red and green

So many lovely shades of red and green around here and on our plates... from the thick loquat leaves (and it's willie wagtail chicks), the daily tomato and zucchini harvests, little ones picking huge cucumbers and green beans, ripening pomegranates, apples and plums, to the mint bushes growing happily by the side of our little house - so blessed for the summer harvest. We've been busy learning to preserve pasata, pickles and sauces using the Fowler method, make semi-dried tomatoes with local olive oil, garlic and herbs, julienne zucchinis for "spaghetti" the gluten-free way, oh and every now again use our glorious eggs and cream for a pavlova treat. What colours are you cooking and eating these days?

Very Vegetable "Spaghetti Bolognese"
2 tablespoons butter
1 large brown onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large celery stalks
2 medium-sized carrots
600g pastured beef mince
4 cups tomato puree/passata/chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
fresh (or dried) parsley, oregano, thyme + bay leaves
1 tablespoon grass-fed gelatin mixed in 1/4 cup cold water
1 cup garden peas
2 large zucchinis, julienned
freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving

In a saucepan melt butter and gently saute onions until soft. Stir in garlic and cook for a further minute. Stir in celery and carrot, cover with lid for a few minutes to soften. Stir in beef until meat is lightly brown all over. Stir in tomatoes and herbs to your tasting (I like 1/2 cup chopped parsley  2 teaspoons of oregano and thyme chopped and 2 bay leaves) and gelatine  Bring to a gentle simmer and leave covered for 30minutes - 1 hour, adding more water if needed. In the last few minutes of cooking stir through garden peas (fresh or frozen). Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to the boil and rapidly cook zucchini spaghetti with has been cut in fine strips. Strain and serve with generous spoons of meaty sauce and grated parmesan.

Summertime Pavlova
6 free-range egg whites
pinch sea salt
1 cup rapadura sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons arrowroot flour (cornflower will work too)
2 cups pure cream (for whipping)  
fruit of your choosing

Preheat oven to 140'c. In a clean bowl beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until sugar is dissolved. Stir in vinegar, flour and vanilla. Line two trays with baking paper. Carefully pour out half of mixture onto one tray in a heaped circle (about 20cm in diameter). Bake for 1 hour and let cool in the oven - the tops will look cracked and slightly golden (the rapadura sugar darkens the pavlova as well). Whip cream and spread half over the top of one of pavlovas - sit the other on top and cover with remaining cream. Adorn with summer fruit - I love the combination of banana, tart green grapes, blueberries and sprigs of garden mint.