Category Eat

PASTA LOVE – Learn how to make pasta from Italian nonne

pasta

Much can be made of pasta but ultimately its beauty lies in its simplicity. In its most basic form, fresh pasta is simply flour plus hydration in the form of water or eggs.

The simple act of making pasta is an act of love. Watch any nonna make pasta and this is abundantly clear. Pasta feeds people. It can be the easiest meal to prepare or the most intensive labour of love. It can have just three or four ingredients. It can showcase the finest truffles or wild mushrooms, decadent and special. But ultimately it feeds people, lots of people.

The world of pasta is seemingly endless. There are more shapes than you could name and, confusingly, there are often multiple names for the exact same shape, but the four elements of any pasta dish are the same; shape, starch, sauce and fat. Bringing these all together in the pan is the best way to finish a pasta dish.

SEASONAL EATING – The flavour and environmental benefits of eating with the seasons

greens

Embracing seasonality is about understanding the cycles of the land and the climate – even, or especially, as it changes – and knowing they have the ability to make things taste the best possible versions of themselves.

Seasonality has a unique ability to present fresh foods to you at their highest peak of tastiness. Winter frosts bring out the sugars of sprouts and parsnips; sunshine doesn’t just sweeten summer’s peaches but develops an authentic depth of flavour, too.

Immersing yourself in seasonal produce can be a much- needed reminder of how much potential there is in seasonal cooking and eating, and in the joy these foods bring. Use winter’s wealth of deep green (or purple, or red) leaves to wrap up bundles of warm savoury fillings. Shred them for dumplings and serve with an aromatic broth.

TESTS OF TIME – Old-fashioned family preserving recipes

flavors

Throughout history and across many cultures, humans have always found ways to preserve food. As we farewell summer and her generous abundance, the Pip team recalls some old-fashioned family favourites.

Every family has one or two recipes that have been prepared, eaten and handed down through generations. Recipes that evoke memories of family gatherings, holidays and special occasions, harbouring a strong emotional connection through both their taste and aroma. However, the tradition of handing down preserving recipes between generations is probably as much about practicalities as it is about cultural and familial considerations, because families engaged in food preservation can save money, reduce waste and increase the likelihood of having a stable food supply throughout the year.

Whether critical to surviving harsh winters, to provide nutrition during long voyages or simply to ensure no food ever went to waste, preserving gave the ability to consume certain produce out of season and played a vital role in human survival throughout time.

DESSERT SPICES – How spices add warmth and complexity to desserts

spices

Commonly associated with savoury dishes, spices can add a warmth and complexity to your sweet desserts – a tasty way to use up the last of your summer produce.

In sweet cookery, spice can provide a delicate fragrance, hard to put your finger on but one that gives backbone to a dish. It can balance tartness and tone down things that are overly sweet.

Flavours can be enhanced by a thoughtful addition from the spice cupboard, making chocolate more chocolaty and fruit taste more of itself. Added not in shouts but in whispers, an intrigue of spice deepens allure.

You can’t enjoy spices in isolation, they need foods to bounce off, so cooking with them is an art of creating relationships. Like any successful marriage, when paired with the right ingredients they will bring out the best in each other.

SEA URCHINS – Foraging and preparing sea urchins

roe

Looking every bit a strange creature from the deep, sea urchins are a seafood delicacy. But not only are they good for you and breeding in abundance, they’re playing a significant role in our underwater ecosystems.

There are 950 different species of sea urchin found in all parts of the world, of these about 18 are edible. In Australia there are three main sea urchin species harvested for eating; the purple or short-spined sea urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma), the long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) and the red sea urchin (H. tuberculata).

GROW IT, DRINK IT – Growing cocktail ingredients in your garden

tepache

With the summer months upon us, now’s the time to look at how to turn the food you have growing in your garden into refreshing cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.

Growing cocktail garden you can harvest from your garden is a lot more than growing garnishes. It’s about selecting the right botanicals which will impart a unique flavour and ultimately become a key ingredient and integral part of the cocktail.

Whether you’re growing herbs such as common mint, exotic fruits such as African-horned cucumber, or chilli varieties such the Aleppo pepper, every plant has a role to play in both the garden and in the glass.

VITAL ORGANS – Incorporating offal into your diet

pate

Underrated and misunderstood, incorporating offal into our diets is highly nutritious and inexpensive way to eat more sustainably.

You don’t have to go back very many generations to find a time when organs were the most prized part of an animal to consume. As well as having a far higher nutritional value than the muscle meat we tend to favour today, incorporating what is these days considered waste products into our diets is not only a far more ethical and sustainable way to eat, but it’s nearly always less expensive, too.

OCEAN GREENS – How to harvest & prepare seaweed

seaweed

Seaweed lives and grows in the nutrient- rich waters of the ocean, where it absorbs important vitamins, minerals and trace elements which are often lacking in food grown in soil.

By eating seaweed, we are increasing our vitamin and mineral consumption. The more diverse types of seaweed we eat, the wider the range of nutritional benefits we experience. Different seaweeds contain different nutrients depending on their species and where they are growing.

As well as zinc and iodine, some of the goodness found in seaweeds include Vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E, K, calcium, folate, potassium, iron, magnesium and copper. Some seaweeds contain B12 as well.

GROW TO LOVE – How to turn unloved vegetables into new family favourites.

grow

By learning more ways to cook the lesser- known vegies this season produces, you’re increasing diversity in the kitchen and giving yourself more planting options for your patch.

This time of year produces plenty of vegies that often get overlooked for the garden or in the kitchen because we’re not sure how to get the best from them in a meal. But with a little bit of know-how, winter vegies like brussels sprouts, turnips and okra will go from fillers for stews and soups into stars of meals the whole family will love.

WINTER WEEDS – Foraging winter weeds for added flavour and nutrients in your diet.

weeds

Winter can feel like a bleak, barren time in nature and many gardeners find slim pickings from the patch as we wait for our winter vegies to sweeten with the arrival of frosts. A simple solution to filling the nutrient gap is to turn to foraging. Rather than curse those weeds that crop up between pavers and in dormant vegie beds, why not eat the problem instead? Here are three weeds which are as nutritious as they are common, and really versatile in the kitchen too.

CHICKWEED  (STELLARIA  MEDIA)

Sometimes referred to as common chickweed, chickenwort, winterweed or starwort, chickweed is a sprawling, bright green plant, with a shallow thin root system, identifiable by its tender pointed oval-shaped leaves which grow on alternating sides of its stems. Those stems feature a ‘mohawk’ of soft, curved hairs along one side and a sturdy central vein which exudes a small amount of clear sap when broken. Odourless flowers with five deeply-lobed white petals grow from short stalks in bunches at the end of stems.