It was our first year growing Broad Beans in the garden here in Canberra and they survived through the winter frosts beautifully to produce a surprising amount of pods that are just now becoming mature enough to pick. Mostly, I’ve been allowing them to reach about the 18-20cm mark, so that they can be shelled and the tender beans inside eaten raw, without peeling. For those that sneakily grow a little larger, I’m hoping to test out Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Spicy Broad Bean Fritters… which very much looks like falafel. I’m already dreaming about sandwiching a few into some home-made flat bread with salad and yoghurt dressing.
The success of the salad below depends greatly upon the freshness and size of the Broad Beans you use. If possible grow them yourself or purchase them from the local farmer’s market and use as soon as possible. I’ve decided not to include quantities, just go with amounts that feel, look and most importantly taste right to you.
Greek-Style Broad (Fava) Bean Salad | Gather and Graze
Place broad beans, feta cheese, olives and mint into a serving bowl and drizzle over with a generous glug of olive oil and a little lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and black pepper before serving immediately.
Being aware of how many Ottolenghi fans are out there, I’ll be surprised if there aren’t at least a few of you who have tried this dish already! It’s a delicious, saucy dish that feels suited to any and all of the seasons, packed full of seafood… and flavour!
In a comforting kind of way, it reminds me very much of a Greek dish that my Mum often makes, called ‘Gharithes Me Feta’ (translates to ‘Prawns with Feta’). She’s been cooking it for years… I think perhaps it was a recipe passed on to her from our Greek neighbours who were (and still are…) fishmongers in Adelaide. Now I realise that Mr Ottolenghi has upped the ante somewhat with the addition of scallops, clams and fragrant strips of lemon zest, but somehow I know that deep down I’m going to be just as likely to think of my Mum whenever I make this in future. The flavours seem so attached to her… and to her kitchen.
I made the decision to use Persian feta when I cooked this for the family the other night and despite it’s decadent creaminess, I felt that it melted a little too much into the dish and that a slightly more robust feta would be a better choice in future.
It’s such a wonderful dish… I hope you give it a go.
Ottolenghi's 'Prawns, Scallops & Clams with Tomato & Feta' | Gather and Graze
600g (Fresh or Tinned) Ripe Tomatoes (Peeled and Chopped)
1 Teaspoon Caster Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano (Chopped)
16 Raw Tiger Prawns (Peeled and Deveined)
12 Large Scallops (Cleaned)
120g Feta Cheese (Broken into 2cm chunks)
3 Spring Onions (thinly sliced)
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Bring the white wine to the boil in a medium saucepan and reduce until only a quarter of the quantity is left.
Add the clams to the saucepan and cover with a lid. Allow to cook over high heat for about 2 minutes (shaking the pan occasionally). Check that the clams have opened, before transferring to a fine sieve to drain, being sure to retain all of the cooking liquid (in a bowl or jug) for later.
Remove the clams from their shells, though you may wish to leave a few with shells on for presentation at the end.
Preheat the oven to 240°C.
Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the garlic in the olive oil until just golden. Add the tomatoes, clam liquid, sugar, chopped oregano and a grinding of pepper and salt. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off three strips of lemon and add them to the sauce. Allow to simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes until the sauce thickens nicely. Taste for seasoning and be sure to discard the lemon peel.
Add the prawns and scallops and stir gently to coat them in the sauce. Allow to cook for just a couple of minutes. Fold in the clams and transfer everything to an ovenproof dish. Scatter with the feta cheese and spring onions (and any of the cooked clams in their shells) and place into the oven for about 5 minutes, until the top of the dish colours a little and the seafood is cooked.
Remove from the oven, squeeze some lemon juice over the top and drizzle with a little extra olive oil.
Perfect served with couscous, rice or bread.
Notes on Cooking
If you like a little heat, feel free to add some chilli flakes to the sauce at the same time as you add the tomatoes.
* Recipe from the cookbook ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
A completely unexpected delight which has stemmed from creating this little blog has been opening up my ‘WordPress Reader’ each morning to discover what my newly-found blogging friends from around the world have been creating in their own kitchens. Their musings, recipes and photos are at once delicious and provide more inspiration and encouragement than they can possibly imagine. For this, I thank you all dearly! You so frequently bring a smile to my face, illuminate light bulbs in my mind and bring calm to my heart in the knowledge that I’m not alone in this passion for all things food related. It’s like discovering a family out there, that I never new I had!
Each and every day, I think about how best to feed my own family – my two children are no longer toddlers, not quite teenagers, but certainly young enough to have determined palates that on the odd occasion will knock a dish down with a single bite. I do encourage them regularly to try new dishes and for the most part with considerable success, but I am forced to realise that my current reality of kitchen capers is not going to be as inspiring in it’s use of ingredients as I would necessarily like. Progress is made slowly, but surely… and for that I must, for the time being, be grateful. All in good time…
If I can encourage even a small number of families out there to give more thought as to how they nourish their children, I’ll be accomplishing what I set out to do… It’s hard not to become despondent at times when you see what others are placing into their supermarket trolleys or see the number of people queuing up for the drive-through of fast food outlets. I have a vivid and still quite sickening picture in my head of watching a toddler sit down, diagonally across from me, on a 9am internal flight within the USA and be handed a cheese-burger to eat (for his breakfast!?). Apart from being offended by the unnatural smell wafting through the cabin at that time of morning, I also felt a deep sense of anger and incomprehension towards the mother – she was allowing her poor innocent child to grow up believing this to be normal. I do realise that this child at least had something going into his stomach, which may not be a daily certainty for all the children of the world; but if getting up a little earlier to have breakfast at home wasn’t an option, perhaps a piece of fresh fruit or a granola/muesli bar from one of the other airport food outlets might have been a wiser choice.
Cooking at home and from scratch needn’t be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. With a little forward-planning and an understanding of which ingredients work well together, we can move towards a much healthier and flavour-rich way of eating. Our children deserve it… We also owe it to ourselves…
Our family enjoyed the following dish over the weekend just gone – I was proud of our eldest child who drizzled some of the yoghurt dressing over his lamb (hooray!), though the youngest opted for some tomato sauce instead (thankfully not so much for the lamb, but for the roasted kipfler potatoes that he’s still not quite sure if he likes…) C’est la vie!
In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic and herbs. Season the lamb generously on both sides with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then rub all over with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for at least a few hours or if possible overnight.
If, like me, you prefer to bring the lamb to room temperature before cooking, remove from the fridge approximately an hour in advance of when you wish to commence cooking.
Pre-heat the barbecue to about 220°C. Grill the lamb for a few minutes on each side until nicely coloured, then turn down the heat to 180°C and continue cooking for another 15 – 20 minutes (depending on the size of your lamb), or until cooked to your liking.
Rest the meat for approximately 10 minutes, before slicing.
Serve with Yoghurt Dressing, roasted potatoes/veggies and some lightly-steamed greens. A fresh salad and crusty bread would also be wonderful if you’re lucky enough to be heading into summer!
For the Yoghurt Dressing:
250g/1 cup Full-Fat Greek Yoghurt
½ cup Fresh Mint (Finely Chopped)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Clove Garlic
Sea Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)
Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour or two before serving to allow all the wonderful flavours to infuse the yoghurt.
Other cuts of lamb will work equally well in this recipe – just be sure to adjust the cooking time to the thickness and cut of your meat.
The choice of herbs is interchangeable as well – though I find that when grilling on the barbecue – thyme and rosemary (along with the garlic) combine so incredibly well with lamb.