Vegetarian Pasties

Sunday morning was absolutely beautiful so I headed to the Farm Gate Market to stock up for the week, coming home with potatoes, broccoli, carrots, parsnip, fresh eggs, horseradish mustard and blackcurrant syrup (seriously good stuff that!).
Back at home with my front door open for the fresh warm air, and tunes on the radio I made a big pot of carrot soup (which I hadn’t ever tried until last week and am now converted) to stock up the freezer for week night dinners and then I decided to attempt vegetarian pasties.
Not having ever made pasties before and not using a recipe I had no idea how they might turn out. They were an experiment, which is my favourite kind of cooking. I can however guarantee that they tasted pretty darn nice and yes I am Australian so I had them with some good old tom sauce. I’ve run out of the home-made variety unfortunately, that would have been even better.
I’m pretty sure you could freeze them in their uncooked form for a later date too. My family ate all I made so I haven’t tested this theory yet.
Approximately 4 sheets of puff pastry (I used one sheet of the super nice Careme pastry (this made 6) but at $9.50 a pop had to use a few sheets of normal supermarket variety as well)
3 medium potatoes (I used kenebecs)
Approximately 5 baby carrots
1 large parsnip
Handful of broccoli
2 sticks of celery
½ cup of peas
2 teaspoons of horseradish mustard
Generous pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
One egg lightly beaten for brushing the pastry
Poppy seeds

Allow your pastry to defrost and preheat the oven to approximately 190 celcius.
Peel the potatoes cut into halves and place in water and bring to the boil, allow them to cook until they are soft but still holding their shape. Remove and drain from the water and cut into no bigger than one cm squares.
Chop the remaining ingredients into similar sized pieces as the potato and if you have a microwave steam until soft and cooked through but still holing some shape. If like me you don’t have a microwave, then you can use a bamboo steamer lined with some baking paper. Depending on the size of your steamer you might need to do this in several batches.
Combine all the veggies and potato in a large bowl with the horseradish mustard and salt and pepper. Use clean hands to mush the veggies up a little.
Cut the pastry into rounds, mine were 13cm in diameter. Place a handful of veggies in the middle and pull both sides of the pastry up together and make a little package making sure it’s all sealed up. Brush with the lightly beaten egg and sprinkle some poppy seeds over the top. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden and your pastry is nice and flakey.

Bruny Island Cheese and Huon Valley Mushroom Pizza with a Fennel and Radish salad

As Sam mentioned in his last post the weather here in Hobart has been wintery and cold with a nice cap of snow on Mt Wellington for days, this has made the prospect of going out to source different food a little bit less appealing. However very appealing is the new shop at Salamanca called A Common Ground, so much Tasmanian goodness there! I came away with Callington Mill flour from Oatlands, a nice piece of raw milk c2 cheese by Bruny Island Cheese Co and some garlic from Flinders Island.

I’ve been wanting to try out the flour for ages, see how it would work for pizza, and honestly it was really good, I even got the thumbs up from my brother who generally dislikes my homemade pizza bases.

To make the dough:
1 tbs dried yeast
1 ts caster sugar
1 cup tepid water
2 ½ cups Callington mill organic flour
1 ts sea salt
1 tbs olive oil

Place the water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Set in a warm spot for five minutes until bubbles appear.

Place the flour, salt and olive oil in a bowl and make a well in the centre, pour the yeast mix in and mix together to form a dough.

Place the dough on a floured work space and knead for 3-4 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl covered in a damp cloth or I use glad wrap. Set aside in a warm spot for approximately 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. Break off as much dough for the size pizza you would like, roll out on a floured surface with a rolling pin.

Flinders island garlic
Good olive oil
Huon valley mushrooms – I used shitake and swiss brown
Bruny Island raw milk c2 cheese and a little parmesan as well (or another cheese you fancy)

While your dough is resting crush a clove (or two) of garlic in a motor and pestle with some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. When the pizza base is ready brush it with the oil and garlic mix, arrange some sliced mushrooms and grate some cheese over the top. Place in a pre-heated 220 degree celcius oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

To go with the pizza a little simple salad – fennel and radish from the Tasmanian Farm Gate market. Finely slice the radish and fennel, add some freshly squeezed lemon juice, a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Put some fennel fronds on the top.
I also added some rocketini on the top to add some good peppery freshness.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Rocket Pesto, Pancetta and Goats Cheese

I wasn’t exactly sure how to follow up Sam’s rather epic Pedra Branca post…. so I’m featuring a pumpkin I found on the side of the road!

Ok so not quite literally on the side of the road, but on my travels to the Huon I came across a stall at Franklin (I think it’s there every Saturday) selling, among other things, turnips, broccoli, garlic and some impressive looking pumpkins. I brought a beautiful golden chunk of pumpkin with thoughts of soup indulgently served with crème fraiche, parmesan cheese and warm bread.

But this is Island Menu and I am pretty certain everyone already has a go-to pumpkin soup recipe (has anyone ever tired it with paprika before? (I’m thinking it would be good.)… instead I made pumpkin gnocchi and served it with a rocket pesto, crispy pancetta and some lovely Tasmanian goats cheese from Tongola . Oh and one of those amazing looking potato bread loaves from Sweet Envy in North Hobart (that I have been eyeing off for a while now!).
I think it’s a good winter dish that is not too heavy.

Here is the recipe:

600 grams of pumpkin tossed in olive oil with a pinch or two of sea salt and some fresh thyme baked in the oven at 180 celcius for approximately 35 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft when pricked with a skewer. Allow to cool.

Press the roasted pumpkin through a ricer or metal strainer, add one egg, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ a cup of finely grated parmesan cheesee, 1 ¼ cups of plain flour. Mix to combine, if the mixture appears a little too wet add some more flour, the mixture should be a sticky dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide the dough into manageable portions and on a lightly floured surface roll into lengths approximately 2 cm thick and cut into 2cm sections with a knife. Place the gnocchi on a tray lined with baking paper and a light dusting of flour. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.

To cook the gnocchi bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and place in batches, the gnocchi is cooked when it floats to the surface.

Place two handfuls of rocket in a pestle and mortar along with one clove of garlic and a pinch of sea salt, pound until softened and add a handful of toasted pine nuts and continue to pound. Once done put the rocket mix in a bowl with a handful or grated parmesan cheese and stir in some olive oil to bring the mixture together just enough to make it a nice consistency.

To serve with the gnocchi and rocket pesto pan fry a few strips of pancetta until crisp, remove from pan and chop, roughly crumble with goats cheese on the top.

Oven Dried Tomatoes

I found this to be the perfect way to use up some of the many little cherry tomatoes I had from my plants at the end of summer. They are so easy to dry in the oven and store in olive oil in jars for using on pizza’s, in sauces and so on.

Preheat the oven to 100 degrees celsius.

Wash, dry and cut the tomatoes in half, place them cut side up on a cooling rack on top of a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle the tomatoes with some olive oil, a sprinkle of pink sea salt, and some herbs of your choice (I used fresh thyme and basil and dry oregano).

Dry the tomatoes in the oven for several hours, this can depend on the size of your tomatoes and can take up to four hours.

Once the tomatoes are cool keep in a sealed jar covered in olive oil. They last a week or two.