Chefs' Recipes

Sunny recipes from The Summertown Astrologist

A sharing philosophy, DIY ethos and produce as local as it gets – there’s a feel-good warmth at Adelaide Hills’ sunniest spot, The Summertown Aristologist.
The Summertown Aristologist chefs Brianna Smith and Oliver Edwards

The Summertown Aristologist departing chefs Brianna Smith and Oliver Edwards.

Photo: Mark Roper

In some ways, The Summertown Aristologist was built for an audience of one. Winemaker Anton van Klopper, of Lucy Margaux fame, had been pining for the sort of places he frequented when he was in France – bars that poured his kind of wine and served his kind of food. The choice, in the end, he says, was to either move to Paris or make something of his own back home in the Adelaide Hills. Luckily for us, he went with the second option.

The Summertown Aristologist was the result. Opened in spring 2016 by van Klopper, fellow Basket Range winemaker Jasper Button, of Commune of Buttons, and former Orana manager Aaron Fenwick, it quickly gained a reputation for service and food under original chef Tom Edwards that exceeded the expectations set by its relaxed, friendly, converted-shop setting.

Oliver Edwards, co-owner Aaron Fenwick and friend Maddie Skippen (Photo: Mark Roper)

Under chefs Oliver Edwards and Brianna Smith, who took over the kitchen in 2017, the Aristologist has gone from strength to strength. Not that their work is confined to the kitchen. The restaurant opens Friday through Sunday, and the rest of the week Edwards and Smith are in the garden. “It’s about growing as much as we can, and buying the rest from farmers with similar philosophies,” says Edwards. Around 90 per cent of the fresh produce they use comes from their garden patch, just 10 minutes’ drive away. They buy meat a single beast at a time, turning the bulk into charcuterie products. “We make two types of saucisson, prosciutto, lardo, guanciale.”

That DIY ethos runs through everything they do. Grains are milled daily for Khorasan sourdough, and kefir cultures butter and cream. Jars of pickles line the bench, standing to lacto-ferment. Any leftover ferments are turned into powders, like some kind of brilliant zero-waste alchemy. A local glassblower makes the wine glasses, and the ceramics are made in nearby Stirling.

Here we’ve asked Edwards and Smith to share the dishes that they like to serve friends. “The seasonal kraut is a must to start, with charcuterie and bread,” says Edwards. From there it’s a vegetable-forward affair in the likes of charred broccoli with furikake. Edwards is an advocate for sustainable fish, and that informs his choice of species here – char-grilled whiting, served simply with seaweed butter and a squeeze of lemon. And to finish? A spelt and frangipane tart, tangy with rhubarb. Wholesome food need not feel like privation, says Edwards. Take your time and focus on creating a meal that’s about “feeling nourished, not full.”

The Summertown Aristologist, 1097 Greenhill Rd, Summertown, SA, 0477 410 105, thesummertownaristologist.com

Seasonal mixed kraut with charcuterie

Seasonal mixed kraut with charcuterie

Seasonal mixed kraut with charcuterie

“We make these mixed krauts regularly with whatever we have on hand in the veggie patch – it might be celeriac, apple and fennel one week, or carrot, cabbage and radish the next,” says Edwards. “Play around with different ingredients and combinations. A crunchy fresh kraut is a great way to start a meal – we like to serve it alongside our bread, butter and house-made charcuterie. This kraut needs at least three days to ferment. It makes a large batch but you could easily halve the ingredients to make less.”

Salt fish and soft egg

Salted fish with soft egg

Salted fish with soft egg

“This is based on Fergus Henderson’s version of brandade de morue, served with a confit yolk for richness,” says Edwards.

“This is my ultimate food – it’s a great snack with a glass of

wine, a stand-alone meal or a banging breakfast.”

Spring salad with fresh curd

Spring salad with fresh curd

“Spring on a plate – what’s not to love?” says Smith. House-made curd is used here, but shop-bought buffalo ricotta will work just as well.

Charred broccoli, pork broth and lardo

Charred broccoli, pork broth and lardo

Charred broccoli, pork broth and lardo

“Every couple of months we get a whole pig in to break down for our charcuterie,” says Smith. “As well as saucisson, lardo, pancetta, capocollo and other salumi, we make scratchings from the skin, terrine from the head and broth from the bones. This dish came about on one of those occasions where we found ourselves with pork broth on hand. The rich broth simply paired with the charred broccoli was something that made us happy, so here it is, draped with our house-made lardo.”

Grains with kale, orange and labne

Grains with kale, orange and labne

Grains with kale, orange and labne

“This is a real crowd-pleaser, and could be made with any combination of grains, nuts and herbs,” says Edwards.

Whiting with seaweed butter

Whiting with seaweed butter

Whiting with seaweed butter

“We source our fish directly from our fisherman, Justin Cicolella, who is part of the Fair Fish community-supported fishery,” says Edwards. “A few times a week we have a chat about what he’s catching. Fish this good deserves to be the hero – a little seaweed butter and a squeeze of lemon is all it needs.”

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