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OTAGO FARMERS MARKET

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

Method

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.

Serves 4

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 lemon
Sprinkle sugar
1 tsp grain mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

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
Makes 4
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
225g walnuts
1kg silverbeet or spinach, washed and drained
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper and salt

Method

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.

GOOSEBERRY SLICE

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

250g chilled butter , chopped
250g self-raising flour
125g ground almonds
125g light muscovado sugar or brown sugar
350g gooseberries , fresh or frozen
85g caster sugar , plus extra
50g flaked almonds

Method

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

GOOSEBERRY SLICE

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.
250g chilled butter , chopped
250g self-raising flour
125g ground almonds
125g light muscovado sugar or brown sugar
350g gooseberries , fresh or frozen
85g caster sugar , plus extra
50g flaked almonds

METHOD

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.

SILVERBEET WITH WALNUTS, CURRANTS & PARMESAN

175g dried currants
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp hot water
225g walnuts
1kg silverbeet or spinach, washed and drained
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper and salt

Method

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.

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

Method
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.
Serves 4

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 lemon
Sprinkle sugar
1 tsp grain mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
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!

MACARONS

I am not one to follow trends as i find it tiresome but i do have to admit “macarons” are the exception.  I haven’t made them for years to be honest and i thought i had better touch up on my skills as i will be demonstrating them at the next Food Club (which is on the 9 October).  Like most new things on the block there is always that uncertainty and even fear that sets in, thanks mostly to the TV chefs as they make out they are so complicated.  I totally disagree as i managed to make mine amidst preparing dinner, photos for the blog, sick children and general household chores…it is a wonder anything works!
Anyway i did a little research, thinking i may find a few tips here and there.

My top tips for making macarons

  • use old egg whites (let egg whites sit at room temperature for 2 days)
  • always use Italian meringue technique – which is by beating the egg whites and pouring in a sugar syrup whilst whisking continuously till 50C
  • when mixing the mixtures, really be aggressive – using a rubber spatula, slap your mixture many times against the sides of the bowl.
  • when the mixture is piped onto the trays, bang the tray once or twice to remove excess air.
  • Bake with an extra baking tray underneath for extra protection.                               

MACARONS

Thanks Simon for the beautiful picture

makes about 25 whole
For macaron shell
• 110g egg whites
• 250g caster sugar
• 75g water
• 600g Tant Pour Tant (300g almond meal, 300g sifted icing sugar)
• 100g egg whites
• food colouring

1. Make a sugar syrup to add to 110g of the egg whites. Add water to a saucepan and then add 250grams of caster sugar on top and food colouring (if using) and then boil without stirring until you reach the soft ball stage at 112C/234F degrees. Start whipping the egg whites until you get soft peaks and then carefully pour in the syrup and whip until the temperature reaches 50C.

3. Mix the other lot of egg whites (100g) with the TPT and mix the meringue mixture with the TPT mixture slapping it against the sides of the bowl to deflate it. It is ready when any peaks or lines do not hold. Using a plain 1cm tip, pipe 1 inch circles onto a lined baking sheet (ensure that the baking parchment sticks to the baking sheet by spraying it with non stick spray). Allow to rest and form a skin.

6. Preheat oven to 150C. Check that a skin has formed on the macaron shell so that when you touch it, it doesn’t stick to your fingers. Slide an additional baking sheet under the one with the macarons on it and bake in the oven for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then pair similarly sized macaron halves.

7. Place the buttercream or ganache in a piping bag and pipe onto one half of the macaron and sandwich the other half together. Place in fridge to allow the flavour from the buttercream to absorb into the shell (about 48 hours approximately).

BUTTER CREAM

Ingredients
• 3 cups icing sugar
• 1/3 cup butter, softened
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Method
1. In a large bowl with high sides, mix the icing sugar and butter with a wooden spoon, or an electric mixer on low speed. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.
2. Gradually beat in just enough of the remaining milk to make the icing smooth and spreadable. If the icing is too thick, beat in more milk, a drop at a time. If the icing becomes too thin, add more icing sugar and beat.

*recipe adapted from Zumba

OTAGO FARMERS MARKET

Thanks Simon  for the photos

I have been trying to focus on salads lately, i totally eat in conjunction with the with weather.  When the sun shines i think wicked salads with great dressings,char-grilling with zesty, herby marinades which just sings FRESHNESS!  However i am jumping the gun a little as we still have some time to go before we are blessed with asparagus, broadbeans, out-door grown lettuces and that is just the very tip of the garden.  My salad for this week at the market is a combination of cracked wheat/burghul wheat it is fantastic and can be hot or cold, it loves to have some zesty dressing to soak up and is perfect with spring veges like spinach, carrots, broccoli and parsley.  This is the time of the year where we need to rely on a few pulses etc to bulk up our meals while we impatiently await the new seasons crops…..not long!

CRACKED WHEAT/ BURGHUL
Cracked wheat or burghul is a wheat that has been boiled and baked before being cracked so it only needs reconstituting in water.


In Middle Eastern cookery it is widely used as rice or potatoes would be in other parts of the world. It can be seeped in water or stock, used in salads, stuffing’s, pilaffs or simply with a knob of butter to accompany a meal.

SPINACH CRACKED WHEAT SALAD
Serves 4

250g fine burghul wheat
375ml hot water

150g spinach leaves, stalk removed and washed well
1 cup mint leaves, finely shredded
1 red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic
½ tsp sumac
½ tsp allspice
1/3 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt and pepper
100 – 120 ml olive oil
2 lemons, juice of

Method

Soak the burghul wheat in the water for 10 minutes.

Heat a medium size pot or fry pan up and add spinach you shouldn’t need any liquid as the spinach should have enough water clinging to their leaves. Give a brief stir to rotate and wilt the leaves. Remove from the heat, put into a bowl along with one clove of garlic and whizz using a hand wand until a coarse, thick green paste has formed.

Drain the burghul wheat well, I tip mine into a clean tea towel and wring it as dry as possible. Tip into a bowl along with the spinach paste, mint leaves and red onion.

In a small mixing bowl add the spices, lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust if necessary. Pour over the burghul wheat and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

NB – don’t forget to add your favourite spices, vegetables and nuts and move with the seasons. This wheat goes fantastically with tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and so on!

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!

BAKED FISH IN A BAG
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)
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, 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 (try not 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. Place 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.

GRILLED PEARS WITH MASCARPONE

This is another one of my great puddings which can be whipped up within minutes. It showcases seasonal produce to their very best with the addition of only a few ingredients you will have quite simply a sublime little pudding!

Serves 2

2 ripe Comice pears or your favourite variety
100g mascarpone
1-2 tsp honey
2-4 gingernuts, crushed finely

Method
Preheat the grill on your oven to medium-hot.

Halve the pears and remove the cores.
Place the fruit, skin side down in an oven-proof dish.
Mix the mascarpone with the honey and spoon generous dollops into the cavity of the pears. Sprinkle with the crushed gingernuts.
Place under the hot grill and cook until the mascarpone starts to bubble and melt. Serve immediately.

ROASTED POTATOES,FENNEL AND LEMON

Serves 4
1 kg potatoes – Brydones agria work exceptionally well for this
2 bulbs fennel and the leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place a roasting tray in the oven and heat up to very hot.

Slice the potatoes into ½ cm round disc, place them into a bowl. Bruise the garlic cloves by gently smashing them with a knife put them in with the potatoes.

Trim all the leaves off the fennel. Tidy up the root end but don’t cut it too far as you want to keep the fennel whole. Slice the fennel into similar size pieces as the potatoes and add to the bowl. Drizzle over enough oil to coat all the ingredients well, squeeze over the juice of the lemon, season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well and pour directly onto the hot oven tray. Spread them out so they are not too thick on the tray as you won’t them to cook evenly and crispy.

Roast for 10 minutes give them a quick move around on the tray and cook for a further 10 minutes. Roughly chop up some fennel leaves and sprinkle these through the potatoes before serving.

Great served with fish or pork!

Alison would like to thank the following vendors for their great products


EDMONDS FRESH FISH – FISH
ETTRICK GARDENS – PEARS
YOUNGS – SPINACH
BRYDONE GROWERS – FENNEL AND SALAD POTATOES



POTATOES ROASTED WITH FENNEL AND LEMON

(thanks Simon for photos)

Serves 4
1 kg potatoes – Brydones agria work exceptionally well for this
2 bulbs fennel and the leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place a roasting tray in the oven and heat up to very hot.

Slice the potatoes into ½ cm round disc, place them into a bowl. Bruise the garlic cloves by gently smashing them with a knife put them in with the potatoes.

Trim all the leaves off the fennel. Tidy up the root end but don’t cut it too far as you want to keep the fennel whole. Slice the fennel into similar size pieces as the potatoes and add to the bowl. Drizzle over enough oil to coat all the ingredients well, squeeze over the juice of the lemon, season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well and pour directly onto the hot oven tray. Spread them out so they are not too thick on the tray as you won’t them to cook evenly and crispy.

Roast for 10 minutes give them a quick move around on the tray and cook for a further 10 minutes. Roughly chop up some fennel leaves and sprinkle these through the potatoes before serving.

Great served with fish or pork!

FISH IN A BAG

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)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
White wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Tin foil for wrapping

MethodPreheat 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, 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 (try not 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.

CRACKED WHEAT AND SPINACH SALAD

CRACKED WHEAT/ BURGHUL



Cracked wheat or burghul is a wheat that has been boiled and baked before being cracked so it only needs reconstituting in water.
In Middle Eastern cookery it is widely used as rice or potatoes would be in other parts of the world. It can be seeped in water or stock, used in salads, stuffing’s, pilaffs or simply with a knob of butter to accompany a meal.

Serves 4

250g fine burghul wheat
375ml hot water
150g spinach leaves, stalk removed and washed well
1 cup mint leaves, finely shredded
1 red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic
½ tsp sumac

½ tsp allspice
1/3 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt and pepper
100 – 120 ml olive oil
2 lemons, juice of

Method

Soak the burghul wheat in the water for 10 minutes.

Heat a medium size pot or fry pan up and add spinach you shouldn’t need any liquid as the spinach should have enough water clinging to their leaves. Give a brief stir to rotate and wilt the leaves. Remove from the heat, put into a bowl along with one clove of garlic and whizz using a hand wand until a coarse, thick green paste has formed.

Drain the burghul wheat well, I tip mine into a clean tea towel and wring it as dry as possible. Tip into a bowl along with the spinach paste, mint leaves and red onion.

In a small mixing bowl add the spices, lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust if necessary. Pour over the burghul wheat and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

NB – don’t forget to add your favourite spices, vegetables and nuts and move with the seasons. This wheat goes fantastically with tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and so on!