The Joy of Fresh Garlic

Fresh local garlic is a little bit of a luxury in Australia. The vast majority of ours comes from overseas and we are pretty much used to its semi dry nature. But I tell you what, have a go at the real thing and it is life changing for a serious foodie and cook. The fresh stuff is completely different, its bleeds when it is cut, not blood obviously, but sensational garlicky goodness. And some varieties like the one I have had to try in this post can even be eaten raw. Incredible.

A friend of mine has done something I would love to do. Pack up move north and buy a farm. Then grow garlic. WHAT? Garlic, yes. The most difficult crop on earth. I have to admire his dedication. I asked him for a little background on the farm.

Darkwood Farm is a family run organic farm in the beautiful Thora Valley on the mid north coast of NSW.

We believe our food supply should be in the hands of family farms and not greedy multinationals.

Our aim is to provide high quality, organically grown produce to consumers direct, from paddock to plate. Our online shop will be operational from June 2013 at and the Darkwood Farm Facebook page you will be able to see how we grow our products and follow the entie lifecycle of each crop.

Our first commercial crop is Garlic, of the Russian variety aka known as Elephant garlic due to its large size.

We grow our garlic on the alluvial flats next to the Bellinger River which adjoins our property.

Our next crops will include Ginger and Turmeric as well.

Hopefully from 2014 we will also be able to provide organic handmade goats’ cheese as we are currently selecting the first goats for our herd.

Last week he arrived in Surry Hills on a loud motorbike packing goodies. A pile of fresh garlic got handed to me and I couldn’t wait to try it. Over the weekend I test cooked a few different things including French Garlic and Onion Soup, a Pizza with Garlic and Whitebean Sauce and perfect Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Garlic. There is no where to hide in the last dish, it is just the olive oil and garlic and boy did the garlic do some talking. The difference with fresh is amazing.

So here are a few pictures of the final results. I am no photographer but you get the idea.

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So despite all the clever recipes the funny thing is that it was the simplest thing that absolutely won us all over. Basic pizza dough, some good olive oil and shaved fresh garlic. Absolute perfection.

I encourage you all to follow Darkwood on Facebook so you find out the moment they start selling direct to the public. Try the real thing, you will not regret it.


Caviar on Scallops with Lime Jalepeno Aioli

Every now and then you have the opportunity to try something amazing. Caviar is one of those delicacies that we should serve for very special occasions. Crown St Grocer can order this caviar in for you with a few days notice. I had the opportunity to try it and work with it and after much research and deliberation I chose to make a ridiculously lavish starter to serve with drinks before a dinner party. The scallops work well with the caviar and the lime and jalepeno aioli really give it some kick.

So first lets start off with the caviar. To quote wikipedia, “Caviar, sometimes called black caviar, is a luxury delicacy, consisting of processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe. The roe can be “fresh” (non-pasteurized) or pasteurized, the latter having much less culinary and economic value.” Please don’t get this confused with Salmon roe it really isn’t the same thing, or in the same league in my opinion. And the connoisseurs among you all will also know that you should never use a metal spoon because it will taint the flavour. I don’t have the correct ‘mother of pearl’ spoon so I resort to a small plastic one that has been thoroughly cleaned and dried. I also encourage you to try it as is, so that you have some idea of the basic taste. It really is worth it. Okay then on to the recipe. I have done this the simple way, if you want to go all out and make your own fresh aioli then go for it.

: Caviar on Seared Scallops with Lime Jalepeno Aioli

: An wonderful starter or a great nibble at a drinks party.

  1. Tin of caviar
  2. Some good quality aioli
  3. 1 Lime zested
  4. Fresh thyme
  5. 1 jalapeno pepper or a scoop of bottled peppers
  6. Fresh sea scallops, one or two per person up to you

  1. Start by cleaning the scallops and placing them with fresh thyme leaves and a very small amount of olive oil into a bowl covered in the fridge. Often good to do this 30 minutes before hand.
  2. In the bowl of a small food processor combine 1 cup of aioli with the jalepeno and 1 teaspoon of lime zest. Process until smooth.
  3. When you are ready to assemble get all of the ingredients ready to go by removing the thyme form the scallops and having the ailio in a bowl ready to go.
  4. Sear the scallops quickly on both sides.
  5. Top each scallop with a small amount of aioli making a small well.
  6. Top each with a small burst of caviar.
  7. Arrange on a warm plate and serve immediately with a stunning champagne.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5 minute(s)

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)