January 24, 2017

What’s happening in the garden?
I am loving my vegetable garden thanks to my experiment with trench composting during winter. The earthworms have multiplied and are doing all the hard work of aerating and fertilising. I’m harvesting beetroot, spring onions, tomatoes, yellow beans, English spinach, basil, parsley and carrots. Sugar cane mulch is keeping the weeds down and helping to retain moisture on very hot days.

What is your favourite summer ingredient?
Cucumber is my favourite summer food. It is abundant, keeps you hydrated, flushes out toxins and despite being 95 per cent pure water contains many vitamins and antioxidants. There is also nothing like freshly made tzatziki dip – all you need is Greek yoghurt, garlic, mint, salt and cucumber. 

What do you like to cook for your family during summer?
The outdoor BBQ becomes my summer kitchen and this summer I’m looking forward to slow roasting pork shoulder. A ‘self-saucing’ pulled pork can be created by adding sliced red capsicum and tomatoes, onion, garlic, brown sugar, smoky paprika, pepper plus a good splash of apple cider or chicken stock. The pork should be covered with foil and cooked around 160°C for two to three hours, remove foil, give everything a good stir, turn over the pork, add more liquid if needed, and cook until meat caramelises. When cooked, cover again and rest for at least 30 minutes, skim excess fat from the surface of the sauce with kitchen paper.

 What’s summer like at Pitt Town?
Summer in Pitt Town can revolve around the river; fishing, boating, skiing, kayaking and swimming. Cricket is also a very popular summer tradition that dominates the local ovals with players and their dedicated families and fans.

 Any tips for stress-free entertaining?
My tips for stress-free festive entertainment are “lists” and “delegation”. If it’s not on the list it may not get done, and delegating can certainly reduce the stress.

 

Crunchy Honey Almond Bars
Makes 12 bars
My summer recipe is for a very tasty nut bar. I did experiment by replacing the butter with coconut oil, however the result, while delicious, did not hold together.

 

Ingredients

In one bowl, mix together:

  • 1½ cups pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup roughly chopped almonds
  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • Pinch salt
  • Melt together:
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 60g butter
  • ½ cup raw sugar

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C and line a lamington tin with baking paper.
  2. Pour slightly cooled melted honey mix into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly – note the mixture will now look very crumbly.
  3. Press mix evenly and firmly into the lined tin using the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake approx. 20-25 minutes or until golden – it is better to slightly overcook to achieve a crunchy, roasted nut result.
  5. Allow to fully cool before lifting from tin and cutting into bars on a chopping board.

Individual bars can be wrapped in foil and frozen for a quick and healthy lunch box treat.

 

By Julie Sullivan, Food Guru.

Expect more at Vermont

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