Long Cook

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:


  • 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


  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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In a sweet moment of synchronicity, I came across this recipe as I was adding a blog post to the SAGE website from a member who had written about what’s good to eat at this time of year. I’d already been thinking about finding a carrot recipe and here it was, falling into my lap. So I made it.

It’s my favourite kind! Easy!! Chuck stuff in a pot, let it cook for ages. Blend. Eat.

Carrot & ginger soup

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Serves: 4-6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:


  • generous slurp or two of olive oil
  • 1 bunch carrots, scrubbed and chopped into chunks
  • 5cm cube fresh ginger root, scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 5 heaped teaspoons cardamom powder (or grind your own from toasted cardamom pods)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • coconut cream (optional)


  1. Gently heat the oil in a soup pot over a low heat.
  2. Add the cardamom, ginger and carrots. Shake the pan to coat in the oil, then pop the lid on and sauté over a very low heat for 20 minutes. Check and stir occasionally to make sure it’s not too hot and sticking to the bottom.
  3. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly before blending to a smooth consistency. I use a stick blender for less washing up. Add more hot water if you like.
  6. If you’d like a creamier soup, mix in as much coconut cream as you like and heat through.
  7. Garnish with fennel or coriander or pretty much anything you like.
  8. Serve with crusty bread and maybe a salad or some steamed greens on the side.


This soup freezes well. Maybe freeze before adding any coconut cream. You could also add a whole leek (white part) to this recipe.

15 March, 2018 0 comment
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Cake!! I haven’t given much thought to the sweeter side of things when it comes to recipes, but I’m going to address that now.

This recipe came from a friend of mine who answered my plea for ideas to use pumpkin. It came to me as a photo of a handwritten recipe with oven temps in fahrenheit. I must ask her where it comes from, because it sure is delicious! I can’t stop eating it.

Once you’ve cooked and mashed the pumpkin, making the batter is quick and easy, mixed with a spoon, so minimal washing up. Then it’s just a matter of waiting the HOUR it takes to cook… and letting it cool. So hard!

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Serves: 1 loaf Prep Time: Cooking Time:


  • 1 3/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (not olive oil)
  • 1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • Icing sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Grease a regular size loaf tin (not too small) and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  5. After 1 hour, use a skewer to test that the loaf is cooked. Let it sit for 5 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.
  6. Dust with icing sugar before serving with a properly infused pot of leaf tea.


The recipe just calls for mashed pumpkin, so cook it how you like. I baked it, because I hoped it would bring a richer flavour.

8 March, 2018 0 comment
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This recipe was shared with the LocalTable community by Kath, one of our subscribers. There was a generous bunch of beetroots in last week’s box, so if you’re still working your way through them, then definitely give this recipe a try.

It’s easy-as, although it needs some considerable cooking time, then a heap of chilling time, but it’s not complicated and is incredibly delicious. If you’re on the fence about beetroot, then try this soup! You’ll be a beet-lover after the first silky slurp.

Chilled beetroot soup

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Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:


  • 3 medium to large beetroots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 brown onion, chopped (or maybe try a leek)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish cream (or more)
  • small bunch chives, chopped
  • small quantity dill, chopped


  1. Combine stock, beetroot, onion, carrot and garlic in a saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for an hour, more if necessary, depending on how big or small you chopped the vegetables. Test now and then. The vegetables must be very tender.
  3. Cool in the saucepan for about 30 minutes.
  4. Purée in a blender or food processor in batches until completely smooth. You might like to mash it in the saucepan a bit first to make it easier to transfer to the blender. [ed: I use a stick blender in the saucepan itself… saves on the hassle and the washing up]
  5. Pour into a bowl, mix in the sugar and season with salt and pepper (if you wish, definitely a bit of salt).
  6. Cover and chill in the fridge until refreshingly cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  7. Put the sour cream into a bowl, add about 1 tablespoon of horseradish cream and mix well. Add more horseradish cream to taste, if you like. Chill the mixture in the fridge.
  8. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls (it’s even better if you have time to chill the bowls for an hour as well), add a dollop of the sour cream mixture and top with equal amounts of chives and dill.
28 December, 2017 0 comment
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I started making this a couple of months ago and I now call it the “Magic Pudding” of soups. This recipe makes a large quantity and the leftovers seem to go on forever just by adding more water (or stock) when you reheat some.

I like it quite thick and stew-like, but you can adjust the soupiness to suit your preference with the amount of liquid you add. The amount of stock in this recipe should be the minimum you use.

I live in Moruya, so I use dried Borlotti beans and biodynamic pearl barley from The Rustic Pantry (what an awesome shop!). The biodynamic pearl barley is such a good price, you might as well get the good stuff. I don’t soak the Borlotti beans beforehand. They’ll cook in the soup.

And there’s no need to peel the spuds and carrots you get from LocalTable… they’re grown without industrial chemicals… so just give them a good scrub and leave the skin on.

The best thing about this recipe is you can chuck in any vegetables you like. Depending on what it is, just add it later in the cooking process. So, if you want to use zucchini, for example, add it about 15 minutes before serving.

This is a fantastic vegetarian meal. Very filling and delicious. Kid approval rating 4/5.


Vegetable and pearl barley minestrone

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Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:


  • 2 generous slugs of oil (olive, rice bran, whatever you fancy)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 potatoes (waxy, like Désirée or Dutch Cream), cut into chunks
  • 2 large carrots (or more if they're smaller!), cut into chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 300gm dried Borlotti beans (more, if you like)
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 generous dollops of tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine (or alternative, see notes)
  • at least 2 litres vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you're not a vegetarian)
  • 1/2 bunch oregano, no stalks
  • 1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and leek and cook for a few minutes until the onion looks soft and translucent. Don’t cook on a high heat! The sizzle should be gentle.
  3. Add the potato, carrot, celery and beans. Cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften.
  4. Add the pearl barley and tomato paste. Cook for another few minutes while stirring to get everything nicely coated.
  5. Add the wine (or substitute) and let that simmer and reduce for a few minutes. Keep stirring so the vegetables don’t stick to the saucepan.
  6. Add the stock, bring the saucepan to a simmer. Put the lid on and reduce the heat to as low as you can to maintain the simmer. Cook for around an hour and 20 minutes (more if the beans need longer). Stir it once in a while.
  7. Once the beans are tender, remove from the heat and stir through the herbs.
  8. Ladle into bowls. Serve with bread, if you like, but the pearl barley and potato are filling enough.


I don't drink, so I keep cheap dry sherry in the house for cooking instead of wine, as it doesn't go off in the pantry. I use about half the quantity of wine in any recipe. I really like it! You can also (apparently) substitute a half-half mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, but I haven't tried that yet.

6 December, 2017 0 comment
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