Today was a celebration of Autumnal food.  Small brightly coloured gem squash topped with toasted walnuts and honey, silver beet with herbed lentils and Grouper baked in a bag.

Baby gem squash
(photos Sarah Cowhey)
Fish in a bag
(photos Sarah Cowhey)

Fresh Walnuts
(photos Sarah Cowhey)

Silver Beet and Lentils
(photo Sarah Cowhey)

I would also like to thank Sarah for her persistence and enthusiasm in the rain.  Sarah is in the process of filming live footage of me demonstrating at the market.  Hopefully if all goes to plan we will soon have it available on this blog!  Pretty cool to watch and cook from home.



SILVER BEET WITH LENTILS (thanks Nigel at Brydone Growers)

Apart from being delicious, and nutritious, it makes for a wonderful dish on its own or with some pan fried fish fillets, juicy pork chop or a good quality steak.

Serves 4
1 kg silver beet
200g puy lentils or brown lentils
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp each of fresh marjoram, and parsley
1 Tbsp each of chopped fresh fennel or dill and mint leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, peeled, 3 finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp olive oil


Remove the stalks from the leaves of the silver beet and keep separated. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the stalks first and cook for 4 minutes, add the silver beet leaves and cook for a further two minutes. Drain and roughly chop, (try to keep the stalks in largish pieces).

Place the lentils into a medium size saucepan and rinse well under cold running water, drain. Cover the lentil with cold water and add 3 cloves of garlic, and the stalks from the herbs (not the mint). Gently bring to the boil, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and pick out the herb stalks and garlic. Pour in 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based fry pan or pot, add the sliced garlic and cook briefly to soften and colour. Add the silver beet stalks and let them cook in the garlic for 3-4 minutes, add half of the herbs. Stir to combine and fry briefly, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the silver beet leaves and lentils and stir gently to combine. Scatter over the remaining herbs, and drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil to serve.

Gem squash are sometimes known as cannon balls, because of their shape and colour. They are about the size of a grapefruit, dark green exterior and orange flesh.

They're related to pumpkins and butternut squash.

Their outer skin is a tough protection for the sweet flesh inside.

Unlike pumpkins, their seeds generally aren't eaten.

They are also a good source of beta-carotene (for vitamin A production), as well as Vitamin C and anti-oxidants.

HONEY ROAST GEM SQUASH WITH WALNUTS (thankyou to Ettrick Gardens)

Serves 2 as a side dish or starter

1-2 gem squash, cut in half, seeds removed and cut into even sized wedges
200g Fresh walnuts
2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, bruised (lightly squashed)
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp red wine vinegar
4-6 tsp good quality oil (rice bran oil)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven 200C

Place the prepared gem squash on a baking dish, drizzle over a little oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper and a one teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, toss to combine. Roast until golden and tender (10minutes) turn once through cooking.

Whilst they are cooking place the walnuts on another baking tray and toast lightly in the oven for 2-5 minutes. Give them a shake to move them around a little, you need to watch them as they will colour fast and you don’t want blackened nuts as they are bitter. Remove and set aside to cool.

In a mortar and pestle, add the garlic clove and rosemary, pound to a paste, add the walnuts and crush together, add a drop of red wine vinegar, spoon of honey and drizzle in enough olive oil to form a thick paste. Taste for seasoning and adjusting the balance it should be evenly flavoured.

Serve the hot roasted gem squash with the walnut paste drizzled over i also like to scatter over a few wild rocket or any robust pepper leaves as it adds a freshness at the end.


(walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, chestnuts)

Walnuts are high in omega-3 oils which make them a healthy snack, but also likely to go rancid quickly. Keep them in a cool, dark place and use as soon as possible. If the shell is firmly sealed you can store them for a few months.


½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups raw walnut halves
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 180C

Lay the walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes, you are wanting them lightly toasted. If not quite ready carry on cooking for another 1- 2 minutes. Bet careful not to burn them. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan.

Pour sugar into a medium saucepan with a thick bottom. Have the walnuts nearby, ready to quickly add to the pan at the right time. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the colour is golden brown. Add the walnuts to the pan, quickly stirring and coating each piece with the sugar mixture.

As soon as the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined either non stick baking paper or a silicon sheet. Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. Sprinkle the nuts with salt and let cool completely.

Michelle (owner/operator)
Edmonds Fresh Fish Supply

EDMOND'S FRESH FISH - owner operated with a shop in Green Island. They have their own fishing boats and all fish is filleted on site.  Their fish is unbelievably fresh and seasonal.  If the weather is bad and the fishing boats cannot go out then there is no fish, it is that simple.

Serves 4

4 large fillets of fish, grouper, gurnard or whatever tickles your fancy
2 lemons
4 spring onions, sliced into 2cm long pieces (use the green end as well)
4 potatoes, cooked and sliced into ½ cm slices
2 bulbs fennel, sliced thinly (reserving the leaves)
Handful cherry tomatoes
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
White wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Tin foil for wrapping

Preheat the oven 200C

Lay four large sheets of tin foil on your work surface. Divide the cooked potatoes between each parcel and place central on one half (it will be folded over). Now place the fish fillets on each, fennel slices, and cherry tomatoes, season lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little oil, and scatter over the spring onions and a few fennel leaves. Garnish with a thin round of lemon.

Fold over the remaining tin foil so it neatly reaches the other side (you are not wanting to squash the fish). Tightly fold the edges together starting from one side and working to the other. When almost complete add a splash of wine and seal tightly. Continue until all the parcels are completed (this can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge).

Place carefully onto a preheated oven tray. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the parcel puffs up like a pillow. Carefully remove from the oven and serve straight away. Pop at the table and enjoy.

Any sort of fish can be cooked like this and it marries to many flavours. Try a dash of soy sauce, spring onions, chilli and ginger. The options are endless.