Posts Tagged With: thyme

Mushroom and spinach omelette

This appears to be an easy recipe but many top chefs are judged by their ability to execute the perfect omelette! This recipe is almost a meal in itself…

Fresh from the garden: eggs, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, chives, parsley, thyme
Recipe source: Melissa
Makes: 4 large omelettes (to feed about 24 people) 


  • Salad spinner
  • Bowls – large, 4 medium, small
  • Scissors
  • Fork, butter knife
  • 2 non-stick frying pans
  • A large wok
  • Wooden spoon
  • Garlic press
  • Tablespoon measure
  • Serving plates


  • A large handful of mushrooms
  • A large bunch of spinach
  • A small handful: chives, parsley and thyme
  • 16 eggs
  • Flaked salt &black pepper
  • 50g butter
  • Olive oil

What to do:

  • Trim the mushrooms of any dirt and wipe clean with a damp piece of paper towel. Chop into thin slices and reserve in the medium bowl.
  • Peel the garlic clove and squeeze through the garlic press in to the mushrooms.
  • Wash the spinach in several changes of water, then shake dry. Roll up and chop into fine ribbons.
  • Wash and carefully dry the herbs, keeping then separate and picking off the leaves. Discard any stalks, and add the thyme to the mushrooms.Using the scissors, snip the chives and reserve in a small bowl. Finely chop the parsley and reserve in a separate bowl.
  • Break 4 of the eggs into each medium bowl, add a quarter of the chives and parsley to each, then whisk lightly with a fork and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Heat 25g butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the wok over medium heat until foaming. Add in the mushrooms, thyme and garlic and carefully toss a few times to cover in the butter mixture. Sprinkle in a few pinches of salt, a grind of pepper, and then sauté until slippery.
  • Add a quarter of the chopped spinach to the wok and heat through until wilted and the liquid has cooked off.
  • Add a quarter of the remaining butter to each of the 2 frying pans and then when foaming, pour one of the bowls of whisked egg mixture to each and gently rotate the pan to distribute. Cook for 20 seconds or so, until it begins to bubble, then draw the egg into the centre with the wooden spoon and rotate the pan again to redistribute the uncooked egg.
  • The omelettes are cooked when the base is set, but is still slightly runny in the middle.
  • Slide a quarter of the mushroom and spinach mixture onto one half of one omelette, fold the other half over to form a half-moon and slice out on to your serving plate.
  • Repeat with the remaining 2 omelettes and the rest of the mushroomy spinach, and serve!

 Notes: In what other languages can you say omelette? Why do we leave the omelette slightly runny in the middle? Where does the word omelette come from?

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Cream of mushroom soup

This is a lovely soup – so simple to make but so rewarding. If at home you might add half a cup of white wine to the pan and reduce by half before you add the mushrooms, but we like it too just like this…

Fresh from the garden: onion, garlic, leek, thyme, mushrooms, parsley
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Neil Perry of Rockpool
Serves: 8 or 30 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Scales
  • A large heavy-based pot
  • Bowls – 2 large, 2 med, small
  • Large spoon
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon
  • Citrus juicer
  • Salad spinner
  • Stick blender
  • Serving bowls

  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 leek
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Flaked salt
  • 500g mushrooms
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon bouillon
  • 100ml single (pouring) cream
  • Small handful flat-leaf parsley

What to do:

  • Fill the kettle and set it to boil.
  • Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  • Trim the leek and remove the first layer. Carefully slice along the leek, halfway in and then rinse thoroughly under running water taking care to remove all the grit and dirt. Finely chop.
  • Wash and shake the thyme dry and strip leaves from the stalks.
  • Heat the oil and butter in the large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until soft.
  • Meanwhile wipe the dirt from the mushrooms with a piece of paper towel, trim any ugly bits and then thinly slice the mushrooms.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Add the bouillon to the boiling water, stir and then add to the pot. Cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from the heat.
  • Meanwhile wash the parsley and spin it dry. Pick the leaves and then finely chop. Using the stick blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  • To serve, stir in the cream and parsley and check seasoning.
  • Ladle in to bowls and serve.

Notes: Why don’t we wash mushrooms? Describe in your own words how to clean a leek. What is bouillon? How many different sorts of mushrooms can you name?

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The best mushrooms on toast!

We received our first boxes of ‘live’ mushrooms last week and the children are already harvesting! What’s the best & easiest dish ever? Why, luxury mushrooms on toast!

Fresh from the garden: mushrooms, garlic, thyme
Recipe source: Melissa
Recipe source: 6 at home or 24 tastes 


  • Paper towel
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Knives – bread, small
  • Chopping board
  • Grill trays
  • Tongs
  • Oven mitts, spoons
  • Serving plates

  • A good few handfuls of mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A sprig or 3 of thyme
  • 25g butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaked salt
  • A loaf of great sourdough bread

 What to do:

  • Heat the grill on high.
  • Using a piece of paper towel, wipe the soil from the mushrooms. Never wash mushrooms!
  • Cut into fine slices, keeping a mushroom shape.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic. Wash and spin-dry the thyme, leaving whole.
  • Heat the butter and tablespoon or two of olive oil in the non-stick pan until sizzling, and add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme stalks and a pinch or two of salt.
  • Toss or stir every minute or so for about 5-6 minutes. You want the mushrooms browned but lovely and soft.
  • Meanwhile, carefully slice the bread – you may find it easier to ask an adult to slice the loaf down the middle lengthways first, and cut each half separately – and place on grill trays.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil and slide the bread into the oven to lightly grill, and turn over when needed – watching to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • When ready bring the toast out from the grill using the oven mitts and divide among serving plates.
  • Spoon the garlicky, herby mushrooms over the bruschetta and grind over a little pepper if needed.
  • Eat at once!

 Notes: Why shouldn’t we wash mushrooms? How long do they take to mature? What do the mushrooms look like after one day – three days – five days? What else could you cook with a mushroom?

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Marinated feta

This recipe is super-easy – it’s lovely to spread on bruschetta, or to add to a frittate recipe, or delicious on it’s own with some roasted chicken & salad… and will also last in the fridge for a week or so, in a jar just covered with a thin film of olive oil.

Excuse me do you have the thyme please?

Fresh from the garden: thyme, lemon thyme, garlic, lemon
Recipe source: Melissa


  • Chopping board & knife
  • Bowls – large, med, small
  • Paper towel
  • Peeler
  • Salad spinner
  • Measuring jug
  • Serving bowls
  • Small jar & lid if needed

  • 200g Danish feta
  • A lemon
  • A small handful thyme (or lemon thyme) sprigs
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper

What to do:

  • Unwrap the feta & cut into 1cm cubes.
  • Wash and wipe the lemon dry. Using a peeler or a small sharp knife, carefully cut thin strips of yellow flesh from the lemon and add to the feta.
  • Wash the thyme, spin it dry and then strip the leaves from the stalks. Add the leaves to the feta,
  • Peel and chop the garlic into thin slivers and add those to the feta, with a grind or two of the black pepper.
  • Measure the olive oil and then pour it over the feta. Carefully fold the ingredients together without mashing the cheese, then spoon into serving bowls. Leave for a few minutes for the flavours to marry – or if using later, pop in to a clean and dry jar and cover with the lid.
  • Note: the olive oil may solidify and go cloudy if kept in the fridge, so let the jar come to room temperature for 30 minutes or so before you need it!

Notes: What animals’ milk makes feta cheese? What’s the difference between Danish & Greek styles of feta?

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Carrot and fennel soup

We love all the different combinations of vegetables that the seasons throw at us… and adding various spices can change everything! This is a lovely silky variation of soup…

Fresh from the garden: carrot, fennel, onion, thyme, coriander
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Scales
  • Potato peelers
  • Graters
  • Paper towel
  • Stockpot & lid
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Bowls – big, medium, small
  • Wooden spoon
  • Medium heavy-bottomed saucepan
  • Stick blender
  • Serving bowls

  • 2 onions
  • 1 large thyme sprig
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 50g butter
  • 1kg carrots
  • A head of fennel
  • 1.25 litre stock (or 1 tablespoon bouillon & 1.25 litre boiling water)
  • Cooking salt
  • Flaked salt and black pepper
  • A little bunch of coriander

 What to do:

  • Fill the kettle if using and set to boil.
  • Peel and thinly slice the onions. Wash and pat dry the thyme sprig and strip off the leaves.
  • Melt the butter in the stockpot, then add the onions, the cumin and thyme, and cook over a low heat until tender for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, wash & peel the carrots, then grate them and reserve in a big bowl.
  • Wash, then top and tail the fennel, discarding the discoloured outer layer if desired. Slice the fennel as thin as you can.
  • After the 10 minutes, add the carrots & fennel to the onion and add a teaspoon of salt. Stir, then cook gently for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  • Add the stock or bouillon and water, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer until the carrots & fennel are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Wash the coriander and spin dry. Pick the leaves from the stalks and very finely chop the stalks. Gently chop the leaves but leave them quite big.
  • When done, blitz with the stick blender, season to taste and serve into your bowls. Garnish with the chopped coriander.
  • Serve right away or chill overnight to serve cold the next day, perhaps with a little sour cream drizzled in…

Notes: What is bouillon? How do you make stock? Why do we leave the coriander leaves quite big?

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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?

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Balsamic onion jam

This is a fantastic addition to a weekend brunch or BBQ – try it on fried eggs, sausages, bacon or spread some on a cheese sandwich for a taste sensation…

Fresh from the garden: onions, thyme

Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist at Bondi PS


  • Chopping board & knife
  • Large frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measures – tablespoon
  • Serving bowls

  • 1kg brown onions
  • A sprig of thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Flaked salt
  • Soft brown sugar
  • Aged balsamic vinegar

What to do:

  • Peel and chop the onion into thin slices.
  • Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan and when hot, slide in the onion slices and sprinkle on a pinch of salt.
  • Wash & shake the thyme sprig dry. Strip off the leaves, discarding the stalks, and sprinkle them onto the onions.
  • Gently cook on a medium heat, stirring or tossing occasionally until very soft for about 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle on a tablespoon each of brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and toss to mix. Continue to cook gently, turning the heat down if needed.
  • When the onions have mostly absorbed the mixture, add another tablespoon of each and toss again.
  • Keep going in this way until the onions are thick, slippery and dark in colour. This might take up to 30 minutes.
  • Taste to check seasoning and tenderness and when ready, spoon into serving bowls.

Notes: What is a condiment? Where does balsamic vinegar come from? What is it made from?

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Linguine with cavolo nero and herb sauce


Fresh from the garden: cavolo nero, coriander, thyme, marjoram, oregano

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

This is a delicious accompaniment to our freshly-rolled pasta! We use the prehistoric-looking cavolo nero (also known as Tuscan kale) but you can also use silverbeet or spinach just as well…


  • Large stockpot with draining insert
  • Chopping board
  • Large & small knife
  • Salad spinner
  • Wooden spoon
  • 2 large bowls
  • Scales
  • Medium saucepan
  • Tongs
  • Serving bowls

  • 500g linguine
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • A large handful of cavolo nero leaves
  • A small bunch of coriander
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 sprigs marjoram
  • 4 sprigs oregano
  • Small bunch parsley
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

  • Fill the large stockpot with water and heat on high.
  • Wash the cavolo nero leaves and shake dry. Strip off the leaves, discarding the stems, and cut into ribbons 1cm wide.
  • Wash & spin dry the herbs, then pick the leaves if needed, discarding the woody stems.
  • Finely chop the herbs.
  • Finely chop the garlic.
  • Chop up the butter into cubes and melt the in the saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the herbs.
  • When the water in the large stockpot is boiling add the pasta & cooking salt, stir, put the lid back on and when boiling again cook for 2 or 3 minutes until ‘al dente’.
  • Drain the pasta and transfer to back into the stockpot.
  • Add the butter mixture to the stockpot and toss carefully.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve into bowls.

Notes: What does al dente mean? Why do we pick the leaves from the herbs? What does cavolo nero actually mean?

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Rosemary & thyme grissini

Fresh from the garden: rosemary, thyme 

Recipe source: adapted from The Cook and the Chef TV program


A simple & fun breadstick-making exercise – I’ve found that the thinner you make the grissini, the crunchier and more delicious they are. It also pays to knead the dough well too. These are fab with the hummus…


  • Kitchen towel
  • Chopping board
  • Large knife
  • Large bowl
  • Large spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • 2 baking trays
  • Pastry brush



  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon cooking salt
  • Large sprig rosemary
  • 4 or 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml lukewarm water
  • A pinch or two of flaked salt

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Wash & dry herbs thoroughly.
  • Strip herbs from stalks and chop up finely to yield 2 tablespoons of herbs.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients (except for the flaked salt) and herbs together in a large bowl.
  • Add the water and olive oil and knead together until a smooth dough is formed – this might take between five and ten minutes. If the dough is too wet just add some more flour, bit by bit.
  • Brush baking trays with a little olive oil.
  • Flatten the dough out and roll into a round pizza shape. Divide into halves, then quarters, and then again and again until you get 16 pieces of ‘pie’.
  • Roll each ball into a thin cigar shape, break into 2 & place evenly onto the baking trays.
  • Sprinkle the whole tray with a large pinch of salt.
  • Carefully slip the trays into the oven & bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

Notes: Grissini are thought to have been invented in Italy in the 17th century – what other dishes have originated in Italy?


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Marjoram! where’ve you been all my life?

I’m obsessed! Marjoram has taken over my life… I’m finding ways of getting it into all sorts of dishes these last few weeks and I’m loving it… I can’t have enough of marjoram, and thyme, and oregano and I can’t believe for the first 40 years of my life I only looked for basil and coriander in the herb section of the supermarket… with a bit of bay and a tiny bit of parsley (bleugh) and ignoring mint totally (BLEUGH).

And now I’m growing my own to keep with up with the amounts I need; it’s like a drug. A perfumed, lemony, herbaceous, aromatic and healthy drug, I’m chopping with abandon…!

Uses for marjoram leaves this week: tossed with leaves and a classic lemon vinaigrette for a crunchy almost-spring salad; chopped up with thyme, salt, a little chilli and butter and smeared under the skin of roasting chicken; sprinkled over a freshly cooked tomato, red onion & bocconcini pizza; sauced up with its aromatic herby friends – basil, coriander, thyme and oregano – garlic and butter and tossed through home-made linguine; garnishing a bowl of wintry Jerusalem artichoke soup; and my favourite: finishing off my easy-peasy & cheap one-pot chicken braise… delish. And now to the recipe!

Mel’s easy-peasy & cheap one-pot chicken braise – Serves 4 (with potential leftovers for pasta!)

 8 chicken drumsticks (free-range at least)

Olive oil

2 brown onions

4 cloves garlic

2 tins cherry tomatoes

A cup of chicken stock

Salt & pepper

Fresh herbs: handful marjoram, oregano, thyme

Dried herbs: 2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Brown off the chicken drumsticks with a good glug of olive oil in an oven-proof casserole dish* (with lid & wide enough to fit chicken in one layer if possible). Remove.

Peel then halve onions & finely slice, add to hot pot and stir. Strip thyme leaves from stalks and add to the onions. Peel and crush the garlic, add to the pot and cook, stirring, on medium heat until the onions are soft but not brown.

Add chicken back to the pot, pour in the tomatoes and enough stock to almost cover the chicken, sprinkle a good pinch of salt, grind some pepper and add the bay leaves. Turn heat up and watch until it’s almost boiling, then pop lid on and place in oven for an hour.

With 20 minutes to go, take the lid off to let the liquid reduce a little.

Remove from the oven, pick the leaves from the marjoram and oregano, chop them up and sprinkle over the finished chicken. Serve immediately.

Best eaten with buttery boiled potatoes and garlicky broccoli.

*Best by far is to cook this in cast-iron – I’ve got a big Le Creuset and a small cheapie version from Aldi and they both cook up a storm… worth investing in (or not!).

dear dear marjoram, grow quickly please

Linguine and herbs

serves 6

 500g fresh linguine

1 tablespoon cooking salt

225 g butter

8 small cloves garlic

Small bunch basil to yield 1/3 cup

Bunch coriander to yield 1/3 cup

3 or 4 sprigs thyme to yield 2 tablespoons

3 or 4 sprigs marjoram to yield 2 tablespoons

3 or 4 sprigs oregano to yield 2 tablespoons

Small bunch parsley to yield 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons black olives

Flaked salt & black pepper

 Fill a large stockpot with water and heat on high. Meanwhile wash & carefully dry the herbs, then pick the leaves if needed, discarding the stems. Finely chop herbs. Slice the olives & finely chop the garlic.

Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Stir in the herbs.

When the water is boiling add the pasta & cooking salt, stir, put lid back on and when boiling again cook for 3 minutes until ‘al dente’. Drain the pasta and transfer to back into the stockpot. Add the butter mixture to the stockpot and toss carefully. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with black olive slices and serve into the serving bowls.

(Adapted from Alice Waters’ ‘The Art of Simple Food)

yum yum pigs bum.

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