Hi, I'm the Zenders secret foodie! I read cookbooks like nursery rhymes, have a pantry filled with ingredients you've never heard of, and can recite recipes faster than you can say your phone number. And I'm here to preach to you about seasonal goods.
You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Fresh is best. And as I pick the last brussels sprouts from my garden, and scan my eyes over the soon to be ready broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and shoot loads of kale, I can't help but think about all the deliciousness that this (not so) little garden provides. The month that is November is plentiful with wonderful vegetables. I've got my greens - hello lettuce, broccoli, courgette and asparagus. Summer fruits are starting to flourish - strawberries all day, every day. And the herb garden is rocking - coriander, parsley and basil are in abundance.
Let it be known that we're a meat eating family. But is there anything better than a rack of lamb, beautifully basted using a rosemary twig, and served with a perfect pea puree or creamy parsnip mash? A meal is not a meal without a selection of vegetables, served to perfection.
If you're looking for inspiration, you've come to the right place. Asparagus you ask? Throw it straight on the BBQ, with good olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Those freshly picked mushrooms? Two words: stuffed 'shrooms. What about broccoli? Lightly steam and make a quick and easy salad with some cranberries and feta. And good old courgette? Nothing is better than a delicious zucchini bread, just like this one from the Kiwi Country Girl.
But what's my favourite? It has to be a good, proper Panzanella. It's fresh, it's flavourful, and it makes the most of that slightly stale bread - and a perfect component in a late spring dinner. Check out my recipe below - just don't tell my mother I shared it with you!
A secret foodie recipe: Panzanella
1 ciabatta loaf
2 cups tomatoes (whatever varieties you've got), roughly chopped
1 small red onion, finely sliced
2 capsicums (whatever colours you've got)
2 tablespoons capers
A handful of fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Cut up the ciabatta into 2cm cubes, coat generously with good olive oil. Bake until firm and crispy, about 10-15minutes
Separate half of your tomatoes, and put in an oven proof dish. Roast, about 10 minutes until nicely blistered.
Chargrill your capsicums over a gas hob. Keep turning until it's all nice and toasty, and don't worry if a few bits get a little darker, it adds flavour.
Chop your capsicum into chunks, and place in a bowl with the roasted and fresh tomato, onions, capers and toasted bread. Give it a good stir. Roughly chop the basil, and add this too.
Season with salt and pepper as required.
To finish, add a homemade vinaigrette, with a bit of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, or drizzle the salad with a balsamic glaze. Eat it immediately, yeah - firstly, you won't be able to resist, but second, no one is a fan of soggy bread!
And that, mate, is how you make a delicious Panzanella.
And that's me signing off - stay tuned for more chats with the #ZendersSecretFoodie