Warrigal Green Pierogi

Warrigal Greens are similar in flavour to spinach, but like pretty much all native foods, way way more nutritious than any leafy green we're currently eating. You have to blanch them in boiling before using them because the leaves have a slightly toxic coating. I've used warrigal greens in pasta, stir fries, fried rice - pretty much any time you need a cooked green. They grow so quickly and well that a couple of months after you plant them you're pretty much guaranteed never to run out. 

Though my great grandfather was polish, my nana never really cooked polish food of any kind. The first time I had pierogi was at Golden Plains festival earlier this year. It was like, coming home maaaaan. Nah I was so fucked I would have had an emotional moment with a tin of chickpeas. Still, they're delicious. I bought a great polish cookbook called 'Polska' by Zuza Zak earlier in the year, and this recipe is based a lot on one in that. Though I think this cooking method is not particularly authentic. 

Ingredients

Pierogi Dough

350gms all purpose flour
3 egg yolks
2 cups chopped up warrigal greens
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Filling
200 grams of chopped warrigal greens, blanched in boiling water and drained
250gms feta (semi-hard, greek or 'Australian') 
1 cup buckwheat, cooked
Handful of chopped parlsey
salt and pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon 

Salad

1 Bunch of watercress
250gms soft feta (Danish or Persian. It's good if you get one of the ones in oil because then you can use the oil as a dressing for the watercress) 

Blanch the warrigal greens in boiling water for a minute or two. Strain, and then blend with half a cup of cold water in a blender.  

Mix together about half of the warrigal green juice, the flour, egg yolks and a pinch of salt and need together for ten minutes. If you're like me you're gonna think it's not coming together and the dough's fucked and nothing's working but you just have to keep kneading it for ages longer than you think. This is the first dough I've made that wasn't objectively horrible, and that's because I just kneaded the fuck out of it when usually I give up pretty quick. You can add more water if it seems too dry, but you want it to be a slightly elastic, smooth dough. Once it's reached this stage, form a ball, wrap it in a wet tea towel and leave for 10 - 20 minutes. 

For the filling, just mix all the ingredients together, tasting for seasoning. 

Roll out the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface. You want it to be pretty thin, less than a centimeter. This is not a particularly elastic or soft dough, so it might be a bit tough. But keep at it! If you've got a pasta maker I think rolling it in that would be SO MUCH EASIER. Cut out circles about 10ish centimetres in diameter using either a cup or cookie cutter. 

Place about a teaspoon of filling in each circle, then fold over to make semi-circles, pushing the edges together HARD. You can use a bit of water around the edges too if that helps it stick.

Cook the pierogi by quickly boiling them for about 2-3 minutes, then pan frying them in butter for a minute or so on each side until brown and crispy.

Toss the watercress and soft feta together. Place the pierogi on top, then dress with olive oil (or the oil from the feta container), salt and pepper. 

Lemon Myrtle Tart with Wattleseed

 Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Citrus sweets are THE BEST. Originally this was going to be a lemon meringue pie, to try and force a kind of childhood nostalgia. But by the end of the night I could not be fucked making meringue. You could do that, or just serve this with some cream or ice cream to balance out the citrus flavour. Still pretty good by itself. 

I like getting the whole roasted wattleseed and crushing them myself, because the smell and flavour is insane, but you can buy pre-ground instead. You can also buy lemon myrtle syrup a lot of places, I just make my own because Veronica gave me the leaves when we were at Witjuti Grub Nursery. 

You need to start the lemon curd at least a few hours before serving - preferably overnight. 

For the lemon curd bit

4 lemons, juice and rind only. Take the rind off with a fine grater. 
4 egg yolks
65 gms cornflour
175 gms caster sugar

Lemon Myrtle Syrup

6 dried lemon myrtle leaves
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup water

For the crust bit

200gms plain flour
100gms caster sugar
125gm cold unsated butter
2 tablespoons ground roasted wattleseed

Put the lemon juice and rind in a bowl over the saucepan of simmering  water. Combine the cornflour and about 1/4 of a cup of water together in a separate bowl (add more water if it goes weird) and then mix that into the lemon mixture.

Add 1 cup of boiling water and whisk quickly until it thickens up. Remove from heat and add egg yolks, sugar and butter, constantly whisking the mixture quickly. Refrigerate for an hour or so. 

Add the ingredients for the lemon myrtle syrup into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat until the sugar had dissolved. Leave to simmer on a low heat, tasting every now and then until it has the kind of lemon myrtle flavour you want, Stir quickly through the lemon curd, then put it back in the fridge.

If you've got a food processor, you can make the crust by processing all the ingredients together until they become a kind of loose dough. If not, you can grate the butter with a cheese grater into the flour and sugar and then mix it together with your hands/a fork. I like when there's still some buttery bits but that's not 'good pastry'. You just want it to all be sticking together.

Refrigerate the dough for about an hour, then either roll it out, or just press it into a tart tray. I've given up trying to make pastry that you can actually take out of the tray, so I always just commit to my tarts being messy and ugly to eat. If you know how to make proper shortcrust pastry then for the love of god do that. 

Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes, or until it's golden brown. Then taking the baking paper off and bake for another 5 minutes. Leave to cool, then spoon the lemon curd into the pastry base. Sprinkle with ground wattleseed. And flowers if you're a huge wanker. 

 Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

 

 

Bunya Nut Satay Tofu

I. Love. Satay! From Chicken Tonight to actual authentic stuff to 'fusion' sauces - put peanuts and fish sauce and oil together and I'll drink it out of the bottle. This version turned out really really well. You could put it on meat/in a curry or stir fry too and it would be equally delicious.

You can buy Bunya Nuts online here

2 cups bunya nuts, boiled for 20-30 minutes and shelled. 
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch of corriander, stems only, finely chopped. 
Juice of one lime
500gms firm tofu

Heat up a splash of oil in a wok or saucepan and fry onion, garlic, bunya nuts and peanuts together until the onion is cooked through and the nuts are starting to brown. 

Pulse in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until a smooth paste forms. Tasting and adding more oil or lime as needed. 

Cut up tofu into thick strips. Toss the sauce through the tofu and leave for 20-30 minutes. Fry in a sauce pan or wok. Don't worry too much if the sauce doesn't really stick, just make sure the tofu is cooked and then make sure you scrape all the crispy bits of the sauce out on top when you serve it up. Top with corriander leaves. 

Thai Salad with Native Pepper Crusted Kangaroo

 Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Thai beef salad flavours with native-pepper crusted kangaroo. Super simple but heaps tasty. Native pepper has the most incredible flavour, but way smokier and spicier than regular pepper, and goes so perfectly with the gamey-ness of kangaroo. 

Salad

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 Lebanese cucumbers¸ chopped into long thin slices
Couple of handfuls of beansprouts
1 bunch coriander
1 sprig native mint
1\2 bunch Thai basil
Handful of crushed peanuts or crispy fried shallots OR both. Salty crunchy stuff is good.

Dressing

½ cup fish sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar (chopped up if you get it in the little blocks)
Juice of one large lime
1 long red chili
1\4 cup coriander stems, finely chopped up

Kangaroo

500g kangaroo fillet
2 Tablespoons of native pepper
½ Tablespoon black peppe

Toss the ingredients for the salad together loosely (it looks nicer if you have a lot of herbs on top but do your own thing). 

Mix the sauce ingredients together, tasting for the flavour balance - if it's too sweet add fish sauce, too salty add sugar, too fish-sauce-y add lime, etc. 

Grind the pepper up together either with a regular pepper grinder or mortar and pestle. Coat the kangaroo fillet with pepper on both sides. Heat up a non-stick pan until it's extremely hot (if you flick some water in it it should sizzle). Put the kangaroo in the pan and put something heavy on top of it to weigh it down (another big pan or something like that). Cook for 3 minutes, then flip over and cook the same way for two minutes. Take out of the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes. 

Scatter the peanuts / crispy shallots over the top of the salad. 

Cut the kangaroo into thin slices on an angle. It should be medium-rare, so pretty bloody but not totally raw inside. Lay on top of the salad. Pour dressing over the top. 

 Photo by Josh Watson

Photo by Josh Watson

Roasted Baby Vegetables

 Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

I’m sure you know how to roast vegetables, but a couple of tips are – put things in together than take a similar time to roast. So I roasted assorted baby beets (some golden, some purple, some odd shaped – its beet season and my mum picked these up from the markets cause she can get up early on a Saturday somehow), little baby kipfler potatoes, baby carrots, and fennel together (fennel obviously is quicker to cook but I wanted it to be more burn and carmelly so it was sweeter). All I seasoned it with was oil and some whole garlic cloves, roasted them at 180 for about 25 mins and then threw some chopped parsley through at the end.

I also roasted some zucchini and radishes together for 10 minutes using the same method. 

 Photo by Josh Watson

Photo by Josh Watson

Davidson Plum Sauce Chicken

 Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Davidson Plums fresh are too sour to eat - but this sourness seemed to me like a perfect fit for a kind of sweet, sticky Chinese sauce cause it could hold up to the strong spices. The flavour comes through strongly in this recipe - they taste nothing like actual plums. The type we used are Queensland Davidson plums, or Ooray.

Obviously you can use regular plums in this if you like (and a bit less sugar), or just Davidson plums (Veronica very kindly gave us some frozen plum pine when we visited so I used them too. You can order frozen Davidson Plums from Dreamtime Kullilla Art in Redcliffe if you're in Brisbane, from Taste Australia Bushfood Shop and from plenty of other bushfood suppliers on the internet.

It’s best to make this a couple of days before you’re serving it – it gets better with time.  

Ingredients

Plum Sauce


1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups Davidson plums (defrosted)
1 cup plum pine (defrosted)
1 tablespoon crushed fresh ginger
1 onion, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
White pepper
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped

Basting mixture

1 cup honey
1 cup olive oil

Stuffing

1 cup brown rice
1 sweet potato cut into small (1cm) squares
½ cup roughly chopped saltbush
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
Zest of a lemon

1 whole chicken

Fry garlic, fresh ginger and onion in a splash of vegetable oil (olive oil is fine it’s just better if it doesn’t have much flavor) until soft, then add cayenne pepper, cloves, five spice and ground ginger until the spices have cooked (around 2-3 mins).

Add the Davidson plums and native riberries, and bring to a simmer. Then add the sugar and vinegar and one cup of water. Taste the mixture regularly – you may need to add more sugar if the mixture is too bitter/acidic.

Play around with the flavours – you want it to be fairly sweet and spiced but still pretty tangy. Simmer the sauce until it’s thick and shiny. Put into a jar or Tupperware container and store at room temperature for at least a day, then you can put it in the fridge.  

For the stuffing, cook the rice, then fry the sweet potato in some olive oil for about 10-15 mins or until it’s cooked through. Add the ginger and saltbush and cook until ginger is starting to brown. Add the zest, then take off the heat and add to the cooked rice, with a splash more olive oil and some salt and pepper.

If you’re roasting a whole chicken, take it out of the plastic and pat it down with some paper towel (including inside apparently, yucky!), then leave it to dry out in the fridge for about a day (I didn’t do this because I started too late – that’s just what the internet says to get a really crispy skin).

Then baste the chicken with a 1 to 1 mixture of honey and olive oil, and some chopped saltbush. Fill with the stuffing and cook at 180 degrees for one hour, basting with more honey and oil mixture every twenty minutes. 5 minutes before you take the chicken out, baste it with a light covering of the Davidson Plum sauce. After it's cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then check if it’s cooked. It should be, but if you’re a bit iffy pop it back in the oven for covered in foil for 15 minutes. The sauce and basting should stop it from drying out, so better to be a bit over cooked than serve raw chicken. Serve with the sauce.

 

 

 

Fig, Rocket & Feta Salad with Hazelnuts & Caramelised Balsamic

Ultimate Compliments Salad. 

Makes a big bowl - serves about 6 - 8 as a side (we served it with huge vege burgers and twice baked chipped smother in cheese sauce and it was... pretty great) 

2 Zucchinis
250g Rocket
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Bunch Dill, taken off the stalks
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
100g roasted Hazlenuts
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
2 Cloves of Garlic
Caramelised Balsamic (This is pricey but really really delicious on pretty much any meat or salad)
100g danish fetta
6 figs

Slice the zucchinis thinly lengthways. Char them in a dry pan over a high heat until they're a little burned and soft. Leave them to cool completely.

Mix the rocket with enough olive oil to lightly cover the leaves, lemon juice, a splash of red wine vinegar and half of the herbs. When the zucchini is cooled, mix that through too.

Slice the figs into wedges. Roughly chop the hazelnuts. Scatter the top of the salad wit figs, feta, hazelnuts and the rest of the figs. Finish with a swirl/drizzle of caramelised balsamic. 

Miso Mushroom and Date Toasts

Makes about ten medium-sized toasts (about 20 of the size pictured)

I'd recommend using much bigger pieces of bread than I did - the smaller batons were on sale, but very hard to balance everything on/transport. 

This is a very simple recipe, but super tasty

MISO MUSHROOMS
4 Field Mushrooms
2 Tablespoons Miso Paste
1 Tablespoon Mirin

DATE AND ROCKET SALAD
200g Rocket (other bitter greens like raddichio and watercress would be nice too)
1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
8 Medjool Dates (they're the big yummy ones, called 'snack dates' at a lot of grocery stores I think) 
Crumbled Fetta
Loaf of rye bread

Mix the Mirin and Miso paste together so the miso is spreadable. Rub/brush the miso paste over the mushrooms and roast at 180 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. 

Mix the rocket, yoghurt and sesame seeds together until the rocket is evenly coated (you might need some more yoghurt).

Remove the pits for the dates and slice them thinly.

When the mushrooms are done, take them out of the oven and cut them up across the top (you want to get maybe 5-6 slices out of each mushroom).

Slice and toast your rye bread. Layer it with the salad, then the dates, then the mushrooms. Crumble some feta on top and serve.