Loving delicious food means that I enjoy browsing through some of my favourite cookbooks when planning a menu for a special occasion. With Christmas not far off and a cool cloudy day on Sunday what better excuse than to linger over the many possibilities for all our gatherings leading up to Christmas. One of my favourites – as those of you who have been following my posts for a while probably know – is Yotam Ottolenghi. I especially love his roasted whole cauliflower so I’m relishing it now before the season ends.
This week I’m making Ottolengi’s beetroot, caraway and goat’s cheese bread (with my own minor adaptations) and because I love salads my regular fennel, orange and olive salad is on the menu along with zoodles (spiralized zucchini ) with a super green pesto. This pesto will be made using a collection of whatever greens grab my attention on Wednesday – but will undoubtedly include garlic scapes, coriander and rocket. Now here is a thought – what about a scape pesto!
What are your favourite foods for gatherings?
What’s News at the Market this Week?
Northern Rivers grown peaches and nectarines arrive this week. How fortunate are we that Southview Orchard owned by John and Frieda de Kleuver have had their first really good year with lots of fruit! After about five ordinary years they are over the moon and so are we. Mel, one of their enthusiastic employees, is popping up this week with their peaches and nectarines. Stone fruit only has a very short ripening and picking window in this area so Mel will only be at the market for maybe the next three weeks.
Their fruit are the low chill varieties enabling Southview Orchard to harvest at the end of September until early November. They are the first orchard in NSW to pick stone fruit, John believes!
What’s GREAT at the Market this Week?
Green beans – beautiful young green beans are my recommendation this week. They are perfect blanched for a salad as well as delicious cooked. Green beans give a vibrant colour and texture to any meal. I enjoy them lightly blanched tossed in a little toasted sesame oil and scattered sesame seeds.
Jamie Oliver makes a delightful lemony green bean dish by simply cooking the beans then dressing them with olive oil, lemon juice and zest plus salt and freshly ground black pepper.
They are also delicious with lemon and garlic and with garlic scapes available at the market now I can imagine finely diced garlic scapes tossed through and lightly steamed with the beans and dressed with a dash of lemon juice and olive oil. So easy!
Garlic scapes are a favourite too. These are simply the stalks that grow from the bulbs of garlic plants. If left unharvested, the scapes eventually flower when the garlic plant fully matures. They are deliciously edible having a lovely, mild garlic flavour with a hint of sweetness. The young scape is almost an asparagus-like texture when it is curling.