The First of the Summer Veggies Have Been Picked

I love the summer garden – stone fruit, tomatoes, capsicum, coriander (cilantro), cucumber… and the obligatory tonne of zucchini – to eat, freeze, giveaway and pickle.


garden 24/11/017


Recently I have come across the most useful book: Cornersmith  Salads and Pickles – Alex Elliott-Howery and Sabine Spindler.


This book is amazing, just what I need. I am not a naturally inspired salad maker – but I want to make inviting salads  and vegetable dishes that say eat me. It has recipes for yummy meals and guides for pickling and fermenting (good for the gut) which are great ways to store and use up our abundant seasonal fresh produce.

The Cornersmith way of eating sounds like a perfect match for me (and you): “The Cornersmith way to eat is about bringing together a variety of deliciously simple elements. Make one or two vegetable dishes, open a jar of pickles or ferments, add a good loaf of bread and perhaps an easy protein – a great piece of cheese, some eggs, a slice of grilled meat or fish. No diets, no superfoods, no guilt… Just good food with more taste and the added benefit of cutting down food waste. From the award-winning Cornersmith cafes and Picklery comes the follow-up to their bestselling self-titled cookbook, with a focus on seasonal salads, pickles and preserving. Including dozens of simple ideas for fresh ingredients that might otherwise be thrown away, Cornersmith: Salads & Pickles is your handbook to putting vegetables at the centre of the way you  eat.”




Spicy Ginger and Tomato Soup: A Whole New Way To Eat – Vladia Cobrdova

Recipes and Images from A Whole New Way to Eat by Vladia Cobrdova (Murdoch Books)





+ Vegetarian, + Vegan, + Gluten-free, + Dairy-free


“The vibrant colour of this rich antioxidant soup speaks for itself. You can really see the betacarotenoids in it.”p. 101


Spicy GingerTomatoSoup

prep time:15 minutes

cooking time:20 minutes

Serves 4



1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 large red (Spanish) onion, finely chopped

100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) coarsely chopped fresh ginger

6 carrots, chopped

2 x 400 g (14 oz) tins chopped tomatoes

375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) tinned coconut milk

20 g (¾ oz/1/3 cup) chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves (optional)

1 lime


Crispy topping

2 teaspoons coconut oil

2 fresh long red chillies, sliced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

40 g (1½ oz/1 cup) coconut chips



Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and cook for 2–3 minutes until golden. Add the carrots, tomatoes and 375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots are very tender. Stir in the coconut milk, then remove from the heat. Using a stick blender, purée the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


Meanwhile, to make the crispy topping, heat the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chilli, chopped ginger and coconut chips and stir for 5–6 minutes until crisp.


To serve, ladle the soup into four bowls, scatter with the crispy topping and coriander leaves (if using), then squeeze a lime over.



+ note  Tomatoes have the interesting attribute of being better for you when cooked. Cooking encourages the easier absorption of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may even have a role in cancer prevention.


Turkey, Feta, Stuffing and Cranberry Salad: Spice Heroes – Natasha MacAller

spice-health-heroes‘Images and recipes from Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller (Murdoch Books). Photography by Manja Wachsmuth. RRP $49.99’



Turkey, Feta, Stuffing And Cranberry Salad


“What to do with all the winter-holiday, family-gathering leftovers? After a day or two of feasting on family favourites, this is an easy, fun and healthy way to make a little space in the fridge. Instead of making them from scratch (though they are very easy), you could add a hydrated stock cube and a little oil to a cup of leftover stuffing to make the thin croutons that top this light salad, which is finished with spoonfuls of Cranberry Compote and drizzled with a cranberry and coriander seed and (cilantro) leaf vinaigrette.” p.108




300g (10½oz.) rocket or cress and butter lettuce, torn

500g (1lb. 2oz.) cooked turkey, torn into shreds

100g (3½oz.) feta, cut into small cubes

200g (7oz.) Cranberry Compote (see below)


For the stuffing croutons:

40g (1½oz./2/3 cup) breadcrumbs

I tsp poultry seasoning

½ tsp each of garlic and onion powder

pinch each salt, sugar and cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

3 egg whites

½ chicken or vegetable stock cube, dissolved in ½ tsp hot water

4 tsp vegetable oil


For the vinaigrette (makes 300ml/1¼ cups):

120ml (½ cup) red wine vinegar

3 tbsp cranberry juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1½ tsp lemon juice

1½ tsp toasted ground coriander

1 tbsp minced coriander (cilantro) leaves, plus extra whole leaves to serve

1 tsp roughly chopped tarragon

1 tsp roughly chopped parsley

30g (1oz./¼ cup) dried cranberries

120ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil


To make the stuffing croutons, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Mix the breadcrumbs and seasonings together in a small bowl. In another small bowl, beat the egg whites and dissolved stock cube. Whisk in the oil then gently mix the breadcrumbs into the egg whites. Adjust seasonings. Using a small metal spatula, spread the stuffing batter into little circles or square shapes directly onto a silicone- or parchment-lined baking tray. Sprinkle with flake salt and bake for 10–12 minutes until crisp.


To make the vinaigrette, put all the ingredients except oil into a blender with a tight-fitting lid and blend well. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil so it will emulsify together. Season with salt to taste. To assemble, scatter the salad leaves on the plates and top with turkey, feta and teaspoonfuls of Cranberry Compote. Top with croutons. Drizzle the dressing over the top and scatter on a few coriander (cilantro) leaves to finish.


Cranberry Compote


350g (12oz./3½ cups) cranberries

1 cinnamon stick, charred

200g (7oz./1 cup) granulated sugar

2 allspice berries

1 tangerine, sliced into 4 horizontally

¼ tsp white pepper

large pinch salt


Put all the ingredients into a pan with 240ml (1 cup) of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 8 minutes then remove from the heat. Strain out the fruit and spices and set aside. Simmer the liquid until reduced by half. Return the fruit and spices to the pan and stir to combine. Cool, then cover and chill until needed.


Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

Chick Pea and Coriander Burgers: The Dinner Ladies – Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood


 Images and recipes from The Dinner Ladies by Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood (Murdoch Books) Photographs by Ben Dearnley RRP $39.99 available September 1st in all good bookstores and online.

Chickpea  and Coriander Burgers

Chickpea and coriander burgers

Serves 4   Prep time 20 minutes   Cooking time 6–8 minutes

In the name of duty we chomped our way through many different vegetarian burgers – pulsey, nutty, beety, the works – trying to find one that didn’t taste either worthy or weird. Then we made one up. It doesn’t try to pretend to be a burger – it’s just something that is stand-alone yummy.

Make ahead: The burgers may be made ahead and frozen. They can be defrosted but will be delicate to handle when they defrost. Alternatively, you can cook them straight from frozen, adding 2 minutes each side to the cooking time.



800 g (1 lb 12 oz) tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed – 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) drained weight

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon ground cumin, toasted

1/2 red capsicum (pepper), seeded and diced

1 large handful coriander (cilantro), leaves and stems finely chopped

1 handful mint, leaves only, chopped

4 spring onions (scallions), ends removed, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons rice flour

1 teaspoon salt

80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) olive oil


To serve

rocket (arugula) leaves

Cucumber-Yoghurt Sauce (below) or spiced tomato chutney

juice of 1/2 lime (optional)

toasted panini (optional)


Note: For a vegan alternative, replace the egg with chia paste. To make the paste, mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds (crushed) with 1 tablespoon water.



In a small blender, pulse-chop the chickpeas until some are coarsely chopped and some are puréed.


In a large stainless steel bowl, combine the chickpeas, egg, cumin, capsicum, chopped herbs, spring onions, garlic, lemon zest, rice flour and salt. Form some of the mixture into a little patty about 3 cm (11/4 inches) in diameter and fry in olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. This should only take 2 minutes per side. Taste the patty and decide whether you need to adjust the salt or any of the other ingredients.


Roll the mixture into eight evenly sized balls. Flatten them into patties, cover and refrigerate or freeze until using.


When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and carefully add as many patties as will fit in a single layer. Cook until a golden brown crust has formed on one side – about 4 minutes – then gently flip the patties and cook for another 4 minutes on the other side. Remove to one side and drain on paper towel, cover with a tea towel (dish towel) and leave somewhere warm (such as a low-temperature oven) while you repeat with the remaining patties.


Serve with rocket leaves and cucumber-yoghurt sauce or a spiced tomato chutney, and squeeze a little lime juice over the top if desired.  If you need bread with your burger, serve with toasted panini.


Cucumber-Yoghurt Sauce


Many cultures share the idea of a cool, cucumber-yoghurt-mint sauce – and we use them interchangeably. If it’s to go with Indian food, it’s raita; if it’s Greekish it’s tzatziki. And let’s not even get into Turkish cacik or Lebanese laban. They all give freshness and lift to spicy or oily food. A basic recipe to go with everything is 260 g (91/4 oz/1 cup) plain yoghurt, 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber (peeled, grated and the water squeezed out), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon chopped mint. Mix together well and call it whatever you like.