Posts Tagged With: summer

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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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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Leafy salad with poached eggs, kale and herby mayo

ourkitchengarden.net

The list of ingredients we can add to a salad is endless… here at Bondi we base our salads on lettuce leaves, fresh herbs and then seasonal additions. This one is a favourite with just-poached eggs and a wonderfully creamy and tangy dressing, but the key is to show the children how to handle delicate lettuce leaves without crushing or bruising them (the lettuce, not the kids…) and the gentle art of cracking an egg without destroying the yolk!

Fresh from the garden: Lettuce, eggs, kale, edible flowers, spring onions, garlic, lemon, herbs

Recipe source: Melissa

Serves: 6 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

·       Mixing bowls – large, medium, small

·       2 salad spinners

·       Tea towels and paper towel

·       Chopping boards & knives

·       Saucepan and lid

·       Deep-sided non-stick frying pan

·       Slotted spoon

·       Stick blender &its cup

·       Measuring: jug, ½ cup, teaspoon

·       Scales

·       Scissors

·       Garlic press

·       Citrus juicer

·       Serving bowls

Ingredients:

  • 4 freshest eggs (plus two for the mayo)
  • A bunch of salad leaves & kale
  • A large handful of herbs
  • A few garnishing flowers
  • Any extras like radishes
  • White wine vinegar & olive oil

For the herby mayonnaise:

  • A small handful fresh herbs
  • 1 juicy lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

For the salad:

  1. Fill up the 2 big bowls with cold water & wash the salad leaves in several changes of water. Spin the leaves dry and wipe the bowls dry.
  2. 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.
  3. Reserve the small garnishing leaves and flowers in a separate little bowl of cold water.
  4. Wash the kale and shake dry. Snip the leaves from the stalks and discard the stalks. Spin dry thoroughly, then put in a clean dry bowl, drizzle a little olive oil and a pinch of salt, and then massage the salty oil into the leaves with your fingers for 5 minutes.
  5. Fill up another bowl with water and wash the herbs. Spin the herbs dry and pick leaves, reserving in their own small bowl, discarding stalks into compost.
  6. Scrub the radishes and then finely slice using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer. 

For the mayo:

  1. Meanwhile for the mayo, wash the herbs in a few changes of water, spin them dry and finely strip off leaves from the stalks (coriander stalks you can leave in).
  2. Cut the lemon in half and juice the halves. You will need 2 tablespoons lemon juice in total.
  3. Smash the garlic clove, peel it and squeeze it through the garlic press.
  4. Carefully separate the eggs and reserve the yolks in a small bowl.
  5. Into the stick blender cup add the egg yolks, the mustard and 2 teaspoons only of the lemon juice. Whizz together until all is combined.
  1. Measure the rice bran oil, then get a friend to help measure in the oil a tablespoon at a time every 30 seconds into the egg mixture while you are whizzing (this takes a few minutes so don’t rush it).
  2. Then slowly add in another 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, the pressed garlic, the herbs and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and check if it needs any more lemon juice or salt and adjust if needed.

To poach the eggs:

  1. Fill the deep-sided frying pan with water to a depth of about 10cm, then bring it to the boil and then turn down to a bare simmer.
  2. Then break the eggs into separate little bowls, then slide them into the simmering water, one at a time until they’re all in, and let them cook, uncovered, for 4 minutes. Fill a large bowl with cold water.
  3. Then use a draining spoon to lift them from the water and transfer them to the bowl of cold water if you’re not ready to use them just yet.

To serve:

  1. Strip the kale leaves into smaller pieces and add them to the separate bowl. Drizzle over a little olive oil and pinch of flaked salt and then using your fingertips, rub it all in to the kale leaves to make them soft.
  2. Take the lettuce from the fridge and chop into smaller strips. Pop them into a big bowl, then drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar & a sprinkle of flaked salt over the whole lot.
  3. Add the kale into the lettuce and using your hands, turn the leaves to coat in the dressing and then divide the lot among your serving bowls.
  4. Spoon an egg at a time out of the water and dry off with some paper towel or a clean tea towel, and then carefully arrange one egg on the top of each salad.
  5. Drizzle the mayo over the top of each salad, followed by a sprinkle of herbs and the flowers and serve immediately!

Notes: What is mayo short for? What other salad dressings could you use? Why do we need to wash the leaves so well? Why do we roll the leaves up to put them in the fridge? Why don’t we always need to use vinegar to poach the eggs? Why do we put the eggs into cold water?

ourkitchengarden.net

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Fish-free salad Nicoise

Hugh says, ‘Without any tuna or anchovies, I guess you might upset the good people of Nice a bit with this one, but it is an exceptionally delicious and substantial salad – with plenty going on.’

ourkitchengarden.net

Fresh from the garden: new potatoes, green beans, eggs, small lettuce leaves, olives, basil, garlic
Recipe source: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Veg Every Day
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Scales
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Saucepans – med, small
  • Colander
  • Small jar & lid
  • Measures: tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Salad spinner
  • Serving plates
Ingredients:

  • 500g new (baby) potatoes
  • 200g green beans
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • A small handful baby lettuce leaves
  • A handful small black olives
  • About 12 basil leaves
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

For the dressing:

  • ½ small garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • A pinch of sugar

 What to do:

  • Wash the beans and potatoes – do not peel them! Tail the beans & chop into 3cm lengths.
  • You can cook small new potatoes whole, but cut any larger ones in half or smaller, so they’re all roughly the same size. Cover with cold water in the medium saucepan, add salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8-12 minutes until tender, adding the beans for the last 4 minutes. Drain, tip into a bowl and leave to cool.
  • To cook the eggs, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add the eggs, return to a simmer, then cook for 7 minutes. Lightly crack the shells and run the eggs under cold water for a minute or two to stop the cooking, then leave to cool. Peel and quarter the eggs.
  • To make the dressing, put all the ingredients into a screw-topped jar, seasoning with salt and pepper, and shake until emulsified.
  • Halve, quarter or thickly slice the cooked potatoes. Put them back with the beans, add some of the dressing and toss gently together.
  • Wash the lettuce & basil leaves in several changes of water. Spin-dry and then gently toss in a bowl with a little of the dressing.
  • Arrange the lettuce, potatoes, and beans on your serving plates and distribute the olives and eggs over the salad. Scatter with torn basil leaves, trickle over the remainingdressing and grind over some pepper. Serve straight away.

Notes: What does emulsified mean? What does the adjective Niçoise mean?

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Wind

Goodness it has been windy here the last 24 hours… windy and cold. I thought a part of someone’s roof had fallen into our garden and was harbouring ideas of wandering along the street door-knocking to find out who it belonged to… until I realised it’s from our own house. D’oh!

My poor nectarine tree is in the middle of budburst: little blossoms have started to appear, beautiful pink delicately-scented flowers – after a lovely warm weekend it must have thought we were ready to start thinking about balmy summer evenings and getting our swimmers out (I certainly was!) but alas, the wintry reality has set in and here we are again with heaters at full steam ahead and me wearing my jacket inside as I type this… sniff (really)

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