Maggie's Harvest

Beer, Maggie

ISBN: 9781920989545 Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Maggie's Harvest

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I have long been a fan of Maggie Beer, she was one of the first Australian food writers who really understood and promoted seasonal produce and cooking. Maggie Beer and her husband Colin started a pheasant farm in the Barossa Valley in South Australia in the early seventies. At this time there was very little information on farming game in Australia, so her husband aplied for and won a fellowship to study game-bird practices overseas. This turned out to be truly inspirational, after visiting a Turkey farm in Scotland which used every part of the bird including the feathers are sold both commerically and direct to the public, Maggie and Colin knew had found their benchmark.

When they first stated, getting repeat business had been difficult as their customers didn't know how to cook and prepare prepare pheasnt. The solution was a farmshop selling pheasants, quails and guinea fowl prepared and cooked in different ways, including pate, pickled quails eggs and quails wrapped in vine leaves. The farmshop soon led to a restaurant where Maggie cooked food based on flavour, not trends, using the best seasonal produce to hand. The restaurant ran for 15 years with great success, winning the the Remy Martin / Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the year award in 1991. Alas the restaurant was a vicitm of its own populartiy, Maggie Beer's faluire to delegate resulted in the it taking over her and her families lives, so the decision was made to close in November 1993. From then Maggie has developed an internationally sucessful range of products these include Quince paste, pate, and verjuice. She has also written various cookbooks, writes for numerous magazines and newspapers, and co-host in the succesful ABC progamme "The Cook and The Chef". The Farm Shop is now running on the site of the restuarant, an all day menu of "Picnic Fare" can be enjoyed.

Maggies' Harvest is collection of over 350 seasonal recipes using her favourite ingredients. Many of these recipes are updated versions from her previous books along with plenty of new ones. Through out the book there is a strong emphasis on allowing the flavours of ingredients to shine through. Seperated into the four seasons Maggie deals with each of her favourite ingredients with passion, passing on her knowledge and tantilising recipes. Recipes include: Tart of Quail with Sage, Bacon and Grapes, Pickled Figs, Pot Roasted Quinces, Leek and Oyster Pie, Roast Saltbush Mutton, Green Olive Gnocchi with Green Olive Sauce, Slow Braised Beef Cheeks in Barossa Shiraz, and Gooseberry Pavlovas. This book is beautifully presented with a tapestry cover, playful illustrations and bold colourful photography bring this cookbook to life.

This is a fabulous cookbook that I shall use for years to come. It is highly informative with plenty of inspiring ideas, especially for those days when just don't know what to cook. A great investment for those who love to cook and love fresh local food.