I love searching through the food stores and finding little gems hidden at the back of shelves, deep in cupboards or stuck at the bottom of the freezer. These little surprises can be the start of a new traditional dish, something that you’ll end up cooking over and over again. Sometimes you’ll find something too cook with, and you honestly have no idea where it came from or what to do with it. I love that situation. It forces me to be creative. That’s one of the joys of cooking from scratch. Don’t you think?

So I found a vacuum sealed bag in the chest freezer labelled ‘stag roll roast’. I remember the day I butchered this deer and I remember being asked by my bagging helper what to write on the bag. I looked at the meat I had just cut and replied ‘roll roast’. I obviously had something in mind at the time, but six months later I’d forgotten those culinary intentions and drew a blank. I stood in the old brick larder holding the ice steaming cut of meat, wondering what the bloody hell was I going to do with it.

Roll roast eh? I guessed some bready filling would be in order. Some herbs. A rich gravy and a side of chips. A nice hearty meal for this cool spring spell we’re having. I made the stuffing with toasted bread crumbs, sage, thyme, butter and sautéed onions and garlic. Slapped the old mixture over the meat, rolled and tied it then gave it roasting gently for a few hours. I cooked even more onions in the juices from the roast to make a rich gravy and served the venison with a side of crispy roast wedges. I’m not sure if it will become a food tradition I’ll make each each year I hunt a deer, but I’ll surely have a nice memory to recall.



Has anyone else made a rolled roast from venison?


Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Pin Post|Email Post|Link Post
  • November 26, 2014 - 9:58 am

    Jane @ Shady Baker - This looks delicious, I am just about to launch into making my first batch of your Hot Zucchini Relish for the season…cannot wait. It is so good!ReplyCancel

  • November 26, 2014 - 10:33 am

    Christopher Howe - No Ro, not a rolled roast of venison but recently had the opportunity to roast a whole leg of wild venison procured from Mt Cole.

    Generously larded with smoked lardo from our own pigs, homegrown garlic and rosemary then roasted to rare, well rested, flashed and served medium rare.


    Thanks for is poring the memory!!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 26, 2014 - 6:30 pm

    Luke - I have done a few wild game roll roasts.
    I did one with a fallow and it was ok as the fallow had some fat on it. I did it with red deer and found its better left to go cold so it dosnt dry too much but great with a sharp chutney.
    Wild mutton and goat roll roasts are pretty awesome. Though to be honest I get my local butcher to turn bellies into mince now. The kids will always eat bambi burgersReplyCancel

  • January 2, 2015 - 11:27 am

    Alex - :-) Yes I know I am commenting on something from a while back – but these roll roasts are a great way to use any animal – venison ones out here usually get a filling of cooked dried mushrooms with miso, or chopped apples mixed with dried blueberries (or whatever berries we have left) with bread and butter. Stuffing the meat with fat and offal mixed with blood and bread is also very tasty!

    If you ever go fishing again you should try a roll roast of fish fillets with some of the basil you have posted about before put through mashed potato.ReplyCancel

  • January 7, 2015 - 11:44 am

    farmerkhaiti - I am going to try this method with a hunk of the pastured veal I raised this year! Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2015 - 4:20 am

    Janie - This sure looks tasty. We are eating black bear along with canned venison this winter. I have been following you for awhile to see if I can come up with some new ideas on wild game dishes.ReplyCancel

  • January 15, 2015 - 4:49 pm

    Sammy Newman - what’s the cut, Ro? I’ve got about 60lbs of meat coming soon and absolutely want to replicate this. sitting here at the office dreaming about it now in fact!ReplyCancel

Hey guys!

Just wanted to share some news.

My clever partner has been working furiously on all things nerdy and computery and has created us a new site. We have joined forces and now have one place online where you can order a whole bunch of stuff. Click here to order your veggie boxes, custom workshops with me (at my place) and even spend a baking day with Kate. You can buy my old book or a dozen eggs! (I’d go for the eggs) and if you’re feeling a tad carnivorous, you can order some pork or lamb from our mates at The Farmers Larder.

Custom workshops with me, in my garden and kitchen!

I’ve had a number of people ask if I’d run small workshops for just a few folk at a time at my place. I’ve really enjoyed these backyard days! The one on one type workshops have been mega enjoyable for all parties involved. It’s just me and a few peeps casually hanging out for the day in my garden or kitchen, where I share practiculture skills and we talk all day up in the troubled clouds of food philosophy or on the subject of the realities of striving for self sufficiency (which is a myth people….let’s talk more about this over a cuppa).

I really want to use some adjectives like ‘personal’ or ‘intimate’ but I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea! Really it’s just a day with me where I teach you the stuff you want to learn. And where better to learn it than in the garden or my kitchen where I do all my stuff! And we get to cook up a big afternoon lunch!

Instead of buying a new tablet or Wii for Christmas, buy someone a workshop! Then they can come to my place and play a game of WHOLELARDERLOVE on the Wii.

The site is here, go check it out.

NB. Veg boxes, meat and egg deliveries resume in January.


Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Pin Post|Email Post|Link Post
  • November 24, 2014 - 9:03 am
  • November 24, 2014 - 10:17 pm

    Alacoque - Love the idea of a small group workshop. You learn so much just pottering around with someone.ReplyCancel

  • November 24, 2014 - 10:59 pm

    Helen - Congrats, am excited by what you guys are offering. Is there a pick up point in the daylesford/ballarat neighborhood for meat orders?ReplyCancel

    • November 25, 2014 - 11:42 pm

      rohan - Helen you’d be better off contacting the farm direct. The Farmers Larder have a website of their own. If you’re local I reckon drop in and say hello at the farm! ;-) ReplyCancel

      • November 26, 2014 - 3:45 am

        Helen - Good idea Rohan, shall do.ReplyCancel

  • November 25, 2014 - 4:24 am

    Kate Hosking - Love your posts. Can’t help myself here. This has nothing to do with anything important but…it’s ‘Wonder Twin Powers activate’. Just sayin….. and thank you for you.ReplyCancel

Don’t you think there is some element of irony in the fact that in my efforts to exclude processed food from my diet, I’ve fallen hard for processing food?

I recall a conversation this past week with someone about the enjoyment I get from food processes. No I’m not talking about adding sulphites to my food, I am instead referring to processes such as podding peas or threading summer beans for dry hanging.


These food processes and tasks force me to sit down, to focus and get lost in monotony. There is a constant list of ‘to do’ here at the old farm house. But every now and then these food processes appear, they demand attention and I find myself sitting down, squeezing peas from pods or slicing mushrooms to hang and dry. I wouldn’t dare suggest that it’s always fun, at times it’s downright frustrating. But this way of living, well she’s the boss and when she tells me to sit down, I sit.


I do what needs to be done because the alternative simply no longer appeals to me. I prefer to embed myself in tasks which result in my food being preserved and stored for future use. The goal that drives me is a reduction my reliance on someone else processing my food. The result is I’m eating real food and there is a satisfaction of being responsible for my food that’s difficult to describe. It isn’t measurable in money or stuff, but simply a feeling of purpose.

Today I set up my work station. I put on Waylon Jenning’s album ‘I’ve Always Been Crazy’ on the player. Fill a basket of beans, warm a pot of boiling water and fill a bowl of ice cold water. I pod the beans, blanch them, then finally I bath them in the cold water. They’re now ready to freeze and won’t loose much of their freshness with this technique.


While I’m waiting for the beans to blanch, I whizz last summers now dried chilli to top up the chilli powder jars. Having those jars filled gives me a sense of wealth. In fact, having food in my larder from these food processes is as reassuring as a well balanced savings account.

I think these food processes have been integral part of my saving. It’s the process of working with the food that I’ve worked for to create that’s the key. I planted these broad beans from the seeds I saved from the previous years crop.

I’m whizz dried chilli that once grew in my poly tunnel. I slice wild mushrooms I searched the bush for, or process corn kernels from a bumper crop, or I stuff chorizo with pork I butchered. Every one of these food processes is a reward for me. It’s a reminder of my efforts.

It was never explained to me in the brochure. Instead it’s been a gem I’ve discovered by embracing this way of living. It’s comforted that year in, year out the same food processes return and present themselves in my world. I welcome them back like a long lost friend.


Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Pin Post|Email Post|Link Post
  • November 20, 2014 - 8:05 am

    Ed Lewis - Ronan, I read your blog and just love it.

    “Processing” food is a respect for food, it’s taking it to the next level in terms of taste and longevity. You are unlocking the hidden potential of food that comes with simple techniques of freezing, drying and pickling.

    There is such a disconnect these days with how food should look and taste. We put up with “processed” food, because we simply do not know what the alternative is or even what it looks like.

    We are just on the start of our journey with food. You are definitely further down the road than we are. But even a Coles (yeh still do it!) and Freo Farmers Marketeer such as myself can make food last longer. I was always throwing away chillis, or bunches of rosemary, or bananas, well pretty much everything! Now I overbuy chillis when they are on special, or I am not scared of those raw olives at the farmers market in April, or know I can skin the bananas, freeze them, then whizz them up into smoothies (no need for ice!), or buy the boxes of over ripe tomatoes cos I know I can make gallons of killer pasta sauce!

    Yours in vacuum packs,

  • November 20, 2014 - 2:59 pm

    Bradley Cowan - Your words and lifestyle are so inspiring, but there’s something about your pictures that really makes me want to be a better person. Thanks for sharing! And please, keep up the good work.ReplyCancel

  • November 20, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    Jessie - Last years chillies sat on the bush whilst I figured what to do with them (yeah I know, grow what you eat) then I remembered they were cayenne chillies and we use cayenne powder in tiny amounts all through the year. Whizz whizz whizz and done.

    I too love the simple joy of processing our own food. I will happily sit and watch a film whilst I beat up and stuff salted cabbage into jars or pod out broad beans. I am eagerly awaiting tomato processing and need to find something to trial run my pressure canner on before the peak season arrives. I got up at 3:30am last winter to hand juice oranges for bottled orange juice and my greatest joy was picking all the wild apples around town and turning them into 1.2L vacola bottles of juice which we are still enjoying now (32L for the cost of time and the electricity to bottle). For someone who really dislikes cooking, I do love preserving. :) ReplyCancel

  • November 20, 2014 - 10:58 pm

    Rich - Reading your posts inspires me to go one step more away from the rush to a more hands-on, in-the-moment life. I don’t make many blog comments but wanted to let you know that your work, your pushing against the easy, pre-packaged life is making a difference. Keeping up with the pioneers.ReplyCancel

  • November 21, 2014 - 12:54 am

    KC - I find the processing part of the fun of it all. Like mediation really. Lovely picture of those chilis!ReplyCancel

  • November 22, 2014 - 10:25 am

    judy - Our son is almost 2 and will happily sit on the back step únzipping’ broad bean pods … Tonight he had the first of the zucchinis and eggs for tea, which we had collected this morning … It makes me feel like we might actually be doing ok at this parenting thing after all, although when I tell him that honey comes from bees he looks at me like I’m bat shit crazy !ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2014 - 4:40 am

    Louise - Hi Rohan – I would really love to contribute to your Nursery Project but do not use Paypal. Is there any other means to make a payment with you?ReplyCancel