Category

Summer

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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These muffins were, to borrow from my kids, “a bit extra”. They were really good muffins. Soooo soft. When we impatiently ate them still slightly warm, they stuck to the paper cases a bit, but eaten the next day, the cases peeled off perfectly. The muffins were still soft and fresh and weren’t any less enjoyable eaten not-warm.

Give them a few seconds in a microwave if you must, but I don’t own a microwave, so room temp with a hot cuppa was just perfect.

This recipe is low sugar, but don’t tell anyone, because it totally doesn’t matter. They are delish!

Blueberry muffins

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Serves: 12 muffins Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup oil (canola is good)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup full cream milk
  • 150gm blueberries
  • icing sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Put 12 muffin cases into a muffin pan.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and bicarb in a large bowl.
  4. Combine the honey, eggs, oil, yogurt, and milk in another bowl. Using a large jug instead makes the next step easier.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir until just combined.
  6. Fold in the blueberries.
  7. Add a tiny bit more milk if the mixture seems too thick. The batter should be soft and drop off the spoon, not stiff or runny.
  8. Fill the muffin cases almost to the top.
  9. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a wire rack, then store in an air tight container, if they make it that far.
27 December, 2018 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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These spring rolls are the first spring rolls Kat has ever made and they were a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Look how perfectly she fried them!!

Sometimes we avoid cooking certain things because we think they’re beyond us, but I watched Kat make these and thought “hmmmm, I reckon I could do that”.

Funny how all it takes to get over a hurdle is to just see if you can jump it.

Having eaten this dish, I’m already thinking about what other variations I can make. You can put all sorts of different veggies in these things. But whatever you do, make sure you use an oil that’s recommended for high temperatures and make sure it’s hot when you put those babies in.

This is another really good idea for kids. They love anything fried, amiright? And guaranteed, these will go down better than the slightly soggy spring rolls you get from the take away. Just watch out when you bite into them! No traumatising mouth scalding, please.

Spring rolls

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Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • 4 cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100g vermicelli noodles
  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 12 sheets spring roll pastry
  • Small quantity of water mixed with a little cornstarch
  • Peanut or rice bran oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Defrost 12 sheets of spring roll pastry under a damp tea towel so the edges don’t dry out.
  2. Soak the noodles in boiling water for 10 mins. Drain and use scissors to cut into smaller lengths.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in wok and add the carrot, cabbage, onion, garlic, noodles and tamari. Cook for about 5 mins or until vegetables are soft.

To wrap the spring rolls:

  1. Place a sheet like diamond on a clean surface and place 2 tablespoons of filling in the nearest corner.
  2. Start to tightly roll the wrapper, fold over left side, then fold over right side. Paint a little of the cornstarch mixture along the edge and close it up.

When all the vegetable mixture is used up:

  1. Heat the peanut or rice bran oil in wok to high temperature. You’ll need enough oil to almost cover the spring rolls.
  2. Cook the spring rolls in batches, turning to ensure both sides are golden brown.
  3. Place on a cooling rack for a few minutes to drain excess oil.
  4. Serve hot and crispy with your favourite Asian dipping sauce.
6 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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Sometimes you end up with veggies languishing in the bottom of the fridge crisper. It’s a part of life for most of us. When you participate in the community supported agriculture model, there’s no doubt that, unless you’re a dedicated vegetarian, food can start to build up.

That’s not so much a problem with locally grown food, because it stores for a hecking long time, but yep, there can be times when some of it gets past its prime. So what to do with it?

Definitely don’t throw it out. In fact, you don’t even have to compost it. Not straight away, anyway.

Make your own vegetable stock! It’s probably the easiest thing to do ever, each batch brings its own character to your dishes and — best of all — no additives, no powdered this or emulsified that. Just veggies.

Some great advice I read is to not just chuck out the bits of veg that you chop off as you cook, but keep them in a bag in the fridge until it’s full, then make stock from that! Great idea! You can still chuck the veg in the compost after you’ve made stock from it. No waste plus you’re getting even more value from the food.

Veggies good for making stock: onions, leeks including the tops, carrots, celery including the leaves, fennel including the tops, mushrooms including the stalks, parsnips… that sort of stuff.

Veggies NOT good for making stock: zucchini, potatoes, turnips, broccoli, beans, beetroot… that sort of stuff. They’ll overpower the flavour, or might make it cloudy, and some add an unwanted bitterness.

You can add garlic or spices or even salt to the stock, if you like, but I prefer to have the option of adding those extras when I cook the meal itself.

Vegetable stock

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Serves: 10 cups Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • odds and ends of suitable vegetables, in roughly equal quantities
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2.5 litres water

Instructions

  1. Rinse and chop the vegetables into large chunks and plonk them in a large soup pot.
  2. Let the vegetables sweat on a low heat for about 10 minutes, just in the residual water from rinsing. Stir them a few times.
  3. Add the water, peppercorns and bay leaf and increase the heat to bring to a low boil.
  4. When it reaches boiling, reduce the heat to a very low simmer.
  5. Leave it just at boiling point for at least an hour, occasionally stirring gently.
  6. Remove it from the heat and strain the vegetables through a colander, catching the stock in another pot or bowl.
  7. Let it cool a little, then strain the stock once more through some cheesecloth or a clean cotton/linen tea towel.
  8. Once its completely cool, freeze the stock in useful portions (I had a bunch of jars that hold 1 cup, so I used those).
11 June, 2018 0 comment
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