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Fennel is such an interesting vegetable. I was dead suss of it when I first came across it at the SAGE Farmers Market. I’m not big on aniseed flavours, so it took a while for fennel to win me over. But so much of it is grown around here, I figured I must be missing something that many other people knew. So I kept trying it.

And I was right. I was missing something. Fennel is awesome. It’s soooo versatile and there are so many ways you can cook (or not cook) and eat it.

Here’s another way to cook it and it will use both the small bulbs in the boxes this week. It makes a great topping for a steak, instead of the standard fried onion (and is just as simple), or you can add it to the plate along with your other veggies. Tonight, I made a pie, so I just whacked it all in with the rest of the ingredients. Yum!

This version is vegan, but there are other variations using butter that you might like to try too.

Caramelised fennel

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Serves: 2 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 fennel bulbs, halved, cores removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slice the fennel halves thinly.
  2. Heat a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and then the fennel slices. Spread the fennel out in the pan to encourage browning. Cook for 10-15 minutes, flipping the fennel slices every few minutes, until golden brown.
  3. Season with salt and pepper while in the pan.
  4. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice over the top, if you like.
28 February, 2019 0 comment
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Looking for an easy meal that will use up a heap of veggies? Here’s one. It’s filling, too.

Almost all of LocalTable‘s subscribers are women (nod to the men among us). Some of those women remark that they have men and boys in the family who Just. Won’t. Eat. Vegetables.

Seriously?? What are they eating?? Surely it can’t all be meat, pasta and potatoes.

I live in a bloke-free zone, so I haven’t experienced this problem (my ex ate his veg). I’ve even had subscribers withdraw, telling me they’re not getting through all the food in the box because the males in the house just won’t eat their share.

[exaggerated voice] I find this outrageous!

We are told and messaged and told again that we are not eating enough vegetables. The food in a small LocalTable box should be easily finished off within a week by a family. Two veggie-loving adults could get through it all, even if they have to preserve some of it.

Getting people to eat more vegetables is one of LocalTable‘s most important missions and this recipe is a good one for that. A few good things about this recipe:

  1. potato,
  2. you can throw in some sausage (spicy!) or bacon,
  3. you can use pretty much any vegetables in the box,
  4. it’s all mixed in together, so they’ll have to eat the vegetables as well as the potato,
  5. you can increase or reduce the chili to achieve optimum vegetable intake,
  6. it can be eaten with a fork, so they can shovel it in quickly before they register the vegetables,
  7. it tastes great,
  8. it’s filling and;
  9. potato

Try it. I reckon it’s a winner.

Potato and cabbage stew

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled (or scrubbed, but peeled is nice this time) and diced
  • 2 generous slurps of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 long red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • 2 small cloves (or 1 large clove) of garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 1/2 head of Sugarloaf cabbage, shredded
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 tin of diced tomatoes (or about 400gm of homemade tomato sauce if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 bunch parsley or coriander, chopped

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes in a medium saucepan until almost cooked, about 5 or so minutes.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or a deep frying pan with a lid. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chili, celery and carrots and sauté for a further 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened and caramelised.
  4. Then add the garlic and cabbage and season with salt and the coriander powder. Combine, then cover with the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes. The cabbage will release some liquid and reduce.
  5. Tip in the diced tomatoes, cooked potatoes and about 1/3 cup of water. Stir through and cover with the lid again. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
  6. Just before serving, stir through the butter and herbs.
14 February, 2019 0 comment
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Eggplants are on! It’s another polarising vegetable, isn’t it? I grew up on a very Anglo diet and never heard of or saw an eggplant until I was… I dunno… an adult at least.

That makes eggplant a challenge for me. But I have friends who lurrrve eggplant, so help is close at hand. While I’m still working eggplant out, Kat is all over it and put this little beauty of a dish together this week. It even includes fennel… another of those polarising vegetables. Double winning!

Unlike eggplant, I really don’t understand why fennel is so controversial. It’s the most marvellous thing. I only discovered it within the last five years. I was dubious at first, but now I’m mad for it. Raw or roasted, I just love it.

If you’re still on the fence about either veg, this is a great recipe to try. Not the prettiest dish, but certainly delicious!

Stuffed eggplant

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 medium to large eggplants, topped
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 extra teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried or a small handful of fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried or small handful of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can white or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 to 15 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Slice the eggplants lengthwise, score the flesh in a diamond pattern, without poking through the skin.
  4. Brush 1 teaspoon of the oil on each eggplant half and place them cut side down on the baking paper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.
  5. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in your favourite frying pan.
  6. Add the fennel, oregano, thyme, garlic and salt and cook over medium to high heat for 5 minutes, until it starts to caramelise.
  7. Add 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until the fennel starts to soften.
  8. Add the beans, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Top the roasted eggplant with the fennel and white bean mixture, sprinkle with the parsley and serve warm.
7 February, 2019 0 comment
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Roma tomatoes: good for cooking. Tomatoes that are less than perfect for a salad: also good for cooking.

Pasta sauce: unbelieveably simple and so much better than the supermarket stuff. The secret is to roast the tomatoes. Don’t just make a tomato sauce by chucking them in a saucepan. Roasted is the way to go.

I know. It’s summer. Who wants to turn the oven on? You will when you taste this sauce.

You could really easily add some olives or zucchini or both. If you want some meat in there, add some prosciutto (or bacon for us plebs) or even simply ham. With a salad and some crusty bread, not much can beat this for summer comfort food.

Roasted tomato pasta sauce

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Serves: 2 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 500g tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • as many garlic cloves as you like, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh oregano, stems removed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220ºC
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Place tomatoes cut side up on the tray.
  4. Slice garlic cloves and stick a small piece in each of the tomatoes. If you have leftovers, just scatter them on.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle with fresh oregano leaves. Season with salt and pepper (don’t skimp on the pepper, cracked is better than powder).
  6. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes.

At this point, you could use the roasted tomatoes in a salad or as a side dish, OR you could make the world’s best pasta sauce.

  1. Allow the tomatoes to cool slightly, then blend in a food processor to the desired consistency.
  2. Stir through pasta or zucchini noodles. You could also use it as a pizza sauce.
17 January, 2019 0 comment
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Soooo many ways to eat zucchini! But I’d bet most of us cook it. Baked, barbequed, in a pasta, in a casserole, in a soup, in a quiche. Even making zucchini noodles. Oh my, but zucchini is a versatile veg to cook.

Fewer of us would think to eat it raw. It is fantastic in salads. Yes, OK, we have cucumber for salads in summer, but don’t ignore the humble zucchini because of your love for cucumber. And can cucumber do this?? No, that’s right. It can’t.

This recipe is super quick and so very tasty. Once again, it’s all in the dressing. As Kat remarked, who would have thought that a bit of lemon and mustard could create so many delicious and simple meals? And then I said, I know, right?

Make this right before eating. If you let it sit too long, the zucchini will start to sweat and soften too much.

Simple zucchini salad

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Serves: 1 as a meal or 2 as a side salad Prep Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini, peeled into thick ribbons
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup parmesan flakes
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat a small frying pan over a low to medium heat.

Add the walnuts and lightly toast. Keep the walnuts moving so they don’t burn. When they are ready and smelling toasty, put them aside.

In a medium to large bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper until well combined.

Add the zucchini ribbons and parsley to the bowl and gently toss with the dressing. Using your hands works best.

Transfer the dressed zucchini and parsley into a serving bowl and sprinkle over the toasted walnuts and parmesan cheese.

10 January, 2019 0 comment
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Continuing with our approach to recipes (keep it simple, with a twist), this recipe for potato salad will astound you.

Potato salad for me was always trotted out at barbeques and I associate it with being heavy, sometimes gluggy, sometimes dry and too vinegary. I’ve not really been a huge fan, frankly.

But once again, Kat has found a way to reignite my interest in dredging up an old food memory and enjoying it with fresh tastebuds. If you’ve got blokey blokes in your family who love their carbs but you find potato salad too heart-attack inducing, this version will please all of you. The dressing is light and tangy, but it’s still reminiscent of those potato salads drowned in mayo of old.

It’s quite an 80s sort of dish, don’t you think? So we decided it should be served in a glass bowl. Voilà: an homage to the 80s barbeque with a 2019 update.

Potato salad with yoghurt dressing

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 5 medium potatoes, scrubbed, cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • half bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt (we used Tilba Real Dairy plain yoghurt - perfect)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes until cooked, drain and allow to cool completely.
  2. Combine the potatoes, onion and parsley in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl or jug, thoroughly combine yoghurt, oil, mustards, vinegar and honey. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Pour over the potatoes and mix well.
3 January, 2019 0 comment
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[in full Oprah voice] AAASPAAARAAAGAAAS!!!

Such a tricky thing to grow and this season, the weather has been making it particularly tricky for Don the asparagus man out at Cooma. He brings it to the SAGE Farmers Market when it’s on, so I make sure he puts enough in the van for LocalTable when he comes to town.

If you’ve eaten asparagus from a supermarket lately, then you will be blown away by the difference between those tasteless, hard, chewy things and these tender spears of heaven. My tippity-top favourite way to eat them is lightly sautéed in butter with lemon juice, pepper and parmesan, but these tarts with caramelised red onion that Kat made are real contenders for the top spot.

Cheese, caramelised onion & asparagus tarts

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 3 red onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 100g fetta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions

First, get those onions caramelising. Use up the bottom half of the asparagus spears by slicing them thinly and caramelising them with the onion.

  1. Heat your favourite small frying pan over a low heat and pour in the oil.
  2. Add the onions and sliced asparagus bottoms with a good pinch of salt and cook very slowly for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the pan. This must be done slowly over a low heat!
  3. When the onions are soft, add the sugar and balsamic. Continue to cook over a low heat for a further 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sticky and caramelised.
  4. Remove from the heat and let cool (stick it in the freezer if you’re in a rush).

Now make the tarts.

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC and line two trays with baking paper, lightly greased with oil or butter.
  2. Combine the cheeses, parsley, and lemon rind in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cut each pastry sheet in half and place the 4 sections on the lined trays. Score a 1cm border around each sheet (don’t cut all the way through).
  4. Divide the caramelised onion mixture between the pastry sheets and spread to the scored lines. Repeat with the cheese mixture and arrange the asparagus tops on top.
  5. Brush some melted butter around the pastry edges and bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before removing from baking paper.
20 December, 2018 0 comment
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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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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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