Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tomato & Leek Tart Recipe

This week's hilbarn box includes baby leeks from Brighton and cherry tomatoes from Turners Beach - plus a simple recipe that uses both. Hil made this tart today for a pre-packing snack.


1 sheet puff pastry
2/3 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 bunch baby leeks
knob of butter
Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
60 g goats cheese (or to your taste)
salt & pepper
fresh oregano

Leave sheet of pastry to defrost for 10 minutes. Sauté leeks lightly in knob of butter for 10 mins. Add garlic and sauté for a further 5 mins. Leave to cool. Chop cherry tomatoes in half and mix in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grease/spray oven tray with olive oil. Lay pastry sheet on tray. Leaving a two-inch gap around pastry edges, cover centre of pastry with a circle of leeks, followed by crumbled goats cheese, and a layer of tomatoes on top.  Brush outside edge of pastry square with milk. Fold in outside edges and pinch roughly for a rustic look. Bake in moderate oven (190 Celsius) for approximately 20 mins or until top starts to brown and tart smells lovely. Remove from oven and sprinkle handful of fresh herbs on top. Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The 24 Hour Rainbow

It's been rainbow-crazy in the valley. Yesterday it seemed we were being surrounded by them as the weather went from rain to sunshine and back again. Then Lyndy rang to say her rainbow salad silver beet leaves were ready for this week's hilbarn boxes. We'll be collecting fresh rainbows from the Pinners tomorrow then... And today, after dropping in at the Devonport Farmers' Market to pick up a few tomato plants for the garden, and before heading across country to collect caulis from Laurie in Barrington, we couldn't help but stop by the roadside at Penguin and snap the rainbow-coloured nature trail - at its floral best in Spring.

Monday, September 17, 2012

This week's box

In today's hilbarn boxes, you'll find red fantasy potatoes from Wayne in Holwell; kale and pak choy from Alan at Northdown; carrots, red onions and parsnips from Glen and Dinah in Scottsdale; baby spinach from Brighton; Shearwater bean sprouts; organic roquette from York Town, and a recipe for Fennel Pasta to go with Va and Pheng's Florence fennel (left) from East Devonport. 

FENNEL PASTA (makes 2 to 3 serves)

250g spaghetti or other long noodles
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. red chilli flakes
1 bulb fennel, halved and thinly sliced
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Parmesan, pecorino, or asiago cheese for garnishing

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until tender, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before you drain the noodles. Heat the oil in a large frying or saute pan. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until it just starts to turn golden and brown at the edges. Add chilli flakes (or fresh chilli), stir to combine. Add fennel, fennel seeds and salt and cook, stirring, until fennel softens a bit, about 2 mins. Add wine, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until fennel is quite tender, about 5 minutes. Stir through parsley. Add drained pasta and reserved pasta liquid, stir to combine, increase heat back to medium high, and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed/evaporated and all the flavors combine, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with plenty of parmesan, pecorino, or whatever hard cheese you like on top of your pasta.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Watercress Soup

Every week for the past few weeks we've been annoying Alan asking him if his watercress was ready. Well, this week, here it is! It's so good we had to find a soup recipe to honour it. Try it, and let us know what you think. We had it in a tea cup tonight while we were packing. Verdict: warming and wanting more.


50 g butter
200 g potatoes, peeled and chopped, 
1 onion (or 2 shallots), peeled and chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper
500 ml vegetable stock (or water)
150 ml creamy milk (or buttermilk)
160 g chopped watercress (stalks removed)

Melt butter in saucepan and when it foams add potatoes and onions and toss them until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and sweat over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Prepare watercress. When vegetables are almost soft but not coloured, add stock and milk, bring to boil and cook until the potatoes and onions are tender. Add the watercress and boil with the lid off for about 4 to 5 minutes until the watercress is cooked. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh green colour. Puree the soup in a liquidizer or food processor. Taste and correct the seasoning, serve immediately.

Alan with his freshly harvested watercress
* This is a version of Darina Allen’s recipe who explains in her book “Ballymaloe Cookery Course” that, according to early Irish manuscripts, watercress formed part of the diet of hermits and holy men in Ireland.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Love A Camellia

Spring, warmth, peace, growth... Nature's jewels are free! Pick a flower and hook it in your zip. Can't wait to find out what's ripening and who's harvesting for next week's hilbarn boxes. We order tomorrow morning from farmers and growers around the state. If you're one and we don't know you already, please do get in touch. We're always on the hunt for fresh and local seasonal produce. If it's surplus - in back gardens' or in broad acres - we still pay, regardless. And you set the price. Just so long as it's fresh and tasty!