Our kitchen travels this week find us in Europe where we explored Italy (pasta), Greece (spanakopita & Greek rice), Russia (potato salad) and dessert in Austria (jam & poppyseed cookies). We gave the menu a decidedly multicultural twist by including warrigal greens (a native Australian plant) in our Greek rice dish. This blending of ingredients emphasises the point that there are no rules one has to adhere to in Australian ‘fusion’ cooking. We made wonderful use of the abundant greens from our kitchen garden (including spinach, silverbeet, spring onion, mint & parsley) in a variety of dishes.
It has been amazing to see how far the students have come since the beginning of the year with respect to their skills in the kitchen, the pride and ownership they take in their food and spaces and also the discussions we are having in relation to our menus and classes.
2 large bunches of spinach and silverbeet leaves, roughly chopped
4 spring onion, finely chopped
200g feta cheese
200g ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
12 sheets filo pastry
olive oil spray
Toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Preheat oven to 180C
In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, silverbeet, spring onions, feta, ricotta, parmesan, eggs and parsley. Mix well.
Cover filo pastry with a clean, damp tea towel. Line an oven proof dish with baking paper. Spray with oil and lay down the first sheet of filo.
Lay down 4 more sheets, spraying in between each layer.
Pile the spinach mixture on top of the filo and spread evenly.
Layer 5 more sheets of sprayed filo over the mixture. Tuck in the edges and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut into squares and 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)
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.
Russian Potato Salad
2kg of potatoes, scrubbed (peeled if needed) and cut into small chunks (about 2cm x 2cm)
2 tablespoons of salt
6 spring onions, very finely chopped
2 dill cucumbers, very finely diced
1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 heaped tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
A pinch of salt
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the salt into it. Cook the potatoes in the boiling salted water until just tender.
Drain the potatoes and set aside.
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together.
Dress the potatoes then add the spring onion, herbs and pickles and mix well.
Austrian Jam & Poppyseed Cookies
2 cups plain flour
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
100g butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of orange juice
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 180C.
Combine all ingredients except jam in a food processor and mix to form a ball.
Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place on lined baking trays.
Make a thumbprint in the middle of each ball of dough and fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a light golden brown. Allow to cool on wire racks.
Pasta with Tuna and Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 tablespoon fine salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
3 silverbeet leaves, chopped finely
Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
A few oregano leaves
2 cans tuna, drained
15 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 can crushed tomatoes
Bring a large pot of water to the boil with the salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving half a cup of the pasta water.
For the sauce, place the olive oil in a pan and heat, and the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the tuna, sun dried tomatoes, silverbeet and crushed tomatoes and stir for 5 minutes. Add the herbs and season to taste.
Add a little of the pasta water to the sauce (this helps the sauce tick to the pasta) then tip the pasta into the sauce and toss well to combine.