Despite the dry weather, our kitchen garden is absolutely flourishing and the amount and variety of produce the students have harvested has been incredible. Loads of tomatoes have come out of the garden, which I have been making into passata to use in our pastas and pizzas. We also have lots of fabulous herbs – basil is abundance as well as mint, parsley, chives and spring onion. Add to that our cucumbers, zucchinis, eggplant, capsicums, warrigal greens, silver beet, leafy greens, potatoes, corn and the delightful finger limes we have, and that’s a pretty solid base for a awesome summer menu.
The recipes this week showcase all of these ingredients and employ a variety of different skills and techniques by the students.
We are making zucchini & potato fritters which also use our corn and spring onion. We are serving these in zucchini boats made by carving out the large marrows. Our next dish is pasta alla Norma which has been a very popular dish with the kids and a perfect way to highlight the excellent combination of basil, roasted eggplant and fresh tomato passata. A Greek rice dish was also on the menu – using warrigal greens, silverbeet and lots of fresh herbs and feta. Our salad this week is a rainbow salad using lots of different salad leaves, cucumbers, capscicums, herbs and edible flowers. This is a wonderful recipe because it literally can be made with any vegetables you have on hand and the dressing is a winner with kids.
Finally we used our gorgeous finger limes. After examining them, smelling them and tasting their sharp and zingy pearly insides, we then totally contrasted their sourness with some white chocolate in a butter cookie batter. If you want to make these at home, finger limes are available at some fruit shops but alternatively substitute for regular lime zest & juice.
Zucchini & Potato Fritters
4 medium potatoes, (8 small), peeled and grated
4 spring onions, finely diced
1 cup corn kernels, cut off the cob
2 cups zucchini, grated, tightly packed
2 cups wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp paprika
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
salt & pepper
oil to fry
Squeeze out the excess water from the grated potato and zucchini. (Use a tea towel and twist).
Place the potatoes and zucchini in a large mixing bowl with spring onion, corn, flour, baking powder, paprika and salt and pepper. Mix.
Combine the eggs and milk in a jug and add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Stir to combine.
Heat a little oil in the electric frypans over medium heat. Drop in tablespoonfuls of mixture. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden. Repeat with remaining mixture.
Pasta alla Norma
2-3 eggplants, cut into 2cm cubes
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 jar tomato passata
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon oregano leaves, finely chopped
700g pasta – we are using penne
a little shaved feta or parmesan to serve
½ cup basil leaves, chopped or torn
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the eggplant cubes on lined baking tray, spray with oil and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until golden.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Reserve ½ a cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot and add the crushed garlic and gently sauté (be careful not to burn it).
Add the tomato passata, the oregano and some salt and pepper and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add the eggplant and toss it through the tomato sauce for a couple of minutes.
Add the pasta with ¼ cup of pasta water and toss to combine until all coated.
Place on serving platter and top with basil leaves and grated cheese then serve.
Greek Rice with Warrigal Greens & Silverbeet
a large bowl of warrigal greens
4 silverbeet leaves, leaves and stems separated and then both finely sliced
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
a handful of dill, finely chopped
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 cups basmati rice
3 cups of chicken stock (3 cups of water + 1 chicken stock cube)
salt & pepper to taste
400g tin of crushed tomatoes
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato paste
crumbled feta to garnish (optional)
juice of one lemon
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Place the warrigal greens in the water and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze out as much water as you can (the water is bitter so really try to squeeze it out). Then roughly chop.
Heat oil in a heavy based pot. Add onions and cook until glassy (translucent). Add the warrigal greens, the silverbeet, and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the rice and tomatoes and keep stirring for 1 minute until the rice is coated.
Add the stock and bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Season with salt & pepper. Stir through dill and parsley.
Squeeze over the lemon juice and garnish with crumbled feta.
A bowl of mixed lettuce
Shredded or chopped vegetables
Edible flower petals
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of honey
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon of Maldon salt
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Place the salad ingredients in a bowl.
Bamix the dressing ingredients together.
Pour the dressing over the salad (you will not need all of it – probably about half). Toss to combine.
Finger Lime & White Chocolate Cookies
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
200g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
zest of 2 finger limes
pulp of 4 or 5 finger limes
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime (zest it first!)
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 175C.
In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add the egg, lime zest & juice and finger lime zest & pulp to the butter/sugar and mix well.
Add the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms then add the white chocolate chips.
Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture and place onto lined baking trays. Flatten slightly and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
Cool on trays for a few minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely.
Squeezing out the finger lime pearls
What’s not to smile about when you are on cookie duty?!
Everybody is busy and on task during cooking time and our volunteers do an awesome job helping us (thank you!)
We’re still working on holding back the tears when it comes to cooking and cutting onions
The beginnings of tomato passata
Sweet & sour cookies – a taste explosion
A big part of cooking well is keeping your work station clean
Zucchini & potato fritters
The girls serving their pasta alla Norma masterpiece