The turn of the seasons is almost upon us and best celebrated together, perhaps with an Endless Summer party for those not ready to say goodbye or a Welcome Party for those celebrating fall’s rebirth. Whichever your choice, a transitional gathering is key for the season. The setting? Take it to the water’s edge with an open fire and create your feast.
Australian WILD Chef and traveler, Sarah Glover, is inspiring these thoughts with her very own waterfront feast that you can find amongst her other culinary adventures in her soon-to-be released cookbook. She gave us an exclusive, inside look into her intimate beachside banquet along with two heavenly recipe sneak peeks. The first is her Chargrilled Cheeses with Endive and Wild Honeycomb Platter - not only capable of inducing instant mouth-watering, it looks positively divine once done up. The second is The Hung Pork with Lemon Leaves and Blistered Grapes cooked while hanging over an open flame complete with a healthy splash pinot noir. Who's hungry?
Photography byLuisa Brimble
"Before embarking on the road, I popped my head into my local butcher and found the most delightful cut of pork – one that was sure get the appetites going. Along the journey, I found some wild pine mushrooms, the perfect partner to the rich textures and citrus flavours of Stoneleigh’s Wild Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Along the way, I also found some lemon thyme leaves on a nearby tree and my basket to the brim. So many natural wonders." - Sarah Glover
What prompted this gathering?
Our gathering was inspired by seasons changing, wanting to embrace the end of Summer and for us to gather with my friends and enjoy good conversation below the night sky. Stoneleigh Wines released a new wild fermented wine and I couldn't wait to pair this with a meal to help people select wine and cook good food.
Tell us about the dishes you prepared? What was your favorites and would you like to share one or 2 of the recipes?
The dishes were inspired by Autumn, warm comfort food and the concept of shared plates. It's better when you share, always. The delicious Chargrilled Cheeses with Endive and Wild Honeycomb is a must try for Fall. Peek the recipe below!
2 endives, quartered lengthways
250 g haloumi, sliced
200 g mozzarella, sliced
2 x 200 g rounds of soft cheese, such as brie or camembert
grilled bread or baguette
Cast-iron chargrill pan
1: Light your fire 30 minutes before you are ready to cook and let it burn down until you obtain a low heat.
Place a cast-iron chargrill pan on the fire so it gets nice and hot (you can also use a cast-iron frying pan). Place the endive in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, letting it get some good char lines. Add the cheeses and cook until golden and starting to melt. Flip the haloumi and mozzarella – don’t turn the soft cheese over as it will fall apart.
2: Once the cheeses are cooked and the endives are charred, break the honeycomb into pieces and arrange on top. Serve with grilled bread.
Any challenges you faced cooking on an open fire?
Trying to get the right temperate, I always light my fire at least 1 hour before I cook over it, then you get nice hot coals. Also, fire wood, don't use green wood or wet wood.
What's next on the menu?
The Hung Pork with Lemon Leaves and Blistered Grapes is up next!
1 rack of pork chops, skin on (as many chops as you need to feed your gang – mine was 2 kg)
lemon thyme sprigs
Stoneleigh Wild Valley Pinot Noir
lemon thyme sprigs
Two S butchers hooks
Small frying pan
Large frying pan
1: Light your fire and let it burn down until you obtain a medium heat. Truss the pork with garden wire, then stuff lemon leaves and thyme sprigs in and around the wire. Hang it over the fire from a camping tripod using two S butcher hooks – it should be about 30 cm above the coals. Let it cook for about 20 minutes
2: Combine the grapes and a good splash of pinot noir in a small frying pan or similar dish. Place on the fire and let it bubble and blister away while the pork is roasting.
3: After 20 minutes, rotate the pork. When it has an even white/pink tone it’s cooked (my 2 kg rack of pork took about an hour). Remove and rest for 10 minutes, then cut into individual pork chops. Place in a large frying pan, dollop on some goose fat and scatter salt and extra lemon thyme over the top. Return to the fire and give it about 1 minute on each side to get the goose fat into the pork and develop a nice caramelisation. Spoon the blistered grapes over the top and serve with the autumn-coloured mushrooms.
Advice for hosts wanting to copy + paste a beachside gathering?
Just give it a go, don't be shy just because you're not sure if you can cook over a fire. Half the fun is trying. When you're outdoors you can make a mess and no one seems to care. hehe
Photography byLuisa Brimble
MEET THE CORRESPONDENT
Sarah is a chef and an adventurer and her food is a reflection of this. There is a dramatic romance to it all. Armed with a knife, she will dive down into the ocean to gather abalones and cook them straight away over a fire on the beach. She’ll throw whole pumpkins in the coals of a campfire and then, when the pumpkins are soft and sweet, she’ll smash them with a spade on a nearby log and scatter them with goats cheese, fresh herbs and olive oil. She smiles and tells you to eat with your hands. She is not constrained by tradition. She works with what she has in front of her, led by what feels good and what tastes great. - Website