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. 

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

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. 

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. 

'Bahn Mi' with Ginger Poached Chicken, Cucumber Salad and Pickled Carrots.

White bread. Chicken. Mayonnaise. Tangy Pickles. DON'T LEAVE OFF THE PEANUTS (Unless eating them will kill you I GUESS). 

Should make about 8 Medium sized bahn mi. Cut 'em smaller and you've got baby bahns! Fun!

Ingredients:

CHICKEN
1/2 cup chopped shallots (only the white and light green bits)
Two tablespoons roughly chopped ginger, and two tablespoons of crushed ginger. Keep the chunks of peel that you take off.
200g Chicken Breast
Two litres chicken or vegetable stock (I use stock cubes and it doesn't make much difference to me) 

CUCUMBER 
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Lebanese cucumbers
1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (crushed fresh chills from a jar, can find at Coles)
1 teaspoon palm sugar

CARROTS
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon palm sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 medium carrots
 

WOMBOK SALAD
2 Cups shredded wombok
Mayonnaise
1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped.

1 cup Roasted Peanuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
Half Bunch coriander, leaves only
2 long Baguettes

Put the stock in a medium saucepan with half the shallots, chopped ginger and ginger skins. If you don't think it'll be enough to cover the chicken, add some water. Bring to the boil.

Add your chicken breast, cover and poach for about 18 - 20 minutes. If they're smaller pieces check after 15 by cutting one in half and seeing if it's cooked through. When the chicken is cooked, rub it in the rest of the shallots and crushed ginger and some vegetable oil to marinate for a while.

While the chicken's cooking, make the pickles. Cut the cucumbers in half longways and scoop out the seeds. Give them a wack with a rolling pin/flat side of a big knife etc. so they're a bit battered and split. Roughly chop them into couple of centimetre slices. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and leave to sit. 

Julienne the carrots, or grate them if that's too annoying (I found out most basic vege graters have a mandolin peeler that makes thin slices that you can then slice into match-stick pieces. Really improved my life). Mix the carrots with the rest of the pickle ingredients.

Mix the wombok, coriander and mayonnaise (it's between you and whoever you choose to tell how much you want to put it - you want it to balance out the chicken cause poached it can be a bit dry) together.

Toast the sesame seeds in a hot pan on the stove. Mix together with the chopped peanuts. 

To assemble, either cut or tear up the chicken, put it in a halved piece of baguette and layer with the salad ingredients. Top with fresh coriander leaves and peanuts and sesame seeds. 
 

 

 

Vine Leaf Pie with Chermoula

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

I got the idea for this from Ottelengi's Plenty - staple favourite cookbook of middle-class middle-aged ladies and pretty much everyone else. His had parmesan and breadcrumbs on top, but I had really no idea what the flavours would be like so put Chermoula on mine (a kid of sweet North-African chutney) to make sure it was at least sort of delicious, and it turned out to be VERY delicious, which is cool. 

Chermoula Ingredients: 

3 zucchinis, cut into small cubes
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 capsicum, cut into thin slices
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Splash of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
Handful of raisins


Turn the stove on high and fry capsicum on high for one minute. Turn the stove down to medium and add the zuccini, garlic and onion and fry until the zucchini is soft. Add the spices and stir fry on high for 2 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and raisins turn the heat down and let it simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. Finish with honey and vinegar, making sure you taste to get the right sweet/vinegar-y balance.

Vine Leaf Pie Ingredients:

300g packet vine leaves (you can get these from most European delis - of pick your own. I think you'd need about 20 fresh vine leaves for each pie) 
4 shallots, finely chopped
50g butter, melted
2 zucchinis, chopped into small cubes
4 tablespoons greek yoghurt
Handful of pine nuts
Half a bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Half a bunch of dill, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of mint, roughly chopped
1 lemon
1 tablespoon rice flour


Fry zucchini until it's soft with a big splash of oil and the shallots and pine nuts. Leave to cool and then mix with the yoghurt, herbs, rice flour and a squeeze of lemon.

Brush (you can use your fingers, you don't need a pastry brush or anything) the bottom of your pie tins with butter, then lay out enough vine leaves to cover the bottom and edges of the tin, with some draping over the side (if you're using fresh vine leaves you'll need to blanch them in hot water first). Brush the vine leaves with butter, then spoon out the zucchini and yoghurt mixture on top. Fold the overhanging leaves over the filling, then cover the tops with more vine leaves. Brush the tops with butter, and put in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the vine leaves on top are crispy and dry. 

Top with the chermoula and serve. It will be pretty hard to cut up, but what can you do. 

 
 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Shakshuka with misc. leaves

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Shakshuka is the king of baked eggs. These are probably not as good as any you'll get at a fancy brunch place but definitely worth making yourself. 

If you're making this for more than 10 people, you may need two fry pans/ baking trays to fit all the eggs in.

Serves 12 - 15

Ingredients:
2 small capsicums, thinly sliced
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
handful of thyme

2 Onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped coriander

800g chopped tomatoes (tinned)
Pinch of saffron/ a few saffron threads
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 Lemon
15 eggs
Misc Leaves (Used beetroot leaves, radicchio, snowpea shoots, and rocket)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and roast the capsicum, cherry tomatoes and thyme for 15 minutes.

In a fry pan that you can also put in the oven (with a metal handle, but if you don't have one of these you can transfer the sauce into a baking tray before you bake the eggs) fry the onions with a splash of olive oil until they go soft but not brown. Add the spices and fry for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar, and capsicum and cherry tomato mixture and bring to a fast simmer. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer slowly for 15 minutes. Finish with the herbs. You can make the sauce a few days in advance, or add the eggs straight away and serve.

 If you're transfering the mixture into a baking tray, do it now. Otherwise crack the eggs into the hot sauce. Put the saucepan into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through. To finish, toss the leaves in a hot pan with some salt for a couple of minutes until slightly soft, then lay on the shakshuka. Serve with any kind of bread, but the sweet and soft Israeli challah is traditional and delicious. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Yemeni pancakes with savoury stuff and yoghurt sauce.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

I really wanted to do some kind of savoury pancake, but I didn't want it to be boring. Enter, this recipe I found in the Honey & Co cookbook. They serve there's with a great kind of herby-paste, but I decided to go real Australian Bastardising Other Cultures Breakfast and serve mine with halloumi, asparagus, smoked salmon and yoghurt and herb sauce.  

Makes about 15 pancakes

Pancake ingredients: 
500g wholemeal plain flour
1 1/2 stale pita bread
2 teaspoons dried yeast
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
700ml water


1 packet of halloumi, sliced thick of thin depending on what you like
20-ish asparagus spears
500g smoked salmon

Yoghurt Sauce Ingredients: 
200g Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 cup chopped mint
Handful of dill leaves
Pepper
Splash of olive Oil
Juice of 1 lemon

 

Soak the pita bread in water for about 10-15 minutes until soft. Mush it up into a paste with your hands or a fork. Mix the pita bread and the rest of the pancake ingredients together, cover with gladwrap and leave in a warm area for at least 30 minutes, until the yeast has activated and the mixture gets bubbly.

Lightly toss the asparagus with oil, and roast at 180 degrees for 10 minutes

Heat a light layer of oil in a medium frypan. Spoon a ladle full of mixture and spread it out into a thin pancake. Cook until the top is covered with bubbles. Don't flip the pancake, instead put a lid or plate on top of the frypan for 1-2 minutes, until the top is steamed cooked and not wet to touch.

You can keep the pancakes on a plate covered with a tea-towel while you fry up the halloumi. 

Mix all the yoghurt sauce ingredients together. 

Serve the pancakes on a plate with smoked salmon, asparagus and halloumi, with the yoghurt sauce in a bowl so everyone can put their own pancakes together. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet