Creating a truly local meal–where every part of the meal is produced locally–can be a challenge, but once you get into it, it is also quite addictive. It takes a bit of a mind shift – to look at the harvest first, then let the imagination run wild, and lastly find a recipe for final inspiration.
Traditional recipes have often been developed around harvest time, so finding recipes from somewhere with a climate similar to your own is a great place to start. We now have access to so many plants from different parts of the world that we can get creative, mixing and matching cultural tastes while eating from our own gardens.
When you consider the harvest first, you need to start by looking deeper into what is actually available in the garden, often using plants, and parts of plants, that are otherwise overlooked. This may mean using the same ingredients every day for weeks, so getting creative becomes increasingly important.
We run a small cafe, open just one day each week during spring and autumn, and we aim to use everything possible from our garden. I do some shopping from our local farmers’ market and I also buy a small range of Australian grown organic grains and pulses; other than that it’s truly harvest food.
Pumpkins and broad beans are both vegetables that often come in a glut, so I have included two of our favourite recipes from our cafe for you to try.
ROAST PUMPKIN & GOAT FETA TART
Ingredients, makes two
3 cups Eden Valley plain flour
½ cup olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon salt
a little cold water
1 tray of roasted pumpkin (cut pumpkin into bite-sized cubes, and roast it with a splash of olive oil and sea salt)
sautéed onion/garlic/flavour (depending on what you have in the garden)
2 capsicum, diced
1 bunch spring onion, chopped
250 grams goat feta, crumbled
salt, pepper and fresh garden herbs, to taste
150 grams fresh goat cheese
I usually do this the day before, but an hour or so in the fridge should be fine. Combine flour, oil, egg yolk and salt in a large bowl. Add water slowly, until the mixture holds together well. Place the dough in an airtight container in the fridge.
Remove the dough from fridge and, using a rolling pin, make two tart bases. Place the pastry in greased tart shells, and use a fork to puncture holes in the bottom. Bake blind in a moderate oven until golden brown.
– Filling –
Mix all the filling ingredients together until it looks delicious, taste it as if it’s a deluxe salad, and then add whatever comes to mind to bring it to perfection. Fill the tart bases with mixture.
– Custard –
Blend the eggs and cheese, and pour the mixture over the filling. Bake the tarts in a moderate oven until firm. If they go brown on top, but are not firm in the centre, reduce heat until they’re cooked.
BROAD BEAN & ACACIA SEED DUKKHA FALAFEL
500 g double peeled broad beans
1/4 cup toasted farm spices (fennel seed, coriander seed, dried chilli)
2 fresh green chillies
1/4 cup fresh green coriander seeds
1 cup acacia seed dukkah with spice mix number one (see right)
2 cups of yoghurt
2 cloves of garlic
1 handful of mint
juice of one lemon
salt to taste
Make sure broad beans have been well drained. Dry with a tea towel. Using a blender combine broad beans, spices, chillies, coriander seeds and salt. Roll into balls. Coat with acacia dukkah. Deep fry.
Make a sauce using yoghurt, fresh garlic, mint, lemon juice and salt. Served with a green salad.
ACACIA SEED DUKKHA
1 cup acacia seeds (removed from pod)
home grown spices (see below)
Spread acacia seeds on a baking tray. Roast in a medium oven until golden brown (a few will start popping). Mix with a combination of home grown spices. We have used two mixes:
- Fennel seed, coriander, dried chilli, sea salt.
- Dried rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, garlic & sea salt.
Experiment with amounts until it tastes amazing. Using a small hand held coffee spice grinder grind seeds and spices into fine powder. Store in an airtight container.
Jodie Lane runs Fair Harvest Permaculture in Margaret River, WA