Thursday, February 16, 2012


Well I'm feeling a bit chuffed with myself. At this time of the year there's loads of stuff to harvest from the garden. Baskets of juicy, red cherry tomatoes, beans crawling up the balcony, basil and salad greens galore, figs dropping to the ground. And I'm sure if those sneaky goats hadn't smashed their way through the fence and munched my corn and eggplant and capsicum I'd have even more.
So, what to do on a warm summer night with this lot? A rather scrummy feast.

Step 1 - Roast Potatoes
Surreptitiously turn the oven on. Nothing makes Monkey Man crankier than the knowledge that I'm using the oven in hot weather. Remember while you are peeling and chopping your 'taters - you can never have too many - keep peeling. My kids have finally come 'round to roast potatoes after I started calling them chips and making sure that they are super crunchy. Trick is to steam or boil them first, then pop them in the oven with oil and some rosemary and butter.

Step 2 - Clean Up
Order Monkey Man to clear his pile of papers from the dining room table. To ensure success, this order needs to be repeated at five minute intervals 'til serving time.

Step 3 - Oven Baked Figs
Place the figs in a small oven proof dish, splash with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a spoonful of honey. Bake 'til soft - about 15 minutes.

Step 4 - Green Bean & Snow Pea Salad
(Recipe adapted from Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion). Bring a big saucepan of water to the boil. Cook up your beans (7 minutes). Scoop them out and wack in some snow peas. Cook 'til bright green and not too limp (1 minute). Scoop out and allow to cool. Make a dressing with chopped herbs (chives, parsley) and a tablespoon of olive oil. Soak a teaspoon of capers in water for 5 minutes. Drain and add to the salad. Assemble on a platter with olives, the capers and crumbled goat's cheese.

Step 5 - Cherry Tomato & Bocconcini Salad
Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Pop your cherry tomatoes in a bowl with the dressing. Add some torn basil and use your hands to mix it all through.  On a platter, make a layer of salad greens. Pop the tomatoes on top. Tear some bocconcini balls and scatter about the platter.
Step 6 - Lay the Table
Instruct little monkeys to set the table using the good glasses and cutlery

Step 7 - Assembly
Assemble all the bits - chopped bread on a board, a bowl of roasted nuts and seeds, the figs, plop the potatoes in a nice bowl and lay them all out on the table.

Step 8 - Atmosphere
Light a candle and dig in.
Hey! Is that a pile of papers I still see at the top of the table? MONKEY MAN!


  1. I wish I was there, in a warm summer day with all those vegetables. Mmmm...

  2. What a feast, yummmmmy. Love all that flavour.

  3. Yum, that looks delicious! I would never have thought to put green beans and snow peas together but they look delicious. I agree with steaming potatoes first before roasting, but have never added butter, will have to try that. Anything for more crispiness.

  4. How great does that all look! I have piles on papers all round our study just like that one in the corner of your table...they used to be on the table but now they're in the study...oh well at least they're not on the table anymore.....

  5. Looks wonderful VG, sounds like a satisfying meal (home grown and delicious!)! I love your dishes too - very pretty!

  6. You are the queen of hearts...I mean, stomachs! Yummo!

  7. VG that first photo (with the basket of toms etc) is GREAT! So atmospheric. I hope your man appreciated all the trouble you went to in producing such a lovely meal. I enjoy seeing what dishes other bloggers serve their food in too, so I have been admiring the little brown and blue bowl. Only one problem: the wine-glasses are empty. I hope you rectified that at some stage! :)

  8. What delish deliciousness!!!! Can we all come round to you for sups???? Looks fab but trust a man to ruin a fantastic photo shoot!!!! lol xxx


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