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Pickling cherries
Growing anything is fraught with challenges and nothing more so than cherries. Certainly we have all been praying to the Gods for rain but rain during the cherry season it is an absolute disaster. Like figs, cherries swell with rain and their fragile skins burst and split and sometimes go mouldy. It can halve the price, even in some instances destroy the crops. Australian cherries are unrivalled in the world and when there are so many, so much easier crops to grow we should be thankful that a few growers persevere.

There are the classic cherry dishes like clafoutis made at least once each season and duck or rabbit confit tarts with juniper pickled cherries have become one of our most asked for hors d’oeuvre. Most recently eeking out the last of our pickled cherries we discovered that the cherry vinegar, which we have mainly used in salads or reduced to go into our cherry duckling sauce, makes the most fantastic savoury jelly on top of our duck liver parfait. We have used the standard 10g leaf gelatine per 500ml of cherry vinegar, but if you are having a party and need it to stand you might like to make it a little firmer, say 15g per 500ml. It doesn’t just taste delicious buts add a lovely ruby layer to the duck parfait. Try serving it with Melba toast made from walnut and raisin bread that is buttered lightly with ghee before drying it in the oven, and a few pickled cherries for garnish. It is a really good combination of rich and sour.

Pickled Cherries
The cherries do not have to be pitted but it saves time when you come to use them, so we often do some batches with the stem and stone left on and some with out.

500g caster sugar
500g Vine Valley white wine vinegar
5g whole black pepper
10g juniper berries, bruised with a pestle
1kg cherries

Put the sugar, vinegar and spice into a stainless steel saucepan and place them on high heat. Stir just long enough to lift the sugar from the bottom and bring to the boil. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, add the cherries, bring to the simmer, simmer for one minute then remove from the heat. Bottle while still hot in clean sterilised jars, refrigerate once opened.

try this — Roast duck with pickled cherries. Pre heat oven to 180°C. Cover the bottom on of roasting dish with a 3cm layer of peeled sliced onion. Rinse your duck and pat it dry with paper towel, then rub a handful of fine salt into the skin and then give it a generous grind of black pepper. Roast breast side up for 90 minutes or until it is very tender and pulls easily away from the bone. Put the duck on a carving plate and keep it warm in the oven. Drain the fat from the roasting dish and add 2 cups of both water and red wine. Place the dish on low heat and cook scraping to bring the colour and onion away from the roasting pan. Tip into a clean saucepan and puree with a stick mixer. Add about one cup of pickled cherries and ½ a cup of the cherry vinegar and cook rapidly until you have a good sauce consistency. Serve with the duck……delicioso!

the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer


Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.