Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Wild Weed and Leaves Pesto Dip

Pesto can be made by substituting many other leaves and herbs, in place of basil so you can have it in any season. I often use rocket or chervil or parsley and even some weeds, like chickweed and dandelion. One of my favourites uses garlic scapes – those long, twirly bits that shoot up from your garden garlic in early summer. Other nuts can be substituted too, using walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and even sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, in place of pine nuts.

100g toasted pine nuts or other nuts (you may use up to 20% seeds. Don’t use more or the mixture changes texture and becomes gluggy, especially with sunflower seeds)

1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

A handful of grated mature cheddar or Parmesan or a combination

A large handful of tasty greens, including chickweed, dandelion, self-sown rocket, baby kale, herbs, mizuna etc as above

A good olive oil (probably about ½ cup)

Juice of ½ lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blend nuts and seeds, garlic, cheese and greens together, then begin trickling in the oil, while the processor runs. Stop when you have a nice purée. Taste and season as necessary with lemon juice, salt and pepper plus extra garlic. If it is too thick, add water while the machine runs.



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Wallaby Tagine with Almonds and Fruits

Isn’t it fabulous to take a recipe you love and adapt it to your circumstances! Here in southern Tasmania wallaby is so cheap; usually $6 / kg. I buy a whole carcass (only about 2 - 3 kgs) and cut it up myself as the meat is all tender and delicious and does not require any butchery knowledge!

Here I have adapted a traditional Moroccan tagine recipe to use wallaby, some of my own bottled apricots and dried plums. I served it last time with some of my freshly baked sourdough bread…. an international sensation!

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons of almonds

5 spring onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cms of fresh ginger, grated

a pinch of saffron fronds

2 cinnamon sticks

2 teaspoons of coriander seeds, ground

500g of wallaby, cubed (or shanks etc)

12 stoned plums, soaked in a little boiling water  

6 bottled apricot halves

3-4 strips orange rind

1 Tbl honey

a handful of mint or coriander leaves

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in the base of a tagine (or casserole).  Add the almonds and cook, stirring until they turn golden.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they begin to colour.  Stir in the ginger, saffron, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds.  Toss the meat into the tagine and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring to make sure it is coated in the onion and spices.

Pour in enough water to almost cover the meat and then bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat, put the lid on the tagine and simmer for one hour, until the meat is tender.  Add the plums and liquid, apricots and orange rind, put the lid back on and simmer for a further 10 minutes.  Stir in the honey, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Make sure there is enough liquid in the pot as you want the sauce to be syrupy and slightly caramelised, but not dry.  Stir in half of the fresh mint or coriander leaves, then serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining mint or coriander and accompanied by couscous (made with wheat or quinoa) or some good sourdough bread.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Anjou Pear Cake

When you assemble this cake it seems to be all lumps of pear and hardly any cake but when it is cooked, the pears and the batter become one delicious cake. You may like to add some chopped nuts to it or even some orange blossom water but I rarely do.

I have been making this cake for about 25 years and it disappears so fast I never seem to get a photo!

Heat oven to 180C

4 Large Pears
Juice of 2 lemons
2 cups 85% or
    1 cup white flour +
    1 cup wholemeal flour
1 Tbl. baking powder
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
½ cup melted butter

Peel, core and cut up the pears into a basin with the lemon juice. Turn them in the juice.
Mix remaining cake ingredients in the order given then fold in the pears and any juice.
Turn into a lined 23cm cake tin or flan dish. It doesn’t matter if it is piled up higher in the middle than the sides.
Bake 50 – 60 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
Serve warm with yoghurt.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

French Green Peppercorn Sauce

- green pepper (dried unripe fruit)

One day at the Cygnet Market a young Frenchman came up to me and asked if, amongst all the beautiful, fresh spices I had displayed on the stall, were there any green peppercorns.
I replied that I did not have them as I only had dried spices, (not the little tins of pickled, fresh, green peppercorns I was familiar with).

He assured me that in France people make a beautiful sauce with ground, dried green peppercorns….. of course I asked him for the recipe and told him I would have the dried green peppercorns he requested, at the next market, if I could find them.

Well, find them I did and make the sauce I did. Typically simple yet unique and delicious, as French foods often are, I have written out the young Frenchman’s recipe below and hope you will try it. He recommended we have it with a grilled piece of meat so I used local chops (killed and hung for 2 weeks at the Cradoc Abattoir).

French Green Peppercorn Sauce

(recipe from Romain, a local French customer)

Serves 6 (if the cook can resist sampling too much!)

125g butter

125g Four Leaf 85% flour

Make a roux : Dissolve the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour.
Stir until the mixture forms a smooth paste which leaves the sides and base of pan cleanly.
Cook for a minimum of 2 minutes, stirring, to cook out the taste of the flour.

Gradually add 5ooml good stock (I used the bones from the meat from the abattoir to make a stock) until the sauce is thick and smooth.

Reduce the heat and stir in :

1 heaped tsp freshly and finely ground green peppercorns

1/2 tsp salt (to taste and depending on the salt in your stock)

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (a dash more, to taste, if you like)

Serve as a sauce with meat / or drizzle over roasted, steamed or mashed potatoes

Bon appetit!

green peppercorn sauce

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Raspberry Quinoa Muffins

This is my first foray into cooking with quinoa flour. Quinoa is 100% gluten free and it seems that quinoa flour can be directly substituted for wheat flour in baking recipes. Not only is this useful for people unable to have gluten in their diets, but, as quinoa is such a healthy and delicious grain, more or less untouched since ancient times, I am sure it will be used by many, especially now that it is grown here in Tasmania.

The tray of quinoa raspberry muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Heat the oven to 180C fan forced

2 cups quinoa flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp bicarb. soda

pinch salt

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

1.5 tsp vanilla essence

1/3 cup light oil (I used coconut)

2/3 cup frozen raspberries

  • Sift flour, bicarb. soda, salt and stir in the sugar.
  • Beat the eggs and mix with the milk, oil and vanilla.
  • Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, only until combined.
  • Fold in the raspberries.
  • Place spoons of mixture into a muffin tin lined with paper patty pans.
  • Bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 160C and bake another 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest about 10 minutes.

What amazing texture; so soft and just perfectWe enjoyed them warm, with some creme fraiche I made but yoghurt would also be wonderful.

What amazing texture; so soft and just perfect[/caption]

I am experimenting with recipes from 'Cooking with Quinoa' by Rena Patten