Wet Start To Market

Market day started off very wet and cold.  I am impressed with all the true, die hard shoppers, who despite the weather, still show up and even stand in the cold to watch me cook.  Thanks!
This week at the market i am still celerbrating Asparagus (and why not) from Ardross Farm, Sole Fillets from Harbour Fish, Extra Virgin Olive oil from Central Otago - Scotchbrook and Goodfellow, and Rhubarb and Rocket from my dad's garden.
In this weeks recipes there are some good ones, which can be adapted throughout the seasons.  Try zucchini in the pasta or stew some peaches, or apricots instead of rhubarb in the slice.

Eat and be happy!

2 good handfuls fresh rocket,
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoons capers
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 Tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toast the pine nuts off first in a dry pan, until lightly golden, allow to cool.
In a food processor, put the garlic, pine nuts, rocket (stalks and all) and capers. Pulse a few times to get a coarse paste, add the lemon juice, and drizzle in the oil whilst food processor it running. Season with salt and pepper.
Great sauce almost anything - particularly good with Asparagus.

Serves 6

1.5 kg asparagus, freshly picked
400g dried penne pasta
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 free-range egg yolks
150g Parmesan, freshly grated
100g butter
3 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, picked from their stalks
Method: Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus spear. Cut off the tips and put to one side. Slice the remainder of the spears on the angle.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, and add salt. Put the asparagus stalks in the boiling water for 1 minute, add the tips and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the water with a sieve and drain well.
Once the water has returned to the boil, add the pasta, stir to loosen it and boil for about 9 minutes or refer to packet.
Lightly beat the egg yolks with a fork, and season. Add about 2 tablespoons of the grated Parmesan.
Melt the butter in a small thick bottomed pan. When beginning to foam, add the thyme and almost immediately, the drained asparagus. Season and toss for a few seconds.
Drain the penne, and immediately add the hot asparagus and butter. Stir briefly together, then pour in the egg mixture. Toss a little to allow the egg yolks to coat the pasta. Serve immediately, with the remaining Parmesan.

Makes 15 -20 small

450g skinless fish, cut into chunks
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon fresh chervil, dill or coriander
1 tablespoon sambal oelek or fresh chilli
A few good drizzles of Thai fish sauce or 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon corn flour
1 lemon, zest and juice
75g snake beans or fresh green beans if in season

Put the fish in the food processor first and pulse briefly to break down the fish. Add the sambal olek (chilli sauce) fish sauce, herbs, corn flour and egg. Processor until well combine and a sticky looking paste has formed. Remove mixture from the food processor bowl and add the chopped raw beans if using. Mix well (I use my hands), chill for 30 - 45 minutes in fridge before cooking if possible, as it flavours mingle and the mixture firms up.

Heat a fry pan with the enough oil to cover the bottom. Have a bowl of water close by to your mixture so you can dampen your hands, which will help the mixture from sticking to your hands. Roll the mixture into little flat balls and fry gently for about 1 ½ minutes on each side. Serve with a chilli dipping sauce or try dipping them into the rocket sauce.

Cooked rhubarb is sandwiched between an oat and nut streusel crust. This maybe an old-fashioned concept, but this slice never goes out of style.

Makes 12

¾ cup flour

¾ oats
½ cup finely chopped walnuts, or pecans
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
115g unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon corn flour
2 Tablespoon orange juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180`C
Combine flour, oats, nuts, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add butter in tablespoon size pieces and mix through until the mixture is crumbly. Spread half the streusel in a greased 30cm x 20cm baking dish and press evenly into bottom.
Bake until crust is firm, about 15 minutes.
While crust is baking combine rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and orange juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat while stirring until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool slightly.