g Dijon mustard
500g −1kg heirloom tomatoes of different shapes and colours, thinly sliced
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
100g goat’s cheese (hard or soft, whichever you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 210°C. Line two 40 x 32 cm baking trays with baking paper.

To make the pastry, work the butter and a pinch of salt through the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre, add the egg and 25ml cold water and bring together into a dough – try not to handle it too much or the pastry will be tough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes before using.

Divide the pastry in half and roll out into two 40 x 20 cm rectangles. Lift carefully onto the trays and roll all the edges over to make a pretty border.

Lightly spread the mustard on each pastry rectangle, then cover with an overlapping pattern of tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then crumble or slice the goat’s cheese sparingly over the top.

Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Remove, then slide carefully onto a wire rack to cool slightly.

Place on a platter to serve at the table or slice and plate individually. This is best cut with a sharp serrated knife.

*I prefer to make and roll the pastry on the day I want to serve it, but you can make it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge overnight, if you like.

Wine match: 2016 Audrey Wilkinson Tempranillo
This tempranillo is made between the Spanish Joven and Reserva styles. We aim to preserve the medium-bodied, fresh characteristics of rich cherry fruit, but age our parcel in large 500L French oak for nine months to add softness and spice to the wine. – Winemaker Jeff Byrne

Fig wrapped in prosciutto
Serves 8

Some seasons figs are plentiful, others, they are scarce, but however they come you must make the most of them. One of the nicest ways to eat fresh figs is to wrap them in a thin slice of prosciutto. Simple and perfect, but you could also try first stuffing the figs with a strongly flavoured cheese, or a mixture of cheese and walnuts. I find that early in the season they are delicious raw, but once the cold nights have set in, the skin on the fig thickens up and they are much more delicious if you roast them.

8 figs, halved
80g Roquefort or goat’s cheese
4 walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
8 slices prosciutto, halved

If you are baking the figs, preheat the oven to 210°C.

Divide the cheese evenly among the figs. If you are using the chopped walnuts, mix them through the cheese before stuffing the figs. Wrap each fig half in a slice of prosciutto.

If the figs are soft, serve as they are. Otherwise, place on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes.

Serve warm.

Wine match: 2016 Pooles Rock Chardonnay
This is an ideal choice with this dish, showing fresh white peach and green apple flavours, with the palate layered in texture, fruit weight and hints of flinty oak notes. – Winemaker Jeff Byrne

Duck legs braised in cider with prunes, apple puree & potato boulangere
Serves 8

I have structured this recipe so you cook the duck legs the day before and heat them up in the oven with the potatoes shortly before serving. This will enable you to remove any excess fat from the cooking liquor, giving a more professional result.

8 duck legs
Salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
300ml apple cider
1 tbsp Calvados
1 thyme sprig, leaves stripped
16 prunes
Blanched green beans

Potato Boulangere
Unsalted butter, for cooking
1 onion, thinly sliced
800g yellow potatoes (such as nicola), thinly sliced
Salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
150ml chicken stock, plus extra if needed

Apple puree
20g unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).

Season the duck legs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and brown the duck legs well on all sides for 4–5 minutes. Transfer to a flameproof roasting tin in which the legs will fit snugly in a single layer.

Deglaze the saucepan with the apple cider and Calvados, then pour the liquid over the duck legs. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and add the prunes.

Bring to the boil, then cover with foil and transfer to the oven. Braise for 1½ hours or until the duck legs are tender.

Check occasionally to make sure the liquid has not evaporated too much – if it has, top up with a little water. Remove the duck legs and prunes from the sauce and place in a single layer in a container, then refrigerate overnight. Pour the cooking liquor into a separate container and refrigerate.

To make the potato boulangere, preheat the oven to 180°C and butter a 22cm gratin dish. Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium-low heat and cook the onion for 10-15 minutes or until soft and golden. Put a layer of potato on the base of the dish, then scatter over some onion and season. Repeat with the remaining potato and onion, finishing with a layer of potato. Pour in the stock and cover with foil, sealing around the edges.

About an hour before you are ready to serve, put the potatoes in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, take the duck legs, prunes and cooking liquor out of the refrigerator. Remove the layer of fat from the top of the sauce and discard. Place the duck legs, skin side up, prunes and sauce in a roasting tin.

After the potatoes have been cooking for 45 minutes, remove the foil and return to the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes or until the top is golden. Add the duck to the oven to warm through.

To make the apple puree, melt the butter in a small heavy-based saucepan, add the apple and season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over a medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft. Puree with a hand-held blender or in a food processor. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

To serve, start with a pool of apple puree on each plate, add a little pile of beans and sit the duck leg up on the beans, then garnish with a couple of prunes and a little sauce. Serve the remainder of the beans in a bowl and place the gratin dish of potatoes in the centre of the table.

Wine match: 2016 Pooles Rock Single Vineyard Pinot Noir
Duck and pinot noir is like oysters and Champagne – a no-brainer! This pinot is one of my favourite wines at the moment, with a light, bright red colour, ripe strawberry and cherry fruit with loads of spice, flint and perfume making it a great pairing for this dish. – Winemaker Jeff Byrne

Raspberry clafoutis
Serves 8

Clafoutis is really a fancy French name for a baked custard but, for such a simple dish, there are an awful lot of really, really bad clafoutis out there. This one is a gem, and many different types of fruit can be used at the bottom of it. I’ve used raspberries here, but they can be replaced with cherries, peaches or pears, or prunes soaked in Armagnac.

4 eggs
60g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
30g plain flour
30g cornflour
320ml milk
320ml thickened cream
1 tbsp Armagnac
250g raspberries
Pouring cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

With a whisk, beat the eggs, sugar, flour and cornflour until thick and foamy. Gradually add the milk, thickened cream and Armagnac, and whisk until well blended. This mixture can be made several hours ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to cook it.

Butter the sides and base of your chosen pan and dust with extra sugar. Place the raspberries evenly across the bottom of the pan, then carefully pour the batter over the raspberries. I like to put it in the oven after I have taken the main course out, which gives it plenty of time to bake while you are eating your duck.

Bake for 45 minutes or until puffy, golden and cooked in the centre (if you give it a little shake there should be no wobble). Remove and allow to cool slightly, then serve with cream.

Wine match: 2015 Cockfighter’s Ghost Reserve Moscato
This Moscato is filled with floral perfume and fresh red fruits. Made with 6% alcohol, this wine has a delicate palate, balance with residual sugar and a slight spritz. – Winemaker Jeff Byrne

This is an edited extract from Annie's Farmhouse Kitchen by Annie Smithers, with photography by Tara Pearce. 

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