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Four Favorite Recipes from 2017

February 12, 2018 by

One thing I most look forward to is feeding people. I love creating food anytime, anywhere for whoever shows up and with whatever ingredients are on hand. Many of the dishes on my table end up being fairly spontaneous – depending on what’s in the garden and what the boys have brought in from the bush. But here are a couple accidental creations from last year that, given the opportunity, I will be recreating (with apologies to those of you who have been making these dishes for years before me – just call me a slow learner).

Wild Hare Ragu with Fresh Basil – I use one hare to feed six people, but if your household doesn’t contain as many teenage boys as mine, you can probably feed a table of ten (this recipe works really well with wallaby or kangaroo – if you can’t source these wilder options, chuck beef should be brilliant.)

Chop aged hare (usually three to five days is suitable) into bite-sized chunks. Stir-fry in a sturdy pot with several sliced onions, a couple of rough-cut carrots and as much garlic as you can handle. Deglaze the pot with a cup of bold red wine. (I’m partial to any unabashed Shiraz, but just use your favorite.) Fill the pot with quality beef broth and more red wine. Throw in a couple of quartered tomatoes (or a dollop of tomato paste) and a handful of fresh basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, for three to six hours until meat is tender. Add water as needed – sauce will thicken and reduce. Check and alter seasonings as you go, stirring often. Serve over pasta or rice or as a hearty stew with chunks of crusty bread to mop up the sauce. If you have friends who get nervous about wild meat, just tell them it’s veal and they’ll never know.

Grilled Figs with Cinnamon and Honey
Grab several fresh figs and wash and dry them gently. Slice them from top to bottom and place open side up in an oven-worthy dish. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon and put them in a grill or really hot oven until figs are bubbly and honey is caramelized. Baste as needed. Serve hot on top of baked camembert or brie or alongside sausages, pork chops, or any other meat.

An image of figs and honey Photo by author

Whole Trout with Pecans, Honey, and Oranges
Stuff the trout with minced garlic, pecan halves (walnuts will do just fine), onion slivers, and a few orange slices. Place it in a roasting pan and generously drizzle with honey and a few glugs of olive oil. Stud topside of trout with pecan pieces. Put the whole thing in a really hot oven until trout is flaky to the fork (approx. fifteen to twenty mins). Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Bean and Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Fresh Mint – if you’re not partial to beans leave them out, and you have a stunning dip for veggies, fritters, or chips.

Combine half a cup of Greek-style yogurt with:

2 grated cucumbers (leave some skin on for color if you wish)
Small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Large handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 cup of cooked, drained, and cooled white beans (cannellini or navy work well, but just use your favorite)
Salt, pepper, and minced garlic to taste

Chill, garnish, and serve on its own or as a refreshing and welcome partner to any dishes containing chili.

To keep up with Norann and her thoughts on motherhood, discipleship, and great recipes, follow her on Twitter at @NorannV.


About the author

Norann Voll portrait

Norann Voll

Norann Voll lived in New York’s Hudson Valley until moving to the Danthonia Bruderhof in New South Wales, Australia in 2002...

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  • Thank you for your encouragement dear Auntie Rachel, The kitchen is where I remember my mom the most as the skills she taught me there help to create dishes with the new ingredients I’ve discovered here – it is indeed a different country! All the very best, Norann

    Norann Voll
  • Your sweet mother would be so proud of you. Your life in Australia is so different than England or the US. It's amazing what your sons bring in for you to create such yummy sounding recepes. I always read your well written posts.take care .Rachel

    Rachel Burger