THE LOCAL FILES: "GATHER" AUTHOR - FIONA HAMMOND
Food columnist, recipe developer and food stylist Fiona Hammond made the Mornington Peninsula her home over 20 years ago. “I grew up on a farm in country Victoria and really wanted my children to experience the sense of space I did as a child. I reconnected with the earth, growing vegetables, planting fruit trees and eating seasonally. We enjoy the very best of the hinterland and the sea, and living off the land.”
Explains Fiona, "I feel like I have come full circle from the way in which I was raised in the country, to living in the city and travelling and working around the world, to coming back to my roots. Living near Western Port Bay and working with seasonal foods pushed me to finally publish a book that I have been thinking about for many years.”
The result is GATHER, a stunning book that brings together two of Australia’s most experienced food and photography professionals. Fiona has worked with photographer Adrian Lander for more than 25 years on numerous cookbooks and food styling projects, and they had a united vision bring to life a story about the produce and landscapes of the Mornington Peninsula. “We both wanted to produce a book with full creative license so the end result would look and read exactly as we envisioned.”
Having worked with some of the best-known names in Australian cooking, Fiona and Adrian’s new cookbook presents more than 90 recipes that celebrate the Peninsula’s abundant harvests and the rhythm of the seasons.
Evocative photography and vivid anecdotes take readers behind the scenes to meet market gardeners, bakers, beekeepers and cheese makers, and wine and drinks writer Max Allen contributes his unique insight into the region’s many artisanal brewers and winemakers. Recipes highlight each season’s bounty, and cleverly show how to substitute key ingredients for seasonal alternatives so that favourite produce-focused dishes can be enjoyed throughout the year.
The Mornington Peninsula continues to inspire Fiona and she relishes her close bond with the local produce and culinary industries. “Living near the coast is magical and I walk on the beach every day," says Fiona. "On my property I have a small orchard and vegetable garden, and I eat what each season offers. I work at Torello Farm in Dromana a few days a week and develop seasonal recipes for their website, so I have access to the most incredible produce."
"I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with and have conversations with the most inspiring business owners, local producers and farmers who make up the magical tapestry of this breathtaking part of Australia.”
GATHER gives readers a stunning insight into the produce available on the Mornington Peninsula. At once visually indulgent and a great read, the easy-to-follow recipes show how easy it is to bring seasonal produce to your table. You can order it online and find it on shelves of leading bookshops, food stores, farm gates, homewares stores and cafes across the region.
www.gathermp.comInstagram: @gather_mp All images: Adrian Lander Photography