Category

Side Dish

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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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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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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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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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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Vegetables when I was growing up were boiled. Or roasted, but mostly boiled. And that’s fine, but they were really, really boiled. And heavily salted. As such, I had no idea what vegetables actually tasted like until I started cooking for myself and discovered that if you don’t boil the life out of vegetables, they taste magnificent!

Perhaps it’s because of this discovery relatively late in life that I genuinely enjoy vegetables that have simply been steamed or lightly boiled, just beyond blanching. As such, I don’t do fancy things like sauces or bakes for veggies very often.

However, when children entered my life, they didn’t appreciate the magnificence of vegetables nearly as much as me (go figure) and so I discovered the wonder of pouring cheese sauce over just about everything in order to get it into their bodies. It’s such a simple thing to do that will turn anything into a comfort food that no one ever seems to tire of.

So even though I could eat boiled cauliflower all season, that doesn’t make for a very interesting recipe to share, so here’s my super basic cauliflower cheese recipe.

Feel free to add other vegetables to it (of a similar type, so they cook at the same rate) and use any type of mustard and cheese combination you fancy. Then cosy up to this family favourite as the days continue to shorten.

Cauliflower cheese

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 1 small cauliflower head, chopped into medium-large florets
  • 2 large blobs of butter
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (approx)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup sharp vintage cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200º.
  2. Boil the cauliflower florets in a saucepan until they’re about half cooked, then drain well.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low heat.
  4. Add the flour and mix well with a small whisk to remove any lumps. Let that cook gently for about a minute.
  5. Pour in the milk a little at a time and whisk in well as you go, keeping the heat very low. You want the mixture to be quite runny, so add as much milk as you need. Don’t feel you have to be precise about the amount, just don’t add it too much at once.
  6. When it’s well mixed, add the mustard (to taste) and stir, stir, stir with that whisk.
  7. Then add about 2/3rds of the cheese and stir, stir, stir.
  8. If the mixture looks too thick, then add small amounts of milk and keep stirring. Season to taste, if you like. Simmer for a minute or two, then remove from the heat.
  9. Meanwhile, tip the cauliflower into a shallow baking dish, then pour the cheese sauce over the top, making sure you cover it all.
  10. Sprinkle the leftover cheese over the sauce, then bake for 20-25 minutes. It’s done when the top is golden brown.
26 April, 2018 0 comment
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Sad but true, I also have not very fond childhood memories of eating cabbage. Look, the fact is, I grew up in Anglo Australia in the 70s and 80s and cuisine was still pretty much stuck back in The Empire Days. Boiling and grilling with a bit of baking was about it.

But that’s why I’ve been enjoying making the dishes for these recipes. Some of them are favourites of mine since I started working out how to cook stuff that I liked and some of them are new to me. Cooking something new can be a bit of a gamble, which is what this was. I wanted to cook something using cabbage, potato and leek. I found a Hungarian stew called Kelkáposzta főzelék (warning: DO NOT do a Google image search on that) and it made me strangely curious, because it’s basically boiled cabbage, but better, so I chose it.

I didn’t have the right spice in the pantry, so I improvised a bit and even though I ended up overcooking it and it didn’t look much more appealing than the photos of it on the interwebs, it actually tasted pretty good! I also pan-fried some chicken breast coated in dukkah and they went well together. Now I’ve cooked it once, I’d change a couple of things, so I’ve written the recipe to incorporate those changes, which means it’s not fully tested. But I reckon it would be better the way I’ve described it below.

Fraser (Flood & Drought) grew the Savoy in this recipe. He said he grows two types of cabbage: one that’s good to eat raw, the Sugarloaf, and this one that’s good for cooking. So here it is, a really good rainy night comfort food sort of dish that’s not quite a Hungarian cabbage stew (and yes, it was cold and raining when I ate this, hello autumn).

Savoy & potato stew

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 big blobs of butter
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2kg potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • half a Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1l water
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 2 more big blobs of butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons sweet paprika powder
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter over a low heat in a soup pot.
  2. Gently sautée the leek and garlic until soft, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the potato, cabbage and water and stir through. You can reduce the amount of water to add, if you like, but this dish is meant to be quite liquidy. I drained some off when I served it.
  4. Stir in the cardamom and cumin, salt to taste, then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

While the stew is cooking, prepare the roux (basically a thickener).

  1. Melt the extra butter in a pan and stir the flour to make a paste. Mix well and constantly.
  2. After a couple of minutes, start adding some of the water from the stew to the paste, a tablespoon or two at a time, stirring constantly until it reaches a nice saucey consistency, not too runny and not too thick.
  3. Take it off the heat and stir in the sweet paprika.
  4. Pour the roux into the soup pot and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  5. Serve as a side dish, or as a stew on its own.

Notes

A waxy potato would be best in this recipe, but I only had Sebago at the time I made this one. They were OK, but I overcooked them slightly and Sebagos are less forgiving.

22 March, 2018 0 comment
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Thanks to LocalTable subscriber Sue N for this one. It’s just baked pumpkin, but baked pumpkin done soooo well.

I think my greatest shortcoming as a cook is my blandness. I just can’t be bothered, but when you can make something as basic as baked pumpkin this good for not much extra effort, I feel motivated to start thinking about the everyday a little differently.

Baked dukkah pumpkin

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 1kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped into large-ish chunks
  • 2 tablespoons dukkah
  • a hunk of lard
  • sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Steam the pumpkin chunks for about 20 minutes or until about half cooked.
  2. While the pumpkin is steaming, preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  3. Let the chunks cool enough to handle, then roll in the dukkah to coat.
  4. Throw the hunk of lard in a baking dish. Put the baking dish in the oven just long enough to melt the lard.
  5. Place the dukkah-covered pumpkin in the baking dish and coat with the lard.
  6. Bake the pumpkin for about another 30 minutes, or until pumpkin is fully cooked.
  7. If you’re using the pine nuts, lightly roast them in a frying pan on the stove while the pumpkin is in the oven.
  8. Serve as a side dish, sprinkled with pine nuts and with sour cream.

8 March, 2018 0 comment
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