I love puff pastry for a satisfyingly simple weeknight dinner. I know there are far healthier alternatives, but I consider this a treat in both taste and simplicity! Throw zucchini and capsicum slices in a fry pan with a sliver of ghee and some crushed garlic. Sautee for a few minutes while your puff pastry defrosts. Mark a border just inside the edge of the pastry and spread pesto up to the border. Lay stirfried veggies over the top with some sliced spring onion and goats cheese. Thin slices of radicchio or fennel would work perfectly on this as well. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden. As always I found a simple recipe like this on Taste.com if you need guidance. AND if you ever fancy this when fresh capsicum is not available, make sure you have a jar of Local Organics’ delicious, roasted red capsicum in the pantry!
Lamb shanks and pumpkin curry
Keep this simple with a jar of curry paste, or use your spice knowledge and curry making skills to get creative! Sautee onions, garlic and spices (or curry paste!) in an oven proof dish. Pour in some stock, tomatoes or water and stir through. Add lamb shanks, chunks of pumpkin and chopped spinach. Cover with tomato passata and stock and cook in a regular oven for 1.5 – 3 hours until the lamb is falling off the bone. If it needs thickening, pop it on the stovetop or take the lid of for 20 minutes at the end. This is one I’ll be trying in the slow cooker - when I buy it!
Tomato Baked Fish with potatoes and broccoli
Try this with any small fillets of fish. I’ve used flathead before, but any firm white fish would do (shop sustainably). Lay fish in a single layer in an small oven dish. Mix tomato passata with chopped parsley, 3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves, the juice of 2 lemons, a teaspoon of sugar and a glug of olive oil. Pour the sauce all over the fish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Steam potatoes for 5-10 minutes on the stove, then add the steamed potatoes to the oven dish and bake for another 45 minutes with the foil off until the sauce has thickened and potatoes are ready. Serve with steamed broccoli
Stephanie Alexander’s Minestrone Soup
This soup is based on Stephanie Alexander’s recipe in The Cook’s Companion - the cookbook I think every Australian should own! I think this soup is best with dried beans, as they are less mushy, but if you are short on time, tinned beans are fine (I’d add them later though). Sautee onion and garlic, add chopped carrot and a piece of pork rind (ask your butcher) if you eat meat. Add 2 – 3 cups of soaked, precooked borlotti beans , parmesan rind, a bay leaf and a jar of tomato passata. Cover and simmer for 1.5 hours. Add chopped green beans, sweetcorn and zucchini. Stir in finely shredded cabbage and simmer for another 30 minutes. If you didn’t pick up cabbage this week you could use kale or even radicchio. Serve with grated parmesan or pecorino and yummy bread.
Chicken, pasta and kale bake
Grill or steam fillets of chicken or use leftover roast chicken. Sautee onion and garlic for a few minutes then add chopped kale leaves and cook until tender. Add chicken and veggies to cooked, drained pasta in an oven proof dish. Stir in ricotta, lemon zest, cheese, salt and pepper and top with grated pecorino. Bake for 30 minutes. Inspired by this Martha Stewart recipe.
Roasted radicchio, romanesco (or cauliflower) and chickpeas
That crazy looking prehistoric vegetable in this week’s box is Romanesco. Think of it as a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, with slightly more crunch (even when cooked). If romanesco wasn’t your cup of tea you can use cauliflower instead. Cut romanesco flowers the same way you’d chop broccoli and radicchio into wedges like an onion or fennel bulb. Toss veggies in olive oil with salt and pepper and lay them out in a baking tray. Roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. See this recipe for some tips. Serve with soaked and cooked chickpeas, fresh greens, shaved pecorino, an olive oil & vinegar dressing, your choice of herbs and maybe a nut like a walnut or hazelnut.
Final tips on this week’s new friends - Romanesco and Radicchio
· Try sourdough toast topped with roasted radicchio, a drizzle of balsamic and ricotta cheese
· Lighly steam romanesco florets and marinate in a dressing of red wine vinegar, crushed garlic, olive oil and salt. Leave for a while, then toss with capers, lemon zest and parsley.
If you're familiar with these unusual vegetables, please let us know how you prepare them. We can all benefit from the wisdom of the group :-)