Kitchen Garden

Tom yum soup with finger limes

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The finger lime is a unique and ancient Australian native – citrus australasica – found in the wild around the rainforest areas of SE Queensland and the northern rivers region of New South Wales. Inside the finger lime’s skin are hundreds of juice filled pearls or ‘lime caviar’ that burst in the mouth with a rare and exciting explosion of flavour. The finger lime’s lime caviar is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. The colour varies according to the variety: it can be opaque, yellow, green, pink or red.

Foraged bush food: finger limes
Recipe source: Melissa Moore
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Paper towel
  • Salad spinner
  • Measures – tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Mixing bowls – selection
  • Serving bowls
  • Ladle

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 litres water
  • A clove of garlic
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • A small handful assorted mushrooms
  • A head of bok choi
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon bouillon
  • 1 quantity tom yum paste (see recipe)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
  • A small handful finger limes

What to do:

  1. Make the paste recipe first (see separate tom yum paste recipe).
  2. Fill the kettle to the 1.5 litre mark and set it to boil.
  3. Peel and finely chop the clove of garlic.
  4. Cut or strip the leaves from the lemongrass (reserving the leaves for another time) and wash the stalks. Chop them into 10cm lengths and bash lightly.
  5. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a piece of paper towel, then slice them into very thin slices.
  6. Wash the bok choi, separating out the leaves and cleaning, and slice into thin strips.
  7. Cut the lime into quarters.
  8. Pour the hot water into the large saucepan and add the bouillon. Bring back to the boil and stir in all the tom yum paste and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in the lemongrass batons and whole kaffir lime leaves.
  10. Mix in the mushrooms and sliced bok choi. Add the fish sauce if using and a squeeze of the lime quarters and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  11. Wash and spin the coriander and basil dry, then finely chop.
  12. Remove from heat, sprinkle in the chopped coriander and ladle into bowls.
  13. Cut the finger limes in half and squeeze out the little globes into bowls as garnish.

Notes: What do finger limes look like? What is inside a finger lime?

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Wattleseed damper

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Probably the most widely recognized bush tucker recipe is damper, a simple type of bread made of water and flour. Although the Aborigines originally baked this bread, it was the Europeans that gave it the name damper. Originally made with flour, salt, and water, it was baked in the hot coals of an open campfire. During colonial times it was a staple food in the bush because stockmen and drovers in remote areas could easily carry the dry ingredients. They needed to add only water to make the damper, and often served it with tea made in a cylindrical billy or billycan, a lightweight hanging pot with a close-fitting lid.

Bush tucker: wattleseed
Recipe source: adapted from australianflavour.net
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

·       Bowls – large

·       Measures – cup, ½ cup, tablespoon, ½ teaspoon

·       Sifter or sieve

·       Table knife

·       Oven tray

·       Sharp knife

·       Pastry brush

·       Chopping board and knife

·       Serving plates

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 20g ground roasted wattleseed
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 60g butter

 

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Measure the milk and water into a small saucepan and set to heat on low. Weigh out the ground wattleseed and then add in to the milk. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the heat, then leave for 10 minutes to infuse.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then rub in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the centre, add the combined milk and water and mix lightly with a knife until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl.
  5. Gently knead on a lightly floured surface and then shape into a round, put on a greased oven tray. Pat into a round 15-16cm diameter.
  6. With sharp knife, cut two slits across dough like a cross, approximately 1cm deep.
  7. Brush top of dough with milk. Sift a little extra flour over dough.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Reduce heat to 170°C. and bake another 20 minutes.
  10. Using oven mitts, carefully slide the damper out of the oven and check that it is done: if you knock the loaf it should sound hollow inside – or you can poke a fork into the centre and see if it’s clean when pulled out.
  11. We divided our loaf into 4 and served each quarter whole, for each table to pull apart their own piece.

Notes: How would you adapt the recipe if you had no access to refrigeration?

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Kitchen news 22nd June 2016

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(This article originally appeared in the School Newsletter on 24th June.)

We’ve had an all-star cast of helpers these last few weeks – some of my original Kitchen Garden kids from 2011 have been in to assist the classes in the Cottage! It’s been great to see how beautifully they instruct the younger children and how far their cooking skills have come along after all these years. Taye, Mimi and Chandy (and their friend Elvenie) have taken care of quite a few groups over many lessons and we really appreciate it! And of course the food has been even more delicious than usual…

They have been helping some of the groups prepare the freshly picked cos lettuces, tossing them into a classic Caesar salad with anchovy and garlic-drenched crunchy baked croutons, and perfectly poached eggs plopped on top of it all.

Pumpkins are plentiful at this time of year – and really cheap at the shops: I saw some for 80c a kilo! So the big girls and the children have been carefully preparing chunks to add to sautéing leeks, thyme, ground cumin and coriander and then blending up into the Best pumpkin soup ever!

Mish and the garden crew have been harvesting carrots – and what crazy carrots they are! In class we’ve been laughing at the three-legged creatures, ugly as all get-out, and some looking like they desperately need to go to the loo! But of course they’re as delicious as can be, in Roasted winter veggies with rosemary and honey drizzle and crispy fennel bits, cauliflower florets and potato chunks.

We’ve also been experimenting with a different sort of bread too: Indian Garlic naan dough made with yoghurt and egg, baked briefly in the oven and then brushed with the garlic. Different from the usual magic dough we use, and fabulous served with Kerry’s tasty daal that some of the Broad Bean groups have made, with red lentils, mustard seeds and cumin, coconut milk, onion and capsicum. Creamily good indeed!

Next week we have the Year 1 kidlets coming to visit. Brace! Brace! Brace! Only joking – it will be lovely to see their little grobbley faces again – I’ve missed them since they moved up away from the kindy playground!

And then the week after that, holidays. A chance to recalibrate, fire up the oven and chill out a bit. Hopefully! And also Carolyn, Mish and I are running a school Kitchen Garden holiday program 13th to 15th July in the Cottage – check back for more details!

Keep safe! Mx

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Roasted winter veggies with rosemary honey drizzle

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The colder weather brings us fennel, cauliflower and carrots and they’re delicious drizzled in buttery honeyed goodness!

Fresh from the garden: fennel, cauliflower, carrot, potato, rosemary
Recipe source: Melissa Moore
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

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

  • 3 or 4 large carrots
  • Half a small cauliflower
  • A couple of fennel
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

 

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Scrub the potatoes under running water and wipe dry. Without peeling, chop them into 2cm cubes by cutting into slices first, then rods, then cubes.
  3. Wash and shake dry the cauliflower and chop into small florets and cubes.
  4. Scrub the carrots and peel, then slice into small chunks.
  5. Wash the fennel, taking care to rinse out any hidden dirt. Chop into smallish pieces.
  6. In a large bowl, toss together all the veggies with the oil and salt until well combined. Place in an even layer on prepared baking sheet.
  7. 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, for about 25 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, wash the rosemary sprig and wipe dry with paper towel. Strip the needles from the stalk and finely chop using a large knife. We will need about a tablespoon worth.
  9. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add honey and rosemary, let simmer for a few seconds and remove from heat.
  10. Transfer veggies to serving bowls and drizzle with butter mixture. Toss to combine and serve.

Notes: What other winter veggies can you name? What does fennel smell like?

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Kerry’s Tasty Daal

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This is easy to make and delicious! Add a few flakes of chilli if you like it spicy.

Fresh from the garden: onion, garlic, capsicum, ginger, tomato, coriander
Recipe source: Melissa’s friend Kerry
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Kettle
  • Measures: jug, cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Potato peeler
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Food processor
  • Stockpot
  • Flat-edged wooden spoon
  • Serving bowls

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 500ml water and a tablespoon of bouillon (or 500ml veggie stock)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ red capsicum
  • 2cm knob of ginger
  • 1 large tomato
  • Rice Bran oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 small can of coconut milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander

What to do:

  1. Fill the kettle with half a litre of water and set it to boil. When boiled pour it into the measuring jug, add the tablespoon of bouillon and stir.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Wash and finely chop the half capsicum. Peel the skin from the ginger and finely chop.
  3. Wash and finely chop the tomato. Wash the coriander and spin dry. Chop stems and leaves.
  4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in the stockpot and add the mustard seeds. Once they start popping add the chopped onions and capsicum and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger, then fry for another minute.
  5. Add lentils and fry for 2 minutes, then add turmeric & cumin powder.
  6. Add a bit of the bouillon water and half the tin of coconut milk, then just keep adding little bits of each until all absorbed, stirring as you go.
  7. After 5 minutes add the chopped tomato and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  8. Once lentils are soft (usually 20 minutes or so) divide into serving bowls and garnish with the chopped coriander. 

Notes: What is turmeric? What family do lentils come from?

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Garlic naan

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We use a number of different dough recipes at Bondi Public, but this one is perfect to mop up sloppy sauces! We use the dough made by the previous class, and then make the new dough for the next.

Fresh from the garden: garlic
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe on taste.com.au
Serves: 8 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • 2 or 3 baking trays
  • Scales
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Small saucepan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measures: jug, 1/2 cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Pastry brush
  • Serving plates

 

Ingredients:

  • 80g butter or ghee at room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons nigella seeds
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 egg

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place oven trays into the oven to preheat.
  2. Use your fist to punch down the dough. Weigh the butter or ghee, and then add half to the dough and knead for a further 5 minutes or until ghee is well incorporated into the dough.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the garlic and finely chop. Melt the remaining ghee in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Remove from heat.
  4. Divide dough into 8 even portions. Press or roll each portion into a 15 x 20cm tear shape, about 3mm thick.
  5. Sprinkle with the nigella seeds and gently push into the dough. Bring the preheated trays out of the oven and carefully place the naan onto them, and bake in oven for 6-8 minutes or until slightly puffed and golden brown.
  6. Use this time to make the dough for the next class: Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the egg lightly and then add to water, yoghurt and egg in a small jug. Add to the flour mixture and stir until mixture just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for at least 30 minutes to rise or in the fridge overnight.
  7. Remove the baked naan from oven and immediately brush with the ghee mixture. Cut into chunks and serve immediately.

Notes: Where does naan bread originate? What is ghee?

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Kitchen news 7th June

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So finally we’re getting the cold weather we’ve been wondering about all autumn… all the wintry effects in one weekend even! One day we’re swimming down at the beach and only a week later we’re battening down the hatches against the #stormageddon! I do love the change of season (for about a week anyway) when the big casserole pot gets brought out for repeat usage on the stove and my pink fluffy slippers are unearthed from the back of the wardrobe.

Luckily in the cottage we had pre-empted the change to cool and had written up some delicious and warming dishes for the menu… Kale and potato soup with poached eggs for example: instead of sautéing off the onion and then sweating in the potato with garlic and other soupy mirepoix bits, in effect layering the flavours, we bung everything in at once, more or less, cook it up and then plop the eggs in to poach in the actual soup itself! The ingredients by themselves nothing to write home about necessarily, but together make up the most tasty and soul-warming combo… and I’ve even had a few parents stop me in the playground to say they had made it at home over the storms.

Moroccan chickpea hotpot has made a comeback too, all the lovely cinnamon, smoked paprika and cumin flavours mingling away in one chunky broth and then finished with my favourite herb of all: fresh coriander. Some kids are yet to fully grasp a love of chickpeas (my own included) but I’m giving it all I’ve got and won’t stop at yuck!

Pizza is back on the menu, this time as a tomato-less pizza bianca, with spinach, roasted garlic and ricotta and it has been going down a treat. Of course it would, it’s pizza!

And we’ve even managed a salad: A warm salad of bok choy, roasted eggplant, goats cheese and the last of the little baby bush tomatoes. The flavours sing with a basil-infused basting sauce, and a little sweet aged balsamic drizzle to finish.

A few groups finished off the current crop of rhubarb to bottle a gorgeous jam with vanilla bean to sell later in the year at Grandparents Day on Friday 16th September and at the Kitchen Garden stall at the Halloween Fete on Sunday 30th October… my store cupboards are looking very healthy already with stocks of bouillon, marinated olives, mandarine marmalade and the rhubarb and vanilla jam all ready to be labelled! So save your pennies for those…

Have a good week and stay warm!

Melissa

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Warm salad of bok choy, roasted eggplant and tomatoes

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This salad can be adapted to pretty much anything you’ve got in your garden, fridge or pantry! You can add cheese, or a boiled egg or two, a tin of tuna or some roast chicken…

Fresh from the garden: eggplant, bok choy, tomatoes, basil,
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Baking tray
  • Baking paper
  • Pastry brush
  • Citrus juicer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Stick blender and cup
  • Measures: ¼ cup, tablespoon
  • Wok
  • Colander
  • Serving bowls
Ingredients:

  • One large eggplant
  • A lemon
  • A couple of sprigs of basil
  • A clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil plus extra to brush
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Flaked salt and black pepper
  • A large handful of bok choy
  • A handful of little tomatoes
  • A log of soft goats’ cheese

 What to do:

To prepare the veggies:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Wash and dry the eggplant. Trim the top end off and cut into thin slices. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and place the eggplant slices on top. Brush with a little olive oil, then slide into the oven and roast for 10 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. While the eggplant is roasting, juice the lemon, peel the garlic and wash the basil, picking the leaves and spin-drying them. Combine together the lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper, ¼ cup olive oil, garlic and most of the basil (reserving a few leaves for garnish) in a stick blender cup and whizz until totally smooth. Take the eggplant out of the oven and flip over. Brush the basil mixture over top and bake again for another 5 minutes or until cooked through and browning.
  4. Wash the bok choy, opening up the leaves slightly to dislodge any dirt, and shake dry over the sink. Slice the bok choy lengthways down the middle, and again into quarters. Heat the wok over a medium flame and pour about a tablespoon of olive oil in, and then the bok choy with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Cook for a few minutes until the leaves have wilted and the bulb part is beginning to blacken slightly.
  5. Wash the tomatoes, remove the stalks and slice – or if small, gently cut in half.

To assemble the salad:

  1. Remove the eggplant from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes.
  2. Divide the cooked bok choy into serving bowls, and then scatter the eggplant pieces on top, and then the tomatoes. Open the packet of goats’ cheese and sprinkle blobs over the veggies.
  3. Drizzle over a little olive oil and balsamic with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and scatter over basil leaves torn into small pieces.

Notes: What is balsamic vinegar? Can you eat raw eggplant? What family does eggplant belong to?

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Ricotta fritters

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Fresh from the garden: eggs, lemon/ orange
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Tobie Puttock in Daily Italian
Makes: about 20 fritters

Tobie says, “People are likely to fall in love with you if you cook them these fritters – that’s how good they are. They are best served hot but can be eaten cold.” We say start this recipe early as the dough needs to rest in the fridge before cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh ricotta
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of one lemon (although I used orange instead)
  • A pinch of bicarb soda
  • 3 tablespoons sultanas (I didn’t use these at all)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 cups vegetable oil (I used Rice Bran)
  • Icing sugar for dusting

What to do:

  1. Drain the ricotta of excess moisture and place it a large mixing bowl with the eggs: beat until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar, lemon (or orange) zest, bicarb soda, sultanas (if using) and flour and stir well to combine the ingredients.
  3. Cover with plastic film and rest the flour in the fridge for about an hour.
  4. Set out a plate lined with kitchen paper.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan, and test it by dropping in a pinch of flour: if it starts to sizzle, the oil is ready to fry.
  6. Use a tablespoon to scoop out dollops of dough mix and carefully drop them into the oil. Depending on the size of your saucepan you’ll probably be able to fry just a few at a time.
  7. Cook until the fritters turn a nice golden brown, turning them over to cook if needed, then draining well on kitchen paper.

Warning:

  • Whenever working with hot oil, take extreme care and keep small children and pets well away.
  • Never leave hot oil unattended.
  • Never fill the pan more than half way with oil.

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The best pumpkin soup ever!

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This classic soup recipe has got to be the easiest one of all – and takes no time to cook! If you want to be a bit grown-up you can also garnish with some lightly toasted pine nuts and a dollop of Greek yoghurt but my kids like it just as it is…

Fresh from the garden: pumpkin, leek, thyme, coriander
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards & knives
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measures: tablespoon
  • Scales
  • Salad spinner
  • Large stockpot
  • Stick blender
  • Ladle
  • Serving bowls
  • Scissors
Ingredients:

  • 1kg pumpkin, any type
  • One large leek
  • A small bunch of thyme
  • 20g butter
  • Olive oil
  • A tablespoon of ground cumin
  • A tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 2 tablespoons bouillon
  • Flaked salt and black pepper
  • A small bunch of coriander

 What to do:

  1. Fill the kettle to 1.5 litres and set it to boil.
  2. Wash the pumpkin then place on a chopping board and scoop out all the seeds and membranes, saving for the chooks. Carefully slice off the skin – you may need to chop it up into a few smaller pieces first – then slice the pumpkin flesh into thin slices and reserve.
  3. Wash the leek under running water, trimming off the root and outer rough leaves, and slicing half way down the middle lengthways and peeling out to release any dirt trapped inside. Then slice into thin rings.
  4. Wash the thyme and dry it, then strip off the leaves and reserve. Wash the coriander and spin dry and reserve.
  5. Heat the butter and a glug of olive oil in the stockpot until bubbling, then add the chopped leek, the thyme and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until the leek softens.
  6. Add in the sliced pumpkin and the two spices and stir again, then put the lid on the stockpot and turn right down to the lowest simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Add in the boiling water until just covering the pumpkin, add in the bouillon with a grind of pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile using the scissors, snip the coriander stalks and leaves into tiny pieces
  9. Plug in the stick blender and whizz until super-smooth. Taste to check if there is enough salt and add if needed.
  10. Ladle into bowls and garnish with coriander snips and serve straight away!

Notes: Where does the dirt hide in a leek? Is pumpkin skin edible?

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