Monthly Archives: January 2016

Paul’s tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil

My uncle Paul has the greenest thumbs I know. He has a big sunny backyard and grows the best veggies – kilos of broad beans, basket-loads of lemons, buckets of zucchini, tubs of  chillies, all different ones, and right now, loads and loads of beautiful tomatoes. We’ve been eating them sliced up every morning for brekky, my aunt Rose and I, on sourdough toast, with lots of unsalted butter and a smear of Promite, and the necessary black pepper and grind of salt…

He gave me some to bring back home after the holidays so I set straight to chopping them up for the simplest but most wonderful salad known to man or woman:

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Paul’s tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella and basil

Ingredients:

  • A large bowl of tomatoes, ideally different shapes and sizes and even colours if you’ve got them!
  • A ball of buffalo mozzarella in a  tub
  • A bunch of basil
  • Some really great olive oil (or at least as fresh as you can get!)
  • Black pepper in a mill

What to do:

  1. Wash and dry the tomatoes and chop into good chunks, discarding any hard cores and place in a  decent shallow bowl.
  2. Open the mozzarella and drain the ball. Pull apart large chunks of the cheese and dot over the tomatoes.
  3. Wash and spin dry the basil leaves then  tear into small pieces and scatter over the salad.
  4. Drizzle over the best olive oil that you can reach. Grind over a few twists of black pepper. Let the salad sit for 20 minutes for the flavours to sink in.
  5. Eat! Crusty bread is great to mop it all up…

As always, the quality of the stuff you use is important, especially when you’re only using so few ingredients. Buffalo mozzarella is expensive but by golly it’s delicious, and perfect for the sweet and acidic brilliance of the home-grown tomatoes. I was also happy to find some Nolan’s Road ‘delicate’ olive oil in the cupboard to use, that stuff’s so good you could drink it neat. Hope you can get in to some soon…

Happy New Year everybody!

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Spiced grains, almonds, labne and currants

Our friend Caroline had been to Drake Eatery in Bondi and said you MUST go there and have the grain and seed side dish. She said you probably wouldn’t order it if you didn’t know about it, so please order it and tell me what you think… So of course we did, and we loved it, and now order it every time we go there because it’s such a great place, and the salad is a total winner.

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So I’ve been wondering for ages how to replicate it.

We were invited to a friend’s birthday at his home two days ago on the 1st January (HB PH!) and I suggested I would bring a salad. What a perfect salad to bring, I thought, if I could find out what they put in it? So I consulted the oracle and found, several pages in, a salad recipe that sounded EXACTLY like the one I was looking for! So there it was, on the Food To Love website, brought to you by the Australian Women’s Weekly! So no disrespect to Drake, but I reckon this is where they got their idea…

Mediterranean Grain Salad aka Drake’s spiced grains, almonds, labne and currants

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup french-style small green lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  • 1 cup (280g) labne
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey

Steps

  1. Wash the rice and lentils, separately, drain and then cook in large saucepans of boiling salted water for 20 minutes or until tender, then drain and rinse well in cold water.
  2. Wash the quinoa and drain, and then tip in to a small saucepan with the cup of water and a sprinkle of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover for 10 minutes until tender. Drain.
  3. Roast pepitas, sunflower seeds and pinenuts together on an oven tray (keep the cumin seeds and flaked almonds all separate on separate pieces of foil), in a 180°C oven for 8 minutes, stirring half way through.
  4. Peel the onion and finely chop. Squeeze lemon juice. Wash the herbs, dry them and chop the leaves.
  5. Combine the cooked rice, lentils and quinoa in a large bowl. Add the chopped onion, pepitas, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, currants, herbs, juice and the olive oil and stir well.
  6. Stir the cumin seeds into labne in a small bowl.
  7. To serve, top salad with spoonfuls of labne, drizzle with honey and scatter with the flaked almonds. (At school we would omit the almonds).

Tips

Labne is drained yoghurt. You can make it at home, straining Greek yoghurt through cheesecloth in the fridge for 3 days, or you can buy it at Kemeny’s or Harris Farm like I do!

 

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Kitchen News 1st Dec 2015

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So we’ve just finished a Super-Spring menu of the last of the globe artichokes with lemon, garlic and herbs and a really fabulous bruschetta with zucchini, feta and basil (yes zucchini! The kids loved it!). We rolled out reams of bright purple pasta for beetroot ravioli with goats cheese and mint and also finely sliced onions and leaves for the chunky kale and borlotti bean soup – great for those 42 degree days – and chopped, blended and blended (and blended) all the fennel tops, onion, garlic, celery, parsley and sundried tomatoes for the recipe of Cornersmith’s bouillon that we water-bath and keep for stock for next year.

And then finishing the year in fine fettle, with a festive menu of carrot and potato latkes with apple sauce and a brightly coloured broad bean, parmesan and pea mash scooped up with wedges of garlicky flatbreads. We’re harvesting all that we can to finish off the garden year, so plating up End-of-Year salad bursting with tomatoes, cucumbers, crispy kale and sautéed tatsoi with bunches of herbs and a tangy dressing. And then to finish: a repeat of last year’s delicious rosemary shortbread. Hallelujah!

Thank you to all you intrepid and generous volunteers that have given your precious time to us this year. As you know, we couldn’t do it without you and YOU are the reason the Kitchen Garden Program at Bondi is such a success. Not only in guiding and encouraging our eager students, but also in supporting our roles and your continued words of wisdom and inspiration. We hope you have a wonderful holiday and get to spend it doing stuff you really love!

See you all next year,

Melissa

PS We really do need lots of help over the holidays with the chickens – when Vacation Care is closed and on the weekends – so if you’re staying in Bondi we’d appreciate your assistance!

To Volunteer for Classes or Chickens: click on VolunteerSpot at http://vols.pt/8qCfEY

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Rosemary shortbread

Allison was our gardener before Byron and she suggested this recipe to me. I was sceptical at first but lo! she brought some in that she had made and they were deeeeeelish! The rosemary bizarrely makes the biscuits taste of aromatic spices like cinnamon and ginger!

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Fresh from the garden: rosemary
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Yvette Van Boven in Home Made
Serves: 8 at home or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Paper towel
  • Baking paper
  • Measures: tablespoon
  • Scales
  • Medium baking tray
  • KitchenAid stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • Bowls – big, med, small
  • Butter knife and fork
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Cellophane bags and ribbon if needed
Ingredients:

  • 150g butter at room temperature
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • A medium branch of rosemary with extra sprigs to garnish

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Wash the rosemary and wipe dry. Strip the needles from the medium branch and finely chop. You will need about 2 tablespoons worth.
  3. Line the baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
  4. Beat the butter and the sugar and honey into a creamy mass. Stir in the flour, with the rosemary and salt. Do not beat too long, it just has to be well blended. Knead a few times on a countertop dusted with flour until it turns into a smooth dough ball.
  5. Press the dough into the baking tray and even out. Cut the raw slab into small equal fingers with the edge of the butter knife.
  6. Prick holes in the dough with a fork and garnish each wedge with a small sprig of rosemary.
  7. Bake the shortbread in the oven for 15-20 minutes until light brown. Leave to cool in the dish for 10 minutes and then carefully remove it. You can now break it along the scored lines and leave to cool further.
  8. And serve! Or if giving as presents, slip into cellophane bags when cold and tie with ribbon. 

Notes: What other dishes can you use rosemary in? Why should we not beat the ingredients for too long? What other flavourings could you use?

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End of Year salad

This is where we clean out the garden in preparation for the big break… what better to do than throw it all in together?

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Fresh from the garden: all the last veggies of the year…
Recipe source: Melissa

Equipment:

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

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Salad leaves
  • Bok choy or tatsoi
  • Tomatoes
  • 4 eggs

Herby vinaigrette dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A small handful mixed herbs: tarragon, marjoram, thyme, chives, salad burnet

What to do:

  1. For the dressing: Peel the garlic clove and put it in the mortar with a large pinch of salt. Gently 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.
  2. For the crispy kale: Preheat oven to 180C. Wash the kale really well, checking for bugs or cocoons, and using scissors, cut the leaves from the stalks in large pieces. Spin leaves dry in the salad spinner, then dry extra well with paper towel, then place in a bowl and add in a few pinches of flaked salt and drizzle of olive oil. Massage all the flavour into the kale for a minute, then lay out on the baking trays and slide into the oven for 5 to 7 minutes until crispy.
  3. For the salad: 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 and flowers. Reserve them carefully on a piece of paper towel then keep separate in the bowl.
  4. Wash the tomatoes and drain and then slice any large ones in half without squashing! Wash the cucumbers, peel alternating strips of each one and then slice into thin discs.
  5. 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 on the lowest heat before removing each egg into the bowl of cold water with a slotted spoon and reserving until needed.
  6. 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.
  7. Pile up the dressed leaves into the serving bowls with the  tomatoes and cucumber, sprinkle over the crispy kale, then carefully drain an egg and place in each bowl with the garnishing petals. Serve immediately.
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Broad bean, parmesan and pea mash

We love broad beans when they arrive in the spring – they’re a true seasonal and local veg! Our harvest wasn’t huge this year so we added frozen peas in too for bulk and sweetness.

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Fresh from the garden: broad beans, lemon, garlic, fresh herbs
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 at home or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • 2 saucepans & lids
  • 2 big mixing bowls
  • Chopping board
  • Grater
  • Garlic press
  • Scales
  • Measures: tablespoon, teaspoon
  • 2 colanders
  • Citrus juicer
  • Mortar & pestle
  • Serving bowls
Ingredients:

  • A large handful of broad beans
  • A cup of frozen peas
  • 50g grana padano or parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Half a lemon
  • A clove of garlic
  • Cooking salt
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • A small handful tarragon, thyme and marjoram

What to do:

  1. Fill the two saucepans with water & set it to boil with the lid on.
  2. Pod the broad beans into the medium bowl and put the outer shells into the compost.
  3. Wash the lemon and zest it, and then juice the lemon. Peel the garlic clove and squeeze it through the press.
  4. Wash and dry the herbs and pick from stems, and finely chop if needed.
  5. Weigh the parmesan, then grate and reserve in the small bowl.
  6. Fill the big bowl with cold water.
  7. When the water is boiling, drop all the broad beans into one of the saucepans, and the frozen peas into the other saucepan with a teaspoon of cooking salt each and put the lid back on to bring back to the boil quickly. Boil for 3 minutes with the lid off.
  8. Then drain the broad beans into one of the colanders & then immediately refresh in the bowl of cold water. Drain the peas into the other colander and then drop into the big bowl.
  9. Double-pod the broad beans into the peas, discarding the outer skin into the chook bin.
  10. Scoop a few spoons of peas and broad beans into the mortar with a tablespoon of the olive oil and grind them with the pestle with a pinch of salt (you may have to do this in a few batches) until smooth – a few beanie lumps are fine!
  11. Stir in the lemon juice bit by bit, and taste – and add in the grated parmesan, garlic and herbs with a grind of pepper into the broad bean mixture. Taste again to check if enough salt.
  12. Spoon the mash into serving bowls and serve with some lovely bread or crispy flatbread.

Notes: What does ‘double-pod’ mean? Why do we do this to the broad beans? What other name are broad beans known by?

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Cornersmith’s bouillon

This recipe comes to us from the picklery Cornersmith in Marrickville. Bouillon is what we use instead of stock in all our soup and risotto recipes. The aim of the recipe is to use up excess vegetable parts – carrot tops, fennel tops, spinach stems, parsley stems etc.The recipe can be varied with the seasons by adding what you have on hand.

ourkitchengarden.net

Fresh from the garden: leeks, fennel, carrots, parsley, mint, coriander, onions
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe from the Cornersmith Café
Makes: 4 medium jars

Equipment:

  • Jars and lids
  • Large oven tray
  • Paper towel
  • Scales
  • Chopping boards & knives
  • Peelers
  • Large mixing bowls
  • Salad spinner, colander
  • Scissors
  • Wooden spoons
  • Food processor
  • Funnel, teaspoons
Ingredients:

  • 200g brown onions
  • 200g leeks
  • 200g fennel
  • 200g Dutch carrots
  • 200g celery
  • Carrot tops
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 40 sundried tomatoes
  • 1 head garlic
  • 200g fine cooking salt

What to do:

  1. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse well and drain upside down. Place all the jars onto an oven tray, right side up, and slide into the oven. Turn the oven on to 160C to sterilize for 15 minutes.
  2. Dry the lids with a clean piece of paper towel.
  3. Wash all the vegetables and scrub if needed. Trim any ugly bits and discard. Peel the onion & garlic, and carrots if needed.
  4. Wash the herbs, spin dry and finely snip, discarding any tough stalks.
  5. Using a large knife, chop all vegetables into small sized chunks. Snip the sun-dried tomatoes into thin slices using scissors.
  6. In batches if necessary, add the ingredients to the food processor.
  7. Process into a thick paste and then scrape out into a clean and dry large bowl. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with the salt so it is mixed in evenly. You can use your hands for this but beware of the onion fumes in your eyes!
  8. Put the funnel into the top of the sterilized jars.
  9. Fill the jars without touching any of the inside or rims, and seal tightly.
  10. You may want to ‘can’ the jars in a water-bath to preserve longer: Line a wide saucepan or stockpot with a rubber mat or tea towel, then place the full, sealed jars in so that none are touching the sides of the pot or each other. Fill with lukewarm water and then set to boil on high for between 10 and 20 minutes. Turn off then using tongs, carefully lift out the jars and leave to cool on a wooden board. Label when cool.

Notes: This is used as a replacement to stock: one tablespoon dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water. It can be added to stews and soups or any meals that need a boost of flavour.

Bouillon will last for a year unopened and stored in a cool dark place. Once opened, store it in the fridge and it should last you for at least 6 months.

ourkitchengarden.net

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Kale and borlotti bean soup

The kids at Bondi tend to favour smooth, blended soups but sometimes I like to shake things up a bit by getting them to prepare a super-hearty and super-chunky soup instead! This one amazingly always goes down well.

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Fresh from the garden: kale, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 at home or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Glass bowl
  • Measures: cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, ¼ teaspoon
  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards & knives
  • Large stockpot and lid
  • A selection of mixing bowls
  • Sieve
  • Bowls to serve
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried borlotti beans
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 bunch kale
  • Olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 400g tin diced tomatoes

What to do:

The night before:

  • Place beans in a non-reactive bowl and cover with lots of cold water and a teaspoon of bicarb. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.

In the lesson:

  1. Fill the kettle to the 1.5 mark and set it to boil.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic cloves.
  3. Wash, peel and finely chop the carrots.
  4. Wash the celery and shake dry over the sink. Finely chop the stalks including the leaves.
  5. Wash the kale and shake dry over the sink. Slice off the stem, discarding into the compost and finely slice (shred) the kale leaves.
  6. Wash the thyme, spin it dry and strip off the leaves, discarding the stems into the compost.
  7. Pour olive oil into the stockpot just to cover the base and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until translucent for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  8. Add in the carrot and celery and cook for another few minutes.
  9. Add the garlic, thyme and chilli flakes and then stir in the tomato paste.
  10. Drain the beans, rinse them and drain again. Add them and the tin of tomato, hot water and bouillon to the stockpot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer with the lid half on for 20 minutes or until the beans are tender, adding a little more water if the soup becomes too thick. Add the shredded kale and cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Taste to check for salt levels, then add more if needed and grind in some pepper, then serve. 

Notes: What is a non-reactive bowl? Why do we soak the beans?

ourkitchengarden.net

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Beetroot ravioli with goats cheese and mint

The pasta dough will need to rest for about an hour, so each class makes for the next, so gets straight down to rolling for the ravioli!

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Fresh from the garden: chives, mint
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
Makes: 48 small ravioli

Equipment:

·       Pasta machines

·       A selection of mixing bowls

·       Salad spinner, paper towel

·       Chopping board & knife

·       Large metal spoon, teaspoons

·       Crinkly or pizza cutter

·       Pastry brush

·       2 baking trays

·       A large stockpot & small saucepan

·       Slotted spoon

·       Colander

·       Serving bowls

Ingredients:

·       1 quantity 500g beetroot pasta (complete first 8 points then continue with this recipe)

·       200g ricotta

·       150g goats cheese at room temperature

·       10 chives

·       2 sprigs mint

·       Semolina flour or fine polenta, for dusting

·       Cooking salt

·       Flaked salt & black pepper

·       Extra-virgin olive oil

·       50g salted butter

What to do:

  1. Fill the stockpot with water and set to heat to a rolling boil.

To make the filling:

  1. Wash and pat dry the mint and chives. Weigh the cheeses out. Saving one mint sprig for garnish, finely chop the leaves from the other to yield about 2 tablespoons worth. Snip the chives into tiny pieces & stir the herbs together with cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the ravioli:

  1. Dust a baking sheet and your work surface with the semolina flour. Working with each sheet of dough just after it’s been rolled, lay the sheet down on your dusted surface.
  2. Space tablespoons of filling about 10cm apart along just about a quarter in of the strip. Fold the top half over, and then gently press around filling to seal, working from centre out.
  3. Using a cutter, cut between each ravioli to separate. Transfer ravioli to sheet, and cover with a clean tea towel. Repeat with remaining pasta dough and filling.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the boiling water in the stockpot and half of the ravioli. Cook, stirring once or twice to separate, for about 4 minutes until edges are just tender.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander to drain. Drizzle with oil, and toss gently to coat. Transfer to a bowl, and loosely cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining ravioli.
  6. Meanwhile, once all the ravioli is almost cooked, melt the butter in the small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma for about 4 minutes.
  7. Divide ravioli among plates (if first batch has cooled, return them to hot water for 15 seconds, then drain). Spoon browned butter over ravioli. Serve immediately garnished with the mint.

Notes: To freeze ravioli, place in a single layer on baking sheets in the freezer for about 15 minutes, and then pack in airtight container. Freeze for up to 1 month. Do not thaw before cooking.

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Bruschetta with zucchini, feta and basil

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Bruschetta: Italian for open sandwich! You can use pretty much anything you want but we love this zucchini version.

Fresh from the garden: zucchini, lemon, garlic, basil
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 8 or 24

Equipment:

  • Grill trays
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Measures: ¼ cup, tablespoon, ¼ teaspoon
  • Pastry brush
  • A selection of mixing bowls
  • A clean, dry tea towel
  • Graters
  • Garlic press
  • Microplane grater
  • Salad spinner
  • Large frying pan
  • Serving plates
Ingredients:

  • A loaf of good sourdough
  • Olive oil
  • 3 zucchini
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
  • Flaked salt and black pepper
  • 50g Danish feta
  • About 10 basil leaves

What to do:

  1. Preheat the grill on high.
  2. Slice the loaf in half lengthwise and then slice each half into small slices – you will need about 15 from each half-loaf. Measure 1/4 cup of olive oil into a small bowl and then brush each slice with oil. Place the bread on the grill trays and slide into the top level of the oven to grill for about 1 minute or so each side. Remove when done.
  3. Wash the zucchini and shake dry, then grate them on to a clean tea towel, then pull up the sides and twist and squeeze tightly over a large bowl to remove as much liquid as possible. Drain and wipe the bowl out and tip the grated zucchini into it.
  4. Peel and crush the garlic. Wash the basil, picking the leaves off and spin-drying them before finely chopping or tearing them into little pieces.
  5. Wash the lemon, then dry it and using the microplane grater, zest the lemon.
  6. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil into the frying pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini and garlic (and chilli flakes if using) and stir-fry for about 5 minutes until zucchini has softened without browning. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Weigh the feta and then crumble it in to the zucchini, adding in the lemon zest and basil.
  8. Place the toasted bruschetta slices onto serving plates, spoon the zucchini mixture on and serve!

Notes: Why do we squeeze the zucchini through the tea towel? What is another name for zucchini? How do you pronounce bruschetta?

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