Thursday, June 21, 2012

An Italian lunch time feast

Yesterday it was cold. It was such an icy wind that it would not have surprised me in the least while walking to the car from playgroup that penguins were there to greet us. So it was the perfect day for a play date at home with the lovely Laura and our little people.
I've always admired Laura's innate ability to mix ingredients and create the most magnificent flavoured salads, frittatas and simple meals. She's Italian after all so yesterday I got a cooking lesson on how to make frittata in my Mielle oven. It was tasty, it was healthy and our Miss Two and Three really enjoyed it. It's the first time Poppy's tried Fennel, eaten Frittata and kept a smile on her face. So these two Vegetarian recipes a Winter fennel salad and My Veggie Patch Frittata come to you from the lovely Laura and her muse the veggies.

Ingredients for both recipes

For Salad
1 Fennel
1 large Lemon
1 Cucumber
1 large Red Pepper
1 can of Cannelloni Beans drained
4 cloves of garlic
Bunch of Parsley
Bunch of Thyme (Common/Lemon)
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
2-3 tsp of Baby Capers
Salt and pepper to season

For Frittata
Bunch of Rainbow Chard or Silver beet

Bunch of Asparagus Stems
Half a bunch of spring onions
1/2-1 cup of diced feta (I used marinated feta I had in the fridge)
1/4 cup of tasty cheese
Bunch of Parsley
Bunch of Thyme (Common/Lemon)
Olive Oil for cooking
Five free range eggs
Dash of milk for eggs
Salt and Pepper to season

How to Make

Winter fennel salad
Slice the fennel, red pepper and cucumber into thin strips and place in a large bowl. Finely chop flat leaf parsley, thyme and the fennel tops and add to salad. Drain Cannelloni beans wash if necessary and combine with ingredients. Next add finely diced garlic (you could use a garlic press for this), the baby capers, rind of one lemon and juice of half a lemon to salad, a slurp of Olive Oil and red wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp of Dijon Mustard to another bowl, mix. Combine/toss wet ingredients together with salad. Adjust recipe to taste. In this case Laura added more parsley and a touch more lemon rind to the recipe at the end.

Veggie Patch Frittata
Preheat your oven grill to 240 degrees your using the grill to finish the dish off in the oven. For this recipe use a fry pan with a metal handle that can go in the oven or cook in fry pan on the stove it will be hard to get that golden crust on top though. Chop/dice finely 1 large bunch of Rainbow chard, asparagus and spring onions. The chard needs to be more finely chopped than the asparagus. Place these ingredients into a fry pan with a little olive oil and cook gently til slightly soft. Remove from heat. Finely chop the red pepper add to the fry pan. Do not stir in just have it resting on top of the other ingredients. Mix in another bowl the eggs and beat with a fork until well combined. Add a dash of milk to eggs to loosen. Add eggs to the frittata using the back of a spoon make sure the egg reaches the bottom of the fry pan but do not stir in. Dice the feta and place in pan make sure the feta is evenly distributed. Grate tasty cheese and sprinkle on frittata. Place on stovetop on medium heat til eggs are cooked triugh you'll notice that the ingredients rise up in the pan.
Place Fry Pan in the oven under the grill and cook til golden. This takes minutes. You should smell it when it's done it's like nothing else, absolute Heaven.

Serve the frittata with the salad as a side and Enjoy. For the little people in our lives l suggest creating a colourful array of salad with some cut cubed pieces of frittata. If you wait for the frittata to cool you can use a cookie cutter and create a shape. I have a Mr Fred food plate that is great for creating faces with the meal. I added some sticks of tasty cheese to their lunch plates. Poppy and Sabrina loved seeing what we put on the table and there wasn't much left. Even little Laney had her fair share of beans and frittata.
Num, Num, Num.

Variations to the Recipe
My purple and red rainbow chard was a really good size so l harvested a large bunch of leaves from my garden along with baby chard and some lemon thyme. It's a great idea to plant some in your garden you can pick leaves and add it to salads, scrambled eggs, frittata's and much more and it just keeps on growing all winter for you. For this recipe you could use Baby spinach, Rainbow chard ( I love the colour), Silver beat or even Kale. Kale will need to wilt a little more as it takes longer than chard. While your planting rainbow chard and silver beat get a herb garden stated. I harvest my own garlic yearly and have strings of garlic hanging in my kitchen pantry for cooking. It's the shortest day of the year this weekend and the time you should all think about planting garlic. All you need to do is buy organic garlic, stick in the ground and wait for it to grow. I'll post a DIY garlic blog post tomorrow for you.
For the salad you could add dill to the salad too, along with Avocado diced and perhaps some finely sliced celery for crunch. For the Frittata you could use anything from the fridge. One of Laura's favourites is red capsicum and mushroom. You could add thinly sliced pumpkin, grated zucchini, grated carrot, anything really but be careful of ingredients that hold a lot of water you don't want your frittata going soggy. Laura's advice is don't make it overly complicated, keep ingredients to a minimum and just use lots of it with minimal eggs. The eggs just need to hold ingredients together not be the main ingredient.
Thanks Laura for your creative and yummy Italian fare.

It's all play isn't it. Go on now have a look in your fridge and see what you can make. It's the weather for it. I'd love to know what you are up to today.

x Mumma Fox

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