Monthly Archives: January 2014

Kitchen news – 5th December 2013

This is my last Kitchen News of the year! Sad but true… So here goes:

We love our Kitchen Garden volunteers! We love our Kitchen Garden volunteers so much that we’ve dedicated the last 2 weeks classes’ talk to ‘Being the best helper for your volunteer’ as without our volunteers we would have no help, no camaraderie, no shared skills, no mentorship, no community involvement and possibly no classes at all! We totally appreciate every single minute every volunteer spares us – and mostly it’s not just a spare minute but a spare ninety, every week or so, for terms and terms (and sometimes terms…!).

And an honourable mention goes to Fiona K too for answering my call-out last newsletter for a talented tailor to touch up some tatty aprons… thank you so much! What I thought was an easy dozen stringless aprons turned out to be twice that much, and they were delivered back to me super-promptly and with lovely smiles (and chocolate!)… bless you.

Anyhow back at the ranch: to the menus! We had a ‘sandwich’ menu (boom tish) last week to get us through Week 8: Rocket and herbed feta salad with preserved lemon dressing; Eggs ‘en cocotte’ Florentine; Leek soup; Gnocchi with burnt butter and sage; and Lavash crackers to wash it all down – a perfect late spring menu and absolutely delicious!

And to the Festive Menu, and something for everyone! Starting with everybody’s Holiday Salad (AKA the Salad of Massaged Kale); Carrot and potato latkes with apple sauce and sour cream (Chanukkah: recipe inspired by Joel in 3B); Penne with Swiss chard, yoghurt, tahini and buttered pine nuts (from Yotam’s Jerusalem cookbook, a spurious link to the meeting place of 3 of the main religions?!); some Festive shortbread (Christmas trees and stars); and then we’re also bottling jars of Bouillon for a surprise (all will be revealed…!).

Happy holidays everybody! Have fun and see you all in 2014 xxx

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Penne with Swiss chard, tahini, yoghurt and buttered pine nuts

Yotam says, “Chard leaves are some of the most popular greens in Jerusalem. They have a fantastic sharp aroma and tend to hold their texture when cooked. Garlic is essential! Paired with tahini and yoghurt, they make a remarkable dish – sharp and full of flavour…” We have made it into a main course simply by adding some penne pasta – a dried staple found in every kitchen.

Fresh from the garden: Swiss chard (silverbeet), garlic, lemon
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe in the book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • Citrus juicer
  • Bowls – big, med
  • Scales
  • Garlic press
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon
  • Whisk
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • 2 large stockpots
  • Colander
  • Large frying pan
  • Slotted spoon, wooden spoon
  • Serving bowls




What to do:


  • 250g dried penne
  • 1.3kg Swiss chard
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
  • 40g pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 60ml dry white wine, stock or water
  • Sweet paprika, to garnish

The sauce:

  • 50g light tahini paste
  • 50g Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Flaked salt
  • Start with the sauce: Squeeze the lemon to yield 2 tablespoons juice. Place all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and add a pinch of salt. Peel the garlic clove and squeeze through the press and add too; whisk well until you get a smooth, semi-stiff paste. Set aside.
  • Bring the 2 large pots of salted water to a boil. Use a sharp knife to separate the chard stalks from the leaves and cut both into 2cm wide slices, keeping them separate. Peel the garlic cloves and slice thinly.
  • Add the pasta to one pot of boiling water with a tablespoon of salt and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chard stalks to the other pot of boiling water, simmer for 2 minutes, add leaves and simmer for another minute. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Allow the water to drain and then use your hands to squeeze the chard well until it is completely dry.
  • Put half the butter and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan and place on a medium heart. Once hot, add the pine nuts and toss them in the pan until golden, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan then throw in the garlic. Cook for about a minute until it starts to become golden.
  • Carefully pour in the wine, stock or water and leave for about a minute until it reduces to about a third. Add the chard and the rest of the butter and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Drain the pasta and turn back into the hot pot, reserving some cooking water. Add the chard and mix to combine. Divide the into serving bowls, spoon some tahini sauce on top and scatter with the pine nuts. Finally, drizzle with a tiny splash of olive oil and dust with some paprika.
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Carrot and potato latkes

Potato pancakes, also called latkes, are a traditional Chanukkah treat. For sweetness, colour and general good stuff, carrots have been added.

Fresh from the garden: potatoes, carrots, lemon, apples, egg, chives
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe on
Makes: about 12


  • Oven tray with rack
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Saucepans – medium
  • Food mill or mouli with medium disk
  • Graters, citrus juicer
  • Colander
  • Bowls – large
  • Measures: ½ cup, tablespoon
  • Non-stick heavy frying pan
  • Spatula or egg slice
  • Sauce bowls
  • Scissors
  • Serving plates

  • 400g red apples
  • A lemon
  • 500g potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Rice Bran oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100g sour cream
  • Small handful chives

What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C with the baking tray & rack inside.
  • To make the apple sauce: Juice the lemon & quarter & core the apples & slice into 1cm thick chunks. In the medium saucepan, combine apples & half the lemon juice. Cook over low heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft & beginning to burst, for about 15 minutes. Pass through the food mill & divide among half the sauce bowls.
  • To make the latkes: Peel potatoes and coarsely grate into a bowl. Add the remaining lemon juice and mix to incorporate, combining each time you add another lot of potato.
  • Meanwhile peel and coarsely grate the carrots, and then in the medium bowl, lightly beat the egg and add in the carrots. Stir in the flour with a little salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Scrape out the potatoes into the colander set over a large bowl and squeeze to press out all the starchy juices. Combine with the carrot mixture and mix well.
  • In the large non-stick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Scoop up 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in to your hands and shape into tightly compacted disks.
  • Carefully lower into the hot oil one at a time – do not crowd the pan, you may have to do this in several batches! – and cook until browned on one side and turning crispy at the edges, about 3 minutes. Turn the latkes over with egg slice and brown the other side for about 3 minutes again.
  • Carefully transfer into the oven tray to keep warm and drain and repeat with remaining latke mixture until all are cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide between serving plates & spoon the sour cream into the remaining sauce bowls with a snip of chives on top. Add them to the plates with the apple sauce & serve the latkes hot.
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The holiday salad (AKA the Salad with Massaged Kale)

This is where we clean out the garden in preparation for the big break… so expect the unexpected! Why do we massage kale? To soften it and infuse it with the wonderful flavours of olive oil and lemon. Also we recently discovered the delicious crunchiness of radish pods – if you purposefully let your radish harvest go to seed, you’ll be rewarded with unfeasibly long and spindly branches of delicate flowers complete with the most amazing – and not too hot – pods to eat straight off the plant, or include in your favourite salad. Here’s our version:

Fresh from the garden: The last veggies of the year…
Recipe source: Melissa with inspiration from Allison!
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • Mortar and pestle
  • Citrus juicer
  • Measures: 1/3 cup, teaspoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel
  • Bowls – 2 big, med, 4 small
  • Salad spinner
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • 2 frying pans, one deep-sided
  • Slotted spoon



What to do:


  • Cavolo nero
  • Lettuce, rocket, baby spinach
  • Beans, bok choy
  • Tomatoes
  • Radish pods
  • 1 egg per person
  • Ground coriander

Herby vinaigrette dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A small handful mixed herbs: parsley, marjoram, thyme, chives
  • For the dressing: Peel the garlic clove and put it in the mortar with a large pinch of salt. Pound to a paste. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the mortar (without pips) then stir the lot with the teaspoon and scrape it into the large bowl. Stir in the oil and grind some pepper, then whisk the dressing lightly. Wash and spin dry the herbs, pick off the leaves and snip finely with the scissors. Add to the dressing.
  • For the massaged kale: Wash the kale and using scissors, strip the leaves from the stalks in small pieces. Dry really well with paper towel, then place in a bowl and squeeze a segment of lemon over with a pinch of flaked salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Massage all the flavour into the kale for 5 minutes until the kale is soft and juicy.
  • Fill up the 2 big bowls with cold water & wash the salad leaves in several changes of water. Spin dry and wipe the bowls dry. Fill the small bowl with water and wash the small garnishing leaves, flowers and radish pods. Reserve them carefully on a piece of paper towel then keep separate in the bowl.
  • Wash the beans and snip the stalk-ends off. Wash the bok choy & tomato & chop. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan & add the beans, bok choy & tomato with a pinch of salt, a squeezed clove of garlic & a teaspoon of ground coriander. Cook on high for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, to poach eggs, fill the deep-sided frying pan 5cm deep with water and bring to a simmer. Fill the large bowl with cold water. Carefully crack each egg into a small bowl without breaking it and then carefully slide into the water. Let the pan sit for 4 minutes before removing each egg into the bowl of cold water with a slotted spoon and reserving until needed.
  • Add the salad leaves to the bowl with the herbs and the dressing. Gently turn the leaves in the dressing using a clean hand without squishing the leaves.
  • Pile up the dressed leaves into the serving bowls, carefully drain an egg and place in each bowl with the massaged kale, beans, bok choy, garnishing petals, leaves & pods, & serve immediately.
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Lavash crackers

We always need something to mop up our soups, sauces, dressings or dips – or simply a scrumptious blob of egg yolk!

Recipe source: adapted from a recipe in the book Home Made by Yvette Van Boven
Serves: 8 or 24 tastes


  • An eggcup
  • Scales
  • Stand mixer and dough hook
  • Measures: a jug, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Pastry brush
  • Baking paper
  • 2 baking trays
  • Oven mitts
  • Serving plates

  • 2g yeast
  • 400g plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus extra to grease
  • Approx. 250ml lukewarm water


  • A small amount of poppy seeds or sesame seeds, caraway seeds, ground paprika, cumin seeds or flaked salt

What to do:

  • Measure the lukewarm water and then out of the that, pour out an eggcup full of water. Dissolve the yeast in the eggcupful of water and then combine all the ingredients – except for the rest of the water – in the bowl of the stand mixer and mix together with the dough hook.
  • Start to pour the rest of the water in, a little at a time, until a pliable dough ball is formed. Pay attention, sometimes you need a little less water.
  • Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and then finish off on a worktop lightly dusted with flour until smooth and silky.
  • Leave to rise for an hour.

 At the beginning of the lesson:

  • Preheat the oven to 175C. Using a teaspoon of vegetable oil and a pastry brush, grease the baking trays.
  • Roll the dough into a thin sheet (you may need to divide it into several pieces), place on a big sheet of baking paper and then onto the greased baking trays.
  • Lightly cover with water, flicking with your fingers, and sprinkle with your choice of garnish – doing this in nice strips for example.
  • Bake the dough in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the crackers turn an even golden brown. Use this time to make the dough for the next class, if needed, and then clean up.
  • When the crackers are ready, remove from the oven, leave to cool for a few minutes and then break into equal parts. Divide among plates and serve with something dippy or saucy 😉

Notes: Why do we leave to dough for an hour? What other spices or herbs could you use? How many verbs can you name in this recipe?

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Leek soup

The classics keep coming back, and for good reason! Here’s another 70’s soup…

Fresh from the garden: leeks, celery, onion, potatoes, garlic, thyme
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Bowls – big, medium
  • Peelers
  • Paper towel
  • Scissors
  • Stockpot, wooden spoon
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon
  • Ladle
  • Stick blender
  • Serving bowls
  • Teaspoons



  • 50g butter
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1.5 litres water with a tablespoon and a half of bouillon (or 1.5 litres stock)
  • A small handful of thyme sprigs
  • 100ml single cream


What to do:

  • Fill the kettle and set to boil.
  • Wash the leeks, slicing open half way to wash off all the dirt, slicing off the very end of the roots and the really spiky green parts of the leaves and discarding. Chop into 1cm rings or slices.
  • Peel and chop the onion and garlic cloves.
  • Peel the potatoes under running water and chop into 2cm cubes.
  • Wash and shake the celery dry and chop into thin slices, including the leaves.
  • Wash the thyme and gently dry it in a piece of paper towel.
  • In the stockpot over medium heat, place the butter and melt. Add the onion and gently cook for a few minutes, and once translucent add the leeks, garlic and celery. Cook for a few minutes until everything softens slightly.
  • When the kettle has boiled, carefully measure the boiling water into the jug and stir in the bouillon. You may need to do this in 2 lots.
  • Add in the potato, the bouillon (or stock) and the sprigs of thyme. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the potato is tender and cooked through.
    Remove from the heat, and remove the sprigs of thyme from the pot.
  • Blend until the soup is velvety smooth and perfect. Stir through the cream and ladle into bowls.

Notes: What does translucent mean? What is bouillon and what is it made of?

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Eggs ‘en cocotte’ Florentine

The classics keep coming back, and for good reason! Here’s an old-fashioned brekky/ brunch staple that is versatile, quick, easy and delish… You can add ham or even smoked salmon if you like!

Fresh from the garden: spinach, shallots, spring onions, eggs, chives
Recipe source: inspired by a recipe in the Yvette Van Boven book Home Made
Serves: 8 or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Colander
  • Bowls – big, medium, small
  • Scales
  • Large frying pan
  • Microplane grater
  • 8 ovenproof ramekins
  • A small baking tray
  • Paper towel
  • Oven mitts
  • Serving plates

  • A large handful spinach or silverbeet
  • 2 French shallots
  • A couple of spring onions
  • A whole nutmeg
  • Flaked salt and pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 50g butter at room temperature
  • 100g double cream
  • A small handful chives


What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Check there is a shelf in the middle of the oven. Fill the kettle and set to boil.
  • Wash the spinach or silverbeet leaves thoroughly and shake dry. Slice off the discard any thick stalks and slice the leaves into thin ribbons.
  • Peel and finely chop the shallots and wash, trim and slice the spring onions into tiny rings.
  • Heat 25g of the butter in the frying pan and add the chopped shallot and spring onions. Fry gently until soft, stirring, and then add the spinach, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and about half a nutmeg grated with the microplane. Sauté until wilted for about 2 minutes, then measure the cream, add it in and cook gently for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile divide the rest of the butter between the ramekins and grease each one, placing them onto the baking tray as you go. Sprinkle each with pepper and salt, then using tongs divide the spinach mixture between the ramekins, pouring in a little creamy liquid as well.
  • Taking one egg at a time, break first into a small bowl and then slide one into each ramekin, taking care not to disturb the yolk. Once the tray of 8 is ready, place carefully onto the middle shelf, and with an adult’s help, pour enough hot water into the baking tray but outside the ramekins to halfway up the side of the ramekins.
  • Slide carefully into the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, when the whites are set but yolks are still runny.
  • Place a napkin or piece of paper towel onto your serving plates, then taking care and using oven mitts, remove the tray from the oven and divide the ramekins between the plates.
  • Serve immediately with crunchy toast!

Notes: What does en cocotte mean? What does Florentine refer to? What is a ramekin?

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Rocket and herbed feta salad

Salad is a tiny word for a massive selection of broad-ranging ingredients, held together by any number of sauces, unguents and potions. Here’s another one to add to the list!

Fresh from the garden: rocket, lettuces, early tomatoes, radishes, limehairy (perennial basil), marjoram, parsley, garlic, lemon
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • Bowls – big, medium
  • Salad spinner
  • Chopping boards & knife
  • Measures: tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Tongs
  • Small jar & lid
  • Scissors
  • Colander
  • Serving bowls or plates








  • A small handful limehairy leaves
  • A small handful marjoram
  • A small handful parsley
  • A block of Danish feta (150–200g)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 handfuls rocket & lettuce leaves
  • Any early tomatoes and radishes
  • A few edible flowers

For the dressing:

  • One small piece of preserved lemon
  • ½ small garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

What to do:

  • To make the herbed feta: Wash the herbs, spin them dry and then pick off all the leaves. Chop them finely on a small chopping board and then unwrap the feta and then place it on the herb mixture. Slice the feta into small cubes, turning them over in the herbs, and then drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Reserve until needed.
  • To make the dressing: Using tongs, take out a small piece of preserved lemon out of the jar and rinse under cold water. Using a small sharp knife, scrape off the fleshy inside part and discard. Chop up the remaining skin very finely and add to the jar, along with the rest of the dressing ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and shake until emulsified.
  • Fill up a big bowl with cold water and wash the rocket and lettuce leaves gently, emptying and refilling several times before draining and spinning dry. Chop or snip any large leaves into 2 or 3 pieces and reserve in a clean and dry big bowl.
  • Wash the tomatoes and carefully slice into small mouth-sized pieces and place in a medium bowl. Scrub the radishes and slice very thinly, adding them to the tomatoes. Drizzle a tablespoon of dressing into the bowl.
  • Drizzle the rest of the dressing onto the rocket and lettuce and gently toss to coat.
  • Divide the dressed leaves on to your serving bowls or plates and distribute the tomatoes, radish and feta cubes over the salad.
  • Garnish with the edible flowers and serve straight away.

Notes: What does emulsified mean? What is limehairy also known as?

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