In My Kitchen

In my kitchen over November

My silver beet tower and broad bean mountain are so much smaller than last month — phew! Thanks to everyone who visited last month — so many silver beet lovers out there! However I may have a similar tower and mountain problem a little way down the track. I had sworn off silver beet [chard] plants and the broad beans were ready to be cut down when lo and behold, there was a neighbour with spare tomato and silver beet seedlings. I couldn’t refuse them, just had to plant them and the broad beans are reshooting…..

Anyway, out of the garden and into the kitchen. This month I have made a couple of  recipes from other bloggers. So lots of yumminess 🙂

Firstly there was Celia’s Cranberry, Apple and Walnut Cake. I would recommend making that one. Jump on over to her blog, Thekitchensgarden. Even if you don’t want to make the cake, her blog is a joy to read, full of wit and wisdom.

Celia's apple, walnut and cranberry cake (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
Celia’s apple, walnut and cranberry cake (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Then there was another cake from our other wonderful Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, who hosts In My Kitchen. It was a seriously delicious ricotta slice. And her site is an inspiration to bake and share! The cake was so good that I had to ban the Fella from eating the last slice before I photographed it!

Hmmmm, yummy! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
Hmmmm, yummy! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

I will make them both again. However, in my usual fashion I did muck around with the recipes a bit (“Whoops, I don’t have any of that, I will try this instead”) so they could well be different.

At this time of year we go to parties and get-togethers where we are told ‘to bring a plate’. I love to do this. Not only does it mean the hosts don’t have to provide everything, but you get to sample lovely goodies from a range of people. Yesterday I met up with friends and came away with a few new recipes to try. My contribution was a beetroot salad.

I roasted the beetroots, par boiled some green beans, toasted some pine nuts. I put it all on a serving platter, tossed around some feta cheese and drizzled over olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Colourful and tasty.

Lastly I want to show you another staple in my kitchen. It is a drawer for the compost. You can see from the photos that it is a simple arrangement and the plastic box is easy to remove to dump the veggie peelings into the compost bin out in the garden. It is also easy to clean and tucks away out of sight. My architect suggested it when I had the kitchen renovated many years ago. It is one of the Best Things, and I would highly recommend it. 🙂

What’s happening in your kitchen this month? Don’t forget to pop over to Celia’s blog and take a peek into kitchens from around the world.

In My Kitchen

In my kitchen….

In my kitchen are broad beans and silver beet leaves. [You might call it ‘chard’.] While I was away the garden grew at a wild rate and now I have a tower of silver beet and a mountain of broad beans. Look at the size of the silver beet leaf. That’s a dessert spoon beside it!

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So I have been investigating, and inventing, recipes to use up the tower and the mountain.

Firstly I made a pesto with the silver beet. I used the fresh little leaves that were growing on the stem going to seed. I added in some parsley, because that is going wild as well; tossed in a handful of roasted almonds that were too stale to eat fresh, some pine nuts and some lemon zest; blitzed the lot and stirred into warm pasta.

With the pasta was a broad bean salad. I blanched the beans and put them with some salad veggies that had travelled around South Australia with us. I made a quick dressing with some of the lemon infused oil that I learnt how to make from some of you.

Last night I made a different broad bean salad. I based it on tabouli, but used quinoa as well as parsley and the beans, lemon zest and lemon oil. For this one I hulled the beans after I blanched them. I wanted the vivid green of the inside beans with the parsley and quinoa.

Silver beet makes a good soup too, although it does look rather like a science experiment gone wrong!


Cook up an onion, potato, garlic and silver beet in stock. You wont be surprised to know that I also blanched some beans and more silver beet, pureed that and added it to the soup for extra thickness. The feta cheese crumbled in gave it a good tang. You may be curious to see that my secret ingredient was…….


Yep, Vegemite! The jar was empty, but the scrapings were just too good to leave. I sluiced in some hot water to make some extra stock.

Spanakopita is the classic dish to make with green leafed vegetables like silver beet and spinach. I used the recipe on the back of the fillo pastry box and it turned out a treat.

  • Steam the silver beet. [How much is a bit difficult, as a large amount of leaves cook down to not much. The recipe says ‘a bunch’. I use as much as will fit tightly into the saucepan.] When it is cooked, let it cool and then squeeze out the moisture.
  • Cook an onion.
  • Add the leaves and the onion to 100g of feta cheese and 500g of ricotta [although I think my tub might have only been 250g]. the recipe says to add mint leaves too. They would have added a nice freshness, but my mint hasn’t grown wildly yet, so I didn’t have any to add. It also called for nutmeg, which I don’t really like. I didn’t put it in. Mix it all together
  • Then layer the fillo pastry sheets into your baking dish, spraying with oil as you go. Spoon in the mixture and smooth it out.


  • If you leave some of the fillo over the edge of the dish you can then fold it over the mixture. Scrunch up a couple of other sheets of pastry and add as a flamboyant top to the pie. Spray that with a little more oil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 220 degrees C.


Doesn’t that look fancy! Delicious with my glass of wine.


Of course, the silver beet tower and broad bean mountain continue to grow. Any suggestions for recipes?

Thanks, as always, to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting In my kitchen….It’s the perfect place for food ideas and inspiration. Make sure you check out Celia’s recipe for her hazelnut, pecan and almond sourdough loaf. Oh my!

How does my garden grow? Plants

How does my veggie garden grow?

I was going to show these photos in my earlier post about Autumn in my garden. However, I was using the WordPress app for the first time and finding that adding photos was a little trickier than I was expecting. I can’t seem to add captions, and that surprised me.

Let’s begin anew, with apologies for any glitches in the last one and glitches that may be there in this one!

I have told you that my veggie garden, which is in the front yard, had been a waste land over summer. In March I dug and mounded and added compost. Then I planted. Look at what is coming up.

Remember this silver beet that had been lingering in a pot? It is much happier now. Behind the 5 silver beet plants are rapa. Nope, I had never heard of it either. It is a relative of broccoli, but you eat the leaves instead. I will keep you informed.

The leeks are not quite big enough for leek and potato soup, but they are doing well. That’s garlic growing behind. My neighbour told me today that she gets a severe reaction from garlic. Wouldn’t it be sad not to have garlic in your diet?

The broad beans are also doing well. I planted more seeds about two weeks
after these poked their leaves through the soil. The idea is to crop beans over a longer period. Good idea only if you like broad beans!

Lastly, the parsley is still growing strongly!