the first of kale

May 30, 2011 § 3 Comments

Kale is in season!

Arriving in our bountiful vegie boxes fresh from Ceres Fair Food it brings a smile to my heart. There is something comforting about the grandma skin like leaves, green and dusty grey, krinkled like  a well worn landscape. Its tough and rubbery exterior is deceiving. When cooked its facade melts as it turns deep green, softly crunchy and tangy.

Here is how I ate my first winter kale.

To start with, I took some labna, which you can make by following the recipe in my last post, and rolled it into balls.

I mixed together some paprika, rosemary, salt and garlic.

I added olive oil and dipped each ball.

I washed the kale, removed the stalks and chopped it roughly.

I placed the kale in a fry pan with more garlic, some butter and a little olive oil and cooked it until just wilted.

Then I popped it on some crusty toasted bread along with the labna.

And I ate it all up.

It was delicious.

Labna and Whey

May 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

Traditionally eaten in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Jordan  labna is a wonderful and easy way to make your own soft white cheese. Labna is creamy and delicious and works equally well with savory or sweet things. For example, spread it on toast with honey or alternatively garlic, olive oil and tomato. Eat it with stewed fruit or next to curries and so on.

To make Labna, you need to separate the whey from yoghurt. You are then left with a beautiful soft cheese and whey.

Whey is incredibly nutritious. Sally Fallon notes in her book, Nourishing Traditions, that whey has been used to cure a variety of human ailments since the time of the ancient Greeks. It is full of minerals and one teaspoon taken in a glass of water is said to help digestion. It is also said to help keep your joints, muscles and ligaments young and movable.

So to separate your whey from your yoghurt, you will need to place your yoghurt in a muslin cloth.

And suspend over a bowl either in a sieve or hanging from a wooden spoon and leave in a cool place for 24 hours.

You should then be left with a good layer of whey in the bottom of your bowl and lovely soft white cheese. Store your whey in a glass jar in the fridge.

To store your labna you can roll it into balls and cover with olive oil (obviously not if you want to use it for something sweet).

Labna

Missing

May 24, 2011 § 3 Comments

It is this time, when my hands get cold and icy riding home through the Melbourne streets, that I think of Hobart, my home for 6 years. Most of all, I miss the mountain view hovering over the town. On cold days like this it might reveal itself bit by bit behind its blanket of mist, undressing and redressing, the clouds washing over from the west. The vertical dolerite organ pipes fronting the town between the wet sclerophyll and sub-alpine Eucalyptus the birthmark of Hobart to me.  I miss the horizons lost in Melbourne’s sprawl. The views beyond the houses to the wild rugged and lost landscapes. The easy escape out of town, up a mountain path or to a lost beach. The constant reminder of breathing and living nature, its quiet presence behind all our lives. I miss the empty detail.

When life hands you lemons: olive oil, lemon and cardamom muffins

May 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

A lemon tree grows outside my bedroom window bushy and tall, almost the height of the house. From my bed I can watch them ripen on the branches too high to reach. And when I can’t contain myself any longer, I head out with a ladder and pull them down. The skin is rich with its lemony oils that fill the house when they are brought inside.

How to make Olive Oil Lemon Cardamom Muffins 

1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1 1/4 cups olive oil
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
3 cups plain flour
1 dessert spoon of baking powder
Zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1 tsp vanilla essence

Pre-heat oven to 170°C. Stir all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until just combined. Cook for 1/2 an hour or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.

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