Wednesday 28 August 2013

A SHARED TABLE - the food dept. take inspiration from the farmers market to create a gorgeous menu for your family and friends to share.

Great food starts with good fresh produce. Here at the food dept., we are committed to using the best produce we can find locally, often, it comes from a farmers market. Avid market goers, Sally and Anne Marie, are regulars at the Lane cove farmers market, so when Lisa from your local markets approached the food dept. to collaborate, we simple had to do a food feature on winter vegetables.
Shopping at a local food market is one of life's simple pleasures, the colour, the aroma, the buzz of the markets are absolutley addictive and buying food directly from a grower is terribly satisfying. It is also an inexpensive way to experiment with a seasonal vegetable, fruit or herb you may not have tried before. With a box of amazing fresh vegies, Sally set about creating a lunch menu for you to simple plate up and put on a table to share with your family and friends. This weekend why not head to your local market, have a chat to a stall holder, find our more about what you are buying and enjoy cooking with the food dept.

the food dept.'s
Shared table menu 
Spinach soup with crispy prosciutto and toasted sourdough crumbs
Roasted spiced pumpkin with tahini lemon dressing 
Slow roasted balsamic lamb shanks with cauliflower puree 
Winter leaf and apple salad with crispy quinoa and cider vinegar Dijon dressing

Spinach soup with crispy prosciutto and toasted sourdough crumbs
This recipe is a mean green fighting machine! 
Serves 6-8

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 150g thinly sliced prosciutto, roughly torn
• 40g butter
• 2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
• 1 brown onion, finely diced
• 4 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 large bunches (approximately 750g) English spinach, trim off roots and rinse
• 1 litre chicken stock
• 1 cup pouring cream
• 1 quantity Toasted sourdough crumbs

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the pieces of prosciutto until brown and crispy, drain on paper towel and set aside for serving.
2. Add the butter to the pan and sweat down the leeks, onion and garlic over a low heat  for 10 minutes or until very soft.
3. Add the spinach and stock and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes until the spinach has wilted down and is cooked.
4. Using a stick blender, blend the spinach into a puree and add the cream.
5. Season to taste and bring back to a simmer before serving topped with the crispy prosciutto and Toasted sourdough crumbs.

Toasted sourdough crumb
• 1 clove garlic
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 4 slices wholegrain sour dough
• salt flakes, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the peeled garlic clove in the bowl of a processor and blitz until finely chopped.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz until the bread is a rough crumb.
3. Spread onto a baking tray and bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden and crisp. Use as required.

Thank you: KitchenAid supplied us with a hand blender which we used to prepare this soup.

Spiced Roasted Pumpkin with Tahini Lemon Dressing
This is a warming winter vegetable accompaniment or try it served on a bed of greens to turn a salad into a meal or see the food dept. tip below and use it to top a pizza.
Serves 8.

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt flakes
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chilli flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon sumac
1 kg winter pumpkins any variety you like, cut into uniform wedges, seeds removed
¾ cup natural yogurt
2 tablespoons unhulled tahini
juice 1 lemon
2 teaspoons honey
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 -2 tablespoons water
½ cup coriander sprigs
1. Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Combine the olive oil, garlic, salt and spices in a food processor and process until spices are crushed and garlic is chopped.
2. Spread the oil and spice mix evenly over the wedges of pumpkin and arrange in a single layer in a large baking dish.
3. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender when tested.
4. While the pumpkin is baking combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, honey and salt and pepper in a bowl, whisk to combine. The tahini may thicken the yogurt, use the water to thin to a drizzling consistency.
5. Once the pumpkin is cooked arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with the tahini dressing, sprinkle over the coriander sprigs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

food dept. fact: Sally had some of this divine pumpkin left over – hard to believe! So she made pizza by sprinkling a pizza base with small chunks of pumpkin, some goats feta and a drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a hot oven and once cooked spoon on some of the tahini dressing and top with coriander!

Slow Roasted Balsamic Lamb Shanks with Cauliflower Puree
Serves 8.

• ¼ cup seasoned plain flour
8 lamb shanks, French trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
20g butter
16 eschallots, peeled
2 bunches fresh garlic bulbs, trim the stems and halve horizontally
2 cups red wine
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup beef stock
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 sprigs rosemary
1 qty Cauliflower puree

1. Preheat the oven to 150C (300F). Place the seasoned flour on a plate and coat the lamb shanks.
2. Heat the oil in a large, shallow, oven proof, casserole dish over a medium heat and brown the lamb shanks a few at a time until they are evenly browned. Set aside.
3. Reduce the heat and add the butter to the casserole dish. Once the butter has melted add the eschallots and cook for 5 minutes until they have a little colour and begin to soften.
4. Add the lamb shanks back to the casserole and add the garlic bulbs. Pour over the red wine, balsamic vinegar and beef stock.
5. Gently stir through the tomato paste, brown sugar and rosemary sprigs.
Bring to the boil over a high heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat and cover the casserole with the lid. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour, remove from the oven and turn the lamb shanks, return to the oven and cook for another 1 hour or until the lamb is tender.
6. Once the lamb is cooked check the consistency of the sauce, if it’s too thin, remove the lamb and eschallots, keep warm, then simmer the sauce over a medium heat until  it reduces to the desired consistency.
Serve with Cauliflower puree.

food dept. fact: Any left over lamb can be pulled from the bone, shredded and tossed with the sauce through some torn fresh pasta sheets or pappadelle.

Cauliflower puree

1 head cauliflower, approximately 1kg, cut into even size flowerets, 3-4cm
1/3 -1/2 cup cream
20g butter
1 teaspoon salt flakes

1. Steam the cauliflower for 20 minutes or until very tender.
2. Place into a blender with 1/3 cup cream, butter and salt.  Carefully blend the cauliflower until very smooth, being careful with blender as the cauliflower will be hot and can cause the lid of the blender to pop off and hot cauliflower to spray everywhere. To avoid this let it cool slightly and then hold the lid of the blender on with a tea towel and turn it from low to high very slowly.
3. Adjust the thickness of the puree with extra cream if needed, it should the consistency of mashed potato.

Winter Leaf and Apple Salad with Crispy Quinoa and Cider Vinegar Dijon Dressing
This salad looks beautiful served on one large platter or try serving individual bowls of salad in a selection of  pretty side dishes.
Serves 8.

• ½ cup multi coloured quinoa
¾ cup water
pinch salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 witlof, broken into individual leaves
1 small radicchio, broken into pieces
2 handfuls wild rocket
2 gala apples or any other red winter apples
½ bunch continental parsley, broken into springs

1. Place the quinoa, water and salt in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain any excess water from the quinoa. (see The Food Dept. tip below)
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat and fry the quinoa for 7-8 minutes until golden brown and crispy, it will crackle as it cooks. Remove from the frying pan and allow to cool.
3. Combine the extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a jar and shake to combine the dressing, set aside.
4. Arrange the winter greens – witlof, radicchio and rocket, on a serving platter.
5. Core the apples and cut into slices toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing to prevent browning and then arrange over the greens. Sprinkle over the quinoa and top with a scattering parsley sprigs and a drizzle of the dressing, serve immediately.

food dept. fact: When cooking quinoa to fry, use much less water than you normally would to cook it, that way it dries out more quickly when you fry it and becomes crispy – Yum!
Thank you to Lisa from your local markets for being so wonderfully helpful and delightful to work with.

Most of our beautiful produce came from one of the Lane cove market stallholders Rita’s Farm Fresh Produce. Rita and her family have a farm in Kemp's creek and every Sunday they deliver and sell wonderful fresh organic produce to the market. Anne Marie has watched their produce grow and change with the seasons, but one thing is for sure, their kale is always available and is fresh and beautiful every week.