It may be late winter, early spring but in our home gardens there’s broccoli, cauliflower, rainbow chard, beetroot, lettuce, oranges, lemons, spring and wild onion, and lots of herbs and salad greens.  We’ve got stored potatoes, pumpkins, cooking apples, and chillies.

If you’re determined enough to keep a milking goat, this next recipe starts at 7am with a bucket.  For the rest of us it includes a trip to the vegie patch to harvest some rocket and beetroot.

Rocket, Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad

A lot of salads are mere foils to the main course, attempting nothing like balance in and of themselves.  This salad however has sweetness, fresh sourness, lots of bite and then deep earthy flavours.  It is whole.  Serve with something simple like grilled fish.

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients:
Beetroots, cooked, peeled, cut into cubes
Rocket – fresh from the garden
Goat cheese, or blue cheese (or if you don’t like strong flavours, feta)
Walnuts – chopped
Thinly sliced apples or pears (optional)

Dressing ingredients:
Olive oil
Lemon
Mustard
Salt and pepper

Method

Don’t get hung up on quantities of the salad ingredients, but consider the greens your base (cut the rocket with some cos lettuce if it’s especially bitter), the beetroot your body, and everything else is the (important) details.

For the dressing use about one part olive oil to two parts lemon juice and mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the rocket on the plate first rather than toss, and place the other ingredients on second for nice presentation.  I haven’t tried it but I think it would be delicious finished off with olive oil drenched croutons.

 

Kustom Waldorf Salad

Here is one from the western European heartland – and if they know how to rock a salad in the Winter, then we can’t ever have an excuse that nothing is growing in the garden!

Ingredients

1 medium celeriac root
2 firm fresh apples
1 lemon

Home made mayonnaise:
1 egg
1/8th ltr vegie oil
spoon of smooth mustard
salt (to taste)
pepper

Method

Peel and finely julienne celeriac root and marinate in lemon juice.

Peel and finely julienne apples and add to celeriac and then mix thoroughly

Prepare mayonnaise- seperate egg and putt egg yolk in a mixing bowl. (You can use the white for your healthy omelette in the morning!)

Add a spoon of mustard and salt and pepper. Slowly add oil drop by drop whisking vigorously.

Blend homemade mayonnaise with celeriac and apple mix and leave to marinate for 2 hours. Keep in fridge in airtight container for up to one week.

Optional: garnish with walnut halves to add a crunch.

Another good suggestion is to incorporate freshly picked caggage that has been shredded.

 

Sweet and Wholesome Pumpkin Pie

Forget “American as apple pie”, everyone eats that.  There are probably Kalahari bushmen with a family apple pie recipe.  But sweet pumpkin pie, now that is American.  And I for one think sweet pumpkin pie is a damn fine thing too, and a shame it isn’t more popular here in Australia.  Unlike some other more delicate deserts, pumpkin holds its own against a wholemeal pastry, and tastes fine with less sugar than some other recipes, so it can be healthy too.  This recipe was inspired by Judy’s over at the ABC website.

Ingredients

Wholemeal sweet pastry
1 ½ cups wholemeal flour
¼ teaspoon salt
90g cold butter, chopped
¼ cup sugar
4-5 tablespoons iced water

Glaze

1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
½ cup fresh orange juice

Pumpkin pie filling
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon each of ground ginger, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom (or similar spices to your taste)
1 egg
¾ cup plain natural yoghurt

Method

 

Pastry: Combine flour, icing sugar and salt and rub in butter until the mixture crumbles like bread crumbs.  Sprinkle on iced water a bit at a time and kneed until no cracks appear.  Or if using food processor, add one spoonful at a time while motor is running, until it comes together in a ball. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour before rolling out.

Glaze: In a small saucepan, combine cornflour and sugar with two tablespoons of water and rind and orange juice. Cook gently, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thick. Allow to cool slightly then smooth over pie.

Bake base: Roll out pastry and line a greased 20-24cm flan tin (preferably metal with removable base). Chill for a few minutes, then bake blind for about 20 minutes. Prick base of pastry shell about 10 times with a fork; then check during baking – if it rises up, gently push the air out of the base using an oven glove. You may need to do this a couple of times. Remove from oven when pastry is a light golden color.

Filling: Combine mashed pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, egg and yoghurt. Mix well. Pour into pie shell and bake for about 25 minutes, or until just set. Test by touching centre with your finger. Spoon the orange glaze over and allow to cool. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Delicious! You could go for a cheekier style of sweet pumpkin pie by not using yoghurt and instead adding a few tablespoons of Amaratto.