Appetisers

Parsnip & Pecan Fritters

Serves: 2 | Preparation Time: 5 min

Ingredients 

  • 100 Gram sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon (Metric) chopped chives
  • 1 Teaspoon (Metric) lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon (Metric) sweet chilli sauce
  • 4 Drop tabasco or try 1 tsp worcestershire sauce for a different flavour
  • 2 Unit parsnips
  • 1 Unit egg
  • 15 Gram plain flour
  • 1 Tablespoon (Metric) chopped parsley
  • 25 Gram melted butter
  • 30 Millilitre milk
  • 30 Gram pecans, roughly chopped
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 125 Millilitre oil

Instructions 

Dipping sauce - Combine all ingredients and add Tabasco/ Worcestershire sauce to taste. Set aside.

Peel parsnips, cut into chunks and place into a saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil add a pinch of salt, turn down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Drain and cool.

Puree parsnip in a food processor (if you donâ t have one, you can cook for slightly longer and mash through a sieve). Put into a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients except the oil.

Heat the oil in a non stick pan over a medium heat. Drop in large spoonfuls of mixture and flatten with the back of the spoon. Cook for about 20 seconds each side, blot off excess fat and serve hot with the dipping sauce.

Tomato tarts

Serves: 4 | Preparation Time: 15 min

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 x 250g punnets cherry tomatoes or any chopped and de seeded 
  • 1 1/2 sheets (25 x 25cm) ready-rolled frozen butter puff pastry, just thawed
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • 60g soft feta
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Instructions 

Preheat oven to 220°C. Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour a little of the vinegar mixture into six 9cm-round (base measurement) tart tins (don't use removable base tins as liquid will seep).
 
Place a sprig of thyme into each tart tin and top with the cherry tomatoes. Pack the tomatoes into the tins firmly.
 
Cut the puff pastry into six 12cm squares. Fold the edges of each square of pastry under to form a rough round and press firmly on to the cherry tomatoes. Continue for each tart.

Place the tarts on an oven tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Remove from oven and set aside for 3-5 minutes to cool slightly. Turn out quickly on to an oven tray.
 
Place the spinach and feta in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with the cherry tomato tarte tartins.

Roast Capsicum Dip with Finger Eggplant

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Unit red capsicum
  • Olive oil
  • Sour dough bread, thinly sliced
  • 3 Unit finger eggplants, sliced lengthways
  • 1 Unit small red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon (Metric) sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon (Metric) greek yoghurt

Instructions: 

Place the capsicum over a gas flame and char, turning until the skin is black all over, alternately cut into quarters and cook, skin side up under a hot grill until charred. Heat a char grill pan over a medium-high heat, brush both sides of bread with oil and char grill until toasted. Brush both sides of eggplant with oil and char grill until golden and tender.

Peel the skin from the capsicum and remove the seeds. Process the capsicum, chili, sour cream and yoghurt in a small bowl of a food processor, process until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon the dip into a bowl and serve with the toasted bread and eggplants.

Kaffir prawns with tangy mayo dip

Serves: 6 | Preparation Time: 20 min

Ingredients 

  • 1 kg green prawns, peeled, leaving tail intact, deveined
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped or zest of one whole lemon and half juiced.
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 tbs peanut oil

Ginger and mango mayonnaise

  • 1/2 mango, peeled, stoned, finely chopped.
    (If out of season use 1 tbsp of good warmed honey and 1tbsp of orange juice)
  • 1 tbs finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  •  150ml sunflower oil or if using honey 180ml you can use olive oil but make sure it is not virgin.

Instructions 

Combine the prawns, lemongrass, lime leaves and oil in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours to marinate.
 
To make the mayonnaise, place mango/honey, ginger, lime juice, egg yolks and mustard powder in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until mixture is thick and pale. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (Play around with the consistancy if necessary - drops of warm water will loosen it and more oil will thicken it.
 
Pre-heat barbecue/pan on high. Add prawns and cook, turning occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until prawns curl and change colour.
 
Transfer prawns to a serving platter and serve with the mayonnaise.

Vietnamese Rolls

Serves: 4 | Preparation Time: 10 min

Ingredients 

  • Rice paper vermicelli noodles
  • Left over veggies
  • Left over cooked meat, chicken, fish, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tablespoon (Metric) soy sauce (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoon (Metric) lime juice
  • 1 Clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Unit fresh hot red chilli, minced
  • 0.5 Teaspoon (Metric) sugar

Instructions 

Dipping Sauce: soy sauce (optional), lime juice, garlic, red chili and sugar.I slice whatever is left into thin strips (carrot, capsicum, mushroom, zucchini) and fry up whatever needs to be cooked (like the mushrooms and zucchini).Sometimes I soak a small packet of vermicelli noodles in boiling hot water and throw the noodles in with the cooking vegetables.

Add some soy sauce for good measure. Mix all the vegetables in a big bowl for serving. To serve I have a bowl of hot boiled water at the table.

Each rice paper is dipped into the bowl of hot water and laid down on their plate. Each person can make their own rolls!

On top of the rice paper you pile some veggies, fresh herbs and garden salad and meat etc. Roll up the vegetables in the rice paper, dip into some good sweet chili sauce and you have dinner.Great when you don't want to spend too long in the kitchen.

Haloumi parcels

Serves: 4 | Preparation Time: 30 min

Ingredients 

  • 4 Unit red capsicum
  • 200g haloumi, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup olive tapenade
  • 1/4 Cup basil leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced and grated rind

Instructions 

Cook capsicum on hot grill plate for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently, until skin blackens and blisters and flesh is tender. Place in a plastic bag. Set aside to cool. Scrape away skin. Cut each in half length ways. Remove seeds and membrane.

Place a haloumi slice on a capsicum half. Top with one quarter of tapenade, basil leaves and lemon rind. Cover with another capsicum half and secure with string. Repeat to make four parcels.

Cook on grill plate on medium heat for 3-5 minutes each or until cheese begins to melt. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve immediately.

Tip: Soak kitchen string in water so it doesn't burn on the barbecue.

Vegetable Samosas

Serves: 4-6 | Preparation Time: 50 mins

Ingredients 

  • 500g (about 3) sebago (brushed) potatoes, peeled
  • 20g ghee
  • 1 long fresh green chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 4 sheets (25 x 25cm) ready-rolled frozen puff pastry, just thawed
  • Vegetable oil, to deep fry

 

Instructions 

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Coarsely chop.

Heat the ghee in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the potato, green chilli, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric and chilli powder and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until aromatic. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until combined. Remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Stir in the coriander.

Use an 11cm-diameter round cutter to cut out 16 discs from the pastry. Cut each disc in half to make a semi-circle. Place two teaspoonfuls of the potato mixture in the centre of the pastry. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and make a triangle shape. Press the edges of the pastry with a fork to seal.

Meanwhile, to make the fresh green chutney, place the chili, mint and coriander in the bowl of a small food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the yoghurt and lemon juice and process until combined.

Add enough oil to a medium saucepan to reach a depth of 3cm. Heat to 170°C over medium-high heat (when the oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden in 20 seconds). Carefully add 2-3 samosas and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 5 more batches, with remaining samosas, reheating the oil between batches.

Place the samosas on a serving plate and serve with the fresh green chutney.

Figs with Prosciutto, Goats Cheese & Almonds

Serves: 4 | Preparation Time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 4 figs, large
  • 4 prosciutto, thin strips
  • 70g soft goats cheese
  • 70g mascarpone
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp salted almonds
  • 4 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cut a cross into the top of the fig so you can open it up like a baked potato. Wrap each fig in a piece of prosciutto and place on a tray with grease proof paper.

Mix the goats cheese, marscapone, chives and seasoning and spoon inside the figs. Bake for 5 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp. Scatter with almonds and serve on a bed of rocket.

Eggplant Crisps

Serves: 2 | Preparation Time: 5 min

Ingredients 

  • 1 eggplant
  • garlic olive oil

Instructions 

Slice your eggplant into 10mm thick disks.
Lay them flat on a chopping board and brush with garlic olive oil (I always have a jar with olive oil and a couple of crushed raw garlic cloves and a bay leaf in my cupboard. Only keep it for a week, but it is great on nearly everything). Season well and place directly on the racks of your oven. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Depending on the growing conditions they may not always crisp up. They are still great as an appetiser or sliced into pasta dishes.