Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bunya Pine Nuts in Green Tomato Sauce


25 Bunya nuts
10 ripe green “Green Zebra” Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)
see details on previous post
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves
2 celery sticks
a dash of agave nectar
some olive oil

Split Bunya nuts with garlic

Peel the bunya nuts. Skin the tomatoes and chop them. Cut the onion fine and fry in the hot olive oil. When golden, add the tomatoes, the garlic and the finely chopped celery. Add the bunyas, cover and simmer for 25 min. Remove the lid and lightly cook for another 10- 15 min to get a sugo/thick consistency.

The sauce was served with small firm potatoes. This combination puts an end to the simile 'The bunya tastes like a potato'. Served with a crunchy rucola salad

Tomato, Bunya, Garlic in cooking stage

The desired cooked consistency

The unpredictability of the bunya harvest: 6 cones were peeled, a large box was filled with 'compost' and the yield can be seen on top. A crop that does not conform to an efficiency obsessed agri-industry.

Click to enlarge

More Tomatoes
Bunya spaghetti napolitana
Tomato sauce with noodles

More on Bunyas
Bunya Pine Nuts with Aubergine
Bunya Spaghetti Napolitana
Kumera Bunya Soup
Bunya Pine Nuts in Coconut Milk

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Omelette with Heirloom Green Zebra and Other Tomato Varieties

Click to enlarge

Here are two varieties of egg dishes with green heirloom tomatoes or yellow and cherry tomatoes. For vegans the eggs can be substituted with tofu. The dish can be served as a hearty breakfast or a lunch. All ingredients should be organic.

GREEN Tomato Eggs
2 -3 medium  “Green Zebra” (Solanum lycopersicum)
NB they are not unripe tomatoes!

Skin the ripe tomatoes using boiling water. Slice them and add to the hot olive oil. When cooked, push to the side and add the scrambled eggs into the rest of the pan. Cook and serve with 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh basil.

YELLOW and Cherry Tomato Eggs with Dill
Heat oil in the pan. Add cherry and yellow tomatoes and fry for a few minutes. Slide egg mixture into the pan. Cook until set. Turn over. Sprinkle with chopped dill. Feta pieces could also be added.

1 1/2 bantam eggs per person
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl with a little water and mix well with a fork.

225g silken tofu
1 tsp Soya sauce
1 small onion
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 small potatoes ( boiled yesterday)
Olive oil

Fry finely chopped onions in hot olive oil, add small potato cubes. Mash the silken tofu in a bowl with a fork and add the Soya sauce and the finely grated turmeric. Add mixture to the pan and cook. Sprinkle with finely chopped chives.

More on ripe green tomatoes
The Battery Rooftop Garden has an interesting post on the heirloom Green Zebra. And there is some tomato art of Uli Westphal giving an insight into the amazing variety of the tomato plant family.

More egg dishes
Omelette with mushrooms and thyme
Asparagus eggs

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dragon fruit - Pitaya Cactus with Lychees

Another fossil fuel powered heatwave calls for just fruit. Pitaya or "dragon fruit" is a night-blooming cactus with an edible fruit of various colours. This Hylocereus is yet again another food developed by Mesoamerican culture.

It has to be just ripe, overripe leaves an unpleasant taste behind. The seeds have a similar crunch to that of the Kiwi. The skin should be bright and even-colored. One can cut it in half and scoop it out (for further dessert processing) or peel it and cut it into chunks. The skin is discarded. When cut into slices, cookie cutters  can make decorative shapes.

The lychee fruit (Litchi chinensis) are best refrigerated and peeled just before consumption. The tastes vary from sweet to sour. Some have very large stones, some hardly any.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bunya Pine Nuts in Coconut Milk

20 - 30 Bunya kernels
4 large carrots
4 leeks
6-8 small green okras
A handful of green beans
2 zucchinis
2 corn cobs
10 cm of fresh ginger root, peeled (NB Ginger safety!)
2 finger size pieces of fresh, peeled turmeric
7-8 dried chili (Capsicum annuum) or any fresh chili you are familiar/comfortable with
2 x 10 cm pieces of lemongrass, white bottoms only

2 tins of coconut (milk or cream, organic, no sugar) Or better make your own!
Some olive oil/ coconut oil
1 Tsp agave syrup
10 black peppercorns
1 kaffir lime juice (Citrus hystrix) and 2 leaves
Fresh coriander

All organic

White Basmati or organic brown rice.

Peel, clean and cut Bunya nuts in halves. Clean all vegetables and herbs. Cut carrots into large diagonal slices. Use only the white of the leek, cut into large pieces. Cut beans in half. Remove corn from cob. Cut zucchinis in large pieces. Peel ginger and turmeric. Fresh turmeric dyes everything it comes into contact with. Clean the garlic.

Heat the oil. Fry the turmeric and ginger for some time. Add the leek, then the carrot, and beans. Stir regularly. After some time add the coconut milk, corn, chili, pepper corns, lemongrass and garlic. Cover and simmer for 20 min. Add the okras, zucchinis, garlic and the agave syrup. Simmer another 5 - 10 min. Add lime juice, 2 kaffir leaves, cover.

Unripe Bunya Nuts with Blue Quandong Bird

Boil the rice. Pluck the coriander leaves off their stems and serve fresh with the dish. Point out to your fellow eaters that there are ingredients (turmeric, ginger, lemongrass etc) they might wish to remove.

All Bunya dishes
Bunya Pine Nuts: How to Prepare for Cooking
Bunya Pine Nuts with Aubergine
Bunya Spaghetti Napolitana
Kumera Bunya Soup

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Black and White Sapote

Black Sapote

Black sapote, (Diospyros nigra) is like the best chocolate mousse without all the animal matter and sugar. When ripe it is one of the most delicious desserts. The tropical Chocolate Pudding Fruit or Chocolate Persimmon has been cultured in Mexico and Central America, but is now widely grown. A light cooling in the fridge, cut in halves and served with a spoon.

Black Sapote
The white sapote, (Casimiroa edulis) was also cultivated in the same region. When ripe the flesh tastes like vanilla custard. The seeds are larger than in the black sapote. One could use the pulp in a smoothie or desserts. With both fruit over ripeness is to be avoided.
White Sapote

Monday, January 12, 2015

Macadamia Pesto

Macadamia flowers
1 bunch basil 
2-3 cloves garlic
300g raw macadamia nuts
10 tbsp olive oil

all organic

Finely chop the basil with a large sharp knife and place in a large bowl.
Add the peeled and crushed garlic.
Grate the nuts with a medium grater. Mix under the other ingredients.
Stir in enough olive oil to make a smooth paste.
Flatten the surface of the pesto and dribble some oil on top.
Serve cool.

The pesto should have a light green colour. If it is dark green add more nuts. This will depend on the size of your bunch of basil. If it seems dry use more olive oil. If you like plenty of garlic, use more.

Serve with pasta or potatoes and a salad. It compliments noodles with tomato sauce very nicely.

Coriander pesto

Friday, January 2, 2015

Green Beans in Tomato Sauce

10 large juicy organic tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds green beans
and some purple string beans
2-4 large organic garlic cloves
4 medium organic onions
3 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
6 black pepper corns
2 bay leaves
Savory (Satureja) if available
Basil and parsley

The Tomato Sauce
Pour boiling water over tomatoes and peel them.
Press garlic and fry slowly in some olive oil in a pan until translucent.
After a few minutes add sliced tomatoes and cover with a lid. Add the pepper and bay leaves
Continue to cook on a low heat for some time. Stir occasionally. Remove lid for some periods to reduce the liquid.

The Beans
Meanwhile, chop onions and fry slowly in olive oil, stirring occasionally until lightly golden. Clean the beans and trim the ends off. Dry them. Slice beans diagonally into chunks, leave small ones whole. Add beans in portions to the onions and fry lightly.
Pour the liquid reduced tomato sauce over the beans and simmer for approx. 45 min.

If available I like to add some Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) or Winter savory (Satureja montana) in the simmering process for flavour.

Sprinkle with finely chopped basil and parsley before serving. Feta and rice go well with this dish.

The dish can be eaten hot or at room temperature.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Potato salad

Here are two varieties, one with mayonnaise/ yogurt and the other one with stock:

With mayonnaise &/or yogurt:

1 kg firm potatoes (Bamberger Hoernle potatoes)
200–250 g eggless mayonnaise or
yogurt/mayonnaise mixture
8 pickled gherkins (cornichons)
2 sour apples
1 tsp hot mustard
Some Dorrigo pepper (white pepper)
2 -3 eggs boiled for decoration (optional)
all organic

Steam the spuds and peel after they have cooled down.
Mix mayonnaise and/ or yogurt, add mustard and pepper. Cut gherkins into small cubes add and mix in. Then add the finely sliced potatoes, taking care that they do not stick together. Peel and cube apples and mix under. Let it rest for more than 30 minutes. Peel the boiled eggs, decorate salad with egg halves and serve.

With stock, vinegar and oil:

1 kg firm potatoes
1/4 l vegetable stock
1 onion
8 pickled gherkins (cornichons) 
3 Tbsp. Mirin or vinegar
olive oil
Some Dorrigo pepper (white pepper)
all organic

Steam the spuds and peel after they have cooled down.

Chop onion finely, fry in oil till translucent, set aside. Add hot stock, vinegar, pepper and some oil. Peel the potatoes, cut into cubes and drop into the (still warm) dressing. Cut the gherkins into fine slices and add. Let it rest for more than 10 minutes. Decorate with some gherkins, cut chives and parsley.

Potato salad should always be prepared fresh and be served at room temperature. One day in the fridge is also possible.

The Bamberg potato cannot be harvested by fossil fuel powered machines, hence it is an endangered vegetable.

Vincent van Gogh, Still Life: Potatoes in a Yellow Dish, 1888
Max Liebermann, Potato Harvest, 1875

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Globalised Food Monoculture and the Colonial Legacy in the Pacific islands

Micronesian and Polynesian people settled early on the islands in the Pacific Ocean. Both in Nauru (Pleasant Island) and the Cook Islands they practised aquaculture and grew coconuts and pandanus fruit. A self-sufficient way of life in the Pacific flourished and inspired Western dreaming and art in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Successions of colonists made an uninhabitable quarry out of Nauru, ruined arable land and 'educated' the indigenous population to like imported foods. In this denuded land islanders became dependent on the boats arriving for sustenance. Colonial rule and Christian missionaries made Western style food appear palatable. Out of independence came dependence and a long time health legacy.

"Anthropologists Dr Amy McLennan and Professor Stanley Ulijaszek found that islanders lost many of their traditional food cultivation, preparation and preserving skills after settlers insisted that they learn western ways of eating." (source)

"Dr Amy McLennan said: 'Under colonial rule, much changed in how food was sourced, grown and prepared and the social change was swift. What happened to the land also changed as colonial agriculture and mining industries expanded. There was an increase in family size meaning food was increasingly imported. The good news is that if obesity is tackled across the whole community not just amongst people labelled as 'obese' -- dietary habits could change quickly again. Lessons learned from the experiences of these smaller nations could also help us to think in new ways about social change and obesity in larger societies.'" (source)

The colonial legacy and social changes lead to an unhealthy diet and hence to obesity. "Islanders on Nauru and the Cook Islands in the Pacific have the highest levels of obesity in the world." Imported and nutrient-poor food products are associated 'civilisation' diseases. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes are only one out of the array that globalised monoculture brings about. The production of unhealthy and dependent customers is not confined to Pacific Islands.

Obesity in Pacific islands ‘a colonial legacy’ of settlers trying to civilise the locals, University of Oxford. Amy K McLennan, Stanley J Ulijaszek. Obesity emergence in the Pacific islands: why understanding colonial history and social change is important. Public Health Nutrition, 2014

Paul Gauguin,
Under the Pandanus, I Raro te Oviri, 1891
The Mysterious Water, Pape Moe,1893
Tahitian Woman with a Mango, 1892 (detail)

David Tilman, Michael Clark. Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health. Nature, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nature13959

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Black-eyed Peas with Tomatoes, Chili and Quinoa

500 g Black-eyed peas
10 tomatoes
2 large onions, chopped
6 carrots
10 Bishops Crown Red (Barbados)
or 2 capsicums
1 cup of shelled peas
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups of stock
6 Bird's eye chilies, hot!
10 black pepper corns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of pure cocoa powder
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, well rinsed
fresh coriander
:all organic

Soak peas overnight, drain water and cook till soft.
Chop and fry onions for 5 min. Add chopped carrots and capsicums, stirring occasionally. Make a tomato sauce, add the garlic, pepper corns and chilies. When the sauce has a thick consistency, add the cooked black-eyed peas without the cooking water. Set it aside (stock). Simmer for some time. Add the vegetables to the peas. Mix the cocoa with a little boiling water until dissolved and stir in. Add the well washed quinoa, the green peas and cook for another 20 min. Should it get too sticky stir in some hot stock. Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander before serving.

The dish can be served with rice and some avocado slices decorated with finger limes.

This legume is a crop of the tropics. The peas are commonly used in the South of the States and India.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Macadamia cookies

get (all organic)

100g fine macadamia nut flakes
100g butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon powder
200g light spelt flour


Preheat oven to 180°c.
Mix butter and maple syrup with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Mix in cinnamon.

Grate the nuts with a medium hand grater into thin flakes and mix in. (See grater type in image)
Mix in enough flour gradually so that the mixture is not sticky.

Roll out the pastry on a tea towel. Use a cookie cutter to form cookies. Place them on a buttered tray. Bake on the second shelf from the bottom for about 15 minutes depending on the thickness. Remove from the tray and cool. Store in a tin.
This recipe is similar to apricot macadamia cookies but with a fine, light texture attributable in part to the nut flakes and not at all chewy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Baked cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts

1 whole small cauliflower
250g broccoli
250g brussel sprouts
200g vegetarian cheese for baking, e.g. cheddar
4tbsp spelt flour
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
boiling water
200 ml milk
½ nutmeg

Clean, then steam the vegetables together until soft (not mushy).
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan with the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Fry for a short while but do not let it brown. Add the boiling water a little at a time while stirring. Do not allow it to go lumpy. When a thick sauce forms start stirring in the milk. Add enough milk for a smooth sauce to form. Cook it for about 15 minutes adding more milk if necessary.
Butter a baking dish and grate nutmeg onto it. Grate some nutmeg into the sauce too.
Arrange the steamed vegetables on the dish and pour the sauce evenly over them, covering them all.
Grate the cheese coarsely and evenly cover the vegetables with it.
Bake at 170°c on the bottom shelf of the oven for 20-30 minutes until it starts to change colour (golden).
Serve with steamed potatoes and a salad.
Any combination of these vegetables works well with this recipe.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Curly Kale with Soba Noodles and Sesame seeds

2 heads of curly kale
1 cup of sesame seeds
3 cloves of garlic
400g Soba noodles
150 ml vegetable stock
2 Tbsp roast sesame oil

Wash the curly kale leaves well. Discard outer leaves and dry well. Cut the leaves from the stem by sliding a knife along them and keep separate. Heat oil in a large pot as the initial amount can be rather bulky. Fry the chopped kale stems and garlic for 5 min. Roast sesame in a dry pan. Chop the vegetable rather finely. Add small amounts to the pot successively and stir. Start to boil the noodles. Pour on (some of) the hot stock, cover and allow to simmer for 15 min. Use more liquid till the kale is cooked to your liking. There shouldn't be too much stock left in the pot when you mix the noodles with the kale.
Serve immediately with the sesame seeds to be sprinkled over the dish.

This self-similar 'Australian' kale (click image) seems to be milder than the following European variety:
Curly kale and savoy cabbage

Make your own buckwheat soba noodle in silence, video

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quinoa Salad with Finger Limes

This Quinoa salad is very similar to Tabbouleh made with bulgur wheat.

1 cup uncooked quinoa
½  red onion
2 tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper
1 small 'Lebanese' cucumber
2 large bunches of flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch of fresh coriander
3 pieces of garlic
olive oil
lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Finger lime (Microcitrus australasica)
1½ cups water 

Boil the water. Place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse well under running water. When the water is boiling, add the grain and cook for 5 min. Turn down the flame, cover and simmer for another 10 - 15 minutes. When the quinoa is cooked, turn off the heat and allow to stand for a while.

Chop the onion and pepper very fine, peel the tomatoes and cut them and the peeled cucumber into small cubes. Chop the green herbs finely.
Mince the garlic and make a rich dressing from the oil, lemon juice and the garlic.

Cut the finger limes lengthwise and scoop out the pulp.

Fluff up the quinoa in a bowl with a fork. Add the dressing, mix and then add all the vegetables and herbs and mix gently. Allow to settle for a while, mix again and sprinkle the citrus caviar over the dish. Serve hot or cold.

Once in demand overseas even Australians pay attention: Citrus caviar plucked from the obscurity of the Australian rainforest... 14012015