The last few days days have brought to our plates a bountiful rainbow harvest: the first eggplant, beetroots, rhubarb, heirloom carrots, lebanese zucchinis, green beans, lettuce leaves, basil and nasturtium flowers aplenty! To think these came from seeds and seedlings so tiny a few months ago - what magic sunshine, tenderness and water brings! Two ways we have savoured some of the harvest:
Meatballs with Eggplant, Mozzarella and Tomato
700g pastured beef mince
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
750ml tomato passata/puree
1 medium sized eggplant or 1/2 a large one
fresh basil leaves
For the meatballs:
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with clean hands. Shape into large balls and set aside.
For the sauce:
Gently fry onion in butter in a large heavy-based pot or fry pan. Reduce heat and add meatballs tossing gently to brown each side. Pour in tomato puree. Cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.
Salt thin slices of fresh eggplant for 1 hour, wash and dry completely. Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoons butter, ghee, lard and a splash of olive oil. Fry eggplant slices until golden. Place onto of meatballs with thick slices of mozzarella cheese and plenty of fresh basil sprigs.
Roast Zucchini, Beetroot and Jambon Salad with Nasturium flowers
3 large beetroots
1 tablespoon olive oil
sprig of fresh thyme
8 slices nitrate-free jambon or proscuitto
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
nasturtium flowers (an old-fashioned delicacy that my grandmother taught me to enjoy both the leaves and flowers which have a lovely peppery flavour)
Preheat oven to 200'c. Cut beetroots in quarter pieces and zucchinis in thick rounds. Place in an oven dish with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of sea salt and a few sprigs of thyme. Roast for 30 minutes or until golden. Let cool. Meanwhile clean and toss salad greens of your choice with olive oil, lemon juice and a scant dash of cider vinegar or similar. Tear up 2 slices of jambon or proscuitto per person. Toss through roast vegetables, flakes of parmesan cheese. Serve out and adorn each plate with a couple of nasturtium flowers.