homegrown

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!

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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my favourite flowers

Black Bean Zucchini Flowers

This time of year can be so crazy. And then your friends pop a brown paper bag of freshly picked homegrown zucchini flowers in your hands and you remember what’s important again. Just look at these babies! Aren’t they perfect? A perfect package of kindness. There’s nothing flippant about that comment either. There’s not really much that usurps the value of anything homegrown and hand-tended to me. It’s the ultimate gift from where I sit.

Timing was perfect too, because we had one of our best buddies from Sydney hanging on the hill with us over the weekend, and the beauty of whipping fresh zucchini flowers out of the fridge wasn’t lost on her for a minute.

I’m not sure if it’s because everything seems so busy, or if the flush of Summer produce naturally encourages a simpler approach in the kitchen, but I’m not really cooking anything that takes longer than 15 minutes to be on a plate at the moment so the idea of battering these and perhaps stuffing them wasn’t part of the plan from the onset. I wanted them to be delicious though – absolutely – just in the shortest time possible. You know how it goes. So, I grabbed some black bean flour to roughly coat the flowers with before popping them on a flat sandwich grill. A little olive oil and fresh lemon juice, lemon thyme, dill and salt and they all but took themselves outside for us to eat as a first course while the sun set.

The black bean flour has such a yummy, nutty kind of finish, and the speckle of the black against the zucchini looks a lot fancier than I imagined it would. Bonus. So if you have a glut of zucchini flowers, or kind friends with an abundant garden, maybe think about grabbing a bag of black bean flour for a super fast option. Actually grab a bag of black bean flour regardless, it’s good stuff if you’re a chapati fan too.

 

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Black Bean Zucchini Flowers

 

just picked organic zucchini flowers

organic black bean flour

organic lemons

extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

organic lemon thyme

organic dill

 

Cut the zucchini and flowers in half and wash. The residual water from washing will give the flour a reason to hang on, so coat the flowers and zucchini with the black bean flour and place onto a hot grill plate with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for a couple of minutes and turn over to continue cooking until just tender.

 

Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper and fresh herbs. Add another drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.

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hoping for the best

Wood Roasted Purple Carrots with Fresh Borlotti Beans

We trialled some borlotti beans in the garden this year. Ha, listen to me, “trialled”. Like everything we plant in our veggie patch isn’t a ‘throw it to the wind and hope for the best’ kind of endeavour. Sometimes we end up with food on our plates and sometimes the runner ducks or earwigs get in first. That’s just the way things roll out here on the hill, and we’re good with that. But when we end up at the table with plates piled high from produce we have planted, tended, weeded, chatted to and finally picked, there’s always a special pause before we tuck in. A little space for the timeline that landed the seeds we planted in front of us, months on, in totally different outfits to how they went into the ground. Some kind of magic later and we’re eating bright pink beans and deep purple carrots.

How insanely beautiful is the borlotti? I haven’t really had much of a chance to get to know them in their fresh guise, more so from the can, and although they taste good either way, that stunning colour palette, both before they’re shelled and after, made me rethink this little bean. Why not make it the star of a dish rather than sending it to the corp? I’ll tell you why. Because that tricky little minx sheds its fabulous technicolour dreamcoat when it’s cooked. Oh well. Still tastes colourful.

And just in case, some gnarly purple carrots went in too. These guys wouldn’t win a beauty contest, but again, so delicious you could never hold it against them. Yummy winter fare that happily roasted away in our wood fired oven while we worked in the garden until the sun set, putting up tiny fences to keep our new clutch of chicks from eating the fennel before it even hints at being bulblike. We figure ‘hoping for the best’ works better with a bit of a barrier between what’s edible and what’s eating it.

 

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Wood Roasted Purple Carrots with Fresh Borlotti Beans

I did intend to add the purple beans from the photograph into this dish too but I ate them raw while I was cooking. It couldn’t be helped.

 

1 bunch organic heirloom purple carrots

300g organic borlotti beans

1 bunch organic marjoram

1 bunch organic lemon thyme

organic extra virgin olive oil

1 organic meyer lemon

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

polenta to serve

 

Wash the carrots really well. Really well. They are notorious for hiding grit in their purple skin so well worth being slightly obsessive about this step.

Cut them into bite sized chunks and put into an oven proof baking dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil and scatter stripped marjoram and lemon thyme leaves over the top. Season with sea salt and pepper and roast for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. It took longer in our woodfired oven but in a conventional oven it probably wouldn’t need much more than an hour.

 

If you can get fresh borlotti beans then you can add them to the roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time. If using canned then you’ll only need to heat them through so 15 minutes would be plenty. If using dried, soak and boil them, then add them for the last 15 minutes to make them a little nuttier.

 

When cooked, remove from oven and stir to bring some of the richly flavour oil from the bottom of the pan to coat the vegetables. Add extra fresh marjoram and lemon thyme, squeeze the juice of the meyer lemon over the top and serve with polenta. Hearty.

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