Garden

A season for change

An autumn update from this little jam maker including:

  • A trashy confession
  • Surplus tips
  • Some extra Zin opening dates
  • News of Zin House from July
  • Introducing The Pavilion 

 

I hate waste. Not a vague distaste for it but a full, bordering on obsessional, inability to throw things out. I’m out and proud about our virtually zero waste kitchen but I’m embarrassed to admit that I have gradually filled all our sheds with things that ‘will be really useful one day’.

I even have boxes and boxes of clothes whose beautiful no longer worn fabrics are destined to be transformed into scarves or cushion covers one day in the never never.

If I applied the current trend of holding an item to see if it brought me joy before deciding to keep or discard I would still find a reason everything would be useful and bring me joy in some altered form.

So I’m trying to use the little ‘spare’ time I currently have to deal with the head space my hoarding habit is taking up in addition to every piece of spare physical space.

But I keep getting distracted by the need not to waste anything the garden is producing.

Unlike the boxes of still can’t discard clothes, the cool-room collection wont wait. I’m working through a queue of stone fruits, figs, pears, tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers while daily an encroaching ripening of quinces, crab apples, persimmons and olives threaten my attention.

Bottling, jamming, freezing, pickling and drying have been my summer food hoarders tools.

When the sheer volume is overwhelming I give myself a daily schedule to make it seem achievable. When all else fails I cook with a syrup of sugar or vinegar and place in 20kg buckets in the cool room until I can face it.

Ironically all this work now will be an incredible free ride on big winter prep days. Pickled summer vegetables, punchy tomato sauces, fig and peach pastes, jams and pickles of all sorts will provide a touch of magic when we reopen Zin in the heart of winter.

Maybe I can deal with the sheds then…

Roast fruit sauce

Sprinkling a tray full of cut fruit with honey or sugar and roasting it is my top tip to keep up. Pop the fruit and all its gooey juices into the freezer for when life is not so sunny and bountiful. Instant pie or crumble filling, ice-cream topper or muffin mix.

Roast tomato sauce

One minute you’re sick of finding things to do with fresh tomatoes, the next you’re back guiltily buying supermarket pasta sauces. This helps the lag time between the two.

The quantities are totally flexible – just follow the basic principles.

In a large roasting dish combine:

5kg roughly chopped ripe tomatoes 

1 kg sliced onions

1 whole head of garlic cloves ( I don’t even peel them)

a large handful of fresh herbs (especially thyme & oregano)

250mls good quality olive oil

Salt & coarse black pepper

Cook uncovered in a slow oven for about an hour or until the tomatoes have broken down and everything is looking delicious and saucy. Freeze what you cant use this week.

Extra days of living in Zin

Many of you have been joining us for Twilight Tapas on Friday nights at Lowe and last Saturday of the month pop up dinners at Zin. So many of you in fact that we will run Tapas throughout April as well. 

We’re also open on the following dates with our feasting menu (includes wine and is $150)

Saturday March 30, dinner

Saturday April 6, dinner

Saturday April 20, lunch

Sunday April 21, lunch

Saturday April 27, dinner

Saturday May 11 Ninja @ Tinja (bookings via Lowe Wines)

Saturday May 25, dinner

Saturday June 8, dinner

Sunday June 9, dinner

Saturday June 29, dinner.

There will be considerable changes when we reopen in July, but more about that later in the month at which stage we will also reopen for July onward bookings.

Introducing The Pavilion

Sam Payne has drawn a couple of ‘artists impressions’ of our new project. The Pavilion is a marquee that will sit between Lowe & Zin House and provide a wide range of uses in addition to the obvious one of utilising our views, food and wine for weddings. More updates to come soon.

‘Hats in the Garden’ a walking, talking, earthy kind of lunch.

 

This January I’d like to invite you on a tour of our edible garden (I’d call it ‘my’ garden but Jackie does all the work).

The plan is for you to join Jackie and I on a gathering stroll in the garden and orchards then retire to the dining room for a meal based on what we’ve found growing.

Given the slight issue of time travel we will have anticipated some of your finds and pre-picked and cooked ahead that morning as well as me cooking from the open kitchen during lunch.

Head chef Jeremy will join us for a demonstration of what he might have done in comparison to some of the dishes I will present – a little Kiwi rustic vs French refined in our Aussie kitchen.

It will be each Monday in January. I learn something every time I’m in the garden and I’m looking forward to sharing the summer pickings, Jackie’s fabulous expertise and a leisurely meal of food that will speak for itself.  Can’t come on a Monday?  Talk to us about customising your own group or buying a gift voucher as Christmas gifts for the garden obsessed.

But that’s January, a lifetime and Christmas away. And we know its nearly Christmas because I just plugged buying gift vouchers; well now you know I’ve moved into the marketing department!

My heart and that of Zin House remains firmly in the garden. It’s been a big year of recognition for excellence and I like to think also for authenticity. It’s always bothered me when pocket handkerchief gardens feeding 1,000 + covers talk baldly about cooking what they grow. All of us who do the hard yards, and I include our colleagues at Pipeclay Pumphouse here, know what it takes to actually grow the talk.

I remain infuriated with the obsession for how food looks over how it’s grown and how it tastes. The greatest compliment you can give us is to tuck in with lots of yum’s, stretch out over the privilege of a meal that isn’t sandwiched between the two hours most convenient to someones spreadsheet, bring your friends to share a sunset and continue to support our small country restaurant as it grows.

Whilst ‘the marketing department’ may be very happy for you to shoot your meal, I’d much rather you just savoured it.

‘Hats in the Garden’

Monday, January 1,8,15,22

11.30 – 3.30

Cost $55pp

 

 

 

Truffles & Zinfandel – a match made at The Zin House

I haven’t had much to say here for a while, not for want of activity!

Craigmoor Pavilion is six months old – hosting functions, making magnificent sourdough and redefining weekend grazing. As hard as I am to please, I love its new/old look.

We grew Australia’s first organic hemp seed crop and are using it in all sorts of ways now that it is happily (and luckily) legal for human consumption.

The edible garden continues to expand in productivity,  form and beauty.

Our staff has grown too, including two of my sons working as chefs (Sam is baking and Alec is sous) and my step son Alex as restaurant manager at Zin. Somehow we are all still talking to each other.

And it is with much pleasure (and relief) I introduce you to Jeremy Metivier, Zin House’s Head Chef. Jeremy and I are combining his considerable fine dining skills with my simple ethos, aiming for an elegant balance.

I met Jeremy when he was at Cottage Point Inn and we enjoyed many spirited discussions about food, eating and growing the food you eat over the year or so we took to decide to work together.

These discussions have continued and intensified with wins on all sides – a win for Jeremy as a foam snuck in, a win for me when the sous vide machine didn’t and nothing but wins for those eating our new menus.

We look forward to  sharing The Zin House with you soon, maybe even for the following event where David Lowe challenges the worlds best Zin’s to a vertical of his own.

Cheers

Kim

Truffle & Zinfandel Dinner with Jeremy Metivier & David Lowe.

 

Sweet potato soup with shaved truffle

Sam’s hemp seed sourdough

Truffle butter

 

Truffled snapper carpaccio, celery & radish

 

Poached egg, brioche mash

Granny Smith, pinenuts & truffle

 

Beef tri-tip

Potatoes dauphine with truffle

Silverbeet gratin & port jus

 

Truffled High Valley Brie

 

Spencer Chocolate macaron with truffle

$195pp all inclusive