Sunday, 2 May 2010

Greens, Carrots and Garden Update

It is a joyous thing to say, I am just nipping out to the garden for a lemon. Our lemon tree is still young and small so it seems miraculous when it produces any fruit. Autumn is being kind in our garden so before I share the recipe for how I used my greens and lemons in a wonderful pastie, I thought it would be nice to have a wander through the garden.

Here is our Meyer lemon tree, full of promise with green lemons. It brings such wonderful colour to our yard.

And here is one of the ripening lemons. Don't you feel like you can just reach into the compute and pick it! Sylvia loves biting whole citrus fruit. Actually she will put any fruit or vegetable in her mouth that she can find. Not that I have fruit and vegetables scattered about my house. It is mostly when I haven't yet put away the groceries that I find her trying to bite into any inappropriate orb.

This year we have flowers on our camelia shrub. We have had the shrub for 3 years and this is the first time the buds have blossomed into flower. It must be the tender love and care my mum bestows on it when she is looking after Sylvia each week.

But enough prettiness. Back to the food. This is a picture I took of our silverbeet (rainbow chard) in twilight before picking the largest leaves.

The silverbeet leaves added to my stash of beet greens, cottage cheese and puff pastry that needed to be used after making sausage rolls for E's birthday tea and roasting beetroot. After my great success with beet greens in a beetroot and chickpea curry, I am feeling more ready to try to use the leaves from a bunch of beetroots. Anything to avoid having to throw out food.

I am not as enthusiastic about using leafy greens, even with Kathryn's advice. I have to force myself to eat greens like beet greens and mint. I love broccoli and zucchini and peas but leafy stuff just seems insubstantial. But paired with cheese and pastry, it is a satisfying meal. I looked up some ideas for greens in pastry and then came up with my own version based on the ingredients in my kitchen and garden. But I am sure this recipe could be varied to use other green leafy vegetables.

It is always amazing how little filling can fit into a pastie. Too much and it oozes out the sides. I even wondered if the mixture was a little too much liquid but it seemed fine once they were cooked. Once I ran out of pastry I mixed some egg leftover from the egg wash and baked it in a ramekin. The next day I found this fritatta style mixture was very good with some sliced banana and slice cheddar cheese grilled til melted. It made me wonder if I would be bold enough to try such pasties with banana one day. I am sure they would be very interesting.

I made 12 pasties so it was more than we could eat in one night. I propped mine up so the bottoms could cool without getting too soggy. The next night I had wished I had cooked the leftovers a little less because they were quite well browned by the time they were rewarmed in the oven for about 15 minutes.

We had these with the tomato chutney my Nanny had sent me. It was deliciously spicy and just right on the pasties. On the first night I just chopped up some capsicum and tomatoes and squeezed a bit of lemon over it to serve beside it.

On the second night I was inspired by Cindy to roast some carrots with pomegranate molasses and dukkah. She had made a carrot salad with pomegranate molasses when there was no lemon juice available. I loved the idea but wanted to roast mine. I admired the addition of dates to the salad but wasn't bold enough to add to my carrots, however I did decide to use some of my dukkah mixture instead of cumin.

The carrots were a wonderful side dish. Slightly sour, slightly sweet and incredibly tasty. Sylvia loved the pasties the first night but refused to eat any the second night. But she was very pleased to have her favourite vegetables of the moment - broccoli and corn on the cob. I was sorry she didn't eat them but pleased to have more pasties for me.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Surprising Beetroot Risotto
This time two years ago: What does a pagan eat anyway?
This time three years ago: Moroccan Soup Bar: the heavenly banquet

Greens and Cheese in Puff Pastry Triangles
serves 4

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 175g beet greens, chopped
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 125g cottage cheese
  • 25g silverbeet (chard), chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped (mine was about ¼ cup but I would have used more if I had them)
  • 30g parsley, finely chopped
  • 5g mint, finely chopped
  • juice of half a medium lemon
To assemble:
  • 4-5 sheets of puff pastry (I used reduced fat)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for glaze and sealing
  • sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 220 C.

Heat a frypan and add oil. Fry garlic and beet greens for about 3 minutes or until greens have just wilted. Transfer to mixing bowl, add remaining filling ingredients and mix.

Cut pastry sheets into four triangles. Place a dessertspoon of filling on one side of a triangle. I shaped it into a triangle with about a good centimetre around the edge. Brush egg along the edge and fold over the other half. Use your fingers to pinch a seal along the edges. Repeat with other triangles until you use up the filling (or do like I did when I finished my pastry and use the remaining filling and remaining egg to make a frittata of sorts).

Place triangles on a lined baking tray. Brush each triangle with egg and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Make some holes in each triangle with a sharp knife to let steam out. Bake for 10 minutes at 220 C and 10 minutes at 200 C. They are ready when golden brown and crispy.

Roasted Carrots with Dukkah and Pomegranate
inspired by Cindy
  • 4 medium to large carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp dukkah (or cumin)
  • pinch of salt (to taste)
  • shake of cayenne
Boil carrots for 3-5 minutes. Place in roasting dish and toss with remaining ingredients. Roast at 200-220 C over for about 45 minutes or until soft when a knife is pierced into them and they are slightly charred at the edges.

On the Stereo:
Ten Great Songs: Jethro Tulls


  1. Yum! Those carrots are incredible - I can't take my eyes off them! And those pasties are just divine. I have become obsessed this week with a desire to make spanakopita (very similar when in its triangle form) using dandelion greens instead of spinach. All very well and good, but to make it vegan and gluten-free there are many, many steps ahead of me... I'll see if I get there. I wish I could just use phyllo!

    When I went into the pantry this morning I found I am out of risotto, tempeh bacon, and several other ingredients I needed for tonight's meal. So I think your beet curry is on the menu tonight!

  2. Boy do those pasties look good! And to know that you made them with homegrown silverbeet....even better!

  3. I'm 22 and still, at times, nibble on lemons, so Sylvia isn't alone in that behaviour :P I adore pomegranate but have never tried pomegranate molasses. I'm guessing one finds it at middle-eastern grocery stores?

  4. I'm really quite envious that you have a lemon tree in your garden! Has Sylvia actually tried biting on a lemon? The pasties look really pretty and roasting carrots is such a good way to go. I've resisted buying pomegranate molasses but it sounds lovely.

  5. Your garden looks beautiful, I'm so envious of your lemon tree. Those pastry parcels look yummy. I make something similar using feta, spinach and watercress.

  6. Those carrots do look yummy. And I love your garden--everything looks so lush and blooming. How wonderful must it be to have a lemon tree on your back deck!

  7. Wow you have a Meyer lemon tree! How fabulous! I dream of having one but then again I dream of having a garden too lol :P

  8. Thanks Scrumptious - dandelion greens seem very brave (and exotic) to me but I am sure they would taste good with pastry - hope the curry went well

    Thanks Lisa - the silverbeet is amazing when young compared to the mature stuff in the shops

    Thanks Hannah - this is one of my favourite ways to use pomegranate molasses ever so I would recommend you buy it just for this recipe - esp if you are in the habit of not always having lemons about (great idea for a substitute from Cindy) - and I hope you don't try nibbling the skin of green lemons as Sylvia would if given the chance

    Thanks Lysy - sylvia hasn't managed a mouthful of lemon or I imagine she would spit it out as she goes for the peel

    Thanks Katie - I didn't have any feta but remembered that my sister used ricotta and spinach in pasties and then I saw something about substituting cottage cheese for ricotta - so it all seemed to come together but I am sure if I had feta I would use it

    Thanks Ricki - this is a great time of year for the garden - such a relief after summer

    Thanks Lorraine - a garden is a wonderful thing - hope you get one one day - I have been amazed how well these trees grow in pots as our garden is all concrete so you don't need much space

  9. Everything looks so good!! I never bake/cook with puff pastry but really should. And those carrots yum! Plus I'm really jealous of your garden. My basil isn't fairing so well, but I think maybe it was too early (and thus too cold) to plant it. Oh and in your butterscotch cake post you mentioned that you don't often make layer cakes because they're too big (I think that was one of the reasons) and I meant to say that you should try to find some 5" round pans so you can half cake recipes. I started doing that when my family (of 6 plus one child) would only ever finish half a regular size cake.

  10. My mouth is watering Johanna. I do love pasties :)

  11. Thanks Ashley - I wish I had basil in my garden - my mum's is thriving and I was able to pick her a large handful today and my hands smelt lovley - I like the idea of smaller cake tins - will look out for some

    Thanks Jacqueline - I love pasties too - they always seem quite comforting


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)