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

 

 

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

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. 

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

'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