September 30, 2014

If it’s fresh, local, organic and goes in a jar, Julie Sullivan can preserve it. Our local pickling queen shares ideas on what you can do with the best spring produce.

Bust out the barbie

It’s time to bust out the barbecue again and dine alfresco with friends. Grab your meat from ‘Sharpy’ at Pitt town Quality Meats who featured in our last blog post. Kebabs are great for entertaining as they can be prepared in advance, and chicken kebabs are a real people-pleaser. The night or morning before, grab some skewers and alternate chicken pieces with chunks of capsicum, pineapple, zucchini and onion. Combine some honey, soy sauce, curry powder and sesame oil, and brush over the skewers. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge until ready to cook. Don’t forget to order fresh bread rolls from the Pitt Town Baker – they are the best.

Green fingers

While you can get plenty of freshly picked fruit and veg from the Hawkesbury Farm Gate, it can be so satisfying to grow your own, and spring is a great time to start.

My garden will be filled with basil, parsley, rocket, chilli and other herbs – perfect for all my market products, and I can make sure they are grown organically.

The perfect guest

You’re sure to get a few invites to other people’s homes this season, so what do you take along? I’d recommend a potato and pumpkin salad, tabouli made with brown rice and cucumber, and a grated carrot salad with coconut, currants and lime juice. Healthy, delicious and ideal to serve with a barbecue.

Seasonal adjustment

Mulberries will soon come into season and the jam I make with them is always a fast sell-out. Get in quick and slather this on your toast in the morning, or use it when baking tarts and pies for a nice seasonal twist.

Comfort food

For those chillier spring nights, I like to whip up a lamb curry with steamed rice and kale. It’s so easy, you can even pop it in the slow cooker. Sharpy the Pitt Town butcher who features in our last blog post will be more than happy to debone and dice a nice lamb shoulder for you. Serve with my Indian Lime Pickle for a truly comforting curry that’s packed with flavour.


Lamb Curry with Steamed Rice and kale

Serves 4–6
¼ cup good-quality olive oil
1-2kg boned lamb shoulder, cubed
2 cups water or 400ml can coconut milk (optional)
½ tin chopped tomatoes (or 2-3 chopped fresh tomatoes)
cup rice per person, to serve
½ bunch kale, finely shredded (optional)
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Curry paste
4 cloves garlic
2cm piece fresh ginger
1 large onion, coarsley chopped
¼ bunch coriander (optional)
2 tsp turmeric
1½ tsp chilli flakes (or 2–3 fresh chillies)
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp garam masala
1½ tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
¾ tsp salt

  1. Blend together all the curry paste ingredients in a blender. Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and sauté the paste until just sticky. Add the meat and sauté gently.
  2. Cover the meat with the water or coconut milk. Add the tomato and simmer gently for 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the meat is tender. Add more liquid if the meat becomes too dry.
  3. If using kale, reduce the amount of water by ¾ cup when steaming the rice. In the last 10 minutes, or just before all the water evaporates, add the kale.
  4. Serve the lamb curry with the steamed rice and kale. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with Julie’s Kitchen Indian Lime Pickle as an accompaniment.

You’ll find Julie at the Windsor Mall Markets in spring, on the second, fourth and fifth Sundays of each month, or on Facebook.

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