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After Kat made those scrumptious roasted summer vegetables, she decided to make it into a soup, just because.

So we snacked on some of the veggies, picking out and eating all the carrots, because she didn’t want them to make the soup an icky colour, then we finished them off for lunch in liquid form!

I swear, that soup was something else. I am going to roast vegetables before making vegetable soup a lot more often from now on.

Roast vegetable soup

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 onion
  • 6 small cloves of garlic
  • Oil for roasting
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • sprig of rosemary
  • 1 cup vegetable stock

Instructions

  1. Roast the vegetables as described in this recipe.
  2. Place the roasted veggies in a blender or food processor and blend, adding stock slowly until desired consistency is reached.
  3. If you’d like it runnier after adding all the stock, keep adding water in small amounts.
  4. Heat and serve.
13 December, 2018 0 comment
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A recipe for roast veggies? Yeah, it does sound a bit obvious, but believe it or not, I talk to people who say they don’t know what to do with potato or fennel or carrots. So I don’t assume anything anymore. If you can relate to those people, then I want you to know that you are not alone and we are here to empower you!!

LocalTable wants you to eat what you’re given and not waste anything. This food is too good to be thrown out or composted. A person in your community grew this food for you. This food is not anonymous. It must be honoured by being eaten.

This recipe might seem obvious, but Kat’s now trademarked small twist on a dish means that these were the best roast veggies I’ve ever eaten (sorry, Nana!).

There’s something about roasted vegetables. Crikey, but they’re delicious. It might be a challenge to have the oven on in the peak of summer, but we’re not there yet, so give this one a go.

Roasted summer vegetables

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut into chunks
  • 4 small carrots, halved lengthways
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 6 small cloves of garlic
  • Oil for roasting
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • Sprig of rosemary

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200ºC.
  2. Place all the vegetables in a bowl.
  3. Drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with rosemary and roast for 30 to 45 minutes until cooked, turning once or twice to ensure even cooking.
13 December, 2018 0 comment
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These spring rolls are the first spring rolls Kat has ever made and they were a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Look how perfectly she fried them!!

Sometimes we avoid cooking certain things because we think they’re beyond us, but I watched Kat make these and thought “hmmmm, I reckon I could do that”.

Funny how all it takes to get over a hurdle is to just see if you can jump it.

Having eaten this dish, I’m already thinking about what other variations I can make. You can put all sorts of different veggies in these things. But whatever you do, make sure you use an oil that’s recommended for high temperatures and make sure it’s hot when you put those babies in.

This is another really good idea for kids. They love anything fried, amiright? And guaranteed, these will go down better than the slightly soggy spring rolls you get from the take away. Just watch out when you bite into them! No traumatising mouth scalding, please.

Spring rolls

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Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • 4 cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100g vermicelli noodles
  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 12 sheets spring roll pastry
  • Small quantity of water mixed with a little cornstarch
  • Peanut or rice bran oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Defrost 12 sheets of spring roll pastry under a damp tea towel so the edges don’t dry out.
  2. Soak the noodles in boiling water for 10 mins. Drain and use scissors to cut into smaller lengths.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in wok and add the carrot, cabbage, onion, garlic, noodles and tamari. Cook for about 5 mins or until vegetables are soft.

To wrap the spring rolls:

  1. Place a sheet like diamond on a clean surface and place 2 tablespoons of filling in the nearest corner.
  2. Start to tightly roll the wrapper, fold over left side, then fold over right side. Paint a little of the cornstarch mixture along the edge and close it up.

When all the vegetable mixture is used up:

  1. Heat the peanut or rice bran oil in wok to high temperature. You’ll need enough oil to almost cover the spring rolls.
  2. Cook the spring rolls in batches, turning to ensure both sides are golden brown.
  3. Place on a cooling rack for a few minutes to drain excess oil.
  4. Serve hot and crispy with your favourite Asian dipping sauce.
6 December, 2018 0 comment
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Cooking and preparing meals is about simplicity. I really believe that Australia’s long-running obsession with cooking shows is because we know we’ll never make what they make on the telly. We get to watch our gourmet chef fantasy played out by others, saving us the trouble to actually do it. Most of us make meals that we know the family will eat, that we can make in our sleep and are easy. Or is it just me? Maybe I’ve said too much.

Point is, simple doesn’t have to be repetitive or boring. What I’ve learned from my friends who are accomplished home cooks is that it only takes a small twist in a recipe to make a new meal.

Take coleslaw. Cabbage, carrot, parsley in a mayonnaise dressing. So familiar, it’s unremarkable. But change the dressing and suddenly I feel like making coleslaw. Kat said that her dressing could have been more mayo-like if I had a better food processor, so it looks a bit chunky in the photo, but I can tell you it tasted great and I don’t care about the creaminess.

The kids still ate it. Bonus.

Coleslaw with cashew dressing

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Serves: 4 Prep Time:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cabbage, shredded
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • 1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (or soaked in hot water for an hour)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine cabbage, carrot and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. Drain and rinse soaked cashews. Place cashews in a food processor with apple cider vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of water. Blend on high speed until creamy. Add more water to reach desired consistency.
  3. Pour over the salad and mix well.
6 December, 2018 0 comment
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There’s something about rhubarb and citrus together that just gets my synapses firing. I seem to have a special love for the combination, because this is our second rhubarb+citrus recipe already and I’ve only just realised.

When Rhondda of Rhondda’s Country Kitchen mentioned her orange trees were loaded, I jumped on them. I’d already ordered rhubarb from Hazelwood Farm, so I thought this week was a good week for a dessert recipe. Ah, rhubarb. How good is rhubarb?? Yeah, that good.

But rhubarb and orange don’t sound like they’d go together said no one ever. Jiminy but they are a perfect match and Kat excelled herself with making the perfectly baked cake for us to devour. It’s lucky I managed to take a photo before we plunged into it. I tried photographing a cut piece, which was also a thing of beauty, but just look at this cake! It looks magnificent as is. Almost a shame to cut it. Actually, not really.

I’ve noticed Kat will usually substitute sugar in recipes for honey (or do I mean she substitutes honey for sugar?), but this time, she’s gone all in with the sugar. Thank you, Kat. Thank you.

It was divine with my afternoon cuppa and then doubly divine later with Tilba Dairy cream for dessert. I’ve saved a teensy piece for tomorrow’s treat.

Go on. Make yourself a cake. You deserve it. Be patient, though. It’s a long bake.

Rhubarb & orange upside-down cake

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Serves: 8 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to 1 bunch rhubarb stems
  • 250g butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra to grease the cake tin
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or use extract, but paste is best)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup firmly packed almond meal
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • Tilba Dairy cream to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Trim rhubarb stalks to fit a 22cm high-sided round cake tin (don’t use a springform tin).
  3. Grease tin and line with baking paper.
  4. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the orange juice in base of lined tin.
  5. Place trimmed rhubarb stalks flat side down into tin. Ensure they are packed together as tightly as possible.
  6. Put the butter, remaining sugar, vanilla, zest, eggs, almond meal, flour and milk into a food processor and combine. Top the rhubarb layer with cake mixture.
  7. Bake the cake for 60 minutes, then cover it with a piece of foil and cook for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the tin for about 10 minutes. While still warm, carefully turn cake out — upside-down — onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. The colour of the rhubarb will intensify as the cake cools.
  9. Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve with a generous dollop of Tilba Dairy cream. Or expensive vanilla ice cream. Or both.
29 November, 2018 0 comment
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Spring and leafy veg. Sometimes it feels like spring is leafy veg. There sure is a lot of it, just as in summer, there’s a lot of fruiting veg. It is what it is, so that’s what we eat.

Luckily, we have some talented market gardeners who can bring other crops to harvest earlier than we can, so we’re not stuck with just greens, but it can be a challenge to keep up the variety in our meals at this time of year.

Enter: vegetable muffins!! Another genius Kat idea that I would never have come up with.

These are a brilliant (and delicious!) way to use up more vegetables for lunch or a snack. Great to have ready to grab for work or school.

I’m starting to sound like a morning television show cooking segment. God forbid.

Vegetable & goat's cheese muffins

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Serves: 12 muffins Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 40g parmesan, finely grated
  • 70g cheddar, finely grated
  • 3-4 chard leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and finely grated
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 150g goat's cheese
  • handful each of sesame and pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Pour milk and oil into a mixing bowl. Crack in the eggs and whisk together.
  3. Fold in the flour and baking powder, then the cheddar and parmesan, then the vegetables.
  4. Season to taste with salt (optional).
  5. Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases (using greaseproof paper cases is a good idea), then half fill them with the muffin batter.
  6. Crumble the goat’s cheese onto each muffin, then spoon the remaining batter on top. Make sure the goat’s cheese is completely covered.
  7. Sprinkle with the sesame and pumpkin seeds.
  8. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (check by piercing with a skewer after 20 minutes) until golden. After removing from the oven, let the muffins rest in the tray for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. They’re good to eat warm or cold.

 

Notes

If you think the batter looks a bit too stiff, mix in a little more milk in very small increments until it has the consistency you think it should be before you fill the paper cases.

22 November, 2018 0 comment
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Oh my gosh beetroot. Beetroot beetroot beetroot come on summer because all this beetroot is making me want those tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and aaaall that marvellous variety soooo much.

How lucky am I to have Kat helping me with recipes this time around? Soooo lucky, because I never would have come up with this recipe or had the time to make it as the recipe for the week.

These things were a-m-a-z-i-n-g. There’s more prep involved, but seriously, you need to make them. Things are going to get purple in your kitchen making this. Embrace it.

Beetroot burgers with broad bean and parsley hummus

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Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 x 400gm cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or soak dried ones, if you prefer)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 100gm broad beans, podded, blanched and skins removed
  • 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • a little water
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 raw beetroots, peeled and grated
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • a few cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • a couple of chard leaves, finely shredded
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Start with the hummus.

  1. Place 1 can of chickpeas, the garlic, half the tahini, the broad beans, parsley, lemon juice and cumin in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Slowly add about half of the olive oil while the processor is running.
  3. Add small amounts of water until you reach the desired consistency. Set aside.

Then do the burgers.

  1. Heat a sploosh of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Don’t let the oil smoke. Sautée the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Add the grated beetroot and carrot, shredded cabbage and chard and cook for another 5 minutes, or until soft. Drain away any excess liquid released by the vegetables. TIP: if you put the grated beetroot in a container lined with paper towel for 10 minutes, it will greatly reduce the liquid during cooking.
  3. Put the oats, other can of chickpeas, tahini and egg yolks in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  4. Tip the mixture into a bowl and mix in the sautéed vegetable mix and the coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Divide the mixture into six portions and shape into burgers. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the burgers, in batches if necessary, for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until golden and hot through.
  7. Serve on lightly toasted sourdough buns, starting with a generous layer of hummus with the burger plonked on top. Dress with anything you like.
15 November, 2018 0 comment
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Coriander. My, how people love to argue about coriander. I kinda have a foot in both camps. The first time I ever ate it, I didn’t have a very good experience. It was at a Thai restaurant during the 80s and I don’t know what the deal was, but something left the most god-awful taste in my mouth and I couldn’t seem to get rid of it and my gum felt like I’d been stabbed with something ghastly and I blamed the coriander and that was it.

Then I grew up and found that — mostly — I really liked it, but only in small doses and as far as I could work out, I was OK with the leaves, but dubious about the roots. The smell, though! Wow!! It’s fabulous!!

There’s been a lot of coriander so far this LocalTable season, so I feel for any subscribers who have been horrified each time they opened the box to find some. So please trust me when I say this recipe is a great tasting way to eat coriander and it will use it all up in one go.

If you end up with any leftover pesto, keep it in a jar or container in the fridge with a layer of olive oil over it to stop it going brown.

The quantities given for each ingredient are pretty arbitrary. This really is a dish that you just make how you like it. Don’t add the lemon juice or oil all at once. Add them both bit by bit until it has the taste and consistency that you like. I prefer less oily, so I take the steady-as-she-goes approach. The best thing about this recipe is, it’s super quick and there’s no cooking!! Well, not really.

This recipe stirs the pesto through pasta, but it also makes a great dip. Eat it any old how. If you’re not a coriander fan, I reckon this will win you over. I love it and I’m not a coriander freak by any means.

If you’ve been avoiding it, try just chopping some into a salad. Use a small amount at first and see how you go. Coriander really is fantastically good for you. Eat it!

Coriander pesto

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Serves: 4 Prep Time:

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • chili to taste (optional)
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil (or more or less, according to your preference)
  • 100gm macadamia nuts
  • juice of half a lemon (or more)
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Over a high heat, toast the macadamia nuts in a dry frying pan. Keep them moving almost constantly so they don’t burn.
  2. Blend the nuts, garlic and chili in a food processor (or whatever you’ve got to do the job) until they’re finely chopped.
  3. Pour in some oil and lemon juice, add the coriander and keep blending. Add more oil and lemon juice as you go until it has the balance of flavours and consistency that you like.
  4. Season with some salt and blend once more.
  5. Serve it stirred through some pasta with a lemon wedge on the side to add more zing if you want it, or as a dip. Or any way you feel like eating it.
8 November, 2018 3 comments
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I’ve always liked beetroot, but beetroot for me growing up was out of a tin. I think beetroot is one of the few vegetables that is actually not too bad out of a tin. It’s pretty close to homecooked beetroot (unlike, say, tinned asparagus, which bears no relation to homecooked asparagus whatsoever). But I’ve been slow to get more fresh beetroot into my cooking and I’m not sure why that is.

Because of that, a bunch of beetroot can last me ages — lucky it stores so well — but now that I’m eating more seasonally, I find that at this time of year, beetroot is one of the main vegetables available so I’m cooking and eating it a lot more. Maybe I’ve hesitated because of the time it takes to cook, but that’s a bit silly now I think about it. All I’ve had to do is plan a tiny bit more and throw some in the oven about an hour before I start to make dinner. As someone who isn’t particularly into cooking, this simple change in thinking has been a small epiphany for me. If I couldn’t be home early enough to get it into the oven in time, I’ve cooked it in the morning, or the day before. It’s revelational, I tell you!

This is one small example of how eating locally grown food can influence how you cook and eat. I don’t think I’ll ever be super into cooking, but just by making this small change, I’ve increased the repertoire of flavours on my family’s plates, I’m exposing my kids to new meals and I’ve supported the local food system by eating what it’s producing.

So, eat more beetroot!

Also: juicing raw beetroot with some other veg and an apple is amazing.

Chard & roasted beetroot salad

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Serves: 2 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 beetroots, peeled, cut into sizeable chunks (not too small)
  • 1/2 bunch chard, shredded, no stems
  • roughly same amount of mixed salad leaves
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 1/2 cup seed mix (we used sunflower, pumpkin and linseed)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (spend the money to get the real stuff)
  • juice of half an orange
  • 1/2 punnet microgreens

Instructions

Start with the beetroot (this can be done well ahead, if preferred)

  1. Preheat oven to about 170deg.
  2. Place in a shallow baking tray and liberally douse with olive oil. Make sure the pieces are fully covered with oil and not touching each other.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, if you like.
  4. Roast for about 30 minutes, but use your own judgement. Check from time to time until they are as firm or soft as you like.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  6. While the beetroot is in the oven, lightly toast the pistachios and seed mix in a dry frying pan (no oil) over a low heat.
  7. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, pour over the vinegar and juice, toss and serve.
  8. Sprinkle with microgreens.

Notes

This recipe will make enough for 2 if eating it as a meal, or 4 if as a side dish.

1 November, 2018 0 comment
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I said a few weeks ago we should start inventing names for dishes and this week we have. It wasn’t intentional, more like a spontaneous exclamation after Kat’s first mouthful.

Kat came up with this fabulous hybrid of a recipe that also substituted some of the huge quantities of sugar with honey.

It was a bit of a gamble, but — oh my — did it pay off! It was a bit gooey for a first attempt at honey substitution, so we’ve adjusted the recipe slightly from what she did to hopefully get an even better result.

Rhubarb & mandarin honey heaven

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons tapioca
  • 3 mandarins, peeled, segmented
  • 1 cup rapadura (or brown) sugar, well packed
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125gm cup butter in small chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160º.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the rhubarb, honey, baking soda and tapioca. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Tip into a greased loaf tin or rectangular baking dish. Really, just use a dish that you think will work.
  4. Halve the mandarin segments lengthwise and remove the seeds, then layer them on top of the rhubarb mixture.
  5. Combine the rapadura sugar, oats, flour and salt in a large bowl, then rub in the butter until the mix becomes crumbly.
  6. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the rhubarb and mandarins.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, but the time will really depend on the type of dish you use, so check it regularly and use your judgement.
  8. It will be pretty soft and gooey when it comes out of the oven, so let it cool for around 20 minutes to let the honey set.
  9. Serve while it’s still warm with ice cream.
26 October, 2018 0 comment
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