In The Kitchen With Brigid Kennedy // THE LOCH
The first glimpse we catch of Brigid Kennedy is her walking up the hill with a 6 week old lamb at her heels.
“This is Jacko,” she says, introducing the cutest lamb EVAH to us.
“He’s been hanging out with the goats so now he thinks he is one.”
This is life at The Loch, a stunning working farm, garden, guest house, antique store, farm stall and restaurant – yep, all of those things! – nestled into the hills north of Berrima. It’s authentic, it’s real and Brigid truly lives her paddock to plate philosophy in everything she does.
The first element of this property that took our breath away was the garden. The sun was shining, the bees were buzzing around the sage that lines the driveway, the roses were blooming, it was all happening!
“I grew up on land on the North Island of New Zealand and Mum loved flowers and foliage,” Brigid says, picking up a basket as we wander out to the produce garden.
“Actually this is Mum’s flower picking basket.”
Brigid stands in the sun inspecting the next level veggie patches at The Loch – six raised garden beds surrounded by a perimeter of even more veggies - it's lush, plentiful and fresh!
Everything that comes out of The Loch’s kitchen is either from the property or sourced locally.
And this is the process Brigid goes through when she plans the menu for The Loch’s renowned Tasting Room Sunday lunches or other special seasonal events like their Christmas lunch they have coming up.
“I work a few weeks ahead. I can see what’s going to be ready in two weeks for example and plan our Sunday lunches around that,” Brigid says.
And that’s what she does for today’s recipe. It’s quite interesting to watch an artist / chef at work in this way! We can almost see the recipe building in Brigid’s mind as she pulls gorgeous coloured rainbow chard and leeks from the produce garden, while Jacko the lamb bounces around her ankles and chews on some cauliflower leaves – naughty lamb!
“What we grow in the produce garden is very important for the quality of the food we plate up,” Brigid says.
“We grow heirloom veggies – which means they’re old-style varieties, not hybrid and are pollinated by insects and wind with no human intervention. The taste you get from heirloom is exceptional.”
Brigid’s basket is full of rainbow chard, sage and leeks. Jacko has been shooed off to hang out with the goats and we make our way into the kitchen….
PAN FRIED BEEF FILLET
Served with beetroot rosti, salsa verde, pan-fried rainbow chard and leeks, crumbled feta and almonds, topped with deep fried beetroot and sage leaves.
The key to this dish is preparing all the elements before cooking the chard, leeks and beef.
Oh, and everything in this dish is from The Loch! Yum!
Potato and Beetroot Rosti
Grate some beetroot and potato then squeeze out any extra moisture.
Mix with some butter, season with salt and pepper and place into an egg ring on some baking paper. Pop it into the oven at high temperature for 30 minutes until crispy.
Marinade a piece of beef fillet with sage, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Place it on a fry pan on high heat.
Cook to medium rare and place to the side.
“When you’re cooking meat, leave it alone,” Brigid says. “Turn it once.”
Chop up a cup of parsley and gherkins.
Place in a food processor with a clove of garlic and a tablespoon of capers (drained).
Add ½ a cup of olive oil and the juice and zest of a lemon.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Crumbled feta and slice almonds
Crumble up some feta and thinly slice some almonds. Toast almonds lightly over a low heat.
Mix them together.
Pan fried rainbow chard and leeks
Cut the stalks off the rainbow chard and place into a pan at medium heat with some butter.
Slice the leek lengthways and add them into the pan.
Once the chard and leek has caramelised, add a handful of rainbow chard leaves.
Give them a stir in the pan then set aside ready for plating.
Deep fried beetroot chips and sage leaves
If you have a deep fryer, fill with oil and set it to high. Or you can shallow fry these if you’re using a pan.
Slice beetroot thinly then place into fryer until crisp.
Get a handful of sage leaves then place into fryer until crisp.
OKAY, now you’ve got all the pieces prepped and ready, it’s time for the fun part!
Take the rosti out of the oven and place in the centre of the plate.
Put the beef fillet on an angle to the rosti, resting on the side of it.
Scatter some of the pan-fried chard and leeks over the top of the rosti and beef.
Drizzle some of the salsa verde on to the meat and vegetables.
Scatter the crumbled feta and almonds on top.
Place the beetroot crisps and sage leaves on the main part of the dish and around the plate.
Drizzle the rest of the salsa verde over the top.
We tried this at home after we visited the Loch and while it looks as though there are plenty of elements, it’s actually quite easy to do (and the result is sooooo worth it – delicious!!)
Located in the rolling hills of the Southern Highlands, north of Berrima, The Loch is a stunning working farm, garden, guest house, antique store, farm stall and restaurant.
Oh and they have some cracking events coming up too, including a fabulous live show with Jimmy Barnes – Up Close and Personal. Get your tickets here .