Posts Tagged With: flowers

Salad of broad beans, radishes and goats cheese

This salad is a beautiful celebration of spring, with lots of lovely contrasting textures and flavours…

Fresh from the garden: lettuces, broad beans, radishes, snap peas, marjoram, edible flowers
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 at home or 24 tastes


  • Saucepan & lid
  • Bowls – 2 large, 2 med, 1 small
  • Colander
  • 2 salad spinners
  • Paper towel
  • Mandoline
  • Potato peeler
  • Measuring – 1/4 cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • A small jar with lid
  • Plates or bowls to serve

  • A handful lettuce leaves
  • A large handful broad beans in pod
  • A small handful radishes
  • A small punnet snap peas
  • 2 sprigs marjoram
  • 150g goats’ cheese
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • A teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • Edible flowers

What to do:

  • Fill the saucepan with water & set to boil on high heat.
  • Pod the broad beans, discarding the outer shell into the compost and add beans to the boiling water. Fill a large bowl with cold water and have ready.
  • Boil the broad beans for 3 minutes, drain and then immediately refresh in the bowl of cold water. Drain again and double-pod by slipping the outer shell off into the compost. Reserve beans.
  • Wash the lettuce leaves really well and spin dry in sections, reserving in a large clean, dry bowl. Wash & dry the marjoram sprigs, picking the leaves and leaving whole. Gently wash the flowers and reserve on a piece of paper towel until ready to use.
  • Scrub the radishes clean, wipe dry and using the mandoline or a peeler, carefully slice into thin discs.
  • Wash the snap peas, then top-and-tail each one, de-stringing as you go. Slice each bean in half or thirds.
  • For the dressing, measure the olive oil, red wine vinegar and honey and pour them into the jar. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and then put the lid on & give the jar a good shake.
  • Drizzle the dressing around the large lettuce bowl and gently turn the leaves with your fingers.
  • Place the leaves in the serving bowls, then pour the broad beans, radish slices and snap peas into the bowl and mix to cover in the residual dressing. Then sprinkle over each bowl of leaves.
  • Break the goats cheese into small chunks with your fingers and divide over the salads with the marjoram leaves.
  • Finish by carefully placing the flowers on top of the bowls of salad. Serve immediately!

Notes: What does residual mean? Why do we use honey vinaigrette here instead of our usual lemony dressing? Can you name some edible flowers?

Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Herbal tisane

Alice says, ‘A tisane is a fresh tea, an infusion of fragrant herbs, or flowers or spices, in boiling water. It is a soothing a refreshing finish to a meal, is complementary to most desserts, and offers a mild alternative to coffee. Tisane can be made from such flavourings as lemon verbena, mint, lemon thyme, lemon balm, hyssop, chamomile, citrus rind and ginger – alone and in combination. The one I make most is a combination of mint and lemon verbena. It is very beautiful made in a glass teapot so you can see the brilliant green leaves… I like to use small clear tea glasses, as they do in Morocco, so the lovely pale green colour is visible.’

Fresh from the garden: your choice of fresh herbs – English mint, spearmint, peppermint, lemon verbena, chamomile flowers, lemon thyme – orange, cumquat or lemon rind – ginger, cinnamon

Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Alice Waters in The Art of Simple Food


  • Measuring jug
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Ladle
  • Tea cups or glasses

  • A large handful of herb stalks, leaves and/or flowers
  • A thumb-sized knob of ginger or a stick of two of cinnamon or cassia bark
  • 2 litres of water

What to do: 

  • Measure the water into the saucepan and heat on high to boil.
  • Wash the herbs in several changes of water and shake dry.
  • Rinse the ginger, if using, and chop into thin slices, skin on.
  • When the water in the saucepan is boiling, carefully drop in the herbs and pieces of ginger.
  • Turn the heat off and let the tisane steep for several minutes.
  • Ladle into cups or glasses to serve.

Notes: What is a tisane? What other herbal combinations can you think of?

Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our winter salad

Fresh from the garden: Salad leaves, rocket, edible flowers, lemon, parsley, marjoram, thyme, coriander, oregano

Recipe source: Melissa ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

This is a lovely salad to pair with heavily flavoured dishes and is easy and quick to assemble.


  • Bowls – 2 large
  • 2 salad spinners
  • Tea towel
  • Kitchen paper
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Mortar & pestle
  • Measure – 1/3 cup
  • Citrus juicer
  • Mezzaluna, teaspoon
  • Serving bowls, little tongs



  • A large handful salad leaves
  • A few garnishing flowers

Herby vinaigrette dressing

  • 1 small garlic clove
    • Flaked salt & black pepper
    • 1 lemon
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • A small handful mixed herbs: parsley, marjoram, thyme, coriander, oregano

What to do:

  • Fill up the 2 big bowls with cold water & wash the salad leaves, gently dunking them a handful at a time into the water, then pulling out to see if any dirt is left behind. Repeat in fresh water until no dirt remains. Spin the leaves dry and then wipe the bowls dry.
  • Wash the flowers separately and drain on a piece of paper towel. Keep the flowers reserved, picking off the petals to use.
  • Wash and spin dry the herbs, and pick off the leaves.
  • 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.

To make 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 the pips) then stir the lot with the teaspoon and scrape it into a large bowl.
  • Stir in the olive oil and grind a little pepper, then whisk the dressing lightly. Add the herbs, chopping any large leaves in the mezzaluna if needed. Add to the dressing in the large bowl.

To assemble:

  • Unwrap the parcel of salad leaves & tip them into the bowl with the flower petals, herbs and the dressing. Gently turn the leaves in the dressing using your hands or tongs.
  • Transfer the salad to the serving bowls and serve immediately with little tongs.

Notes: What is the correct way to wash the leaves?Why do we completely dry the leaves before adding the dressing? What else could you add to the salad?

Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe, School Holiday Program | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring, shoots, Sydney and blossoms

Now, suddenly it’s as if winter never existed (except of course in the $400 electricity bill of heating and clothes-drying that landed yesterday) as the clocks jumped forward an hour last weekend, and the onset of lush late afternoons of brilliant sunshine, dinners eaten in broad daylight, and little children wondering why they have to go to bed while it’s still playtime…

We gave a mostly rainy welcome to Daylight Savings, but it was a warm, moist and muggy one, followed by some gorgeous sunny, heat prickling days – the perfect recipe for explosions of garden-green, the trees and plants and flowers and bugs all bursting with life and joy (well perhaps not the snails, alas they burst underfoot on my late-night trip out to find Charlie… less life and joy, more death and snot). Everything has exploded into life, so beautiful! Our trusty lemon tree has bloomed – it’s such a pity to be so far away at the back of the garden as the blossoms are so amazingly aromatic and Jasmine-like: exquisitely perfumed, heady and tropical.

Just driving along next to the racecourse yesterday I was hit with such verdant brilliance it felt like I was on some crazy hallucinogenic drugs (which I wasn’t),  the scene of trees, grass and sunshine was so bright and crystal-clear… Centennial Park was jumping with joggers, walkers, horse-riders, dog-walkers, stroller-runners – it really does feel great to be alive when everything around you is teeming with life and pulsating heart-beat, and joy!

When I open the kitchen door in the early-morning haze of sleep, the waking dawn smell of Sydney is one that hits me full in the face and takes me right back to being a kid at my grandparents in Carlingford, … although their house was right on the busiest road in the area, the block was deep and surrounded by mature trees, thriving banana palms and passionfruit vines… the particular smell is of sun warming dew-wet leaves, the sub-tropical Sydney flowers awaking, the hungover humid air… and then it goes, replaced by cut lawns, truck fumes, tradies’ smokes, burning toast.

Yet again this year I’ve neglected to prepare the nectarines from fruit-fly onslaught… The boughs of the tree are now beginning their slow sag, weighed down with the promising fruit. Last year we had hundreds and hundreds of juicy nectarines ripen beautifully: unsuspectingly I went to bit into one freshly picked from the tree, then at the last minute thought better to wash it – and cutting it in half was freaked to find two fresh halves of squirming maggot… luckily we had the chooks to enjoy the fruit & buggie bounty but this year will have to dispose of all the nectarines lest the maggot eggs infest the soil. Bugger!

I miss the chickens – discarding all the uneaten bowls of lovingly prepared children’s meals into the compost just isn’t the same… and as well as the wormy nectarines I think we let them run wild in the crab apples & bitter, mean persimmons too… In reality though, the stress of keeping safe someone else’s livestock is something I can live without, with the landlord’s advice ringing in our ears, “Whatever you do, do NOT leave the chickens unlocked at night, or they will DIE!!!”

So now to throw down some more snail bait, pick the seeding tops from the rocket, and hide the ripening strawberries from impatient fingers… and of course breathe in the juicy morning spring air, stretch arms out wide and look ahead to summer, beachy days & sizzled sausages… aaaah Sydney!

Categories: Garden | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: