The Chef and the Farmer’s Wife: Launching my new series of special lunches

You probably all know by now how much I love to collaborate! This autumn I have been working with one of my favourite Mornington Peninsula producers Sally Matt (pictured, right, with me) on a series of special lunches.

Sally and her husband Eddie run Hillock Downs where they breed and raise the most spectacular beef. They are committed to sustainable and traditional farming methods and it definitely shows in the meat they produce.

Their Angus/Friesian cows are certified pasture fed which means no nasties like hormones or antibiotics. Sally wanted to share the Hillock Downs beef with the locals so she converted the original old dairy located at the front of the property into a farmgate store.

It’s a beautiful space and we got to talking about using it for some long lunches that really celebrate local women and local produce. We had our first lunch in the barn last week. Our theme was Mother’s Day.

Another one of our gorgeous friends, Simone Clencie from Honor and Grace Interiors, came in and styled the space for us with some exquisite flowers. I really wanted the menu to showcase the region’s autumn produce and, of course, the Hillock Downs beef (pictured below)!

All my autumn favourites were represented in the dishes – beetroot in the entrée, fennel and orange in the main course with quince and pomegranate and kumquat and thyme ice creams for dessert. We served Geppetto sparkling wine from Crittenden Estate and Stumpy Gully pinot gris.

One of the things I love about the space is its intimate feel. We seat just 22 people, which gives me a chance to chat to everyone during the event about the dishes and the ingredients I’ve used.

Sally and I plan to hold long lunches every month. Our next The Chef and The Farmer’s Wife Long Lunch is on Friday, June 15 with a theme of Slow Cooked Comfort Food (bookings here). We hope you can join us!

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