Sunday, 22 June 2014

Prairie - Meat muscling additions
May 2014
Third Prairie working adventure has passed. The transition of the hot days and mild evenings have dispersed for the Winter cool of the Flinders Ranges. The days are now temperate and the nights chilly and clear.
Simon muscled the Prairie's menu meat appeal somewhat further. Bringing back an old tradition of Kangaroo Tail Soup with vengeful vertebra of braised tail and Parmesan crouton. The Nomads are giggling with their thriftful paws around Kangaroo Tail shaped Pies. Men can't pass the 10 inch challenge of a Camel Sausage Roll with their pint of xxxx. The measure of 'how many inches he can do' won't die young.
Some delicate, pretty plates perfected for the after dark diners. Breaded two tooth hogget, goat cheese and saltbush smoked tomato tart is a tender, aged turn of the lamb cutlet, presenting with height, colour and a memorable smokiness.
Kangaroo, beetroot, pearl barley and chilli Pie with buttered peas and rivermint tatziki.
In the diffusing stream of North or South tyre hoofing adventurers, some blade driven, boot treading, camel guided visitors find the Prairie Hotel too. As did a parade of the new model Jeep Cherokees for three days for a 'drive in and drive out' five course luncheon to launch and test drive the youngest Jeep member. Where better to explore for 4wd and Australian culinary enlightenment.

Prairie Hotel Condiments put in the Jar
25th April
Prairie Hotel production of native plant and fruit based chutneys, sauces and cheese platter compliments have churned into another gear as the season of haste approaches rapidly.
Several of these jarred preserves have been a work in making for many years. The Quandong Jam and Bush Tomato Relish taking the reins in popularity.
The Quandong is a native peach of the ‘Sandalwood’ family, growing in the central and southern deserts of Australia. Its ability to tolerate drought, salt and harsh conditions of sand dunes and granite make the fruit a very impressive 'parasitic' candidate for Jam at the Prairie Hotel! The above environment is quite the reality of the Prairie and the surrounds.
   Fresh scones daily with whipped cream and Quandong Jam finds the Nomads nostrils mid morning and afternoon.
Sweet Lemon myrtle chilli Sauce is beautifully flavoursome and lifts the character of simple food combinations. The Lemon myrtle boasts the highest level of citral purity; higher than that of lemongrass. The leaves and flower are used in the culinary and healing worlds. A diverse, determined little plant!

At the Prairie, a salad dressed with this sauce of zing or a pyramid of wedges as vehicle, are ways you can sample the Sweet Lemon Myrtle Sauce with perhaps a glass of Bundaleer Rose.
 The Bush Tomato Chilli Jam gets all the Relish Lovers going. Its wild tomato character, born from a very ‘un-tomato’, eggplant related bush combined with a long simmer with onion, ginger and chilli accompanies the Prairie ‘Feral Antipasto Plate’. Cured kangaroo and pastrami, lemon aspin goat cheese, house made emu pate, Flinders Ranges olives and ciabatta. If you sample the chutney alongside these Outback delicacies at the Prairie, you are bound to find a jar with your name on it to take home.
Prairie Hotel preserve Range that provides one with a taste of native bush food with a stroke of gastronomy that you may take home. 


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Prairie - Parachilna
May 2014
Simon had discussed the idea of spending time in the Prairie Hotel kitchen on several occasions with Jane Fargher. Always ideas in passing as he made his way north then south for the Birdsville Races. The idea is now our fortnightly reality. The Prairie 'DIDO's'... Drive in and drive out.
   Approaching Easter, we stacked the 4WD with the necessities of our idea of downtime in Outback Parachilna. Sketch books, yoga mat, exercise weights, books, guitar, computer and Edie.
The bustle of activity awaiting us - that the Prairie stirs throughout the pleasant Autumn months made all these packed instruments for activity sit idol and untouched for the entirety of the ten days.
   What awaited us at the edge of the Northern Flinders Ranges was our commencement in generating a palatable taste of the Outback with the props of filthily spectacular sunsets, country character, art, the Ranges of reds and purples, warmth, stillness. Undisturbed surrounds. Only the generous company of the flies to remind you to always glance into your glass before your next swig.

Some Reflection
20th May 2014
The Murray in her northerly curves - motionless twilights and able and early galahs are memories of child hood and teenage years. The stillness of the Riverland and raging red rays of sun, the backdrop to silhouetted gums and fence line. Such impressions remained in memory and photograph for the next several years, where concrete, traffic light and too much sound prevailed. As the huge appeal of such memorable city things did lose its appeal, I found myself in the quaint and quiet seaside town of Robe - roasting coffee and working on my South Australian accent.   
   Robe ticked every box for four years, where my 22 years of age saw the turn of 26. I found some amateur writing and surfing feet and the owners of feet whom I have made life long ties with in the particularly small community of young people by the sea. I found a companion with pawed feet who appreciates the ocean, beaches and harmonic sound as I.
One more human male kind of companion became an intimate part of my existence somewhere there too. He has cemented some of my suspicions of living ingredients. I think we are doing a fine job at the recipe of just that together now.
    Curiosity killed that of the contentment I had with my night shift working with the beans by the sea in Robe. Particularly at the time of departure from my work at Mahalia Coffee, I was in search of neighbouring coffee roasting techniques and new inspiration in philosophy and routine with the crafting the bean. That which I could not find for quite some time.
The work and leisure in between, in a turn of times was one of such memory and experience, I often wish to rewind the tape to perform the six months perhaps once more. Working behind the coffee machine at the Robe Providore with Anthony and Evelyn proved to be reminiscent of my commencing working days in Robe. Pumping out pounds of ‘Willy’ lattes and devouring Anthonys Cinnamon Scrolls helped the jean girth in never feeling flaccid.
 Evenings in the musty, creaky floored booths of the Caledonian Inn – Robe, kept the night owl in me happy – bringing to the mouths of many the plethora of Limestone Coast, Coonawarra and Mt Benson, working alongside Simon Burr as the wonderful Chef he is, as his ‘floor’ partner in far from crime. Making cheese there, to cellar in the furry feeling, damp cellar beneath the hotel. Precision and patience that would be tasted months later.

The call I had anticipated but could never have predicted found its way. The voice of a curly brunette, Bernadette Stack greeted me with a request to meet! Delighted, excited and relieved at once. The pleasure of meeting the De Groot Coffee Co team on Magill Rd Adelaide upon return was the start of what I had imagined would come my way. I started the following week in a small and ethically considerate Coffee Roastery and haven’t glanced back.
For a number of months Simon and I made the drive along the addictively pungent Coorong from Robe to Stepney, weekly. I continued tamping out the ‘Willy’s’ at the Robe Providore each weekend as Simon managed the Calledonian Inn over the road. Sundays, the leisurely drive back to the land of city noise was an enjoyable one, as we both eased into our city work week of pleasant difference. So different our lifestyles became as we gravitated to that, where I happily roasted the coffee bean once again and Simon worked for ‘South Australian Research & Development Institute’ from 9 til 5. (“Fantastic chef hours” he says). I felt closer to the café and restaurant culture I adore, markets and galleries and music I appreciated greatly for the time we were so near to such things. To sip a latte in a buzzing corner café and sketch or write and be anonymous was freedom from being known by most in a small town like Robe. As much as I miss the proximity and care I felt in Robe, the space of being anonymous for an independent sort like I has been a wonderful thing. 
‘De Groot Coffee Co’, Magill road days were over as the De Groot family desired the lifestlye of the coast. Port Elliot became the new residence for the Roastery in a factory space on Hill st.

With the change of location for work and the approaching need to move from Simons fathers house in Stepney, the maps were out and rentals the agenda. Simon had always desired to live in the Fleurieu Peninsula with her rolling hills, green growth, vines of wines and produce. The proximity to town and the coast to roast gave the area bright green lights of approval for both of us. East terrace, Strathalbyn we found.
That is where I am and how I come to be in a fortunate time and place, such as now.