Monthly Archives: May 2014

Kitchen news – 29th May 2014

We’ve had a lot of planting action in the garden these past weeks & whilst we’re enjoying this Indian summer weather (with only a week to go til winter!), we’re hoping for at least a little bit of chill to set the cold weather veggies…  Meanwhile we’ve been rustling together a delicious menu in our classes – straddling the seasons as we are – with the Last Hurrah of basil (hurrah!) and a seemingly simple Penne Pesto, the always delicious Soft polenta with poached eggs and crispy sage, and a new take on the old fave, Green leaves and potato soup (even MY kids will eat this one!). A new favourite was born too (and even cooked up chez moi on Sunday with a cracking Roast Pork) in Roasted turnips and pears with rosemary honey drizzle. Try it and see! And then to finally make use of the harvested last tomatoes: Green tomato chutney – to be aged for at least a month and served like a fine wine, with decent cheese, a Laguiole knife and damask napery. If you like.

Let us know if you want to come along to a class!

Cheers, Melissa x

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Green tomato chutney

This is the best way to use up the last of the green tomatoes and preserve them for the cooler months. Don’t forget to stir the pot regularly!

I also water-bath the jars after sealing by placing them in a large pot, not touching, on a clean tea towel in about 15cm of cool water. I set the pot to boil for about 10 minutes, and then carefully remove the jars with tongs. I leave them to cool and then label the jars. This ensures preservation.

Fresh from the garden: tomatoes, onions, apples, garlic, bay leaves
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Jeremy & Jane Strode
Makes: About 4 large or 6 small jars


  • Colander
  • Mixing bowls – 6 mixed sizes
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Microplane grater
  • Heavy based stockpot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Scales
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Jars with metal lids

  • 1kg green tomatoes
  • 500g brown onions
  • 200g apples
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 knob fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 300ml cider vinegar
  • 225g brown sugar

What to do:

  • Wash the tomatoes, drain into the colander and discard any with holes or are mushy. Chop them into small pieces.
  • Peel and chop the onions, apples (discarding the cores) and garlic.
  • Peel the ginger and carefully microplane into a small bowl.
  • Place tomatoes, onion, apples, garlic, ginger, salt, all the spices and half the vinegar in a heavy-based stockpot. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring, for one hour.
  • Add remaining vinegar and the sugar and simmer for another 90 minutes or until thick. Stir regularly to prevent catching.
  • Spoon hot chutney into sterilised jars and cover with airtight lids for one month before serving.

Notes: Why are the tomatoes green? What is a microplane grater? Why we do have to cook the chutney for so long? Why do we leave the jars for a month before serving?

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Penne pesto

For a spicy alternative, rocket leaves can be added to the basil and pounded together or you could try a parsley combination… cooked chickpeas can be used in place of pine nuts in case of nut allergy, and gluten free pasta works fantastically!

Fresh from the garden: basil, garlic
Recipe source: pesto adapted from a recipe by Alice Waters in The Art of Simple Food
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • Large saucepan or stockpot
  • Mixing bowls – 4 mixed sizes
  • Scales
  • Salad spinner
  • Cheese grater
  • Medium frying pan
  • Mortar & pestle
  • Tea towel
  • Measuring jug
  • Spatula
  • Tablespoon
  • Serving bowls

  • 250g dried penne
  • 1 big bunch basil, to yield about 100g
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • Salt
  • 80g pine nuts
  • 50g parmesan cheese – grana padano or parmigiano
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil


What to do:

  • Fill the large saucepan or stockpot with water and set it to boil.
  • Weigh the pasta and add it to the pot when boiling with a tablespoon of salt – cook for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pick the basil leaves from the stalks and weigh before you wash them! Then wash in several changes of water and thoroughly spin-dry the basil.
  • Heat the frying pan on a medium heat and lightly dry-toast the pine nuts, shaking regularly so that they don’t stick.
  • Peel the garlic clove and place in the mortar and pestle with a good pinch of salt. Pound these to a paste.
  • Grate the parmesan cheese.
  • Add the pine nuts to the mortar & pestle and continue to pound. Once smooth-ish, transfer to the bowl and stir in the parmesan.
  • Tear the basil leaves and put them into the mortar with a sprinkle of flaked salt. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pine nut mixture to the mortar and, pounding it all together, gradually pour in all the olive oil.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary, then using the spatula, scrape out the pesto into a clean big mixing bowl.
  • When the pasta is cooked, scoop out into the pesto bowl with a small amount of cooking water to moisten. Divide among bowls and serve!

Notes: With what else can you use pesto? What also goes with well with basil? Why do we toast the pine nuts? Can you name any other pasta sauces?

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Green leaves and potato soup

These sunny-but-cool days & lengthening nights sing to me of soup, soup and more soup – and this is a great way to use up any bolting rocket or snaily kale!

Fresh from the garden: rocket, silverbeet, kale, potatoes, basil
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Scales
  • Chopping boards & knives, scissors
  • Peelers, garlic press
  • Bowls – big
  • Salad spinner
  • Large stockpot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measures –jug, tablespoon
  • Stick blender/ handheld mixer
  • Ladle
  • Serving bowls

  • 500g waxy potatoes like Kipflers
  • A small bunch of spring onions
  • A small bunch of rocket
  • A handful silverbeet
  • A handful kale
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 tablespoon bouillon
  • Black pepper
  • A bunch of basil

What to do:

  • Fill the kettle and, making sure you have dry hands, set it to boil.
  • Scrub the potatoes under running cold water (do not peel!) & cut into 2cm cubes.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and squeeze them through the garlic press. Wash & trim the spring onions and slice into finger-width pieces.
  • Melt butter in the large stockpot over medium heat and sauté the spring onion and garlic for a minute, and then add the potato cubes and turn so that the potato cubes sweat in the butter.
  • Meanwhile wash the rocket in several changes of water and spin dry. Roll up and slice into thin ribbons. Wash the silverbeet in several changes of water and shake dry. Slice or cut the leaves up the middle to remove the stems, then chop them into 1cm pieces. Roll up the leaves and finely slice them into ribbons.
  • Wash the kale leaves and shake dry. Cut or tear the leaves from the stalks, chop the stalks into half-finger-width pieces, and slice up the leaves into ribbons.
  • Carefully measure the boiling water and the bouillon into the pot of potatoes and stir. Bring it to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover and cook gently over low heat for 10 minutes, then add the silverbeet and kale stalks.
  • Cook for 2 minutes – check that the potato is tender, then stir in rocket, silverbeet and kale leaves. Increase heat to medium and simmer for another 2 minutes. If it’s really thick you may need to add another cup of hot water and pinch of salt.
  • Wash the basil and pick the leaves from the stalks, spin dry.
  • With dry hands, plug in the stick blender and carefully blitz the soup until it is silky smooth. Add the basil leaves and blitz again.
  • Taste for correct seasoning and ladle into bowls to serve.

Notes: How many different procedures are there here? Why do we want the potato to ‘sweat’?

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Roasted turnips and pears with rosemary honey drizzle

The colder weather brings us turnips, parsnips and swedes but they’re a tricky bunch to convince kids to eat… Unless they’re swaddled in buttery honeyed goodness! Serve this with roast pork.

Fresh from the garden: turnips, pears, rosemary
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Susie Middleton in Fast, Fresh & Green (seen on
Serves: 4 as a side dish or 24 tastes


  • Large rimmed baking tray
  • Baking paper
  • Paper towel
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Mixing bowls
  • Spatula
  • Mezzaluna
  • Scales
  • Measures: ¼ cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Small saucepan
  • Serving bowls

  • 4 medium purple-topped turnips
  • 2 firm ripe Bosc pears
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary


What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 220C. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
  • Scrub the turnips under running water and wipe dry. Without peeling, chop them into 2cm cubes by cutting into slices first, then rods, then cubes.
  • Wash and dry the pears and prepare in the same way as the turnips, discarding the cores.
  • In a large bowl, toss together turnips and pears with oil and salt until well combined. Place in an even layer on prepared baking sheet.
  • Transfer to oven and roast, turning with a spatula once or twice during cooking, until browned and turnips are easily pierced with a paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.
  • Meanwhile, wash the rosemary sprig and wipe dry with paper towel. Strip the needles from the stalk and finely chop using the mezzaluna. We will need about a tablespoon’s worth.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add honey and rosemary; let simmer for a few seconds and remove from heat.
  • Transfer turnips and pears to serving bowls and drizzle with butter mixture. Toss to combine and serve.

Notes: What other classic fruit and vegetable combinations can you think of? What does a turnip smell like?


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Kitchen news – 15th May 2014

Week 3 and our first news back since last term – and my goodness how busy we’ve been since then! We’ve had some smashing workshops over the holidays with Li, Amelia and the gang at Vacation Care, cooking up some wonderful bowls of Green herb soup, steaming trays of Autumn pizza with herby mushrooms and rocket, some chunky individual Frittate with pumpkin, feta and spinach, and testing out our new Spiraliser gadgets (thanks to Tonia, Anna & Alice for the loan of theirs!) with the funky Zucchini, mint and lemon salad with pangrattato. And we even rolled up some of Ava’s famous Anzac biscuits!

And the first menu back for Term 2 has included some delicious new and old favourites too: Potato and rosemary pizza is back – testing our mandoline skills – along with the Poached egg salad with creamy basil mayo and fresh-podded garden peas, and some punchy Carrot muffins with garlic butter (watch out vampires – our stinky garlic breath is coming for you!). Also some hearty dishes for those cool nights: Moroccan chickpea hotpot; and the easier-than-you-think Cheese and spring onion soufflés. Don’t mind if I do!

All recipes are up to date here now – but drop me a line if you don’t see what you want…

We’re always after new (and old!) volunteers but PLEASE let us know in advance if you’re coming along so that we can plan our classes!

Cheers, Melissa x

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Poached egg salad with peas and basil mayo

We love making mayonnaise at Bondi and always talk about the difference in flavour from the ready-bought stuff! This salad is wonderful – creamy from the mayo and egg yolk but also tangy from the dressed lettuce – and it’s so worth fetching some fresh peas to pod as they really pop in your mouth!

Fresh from the garden: lettuce, eggs, peas, basil, salad burnet, lemon, garlic
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 4 at home or 24 tastes


  • Small saucepan
  • Colander
  • Medium high-sided frying pan
  • Bowls – 3 large, at least 4 small
  • Salad spinner
  • Paper towel & tea towel
  • Citrus juicer
  • Chopping boards and knives, scissors
  • Measures: tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Stick blender & its cup
  • Measuring jug, fork
  • Slotted spoon
  • Serving plates




  • A handful of fresh peas in the shell
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 large handfuls of lettuce
  • A handful salad burnet

For the basil mayonnaise:

  • A small branch of basil leaves
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 level teaspoon mustard powder
  • 120ml rice bran oil
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • Freshly milled black pepper

What to do:

For the salad:

  • Fill the small saucepan up with water and set it to boil. Pod the peas and have ready a big bowl of cold water. When the water is boiling, add the podded peas and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and refresh in the bowl of cold water. Drain and reserve.
  • Separate out the lettuce leaves over the sink and rinse under the tap.Fill up a big bowl with cold water & wash the iceberg leaves in several changes of water, looking for any dirt in the bottom of the bowl. Spin dry in small batches.
  • Lay out the tea towel and line it with kitchen paper. Spread the salad leaves over the paper and roll the whole lot up like a log. Keep the rolled parcel of leaves in the fridge until needed.
  • Wash and spin dry the burnet and strip off the leaves, discarding the stalks. Wrap them carefully in paper towel and keep them in the fridge with the lettuce.

For the mayonnaise:

  • Wash, spin dry and separate off the basil leaves and discard the stalks into the compost.
  • Cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half to yield ½ teaspoon lemon juice. Peel the garlic clove and finely slice.
  • Now break the egg into the cup of the stock blender, add the salt, garlic, mustard powder and a few twists of freshly milled black pepper, thenblitz to blend these together.
  • Now measure the oils into the jug, mix well with a fork and ask a helper to pour it in a thin trickle into the cup whilst it’s blending. When all the oil is in, add the vinegar, lemon juice and basil leaves, then blend again until the leaves are quite finely chopped.

To poach the eggs:

  • Fill a medium-sized frying pan with water to a depth of approximately 5cm, heat it up to the boil, then lower the heat it to a bare simmer.
  • Then break the 4 eggs into the four separate small bowls taking care not to break the yolks and removing any shell with your fingertips. Then lower them, one at a time, into the simmering water and let them cook together, uncovered, for 4 minutes. Fill a large bowl with cold water.
  • Then, use the slotted spoon to lift them from the water and transfer them to the bowl of cold water, until you are ready to use them.

To serve:

  • Bring the lettuce out of the fridge, gently slice up the leaves if needed and put into a big mixing bowl. Drizzle a teaspoon each of olive oil and white wine vinegar over the leaves with a pinch of salt and grind of pepper, and turn gently to combine.
  • Arrange the leaves on each serving plate.
  • Holding a clean tea towel in one hand, scoop up an egg with the slotted spoon and carefully drain of water. Arrange a poached egg in the centre of each salad plate, drizzle some of the mayonnaise over the top of each salad, followed by a sprinkle of the peas and then the salad burnet leaves.
  • Serve.

Notes:Why do we add a trickle of oil at first into the egg mixture of the mayonnaise? Why shouldn’t we break the eggs when poaching them? What is salad burnet and what does it smell like?

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Cheese and spring onion souffles

This classic comfort food recipe has appeared on this blog in a slightly different version of two cheeses souffle – but this version with spring onions has gone down a treat, even if we do say so ourselves…

Fresh from the garden: eggs, spring onion
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe on
Serves: 5 at home or 25 tastes


  • 5 x 250ml ramekins or soufflé dishes
  • Baking paper & string
  • Scissors
  • Baking tray
  • Scales
  • Paper towel, pot holders
  • Bowls – 1 large, 5 small
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Stand mixer and bowl
  • Metal spoon
  • 4 under-plates to serve

  • 25g butter plus extra to grease the ramekins
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 100g parmesan
  • 2 or 3 spring onions
  • 5 eggs
  • 25g flour
  • 250ml milk
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

  • Heat the oven to 200C. Butter the ramekins.
  • Make a collar for each ramekin by tearing a 40cm length of baking paper, folding it into thirds, and buttering one side. Then roll it around the ramekin, buttered side in, and tying with string to secure. Place them on the baking tray when done.
  • Measure the parmesan, then grate it. Crumble the feta cheese.
  • Wash the spring onions and pat dry with paper towel. Strip off the tough outer layer and trim the roots and tops. Finely chop them into thin discs to yield about 2 tablespoons.
  • Carefully separate each of the eggs, putting the whites into the very clean and dry bowl of the stand mixer, and reserving the yolks in a small bowl.
  • Melt 25g butter in the saucepan, stir in the flour and gently cook on a low heat for a minute or so. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time to make a thick sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour.
  • Stir in the cheeses and spring onions then add 4 of the egg yolks, season generously and mix well.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and form soft peaks.
  • Using a metal spoon, start folding the egg whites into the cheese mixture carefully – begin by using about 1/3 of the whites first and then adding the rest once combined – and pour into the buttered soufflé dishes.
  • Cook for 12–15 minutes until the soufflés are risen and golden.
  • Using pot holders, carefully place a soufflé on to an lined underplate and serve TOUT SUITE!

Notes: What is a ramekin? Why do we separate the egg yolks and whites? Why do we need to cook out the flour? Where does the word soufflé come from?

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Moroccan chickpea hotpot

As soon as the weather starts to chill, our thoughts turn to hearty veggie soups and stews…

From the garden: onion, garlic, celery, carrot, coriander
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 at home or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Stockpot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measures – jug, tablespoon, teaspoon, ¼ teaspoon
  • C0lander
  • Paper towel
  • Scissors
  • Serving bowls
  • Ladle



  • 1 litre boiling water and a tablespoon of bouillon (or 1 litre stock)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tins diced tomatoes
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • A small handful fresh coriander

What to do:

  • Fill the kettle and set it to boil.
  • Peel and coarsely chop the onion. Peel and crush the garlic.
  • Wash and trim the ends from the celery and thinly slice. Wash, peel and finely chop the carrot.
  • Heat the oil in the stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, ground cumin, sweet paprika, ground ginger and the ground cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic.
  • Add the tomato and hot water and bouillon (or stock) and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas and add to the pot, cooking for 2 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Wash and pat the coriander dry and finely snip with scissors into tiny pieces.
  • Ladle the soup among serving bowls. Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately.

Notes: What does cumin smell like? Where does the bouillon live? What is a hotpot?

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Vacation Care Autumn Program – April 2014

Once again we had eager wee beavers come along to the Holiday Cooking Program in the cottage – it’s so lovely to wee the children in their colourful ‘mufti’ clothes, and with big smiles on their faces… We run 2 classes a day over 2 days so it’s busy, busy, busy – but the children are wonderful helpers so the cooking gets done quickly and professionally – and some even stay to help clean up at the end!

So to the menu: Green herb soup to kick off – a fab way of using up a surplus of herbs, and the choice of which to use is totally up to you… The junior team whipped up a few batches of individual Spinach, feta and pumpkin frittate as well, and we had great fun using our new Spiraliser gadget to  make Zucchini, mint and feta salad with pangrattato. Our main course was a deliciously aromatic Autumn pizza with herby mushrooms and rocket, and we finished with Ava’s Orange Anzacs as the big day was only around the corner…

Thanks for coming everybody and I hope to see you next holidays!


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