Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

Kohlrabi, apple and walnut salad

Posted on: June 27th, 2011 by admin No Comments

We eat tons of salads and I always assume everyone else does too and therefore who needs recipes?  But of course we all get into our regular salad routine and sometimes forget to try something new or different, so we thought we’d post a few of our more unusual favorites.  The more varied vegetables you eat, the better.

For those who don’t know what kohlrabi is, it looks like this…

It has a mild taste and when eaten raw, has a similar texture to a young broccoli stem, but for those in winter you can cook it too.  I’d say it is best raw in salads and slaws and it is particularly delicious roasted and/or made into soup.  I would recommend peeling them, just because sometimes the outer layer can be a bit stringy, but you don’t have to.  Also in Kashmir, where they are used commonly, they eat the leaves in salads too, but I find them a touch bitter.

Serves 6 – 8

  • 3 kohlrabi (any color), peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 crisp apples, cored and diced (skins on or off, up to you)
  • 2 little gem lettuces or 1 boston lettuce, shredded
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a handful of watercress (optional)
  • 75g walnuts, lightly toasted (do this in a pan or in the oven but keep an eye on them!)

for the dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp walnut oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper

Toss together the salad ingredients in a large bowl and sprinkle with a squeeze of lemon to keep from browning.

For the dressing I like to use a jar with a screw cap to just shake up all the ingredients in, which also makes it great for saving to use later. You could always make a creamy dressing and leave out the lettuce to make this more like a waldorf salad if you’re so inclined.

If you’re living in winter at the moment and want to make this a warm salad.  Roast your kohlrabi in slightly bigger chunks in a 180ºC (350ºF) oven for about 20 minutes.  Add them and the walnuts to the salad hot and serve immediately.

Dress the salad before serving and enjoy.

Recipe originally from the Riverford Farm cookbook.

Song for this recipe:

“Ready to Start” – Arcade Fire Ready to Start - The Suburbs

Definitely popular these days, but rightly so,  Arcade Fire’s new album – The Suburbs, is, in my opinion, their best yet.  Their indie rock sound is not as predictable as many other bands in this genre.  I like the structure of their songs, the lyrics and thoughtful use of many instruments. They are based in Montreal – like me.

Fig and mozzarella salad

Posted on: March 7th, 2011 by admin 2 Comments

Well the weather here is erratic to say the least, but we can all tell spring is almost ready to start showing, I’m dying to make this salad and will do so with dried figs.  In the mean time down in Aus fresh figs abound.  This is a fast simple recipe that works so well for a warm summer evening, the flavors are just right, it’s healthy and delicious -  a salad you’ll dream about all year round.

  • 6 fresh figs
  • 180g buffalo mozzarella
  • 1/3 c hazelnuts, toasted are better
  • basil leaves, handful
  • 50g baby rocket (arugula) leaves
  • 50g watercress or baby spinach leaves

red wine vinegar glaze

  • 1/3 c (80ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c (80ml) water
  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar

Toss the salad leaves together in a big bowl.  Tear up the mozzarella and add to the salad.  You could use another cheese also, bocconcini, feta or gorgonzola are also delicious.

To make the glaze, place the vinegar, water and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and cook for 2–3 minutes or until thickened. Set aside to cool completely. Arrange the figs, mozzarella and rocket on a plate and drizzle with the glaze to serve. Serves 4.

Original recipe from Donna Hay – Modern classics 1 (I believe, I do own many of her books though so it may be a different one!)

Song for this recipe:

“In the summer” – Loon Lake In The Summer - In The Summer - Single

A five piece band hailing from Melbourne, Loon Lake were recently Unearthed by triple j, as far as I know they have only recorded a number of singles, but I’m guessing an album won’t be far away.  You can hear they’re having fun and a fresh salad calls for a fun dance around the kitchen for sure.

Speedy salad

Posted on: January 17th, 2011 by admin No Comments

It was tricky to think of what to post for the first recipe of the new year.  Let’s start it off right with something healthy and enjoyable.  This recipe is supposed to be made in the food processor – making it one of the easiest salad recipes ever.  But we don’t have one, so it took a little longer to grate and chop things small, though it was well worth it.   A great recipe for summer days and perfect for winter with crusty bread.

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 apple (your favorite)
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 c parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 spring onions
  • Small knob of ginger
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2  c pumpkin seeds

All you do is whiz all the ingredients in a food processor a few times – it’s sooo easy.  It took me under 10 minutes to dice or grate everything which I don’t consider long at all.

This recipe comes from Kemi Nekvapil, an amazing chef from the UK, now in Australia.  Take a look at her Raw Kitchen, and look into taking some classes.

Cheers to a happy 2011!

Song for this recipe:

“Forever Young” Alphaville Forever Young - Forever Young

Macaroni and Cheese

Posted on: November 13th, 2010 by admin 4 Comments

An American classic.  I never had it until this week and I am over 30!  I know outrageous.  How can I have missed out on this creamy fatty mess of cheesy goodness?  It reminds Beans of his childhood, in fact you ask almost anyone in North America (and elsewhere I know) and it reminds them of their childhood too.  Somehow even though I have an American mother, I missed out.  We were more of a pumpernickle kind of family if you know what I mean.

I wanted a classic simple recipe, one that was as easy as possible and didn’t stray from the classic ingredients much.  I want the real thing (but not kraft) I don’t want gruyere or blue or parmesan (although I know these would most likely really enhance it).  I want the cheddar goodness, even if I am about to trip back to Australia for summer and a swimsuit that will likely not appreciate this recipe.

If there was anyone all American I could turn to, I knew it was Pioneer Woman.  She has a couple recipes for mac and cheese, but when I read this one, I knew it was mine.  A couple of minor adjustments and here it is!  How could I have waited so long? (for Aimee ♥)

  • 4 c dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c (1/2 Stick) butter
  • 1/4 c plain flour
  • 2 1/2 c whole milk
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 4 c (1 lb) cheddar cheese, grated (yes you can use some jack, parmesan, gruyere etc)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme

Cook the macaroni just a little so that it is still very firm. It should be too firm to eat right out of the pot, cooked for 3-5 minutes. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside.

In a large pot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour, so that no lumps form.  Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly, this is called a roux.

Pour in milk and add the mustard still whisking until smooth. Cook for another five minutes or until thick, then reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking egg. Whisk together till smooth.  Then pour this egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly again. Stir until smooth.  Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Reserve 1 cup of cheese and stir the rest into the pot to melt.  Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt as needed! Make sure you add enough salt, you really don’t want this to be bland.  Mix in the drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.  Pour into a buttered baking dish and top with the extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Song for this recipe:

“Mack the knife”  Frank Sinatra Mack the Knife (Live At Radio City Music Hall, June, 1990) - Sinatra: New York (Live)

This was my favorite song as a kid, which I think disturbed my mother a little and rightly so.  It was originally from an old German opera Die Dreigroschenoper,  the Threepenny Opera, but later made popular by Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin and others.  I think such a classic American dish requires listening to a classic American voice, and really, that’s Frank.

Basic Bread

Posted on: October 10th, 2010 by admin 2 Comments

Some weekends when there’s a bit of time, we like to make bread.  The thing I always forget is that bread is actually really easy to make – it’s just the rising that makes it time consuming.  I timed it just right this Sunday, doing some things in between rises and it was so quick and delicious it prompted me to declare that I’d now be making bread weekly (hah I have said that before).

This recipe is a really nice classic white sandwich bread.  Although this time I used half whole wheat (wholemeal) and half unbleached white flour (both organic).  You can use a combination of flours of your choice for this bread, it’s quite versatile and it is actually the same recipe we use to make cinnamon buns. (Another wonderful recipe from Beans’ Mum).

  • 3 c water, lukewarm
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 scant Tbsp dry yeast (or 2 packets) (you can use traditional or quick rise)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 c oil or melted shortening
  • 7 – 8 c flour (white or wholewheat)

In a large bowl add 1 cup of the lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon of the sugar (so there will be a little less than half a cup left) and both packets of yeast.  Let this stand for about 10 minutes. So it gets nice and foamy.

Mix in the rest of the water, the rest of the sugar, salt and oil and then gently stir in the flour.  Usually 7 cups is enough.  Mix until it requires muscle then take it from the bowl and knead for around 10 minutes if you can.  I used to love kneading, until I tried the knead hook on my kitchen-aid mixer and now I let the machine love it.  The dough should be smooth and elastic now, but still slightly sticky.

Place into a lightly oiled large bowl and cover with a clean dry dishtowel.  Let it rise in a warm part of the house for an hour or two, until it has about doubled.  Punch the dough to get rid of air bubbles and then divide it how you wish 3 loaves or 6-12 buns or a combination, we do 2 loaves and 6 small buns.  Place in greased tins/trays and let them rise again for another hour.

Bake in a preheated 200ºC (400ºF) oven for 20 minutes.  Who doesn’t LOVE that smell?  Stay tuned for some easy tasty variations coming this week.

Recipe adapted from the book: Food that really Schmecks, Mennonite country cooking by Edna Staebler

Song for this recipe:

“Sweet Surrender” Bread Sweet


Posted on: September 2nd, 2010 by admin 2 Comments

Now’s a great time to make anything with tomatoes- they’re ripe and flavorful.  Ketchup (tomato sauce) is one of those things you don’t think to make at home often.  But it’s quite easy and using fresh organic tomatoes makes the sauce taste that much richer – perfect if you have a few too many in your garden right now.  Steralise a couple jars and put on some burgers!


  • 2.5 kg (5.5lb) tomatoes
  • 3 tsp (15g) salt
  • 3/4 c (150g) sugar
  • 1/2 c 125 ml white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard, dried
  • optional:
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves

Chop the tomatoes roughly and add to a heavy based pot or saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and bring it all to a boil stirring constantly. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a while longer- about an hour if possible, or until a little drop tested on a saucer does not separate (i.e. does not leave watery liquid on edges)

Sieve the mixture once it’s cooled, you can leave it at that or give it a blend/pulse to smooth it out more.  Bottle in sterilized jars or bottles and keep for up to 3 weeks.

(I am SO proud of my balcony cherry tomatoes!)

Family recipe from my Mum

Song for this recipe:

“They’re red hot” – Robert Johnson They’re

Pan fried fennel + balsamic vinegar

Posted on: July 14th, 2010 by admin 10 Comments

We were always a bit lost when it came to using fennel, aside from in salad.  Until we happened across this recipe.  Incredibly simple, but oh so tasty.  This makes a wonderful side to tons of meals and you can serve it warm or cold.

Fennel is generally referred to as an aromatic herb.  Florence fennel or finocchio is the type with the swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable, it’s pretty available in most supermarkets.

  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt + pepper
  • parmesan cheese (optional)

Trim the fennel of stems and feathery leaves, reserving the leaves. Wash the root and trim as little as possible.  Cut the fennel into 1 cm slices from root to tip so that some of the slices remain intact, attached to the stem.  Blanch the fennel in boiling water for about 3 mins until just tender and then drain well.

Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and add the fennel slices.  Fry on a medium heat for 5 or 6 minutes until beginning to colour. Lift slices onto a serving plate, leaving the fat in the pan.

While the pan is still hot, add the balsamic vinegar and allow to bubble briefly.  Add salt and pepper to the fennel and pour the pan juices over. Roughly chop the reserved fennel leaves (if you like the strong anise-like flavor) and scatter over before serving. If eating cold, a few fat shavings of parmesan are a delicious addition.

recipe adapted from Riverford Organic Foods.

Song for this recipe:

“Real desire,” Dan Auerbach Real