Local Sprouts discovered Small Acres Cyder when wondering down a dirt track in Orange, Australia. A cyder lover who once called Bristol home, LS curator Katie was so excited to meet Gail Kendell…and try some of the incredible cyders. Read on and meet Gail and then give her Normandy Chicken a go! And get up to Orange for a visit! F.O.O.D. Week is right around the corner!
Take it away Gail!
I grew up in Bristol which is the heart of cider country in the UK. Bristol is close to Herefordshire where the main bulk of cider apples grow and is the home town for the Coronation Tap Pub in Clifton, Bristol where every kind of boutique English cider is available. We are passionate about making contemporary ciders using 100% juice and using the juice of cider apples.
When I moved to Australia in 1999 there were only one or two ciders on the market and I was unable to find a cider that I was happy to drink. We saw the opportunity to put something on the market that was a real cider in line with the revival of this traditional drink that was taking place overseas. We were fairly certain the wave of interest in cider would hit Australia sooner rather than later and I set about persuading James that we should take the lead in putting a product on the market ahead of the cider revolution.
Until I move to Orange I was a city girl, but love living in beautiful thriving Orange that has great restaurants, great schools and a new hospital. Orange has a really strong sense of community – you can go to the supermarket and see 5 people that you know. It takes ages to do your shopping, but it’s very social. The Orange community supports everything that is food and wine and we have had great backing from the moment we said we were coming to make cider, although seven years ago when we moved here there were a lot of people that thought we were crazy and that we wouldn’t sell anything. Now there are 150 plus ciders on the market in Australia and the market is growing!
For Small Acres, local means – growing the fruit in our Orchard, or sourcing fruit locally and making it locally. We outsource crushing to a local apple juice coop and use a contract bottler to get our cider into bottle. We use a local graphic design company for all our marketing material. As much as possible it is a local grown, locally made product.
I’m not sure we count as locals after only being in Orange seven years, but we feel local and I wouldn’t want to bring our two little girls up anywhere else in the world (except in France somewhere maybe…. )
My recipe is one that love especially as move to the cooler months of the year. We also have Normandy Chicken Pie lunches regularly and they are a hit – next one coming up are during Food Week in April. During the summer we offer real ploughman’s lunches with hearty farmhouse terrine with balsamic cherry chutney (locally grown, locally made), cheeses, pickles, and lots of chunky bread.
Normandy Chicken – serves approx 4.
2 tbs Butter
1kg Chicken thigh fillets
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 Red onion, finely chopped
125ml Small Acres Cyder Somerset Still dry cider
125ml Chicken stock
80ml Apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp dried Thyme
1 tbs Plain flour
125g Sour cream
Preheat oven to 180C. Heat oil and ½ the butter in a heavy based frying pan. Brown the chicken on both sides and transfer to a large casserole dish. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook onion in the pan until soft and toss over the chicken. Cook the apple in the pan until lightly golden on both sides and then arrange over the chicken in the casserole dish. Place the extra butter and the flour in the frying pan and lightly cook, add the Somerset Still cider, stock, vinegar and thyme and bring to the boil, then gently simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sour cream to the sauce and stir through. Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Serve with green beans, baby carrots and creamy mash potatoes.