Wednesday, 02 June 2010 07:23

dinner two

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I know! But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating from the garden – it just means that I haven’t written about it. TRUE STORY.

But I must admit that the reason I haven’t written about what I’ve been eating, is that all my recipes have turned out disgusting. Not really disgusting! But, defiantly not worth writing about.

And I’ve come to realise that it is not the ingredients fault – it is because I’m a-very-inventive-but-not-very-knowledgable-and-far-too-lazy-cook.

Things I have learnt about cooking this week are:


  • It is not possible to make a nice cucumber soup no matter how many cucumbers you have.
  • You have, yes absolutely have, to take the basil leaves off the stalks before putting them in the blender to make pesto.
  • Green paw paw skin is bitter and disgusting – peel it off.



I learnt to peel cassava the easy way. Run a knife around it to make a spiral cut. Start peeling at the top and the skin comes away like a apple skin spring.


Oh and how to make cassava flour - which smelt beautiful – but proved harder to use that I anticipated.

This time of year I’m digging up all the cassava patches that have gone mad over the wet, replanting cutting in new areas (to fool the termites) and planting where the cassava was, with dry season veggies.

So I end up with heaps of cassava - a whole basketful. It has to be dealt with because it will only last a week or so in the fridge. Normally I would wash it peel it and put it in the freezer. But as I’m doing this ‘eat from the garden thing’ I thought I would try and make cassava flour.

I washed them, peeled them, threw them in the food processor on the ‘chopping vegetable into tiny pieces setting.’ Then I dried the pieces on a piece of shade cloth in the sun. When it was dry, it smelt delicious – like fresh bread. I throw some in the bread that day – not too much – one cup cassava flour to two cups of wheat flour and it worked!

Over excited I made a banana cake using all cassava flour and it turned into a banana flan? or pudding? Anyway it looked pretty bad. I had to put ice cream all over it and even then, most of it was left in the bottom of the plate when it was time to wash up.

I’m too scared to go out and look if the chooks ate their share.

But today I sifted the remaining flour and used some of the fine sifted cassava flour (one cup of wheat flour to one cup of cassava flour) to make scones. I did initially want to just have them plain so I could taste the cassava flour but then when I was getting the wheat flour out of the fridge, there was some dried mango right there. So I chopped some up and put it in the scones too – absolutely delicious. Really, truly delicious. So tonight I’ve used the cassava flour (half in half) to make a delicious shortbread pie base.


I’ve got some recipes to use the coarser part of the cassava flour but haven’t tried them yet. Still reeling over my small successes – or is it glowing. I must look in the mirror.

Oh and last night’s dinner was a success – so I’ll tell you about that. We have an abundance of cassava, all the sweet potatoes, green paw paw, eggplant, celyon spinach so we made a veggie bake.

The only things not taken from the garden were the onions, cheese and milk

Burnoff Veggie bake.

Cassava, white sweet potato, purple sweet potato, eggplant, orange sweet potato, onions, green pawpaw all cut snake beans in 50mm lengths, Celyon spinach leaves chopped, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, small piece of three in one herb.


Cut the veggies into 5mm slices and put them in layers to fill a baking tray. I used a glass baking tray about 80mm high. And I think it’s necessary but I put in one layer of each root vegetable, so that we could taste the difference between them.

Finish the tray with onion and top with cheese. Mix one egg for every cup of milk and one for the pot – two if it is a big pot. Beat in salt and pepper, some chopped very fine three in one herb, and a handful of chopped greens. This makes it look lovely and green, but you do need the extra egg because greens hold a lot of water. Pour the mixture over the layers of veggies. Add more cheese and bake in the oven till it is all brown and a knife goes straight through the veggies without a murmur.

We ate it with fresh bread (using only one cup of cassava flour per two cups of wheat flour) and a green salad of Mizuna Brassica napa nipposinica on its own. Mizuna this is the most delicious green, so light and crunchy and not the slightest bit bitter. I cut a handful, tore them up and sprinkled them with tarragon vinegar (I made tarragon vinegar last year with the bountiful crop of winter tarragon). Luckily because this year I’m having a hard time getting the winter tarragon cuttings to take so there is no abundance on this horizon.

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Leonie Norrington

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