|Everything about Fox Hill Farm in NSW's Southern Highlands screams country charm. Photo: Carla Grossetti|
Up until 2009, chef Derwin and her husband John, a civil engineer, ran the highly successful Roundstone Vineyard and Winery in the Yarra Valley until it was destroyed in the bushfires that roared through the valley in February 2009.
|Lynne Derwin loves sharing the joy of country cooking. Photo: Deirdre Worsley|
|This flock of Suffolk sheep are part of the family at Fox Hill Farm.|
The mood, however, is anything but sombre and while the hands-on class touches on Lynne's past, it is very much devoted to the here and now, of learning the secret of rustic home cooking, with time and patience essential ingredients.
|A visit to Fox Hill Farm puts that 'tree change' back on the agenda. Photo: Deirdre Worsley.|
|Guests arriving at Fox Hill Farm are offered treats of kohlrabi topped with smoked trout. Photo: Deirde Worsley|
Each person is assigned a course and rather than there being a 'knives-out' competitive vibe in the kitchen, what I loved about this class is that it felt like a family affair - especially considering Lynne's daughters, Kristy and Phoebe, are on hand to help with everything from hosting to the washing up.
|Fox Hill Farm Country Cooking Classes use produce plucked from the homestead's kitchen garden. Photo: Deirdre Worsley.|
|Roasted beetroot and feta salad and potatoes Provencale are part of the rustic banquet to share. Photo: Carla Grossetti|
|Thyme one of the essential ingredients plucked from the kitchen garden to add to beef bourgignon. Photo: Deirdre Worsley.|
|Lynne oversees the lesson as we all chop, stir and mix in unison. Photo: Deirdre Worsley.|
Aswell as learning about how to get the most out of seasonal ingredients, the class is an advertisement for cooking with an Aga oven, which is the centrepiece of Lynne's kitchen. Rather than being a lecture where we all sit around taking notes, the class feels very much like Lynne is working to recreate her family album.
|Lamb with mint dressing was one of the hearty mains prepared by the group. Photo: Deirdre Worsley|
|The Fox Hill Farm Country Cooking Class is followed by a convivial feast. Photo: Deirdre Worsley|
|Bungonia Creek Wines are sourced locally and proffered as part of the Fox Hill Farm feast.|