Winter in Melbourne is coming to a close. The days feel just a little bit longer, early mornings are kinder to bare fingertips and we’ve had a few early bloomers around town (of the flora variety).
The transition late winter makes into early spring naturally gets me thinking about what produce will soon be adorning local market stalls. With the promise of short sleeves, sandals and more time spent outdoors, comes crisp string beans, sweet peas and capsicum. Vibrant chilli, globe artichokes and asparagus will also make an appearance. Herbs like watercress, thyme and garlic love this time of year, and zucchini might make an early debut. Oh and just you wait, cumquats are going to be everywhere soon. We’ll probably have to wait until October for strawberries though, and November for blueberries.
Fresh lamb meat will soon be aplenty, and such high availability during this time of year means I can afford to make a free-range and organic choice. So this is when I like to buy a few different cuts in bulk, and freeze them for up to 6 months. I love a good scotch broth made using lamb chops, rice and fresh peas, or a slow-roasted balsamic lamb shoulder with whatever spring vegetables, and pulses I’ve got on hand.
Most healthy hens usually take a bit of a break from laying over the cooler months, and will resume laying soon. Again allowing a free-range and organic choice to personally be a little more affordable. I really enjoy cooking with eggs, so I try and not compromise on quality.
I feel like I celebrated winter gleefully with rich, slow-cooked meals, constant wearing of woolly socks and far too many afternoons “warming” up the house with a cake in the oven. I say bring on the sweet smell of Jasmine.
Will spring to come early with this zucchini slice, adapted from Rohan Anderson’s slice of spring recipe from his book Whole Larder Love.
150g thick-cut ham, free-range and organic preferable
2 zucchini, grated
A large handful of baby spinach or greens of choice, chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 cup of self-raising flour
1 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup of goats cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of good quality curry powder
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
A large pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C.
2. Grease a slice pan approximately 20 x 30cm in size, lightly with butter.
3. Beat the eggs.
4. Stir in the remaining ingredients gently, until roughly mixed and no big lumps of flour remain.
5. Pour mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the middle is just set.
Serve with a green salad and some tomato relish.