Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Friends, if you haven't visited Sophie's blog Local is Lovely then why not? It is the most scrumptious place on the inter webs and Soph just happens to be equally as delicious as her recipes. Head on over to her blog and sign up to her newsletter and you'll also receive a free copy of her 'Winter baking' ebook.

I'm seriously enthusiastic about making these Rhubarb pickles below. Oh and when I say 'I will be making' naturally I mean Fancy Dave will be making them and I will support him by eating them.

 Got any recipes for Choko, Soph? We've got them growing like crazy in the garden right now!

xo em

Orange and quinoa biscuits with pickled rhubarb

Sweet pickles are a new thing for me but I’m totally smitten. They are beautiful with goat’s curd and these not-to-sweet biscuits, but also fantastic served with harder, stronger cheeses or even over ice cream or spooned over a simple almond cake. Fiddle around with the aromatics at will, perhaps swap the bay and peppercorns with a cinnamon stick and or a couple of star anise? A cardamom pod too wouldn't Just don’t go overboard with the aromatics though, one or two per fruit is a good ratio! Verjus is the perfect ingredient to use here I think, the acid is softer than any vinegar or lemon juice yet still enough to cut through the fruit’s sweetness. The two recipes below are a ‘fresh pickle’, meaning that they aren’t made to last for months, a week or so is enough, and need to be kept in the fridge......

Orange and quinoa biscuits with pickled rhubarb

Dead easy to make, these biccies taste beautiful and pack loads of crunch. Plus, they last for ages in the biscuit tin and are perfect ‘carriers’ for my curd and pickle concoction (they'd also be great as a base for ice cream sandwiches). Makes about 20.

50g butter, melted
125g quinoa flakes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250g caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour,
2 tsp baking powder
Zest of one orange
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180C and line two baking trays with paper. Mix the melted butter with the quinoa flakes, sugar and eggs. Sift in the flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt and gently mix together.

Drop small amounts of the mixture (about a teaspoon full) on the baking trays, leaving plenty of space for the mixture to spread and bake for 10 minutes (or until golden). Let cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet verjus-pickled rhubarb with bay

500g rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces
3/4 cup verjus
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split
Rind of one lemon
3 bay leaves

Pack the rhubarb into a large jar.  Combine the verjus, sugar, water, vanilla, lemon rind and bay in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally then set mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the rhubarb, seal and keep in the fridge for up to one week.

For more delicious recipes like these take a look at Sophie's book 'Local is Lovely'. The book is a seasonal collection of recipes and stories celebrating fresh local produce. For more information look HERE

Sophie Hansen lives on a farm west of Sydney with her farmer husband and 2 young children. She and her husband grow deer and sell venison at farmers markets across the state of NSW as well as in commercial specialty butchers/deli's. Sophie is an acclaimed food writer; her blog ‘Local is Lovely’ features a collection of beautifully illustrated recipes and resources for people who love farmers and local dining experiences. She has also created Local is Lovely the book which she describes as being 'a seasonal collection of recipes and stories celebrating fresh local produce'. Of course Sophie will be touching base with The Beetle Shack every month to share mouth watering recipes from snacks to three course meals.


Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em