lunch

garden decides

Cashew & Spelt Gnocchi

We had a massive clean out in the garden this weekend, kind of an everything-must-go clearance of spent broccoli, earwig-eaten kale and woody fennel. And just in time to grab the last of the nettles too. The season turned really quickly this year – it seemed to take forever to get here, but the transition was complete in 2 days, according to the wilted and browned state of the veggies. So we did what we do every year, and pulled everything out ready for the next season’s efforts. I’ll admit to getting a bit sentimental over this process at times, I always feel bad pulling anything out that may still have a skerrick of green about it, but all it takes to quash that and buck up, is to think about the many pioneering hands that have worked the very same soil on our hill in the 100 or more years there’s been a veggie garden here. Our little patch is a good place for big thoughts.

Had to laugh at myself though, when I interrupted my subconscious mulling over the idea of changing my Instagram name. All romantic notions of connecting with my pioneering forebears ran off right about then. Thing is, the idea of an Instagram name wouldn’t have even been on my radar 5 years ago. Maybe 6. Does it ever make your brain hurt at where things might be at for all of us in another, oh, 5 years? Anyway, I did change it. My Instagram name, that is. Figured I write it in the wet cement of our renovations so it would be there in another 100 years. It’s bound to have historical significance. Having sorted that pivotal point out, I also made plans for dinner. To be honest, the garden decided that one without me. Here’s what the days gardening efforts became…

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Cashew & Spelt Gnocchi 

Serves 2

I make good use of the cashew cheese I make each week for the Scullery’s Saturday pop-up, so this recipe is exactly what I’ve been promising our cashew cheese customers, for maybe 6 months now. Eeep. Or you can always follow the recipe for cashew cheese here if you’re not able to call in to the Scullery this Saturday!

I make my own egg replacer for things like gnocchi too, but you can just as easily use 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons of water.

If you’d like to make the egg replacer, it’s great for when you want a lighter finish, with things like biscuits and cakes. This will make a batch that you can store to use beyond this recipe. To make it, mix together 1 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, 1/4 cup baking powder and 1/2 tablespoon xanthan gum. Store it in a glass jar for up to 6 months.

For the gnocchi:

1 cup cashew cheese

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour

1 tsp Himalayan salt

3 tsp egg replacer mixed in 6 tbsp water

Mix cheese and egg replacer liquid mixture in a medium sized bowl and add flour and salt, stirring together until you have a dough consistency. You should be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands. If it’s still sticky, add a little more flour, bit by bit.

Roll into sausages about 1 cm thick on a floured board and cut into 1-2 cm pieces with a sharp knife. On a floured board, make sure to keep them from touching, while you’re preparing the remaining gnocchi, you don’t want them to stick.

When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently drop the gnocchi in. Wait until they float to the top and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Serve with pesto immediately.

For the nettle pesto:

A generous handful of each of the following herbs –

organic nettles

organic fennel fronds

organic mint

organic sage

organic oregano

1 clove garlic

extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp capers in salt (don’t rinse)

Blitz together in a food processor until you have the consistency you prefer, adding the olive oil as you go.

To serve the gnocchi, drizzle generous spoonfuls of pesto across the hot gnocchi, top with extra rocket flowers, fresh herbs or whatever takes your fancy. These little guys are filling, so don’t be put off by what seems like a small amount!

 

by your self with pig pie

Pig Pie

This whole ‘self-care’ thing has been popping up like a cartoon thought bubble lately. And, I’m not sure why, but just the term seems irritating to me, maybe its overuse has spread it too rough and thin somehow? There’s bound to be a year’s worth of psychological analysis right there. Anyway, usually cause to have a better look at something when I notice it gets under my skin like that.

First reaction, I don’t have time for self-care. Second reaction, Oh.

Irony is a little minx isn’t she? Time and the perceived lack of it is such a big one. I have a friend who figured she’d just rename things to strike up a more harmonious relationship with time, and so, ‘blessed is the new busy’ she said. Sounded like a brilliant plan. The next time I saw her after a ridiculously full week, ‘yeah’, she told me, ‘busy’s bullshit’. We got a decent laugh out of it. Maybe that was the point all along.

The idea of finding a new way to approach self-care without feeling selfish made me want to take my friend’s lead and just call it something entirely different though. Mostly because when I think about, or more to the point, feel self-care, it’s not the ‘let’s go shopping and buy lots of things’ kind, or a ‘stay home and eat Pringles all day’ scenario, it’s more about that aspect of self that just wants to know you’re on side, wants to be acknowledged as the stripped bare essence of who you are. No ‘should be / really better’ list, just the part of your self that seeks out the kind of analogue warmth that comes with small gestures; sitting in the Winter sunshine to drink your tea, closing your eyes for a moment when a favourite song shuffles itself to the top of your iTunes list, pulling on a pair of really, really warm homemade socks that you know will change your approach to the whole day, making a pot of soup from veggies in the garden by picking whatever comes across your path, pushing your face into the golden-hay smell of your horse’s neck, you get the idea. The things that sustain us rather than divert us. The things that may mean little to anyone else, but everything to you. No one else knows that stuff, which is why ‘being by your self’ is the best way I can explain self-care. Not in any solitary sense, not at all, but in the way you would stand by a buddy when they needed you most – it’s that.

 

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So, last week when all three of us registered the ‘to do list’ had eaten the ‘to be list’ once again, we put all the small things that collectively spell self-care into the one day and took a road trip. Road trips are right up there on the self care list. As are green juice travellers in the car. Stopping at whatever little second hand stores took our fancy on route. Buying quinces and apples from road-side honesty boxes. Drinking chai from a thermos. Picking gigantic field mushrooms that no one could ever eat but we knew would make beautiful spore prints on paper. And setting up for lunch along a little dirt-track using the upcycled bits and bobs we’d bought along the way as cafe furniture in the grass. Doubled over, tears down cheeks laughter and it wouldn’t have mattered what name we assigned to self-care, it was that feeling of having stolen the day for no other reason than to be ‘by our selves’ that was the alchemy we wrapped each other up in. The kind of nourishment that sinks into your bones. I guess that descriptor is too long for a DL Flyer, but maybe it could be the tagline for Self-Care. Or maybe it’s even simpler still – reconnect to wonder. That works.

And we ate Pig Pie. So called because my vintage bird cookie cutter had taken flight and all I could lay my hands on was the piggie. You’ve probably guessed already there’s no pig in this pie besides the pastry cut out…

 

 

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Pig Pie (also known as Roasted Beetroot and Brown Rice Pie with Rye Pastry)

For the pastry:

3 cups organic wholemeal rye flour

4 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

1 tsp Himalayan salt

room temperature rainwater

For the pie filling:

2 cups cooked organic brown rice

1 1/2 cups cooked organic black lentils

2 medium organic roasted beetroot, diced

2 cloves roasted garlic

2 tbsp organic black tahini

fresh tarragon, chopped

fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Using a 22cm diameter x 5cm high tart tin with removable base, prepare it by rubbing the inside base and sides with coconut oil, using your fingers to warm the oil as you work your way around the tin. Dust with flour and set aside.

To make the pastry, put the rye flour, salt and coconut oil into a food processor and blitz until the coconut oil has been ‘rubbed in’. Starting with a tablespoon at a time, add the rainwater while the food processor is going so you can see the dough come together in a ball. You will end up using about 5-6 tablespoons depending on the rye flour you have. It shouldn’t be sticky, but it should just stick together!

I always roll my pastry between two sheets of baking paper, just easier that way. Split off 2/3 of the dough and roll out for the base, leaving the other 1/3 for the top. Roll to a rough circle about 5mm thick. Pick up by rolling around your rolling pin and gently place into the tart tin, pushing the pastry into the corners and sides. Trim any excess pastry from the top, prick the base with a fork a few times and bake for 8-10 minutes until just set but not cooked through.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you prepare the filling.

I had left over rice and roasted beetroot already in the fridge which is the main reason I went with this combination, but you could really add any roasted veggies to any pulses and mix it with rice. Blitz about half of the cooked black lentils with tahini and the roasted garlic to give yourself a smooth puree to work through the rice and remaining lentils to hold them together. Add the fresh herbs. Season to taste.

Put half of the rice/lentil mixture into the pie base and then add the roasted  chunks of beetroot, followed by the remaining half of the rice mixture. This should be quite a snug fit to the top of the tin. 

Roll out your pastry lid, using the baking paper sheets to avoid sticking. Place the lid on the pie and seal by pinching it together along the top edge of the pastry base. With any leftover pastry you can make a piggie, or any similar well-loved animal  for the top.

Brush with a little soy milk and bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and starting to brown around the edges.

If you’re taking this on a picnic, leave it in the tin for easy transport, otherwise remove from the tin after about 10 minutes and serve with garden greens and a few blooms; nasturtium, calendula petals, fennel fronds etc.

 

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digging the dirt(y)

Dirty(y) Food Saag Aloo

Way back when the idea of the Full Moon Farm Gate started percolating, dirt(y) Simon Bryant was one of the first foodie types I thought of calling to see if he’d be keen to be on board. He was. His diary wasn’t. It’s taken since 2013 until now to find a happy collision of his free time and our popping up, but that junction is here and it’s happening! This is a very cool thing for lots of reasons, but the most of them are about Simon’s food and his approach to how and why things end up on a compostable plate. If you didn’t get any ‘celebrity’ vibe in that, it’s because there isn’t any of that with Simon. Really. And he’s more than entitled, believe me. Instead, there’s the ‘sure, we can cook to order in a stone stable in unpredictable weather, not knowing how many people are coming, and we’ll talk to all the local producers to make sure we get as many things grown down the road as we can.’ That’s Simon. Clearly a Full Moon Farm Gate kind of guy.

You’d think, knowing all the above, that I wouldn’t possibly ask him for anything else, but when he told me what he had planned for Saturday night’s menu, “hey, would you guest blog one of the recipes for me?” was out of my typing fingers before I could add, “please say yes!” And he did. So here’s one of the ‘wokked to order’ dishes he’ll be serving come Saturday night at Langmeil. It’s from his new book. The one that hasn’t actually been released yet. If that doesn’t make us all feel loved…

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 Dirt(y) Food Saag Aloo by Simon Bryant

500 g starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

(Syd Lewis’ Pontiacs)

60 ml dirt(y) raw pressed red skin peanut oil *

2 onions, diced

(from Alnda Farms)

4 cloves garlic, crushed

(from Krondorf Farm)

1 tsp freshly grated turmeric

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 big bunch English spinach, leaves roughly chopped

(from Alnda Farms)

salt flakes

100 ml raw coconut oil

½ large green chilli, sliced

coconut yoghurt and steamed basmati rice, to serve

 

Start by boiling the spuds till they are tender and set aside and keep warm. 

Heat a large heavy-based pan (with a lid), add the peanut oil and once hot sautee the onion and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes or until soft. Turn the heat up a little and add the spices to fry for about 30 seconds or till aromatic – but don’t burn that fenugreek or it will turn bitter! 

Add the spinach along with ½ cup water and toss gently so the spinach is covered with the spice mixture. Place the lid on and cook covered for around 3 mins or until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt flakes. Grab a stick blender and puree the mixture, adding the raw coconut oil while the mixture is hot. 

Add the potatoes and gently fold through the pureed mixture.

Garnish with the green chilli and serve with coconut yoghurt and steamed basmati.

 

A note from Simon…

* dirt(y) is my brand of Australian grown, gm free, wholefoods. So I guess this is my shameless plug for our peanut oil…

dirt(y) raw pressed red skin peanut oil is made with red skin peanuts grown in sunny Kingaroy, Queensland – Peanut Capital of Australia. The peanuts are raw pressed, an authentic, artisan-style process that captures all the intensity of the peanut’s flavour and aroma.

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Bring on Saturday night, we’re so ready for this meeting of worlds!

wake up tea

Alu Paratha with Lemon Achar

Every morning that we were trekking in the Himalaya, we were woken up with hot tea brought to our tent; if that one action doesn’t set the scene for how much we loved being in India, I don’t know what could. Beyond stating over and over again how extraordinary the magnitude of the Himalayas is, and how I tried to find new spaces in my head and heart to cram it all in, I really can’t find a way to wrap words around the experience. It was as though every spiritual teaching I have ever happened upon, all the beautiful passages of poetry, every minute of yoga practice, and all the meditation I have ever sat in, all met in a point of singularity, and what really, really blew my mind was how they all just fell away, in an instant. And there I was breathing and walking. Breathing and walking became the most incredible things. Stuff I’d be doing, let’s face it,  for quite sometime now, these everyday things, all of a sudden became truly sacred. And that’s pretty much how it played out, from one moment to the next, so overwhelmed with the beauty of breathing and walking in surroundings that asked nothing more or less of me. Insane levels of peace right there. Wake up tea indeed. And that’s before we found ourselves sitting in the kitchen of an 1100 year old Buddhist monastery. Crazy beautiful.

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And of course there’s so much more, there always is. And it’s still coming, even now that we’re home. I love that. And Alu Paratha, I love Alu Paratha. If there was a quintessential meal for me while we were in India, it was Alu Paratha, with Achar (pickle) and chai. So good. It’s our new Sunday brunch now that we’re back, and if the Gayatri Mantra is loud enough in the background, it just about tastes like the real thing – only with Spelt Flour, Vegan Butter and Almond Milk. Here’s our rendition of the originals if you’d like to create your own Little (Vegan) India.

Lemon Achar (Pickle)

The lemon achar will need to be made a few weeks before hand to allow the skins of the lemon quarters to soften, this is when you’ll know it’s ready.

1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds

1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3-4 strands of saffron

1 small dried chilli

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt 

4 organic lemons

300 ml mustard seed oil

Lightly dry roast the spices in a pan until fragrant and popping, then add the salt and saffron and roughly crush in a mortar and pestle.

Cut the lemons in quarters and remove the pips. Put in a bowl and stir the spices through to coat the lemon quarters. Put the quarters into sterilised jars, stacking the fruit as you would for preserved lemons.

Gently heat the mustard oil in a pan until it is hot, but not smoking. Add the small chilli into the jar and pour the hot oil over the lemons. Make the jar airtight and leave for at least a week until the lemon skins have softened, again in the same way preserved lemons do.

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 Alu Paratha

For the paratha:

1 cup organic spelt flour

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

For the alu:

2 organic potatoes

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Boil the potatoes, drain and cool. Mash together with the spices, salt and lemon juice.

Mix the spelt flour with the salt and rub in the coconut oil. Slowly add the water until you have a workable dough.

 Split the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece out to about 1/2 cm thick. Place a tablespoon of the potato mix in the centre of each and fold the edges of the dough over the potato like you were wrapping a present.  Turn the dough over and gently roll out as thinly as possible to spread the potato mix throughout the bread, but trying not to break the dough and let the potato bust through. This can take a little practice!

Heat a flat grill plate and cook each paratha until golden, flipping halfway through the cooking time to cook both sides evenly.

Serve with lemon achar and chai.

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antique roadshow

roasted pumpkin & hempseed spelt pasties

After another rather deep conversation about the goings on of the planet and our place on it, a beautiful friend of mine proposed a beautiful thing; can we have a play date and remember that carefree joy that sits in us somewhere under the seriousness of how we’re planning to save the world? Instantly on board with the idea, my mind went to setting up jumps for the ponies (our legs) that would be racing around the hill next time we caught up. That little gem of a game featured heavily in my childhood so it was a given it would be the first thing to come to me, but thinking about it a little more, I kind of felt a bit sad that we might have to organise play for ourselves, that it did seem like quite a while since that easy, go-with-the-flow creative process had us captured in that wonderful place of no time and no expectation. A heavy sigh out let in a gorgeous visual vignette of antique shops, a packed lunch, thermos of tea and laughing in the car – a road trip – of course! Grown up play of the very best kind.

Just thinking about what we’d have on our roadside picnic had the creative process started, food always does it. Actually, that’s not true, sometimes cooking can be a drag, but when you take the expectation away the whole concept flips itself into the same territory as finger painting or potato stamping. Good stuff. So, with the current roast-ahead-to-make-easy-meals-later theme at play in our kitchen, I had some roasted pumpkin ready to go, the hemp seeds came out of the fridge and some lemon thyme and sage joined in to make pasties. Because that’s what the miners used to eat, and we were heading into old mining towns, and somehow this all made sense at the time. You know how it goes.

It was the very shiniest of days as we set ourselves up on a blanket in the overgrown grounds of an unused church, drinking kombucha, eating pasties and rocket salad with sauerkraut and pesto, and chatting about everything and nothing. The raw chocolate and tea was saved for our next stop further up the road and every little antique shop in every little town we drove through filled in the blanks along the way. As we stopped to watch the sunset on the way home, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, where the sky was so big we had to turn the music way up in the car to do the scene soundtrack justice, we vowed to make this a seasonal event at the very least. Given, eating vegan food and antique shopping in quiet country towns isn’t the wildest thing we could all imagine doing, it’s our new favourite game. And don’t worry, we giggled at that too.

 

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Roasted Pumpkin & Hempseed Spelt Pasties

makes 4 pasties

for the spelt pastry:

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

enough water to pull dough together

Himalayan salt, to taste

for the filling:

1/2 organic pumpkin (about 4 cups), cut into 2cm cubes, skin on and roasted

extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp organic lemon thyme, chopped

2 tbsp organic fresh sage, chopped

4 tbsp organic hempseeds

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C.

To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and coconut oil in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. Then slowly add a little water until the dough pulls together to form a ball. 

To make the pumpkin filling, simply combine all the ingredients without mashing the pumpkin up too much in the process. If you’d rather not have the skin as part of the plan, remove it prior to mixing, but I love the texture it adds so I’ve left it on in this recipe.

Remove the dough and cut into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 20cm in diameter and place a quarter of the pumpkin mixture along the centre line in a small mound, tapering off at each end.

Using your fingers to wet the edges of the pastry, pull the two sides of the pasty over the top of the filling and press together using your finger and thumb to concertina the join. Work all the way down to each end of the pasty and finally fold the very last piece of dough at each end over itself to completely seal the pasty.

Repeat with the remaining dough and mixture to end up with 4 pasties.

Brush a little almond or soy milk across the tops of the pasties and put into the preheated oven to cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry just starts to colour and is cooked through on the bottom. This is not the kind of pastry that puffs up, so don’t wait for that as the sign it’s ready!

When the pasties are cooked, remove from the oven and slide onto a cooling rack to ensure they don’t end up with soggy bottoms. Nothing worse.

We ate our’s with sauerkraut which I’d highly recommend as the perfect accompaniment but I’d never say no to a good homemade tomato sauce either.

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full moon dinner guest

Not-Sausage Rolls

With our next Full Moon Farm Gate happening this Saturday night, I thought we could put two frogs on a rock by letting you know what morsels might be on offer, as well as you give you a chance to bake these delectable little guys at home after you fall in love with them, nibbling away, perched on a straw bale in the moonlight. I’d love to say that’s the only way you should ever eat these, but that would just be silly. They’re way too good for a once a month kind of dish. Over to my gorgeous buddy and fellow blogger, The Natural Foodie, aka Kirsty…

Growing up, I very quickly came to the realisation that sausage rolls go hand in hand with a party. I was never much of a fan of traditional party food, so I don’t really feel as though I’m missing anything by sticking to a whole food plant based diet. The sausage rolls however, were my one party food weakness, and my seven year old self’s guiltless pleasure.

Since I like to imagine the Full Moon Farm Gate as one big celebration, it seems only logical that my contribution would be not-sausage rolls. This is the kind of party food I wish I’d had access to at parties as a kid. In fact, the Full Moon Farm Gate is the kind of party I wish I went to as a kid, too.

Despite their much healthier outfit, I still think of these not-sausage rolls as a treat (it is pastry after-all). They just so happen to be much better for everyone involved, or not involved, if you happen to be a pig or cow.

If the lack of sausage in this recipe isn’t enough for you, we’re going one step further and making these gluten free as well. So if you happen to be that way inclined and are wondering what you can snack on come Saturday afternoon, please pop by our trestle. We’ll be the ones behind the pie warmer, keeping ourselves, and the not-sausage rolls, warm. There’ll be homemade tomato sauce and paper bags at the ready, too.

If you don’t have the time, store bought puff pastry is okay and usually doesn’t contain dairy or eggs (check the ingredients to be sure though). Health food stores usually have organic and gluten free options as well. However, if you’ve got the time and patience, it is possible to make your own gluten free rough puff pastry. There are several recipes floating around the net, like this one. Just be prepared to spend the better part of your day rolling, resting and rolling again, if you head down this road.

 

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Not-Sausage Rolls

 To make the cashew cheese:

1 cup organic cashews (soaked overnight, drained)

juice of one organic lemon

1 tbsp savoury yeast flakes

1/4 cup rain water

1/2 tsp murray river salt flakes

cracked black pepper

 

1 cup brown rice flakes 

1 cup warm water

1 tbsp flax meal 

3 tbsp rainwater

1 organic brown onion

1 cup organic almonds

2 organic garlic cloves, peeled

handful of chopped organic parsley

5 organic oregano leaves

1 tbsp organic tamari

1/4 cup psyllium husks

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp savoury yeast flakes

murray river salt flakes

black pepper

organic sesame seeds

extra oil for brushing

 

Add the cashew cheese ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Scrape the cashew cheese mix out and set aside. 

 

In a separate bowl soak the rice flakes in the warm water. In another small bowl, stir together the flax meal and water. Set both aside.

 

Add the almonds, onion and garlic to the food processor and blitz into rough chunks. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, including the cashew cheese and flax meal mixture. Drain the rice flakes of excess water and add to the food processor. Blitz the mixture until smooth and sticky.

 

Roll the mixture into “sausages” and wrap with pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with oil and press the edges together. Cut the rolls into desired length, prick them with a fork and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

Bake in a 220 degree celsius oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and flaky.

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beet ’em, join ’em

Roasted Olive & Beetroot Salad with Nasturtiums

As soon as the weather makes its shift into cooler territory, I find it a bit tricky to eat the amount of raw salady stuff that I know I should. Enter the roasted salad. Such a great fall back plan, on a few different levels actually; there’s the fact that you can still manage to have a decent sized serve of leaves and veggies while your appetite is screaming out for something warming, and the other part I really like about roasted salad is the roasted bit. I’ve been doing an almost weekly ritual of roasting whatever is still in the fridge on a Saturday afternoon when we do the changeover from one Farmer’s Market haul to the next. Things can get a little sad if they’re still sitting on the shelf by the time the next load comes in to replace them, but roasting somehow gives slightly limp veggies a second chance to shine. I throw in overlooked potatoes, beetroot, carrots, onion, any left over bits of cauliflower or broccoli and then add in some fresh stuff from our veggie garden; herbs and greens, maybe the odd tomato – it all goes into a couple of baking pans with lots of olive oil and salt and pepper and comes out ready to supply a week’s worth of soups, salads, risotto, pasta, toasted sandwiches and pies. Just having a choice of roasted veggies ready to go from the fridge cuts the time in half to make something decent for lunch rather than eating sourdough toast 7 days a week! My resolve is only as strong as my prep time I’ve discovered.

So, in doing the roasting thing for a while, I started throwing in whatever I thought might make things a bit different from the week before and olives ended up as part of the deal. Have you had roasted olives before? I never had – they’re good. Here’s what happened when they meet the roasted beetroot and some broad beans I had tucked away in the freezer…

 

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Roasted Olive & Beetroot Salad with Nasturtiums

2-3 organic beets

1 cup organic wild, or kalamata olives

extra virgin olive oil

Himalayan salt flakes

freshly ground pepper

6-8 fresh organic beet leaves

1 cup organic broadbeans

generous handful of fresh organic herbs – chervil, dill, parsley

fresh organic nasturtiums

1/2 organic orange

Pre heat the oven to 190C.

Roast the washed and cut beetroot, along with the olives, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper until the beet is tender.

Blanche the broad beans in boiling water and drain.

Add the roasted beets, olives, broad beans, beet leaves, herbs and nasturtiums to a large bowl and gently toss through with the roasting juices and oil from the beetroot.

 Squeeze the juice from 1/2 an orange over the salad, add salt and pepper to season, and tumble the salad out onto a serving plate. 

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you say tomato…

Roasted Tomato Passata

It’s been a bit of an odd season for tomatoes this year. I love that a 20 minute conversation can take place across our Farmer’s Market trestle discussing just that. It’s not that tomatoes haven’t grown this Summer, more that they seem to be waiting in the wings for something spectacular to call them into their starring role. Who knows what the trigger is to turn a tomato from green to red; I unconvincingly placed my faith in the Sun taking that job on, but nope, we’ve had plenty of that and still no dice. A new theory did emerge after last weekend though.

We have a truly brilliant manager at the Barossa Farmer’s Market, we all love Jess, and not just for the extra shine she’s brought to Saturday mornings, but also for the fact she really gets what communities are authentically looking for – participation. Showing up and making something happen. In this spirit, Jess organised the inaugural Barossa Farmer’s Market Great Passata Collective, complete with hand drawn logo. No need to explain why we love her so; hand drawn and hand coloured logo. On the back of a brown paper bag. It’s true.

 

 

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The idea was, that a group of us keen green thumbs picked up our baby tomato plants in time to nurture a serious amount of homegrown produce to pool in the ‘Collective’s’ passata pot, at a later stage in the season. The part the tomatoes didn’t understand was their obligation to be ripe for the occasion, but to quote our Collective Commander, “never let perfect get in the way of good” – so we bought 200kg of tomatoes from fellow stall holder and the day was underway. It was brilliant. Dean Martin was cranking, interspersed with John on his mandolin, the passata was flowing and a quietly ingenious pasta machine assembly line assembled itself, so we could all share the day’s efforts with a communal lunch. Jess adoration was at its peak at this point!

 

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So my latest theory on tomatoes and ripening, developed after the Great Passata Collective, because that’s exactly when our tomatoes ripened. Little punks knew we’d set a date for them to be ready and figured our expectation needed a little tempering with a reminder of who’s running this show. That’d be Nature. Let’s call the Collective the best way to have a practice run in passata making – ever – and run with the chance it gave me to tweak a few things after the fact. In lieu of a missing assembly line of pasta machines at the ready and all those extra hands to make light work, I went with the easiest option I could think of; put all the uncut tomatoes, stems and all, into a roasting pan with a good dousing of olive oil, salt and pepper, and this way the oven makes passata for you while you drink tea, or similar. I’ve never done this before so I was quietly relieved when it actually worked. Once the tomatoes are burnished and shrunken, throw the whole lot into a colander, or mesh sieve, over a pan and use the back of a spoon to push the reduced tomato pulp through. The stems and skins stay on one side of the fence and the already seasoned tomato puree lands in the pan. Done.

 

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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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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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