Cooking with fair food during Christmas
Let’s face it, most Christmas cooking is meat roasts and sweet things – from puddings and cookies to mulled wines and eggnog – but how can we make sure we’re putting our veg to good use over the festive season?
When integrating sustainable food into our lives, it’s often difficult to use everything in our cooking and this is especially the case when it comes to tricky veg like beetroot or unfamiliar veg like fennel.
At Green Connect farm, we’re really passionate about making fair food accessible to as many people as possible and part of this is providing our community with meal ideas to help them get through their vegbox. Normally we include one recipe every week, but with Christmas coming around we know there’s a lot more cooking to do. So, in this week’s insert, we’re going to cover a variety of Christmas recipes that include the local, chemical-free veg we produce, so you don’t have to “umm” and “ahh” in the kitchen before your guests arrive!
In particular we are looking at different ways to use broccoli, silver beet (and other leafy greens), beetroot, and fennel. Let us know if there are any other veg that you have trouble with!
In your box:
What’s that in my box: Perilla is a herb frequently used in Vietnamese and other Asiatic cooking. It’s flavour is a combination of basil and mint but more similar to a mint flavour. You can use this in salads, stir-fries, or pizza, but it is most popularly used in rice paper rolls! Add this to any meal you’d like to have a fresh feel to it! For more information on how to store & cook any of our vegetables, visit: https://draxe.com/ and type in the veggie you’re looking for.
That’s right, you can make pesto out of nearly any green veg, including broccoli!
350g broccoli florets
2 clove garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
toasted sliced almonds
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the broccoli, garlic, and 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on high, stirring once halfway through, until the broccoli is tender, 5 to 6 minutes (you can also do this on your stovetop). Transfer the mixture (liquid included) to a food processor. Add the basil, oil, zest, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and purée until smooth. Toss the pasta with the pesto and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid (adding more liquid if the pasta seems dry). Sprinkle with almonds and Parmesan, if desired.
You can use any leafy greens in this recipe
16 jumbo shells (from a 350g box)
2 cups marinara sauce
1 silver beet (or other leafy green e.g. kale)
broccoli florets from one broccoli
1 container ricotta
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 small lettuce
1/2 small Red Onion
Heat oven to 200°c. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Spread the sauce onto the bottom of a large broiler-proof baking dish. Squeeze the silver beet of excess moisture, roughly chop and place in a large bowl. Chop the broccoli and add it to the bowl. Stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells (about 1/4 cup each) and place on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and bake until the shells are heated through, 10 to 12 minutes. Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until the cheese begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Toss with the lettuce, cucumber, and onion. Serve with the shells.
Not all of your veg cooking has to be savoury, a lot of traditional cake recipes include veg like zucchini and potatoes – more versatile cooking ideas to help in the kitchen!
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1 cup dried cranberries divided
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 175°c. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Stir in lemon zest. Fold in shredded zucchini and 3/4 cup of the cranberries. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Gradually add in the sugar and continue beating for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Add lemon juice. Now, gradually add the flour mixture and milk. Mix on low speed until combined. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan and top with remaining cranberries. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Let the bread cool in pan 10 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
This ones a little more complicated but gives an idea of what you can do with beetroot, most veggies go great in quiches so it’s a great idea to find a good quiche recipe and stick with it.
For the pastry:
350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g butter, chilled and cubed
1 medium egg yolk
For the filling:
3 red onions, each sliced into 8 wedges
½ tbsp olive oil
100ml double cream
3 medium eggs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tsp Dijon mustard
15g fresh dill, chopped (or fennel frond chopped)
300g steamed beetroot, thinly sliced
To make the pastry, blitz the flour, walnuts and a pinch of salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp cold water and pulse until the mixture comes together. Tip out onto a lightly floured board and knead together. Shape into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C. Put the onions in a small roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 20 mins. Meanwhile, roll out the chilled pastry to the thickness of a dollar coin and lightly press into a deep 24cm loose-bottom flan tin, trimming away the excess pastry. Chill for 15 mins. Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans. Blind bake for 20 mins, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 mins until golden and cooked through. Remove and reduce the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C. Whisk the cream, milk, eggs, garlic, mustard and most of the dill in a jug and season well. Arrange the beetroot and roasted onions in the tart case and pour over the cream and egg mixture. Bake for 30-40 mins until set and golden. Sprinkle with the remaining dill and serve hot or leave to cool completely.
Fennel is a lovely veggie to use in cooking but it’s hard to find inventive ways to use it, it goes great in soup, gratin, in pesto and now as a creamy bake.
1 tsp butter
1 kg fennel bulbs
2/3 cup half & half
1/3 cup parmesan
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
salt & pepper, to season
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare the fennel bulbs by getting rid of the hard, outer portions, including the stems. Rinse and cut into four or eight portions, depending on the size of the bulb. Use the butter to grease the baking dish. For this recipe, I used a 18cm by 12cm baking dish. Arrange the fennel in the baking dish, cutting them into smaller portions, if they do not fit. Season with salt and pepper. Pour half & half on the seasoned fennel bulbs. Add parmesan, distributing them evenly on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place baking dish in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top has browned a bit. Take baking dish out of the oven and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. You can still see the cream bubbling on the sides of the dish during this time. Serve.