Monday, October 19, 2015

Green Herb Sauce with Asparagus and Eggs

This sauce is served cold with hot green asparagus and steamed potatoes. Frankfurter Grüne Soße is a seasonal dish served in Frankfurt (Bankfurt). The season all vegetarians are looking foreword to in a meat-centric culture. The traditional Hesse sauce consists of seven fresh herbs: borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet and a variation of hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, mustard and sour cream/yogurt/buttermilk. The bundles of herbs are available from all market stalls in May.

GET
a generous amounts of fresh herbs:
(250g herbs) chopped finely
Garden Cress - Lepidium sativum
Chives - Allium schoenoprasum
Parsley - Petroselinum crispum
Salad Burnet - Sanguisorba minor
Chervil - Anthriscus cerefolium
Sorrel - Rumex acetosa
Borage - Borago officinalis
Possible substitutes: shallots, lovage, lemon balm, and even spinach

Small potatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 bunch of green/white asparagus

Sauce:
Olive oil,
150g sour cream
150g yogurt
1Tsp. mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
- all organic


DO
The green sauce should stay in the fridge for at least one hour. So coordinate the steaming of the potatoes and asparagus accordingly.

Chop herbs coarsely by hand. Mix the sauce ingredients and add the herbs. Traditionally the egg whites are chopped small and the yolk is mashed before adding it to the sauce. In a hot climate, we serve the eggs separately.
Serve with the asparagus and the steamed potatoes and boiled eggs cut in halves and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Red Coleslaw with Blueberries

GET
1 very small red cabbage
Chives or a tiny sliver of red onion
1 cup of blueberries
Some yellow tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
Some edible flowers

Olive oil
Lemon juice/ vinegar
A dash of agave syrup
- all organic


DO
Remove core and outer leaves from the cabbage. Shred everything very finely. Press garlic, cut chives/onion small.
Make a vinaigrette from the oil, lemon, syrup and garlic. Mix under the cabbage. Cover and let it settle for 15 min. Before serving, mix the blueberries and small tomatoes under and sprinkle with flowers.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Broad Beans and Green Asparagus with Buckweat Noodles

Get
2 cups of shelled broad beans (Vicia faba)
1 cup of shelled peas
1 cup of snow peas
2 bunches of green asparagus
2 carrots
1 onion
1 cup of flat parsley
5 cloves of minced garlic
some lemon thyme/rosemary
1 bay leaf/ some pepper
olive oil
1 cup of hot stock/water
200 g Buckwheat noodles (Soba)
all organic...


Do
Shell beans. Chop onion finely and fry in olive oil. Cube carrots very small and add. Fry for a while and add 1 cup of hot stock. Add the beans, bay, 2 garlic cloves and some pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 min. Add the asparagus in 2 cm pieces keeping the heads aside. Add most of the peas, parsley and herbs.
Cook the buckwheat pasta.
Simmer vegetables for another 5 min. Test a broad bean to see if it is sufficiently cooked. Before serving, add the asparagus heads, the snow peas, remaining peas, garlic and parsley. Leave covered for a few minutes.

Serve immediately with a vase of nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) and citrus blossom for olfactory stimulation.

A hybrid merger of beans used in the Neolithic period in the Mediterranean region and Japanese Soba.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Blueberry Banana Cake Pacific Style

The mid-north coast of NSW is converting from banana production to blueberries, so this recipe takes advantage of the presence of both fruit in one place. You can use as many blueberries as you wish.

Get
150g organic almonds
1 bowl blueberries
8 fat ripe cavendish bananas (more if small)
some lemon juice
8 tbsp agave nectar
4 eggs separated
200g unsalted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
about 150g flour
5 level tsp baking powder (no aluminium or phosphate, quantity depends on the type of baking powder, do not use too much)


Do
Roughly mash 8 bananas with some lemon juice.
Grate the almonds finely.
Preheat the oven to 190°.
Beat the soft butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Beat in alternately the egg yolks and 5 tbsp agave nectar. Beat well into a soft mixture.
Add the cinnamon.
Beat the bananas into the mixture one at a time.
Beat the almond meal into the mixture gradually.
Add the flour a tablespoon at a time while beating. Alternately add the baking powder so it mixes in evenly. Only use enough flour so that the mixture is thick but still falls slowly - “heavily” - from the spoon. Beat well.
Mix in the blueberries keeping some aside for decoration.
Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining agave nectar and continue beating until stiff.
Lift the egg whites under the mixture.
Butter a baking form and dust it with a little flour.
Add the mixture to the form and spread it evenly.
Decorate with the remaining blueberries and press them lightly into the mixture.

Vaccinium myrtillus
Bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 25 minutes. Cover it with paper. Turn the oven down and bake for a further 25 minutes at 120°c. It should be golden. Test with a thin knife that it is cooked. The knife should come out clean. If it is not clean, return covered to the oven for another 10 minutes and test again. Turn off the oven.
Cool in form in the open oven.
Remove from form when cool.
Store in a linen cloth.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Green salad with Native Raspberries and Violets

This is a salad of mixed garden greens with the edible flowers of the European field pansy and the Australian Showy Violet (Viola betonicifolia) Or use V. banksii formerly Viola hederacea.

The tropical native raspberry is used in the dressing and for decoration. One could use any edible petal or berry of course.
When making a flower salad, be mindful that the flowers and all other ingredients are from a trustworthy source as pesticides/ weed killers are ubiquitous in Australia. Always make sure you know the plant/ flower you are eating.

GET
A bowl of mixed salad greens from the garden
A handful of snow peas
25 Tropical raspberries
5 Flowers of edible violets

3 Tsp. Macadamia oil
2 Tsp. Balsamic vinegar or mirin
2 Tsp. Vegetable stock 
20 Native Raspberries
 

DO
Place 20 raspberries in stock and mash. Sieve and keep liquid.
Wash all vegetables, fruit and flowers and dry. Rip large green leaves into bits. Cut large peas in halves.
Mix oil, vinegar and sieved berry juice in to a dressing.
Place greens into a bowl and mix half the dressing under. Sprinkle with the remaining berries and toss the flowers and the rest of the dressing over it. Serve immediately.


Images:
1. Rubus probus, Viola tricolor, garden greens
2. Snap peas, Viola betonicifolia flowers and leaf, flower of Rubus rosifolius
3. Mixed berries: Rubus probus, strawberries and blueberries

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sugar banana almond cake

Get
 
200g organic almonds
12 fat ripe sugar bananas (more if small)
some lemon juice
8 tbsp agave nectar
4 eggs separated
140g unsalted butter
some grated lemon rind
about 150g flour
5 tsp baking powder (no aluminium or phosphate, quantity depends on the type of baking powder, do not use too much)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Do 

Peel 4 bananas, slice them and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190°.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is soft. Beat in alternately the egg yolks and 5 tbsp agave nectar. Beat well into a soft mixture.
Mash the remaining 8 bananas with some lemon juice. Beat them into the mixture one at a time.
Grate a little lemon rind into it. Mix in the cinnamon.
Grate the almonds finely. Beat them into the mixture gradually.
Add the flour a tablespoon at a time while beating. Alternately add the baking powder so it mixes in evenly. Only use enough flour so that the mixture is thick but still falls slowly - “heavily” - from the spoon. Beat well.
Mix in the banana slices.
Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining agave nectar and continue beating until stiff.
Lift the egg whites under the mixture.
Butter a baking form and dust it with a little flour.
Add the mixture to the form and spread it evenly.


Bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 25 minutes. Cover it with paper. Turn the oven down and bake for a further 25 minutes at 140°c. It should be golden. Test with a thin knife that it is cooked. The knife should come out clean. If it is not clean, return covered to the oven for another 10 minutes and test again. Turn off the oven.
Cool in form in the open oven.
Remove from form when cool.
Store in a linen cloth.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Baked silverbeet with goat cheese

get

1 large bunch of silverbeet / chard
1 red onion
olive oil
300g goat cheese
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
150g yoghurt
2 tbsp spelt flour
grated nutmeg

do

Preheat the oven to 180°c.
Wash silverbeet. Separate stems from leaves. Drain well.
Chop onion. Fry in a large pot in olive oil mixing occasionally for 5 minutes.
Cut up silverbeet stems and add to the onions. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cut up silverbeet leaves and add to the pot. Put the lid on. Steam for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Grate nutmeg onto a baking dish.
Crumble goat cheese in a bowl and mix in the garlic and some olive oil.
Mix the yoghurt with the flour.
Put the silverbeet into the baking dish. Spread the yoghurt evenly on top. Spread the goat cheese on top of the yoghurt.
Bake for 40 minutes until the cheese starts to colour.

Serve with steamed potatoes and a green salad.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Olive Oil, Ancient Olive Groves and Pathogen Ecology

Nothing goes without organic virgin olive oil on edible culture. Mostly grown in Italy or Spain and proudly packed in Australia.

For some time the ancient gnarled old olive groves (of Apulia/ southern Italy) have been under attack. It is claimed that they have a bug (Xylella fastidiosa) that causes the centuries-old trees to dry out. The olive quick decline syndrome  or ‘olive ebola’ in Puglia comes at a time when the world consumption of the oil has dramatically increased. Demand and drought increase prices.

The scenic groves are protected as cultural heritage (source). The trees are cultivated in the Mediterranean and elsewhere as an inter-generational project.

Fearing the bacterium might spread to other areas and horticultural crops, the authorities declared war on the infected plants, clear felling the trees. Bulldozing, slash and burn and pesticides are seen as the solution, a “precision intervention ” of “surgical” uprooting, soil ploughing and use of select insecticides when needed...to uproot the infected plants and use pesticides on affected crops and across wide buffer zones." (source)

It is feared that they "are going to transform the whole region into a cemetery." (source)


A convenient single cause explanation (the bug) makes for a good enemy in combat. Other voices "suspect indiscriminate use of herbicides and anti-heartworm sprays in the area are damaging the trees, not to mention harming the health of locals (such as the glifosate-based Roundup Crop Prevention made by Monsanto, which is a suspected carcinogen). Moreover...the plan against Xylella involves the use of chemical substances that have been declared toxic by EFSA itself." (source)

Monoculture as an agricultural practice leads to pests and diseases. An increase in the biodiversity of the agricultural ecosystem would keep pathogens and pests at bay. Banning the sale of imported exotic plants through regulation could minimize risks. It is also said that the bacterium was introduced via human-mediated dispersal of oleander and coffee plants from Costa Rica and Honduras.

Further speculation has it that the land is eyed by 'the highest bidder', real estate,  tourism and large scale industrial agriculture might want to grab this cultured landscape.

And the cicadas will become silent.

Minimizing the Spread of Disease in Italy’s Famous Olive Trees, 09.02.2015
What Will Save Salento’s Olive Trees?, 31.03.2015
The famous olive trees of Puglia are ravaged by disease – here’s how we can save them, 11.04.2015

Updates:

What is Xylella fastidiosa?
http://nature.berkeley.edu/xylella/
Nature: Italian scientists vilified in wake of olive-tree deaths 

And in Australia:
Police called in as couple aged in 70s fights to keep banana plants in Darwin, cops $765 fine


Images:
Vincent van Gogh, Olive Grove 1889,
Vincent van Gogh, Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background, 1889

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Meat - The Diet of Domination

A study examined "whether reported food habits (vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore diet) are associated with right-wing authoritarianism, prejudices against minorities and acceptance of social dominance."

Meat eaters have a greater tendency to pre-judice than people who mainly eat plant and fungi matter. Additionally, is it more likely that they prefer authoritarian structures and hierarchies in their social environments.

It appears, that people who made a conscious choice to refrain from eating dead animals have reflected on traditions and mainstream pressures and are acquiring and culturing their own ethical food practices. Vegans and vegetarians also prefer equal relationships.

Real men really don’t eat quiche...

Men and the elderly had the strongest inclinations to cling to and enforce the convenient traditions of the mainstream.


"The results show that individuals with vegetarian or vegan diets less frequently report having prejudices against minorities, supporting social dominance and accepting authoritarian structures than individuals with a mixed diet." (source)


Petra Veser , Kathy Taylor , Susanne Singer , (2015) "Diet, authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, and predisposition to prejudice : Results of a German survey ", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 Iss: 7, pp.1949 - 1960
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-12-2014-0409

The Meat Paradox: How Carnivores Think About Dinner, Wray Herbert, 12.02.2014 

Theodor. W. Adorno, The Authoritarian Personality, 1950, PDF


Images:
Corinth, Lovis: Viktualienmarkt at Hiller in Berlin, 1923
Corinth, Lovis: Butchered Pig, 1906

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Macadamia Lemon Sponge


It is fortunate that macadamias drop and lemons ripen at the same time. Freshly cracked white nuts and freshly picked lemons make a delicious combination in this nutty lemon sponge.

get

8 bantam eggs (or 5 large eggs)
200g macadamias, medium grated
50g spelt flour
4 tbsp agave nectar
3 Meyer lemons

50g macadamias
1 tbsp honey

1 orange


do

For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Grate the lemon rind into the grated macadamias. Add flour and mix.
Separate the eggs.
Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Add 2 tbsp agave nectar. Continue beating until very stiff.
Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl until creamy. This takes a few minutes with a hand beater. Add 2 tbsp agave nectar. Continue beating until very creamy.
Gently lift the egg yolk mix under the egg white mix resulting in a light creamy foamy mixture. Lift the nut mixture gently under the egg mixture a little at a time.
Butter a 28cm baking form. Cover the bottom lightly with a sprinkle of flour.
Pour the mixture into the form and smooth the top.
Bake for about 25 minutes until golden on the second shelf from the bottom. Test using a knife or skewer which should come out clean. Turn the oven down to 150°C if necessary.


For the filling
Medium grate the macadamias. Add the juice of 1 lemon. Add 1 tbsp honey. Mix well.
Remove the cool cake from its form. Cut into 2 flat disks using a string. Place the bottom disc on a cake plate. Juice the orange and pour the juice evenly over this. Distribute the filling evenly on top. Then place the top disc on the filling.
Serve in thin slices. Store wrapped in a linen cloth in a cold place.


Fancy extras
If you want to make this cake more fancy, make macadamia honey marzipan and roll it out thinly, larger than the cake. Place this on the cake and form it around the sides. Decorate with icing sugar mixed with lemon juice.
However the cake will then be much sweeter and it tastes perfect without this topping.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Macadamia Lemon Slices


get
300 g light wholemeal flour
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 egg
140 g butter

300 g macadamias
5 tbsp agave nectar
4 Meyer lemons

do
Add agave nectar then the egg in the middle of the flour in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon into a paste and then into the flour. Add butter in flakes. Knead to a pastry. If it is sticky add more flour. If it is too dry, add more agave nectar. Cool for 15 minutes covered with a linen cloth (tea towel).


Medium grate the macadamia nuts with a hand grater.
Coarsely grate the lemon peel into the macadamia meal. Add the agave nectar. Add the juice of 3 lemons or as much as necessary to make a wet, sticky paste and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 190°c. Butter a baking tray. Roll out half of the pastry on a linen tea towel. Turn it over from time to time and use the tea towel to fold over and straighten the the edges. Roll out a thin pastry the size of your baking tray and place it on the tray using the tea towel. Adjust the edges. Spread the macadamia paste on the pastry, right to the edges. Roll out the other piece of pastry to the size of the baking tray. Use the tea towel to lift it onto the top so it fits exactly. Use the flat edge of a knife to press the macadamia paste inside the pastry, straightening and closing the edges as much as possible.

Bake for about 25 minutes on the second shelf from the bottom until light brown.
Cool in the turned-off oven with the door open.
When cool, or before serving, cut off edges for private use. Cut into slices about 2 x 6 cm for public presentation. Alternatively leave it as one piece and cut off slices as required when required.
This is a variation on an earlier lemon slices recipe using almonds, honey and icing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Taro and Red Cabbage

1 Small to medium red cabbage
3 Red onions
1 Sour apple
Olive oil
2 Juniper berries
1 Bay leaf
Pepper
300 ml hot water/ stock
Thyme

1 Large taro corm (Pacific)
Samoan pink variety if available. NB oxalic acid!
or in EU
1 Fresh white celeriac

You might want to use rubber gloves to prepare the cabbage and the taro.
Remove outer leaves from cabbage, quarter and remove core.
Cut onion into wedges and fry in olive oil.
Cut cabbage very finely. Add cabbage when onions are translucent. Boil water or stock and add some so that the cabbage is half covered. Add the spices
Peel the apple and cut into 8 pieces, add, cover and simmer for 30 min.


Wash and peel the taro/celeriac. Cut into big chunks and steam for approx. 25 min.
One could also fry the precooked taro/celeriac in olive oil as chips if one so desired.

Sprinkle cabbage with fresh thyme and serve with the taro/celeriac and a crisp green salad.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rodenticides With Your Bacon?


On Saturday morning cafes ooze the odour of fried crisp bacon.

Under proposed food law changes in Australia, pork products containing traces of rat poison could be sold legally.

"The discovery of rat bait residues in pig livers at some farms has prompted the nation’s food authority to admit chemicals used to control vermin may “inadvertently” spread to the food chain. Tests at piggeries in January found unharmful traces of coumatetrayl or warfarin at three farms. Federal Department of Agriculture coordinated tests at 23 sites in January uncovered “very low” levels of coumatetralyl in slaughtered pig livers at a Victorian and NSW piggery. Warfarin traces were detected at a South Australian piggery. The chemicals kill rodents through internal bleeding. Pigs potentially ingest them by eating feed contaminated by treated rats." (source)

Update:
Maybe it is good that nearly three quarters of bacon sold in Australia is made from imported pork meat? 

Go vegetarian!

Image:
Gauguin, Paul, The ham, 1889
Graffiti, EU, Banksy?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Siverbeet with feta and pine nuts

get
1 large bunch of silverbeet (chard, perpetual spinach)
1 large red onion
4 tbsp olive oil
goats milk feta
1 cup of pine nuts
All organic

do
Heat olive oil in a large lidded pan.
Peel and chop the onion. Fry in the oil for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile clean the silver beet and dry it. Separate main stems from green leaves.(The stems can be white, red or yellow). Chop the stems and mix into the onion. Fry for a further 5 minutes. Shred the leaves and add to the pot. Simmer with the lid on for another 10 to 15 minutes. The silverbeet should be soft and wilted and change to a dark green colour. Any liquid should have disappeared.

Roast pine nuts in a dry pan.

Serve with feta cubes and sprinkle with pine nuts.
When purchasing vegetables tied with rubber bands, take care of them as the plastic debris is often mistaken for earthworms by storks (pdf), ibises, spoonbills and other birds.