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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