Roots

Keeping up with the Beet

Monday, September 02, 2019

Following our English culinary ancestry, beetroot remained  relatively neglected until it took a turn in the 1960’s. Tinned food and electric can-openers, the modern woman’s kitchen necessities, ushered in the ceremonial crowning of summer’s monotonous iceberg lettuce salad with a slice of beetroot. Later, our burger hallmark, that “bloody” layer of sliced tinned beetroot was sandwiched between the fried egg and onions and the tomato. Two bites in and the river of dragon’s blood, meat juice and egg yolk ooze triggered joyous proclamations of Aussie burger bliss.    Read More . . .

 

Rhubarb Renaissance: A Curious plant indeed

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Originally, rhubarb (Rheum palmatumn) was valued for its medicinal prowess. Native to the wintry steppes of Central Asia, Himalayas and Mongolia, the Chinese cultivated and harvested the big yellow root (da haung) for its strong purgative effect and as a cure-all for a raft of other afflictions. First documented in “The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing”, the earliest book on materia medica, the Chinese have been conversant with its medicinal efficacy since 2700BC! Traded extensively along the ancient silk road routes, its therapeutic properties were soon held in high regard and demand, by the 10th century it became a major export and spread into India, Russia, Europe and North America.   Read More . . .

 

Button Squash: Golden Nuggets from the New World

Monday, March 09, 2015

The early morning summer harvest always evokes a sense of joy, wonderment and culinary excitement. Within minutes the basket is full of zucchini, button squash, eggplants, a traffic light collection of capsicums - red, green and yellow orange - chillies and an abundance of tomatoes and basil. The next culinary journey will be inspired by the flavours of the Mediterranean or with a touch of turmeric and coriander seeds - the Middle East.

Hunting through the cucurbita garden bed is full of surprises. There are nubile zucchinis - more flower than zucchini - perfect  for the delicate Italian speciality, stuffed zucchini flowers. There are supersized ones.  Undetected for a few days, they keep growing, growing and growing, longer and longer and wider and wider. They are best relegated to the soup pot. Then there are the ones that are just right to be stuffed, pan fried, grilled , roasted and for something special - pickled zucchini.     Read More . . .