Food has always been a big part of our life, simply because we just love to eat amazing things! The joy for us is in the making, knowing that when we’ve spent a whole day preparing a dish, the moment when we finally get to eat it makes it taste all the more delicious. Being able to grow ingredients ourselves and know where it has come from, well, that just makes it even sweeter!
Cooking is a learning process and we are always trying out new things and are getting better along the way. We first started preserving out of necessity, simply because when you have an entire trees’ worth of fruit there are only so many jars of jam and crumbles that you can make (or eat!). We were gifted some of the re-usable Fowlers Vacola jars, and from there have never looked back. There is nothing more enjoyable than going into the larder in the middle of winter and pulling out a jar of preserved apricots – you can almost taste the summer sun!
These photos were taken at Marlon’s family home; he grew up in South Gippsland. It is the most incredible property, bursting with hundreds of fruit trees (including about 40 avocado trees!), veggie plots, a field of hops, a native flower field, and three handmade pizza ovens. When his parents found the property, it was literally an empty field without a single tree, and now after 25 years later and a lot of hard work, is one of the most beautiful, wild and magical places in the world.
Our recipes this month are all about preserving, pickling and fermenting. Where we can, we grow the produce that goes into them, but all these recipes use ingredients that you can buy from a local market (preferably when the ingredients are in season and abundant). Not only will they taste 100 times better, but they’ll also be cheaper!
Alice and Marlon at Marlon’s family home in South Gippsland. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
A sweet guest-house at Marlon’s family home in South Gippsland. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
Our darling Alice Johnson in the fruit orchard! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
You only need THREE ingredients for this amazing, super simple sauerkraut! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
Marlon preps the cabbage. After slicing finely, it’s important to pound it vigorously with a rolling pin or pestle, or the the flat end of an empty wine bottle! You need to pound for about 10 mins, or until the cabbage has really softened and is all juicy and sitting in its own liquid. This brine is what helps the good bacteria convert the sugars and begins the fermentation process. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
Marlon transferring the cabbage mixture into a large jar. You need to pack it down tightly, making sure that the cabbage is completely covered in its own brine. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
The squeeze-test! Your cabbage should be very juicy, before transferring to a jar. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
The sauerkraut will be ready after about 10-14 days – the best way to know when its ready is to taste it! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
Alice and Marlon enjoying Marlon’s famous Reuben sandwiches, with their homemade sauerkraut! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.