Friday, September 26, 2008

Fetta Pots of Dill & Parsley

It's Australian Football League Grand Final weekend here, and that means BBQ's, beers and glued to the TV wherever you are. If you're lucky enough to have your team playing, it's a nerve wracking day to say the least. For me, I can sit back and relax and not give a hoot who wins or loses, because my team ended up stone motherless last. Maybe next year Dees.....please?

Our day starts at about lunch time, sitting out in the early spring sunshine, nibbling, drinking, talking and relaxing. The BBQ is fired up at about 1 o'clock (or whenever people start to become hungry), which in the past has been about 3 o'clock!! Salads and dips and nibbles are in abundance, all in readiness for the 2:30 pm start. When the National Anthem is played, you could hear a pin drop right around the country, followed by a roar of encouragement from the crowds, both attending the game, and in every lounge room, back shed, patio or wherever your vantage point may be.

So my contribution in the nibbles department is a dip I have adapted from a recipe in this month's Delicious magazine from Belinda Jeffery. Her recipe is called Potted Dill & Parsley goat's cheese with celery. Mine is substituting Persian Feta for the marinated goats cheese (because I just love it), and as macadamias are way too expensive at the moment, I've substituted pecans in the pesto.

Haalo, from Cook (Almost) Anything at Least Once, and an inhabitant of Melbourne, where the big game is played, is hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging this week. If you love football, this is truly a great day. If you dislike football, I would suggest you book a mystery flight to a foreign country, because the coverage of the game is at saturation point already. All I can say is may the best team win on the day.

Dill & Parsley Pots

1 cup of chopped spring onions
1/2 cup of flat leafed parsley
1/2 cup of dill sprigs
Juice of one lemon
1 cup of lightly toasted pecan nuts
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
250 gms marinated Persian Feta, drained
Celery sticks, lavash crispbreads or thinly sliced grilled Turkish Bread to serve.

Blitz the spring onions, parsley, dill, lemon juice, pecans and half the olive oil until pureed. With motor of food processor still running, slowly add the rest of the olive oil until smooth and thick. Taste and adjust the flavours by adding sea salt and freshly ground pepper, or even more lemon juice.

Place the drained feta in a bowl, and mash well with a fork. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pesto, depending upon how strong a flavour you want. Transfer to individual ramikins and refrigerate until required.

Any leftover pesto can be kept in the fridge, covered with a layer of EEVO, and sealed for up to a week. (I'm guessing this would be a great addition to grilled fish or a pasta salad).

Sunday, September 21, 2008


A spring cleanout of the garden has left me with quite a dilemma in the kitchen. The beds are all weeded, prepped with mulch and fertiliser, in readiness for the ensuing summer crops, which alone fills me with excitement (I'm easily elated these days!). The only problem is most of my herbs were ousted in the process. After inspecting my husband's hard work, and giving the thanks and "good job" pat on the back, I silently cringed at the thought of not being able to use fresh herbs of my choice for a while. All that was left was a trumpled clump of garlic chives, a past-its-use-by-date clump of parsley and a small patch of oregano that had decided to relocate to another part of the garden all by itself. He openly cursed me for planting mint in the garden and not in a pot, because it took him ages to eradicate all of it. All of it except one teeny bunch hidden under the chives. Eureka!

As we've all been on a healthy diet kick this past week, not just for weight loss reasons, but for general health reasons, I thought it was time to introduce something foreign to the family. Lentils. Green puy lentils in fact. May as well start with the best to tempt the fussy tastebuds.

Mint is probably the first fresh herb I had tasted as a child. Mud pies with mint leaves on top were a childhood backyard treat. It's the easiest plant to grow (just ask my husband), it has uses from breath fresheners to after dinner sweets, and it makes your kitchen smell fresh, and well....minty.


1 cup lentils

4 cups water

3/4 cup red pepper,chopped

1/3 cup red onion,chopped

2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

1/2 preserved lemon,finely chopped

6 tablespoons olive oil

6 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cloves garlic,minced

6 ounces feta cheese,crumbled


In saucepan, bring lentils and water to a boil; cook 30 minutes until tender, drain.

Add pepper, onion, preserved lemon and mint.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Just before serving, add oil, lemon juice, garlic and feta.

Toss and serve.

Zorra, from Kochtopf, is kindly hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging, this time round, and if my mint ever returns, and I'm sure it will, this will be a regular dish on our new "healthy" menu.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Baby snapper, fennel and herbs

It seems like eons since I posted for Weekend Herb Blogging, and whilst life has been busy, catching up after a relaxing holiday, dishes are still being created with herbs from my garden. Wanting a healthier dinner, after overindulging in restaurant food, these baby snapper were beckoning me. I swear one was positively staring at me, and I couldn't walk past it, without feeling slightly unnerved.

Getting back into the swing of things has been rather difficult, to say the least. This tasty dish utilises the final bulbs of fennel I have growing, a vegetable that I rate way up there as one of my favourite flavours. The host for Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging is Ulrike from Kuchenlatein and these baby snapper are heralding in the first tastes of Spring, a much awaited season after a bitterly cold winter.

Whole baby snapper, sweet fennel and herbs


2 whole baby snapper (200g each),1 fennel bulb, 2 lemons freshly, ground black pepper, 1 bunch chives, chopped, ½ bunch basil, chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil, 200g butter, softened, 200ml orange juice, salt, 30g sumac


Place fresh snapper on chopping board and cut 2cm deep slits along both sides of each fish. Combine shaved fennel, zest and juice of one lemon, black pepper, chives, basil and olive oil together and mix well. Pack fennel mix into the slits of the snapper tightly. Beat butter in a medium bowl and fold in the orange juice, salt, the juice of the remaining lemon and the sumac through softened butter. Rub soft butter mix all over the fish and wrap in tinfoil so no liquid can escape. Place on BBQ plate over medium heat for about 8-12 minutes or until cooked through. This will depend on snapper size.

I served this with a tossed salad of greens and roasted roma tomatoes, and a creamy potato gratin. Just lovely.