snacks

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. 

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. 

Spicy Pumpkin and Feta Filos

Easy snacks with some interesting flavours with the mint and ginger. You could use spinach instead of pumpkin if you'd like, I just liked the 'warm' sweet flavour with the sumac. 

Makes about 16 - 20 'fingers' 

Ingredients
2 cups of pumpkin, cut into small-ish cubes
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
500 grams of fetta
Half cup chopped mint
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon sumac
1 packet filo pastry sheets
1 Teaspoon black or white sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, put the pumpkin and garlic onto a baking tray and rub with oil. Bake for around 15-20 minutes, until the pumpkin is very soft.

Take the pumpkin out of the oven to cool completely.  When it's cooled, mix together with the rest of the ingredients (except the pastry). 

To roll the filos into finger/cigar shapes, just place a heaped teaspoon of the pumpkin and feta mixture on one end of a rectangle of filo pastry, and roll away from you, tucking in the outside edges as you go to seal up the edge. Use more than one sheet of pastry if it looks a bit thin/wet. Brush the top with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

Bake the filos at 200 degrees for about ten minutes, or until golden brown. 

'Fruit Toast' Crackers & Labne with honey, fig and pine nuts

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Making labne is very easy (there's one ingredient and it's greek yoghurt) and way cheaper than buying it - but you'll have to start the day before you want to serve it cause it takes at least 12 hours to hang and get less watery.

These crackers are similar to the ones I made for the cheese board dinner, but I added fruit and cinnamon to give them a kind of 'fruit toast' vibe. Fruit toast is one of my favourite childhood breakfasts, but there's no way I would have been able to make it. 

Makes a couple of bowls of crackers and like HEAPS of labne.

Labne Ingredients:
500g Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/ cup finely chopped dried figs
1 tablespoon of tahini
Honey

Put a sieve on top of a saucepan (so it's not touching the bottom). Line the sieve with a chux, 'cheese cloth' or other kind of clean fabric. Put the yoghurt in the sieve and leave to 'hang' for at least 12 hours, so most the liquid gets sieved out. 

Mix the chopped fig with the tahini, then stir it through the labne. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top, and drizzle with honey before serving. 

Cracker ingredients: 

250g Plain flour

150g linseeds
175g Sesame seeds
150g sunflour seeds

1/2 cup dried figs, finely chopped
Handful of dates, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
500ml cold water
1 tablespoon of sugar


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix together all the ingredients except the sugar. It should be the consistency of wet cement, so add more flour or water if the ingredients aren't holding together properly. 

Line a large oven tray with baking paper. With a spatula, spread the mixture out on the paper as thin as you can (you may need to do a couple of batches if you have too much mixture). Don't worry if you get a few holes, you're going to  break them up into rough crackers anyway. Sprinkle sugar evenly over the dough. 

Bake for about 20 minutes, then turn the big sheet of cracker over, peel off the baking paper, and bake on the other side for about 10-15 minutes, until it's completely dry and crispy. Leave to cool on a cooling rack. 

Break up into roughly-cracker shaped bits, and serve with the labne. 
 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Empanadas for idiots (pumpkin and blackbean pastries with mole verde)

 

Part three in the 'Maddy fucks up dough' series - these were originally going to be empanadas, but I fucked up the (cornmeal) dough. I either bought the wrong kind of cornmeal, put the wrong amount of water in it, or left out another flour I should also have added - it's a mystery for the ages. As such, these are now blackbean pastries with green mole. So they're in no way 'right' but they were 'good'.

Makes about 20 pastries

Ingredients:

200g Dried Black Beans
500g Pumpkin
3 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
One brown onion, finely chopped
One big red chilli, finely chopped (with or without seeds - do you)
Couple of handfuls of corriander, finely chopped
2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
1-2 packets (6 - 8 sheets) puff pastry
Salt and pepper to taste

Mole verde:

1/2 Bunch coriander
1/4 bunch mint
1/2  cup sunflowerseeds
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 Cup green tomatos, chopped roughly (if you don't know someone with a tomato plant that you can grab the unripe ones off, red ones would probably do, it just wouldn't be as aggressively GREEN as mine).
2 cups spinach
1 Lemon
1 Cup olive oil
a lot of salt

Cook the black beans according to the instructions on the pack (generally you boil them for like 30-40 minutes. You can also soak them overnight THEN cook them. I'm sure this has some benefit. But what?). Roughly chop and cut the skin off the pumpkin, then boil until soft (it needs to be quite soft to hold everything together).

Cook the onion, garlic and chilli in a pan with some oil until the onion is translucent, then add the cooked blackbeans and pumpkin. Mix everything so it all comes togther into a bean-y paste. Add the spinach and the coriander. 

Let the pastry defrost for 10-15 mins, then cut some circles out by going around the edge of a saucer (you want the circles to be about lady palm-sized). You're aiming for about 4 circles out of every sheet (I did some big and some small circles cause by this time I was so mad about the empanada dough that I'd p much given up). Put about one teaspoon of blackbean and pumpkin mixture in the middle of each circle. Fold over the top to make a semi-circle, then seal the edges by pinching the pastry and folding it over (I didn't really describe that well but you'll work it out).

Now, make the weirdest most inauthertic mole ever. I just read the 'mole verde' section of this article and winged it from there, so I have no idea if it tasted right. It was kind of like a salty green-juice, so if you just wanna go with hot sauce or leave them plain I won't blame you. 

Toast the seeds in a fry pan. When they're toasted, blitz (you will need a blender or food processor for this one) together with the herbs, spinach, tomato and olive oil to form a kind of 'smoothy' consistency. Add the juice of the lemon and taste. Add salt, more lemon and oil until it starts talking less like a juice and more like a sauce. 


Pickles! (Cucumber and radishes)

Pickles and kimchi and all that are getting more popular cause of the 'probiotic' health benefits and stuff (something to do with 'gut health'??? Fermentations??? I'm an expert.) - so go on and load up on the cheeses and breads. Pickles are there for you.

You can use the brine in this recipe to pickle almost anything - I did classic cucumber and some baby radishes because they look good. You can leave out the salting and draining step for veges that don't have a high water content like cucumbers do though. 

 

INGREDIENTS

6 Lebanese cucumbers
500ml white wine vinegar
250ml water
125g caster sugar
2 teaspoons tumeric
2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 small brown onion, sliced as thin as you can
1/2 cup dill, pulled off the stalks
Small pinch of peppercorns

8 baby small radishes

Cut the cucumbers into thin circles (about 1 cm), sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in a collander/sieve for an hour or two. Make the brine by boiling up the water, sugar, vinegar and tumeric until the sugar is disolved, then leave it to simmer for a couple of minutes after that.

Mix the cucumber together with the onion, peppercorns, dill and coriander. 

Put the cucumbers into a jar - packing them down firmly. Then tip the brine slowly in, making sure there's no air bubbles (tap the side of the jar until they all bubble out. Refrigerate.  

Dill and mustard cured salmon

1kg Salmon fillet
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1/2 cup of fresh dill,
pulled off the stems
120g caster sugar
80g table salt

Go to your local seafood shop and say 'hello, I'd like a fillet of salmon, skin on, costing approx *this much* money'. The fillet I got was $60 because I just said 'give me a big-ish' peice and then couldn't back out once I knew the price. It fed ten people well and was really delicious though so  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Get half a cup of caster sugar and one third of a cup of table salt and mix them together. Fry your mustard seeds until they start to pop, then crush them with a mortar and pestle/give them a go in the food processor (you don't technically need to do this, they're fine whole). Cut up your dill, make sure it's very dry if you washed it first, and mix it with the salt, sugar and mustard seeds.

Lay your salmon, skin-side down on a big piece of cling wrap (at least twice the size of the salmon. Pat your salt, sugar and herb mixture over the top, making sure it's fully covered. Wrap the salmon up in the gladwrap, and chuck it in the fridge weighed down with a couple of plates. Leave it for 2-3 days, turning it over at least twice in that time.

Slice it thinly on a diagonal, and serve with sour cream on little toasts with some cracked pepper, or just drop thin slices into your mouth whole while lying shirtless on the couch watching SVU**

**serving suggestion

Roasted almonds with fennel, dill & orange salt

These fancy beer nuts rule. All other fancy beer nuts get fucked. 

INGREDIENTS

500g Almonds
The peel of one orange, peeled into strips with a potato peeler
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Handful of dill
Table salt

Put the orange peel strips into the oven at 200 degrees until they're almost dry (5-10 mins). Put the dill in the oven too and cook for five more minutes until the dill has dried out. Crush the dill, orange peel and fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle, or any other grinding implement you might have. 

Lightly cover the almonds in olive oil. Mix the herb and orange mixture through, then add as much salt as you want, to cover the nuts.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the nuts are roasted. Drain on some paper towel, then serve/snack.