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Lunch

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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One of the best things about spring is broad beans. They’re only around for a short time, but broadies are worth the wait for their flavour and versatility.

Most people I know love to make falafel with broad beans and with good reason, but we’ve decided to share a recipe for a fritter that uses a few other ingredients in this week’s box.

These were a real hit with the small humans as well.

Broad bean & potato fritters

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon each whole cumin, coriander and fennel seeds
  • 3-4 mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 6 asparagus spears, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 mild chili, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 350gm broad beans, shelled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • 40gm breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 50gm plain flour
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rice bran (or sunflower) oil for cooking fritters
  • squeeze of lemon

Instructions

  1. Put the seeds in a shallow pan and gently dry-roast until fragrant, then grind in a mortar & pestle or spice blender.
  2. Melt some butter in a frying pan and lightly sautée the mushroom, asparagus, chili and garlic and set aside.
  3. Boil the potatoes in salted water for five minutes, then add the broad beans and simmer for a further eight minutes.
  4. Drain, transfer potatoes and beans to a bowl and add the ground spices, sautéed mushroom mix, turmeric, two tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, then mash roughly.
  5. Mix in the coriander, breadcrumbs and egg.
  6. Shape handfuls into patties, coat in flour and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Makes about 12 fritters.
  7. While the patties are chilling, mix the mint with the yoghurt and keep cool.
  8. Gently heat the rice bran oil in a frying pan and cook the fritters on a medium to high heat until golden brown on each side.
  9. Squeeze some lemon over the fritters just before serving with the minty yoghurt and a fresh salad.
25 October, 2018 0 comment
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The name of this recipe sounds so wrong, but it’s so right! I just googled the title and it seems we weren’t the first ones to think of putting these ingredients together. Phew! #validated

Now, I’m not a vegetarian, but Kat is and she’s the recipe-maker in this outfit, so all our recipes as prepared for LocalTable will be vegetarian. But there will be many times when you can add some meat to the dish. In this case, you could easily add some chicken strips to this recipe. You’ll just have to work out the best way to incorporate it into the method yourself.

We thought about adding some tofu, but decided against it. You could try that too, if you like.

This is the third week in a row we’ve come up with a recipe that is basically a pile of combined ingredients on a plate, but hey, we’re working with what the season brings us, so these dishes are true expressions of eating seasonally. Works for me. Especially as I prefer meals that only need a fork.

We used Honey Murcott mandarins, as the grower said they were nice and juicy, but any variety will do.

You could also add some cornstarch to the stir fry sauce. When we ate it, we thought the sauce might have benefitted from a bit more texture, but it’s still good without the cornstarch.

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 1 mandarin, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy) sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil, plus extra for wok
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 portions udon noodles (we used dried organic Hakubaku noodles)
  • 1-2 mandarins, peeled, segmented
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 bunches pak choi, stems and leaves thinly sliced
  • 4 small carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • 4-6 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in hot/warm water for 1/2 hour
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Combine the mandarin juice, tamari, hoisin, sesame oil, ginger and garlic with a whisk in a small bowl or jug.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the noodles according to instructions on the packet.
  4. Halve the mandarin segments lengthways and remove the seeds.
  5. Heat a wok to a high heat.
  6. Pour in a skerrick of sesame oil and swish it around the wok.
  7. Quickly add the broccoli, mandarin, pak choi stems (reserve the sliced leaves for now), carrot and cashews to the wok.
  8. Pour over as much of the stir fry sauce as you like (err on less rather than more, you can always pour on a bit more as you eat it) and stir fry for a few minutes, until the broccoli starts to take on a nice rich green colour. It doesn’t take long!
  9. Add the pak choi leaves and stir fry for another minute. Seriously, just a minute.
  10. Remove from the heat and serve on top of the noodles.
  11. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Notes

You can add the noodles to the wok to mix everything in together, if you prefer.

18 October, 2018 0 comment
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We should give this salad a name, because that description is a bit unwieldy. I might ask Kat to do that the next time she invents a recipe.

It’s still spring, it’s still the hungry gap, so this week it’s another salad. And I’m betting subscribers have still got beetroot from last week’s box loitering in the fridge, so we’ve thrown some of that in, roasted. The challenge ingredient this week is the grapefruit and I have to say, I think Kat has nailed it with this recipe.

My grandmother used to share a grapefruit with my grandfather every morning. Plucked off their e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s tree in the backyard. They halved it, smothered it with sugar and honey, extracted it with a weird little serrated, curved knife and ate it as is. I was not a fan. But this… this more like it.

Some people find grapefruit quite strong. If that’s you, then dial down the amounts suggested in the recipe. We’ve used 2 grapefruits in this recipe, so small box subscribers will need to halve everything.

There will be leftover vinaigrette. Just keep it in the fridge and use it for your next salad.

Quinoa salad with beetroot, microgreens and grapefruit vinaigrette

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups quinoa (1 cup = 3 cups cooked), well rinsed and drained (removes any bitterness)
  • 1 grapefruit, cut into small wedges, skin removed
  • sprinkle of rapadura (brown) sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 bag of mixed salad leaves, lightly chopped
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 small whole beetroots, scrubbed
  • 1/2 to 1 punnet microgreens
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 grapefruit
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper to season

Instructions

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

  1. Preheat oven to about 170deg.
  2. Don’t top and tail them, just trim the leaves and stems leaving a stubby bit and pull all the hairy bits off the bottom.
  3. Rub with olive oil.
  4. Place upside down (using the stubby bit like a plinth) on a baking tray.
  5. Cook for about an hour, but this will depend on the size of the beetroot. These were fairly small.
  6. When cooked to soft but still firm, let cool, then remove skins, top and tail, and slice into strips.

While the beetroot is in the oven, cook the quinoa:

  1. Put the rinsed and drained quinoa into a saucepan with twice the quantity of water.
  2. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, then with the saucepan lid off, reduce to a gentle simmer.
  3. Once the water has been absorbed by the quinoa (keep an eye on it), remove the pan from the stove, cover and let it steam for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and let it cool.

While the beetroot and quinoa are cooking, make the vinaigrette:

  1. Combine the garlic, olive oil, grapefruit juice, mustard, vinegar and honey in a jar and shake well. The trick is to find the right balance between the grapefruit and the vinegar, so try adding them incrementally to suit your taste.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When you’ve done that, grill the grapefruit:

  1. Heat a griddle or frying pan to a medium heat and add a small amount of olive oil. Don’t let the oil smoke. If it smokes, it’s too hot. Turn it down, wipe the pan and start again.
  2. Grill the grapefruit wedges until they’re soft, but not shrivelling.
  3. Take them off the heat and sprinkle with the sugar, then let them cool.

Put it all together:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, grilled grapefruit, mixed salad leaves, coriander and green onions. Before adding the beetroot, pour over some vinaigrette and gently toss. Start with a small amount and keep adding as you toss until you get it to your taste.
  2. Then add the beetroot, to avoid turning everything pink.
  3. Liberally sprinkle with microgreens, gently toss again and serve
11 October, 2018 0 comment
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The first recipe for the new LocalTable season is a great dish for spring. Everything in it is an expression of this season and it’s a salad, so it’s perfect for the changeable weather at this time of year.

You could also sautée some leek together with the mushroom, let it cool and add it to the salad, but this version is a super quick, light meal with almost no cooking. Add some more nuts or even some tofu to give it some more oomph, but it really doesn’t call for meat.

The dressing is what makes it. Light and delicious. Start with just a little and add only as much as your taste prefers. Keep any leftover in the fridge and add it to pretty much anything.

Cabbage and rice noodle salad

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • half cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • 4-6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 packet vermicelli rice noodles
  • sprinkle of cashews (or peanuts)
  • 1/4 cup tamari (or soy) sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey, to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil some water in a saucepan and cook the rice noodles.
  2. Rinse in cold water to cool and drain well.
  3. Throw the cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, green onions and coriander into a bowl and mix.
  4. Pour the tamari, vinegar, sesame and olive oils and the honey into a jar and shake well.
  5. Turn the noodles into another bowl and mix in a little of the dressing to lubricate. You can let it soak for a few minutes, if you like. It’s good to cut the noodles up a bit too (not too short!).
  6. Gently mix the noodles into the salad.
  7. Pour in as much dressing as you like, gently mixing as you go.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of nuts on top.
4 October, 2018 0 comment
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After thinking I might not be able to source any cauliflower for LocalTable subscribers, turns out there’s actually loads of it available. Even though I do love my veggies super simple and I’m happy just to lightly boil or steam, it can all get a bit same-y, so I thought I’d give this growing trend of cauliflower rice a go.

It seems very popular with followers of the paleo diet, which is probably why I’ve steered away. I’m not a diet follower, me. Unless eating locally grown is considered a diet.

Anyhoo, I’m a convert! This was so incredibly easy and quick and it doesn’t even really need a recipe, because the variations for it are endless. Definitely going to do this more often.

This made a great lunch for me (with leftovers) and was almost as quick as making a toastie!

Cauliflower rice vegetable stir fry

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • slurp of rice bran oil (or peanut or any oil that is good for high temperatures)
  • drizzle of sesame oil
  • slurp of tamari (or soy or any stir fry sauce)
  • 1 chunk ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic (or more if you like), minced
  • chilli to taste (fresh or dried), finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped (keep some aside for garnish)
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 capsicum, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 handfuls of snowpea sprouts, optional

Instructions

  1. Whiz the cauliflower chunks in a food processor until they look like rice.
  2. Heat a wok over a high heat. When the wok is hot, pour in the rice bran oil.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli, shallots, mushrooms and capsium. Toss in the oil for a minute or two, taking care not to let anything burn or go soft.
  4. Throw in the cauliflower rice and toss.
  5. Drizzle over a small amount of sesame oil and add the tamari. Toss for a few more minutes.
  6. Divide into bowls and plonk the snowpea sprouts on top, if using.
  7. Serve with a few chopped shallots sprinkled over for a garnish.
12 May, 2018 0 comment
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This is a recipe that is familiar to probably everybody: frittata. Or my version of it anyway. You can make frittata a bizillion different ways. It’s basically just vegetables, cheese and eggs cooked into a pie. It’s the ultimate user-upper of whatever you’ve got. I make mine in a baking dish in the oven, but I’ve seen a few different methods.

I used cherry tomatoes from my garden, but Romas are great as well… not so juicy. Slice or chop them, your choice. Same with the spuds. I also used warrigal greens instead of my usual spinach, which added a lovely flavour. The Dutch Cream potatoes are also a good choice for a frittata as they are the waxy type of spud, rather than the floury type.

Zucchini is great in a frittata… ah heck, anything is. Some people insist on adding ham or bacon. OK, then. Whatever. Anything goes!

I never make the same frittata twice, so this is just the way I made it last time.

Leftovers are also really great for lunch the next day.

Oven baked frittata

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • a slug of oil (olive, rice bran, whatever you fancy)
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated (or more!)
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • a few mushrooms, halved and sliced
  • 2 potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 2cm chunks (or sliced)
  • 1 bunch warrigal greens, leaves removed and chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1-2 cups tasty cheese, grated (or combine with a hard, sharp cheese as well)
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • a splash of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  2. Grease a baking dish (not too big).
  3. Boil the potato chunks in a saucepan until they’re at least half cooked to almost cooked, then drain well.
  4. While the spuds are boiling, gently heat your favourite frying pan.
  5. Once it’s at temperature, add the oil.
  6. Gently cook the leek and garlic in the oil for a few minutes until the leek goes soft. Don’t burn the garlic! Turn the heat down if it starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and grated carrot and zucchini and continue cooking for at least another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should all be nicely soft and cooked down. Take it off the heat.
  7. While the spuds and leek mixture are cooking, boil the kettle.
  8. Put the warrigal greens in a large pot or bowl. After the kettle boils, pour the hot water over the the greens. Give it a bit of a swoosh around until the leaves are wilted and take on a rich colour. This should only take a couple of minutes, max. Drain well.
  9. Toss the leek mixture, potato chunks, warrigal greens, cherry tomatoes, cheese and parsley into the baking dish and carefully mix around a bit.
  10. Add the milk to the eggs and season with salt and pepper, then pour over everything in the baking dish.
  11. Bake for around 40 minutes. Check it at 30 minutes. Cooking time will vary according to the size, shape and thickness of your baking dish, so you’ll have to use your judgement. It should be nicely golden on top and firm but not dry in the middle.
  12. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes so it can set.
  13. Serve with a salad.
1 February, 2018 0 comment
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When you ask growers what they’ve got available to supply the LocalTable boxes, sometimes you get an interesting suggestion, like tomatillos.

I’m guessing not many Aussies have had a tomatillo or even heard of them. I’ve heard of them, but never eaten them. This is my first foray, with a recipe from the grower, Sasha Ermichina. I’ve cut back the vinegar content, as it ended up pretty runny and I didn’t add any other liquid. Other than that, it tasted great!

Tomatillo salsa

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Serves: 1 bowl Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 500gm tomatillos, husked and washed in warm water to remove the sticky coating
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic clove (or more!), peeled
  • 1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • some chilli any way you like it (optional)
  • juice of half a lime, or more if not very juicy

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  2. In a baking dish, roast whole tomatillos, onion, garlic and chilli until soft and with a bit of colour, about half an hour.
  3. Transfer to a saucepan along with all the juice in the baking dish. Add the vinegar, lime juice, oregano and coriander and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Let it cool, then transfer to a blender (or use a stick blender in the cooled saucepan)  and purée. Add a little water if you want a runnier consistency and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with corn chips or anything that will carry the salsa from the bowl to your mouth.

28 January, 2018 0 comment
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This recipe is more because I am dealing with a cucalanche at home. I never thought one plant could produce so much food. I can’t give them away.

This is incredibly quick and easy and very refreshing for lunch during summer. Ever since I discovered the chilled beetroot soup, I’m a huge fan of cold soups for lunch now.

In this, my first attempt, I added too much Dijon mustard. When my friend and local grower Kat (Luna Harvest) tasted it, she said I’d discovered the recipe for McDonald’s Big Mac special sauce. She loves it, although it definitely wasn’t what I was going for! But she was right… and after she said it, I could only taste the Big Macs of my youth when I ate this. Not so sure if I want to be reminded of that particular food experience.

Don’t let that put you off! I’ve adjusted the recipe below with that in mind. You might also like to add a little water, if you prefer it thinner. I only have a stick blender, so it’s quite chunky.

Chilled cucumber soup

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Serves: 6 Prep Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 large cucumbers (more if they're smaller), halved and seeded, chopped
  • 1-2 cups Greek yoghurt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup dill
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper for seasoning

Instructions

  1. Put the cucumber, yoghurt, lemon juice, onion, garlic, dill, parsley and mustard in a blender or food processor and blend or process thoroughly.
  2. Pour into a bowl, season with salt & pepper, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  3. To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of dill.

4 January, 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:

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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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