The North Coast National was held over 3 days in Lismore 21-23 October. I had the pleasure of being there the whole time with my buddy Phil Dudman where we met some great food producers, thanks to Northern Rivers Food Links. Phil and I were there to help promote the grow your own food 12 week challenge.
For the first year the show hosted the Northern Rivers Regional Food Celebration which highlighted local produce and regional cuisine to reinforce the Northern Rivers region as a foodie destination.
There was demonstrations from year 11 Ballina and Richmond River High students in the School Chefs on Show Competition, with the theme being “A Summer BBQ”. I had the joy of judging the enthusiastic up and coming chefs…yum.
I loved watching the 3 chefs from Northern Rivers restaurants. Gavin Hughes from Byron at Byron, Perry Hill from the Point, Ballina and Scott Frost from Seven mile Cafe, Lennox Head. They showed how easy it is to cook delicious meals at home using local produce.
Of course the highlight for Phil and I was doing our garden2kitchen demonstrations. We got to meet some loyal listeners of the ABC Good Gardening program and we got to share what we do on radio in front of a live audience.
Having such amazing producers at the show made my job easy. The first session I cooked up char-grilled zucchini and feta sticks with beetroot dip as well as fish with the Vietnamese salad (recipes are attached to the Coffs Coast blog). I coated the fish with Zest Byron Bay Nepalese Sublime dry spice, mixed in with the flour, it was sublime and we served it with Nimbin brown rice.
The second session we did the Kale Bruschetta and Barbecued Rosemary Lamb Kebabs with a Radish Tzatziki and Beetroot, Feta and Rocket Salad with Lentilicious Mediteranean. Lentilicious (exotically flavoured ready to cook lentils, just add water) can be found at Lismore and Byron markets, stay tuned they will be in stores very soon. Of course most of the ingredients were from Phil’s garden. We also used Nimbin Feta and Nicholson’s Beetroot Vinegar, one of the most delicious discoveries I have made in a long time, it made the salad taste heavenly. You can order it on line through Causleys Fresh in Yamba and Maclean.
I also did some cooking at the Chandlers stand where I had the great pleasure in cooking with produce that surrounded me. I had lamb and beef from Goonellabah Butcher, rice from Nimbin and Casino, herbs from Freshzest, macadamia oil from Brookfarm, the whole range of Zest Byron Bay Nepalese Spices and Lentilicious products and any product I wanted to use from Causleys Fresh. That is where I discovered the beetroot vinegar as well as the mango vinegar.
There was lots of fun had at the show with new friendships made and great produce to play with as well as the animals, show-bags, cakes, quilting, flowers all the things you expect to find at a country fair, except I would of loved to have seen the crack a mac competition, apparently it was something I should not of missed. I noted there was a first prize given to a bloke for his chocolate cake baking. I can’t imagine when the show first began that you would have found men entering baking competitions, the show is alive and kicking in the new millennium.
All the recipes I cooked at the North Coast National are on the Coffs Coast blog or this one. Enjoy.
Barbecued Rosemary Lamb kebabs with a Radish Tzatziki and Beetroot, Feta and Rocket salad
4 long rosemary branches, leaves removed leaving some at top
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons macadamia oil
1 tablespoon sumac, plus extra to dust
1 tablespoon lemon juice
500g lamb fillet, cut into 2cm cubes
2 large beetroot or 4 baby beetroot, washed
200g Nimbin feta, crumbled
1 bunch rocket leaves, washed and dried
2 tablespoons macadamia oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (beetroot vinegar) see note
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4-6 radishes, depending on size, trimmed
1 Lebanese cucumber
200g Greek plain yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
Soak the rosemary branches in cold water for 30 minutes to avoid burning.
In a medium sized ceramic or glass dish combine garlic, oil, sumac, lemon juice and season well. Add the diced lamb and toss well to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, trim the beetroot stems and place into a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to medium and simmer for 40 minutes or until beetroots are tender but still a little crunchy. Leave to cool.
Wearing plastic gloves peel the beetroot by rubbing off the skin gently. Cut into wedges and set aside. Combine olive oil, vinegar, sugar and mustard in a screw top jar and season well.
Combine the beetroot, feta and rocket in a medium bowl and toss with the red wine vinegar dressing prior to serving.
Coarsely grate the radishes and cucumber and place into a sieve to squeeze out excess moisture. In a medium bowl combine the yoghurt, garlic, mint, radish and cucumber and season well. Set aside.
Heat a char-grill on a high heat. Thread the lamb evenly amongst the branches.
Cook the lamb on the char-grill for 6-8 minutes turning occasionally or until cooked. Serve the lamb with radish tzatziki and salad.
Nb. If using Beetroot Vinegar use 2 tablespoons vinegar to 1 tablespoon oil.
Drunken T-Bone Steak with Mango Herb Rice Salad and Macadamia Butter
2 T-bone steaks
1 small bottle of beer of your choice
2 tablespoons beetroot vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon seeded mustard
3 cups cooked Nimbin or Casino Brown rice
1 cup of fresh mixed herbs (mint leaves, coriander, chives), finely chopped
4 green onions(shallots) finely sliced
4 tablespoons mango vinegar
Macadamia butter, to serve
In a large non-metallic bowl or deep square dish, combine beer, vinegar, honey and mustard and add the T-Bone. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Heat a char-grill on high and remove the steaks from the refrigerator 10 minutes prior to cooking. Wipe the marinade off the steaks with a paper towel.
Cook the steaks for 3-4 minutes each side for medium-rare or to your liking. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
In a large bowl combine rice, herbs, green onion and vinegar, serve with the steak topped with macadamia butter.