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Busy week in the Far North Coast

By March 15, 2011One Comment

Phil Dudman the other half of garden2kitchen

garden2kitchen has had an eventful week. First I was Phil’s guest on Prime News on Wednesday night where I made an Asian cucumber salad. We then hit Casino on Saturday morning for the Casino Flower Show. The ABC North Coast broadcast live with Graeme Stuarts Saturday breakfast from Casino Civic hall, a great retro building. Dave Roberts from the Cecily Hotel was there cooking up beef (it is Casino, beef capitol of NSW) and  I played with watermelons and eggplants from the garden…Enjoy

My mate Phil keeps telling me cucumbers are easy to grow and they crop prolifically over summer and autumn. You can always pickle them and make bread and butter cucumbers or make this Asian inspired salad that you want to keep making again and again it is that easy and tasty.The salad goes with almost anything. It is even great on its own…yum

Asian style cucumber salad

2 cucumbers, peeled and cut in half lengthways and deseeded

For the dressing

1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar … for a little sweetness

1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon limejuice, for the sourness, typical with Asian style dressings

1 tablespoon of fish sauce … that adds some saltiness

2 green onions, finely diced

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves

2 tablespoons of unsalted, macadamia nuts, choppe

Cut the cucumber in to 5mm slices. In a medium sized bowl, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and limejuice. Add the cucumber slices and stir through the green onion and coriander leaves.

To serve, place the salad into a serving bowl and sprinkle it with the macadamia nuts and fish sauce.

Note: If you want to spice it up…add a sliced chilli

Eggplant and tomato salad

You can use large eggplant if you can not access Lebanese eggplant.

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

6 Lebanese eggplants, sliced lengthways into 1mm width

2 ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and coarsely chopped

3/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

1/2 tablespoon olive oil, extra

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons macadamias, toasted and coarsely chopped

Heat a char grill on a high heat. Lightly brush the eggplant slices on both sides and cook on the char grill for 3 minutes each side or until softened and golden. Place into a bowl, allow to cool, add the tomatoes and parsley.

In a small bowl, combine extra olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over eggplant salad and stir through. Place salad into a serving bowl and sprinkle with toasted macadamias and serve.

Watermelon, feta and olive salad

This salad is popular in Greece and so refreshing with the contrast of sweet and salty. Great with any barbecued meat.

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1kg watermelon, rind and pips removed and cut into 4-5cm chunks

200gms Greek feta, crumbled or cut into 4 3-4cm chunks

1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

100gms black olives, pitted

1 tablespoons olive oil

Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine slices and place in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar to marinate for 15 minutes.

Combine the watermelon, feta, mint leaves and olives. Add the onions and olive oil and gently combine. Serve.

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