Peas

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The olive oil pastry is based on Stephenie Alexander’s recipe for silverbeet and potato torte, but its silky texture is also perfect for these delicious pasties.

Ingredients

¼ Kent pumpkin, peeled, 2cm dice
2 carrots, peeled, 2cm dice
2 large potatoes, peeled, 1cm dice
3 parsnips, peeled, cored, 2cm dice
extra virgin olive oil
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
250 grams lamb mince
butter
2 large brown onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 leeks, sliced in rounds
5 sprigs continental parsley, chopped
1 egg, whisked
½ cup frozen peas
150 grams good Cheddar (I use Watsonia for this), coarsely grated
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Olive oil pastry
500 grams plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 egg, whisked

Method

Preheat the oven to 165°C fan-forced or 185°C conventional.

For the pastry, in a food processor whiz the flour and salt. Drizzle in the oil while processing, followed by 250ml cold water. Keep processing until the dough comes together in a ball. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface, knead quickly, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 2 hours.

Drizzle a generous amount of oil over the carrot, parsnip, pumpkin and potato, season and toss to coat. Tip into a large baking dish and roast for 45-60 minutes, stir through twice during this time to evenly cook and colour. Once cooked the vegetables should have lost quite a lot of their mass and will have concentrated in flavour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray – this will help to preserve their shape.

Turn your oven up to 200°C fan-forced or 220°C conventional.

In a large pan over medium heat fry off the mince in a little oil until crisp and brown, season, drain off any excess oil and tip into a large bowl.

In a medium pot add a little oil and butter and the onion, garlic and leeks, sweat until softened, about ten minutes.

Add the leek mix, parsley, egg, peas and cheese to the lamb and combine. Gently mix through the cooled vegetables until you have an even mix, check the seasoning.

Cut the dough into 10 pieces and roll out into circles about 18cm in diameter. Divide your filling mix into ten. Brush the circles with egg, place filling in the centre of each circle and bring the edges together crimping the pasties closed as you go. Brush them with egg and sprinkle over the sesame seeds and bake on paper for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

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Pea, ham & barley soup

serves 8 mains
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 1hr 30mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) Peas, ham, pork, hock, barley
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Ingredients

1 large smoked pork hock
100 ml olive oil
3 large brown onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 carrots, in small, rough dice
1/2 bunch celery, sliced
salt and pepper
400 grams split peas
150 grams barley
400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1 handful parsley, leaves picked
eggs (one per person)
vinegar
parmesan, to serve

Method

Place the pork hock in a large soup pot, cover with water and bring to the boil, just to blanch the meat. Drain immediately and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper and add the hock, split peas, barley, tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme.

Cover with around 3 litres of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened. Before serving, remove hock, trim fat and discard bone. Cut or tear meat into chunks and stir through the warm soup. Check seasoning.

To poach eggs, bring water to a simmer in a small, deep pot. Add a splash of vinegar, then stir in a circular motion to create a whirlpool. Crack an egg into a bowl, then tip it into the middle of the whirlpool to control the formation of the white around the yolk. Poach for 3 to 4 minutes for soft-poached eggs.

Serve soup in large bowls with a sprinkling of parsley, shavings of parmesan and a hot, soft-poached egg.

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Crumbed zucchini flowers with crab mayonnaise & pea salad

serves 4 starters
difficulty moderate
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 1hr (approx.)
main ingredient(s) zucchini flowers, breadcrumbs, zucchini, crab, mayonnaise, cream, Peas, chives, chervil
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Anyone who has grown zucchini knows that the plants are rampant, but you can slow the zucchini invasion by plucking and eating the flowers and baby veg.

The flowers can be stuffed but they’re equally good left empty, then crumbed and deep-fried till golden and crispy then dipped into something luscious like this crab mayonnaise.

You can buy great Australian picked, cooked, frozen crab meat from your fishmonger.

Ingredients

For 4
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
salt flakes
freshly ground pepper
1 handful parsley, finely sliced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 eggs
8 female zucchini flowers (the ones with the baby zucchini attached)
½ cup flour
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
30 ml extra virgin olive oil
250 grams crab meat, picked and cooked
½ cup whipping cream
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons yoghurt
2 small zucchini, finely sliced
½ cup blanched peas
½ bunch chives, finely chopped
½ bunch chervil, picked
2 cups canola oil
For 2
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
salt flakes
freshly ground pepper
1/2 handful parsley leaves, finely sliced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 egg
4 female zucchini flowers (the ones with the baby zucchini attached)
1/4 cup flour
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
30 ml extra virgin olive oil
125 grams crab meat, picked and cooked
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yoghurt
1 small zucchini, finely sliced
1/4 cup blanched peas
1/4 bunch chives, finely chopped
1/4 bunch chervil, picked
2 cups canola oil

Method

Mix the breadcrumbs with a little salt and pepper, the parsley and lemon zest. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.

Trim and remove the yellow stamen from inside the flowers. Working with one zucchini flower at a time, lightly coat them in flour, then toss them through the beaten eggs, allowing the excess to drain so the blossom and top of the stem are just lightly coated. Transfer to the crumb and coat well. Let the zucchini flowers sit for 10 minutes before frying, but don’t cover them.

Warm 20 ml olive oil in a pan and sweat the shallots and garlic until they’re translucent. Add the crab meat and warm it gently, then transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Whip the cream until it thickens. Combine with mayonnaise, yoghurt and a generous drizzling of lemon juice and fold through the crab meat. Season.

Bring salted water to the boil in a small pot and cook the finely sliced zucchini for 1 minute. Drain, refresh in cool water, and drain again. Pat dry. Cook and refresh peas in the same way, then toss them with the rest of the olive oil. Toss the zucchini and peas with the chives and chervil.

Heat the canola oil in a saucepan on medium heat or set a deep-fryer to 175°C. Fry the zucchini flowers for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Place a generous dollop of mayonnaise mixture onto a plate and top with the flowers. Scatter with the pea and zucchini salad. Squeeze over more lemon juice and serve.

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Genovese salad

serves 6 as a side
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 40mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) pesto, pasta, potatoes, beans, green beans, Peas
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You can find my recipe for basil pesto here.

Ingredients

6 kipfler or Dutch cream potatoes, peeled
50 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra to dress pasta
50 ml red wine vinegar
35 grams pine nuts
200 grams green beans, trimmed and sliced on the angle to form little diamonds
½ cup peas
200 grams lasagnette pasta (thin lasagne sheets)
100 grams pesto
40 grams parmesan, shaved
salt & pepper

Method

Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil and add the potatoes. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender.

Slice in thick rounds and toss through the olive oil and vinegar while still warm. Season with salt and pepper.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for a couple of minutes, tossing constantly, until lightly toasted. Set aside.

Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil and add the beans. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the peas and cook for a further 1 minute, then drain.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil and add the lasagnette. Cook to al dente then drain and dress with a little oil and half of the pesto.

Add the beans, peas and potatoes and finally, the remaining pesto.

Stir through the pine nuts, season with salt and pepper, and scatter over the parmesan.

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