Annie Smithers was one of the first Australian adopters of the kitchen garden movement and, for over 12 years now, she has cooked from her extensive vegetable gardens. Her restaurant du Fermier in Trentham, Victoria serves classic French Farmhouse style food, where Annie grows most of the produce and selects her proteins and dairy products from farmers with the highest regenerative and animal husbandry ethics. She lives with her wife Susan at Babbington Park.
Annie writes for The Saturday Paper, has a regular segment on Blueprint for Living on Radio National and has written 3 books. Her most recent book, Recipes For A Kinder Life, blends memoir, recipes and practical tips on how to walk the earth a little more gently.
Susan and Annie on their farm at Babbington Park
What is one of your happiest food memories?
One of my happiest food memories is eating roast chicken as a child. And scraping the delicious bits from the roasting tray when I went back for seconds.
If we were to peer into your fridge and pantry, what would we find?
Milk, cat food, oat milk, tofu, chocolate. My wife is vegan and we cook extensively from our garden. But I’m mad for a cup of tea.
Describe your cooking style in 3 words.
French, classic, farmhouse.
What inspires you in the kitchen?
Beautiful ingredients, grown and farmed with integrity.
What sort of food did you eat growing up?
I was actually a terrible eater as a child. I had a very narrow palate and hated vegetables.
This recipe poster is labour of love, both from chef Annie Smithers and artist Alice Oehr.
A recipe that may seem simple in its composition, is complex in taste and also in its journey to the plate. From planting and tending the plants, to picking the pods, to podding them, blanching them, skinning them, then crushing them, which Annie undertakes on her farm in Trentham, Victoria.
Alice has heroed the broad bean pods and their flowers in a positively verdant palette.