I love Father’s Day. I love my father. He’s one of those men who has most everything, so a few years ago, I took to taking him out for lunch in favour of buying him a gift. The first year I moved to Canberra we went out to the fabulous Poachers Pantry Smokehouse Cafe. I do love it out there. But I have taken to putting on a fancy feast at home, for everyone to enjoy. Last year we had an incredible standing rib roast, cooked gently to succulent tenderness with a wholegrain mustard crust. Well this year, I thought Father’s Day would be a good excuse to light my smoker. I decided to prepare honey cured, rosemary smoked lamb rack. I was so excited. It seemed appropriate for the occasion and the season.
Looking at the beautiful flowers on offer at Jonima Flowers at the Capital Region Farmers Market, I was counselled away from the sweet peas, in favour of the striking (and much more masculine) lengths of pussy willow. When we got them home, their elegant branches reached out into the room from their tall glass vase, truly bring springtime to our dining room with their little furry buds of growth. My partner, who is also a father, loves pussy willow, and I was very glad we got them; it certainly set the scene for our delightful day.
For the lamb racks, I pounded up some Tasmanian pepperberries and fresh rosemary in the mortar and pestle with some kosher salt and rubbed the mix over the lamb racks before lathering them in a very generous quantity of Apple Box honey from Honey Delight. I marinated them overnight and rinsed the mixture off, covered them with more honey (to give them a lovely glaze), before putting them in the smoker. I smoked them with dried rosemary till pink in the middle. Gosh, they were truly heavenly.
I picked up some lovely Jacqueline potatoes from Ingelara on Saturday, intending to make mash, but they were totally irresistible baked just in their jackets. I served them with a scoop of the sensational cultured butter by Pepe Saya, churned with cream from Country Valley Dairy. For greenery, I simply sautéed some of the lovely seasonal spinach thats in at the moment, some zucchini wedges and sugar snap peas in a little lemon olive oil. The combination was stunning.
I have been so excited about the coming of spring I wanted to make the most of the seasonal flavours. In trying to decide what to make for desert, it dawned on me I should make a blood orange tart, a spiced blood orange tart in fact. It was my twist on the traditional sort of baked citrus tart, but with some spice in the pastry and filling, and a burnt sugar topping. I made the tart the night before, torching the sugar on Sunday morning. Of course, it had to be served with dramatic slices of blood orange, a dollop of thick double cream, and a scoop of vanilla flecked ice cream. Heavenly. It was a great way to close a wonderful day celebrating fatherhood.