Cooking with 'the best of the best' from the South Burnett
SOUTH Burnett Food Ambassador Jason Ford cooked up a storm outside Kingaroy's Peanut Van, to celebrate it's 50 year anniversary.
With his head-set on and his stove top heated, Mr Ford launched into his cooking demonstration around 10am this morning.
"I just love the South Burnett and all of the food we have on offer here,” Mr Ford told the crowd.
"So what I'm doing is cooking a meal made up of your three courses. Using as much local quality produce as possible.
"And of course showcasing what Kingaroy is best known for throughout, our peanuts.”
Mr Ford used peanut oil, and roasted peanuts throughout his demonstration.
First up on the menu was a spiced pumpkin soup with peanut paste.
"For my entree I'm using local pumpkins. This one here is pretty unique. As you can see it's the shape of butter-nut pumpkin, and that's what it's like inside too. But the skin is that of a Jap pumpkin,” Mr Ford said.
"We are known for our pumpkins thanks to the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival.
"We are so fortunate to have such a wide variety of food-based festivals in the South Burnett.”
The pumpkin soup of course wasn't complete without peanut paste fresh from Kingaroy's own Peanut Van.
Next up Mr Ford prepared a classic steak and egg dish, but with a twist.
"I bet you've never had or heard of folding an egg into cheese,” he said.
Mr Ford served up pieces of local grass-fed beef from South Burnett farm and business HighBrit Beef, alongside his unique egg concoction.
"To me grass-fed beef always tastes better,” he said.
"And, the South Burnett has some of the best beef around.”
He then added sauteed red onion and asparagus to the dish.
"When it comes to cooking steak I like to wait until you can see all those great meat juices oozing out of it before I turn it over. That way I'm not prodding and playing with it so much,” Mr Ford said.
"Some advice I was once give was, Jason don't play with your meat.
"This was great advice for various reasons.”
For dessert Mr Ford put together panna cotta with buttermilk and fresh fruits.
"Cotta is Italian for cream and panna is Italian for something,” he joked.
"Just kidding it's Italian for cooked. It's really just cooked cream.”
Mr Ford said he has been working with local South Burnett produce for over 20 years now.
"I guess in a way I've always been a de-facto advocate for the region and all of the food we have here on offer. Then when there was the need I officially became the South Burnett Food Ambassador” he said.
"I particularity enjoy cooking with Kingaroy peanuts because of the quality.
"I have a rule of thumb that if it isn't good quality than I won't use it. Even if it is local to the South Burnett.”
The South Burnett certainly has a few specialities when it comes to local produce.
Mr Ford thinks it is important our region is known for specific foods.
"It's not good to have too much variety. Because otherwise you wouldn't have the very best of everything,” he said.
"It's key for us to just focus on what our climate is really good at growing, then we have the best of the best.”
Mr Ford said the next big event that South Burnett residents can really get behind and support is the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival in May.
"It's great to see Goomeri go from a population of six or seven hundred to over twelve thousand people in the one weekend.
"You wouldn't want to miss it.”