For our first recipe of Spring 2021, and we thought it fitting to bring you a versatile salad recipe that showcases our delicious, 100% buckwheat soba noodles. Light and fresh, yet also comforting and substantial, they're the perfect lockdown lunch or iso supper. It's made with ingredients most of us have in the pantry and veg crisper. Versatile, and ready in 15 minutes, Soba Noodle Salad is easy to prepare for 1 person or many. It's Soba Noodle Salad, your way.
200g Soba noodles
A combination of approximately 2 cups of your vegetables of choice. (For this recipe I used sliced green beans, broccoli cut into small florets, ¼ red capsicum sliced thinly, and edamame).
1 shallot, both green and white parts, sliced thinly
Small handful chopped coriander
A small sprinkling of sesame seeds, white or black
1 red chilli, finely sliced (optional)
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved (optional)
For the dressing:
2 tbsp tamari or soy
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive or peanut oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 tsp brown sugar
Things to have ready:
Bowl of iced water
And remember to pre-boil some eggs if using!
¾ fill a large pot with water, add a tsp salt and bring to a boil.
Cook the soba noodles in the boiling water for about 6 minutes. In the last minute add green beans, frozen edamame and broccoli, or any other veg you're using that needs a quick blanching.
While the noodles are cooking, chop your remaining veggies and herbs (capsicum, shallots, coriander, ginger, garlic).
Drain and transfer noodles and veg into an ice bath (just a bowl of iced water, with ice cubes). This not only stops the cooking process immediately but helps maintain a bright colour in the blanched veggies. Drain the noodles and veggies and transfer them to a large serving bowl. Add remaining salad veg (capsicum and shallots).
Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, pop the lid on and shake it vigorously for 10 seconds or so. Pour dressing over the noodles and veg.
Garnish with coriander, chilli if using, and sesame seeds. If using eggs, place them on top of your salad and serve.
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Ask Italians the correct way to cook bolognese, ragu, gnocchi or polenta and you'll get a different answer from all of them. And they're all correct! Ingredients and methods vary between regions, creating unique geographical and cultural signatures on the food.
Pesto is no exception. Recently, a charming Sicilian customer was delighted with our vibrant and fresh Australian grown Pistachios, and told me about his family's pesto recipe.
In the south, he said, it's common to have Pesto made from pistachios, basil, olive oil, mint and parmesan. He was insistent on 3 things:
1. Unlike the classic pine nut pesto that most of us are familiar with, which uses just a handful of nuts to a whole bunch of basil. The pistachio version should be all about the pistachios, with the rest of the ingredients playing second fiddle. The mixture should be ⅔ pistachios.
2. Don't grind it finely. You should be able to see some pistachio pieces at the end.
3. "No garlic!"
Here is my attempt at his beloved Pistachio Pesto. It was absolutely delicious. Hope you all enjoy it!
Pasta alla Trapanese, aka Pistachio Pesto
400 g pasta of choice
200g raw pistachios
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
40 g Parmesan or Pecorino grated
salt for pasta and to season
pepper to season
½ bunch basil, leaves only
Handful mint leaves
Put a large pot of water onto a boil for the pasta. Salt generously. "Pasta water should taste like the sea".
Put the pistachios in a blender or food processor, add the grated cheese, lemon juice, herbs and half of the olive oil.
As you start to blend/pulse add the rest of the olive oil until you get a dense pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the pasta al dente. Save a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta and return it to the pan.
Add some of the pasta cooking water to the pesto to make it a little more liquidy and creamier. This step is crucial. It really elevates the pesto to something special.
Then add the pistachio pesto to the pasta and mix together well.
Serve immediately with extra grated cheese as required.
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*Fried breadcrumbs are a fabulous addition. Tear 2-3 slices of stale bread into pieces and blitz briefly in the food processor until you have coarse crumbs. Then pan fry them gently in a low to medium pan with a splash of olive oil until just crunchy. Use as garnish before serving.
*If pesto without garlic just feels wrong to you, please add a clove. I recommend sautéing it low and slow first to mellow the flavour.
*Mr Sicilian says that almonds are often used in addition to or in place of pistachios. Roasted gives a better texture
*I love hazelnut pesto. It brings a really unique, modern flavour to the classic simplicity of pesto. Use raw or roasted hazelnuts. No need to remove skin, as it's a rustic dish.
It was the humble lima bean that cemented my love of legumes. Other beans all have their place in my cooking arsenal, but lima beans, with their creamy and comforting texture, are my absolute favourite.
When I discovered that they also go by the names Butter Beans and Gigante, a plethora of recipes became available to me! This one is my favourite. Enjoy as a hearty breakfast with a slice of buttery toast, a relaxed and cosy supper, or as a side dish for a bigger feast.
250g dried lima/ butter beans
100ml olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes OR 800g ripe tomatoes,roughly chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
½ tsp lemon myrtle (optional)
Handful flat-leaf parsley or oregano, finely chopped
100g feta or goats cheese (optional)
The night before, pop your lima beans in a large cooking pot. Cover with cold tap water - the beans absorb a lot, so really fill that pot to the brim! Cover and leave overnight. 8-12 hours is ideal soaking time.
The next day, drain the water and replace with fresh tap water then set it on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to get a nice gentle simmer for 20-30 mins. They should be almost soft, ¾ cooked. Drain, but keep a cup of the cooking liquid.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof lidded casserole pot, and cook the onions, carrots and celery on low-medium heat until tender and the onions are soft and transparent, but not browned. Stir in the remaining ingredients - garlic, tomatoes, lemon, paprika, oregano, sugar, vegetable stock, lemon myrtle (if using) Add in half of the chopped herbs and feta (if using).
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Cook over a gentle heat for a further 5 mins, then pour over the reserved bean cooking liquid. Cover the dish and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. Check occasionally that the beans are not drying out – add a little more water if needed.
Remove the lid and bake for 5 mins more.
Stir through the reserved chopped herbs, season to taste, then crumble over the remaining feta, along with a generous glug of olive oil just before serving.
Can be made 2 days ahead and reheated. It also freezes well for up to 6 months.
There are many reasons to love shortbread, both the making and eating:
Shortbread is generally made with regular flour. Today, we're using kamut. The result is a rich, deep flavour that I think you'll love as much as we do.
You'll notice I include a bit of rice flour in the recipe. This helps give the shortbread light texture and perfect crumb. If you don't have rice flour on hand, just add an extra 50g kamut.
200g kamut flour
50g white rice flour
125g butter (or Nutalex)
70g caster sugar
1 tbsp lavender flowers
1 tbsp lemon juice
Cream butter and sugar until light and airy, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Don't go too crazy or it'll be a tough shortbread.
Press into the bottom of tart or cake tin - one with a removable base!.
Cut into slices with a knife then prick all over with a fork.
Pop in the fridge for 15 mins. Then turn your oven on to 170C (150C fan forced).
Bake on the centre rack of the oven for 20 mins. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 mins before carefully removing from the tin and sliding onto a cooling rack.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge; it'll keep for up to a week. Freezes really well for up to 3 months.
This anytime recipe is a great one to have in your arsenal, as most of the ingredients can be found in the pantry. Whether it's served as a quick midweek dinner or as an accompaniment to a fancier feast, I think you'll find that it's a handy dish to keep up your sleeve. Winner winner, midweek dinner!
Serves 3-4 as a main and up to 6 as a side.
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups water
1 tsp veg stock powder
2 tsp dried currants
1 cup wholemeal couscous
Handful chopped fresh mint or coriander
3-4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, dry-fry the almonds for 1 min over a medium heat until they just start to turn golden. Tip the almonds immediately into a bowl and set aside. Put the saucepan back on the stove.
Heat the oil and butter* in the saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add couscous and stir for 1 minute. Add the water and stock powder, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the currants, cover pan with a lid, remove the pan from the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes with lid on so the currants can plump and the couscous can absorb all the stock.
Remove the lid. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add the fresh herbs, dates, lemon juice and almonds and fold them into the couscous. Serve immediately or pop in the fridge to enjoy as a salad the next day.
*Why use a combination of butter and oil?
When you want that unbeatable, fried buttery taste but want to cook at higher temps, adding a glug of oil will help prevent burning, as oil has a higher smoke point!
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*Add some cooked chickpeas or lentils at the end of cooking time
* Try adding a tsp or 2 of our Falafel Mix to rev up the flavour
* Toppings - sprinkle on some Dukkah just before serving. Or, for a truly top-shelf finish, crumble some of our Rose, Pistachio and Orange Buckinis over the top - so good!