Living in South Australia all my life, I feel a little ashamed that I still haven’t travelled to some of the State’s remote and diverse areas – from the outback, to the west coast, to the River Murray region and more.
Thankfully, renowned Aussie chef Matt Moran covers many of these regions and their unique culinary offerings in the second series of Paddock to Plate, which starts this month on Foxtel.
I’m a newcomer to this series, but I have loved what I’ve seen of season 2 so far! Throughout this series, concentrating on South Australia and Western Australia, Matt travels over 20,000 kilometres, bringing us some of Australia’s most beautiful food and stunning landscapes.
This series introduces us to some of the best farmers and food producers our country has to offer – and I’m sure it’s not even scratching the surface!
The first two episodes showcase South Australia’s diversity.
In episode one Matt travels across the Eyre Peninsula. In the desert, Matt learns about sheep raised on small amounts of saltbush, which grows wild in the local area. He takes part in rounding up the sheep – thanks to a quad bike and a gyrocopter – and then treats us to a recipe for salt encrusted lamb. I remember going to a lamb tasting some years ago with the University of Adelaide at Regency TAFE, where we tried lamb that was fed different diets to bring out unique flavours in the meat. I was amazed at the varied flavour of the meats, and I can just imagine what the saltbush lamb must have tasted like. Matt slow-cooked it for six hours, and the meat seemed to just melt in the mouth!
Matt also travels to Port Lincoln to catch squid with one of the locals, then heads to Coffin Bay for oysters. I was amazed watching the oyster farming and the different oysters they grow in these pristine southern waters – the Pacific oyster and the meaty, native Angasi. Matt served these up two ways – with ponzu dressing and chardonnay dressing. Yum! My mouth was watering just watching!
And finally for this episode, which Matt described as a bucket list experience, he swam with $1 million worth of live blue fin tuna, 90 per cent of which is exported to Japan. But not before Matt grabbed one and headed to the Kimba races to serve it up for a table of lucky ladies!
In episode two, Matt heads to the Riverland, where he tries his hand (unsuccessfully) at catching a fresh Murray Cod. Instead, he finds what he needs at a local aquaponics farm, where cod and leafy vegetables are grown in conjunction with each other.
Matt cooks up a caponata (a traditional Sicilian dish with eggplant) and serves it along with the pan fried cod, bok choy and fresh lemon.
He also visits a 5,000 tree almond farm on a typical South Australian 40-degree day! With a crate full of fresh almonds at his disposal, he makes an almond gazpacho with fresh yabby tails. It’s one of the most beautiful looking dishes I’ve ever seen – I want the recipe!
Matt bakes an orange and almond cake and also (some might say, controversially) goes duck hunting with some locals. Matt explains he’s held a gun licence for 20 years and he needed to complete a duck identifying test before being permitted to go duck hunting. He cooks what they’ve hunted – wild duck a l’orange.
Matt is a natural in front of the camera and gets along easily with the people he farms, picks and hunts with! And he looks like he’s a big kid – riding a quad bike, diving with tuna, shaking an almond tree and fishing in the Murray. His cooking is uncomplicated enough to follow along at home, showcasing the fresh produce in a variety of ways.
Series 2 of Paddock to Plate goes to air on Foxtel’s Lifestyle channel, 8.00pm Adelaide time (8.30pm EST), starting Wednesday 3 September 2014.
* With thanks to Foxtel for the episodes and images.