raclette1_lefermier_140116“Raclette” is a type of cheese, it is a semi soft cow milk cheese shaped in a 6kg wheel. Raclette cheese originated in the French speaking part of the Alpine area in the Valais Canton. If you believe the legend, it was discovered by local farmers who had set camp in the valley for the night and left some of the cheeses on stones near the fire. The cheese of course melted and some farmer scraped it of the rock to not waste any and he thought it was delicious. It quickly became a tradition amongst farmers in the region and the cheese became known for its melting abilities. It is a simple concept and the heartiness of the melted cheese on the potatoes makes it the ideal comfort.

raclette2_lefermier_140116It is loved by many in France, Switzerland and Germany. Traditionally it is a dish that includes melted cheese, boiled potatoes, cornichons, mustards, pickles and a plater of charcuterie such as prosciutto, ham of the bone and salami. If you want to find the perfect wine to match  your raclette i suggest you visit  www.airoldifinewines.com.au   .

raclette3_lefermier_140116For my Raclette i use a “Tefal” raclette grill that you can find on amazon, or you can also melt the cheese over the potatoes in a hot oven. To give you an idea of how much you need to prepare, for 6 people i cooked 12 medium size potatoes and bought 3 slices of each meat ( hot salami, mild salami, ham of the bone and Australian prosciutto). I also put together a platter with Dijon mustard, Grain mustard and Cornichons and served a green salad from my garden!raclette4_lefermier_140116


Christmas Lunch: Orange and Coffee Roasted Duck with Borlotti Beans

Duck1_lefermier_221115Christmas is a magical time of the year. It’s a time when families come together and take the time to sit around the table and share good food, good wine and good memories. And yes, if you’re lucky, a few presents as well!

The recipe that I am sharing with you today is my take on “Canard à l’Orange” (Duck in Orange Sauce). I’ve soaked the duck in brine made with orange juice, crushed coffee beans, lime, bay leaves, star anise, peppercorns and water. This process means all those amazing flavours permeate the meat all the way through, and because of the sugar content in the orange juice, the skin will caramelize as it roasts.

Roasted duck with coffee, orange and kaffir lime

For the brine:


  • 2L orange juice
  • 100 g coffee beans, crushed
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 L water
  • 10 peppercorn
  • Salt


  1. Bring the orange juice, coffee beans, bay leaves, star anise, peppercorn and water to the boil.
  2. Allow to cool completely, add the lime, and poor the brine in a non reactive container. Place the whole duck in the brine and Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
  3. In the mean time preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
  4. Remove the duck from the brine and pat dry. Place it in a roasting tray and cook for 2 hours. The skin will slowly caramelized giving it a delicious golden colour.

For the Sauce:

Reduce some of the cooking liquid, about 400ml, by half. Then, reduce the heat and whisk in about 100g of butter. Season to taste. You can also thicken the sauce with a little bit of corn flour if you like it a bit thicker.

Duck2_lefermier_221115For the Beans:


  • 400g borlotti beans
  • 1 brown onions, finely diced
  • ½ bunch sage
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 100gpancetta?


  1. If using dried beans, soak them in cold water overnight.
  2. Place the beans in deep cooking pot and submerge with cold water, make sure to put enough water as the beans will soak up the water while cooking. Cook until just tender, you want the beans to remain a little bit firm.
  3. Strain the beans, but keep about ¼ of the cooking liquid.
  4. Sautee the onion, garlic, pancetta and sage in a casserole pan for about 5 minutes. Add the beans and a little bit of the cooking liquid, just enough to make the beans saucy and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

duck6_lefermier_271115Wine suggestion: Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac 2005 form www.airoldifinewines.com.au

France Culinary Travel Diary – La Dordogne (Part 2)

Le Fermier

France Culinary Travel Diary – La Dordogne (Part 2)

There’s so much so say about this department of France that I simply couldn’t squeeze it all into one installment. If you’re not the market faring kind but want to sample the Dordogne’s bounty of famous produce, then visiting one of its countless restaurants is a must.

By no means do you need to dine in the most fancy establishments to eat well either, as when the produce is local and seasonal even the more humble restaurants can serve a quality meal without breaking your budget.

That being said, if you are in the Trémolat area and can justify treating yourself to a Michelin star meal (you only live once!), then I highly, highly recommend you making a booking at Le Vieux Logis. A boutique hotel and gourmet restaurant belonging to the acclaimed Relais-Châteaux group, you can enjoy a degustation dinner with matching wine for €115 or there’s an à la carte menu to choose from. The food is beautifully presented and tastes exquisite, and the service is faultless but personable.

20150502_200831   Confit Salmon in walnut oil

20150502_201833Green asparagus topped with Crab and Fennel

20150502_211922Quercy lamb with broad beans, “ail des ours”  and Pistou

20150502_204921Grilled Turbo, oyster “Meunière” and Foie Gras

20150502_222644“Gariguettes” strawberries, meringue and violette chantilly

20150502_225029Amuse Bouche with our coffees

As delicious as the dining is at Le Vieux Logis, my favourite place to eat in the Dordogne doesn’t have a Michelin star, nor is it fine dining. It’s a rustic, family run restaurant in the charming town of Cadouin, called Le Restaurant de L’Abbaye, and I know the food is great because this happens to be where I completed my cooking apprenticeship! Every meal starts with their house specialty Tourin à l’ail (garlic soup), their menu is full of country classics like magret de canard, foie gras, and salade perigourdine and their mousse au chocolat is a guilty pleasure I treat myself to every time I visit. If you’re travelling in the summer months, a booking is essential.


As a special treat, the head chef of the Restaurant de L’Abbaye has kindly agreed to share the recipes for both his garlic soup and chocolate mousse. Look out for them on the blog in the coming days!

My top Dordogne picks:

  • Le Vieux Logis -Le Bourg 24510 Trémolat 1 Michelin star
  • Restaurant de L’Abbaye – Place de L’Abbaye 24480 Cadouin
  • Chez Julien 24510 Paunat
  • Chez le Gaulois 9 rue Tourny 24200 Sarlat-la-Canéda

Daube de Boeuf with Cèpes mushroom


It’s a strong belief of mine that delicious food doesn’t have to be expensive food, and a Daube de Boeuf is a prime example of this. Using a cheaper cut of meat but surrounding it with fragrant herbs and a long cooking time means you can save your pennies without scrimping on taste.

The Daube is a stew and derives its name from the pitcher shaped vessel it was traditionally cooked in, called a “daubière”. Don’t be intimidated if you’re fresh out of “daubières”, you can easily use any casserole dish.



  • 1.2kg blade steak
  • 2 brown onions
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 peeled carrots
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 cloves
  • 100 g pancetta, diced
  • 50 black olive
  • 150g dried cèpe mushroom



  1. Cut the beef into 3-4 cm chunk.
  2. Put the beef, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, onions, Cèpes, garlic, carrots, cloves and red wine in a bowl. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours, stirring once or twice.
  3. The next day tip the meat in a colander over a bowl and leave to drain well.
  4. Heat a large casserole with a little bit of olive oil, add half of the beef and sauté until brown all over, seasoning with salt and pepper, put the meat onto a plate and repeat the process with the other half of the meat.
  5. Add a little more olive oil and fry the pancetta until golden, you can the end bit of serrano ham or prosciutto if you have some. Add the drained vegetables from the marinade and cook on medium heat until the onions are starting to soften.
  6. Return the beef to the casserole along with the marinade, black olives, 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper about 20 turn of the mill.
  7. Cook on low to medium heat lid ¾ on for about 2 ½- 3 hours until the beef is tender.
  8. Mix 100g of soften unsalted butter with 90 g plain flour until you have a smooth paste. This is called a Beurre Manie.
  9. When the beef is tender, stir in the beurre manie and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  10. As a side I recommend a delicious macaroni and cheese or steam potatoes. You can also compliment this great dish with a glass of  Côte Rotie “loss” Domaine Pichat  -available from airoldifinewines.com.au

Christmas Day Lunch “Aussie Style”: Part 2


Turkey breast with a Fig, Hazelnut and orange stuffing:


  •  1 turkey breast (around 2 kg)
  • 90 g dried figs
  • 90 g hazelnuts
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 200 g almond meal
  • 1 egg
  • 300 ml Limoncello


  1. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F).
  2. Roughly chop up the figs, hazelnuts, orange and parsley.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Using a sharp knife, open up the turkey breast on the flesh side and flatten it. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and then arrange the stuffing evenly in the middle.
  5. Wrap the turkey tightly around the stuffing, and tie it all up using cooking string.
  6. Cook in the hot oven for 2 ½ hours, cover it with foil for the first half of the cooking to keep it juicy and moist. Take the foil off for the last part of the cooking to crisp up the skin.


Ingredients for the cranberry relish:

  •  300 g dried cranberries
  • 1 orange peel
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium size sauce and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, then lower the heat and cook until you obtain a glossy looking mixture almost like a jam. You want the relish to still be quiet saucy.
  2. Check the seasoning, you can add a bit more vinegar if you want your relish to have a bit more kick!
  3. Serve hot with the turkey breast.


Any left over turkey will make the perfect filling for a sandwich or a cold meat platter the next day!

I recommend a Chateau Coutet “Opalie” with this delicious Christmas Recipe, available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au



Christmas Eve Dinner “à la Française”: Part 2


Pork Loin with an Almond, Sour Cherries, Pistachio stuffing and a Cherry sauce.


Ingredients for the stuffing:

  •  150g almond meal
  • 1 brown onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 1 small bunch rosemary
  • 150 g sour cherries
  • 100 g pistachios
  • 1 egg



  1.  Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F)
  2. Finely chop the onions, grate the garlic and finely chop the herbs.
  3. Heat up a medium saucepan with some olive oil on a medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic and herbs for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool. Roughly chop the cherries and the pistachios and keep aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl mix together the cherries, pistachios, almond meal and the egg. Add the onion mix and stir well, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Open up the pork loin so you a “flat” piece. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place the stuffing in the middle and wrap the meat around it. Tie up the loin tightly (not too tight) with cooking string.
  6. Scar the skin using a sharp knife and rub the skin with a little olive oil and salt, this will give you a perfect crackling. Place the pork loin in a roasting tray and cook in the hot oven for 3 hours on the middle shelf of the oven. If you see the crackling is getting too dark, you can cover it with foil for the last part of the cooking.


Ingredients for the sauce:1 brown onion

  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 50 ml port
  • 400 g sour cherries (in juice)
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 350 ml cherry juice



  1.  Finely dice the onion and grate the garlic.
  2. Heat up a medium size saucepan with olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the port, half the cherries and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cherry juice, the stock and Reduce by half. To thickens the sauce mix a little bit of corn flour with water and mix it through the sauce until you reach the desired consistency. Then add the rest of the chopped cherries and check the seasoning.

I have chosen to serve a simple green salad freshly picked from garden and dressed with sherry vinegar and olive oil with this delicious Christmas dish.


I recommend a Chateau “Le Bourdieu” Médoc 2010 available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Bon Appétit

Le Fermier