We'd like to say we sat down for a relaxed chat with Gemma to get to know her better, but to be honest, with a busy warehouse to run, that was never going to happen! Instead we grabbed a snapshot into her thoughts on food and life over a few quick conversations!
Gemma is one interesting lady, and as a Chef we couldn't let her get away without sharing an amazing recipe too....
What brought you to Newcastle?
I'm a newbie to Newy! I moved here from Sydney with the family late last year, craving a slower pace of life. Being a chef at heart, I still wanted to remain connected with food, so it was important for me to find a new role where I could share my passion for all things food. I feel like I've landed on my feet as Warehouse Manager at wonderful YFC!
What inspires you day to day?
My beautiful twin girls and amazing husband! We all love food, growing, eating and sharing. Spending time in the garden with my chickens and plants helps me slow down and really enjoy the simpler things in life.
What is your food philosophy?
I've cooked many different cuisines in my busy cooking career, and right now I have a real passion for all things fermented - sourdough, kefir, kombucha etc. The fermentation process and benefits are so interesting and I love having a healthy happy tummy. Fresh is best and so veggies and fresh cooked meals are a must, simple and tasty! I find having a healthy pantry on hand super helpful, to pimp your meals. Citrus, spices, chilis and herbs can transform any meal food from good to amazing!
What do you love about YFC?
I love that YFC is LOCAL!! You can taste the difference with produce grown close to home and I particularly love that fruits and veggies can look a little wonky but still taste amazing. I love that YFC support our local community, encourages us to eat what's in season and the because it's local, the produce creates only a small footprint - that's very important to me.
What's your go to in the kitchen at the moment?
I'm hugely into cooking bread at the moment, it's very therapeutic! I'll admit it takes a fair bit of time, but the beautiful smell you get through the house is wonderful, as well as the finished product, of course! At the moment I'm also enjoying teaching my girls the importance of baking and cooking - so that they fend for themselves and teach others too.
What are you looking forward to?
Traveling and visiting family in the UK. We've just had a trip postponed for obvious reasons so we are keen to get there as soon as we can. I am looking forward to group gatherings, parks, beaches and just to have freedom. I hope that in general everyone finds more appreciation for life as we know it.
Gemma's Lovely Lamb Ribs
1kg lamb spare ribs
2 cloves of garlic
Knob of ginger
Knob of turmeric
4-5 inch piece lemon grassCoriander
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp ketchup manis
Small knob palm sugar
2 tbsp miso paste
Sesame seedsFor the saladCoriander
1 lebanese cucumber
1 long red fresh chilli
1tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauceMethod.
Preheat the oven 170 degrees.
Add lamb ribs to a large oven-proof pot, chop the remaining ingredients and add to the pot. Cover with cold water.
Cover with baking paper and foil.
Cook for two hour in the oven or until the lamb is tender.
Remove from the stock and place onto a tray so the ribs aren't touching each other. Place the tray in the fridge to cool (3hrs or preferably the day before).For the salad.
Cut the cucumber lengthwise and then cut into slices on the diagonal Place in a bowl.
Slice the chilli and pick the coriander into large springs. Add both to the bowl with the cucumber.
Preheat the BBQ to a moderate heat.
Spray the chilled lamb ribs with olive oil. Place onto the hot bbq for 3-5 minutes each side.
Mix the miso paste with 2-3 tbsp of water to form a smooth paste. Using a brush past the lamb rib with miso and continue to cook for another minute each side.
To the cucumbers add the lime juice, fish sauce and soy sauce, lightly mix to coat and add the coriander and give one more toss.
Remove the lamb ribs from the bbq and place onto a plate, add the salad and sprinkle the sesame seeds to finish.
Enjoy as a starter to a main meal or serve with steamed rice - yum!