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milking the moon

Homemade Almond Milk

Ok, here goes, the fastest blog ever! We’re in the midst of a whole food frenzy in preparation for the Full Moon Farm Gate on Saturday night, but I wanted to quickly add this super, super simple recipe for homemade almond milk, because along with Barossa Coffee Roasters, this is what we’ll be serving as one of our plant based milk options in the land of dairy free coffee and tea, and I know how many people were keen to do the same when they left the market last time. Super simple. And especially so because my Mum whipped up some organic hemp nut milk bags for us to share across the trestle. A little moon in every milk.

 

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with love from bali

Raw Salted Chocolate Fudge Tarts

If I can jump ahead to the last day of the retreat in Ubud, I think I said the word brilliant at least 12 times in quick succession as I met eyes with each of the 16 amazing women I was sitting in circle with for the last time. What a big, big space we’d laughed and cried and danced our way through together over the week. No fixing or pretending things were fine, just sitting with whatever came up and gently adding love into the rough edges of any given moment that needed it. Holding space for each other and breathing in the rawness of every story each of us shared. It’s the most extraordinary thing, the moment the harshness of confrontation slips into the liberation of surrender. What a thing to bear witness to, whether in yourself or in others; it dissolves all the nonsense so gently, but so absolutely.

There’s so much more. There always is, right? Thank goodness my beautiful friend Beata is planning another retreat next year. She’s a marvel at this work and I couldn’t love her more for the effort she went to to accommodate all of us in her heart for a whole week. The incredible souls she introduced us to. The amazing experiences she created. Big space. Filled with grace. I wish everyone was on their way for tea right about now so I could put these on the table and keep the circle going.

 

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Raw Salted Chocolate Fudge Tarts

makes 6 x 10cm tarts

 

1 1/2 cup raw organic cashews

1 tbsp raw organic cacao powder

1 tbsp organic mesquite powder

2 tbsp organic raw cacao butter

water

 

1 cup organic medjool dates, soaked for 2 hours

1/4 cup organic tahini

2 tbsp organic cacao powder

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

1 organic vanilla bean, scraped

 

fresh violets

 

To make the bases, put the cashews, cacao powder and mesquite into a blender and blitz until you have a flour mix. Add the melted cacao butter and blitz again. Add a little water until you have a crumbly mix that just pulls together. Using your fingers, push the chocolate pastry evenly into non-stick, removable base tart tins, making sure to use enough pressure to pack it into the very edges of the base and up the sides. Put into a dehydrator for 4-6 hours, or simply refrigerate for an hour if you don’t have a dehydrator. Remove the bases from the tart tins.

To make the fudge, drain the dates, but keep the soak water aside to use if necessary. Blitz the dates in a food processor with the remaining ingredients, adding the date water to reach a fudgy consistency.

Fill the bases with the fudge and top with fresh violets if you can find some. Dust with coconut flour for extra prettiness.

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plane picnic

Beetroot Burgers

At the risk of sounding like a retreat junkie, I’m on a plane heading to Bali to do another dose of yoga and meditation. If only this could be an ongoing monthly occurrence in my life! More about that when I get back.

Because it’s all I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of days, I wanted to talk about what to pack when you’re flying if you don’t eat really overcooked non-descript meat and cold white bread rolls. I’m flying with a couple of buddies today and between us we could just about open a wholefoods cafe on board. We’d be the ‘alternative’ flight attendants. Dressed in organic hemp uniforms, no doubt.

The thing with taking food on planes is that you want to eat anything that will help hydrate you, but you don’t want anything that will leak over your only pair of socks. Beetroot burgers. Plus fresh fruit; apples are great because you don’t have any skin to peel and they can handle a bit of a pre flight bumble about in your bag. Raw nuts are really good too. I’ve packed a ziplock bag of rocket that I picked from the garden this morning, no dressing, but that’s forgiven, it’s still a load of chlorophyll going in along with the burgers. I usually pack dehydrated coconut water powder to mix into whatever water I drink on board too, really good stuff to up your electrolytes. And maybe a little orange and chia seed muffin or two. And tea! I always pack loose leaf tea with a single cup infuser so you just need to ask for hot water.

The easiest thing is to make these burgers for dinner the night before you fly out so you can quickly pop a few of them into a container once they’re cold the next morning. They taste pretty good cold too, another factor to tick off when your packing your plane picnic. When we had these last night, we added nettle pesto but that’s not exactly plane friendly when you think about opening a jar of raw garlic under the nose of the person next to you. It’s really good with these though, for the non-flying times.

 

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Beetroot Burgers

makes 12

 

3 medium sized organic beetroot, grated

1 organic leek, finely chopped

300g organic borlotti beans, cooked and cooled

2 cups organic brown rice, cooked and cooled

1 cup fresh organic chervil

1 cup fresh organic parsley

1/2 cup organic pepitas

1/2 cup organic sunflower seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic tahini

2 teaspoons organic coriander seeds, dry toasted and ground

1 teaspoon organic cumin seeds, dry toasted and ground

1 teaspoon organic fennel seeds, dry toasted and ground

organic GF whole flour or spelt flour, to coat burgers

Celtic salt & pepper to taste

 

Blitz the cooked beans, herbs, tahini, spices and half of the seeds in a food processor until you have something resembling hommus.

In a large bowl, combine the pureed bean mixture with the chopped leek and grated beetroot. Add the remaining seeds and cooked brown rice. Season to taste.

To shape the burgers, have a plate of spelt flour at the ready and as you mould each burger with your hands, coat both sides in the flour, this will stop them sticking when you cook them.

Heat a flat grill and cook the burgers for 8-10 minutes, flipping half way through the cooking time to ensure both sides are evenly cooked.

Serve with fresh greens, whether at your table or in seat 16F.

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with love from cambodia

Raw Everything & Nettle Smoothie

Our Cambodian trip was a little while ago now but it’s taken me some time to let any notion of narrative fall into place about what it meant to be there. I still have none. The story will only be a story for you to read, and really, what would be the most amazing thing, and maybe the only real way to talk about this, is for you to go too. Take a totally brilliant friend with you. I did. And while you’re there please, please go to Hariharalaya. It’s where you can dissolve and be held at the same time. My God. And the really, really brilliant part is what you find in your heart when you get home. I’m still unpacking.

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Angkor Wat made me sit down a lot. Mostly because I was trying to stop my brain from figuring out the details. The overwhelming beauty stops all inner chat pretty quickly though.

 

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The view over the balcony from my room at Hariharalaya.

 

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We rode our bikes down dirt tracks lined either side with temples, to the soundtrack of chanting and local kids practicing their English on us, as they rode up to join us like we were old buddies that did this every afternoon.

 

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 Handmade, locally pottered tea cups. No one rides past that kind of magic shop.

 

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We had really great smoothies every morning as part of the Hariharalaya breakfast and it’s a ritual the bounty of stinging nettles has encouraged me to continue since being home. Here’s what we’ve been sipping on after yoga over the last week. It’s helping with my detachment until I can get back to Cambodia.

Raw Everything & Nettle Smoothie

makes at least 4 breakfast sized smoothies

 

3 cups freshly made organic almond milk (or milk or choice)

1 heaped tablespoon organic hemp seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic raw cacao

1 heaped tablespoon organic mesquite powder

1 heaped tablespoon organic chia seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 frozen organic banana

2 packed cups raw organic stinging nettles 

 

Blend everything together in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Don’t worry about the sting on the nettles, they’ll be dissolved during the pureeing process. Promise. You may want to add a little honey or agave if it’s not quite sweet enough for you.

a big birthday

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream & Hempseeds

Damien turned 40 yesterday. No biggie really, we said. I can only see good things ahead when my question of what kind of a birthday cake he’d like was met with, “Some gnarly, full of spice, vegan concoction.” What a guy.

At one point across the day, it struck me that I’d love to pop back and chat to our 14 year old selves about what might fill in the time for the next 26 years. I think the bucket list might be more of a surprise in itself, than the shock of a visit from our future selves. It’s been a heck of a ride. And so much of it unplanned and unexpected but always met with hearts wide open. Mostly because at 14, we had no idea there was any alternative. I’m sure we could have saved ourselves some anguish if we had. Momentarily at least. But if I turn around to look back at the pages and pages of our story together, it’s more like a flicker book. It’s so full, and the feeling of all those memories we’ve made is almost overwhelming. Not for a minute has it all been daisy chains and cloudless skies, but it’s been beautifully raw, and unencumbered of the kinds of expectations our 20 or 30 year old selves might have had if we’d met much later along the line. We’ve held such a big love in our hands all these years, and sitting around a fire last night, celebrating with some of our dearest friends, dropped me perfectly into the space to remember that. And be so grateful for it. Happy Birthday DT. Big love.

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Spiced Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream & Hempseeds

 

2 cups organic spelt flour (I used freshly milled from Nature’s 9, so good)

1 cup organic panela sugar

1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt 

2 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp baking soda 

2 tsp ground organic cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground organic cloves

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 

3 cups organic carrots, grated 

3/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil 

2/3 cup freshly squeezed organic orange juice

1/2 cup organic raisins

1 cup organic walnuts / brazil nuts / almonds, chopped

 

1 cup organic raw cashews

1/2 cup organic raw coconut oil

1 cup water

juice of 2 organic lemons

pinch Celtic sea salt

3 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

4 tbsp organic pepitas, dry roasted for 3-5 minutes until coloured

1 tbsp organic hempseeds

 

Pre heat oven to 180C.

Prepare a 26cm diameter bundt tin with coconut oil.

 In a large mixing bowl, add spelt flour, panela sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices and stir with a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix carrots, oil and orange juice.

Ad the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together. Don’t worry that it will seem too dry, keep mixing and the cake will come together.

Finally add the raisins and nuts and give one last mix through before spooning into the cake tin.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave in the cake tin to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

 

To make the icing, blend the cashews, coconut oil and water until really smooth. Add the salt, lemon juice and honey and blend again. At this stage you can put the icing into the fridge if you’d like more of a set icing that you can spread with a butter knife, or if you’d like to let it run down the contours of the cake like I have then leave it out at room temperature.

Once the cake has completely cooled, ice it with the cashew cream cheese and sprinkle toasted pepitas and hempseeds across the top. Hempseeds make sprinkles just blokey enough.

Candles are optional.

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patch to plate

Cauliflower With Cashew Cheese

We have what we call ‘town’ clothes, and then our farm clothes. Our town clothes are nothing fancy let me assure you, just more of an effort to wear matching socks than anything, which might say something of the comfort level that our farm clothes offer. This recipe comes from the farm clothes end of the wardrobe. It’s a grey hoodie, comfy jeans and favourite socks kind of dish. Nothing pretty, just good food picked at the end of a decent day’s gardening stint, that somehow speaks of all the reasons you’d choose to spend your free time repeatedly scooping soil with your right hand and planting with your left. Scoop, plant, scoop, plant. One of the coolest ways I’ve discovered to embody mantra. And you get cauliflower at the end. It’s hard not to turn into Nature’s ra-ra girl when I’ve spent an afternoon in the veggie patch. Lucky I have my town clothes to bring me back from the brink. Then again, I’ve heard I wouldn’t need those in a commune. Thinking, thinking.

 

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Cauliflower With Cashew Cheese

serves 2 for dinner

 

1 whole organic cauliflower

3 organic baby leeks

1 tbsp organic coconut oil

2 batches organic cashew cheese

2 cups water

1 tbsp arrowroot

generous handful of fresh organic parsley

generous handful of fresh dill

celtic sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

I try to have a batch of cashew cheese in the fridge each week, but if this is the first you’ve heard of such a thing (!) you can find instructions to make it here. 

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Roughly chop the cauliflower and leeks and brown them in a pan with some coconut oil. Once you can notice a change in colour with the veggies, remove from the heat and pile into a baking dish. Stir through the chopped herbs.

To make the cheese sauce, mix 2 cups of cashew cheese with 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of arrowroot. Stir until the arrowroot is smoothly emulsified into the mixture and then pour over the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 30-40 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and golden brown.

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little lemon tree

Chamomile Citron Tart

Our little lemon tree has more than 4 lemons this year. The crowd goes wild! These are the achievements that mark my days. Never mind the other stuff – lemons are currency in my mind. Homegrown, fuelled by worm tea and within reach of our back door. Currency I tell you.

We add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to just about every glass of water we drink throughout the day, brilliant way to alkalise and add a whack of Vitamin C at the same time. They go into our smoothies and juices too. And are pretty much held aloft of every pasta, risotto, salad and soup that hits the table. We tend not to have ‘leftovers’ is what I’m getting at, so the idea of making a lemon tart is not something that tends to pop up too often. Until there’s more than 4 representatives on our little lemon tree.

Right, a lemon tart without eggs or dairy, this will be interesting. I won’t fib, there was some trial. And some error. But this tart will hopefully rekindle a healthy relationship with lemon and its baked nature. Pun completely intended on the healthy relationship part.

Thanks to The Breakfast Rave gang who made testing on lunchtime friends an easy option.

 

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Chamomile Citron Tart

serves 6-8

 

For the pastry

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour (or use my GF Whole Flour mix if you have any)

1/2 cup organic coconut oil, melted

3 1/2 tbsp water

 

For the lemon filling 

1 1/3 cups hot Chamomile Citron tea (or hot water)

1 tsp agar powder

1 1/4 cups organic raw sugar (you can use panela but it will make it very dark)

1/8 tsp organic tumeric powder

2/3 cup fresh organic lemon juice

2 tbsp organic arrowroot powder

Zest from 2 organic lemons

1/2 cup organic soy milk

 

 

Prepare a 22cm loose base tart tin with coconut oil and dust with flour.

 

Preheat your oven to 180C.

To make the pastry, put the flour into a mixing bowl and add water and oil, stir to bring together. Put dough into the prepared tart tin and with your fingers press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. This is Caroline Dupont’s recipe from Enlightened Eating and it’s genius! No kneading, rolling or baking with weights needed. I use it for everything.

When the pastry is evenly pressed across the tart tin, cut the edges by running a knife across the top of the tart tin. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and put into the oven for about 12-15 minutes. 

Remove to cool before adding the filling. 

To make the lemon filling, add the hot tea to the agar powder and stir. Put into a medium sized saucepan and continue stirring over high heat until the liquid is boiling. Leave to boil for about 4-5 minutes, stirring all the while. 

Add the sugar and turmeric and continue boiling until the sugar has dissolved. Stirring, stirring!

Turn down the heat to a simmer. Mix the lemon juice and arrowroot powder and stir into the agar mixture in an even stream. More stirring. For about 2 minutes. You don’t want to rapidly boil the mixture at this point, just gently simmer.

Add the lemon zest and soy milk and continue stirring until the mixture just starts to thicken.

Remove from heat and pour into the cooled tart base and leave to set at room temperature until set but still a bit wobbly. Or put into the fridge for a firmer set than can easily be transported if needs be.

Dust with coconut flour and throw a few chamomile flowers across the top of the tart should whimsy take hold.

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purple piccalilli

Purple Piccalilli with Saffron

This is the kind of purple that stands out as a pretty fancy hue on a Farmer’s Market trestle. Less so as a hair colour, which is where my thoughts immediately went when I picked up this cauliflower. Perhaps I’ve just sealed my fate for my elderly years. What can you do?

As a cauliflower colour, this is so, so lovely and really anything purple gets the vote in my ‘what veggies shall we plant’ book, so we do have some of these beauties growing themselves to an edible size in our garden but in this case the Farmer’s Market just got there first. Either way, there’s cauliflower ideas circling. In technicolour.

I sat this beautiful cauli next to some purple beans from our greenhouse and the incredible, incredible wildcrafted local saffron I picked up at the Full Moon Farm Gate recently, and it was Bollywood on a plate. It had to be something Indian inspired with that level of riotous colour going on. Purple Piccalilli with Saffron – a delicious dish and quite possibly a basis for an extra happy outfit.

This is so good with dahl, or a potato curry, or even just with chapati as a quick snack during the day. Freshly ground spices are the deal clincher and totally worth the mortar and pestle effort, so if I can be a tad bossy and insist on those, I know you’ll love piccalilli if this is the first time you’ve tried it. This recipe is adapted from Pam Corbin’s Preserves Handbook, such a great book for all things English in jars.

 

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Purple Piccalilli with Saffron

makes 4 x 350g jars

 

1kg organic purple cauliflower and purple beans, cut into 3cm pieces

3 tbsp Himalayan salt

1/4 cup potato starch

5 tsp organic ground turmeric

5 tsp freshly ground organic yellow mustard seeds

1 1/2 tbsp whole organic yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp freshly ground organic cumin seeds

1 tsp freshly ground organic coriander seeds

2 1/2 cups cider vinegar (with mother if possible)

3/4 cup organic panela sugar

2 tbsp raw honey

10-15 organic saffron threads

 

Once you have cut the cauliflower and beans into similar sized pieces, sprinkle them with salt, mix through in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave for 24 hours. Rinse and drain. This helps to start the ‘cooking’ process without losing the crunch you want in your finished pickle.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and 5 tsp of mustard seeds.

In a measuring jug or glass bowl mix the potato starch, turmeric, ground seed mix from the mortar and pestle with the whole mustard seeds. Add a little vinegar to make a paste and mix thoroughly.

In a saucepan, mix the remaining vinegar with the honey, saffron and sugar and bring to a boil. Take a little of the hot liquid and pour over the paste mix, stir and then transfer the paste mix back to the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken.

When the sauce is ready, remove from heat and add the drained vegetables. Stir to coat the vegetables and then pack into sterilised jars and seal with vinegar proof lids. Leave to mature in the fridge for 4-6 weeks and serve with your favourite curry or in a sourdough sandwich with cashew cheese and rocket. Good stuff.

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sheep in wolfe’s clothing

Spanikopita

A bunch of us went to see David Wolfe last night and because the drive was a little over an hour, and because we’re all food obsessed, and because it’s hard not to be into the ‘ladies-bring-a-plate’ notion when you live in the country – we had a car picnic. One hell of a car picnic!

It’s such a cool thing when telepathy takes care of who’s bringing what and you end up with a 3 course meal that covers the full spectrum of colours and flavours. We had a wildcrafted saffron and split pea soup (in a thermos of course), carrot and quinoa salad and beetroot and orange salad, a version of Spanikopita filled with most of our garden and ‘tofu turned feta’, with tamarillo and chilli chutney, and for dessert, raw cacao tart with raspberry puree, perfectly presented in a jar for easy eating at the red lights on the way home. It was a carload of pretty happy campers I can tell you, and that’s apart from the epic proportion of jocundity a couple of hours hanging out in David Wolfe’s buzz leaves you with. Ridiculous levels of knowledge with an imp-like demeanour. Intoxicating combination in a man.

The theme gets a bit wonky when it comes to the Spanikopita though because it wasn’t raw. It was half a garden’s worth of chlorophyll though, so points there. And the feta wasn’t really. It was tofu. A sheep in wolf’s clothing so to speak. It’s been on high rotation at our table this week. It’s not tricky to do, more of a time thing, but worth the forethought for sure.

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Spanikopita

serves 4-6

 

1 packet organic firm tofu

3 tsp Himalayan salt

2 cups water

3 -4 tbsp organic herbs (rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay)

juice of 1/2 organic lemon

 

organic raw coconut oil, for sauteing

1 giant bunch organic greens (spinach, silverbeet, cavalo nero)

2 organic leeks

2 tbsp fresh organic marjoram

1 1/2 tsp organic smoky paprika

8 – 10 phyllo pastry sheets 

extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground pepper

Himalayan salt

 

To make the tofu-turned-feta, cut the tofu into 1cm cubes and place into a saucepan with the water, salt, herbs and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer, liquid and all, to marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, thaw the phyllo sheets and pre heat the oven to 180C.

In a large saucepan, melt a little coconut oil and fry the sliced leeks and roughly chopped greens until soft, but not mushy. Add the marjoram, remove from heat and season to taste, stirring through with the paprika. 

Brush a pie dish or enamel pan with olive oil and place 2 sheets of phyllo across the base and up the sides. Oil those sheets and place another 2 on top at a right angle. Oil those and place the final 2 on top, again at a right angle.

Fill the pastry with the cooled greens and leek mixture and add the drained tofu. 

Wrap the pastry over the mixture, like an envelope, sealing with a little more oil. The last 2 sheets of phyllo, I scrunched up to make the top of the spanikopita a little fancier, but that’s absolutely optional. Brush the top of the pastry with more oil and grind some pepper over the top with a sprinkle of salt before placing into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

When nicely browned, remove from the oven and serve while the pastry is still lovely and crisp.

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all season garden pass

Cavolo Nero, Potato, Leek & Tarragon Soup

At this time of year, we’re pretty much living on the bounty between our garden and the Farmer’s Market, which when I think about it is in essence the same as our garden. Isn’t that the brilliant thing about Farmer’s Markets? They’re essentially like having an AAA pass to lots of different veggie patches beyond your own; patches that grow produce as you would, and provide produce that tastes like you’ve just picked it yourself. I really love that, because not all of us can grow everything at the same time in our own gardens, but all together we can grow everything at the same time. Oh God, someone save me sounding like a tourism ad!

It’s just that I never want to fall into the trap of comparing the Farmer’s Market to a supermarket. It’s an entirely different creature, made up of gardeners who are willing to share a portion of the 6-8 organic broccoli they may have in their garden, some of the season’s first pick of tarragon, or olive oil that has been pressed only 1 day ago –  pack it in their car, drive it to a shed somewhere, unpack it, put a beautiful handwritten sign with it and stand behind a trestle waiting to tell you about it should you ask. If I think about it too deeply it makes me want to pay $45 per head of broccoli and even then I’d feel like I came out the victor in the exchange.

My brain’s been fairly firmly entrenched in market-land of late, with our ongoing Saturday morning ‘shop’ at the Barossa Farmer’s Market being joined by a stint at the very first Full Moon Farm Gate last Saturday night. Just when you think your appreciation for those masters of the handmade and homegrown couldn’t be any greater, a hot mug of locally wildcrafted saffron soup is being placed into your hands, and you’re well aware your belly’s not the only thing feeling full from the offer. It’s an incredible thing to be able to give thanks in person to those who sustain the community you live in. Full hearted thanks.

This soup is a combination of Syd’s potatoes, Thatch’s tarragon, Al’s leeks, Amelie’s limes and our cavalo nero. And there you have another reason to love Farmer’s Markets – first name basis with those who are busy growing food for you. Love it.

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Cavolo Nero, Potato, Leek & Tarragon Soup

serves 4

 

1 bunch organic cavalo nero, roughly chopped

4-5 russet potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes

3-4 organic pencil leeks, chopped into 1cm rounds

1 generous handful organic tarragon, chopped

1 litre organic vegetable stock

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

Squeeze of fresh organic lime

Himalayan salt

Freshly ground white pepper

 

Super simple. Heat a large saucepan, add the coconut oil, leeks and potatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the leeks are golden, add the cavalo nero, stir for a further 2 minutes and then cover with the vegetable stock. Let the soup come to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat, season to taste and add the tarragon and lime juice just before serving.

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