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OTAGO FARMERS MARKET

Good morning, another glorious day outside. If we manage to have a run of good weather then the asparagus will grow and grow, which would be great as it is a bit like torture not quite being able to taste it, but imaging it …..not long, next week (perhaps)!
However we must not forget what is available at the moment.  Watercress is green and peppery and in its prime – try it in sandwiches, salads, soups and sauces.  Rhubarb is back and it marries perfectly with the vast array of apples still widespread at the market.  It is also a good time to make chutneys and jams (recipe below) it will carry you over until we get the glut of summer fruits. 
Edmonds Fish will have fresh fish today as they haven’t been able to get out fishing due to high winds.  I will be using some of the Joyful vegans amazing wholegrain bread today.  If you have not tried some of their outstanding products you will wowed as they truly do an impressive array of cakes, breads, slices and hot and cold savoury items.
I will see you all soon as i need to go and get the kitchen set up. Have a lovely day filled with lovely food….my sort of weekend!

EGG AND WATERCRESS SANDWICH
Once upon a time this sandwich would have been served at high tea, sadly traditions like these have subsided but the sandwich need not. Watercress is fantastic at the moment large peppery leaves add a wonderful crunch and burst of heat to this classic sandwich.

Serves 1
Two slices good quality bread (Joyful Vegan Wholegrain)
1 Tbsp mayonnaise mixed with ¼ tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1 egg, soft boiled
Handful fresh watercress
Pinch sea salt flakes, fresh ground black pepper

Method

To soft boil your egg – Start by having your egg at room temperature. Bring a small pot (deep enough to submerge the egg) of water to the boil. Place the egg carefully into the boiling water, when it comes to the boil again set your timer for 4 minutes and 30 seconds exactly. When the time is up remove immediately from the water and refresh under cold running water. Peel and mash coarsely with a fork and season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To assemble: generously spread your mayonnaise mixture onto one slice of the bread. On the other slice add the egg mixture and spread generously. Pick through the watercress, I generally use the leaves and the tender tips as the stalks can be a little too fibrous for this. Sprinkle over a little sea salt and grind of pepper. Place the mayonnaise slice of bread on top and press to adhere.

Cut in half and enjoy this classic combination.

ASPARAGUS AND WATERCRESS SALAD
This salad can only be made when the asparagus is freshly picked as you need it to be crisp and crunchy, combined with the deep, peppery watercress.

Serves 4
2 bunches fresh asparagus
4 handfuls fresh watercress, large stalks removed and discarded
2 slices “Joyful Vegans” wholegrain bread, either torn or cut into smallish pieces
30g pecorino, parmesan or aged cheddar, crumbled into chunks
1 lemon, juice
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 190C

Place the pieces of bread onto a baking tray and drizzle over a little oil and bake until crispy (8 minutes approximately). Remove and set aside.

Put a small pot of salted water on to boil.

Meanwhile remove the tough ends to the asparagus (keep to add to stock for risotto or soup). Remove the top tip of the asparagus spear (3cm length) and set aside.

When the water has come to a rapid boil, add the asparagus spears and cook for 1 minute. Drain immediately and refresh under cold water. Drain and add to salad.

Using a peeler, peel the asparagus into thin strips and put them into a large bowl along with the watercress, cheese and croutons.

Make the dressing by mixing together the lemon, oil and seasoning. Taste and adjust if necessary. Drizzle over the salad, toss gently with your hands to combine and serve immediately.

ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON MAYONNAISE

Time to celebrate! The very first locally grown asparagus has hit the market. It needs little introduction so I’m simply adding a mayonnaise to do the talking!

Serves 4
6 medium sized spears of fresh asparagus per person
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon Mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
1-2 lemons (juice)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
125 ml grapeseed or ricebran oil
100 ml extra virgin olive oil

Method
Bring a good size saucepan of salted water to the boil.

To prepare the asparagus; hold the tip of the asparagus between your thumb and finger firmly and with the other hand gently snap off the other end. It should snap where it becomes tender. Discard the woody end or use it in a stock to add to your soup or risotto. Set aside.

To make mayonnaise; you can do this by hand with a whisk or by using a food processor (this is up to you). Whisk two egg yolks with the mustard and lemon until emulsified and thick (this adds stability). Drizzle in the ricebran oil first, it is vital that you do only add drop by drop until it emulsifies or it can split. When you see the oil combing easily you can pour in the oil in a more consistent stream, do the same with the extra virgin olive oil until you get the desired consistency. Season to taste and put into a serving dish.

Carefully plunge the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 2-4 minutes depending on size and how tender you like it. Drain well, sprinkle with a little sea salt flakes and a crack or two of pepper and serve alongside your lemon mayonnaise.

RHUBARB AND OAT TART
Rhubarb is back and it is in abundance at the market. This is a fanatically simple and satisfying tart which would partner well with a scoop of good quality vanilla icecream


Makes 8 small tarts

5 sticks rhubarb, peeled into strips
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
5 Tbsp soft brown sugar
3 Tbsp ground almonds, crushed walnuts or plain flour
1 orange, zest of
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
50 g rolled oats

Method
Preheat oven to 190C

In a bowl toss together rhubarb, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp ground almonds (walnuts or flour).

Cut the puff pastry into 4 squares and place on a baking tray.

Make a rough crumble topping by rubbing the butter with the remaining almonds (walnuts or flour), sugar and oats.

Divide the rhubarb between the pastry quarters, leaving a rim around the outside. Sprinkle over the oat mixture, then fold and pinch each corner to keep the filling in.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

Rhubarb and ginger chutney

300ml cider vinegar
400g brown sugar
300g raisins
2-3 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 orange (juice)
Large pinch allspice
800g rhubarb, chopped in small pieces
2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped

Method

Put all the ingredients except the apple and rhubarb in a large pan with 1 tsp of salt. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved then boil for 10 minutes. Add the apple and rhubarb then cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Decant into sterilised jars (washed in hot soapy water and dry in a warm oven) place on a clean lid and store in the fridge until required. The longer it is left the better it will taste.

Alison would like to thank the following vendors for their wonderful produce and perseverance through this wet weather …… we appreciate it, thank you.


ADROSS FARM – ASPARAGUS
JOYFUL VEGAN – WHOLEGRAIN BREAD
JANE FIELD PEONIES AND HYDROPONICS – WATERCRESS
BROUGHAM EGGS – EGGS
BUTLERS BERRIES – RHUBARB
JUDGE ROCK WINES – WINE (ALWAYS FANTASTIC)

Follow me on facebook Alison Lambert taste of my life or www.alisonmarketchef.blogspot.com

Rhubarb and ginger chutney

300ml cider vinegar
400g brown sugar
300g raisins
2-3 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 orange (juice)
Large pinch allspice
800g rhubarb, chopped in small pieces
2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped

Method
Put all the ingredients except the apple and rhubarb in a large pan with 1 tsp of salt. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved then boil for 10 minutes. Add the apple and rhubarb then cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Decant into sterilised jars (washed in hot soapy water and dry in a warm oven) place on a clean lid and store in the fridge until required. The longer it is left the better it will taste.

RHUBARB AND OAT TART

Rhubarb is back and it is in abundance at the market. This is a fanatically simple and satisfying tart which would partner well with a scoop of good quality vanilla icecream

Makes 8 small tarts

5 sticks rhubarb, peeled into strips
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
5 Tbsp soft brown sugar
3 Tbsp ground almonds, crushed walnuts or plain flour
1 orange, zest of
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
50 g rolled oats

Method
Preheat oven to 190C

In a bowl toss together rhubarb, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp ground almonds (walnuts or flour).

Cut the puff pastry into 4 squares and place on a baking tray.

Make a rough crumble topping by rubbing the butter with the remaining almonds (walnuts or flour), sugar and oats.

Divide the rhubarb between the pastry quarters, leaving a rim around the outside. Sprinkle over the oat mixture, then fold and pinch each corner to keep the filling in.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

EGG AND WATERCRESS SANDWICH


Once upon a time this sandwich would have been served at high tea, sadly traditions like these have subsided but the sandwich need not. Watercress is fantastic at the moment large peppery leaves add a wonderful crunch and burst of heat to this classic sandwich.

Serves 1

Two slices good quality bread (Joyful Vegan Wholegrain)
1 Tbsp mayonnaise mixed with ¼ tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1 egg, soft boiled
Handful fresh watercress
Pinch sea salt flakes, fresh ground black pepper

Method

To soft boil your egg – Start by having your egg at room temperature. Bring a small pot (deep enough to submerge the egg) of water to the boil. Place the egg carefully into the boiling water, when it comes to the boil again set your timer for 4 minutes and 30 seconds exactly. When the time is up remove immediately from the water and refresh under cold running water. Peel and mash coarsely with a fork and season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To assemble: generously spread your mayonnaise mixture onto one slice of the bread. On the other slice add the egg mixture and spread generously. Pick through the watercress, I generally use the leaves and the tender tips as the stalks can be a little too fibrous for this. Sprinkle over a little sea salt and grind of pepper. Place the mayonnaise slice of bread on top and press to adhere.

Cut in half and enjoy this classic combination.

ASPARAGUS AND WATERCRESS SALAD

This salad can only be made when the asparagus is freshly picked as you need it to be crisp and crunchy, combined with the deep, peppery watercress.
Serves 4

2 bunches fresh asparagus
4 handfuls fresh watercress, large stalks removed and discarded
2 slices “Joyful Vegans” wholegrain bread, either torn or cut into smallish pieces
30g pecorino, parmesan or aged cheddar, crumbled into chunks
1 lemon, juice
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 190C

Place the pieces of bread onto a baking tray and drizzle over a little oil and bake until crispy (8 minutes approximately). Remove and set aside.

Put a small pot of salted water on to boil.

Meanwhile remove the tough ends to the asparagus (keep to add to stock for risotto or soup). Remove the top tip of the asparagus spear (3cm length) and set aside.

When the water has come to a rapid boil, add the asapargus spears and cook for 1 minute. Drain immediately and refresh under cold water. Drain and add to salad.

Using a peeler, peel the asparagus into thin strips and put them into a large bowl along with the watercress, cheese and croutons.

Make the dressing by mixing together the lemon, oil and seasoning. Taste and adjust if necessary. Drizzle over the salad, toss gently with your hands to combine and serve immediately.

ASPARAGUS WITH VERJUICE MAYONNAISE

Time to celebrate! The very first locally grown asparagus has hit the market. It needs little introduction so I’m simply adding a mayonnaise to do the talking!

Serves 4

6 medium sized spears of fresh asparagus per person
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Verjuice Mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
1-2 Tbsp verjuice or 1-2 lemons (juice)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
125 ml grapeseed or ricebran oil
100 ml extra virgin olive oil

Method
Bring a good size saucepan of salted water to the boil.

To prepare the asaparagus; hold the tip of the asparagus between your thumb and finger firmly and with the other hand gently snap off the other end. It should snap where it becomes tender. Discard the woody end or use it in a stock to add to your soup or risotto. Set aside.

To make mayonnaise; you can do this by hand with a whisk or by using a food processor (this is up to you). Whisk two egg yolks with the mustard and verjuice or lemon juice until emulsified and thick (this adds stability). Drizzle in the ricebran oil first, it is vital that you do only add drop by drop until it emulsifies or it can split. When you see the oil combing easily you can pour in the oil in a more consistent stream, do the same with the extra virgin olive oil until you get the desired consistency. Season to taste and put into a serving dish.

Carefully plunge the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 2-4 minutes depending on size and how tender you like it. Drain well, sprinkle with a little sea salt flakes and a crack or two of pepper and serve alongside your mayonnaise.

LEMON TART

I have fond memories of a lemon tart as it was one of the first “cheffy” desserts i fell in love with and was taught to make.  It was by the great Marco Pierre White (white heat), not only did this book change my life but the lemon tart left a very big impression on my taste-buds. 
However today i used Raymond Blanc’s recipe and it is equally as good and not to dissimilar in taste but a little lighter on some ingredients. If you are ever wondering how to end a dinner party or you simply want a dessert that will linger on your tongue and put a smile on your face then look no further than a lemon tart – you won’t be disappointed i promise!

LEMON TART
serves 8-10

for the pastry
120g unsalted butter at room temperature, diced
75g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
3 egg yolks
250g plain flour
2 Tbsp cold water

for the lemon cream
5 medium organic or free range eggs
150g caster sugar
85ml fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
150 ml double cream

Method – 24 cm tart tin
Making the sweet pastry – in a large bowl, with a spatula or wooden spoon, mix the soft butter and icing sugar to a cream: then beat in 2 of the egg yolks. Add the flour and with your fingertips rub the butter mixture and flour together to achieve a crumbly texture.  Add the water and press the mixture together to form a ball.
With the palms of you hands, knead the pastry on lightly floured work surface until it is blended (maximum 30 seconds). Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes (this helps the dough lose its elasticity).

Line the tart tin by rolling the pastry on a lightly floured bench, evenly roll out the pastry into a circle to fit you tart tin and about 3mm thick.
Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it over your tin.  With one hand lift the pastry and with the other gently tuck it into the bottom edge of the tin so that it fits tightly.  Be careful not to stretch it.  Cut off excess pastry by rolling the pin over the top edge of the tin.  Take a small ball of pastry and gently press it all around the base of the tart to ensure a snug fit.  Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork and refrigerate for 30minutes (this helps prevent shrinkage during cooking)
Preheat oven to 160C

Make the lemon cream by mixing together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest together in a large bowl, whisk in the cream, then place in the fridge until required.

Cooking the pastry.  Line the pastry case with tin foil and fill with dried beans, pushing them against the side.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out both foil and beans.  Return the tart tin to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes.  Brush the inside of the pastry with the remaining egg yolk and return to the oven for 1 minute (this creates a seal on the pastry and prevents it becoming soggy when the lemon cream is added).  Turn the oven down to 140C.

Cooking the lemon tart (at long last). Pour the lemon cream mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl.  Place the tart on a baking tray and put the tart in the oven, carefully pour the mixture into the pastry shell and bake for 25- 35 minutes.  It should be still slightly wobbly in the centre.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least an hour.

Dredge with icing sugar around the edge of the tart.

OTAGO FARMERS MARKET

Good morning, i feel as though i have been away for months.  I did promise asparagus this week but mother nature had her own plans and the rain fell and fell, the rivers rose and Rodd could not pick his delicious asparagus.  However we do still have a fantastic array of ingredients available at the farmers market which i get the pleasure of cooking with.  On the menu today we have Wairuna Organics leafy greens, garlic and carrots.  Havoc bacon is sauteed with apples from Rosedale orchards and peppery watercress from Rodger at Jane field peonies and hydroponics. I will also being doing that retro classic of the 60s – devils on horseback (bring it back!) and to finish off i will be making batches of spiced apple and karaka berry muffins. 
Come and say hi and talk about food!

WARM BACON, APPLE AND WATERCRESS SALAD

Serves 4

4-8 slices bacon, cut into strips
2 apples, cored and cut into wedges  
4 handfuls watercress
50g hazelnuts, toasted lightly

Dressing
1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp good quality oil
Salt and pepper

Method
Firstly make the dressing; mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside

Pick over the watercress by picking off the tips of the watercress, I like to leave them as a little bunch. With the remaining larger leaves remove these from the stalks. Place into a bowl
Add the hazelnuts and set aside.

Heat up a fry pan and cook the bacon over a moderate to high heat until the bacon starts to go crisp. Add the apple and coat in the bacon fat. Cook for a further 2 minutes or until the apple just starts to soften.

Add the hot bacon and apple to the watercress mixture. Pour the dressing into the pan and swirl around, don’t forget to get the bits of the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and pour over the salad. Toss gently together.

Serve immediately.

DEVILS ON HORSEBACK – ARE BACK!
Bring back the 60s or was it the 70s with these tasty little morsels. The thing is with this retro canapé you can only make it if you have fantastic bacon and plump prunes, as the end result will win over any critic.

Plump good quality prunes
Rindless bacon, cut into strips wide enough to wrap around the prune.
*Quantity will depend on how many you want to make (at least 3 per person)

Method
Preheat your grill – medium to hot

Wrap each prune individually with a strip of bacon, ensuring you have enough bacon to comfortably encase the prune as it does shrink. Place on to a baking tray.
Grill until the bacon goes crisp and golden, turn and continue until the same on both sides (about 8 minutes).
Serve with a toothpick (very retro).

WAIRUNA’S HEALTHY VEGGIES!
This year more than others my family and I have had numerous bouts of colds and flus. I love the comfort that with a few good balanced meals made with exceptional market produce it can help build up the immune system and fill your body and mind with some much needed nutrients. With the help of Pia (from Wairuna Organics) we have a list which may help.


WAIRUNA’S STIR-FRY MIX – contains seasonal leafy green vegetables such as different types of kale, purple broccoli, Pak choi, Swiss chard, mustard greens, etc.

Nutrient info:
stir fry mix: rich in Vitamin C, A, K, manganese, calcium , magnesium, dietary fibre, potassium, also contains B- Vitamins ( B1, B2, B3, B6) folate, tryptophan , Omega 3 fatty acids , Vitamin E

Carrots : rich in carotenoids, Vitamin A, K, C, fiber, potassium,

Garlic is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C and a good source of selenium.

The vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and carotenoids contained in our stir-fry mix support oxygen metabolism and are recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system.

You`ll want to include the cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis to receive the fantastic health benefits they provide. From a health standpoint, enjoy kale ,broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables 4-5 times per week.

Cooking method : steaming vegetables for 5 minutes.

SUPER QUICK AND SUPER HEALTHY GREENS
Selection of sprouting broccoli, kale, spinach, cavolo nero, silver beet or Asian greens (2 handfuls per person)

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp good quality oil

Method
Bring a pot of water quarter full and place a steamer snuggly on top.

Whilst that is coming to the boil prepare all your ingredients and have ready.

When the water is boiling place the greens in the steamer, put on the lid and steam until tender (3-5 minutes). Remove immediately.

Heat up a large fry pan with the oil, add the garlic and cook until the garlic starts to go a light-brown colour and gives of a nutty aroma. Add the greens and toss through the oil and garlic, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve with halves of lemon. It is that simple!

WHOLEMEAL APPLE AND KARAKA BERRY MUFFINS
I am well aware that as a nation we are almost muffined out. But these little beauties are moist, aromatic and will last for a few days. They make the perfect afternoon tea and last well in lunch boxes. You won’t be disappointed!

1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk or yoghurt
1 cup karaka berries, roughly chopped
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 190C. Grease and flour 12-18 muffin tins and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple and karaka berry chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 160C, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Alison would like to thank the following vendors for their wonderful produce.
WAIRUNA ORGANICS – Stir fry ingredients, garlic and carrots (and nutrients)
ROSEDALE ORCHARDS – apples
HAVOC BACON – rindless bacon
BUTLERS BERRIES – karaka berries
JANE FIELD PEONIES AND HYDROPONICS – watercress

WATERCRESS, BACON AND APPLE SALAD

This is a fantastic salad with good textures, peppery leaves and strong flavours.  Watercress is fantastic at the moment apart from the fact it is highly nutritious it add so much flavour to any dish. 
WARM BACON, APPLE AND WATERCRESS SALAD


Serves 4

4-8 slices bacon, cut into strips
50g toasted hazelnuts
2 apples, cored and cut into wedges

4 handfuls watercress

Dressing
1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp good quality oil
Salt and pepper

Method
Firstly make the dressing; mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside

Pick over the watercress by picking off the tips of the watercress, I like to leave them as a little bunch. With the remaining larger leaves remove these from the stalks. Place into a bowl

Add the hazelnuts and set aside.

Heat up a fry pan and cook the bacon over a moderate to high heat until the bacon starts to go crisp. Add the apple and coat in the bacon fat. Cook for a further 2 minutes or until the apple just starts to soften.

Add the hot bacon and apple to the watercress mixture. Pour the dressing into the pan and swirl around, don’t forget to get the bits of the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and pour over the salad. Toss gently together.

Serve immediately.

DEVILS ON HORSEBACK – ARE BACK!

Bring back the 60s or was it the 70s with these tasty little morsels. The thing is with this retro canapé you can only make it if you have fantastic bacon and plump prunes, as the end result will win over any critic.

Plump good quality prunes
Rindless bacon, cut into strips wide enough to wrap around the prune.

*Quantity will depend on how many you want to make (at least 3 per person)

Method
Preheat your grill medium- hot

Wrap each prune individually with a strip of bacon, ensuring you have enough bacon to comfortably encase the prune as it does shrink. Place on to a baking tray.

Grill until the bacon goes crisp and golden, turn and continue until the same on both sides (about 8 minutes).

Serve with toothpicks (very retro).