After such a festive weekend i am now only getting around to talking about what went on at the market. I have been focusing on salads and this week i was given some very tender, young Swiss chard (silverbeet leaves) from Jane Field Hydroponics, teamed up with some of Organiclands preservative free sausage meat. I chose this product as i thought not only is it good value but it has many uses. I simply made little meat balls and fried them till golden and then added a slightly piquant dressing and poured it over the Swiss chard leaves which will hold up to a warm dressing. Salads like this are flexible as you can use up bits and bobs just like i used up old bread which make rustic looking croutons whose purpose is to soak up all the juices.
Apart from salads we were thankful for the very pleasant and refreshing rose`from Judge Rock Wines which partnered well with the Gooseberry slice made again by popular demand!
GARDEN CRISPS WITH SPICED SALT
These wonderfully vibrant and wickedly spiced crisps are a great pre-dinner snack. Ideal for the masses celebrating the rugby world cup!
Makes enough for 4-8
2 beetroot, washed
2 parsnips, peeled
2-4 agria, desiree or whites potatoes, washed
2-4 carrots, peeled
Firstly prepare your spiced salts. These of course are optional as are the spices used. I like adding a little twist to my garden crisps but sea salt flakes work beautifully as well.
To make spiced salts
Caraway salt – heat 1 Tbsp caraway seeds in a dry fry pan and toast gently until you smell their wonderful aroma and see the seeds turn slightly darker in colour. Remove from the heat and add to your mortar and pestle let cool and add 2 Tbsp salt (I like to use sea salt flakes) pound until you have a medium-fine powder which has turned brown. Set aside.
Chilli salt – ¼ tsp chilli flakes or chilli powder (smoked paprika is also fantastic) add these to a mortar and pestle along with 2 Tbsp salt and pound once again until you get a reddish salt. Set aside.
Herb salt – 1 Tbsp fresh thyme or sage leaves pound with 2 Tbsp salt until you get a wonderful green powder (this is also great added to roast chicken or sprinkled over potatoes for roasting).
Now you need to prepare your vegetables. You want to have these cut or peeled, paper thin so they will cook crispy and they will stay fresh. I find using a potato peeler works really well a mandolin will do the trick also. Peel the potatoes and parsnip directly into a bowl of cold water to prevent going brown. Peel the carrots and beetroot but do keep separate as the colours will bleed.
Now fill a large deep-side pot half fill with vegetable oil. Heat to 190C. To check when the temperature is ready place a few slices of your vegetables carefully into the oil. If it bubbles instantly and it is crisp in about 2 minutes then it is ready. If not continue to heat until ready.
Cook your vegetable separately as they will take different times to cook. It is very important not to overcrowd the pot as you are best off doing smaller batches with greater results.
When you go to cook your vegetables please take extra care as hot oil is so dangerous. Make sure you drain your potatoes and parsnips well and pat dry. I also move the vegetables around in the pot with a metal spoon or tongs to keep them separated. When golden brown and crispy remove from the oil, drain well and cool on kitchen paper. Sprinkle immediately with your spiced salt – beetroot with caraway - potatoes with herb salt etc.
Serve in bowls and enjoy their wonderful fresh and interesting flavours.
WARM SALAD OF BABY SILVERBEET LEAVES, HERBED SAUSAGES AND TOASTED BREAD
I have been trying to focus on a different salad a week to showcase how we can turn the last of the winter/spring crops into lighter and fresher meals. We have such a wide array of produce which makes for endless combinations and tantalising tastes.
This rustic salad is perfect for lunch or a light dinner.
4 handfuls tender baby leaves silverbeet/swiss chard
1 red onion, finely diced
4 thick slices good quality bread, crust removed
200-300g Organic lands sausage meat
1 clove garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar or verjuice
1 tsp grain mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven 220C
Mix the diced onion with a sprinkle of sugar and juice of half a lemon. Mix to combine and set aside.
Brush both sides of the bread with half the olive oil. Toast on a baking tray in the oven until golden brown, turning after the first side has coloured. Rub toast with cut garlic, then rip into bite-sized pieces and transfer to the bowl with the red onion (don’t worry if the bread soaks up some of the juices as this will only help with end result).
Meanwhile heat a fry pan up to medium heat and with slightly dampened hands mould small bite sized pieces of sausage meat and fry until golden on both sides (2 minutes on each sides).
Add the silverbeet leaves to the bread and onion mix.
Remove the sausage meat when cooked and add to salad. Put the pan back on the heat , add the mustard and vinegar, stir to combine (be careful as it will spit a bit) add the oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
Serve immediately as it will wilt fast!
PARNSIP HASH BROWNS
Mix 2 coarsley grated parsnips with 2 finely chopped spring onions, then bind with 1 free-range egg white beaten to form very soft peaks. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly grated black pepper, then fry tablespoons of mixture in a non-stick frying pan in melted butter and a splash of olive oil.
SILVERBEET WITH WALNUTS, CURRANTS & PARMESAN
175g dried currants
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp hot water
1kg silverbeet or spinach, washed and drained
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper and salt
Soak the currants for at least 30 minutes or longer if possible.
Preheat the oven 200C. Moisten the walnuts with a little olive oil, then roast them on a baking tray for about 5 minutes or until golden; keep a close eye on them as they burn very quickly.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and plunge in the silverbeet stalks, cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the leaves. Cook for a further 2 minutes then drain and lay flat on a tray lined with a dry, clean cloth. Set aside.
Heat a large fry pan up with the oil and add the drained silverbeet , toss to warm through, then add the nuts, and currants, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and lastly the cheese. Toss to combine and serve.
It is great with fish, pork and steak.
Back by popular demand this fantastic slice is wonderful served warm as a pudding with whipped cream or simply served cold as a wonderful fruity slice. I have used Butlers fantastic frozen gooseberries for this and they work beautifully
Heat oven to 190C. Line a 27 x 18cm baking tin with baking parchment.
Rub the butter into the flour, almonds and sugar to make crumbs, then firmly press two-thirds onto the base and sides of the tin. Toss the gooseberries with the caster sugar, then scatter over the top.
Mix the flaked almonds into the remaining crumbs, then scatter over the gooseberries. Bake for 50 mins-1 hour until golden and the fruit is bubbling a little around the edges. Dredge with caster sugar, then cool in the tin. Cut into about 8 squares and enjoy with a cup of tea or serve as a pudding with custard or cream.
ALISON WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING VENDORS FOR THEIR WICKED PRODUCE
JANE FIELD PEONIES AND HYDROPONICS – baby chard/silverbeet
BUTLERS BERRIES – GOOSEBERRIES
JUDGE ROCK FOR HIS FANTASTIC WINES
ETTRICK GARDENS – CARROTS
BRYDONE – POTATOES
WAIRUNA ORGANICS - PARSNIPS