To say I am a fan of eggs is a rather big understatement, they are my favourite food! If I was on a desert island and could only have one food for every meal I think eggs would be my choice. In saying that I have become a bit more fussy about the eggs I do eat lately, much preferring those produced on farms locally to any from the supermarket.
My uncle recently set up the most palatial hen house and got quite a few chickens, so I went to visit to see him, his dogs, cats, horse (!) and buy some eggs from him. I’m actually a little scared of chickens, it’s the beaks, but they seemed very happy and I braved the pen to take some photographs. The eggs themselves are brilliant, so yellow and fresh. I wanted to use them here on the blog but not do too much to them.
I got some locally sourced mushrooms at the farmers market (slippery jacks and saffron milk caps, along with a few portobello’s), nice fresh bread, and some rocketini (because it is so cute, but also tasty) and made myself a simple but pretty tasty lunch.
A handful of mixed mushrooms
Half an onion finely chopped
Handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
A small dash of cream
Squeeze of lemon
Knob of butter
Salt and pepper
Heat the butter in a frypan on medium heat, once melted add the onion and some salt and pepper and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the chopped mushrooms and parsley and cook until browned. Add a dash of cream, a squeeze of lemon and stir through.
Serve on toast with a poached egg on top
Garnish with rocketini to or you could use some rocket.
Many years ago I was at a restaurant in Melbourne called Sud with my parents and we had stuffed zucchini flowers as our entrée. It was the first and last time I’d ever eaten them, but they were amazing and the taste and idea stayed with me ever since. Then last weekend I was most pleased to see that they were available to buy at Salamanca market. Exciting times! So I tried to re-create that recipe from my memory and I have to say I think I’ve come close. This is so easy to do, which surprised me, and has a great combination of textures and flavours.
This recipe is for about 8 zucchini flowers. Carefully unfurl the petals of the flowers so that they are open and easy to work with, remove the stamens from the centre and spoon in (or like me use your fingers) to gently fill the centre of the flower with the cheese stuffing mixture. Then gather the tops of the petals together and gently twirl to seal the mixture in.
50g goats cheese (I used the beautiful Tasmanian Tongola cheese)
100g ricotta cheese
freshly grated nutmeg
about 6 basil leaves finely chopped
pinch of sea salt
Put the stuffed flowers in the fridge while you make a salsa and the batter.
Handful of finely diced tomatoes
Lug of balsamic vinegar
Lug of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt
100g plain flour
175ml soda water
combine these together with a fork until there are no lumps.
Heat a good inch or so of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan until it sizzles when you put in a dot of the batter. Remove the flowers from the fridge and coat in the batter before cooking in the oil until lightly golden. Rest on paper towel before serving with the tomato salsa and a sprinkle of finely chopped basil or parsley.
This summer we have been so lucky with fresh produce, the apricots were sweet and juicy and it looks like it is going to be equally as good for tomatoes. I don’t have a garden of my own but I raided my mum’s, she has an amazing basil patch and some really great tomatoes, and so wanted to do a nice simple recipe where you can just enjoy these fresh flavours.
I was given a copy of Giorgio Locatelli’s Made In Sicily for Christmas which is beautiful book and in it he describes a recipe called truck drivers pasta where essentially they would use whatever was around to toss through pasta, hence the name here.
300 grams 00 flour
3 eggs (but mine were small so I used 4)
Put the flour on a bench surface and make a well in the middle, break in the eggs and with a fork gently break up the eggs and start mixing the flour in, once together as a dough kneed for 3 to 4 minutes until it feels smooth and silky. Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
While you are waiting for this prepare your sauce. I chopped up one big clove of garlic and placed in it a bowl with a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes and six or seven small roma tomatoes chopped, a handful of chopped basil, pinch of sea salt, some grated strips of zucchini and a lug of good olive oil. Just let this sit and rest.
Put the pasta dough through the machine and perhaps make something a little fatter like linguini, I think I only took the pasta to 4 so it was still quite thick. Cook the pasta in some boiling salted water and then drain. Stir through the sauce and serve with some parmesan or pecorino.
Another one from our Christmas cards.
I always make a potato salad at Christmas – this one is a slight more tricked out version.
2kg New Potatoes
3x Spring Onions chopped
1x Smoked Chicken Breast sliced
3x Rashers of Bacon chopped coarsely
1x Tbs Dijon Mustard
Finely chopped rind from 1/2 a preserved lemon
3x Tbs Capers
Black Pepper to taste (you shouldn’t need salt)
6x Boiled Eggs
2x Tbs of Dill roughly chopped.
2/3 Cup Sunflower Oil
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1x Tbs Lemon Juice
1x Tbs White Vinegar
1/2 Tsp Ground White Pepper
2x Egg Yolks
1x Tsp Dijon Mustard
Boil potatoes until cooked and set aside. Also soft boil the eggs and set aside.
To make the mayonnaise whisk lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, pepper and egg yolks together. Then while whisking, slowly add the oils. Best use an electric whisk or beater for this.
Fry off the bacon then add to the strained potatoes. Add the spring onions, chicken, mustard, preserved lemon, capers and dill. Now stir through the mayonnaise.
Once mixed, add the eggs that have been halved and stir gently. Now serve.
This can be served both hot and cold.
At the moment we are having that funny in-between spring weather, where it is sometimes nice during the day, and sometimes not, but then cooler again in the evening. I visited our local farmer’s market (the Tasmanian Farm Gate Market) on Sunday as I often do and as always came home with a big bag full of veggies, including some lovely looking baby leeks and nice fresh pea sprouts. I had baked some fresh bread with a pumpkin, poppy and sesame seed crust the day before so knew I wanted some to make something to try it out with, and a spring veggie soup came to mind. This soup is so simple and had a really good flavour, not too heavy for this time of year but still a bit comforting for cooler nights.
sea salt and cracked black pepper
clove of garlic crushed
3 baby leeks (or 1 larger) chopped
1 brown onion diced
5 baby carrots diced
2 handfuls of chopped green beans
2 potatoes cut into approximately 1 cm cubes
approximately ¾ cup pasta
1 can of chopped tinned tomatoes
¾ cup purple cabbage chopped into strips
2 small bok choy
1 cup pea sprouts
4-5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
For serving: rocket pesto (recipe here)and rocketini sprigs
To make the soup heat a good lug of olive oil in a pan on a medium heat, add the garlic, onion, leeks, carrot and potato and salt and pepper. Cook for a little while say five minutes, then add the beans and tinned tomatoes. Cook for a few more minutes then add the warm stock (4 cups to start with), bring to the boil and stir and then turn the heat down so it simmers until the vegetables are cooked through and soft but still holding shape. Add the pasta until that is cooked and at this stage you may need to add some more stock depending on how much the pasta has absorbed. At the end add the purple cabbage and once that is soft add in the pea sprouts just before serving.
Add some pesto and rocketini on top for a little extra flavour kick and enjoy with bread or toast.