What would a visit to Adelaide be without a visit to the Barossa, and more especially – Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop.
We had a short drive up into the Barossa yesterday. Not many cellar doors seemed to be open, but we didn’t call in to the tourist information for details of cellar door openings and good wineries to visit. That’s saved for the next visit, and there will definitely be another visit.
Uppermost in our minds yesterday was the long awaited visit to Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. For overseas visitors to this site, Maggie Beer is somewhat of an Australian cooking icon. She has her own farm in the Barossa and started out making a name for herself cooking and selling Pheasant products, and in particular I think her starting point on the way to fame and fortune was her signature Pheasant Pate’.
Her warm and larger than life personality has endeared her to the Australian public, and she has been the cooking host of many a TV cooking show. Her cooking style and dishes she presents I’m sure are very contributory to the expansion of many an Australian waistline, not least of which is mine. I doubt there would be a self professed ‘home cook’ in Australia who doesn’t hold at least one Maggie Beer cook book amongst their collection.
Maggie is to Australia what Nigella is to England, only instead of Nigella’s Sensuality, Maggie has an all ‘good neighbour’ image, and conjures up images of baskets of warm home made scones being delivered to any new arrival in the neighbourhood. Her food style is good and honest without pretentiousness, but inspiring for would be home cooks to try out new ingredients and new styles of cooking.
A visit to her farm shop didn’t disappoint. Paul had a game terrine with a side salad for his lunch. I had a delicious mushroom pate’, served with a beautiful warmed, rustic bread roll, a small dish of olive oil topped soft cheese, and a small bowl of freekah salad.
What’s freekah salad, I had to ask, apart from being delicious that is. Apparently freekah is roasted young grains of green wheat. To make it into a salad, mint, parsley, preserved lemons, Maggie’s famous verjuice, and her almost equally famous quince paste are added, along with some other every day ingredients. Needless to say, along with the recipe I also came home with a bag of goodies ready to make it for myself.
Her farm shop is well laid out with jars and bottles of produce and ample spoons for sampling. The sampling did it’s trick and I couldn’t resist adding a jar of salted caramel, some fig and fennel paste, a jar of mustard dried apricots, and some caramelised onions to my bag of Freekah salad ingredients. I’m looking forward to trying some of the caramelised onions and the mustard dried apricots tonight with some left over cold nut roast, and a freekah salad to go with it. Mmmmm!! I’ll live with hungry anticipation all day I’m sure.