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Really Quick

Shishitos are weird little wrinkly peppers that are mostly sweet, but apparently throw out a hot one every now and then. It’s like a chili lucky dip! Except that I’ve never eaten one that was hot, so I’m starting to think that’s a myth.

You can throw them into a salad, if you want, but the best way to eat them is as a salty snack with a beer (or something). They’re a bit fiddly and meh if you try to use them like capsicum in a salad, but they really shine if you chuck them on the barbeque or skillet for a few minutes and eat them whole, seeds and all.

They’re so quick to prepare as a snack, you’ll be eating them in the time it takes you to assemble a cheese platter. If you haven’t come across shishitos before, make sure you give this recipe a go.

If you want the chili kick, throw some chili flakes into the bowl before you put them on the skillet.

Shishito snacks

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • rock salt to taste
  • 1 bag shishitos

Instructions

  1. Preheat a skillet or BBQ grill on a high heat.
  2. In a bowl, add the shishitos to the oil and salt and coat well.
  3. Place the shishitos in a single layer on the skillet or grill and cook quickly until the skins begin to blister, around 5 to 10 minutes. Keep the shishitos moving so they cook and blister evenly.
  4. Sprinkle with a little more salt when you serve them. Optionally add some yoghurt on the side for dipping, sprinkled with paprika.
21 February, 2019 0 comment
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Recipe day this week was waaaaaay too hot to turn on an oven or hotplate. Like, seriously.

So Kat made this salad. Pretty much just made it up on the spot, then we shoved it in our bellies and it was perfect for a summer lunch.

Just perfect.

Make sure you don’t mix the feta into the salad until right before you eat it, so it doesn’t get soggy. It gives a fantastic contrasting texture and flavour to the rest of the dish.

Watermelon & cucumber salad

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Serves: 4 Prep Time:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 2 cucumbers, halved lengthwise and cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup mint leaves, finely sliced
  • 180g, of feta cheese, cut into cubes or crumbled
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablesoolive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine watermelon, cucumber and mint leaves in a bowl.
  2. In a jug or bowl, whisk together the lime juice, maple syrup and olive oil.
  3. Just before serving, sprinkle the feta over the watermelon and cucumber, then drizzle with the dressing.
31 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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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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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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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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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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Not a great fan of cabbage, me. But this Sugarloaf variety might just turn me around!

When Fraser from Flood & Drought came up with snake beans and Sugarloaf cabbage (as well as his consistently delicious carrots) for the boxes, I figured it was best to ask him what to do with them.

He sent me a photo of his dinner that night and a rough method. He’d used an Ottolenghi recipe as a guide. I then put a slight twist on it, because I had a couple of different ingredients available. You will probably put your own twist on this version, depending on what you have available.

That’s the right way to cook: ingredients first, recipe second. Don’t have an ingredient? Use something else! Just keep it simple and you can’t go wrong.

I reckon you can split this between 2 for a meal, or between 4 as a side dish. I lightly marinated and pan fried some steak to medium rare (actually got it right this time), sliced it and plonked it on top of the stir fry. Delish.

It’s also really quick. As Fraser said: the brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook, but after that it’s only 10 minutes for the rest. You can put the rice on and go shower/shave/hang out the washing, so it’s essentially a 15 minute meal if you use black bean sauce from a jar. That gets my vote.

Stir fried snake beans and sugarloaf

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Serves: 2 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • generous slurp of rice bran oil (don't use olive oil, as it will burn and smoke)
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 Sugarloaf cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch snake beans, cut into 10cm lengths
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into thin 10cm strips
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional, the black bean sauce I used is garlic-y enough)
  • generous dollop of black bean sauce (get a good one)
  • 2 green onions, chopped for garnish (or coriander or anything you feel like)

Instructions

  1. Heat a wok. Make sure it’s HOT.
  2. Add the oil, swish it around.
  3. Working quickly, chuck in the rice, cabbage, beans and carrots and garlic if using. Keep it moving, keep it moving… stir, scrape, flip, mix.
  4. Plonk in the black bean sauce, keep stirring, scraping, flipping and mixing for a few minutes. Don’t let the cabbage lose its colour. If it’s starting to look grey, get the wok off the heat.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of green onion on top.

Notes

I don't even have a wok. I used a big saucepan and it still came out great. Whatever you use, just make sure it's really hot. We're not after a gentle, slow sizzle here. It's quick and frenetic.

8 February, 2018 0 comment
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While peaches are sublime to eat as is, I thought I’d try to come up with something divinely sublime to do with a peach that was also quick and easy. The interwebs threw up some ideas and I threw in my own twist to come up with this.

It’s butter, it’s sugar, it’s about five different kinds of sweetness that combine to take the peach to new heights. And it’s so easy!

I use rapadura sugar instead of brown sugar. It’s basically unrefined brown sugar and it’s beautifully rich. I get mine from Rustic Pantry Wholefoods in Moruya.

Use whatever saucey or syrupy drizzly topping you like. I happened to have some maple syrup, so that’s what I used, but something like salted caramel sauce would be delicious… even chocolate, if you must.

Important: make sure the peaches are soft and ripe!

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Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 3 peaches (white or yellow flesh, whatever is in season), halved and seeded
  • 6 peach-stone-sized blobs of butter (don't use margarine)
  • 2 tablespoons of rapadura sugar (or just brown sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ice cream (any flavour you like, make it fancy)
  • maple syrup for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Place the halved peaches, cut side up, on a shallow heat-proof dish.
  3. Drop a blob of butter into each of the hollows left by the peach seed.
  4. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the peach halves.
  5. Bake for at least 15 minutes. The peaches should be soft, but not mushy.
  6. To serve, place each half in a bowl or dish, top with a scoop of ice cream (we happened to have boysenberry gelato), then drizzle with the maple syrup. It won’t look too pretty, but it will taste amazing.
11 January, 2018 0 comment
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