Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
While the nights are still cold and the days chilly, there is only a certain amount of winter produce around, look a little harder and you may just find something a little different. This vegetable was once preferred over the potato and for a root vegetable that is not from Jerusalem or a member of the artichoke family the sun root, sun choke or more commonly what is known as the Jerusalem Artichoke, has had a lively and interesting past dating back to the 1500’s and beyond.
Being associated with leporcy has not helped this vegetable grow in popularity, this was attributed to the irregular shape and brown mottled skin that resembled the deformed finger of those unfortunate to have this disease. The sun choke is actually a tuber, or underground stem, that resembles a small knobby potato or a piece of gingerroot. It has a sweet, almost nutty taste and a crisp texture that is quite distinctive – once tried, always remembered
Thought there was only one type of Artichoke, think again !
The Jerusalem Artichoke (sun flower family and only available in winter) should not get confused with the Globe Artichoke (thistle family, available in spring), Chinese Artichoke or Crosnes (mint family, available late summer) but it will get the blame for causing flatulence with some people !. It can be found in the gardens of many home growers as it is a vegetable that does not sit well on supermarket shelf’s and can be frustrating for people to peel. The solution is to scrub well, breaking into serving size pieces and then roast/blanch with the skin on in the oven until just soft. The taste and texture will provide much discussion at the dinner table and if that does not then the side affects certainly will!
Roasted artichokes with Wild Bacon and Cabbage
50 g Butter
3 cloves Garlic
1 t Caraway Seeds, toasted
200 g Wild Bacon
1 cup Chicken Stock
300 g Artichokes, washed
½ t Salt
¼ t freshly ground Black Pepper
Sweat Onion and Garlic in Butter until soft, add cabbage and stock and turn to the lowest heat seating for 10-15 minutes stirring often. Add toasted Caraway seeds and wild Bacon and season to taste. On a baking tray add sliced Artichokes and 2 T olive oil and bake 180 degrees until golden brown. Serve Cabbage and Artichokes along side roasted lamb or beef
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
After having travelled the world and tasted many different things, I was a little surprised upon discovering what was growing in the Marlborough Community Gardens.
Richard Hunter is a founding member and trustee of the gardens and it was with a smile on his face that he handed us our first taste of yacon.
As you peel back the skin on the tuber with a sharp knife, you will encounter a refreshing and sweet-tasting flesh that is highly sought after in South America. It is referred to as the apple of the earth and there is certainly a place for it at the table.
A close relative of the sunflower and my favourite, the jerusalem artichoke, the yacon tubers contain inulin, an indigestible sugar, which means that although they have a sweet flavour, the tubers contain fewer calories than would be expected.
Refreshing, earthy and full of tropical flavours, this was a new taste experience. In South America, yacon tubers can have yellow, orange, red, pink and even purple flesh, all with distinct flavours. All varieties have a crunchy texture, and the water content is high enough to make juice.
Many South Americans put yacon in a fruit salad called salpicon because the tubers add a crunchy texture to the mix. Yacon also can be stir-fried, roasted, baked or made into pies and healthy chips.
I'm always keen to try something new, but after sampling Buddha's hand citron last year and yacon just recently, it would be good to finish off with an old-fashioned Kiwi pav.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
3 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1 Tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla essence
Beat egg whites until stiff. Add sugar, a heaped tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle vinegar, cornflour and vanilla essence into mixture. Beat until blended. Coat baking paper with water drops to allow it to stick to the baking tray and pile pavlova mixture in a 20 centimetre circle. Heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Put pav in oven and immediately turn heat down to 125C and leave for 1 hour. Then turn the oven off and leave the pav in it until cold (usually overnight). This makes a nice crust on the outside.