Kitchen Garden Guides

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Maggie's spinach and spring onion pie, in a busy kitchen


image  As I was watering some things in my garden the other day I realised how many different leaves I have; some in quite small amounts as several of the plants are going to seed. As well, just around the corner, I noticed that the spring onions are dividing and the shallots are ready to dig. In my mind, while I was enjoying standing there with my hose, gazing across the outdoor food pantry, I was unconsciously thinking about what to make for dinner.... Quite suddenly my thoughts gelled and I had a vision of Maggie's sunflower seed-topped pie in my mind's eye.

"Righto" I said to Pickle "That's what we'll have for dinner tonight." I left the hose trickling on the tomatoes and went in to check the recipe.... all I needed to buy was some fetta. (I wish I could get the Island Pure sheep's fetta from Kangaroo Island, SA but I did find some other sheep's fetta, later, in the shop that would do.)

You might think it odd that I would offer this to Pickle for dinner too, but he is a funny dog, and just loves fruit and vegetables, often turning up his nose at the meat, except if it is on a bone.

image The afternoon was spent bottling red and yellow cherry plums. These are pleasant little fruits on trees laden with the red or golden balls the size of large cherries. I sometimes add a dash of cardamon or a clove or piece of cinnamon stick because they need a bit of a flavour boost.



image In the early evening, I took the big tin bowl left here by the previous owners, and off I went, picking this leaf and that until I had enough for the recipe. No need to pick more; it will stay fresher in the garden until I want it. I would have taken my basket but it was still full of cherry plums and peaches!


The multinational collection of leaves I picked contained some of each of the following: chicory, cavolo nero, red Russian kale, nasturtiums, mizuna, beetroot leaves and rainbow chard.

The recipe says wholemeal flour but this time I substituted chickpea flour instead and I think it was even better. What sets this pastry-less pie apart from other leafy pies is the whole cup of sunflower seeds you press into the top, which go crunchy and fill the kitchen with their delicious aroma. (Four Leaf currently have organic Australian sunflower seeds again. Otherwise you are buying Chinese ones .... or not buying any! When sunflowers grow so well in Australia, why oh why are we importing them from China???)

While my dinner was cooking in the oven, I sat in the lounge and had a glass of my home-made limoncello. Oh lalalala. It is excellent. I serve it straight from the freezer in a tiny shot glass. Perfect for a summer's evening.

I have so many red and yellow cherry plums thanks to Alicia, Alex and their 2 gorgeous little girls who came and helped me on Australia day. While Alex cleared blackberries from below the trees, Alicia climbed to the very top to pick the fruit. The girls picked whatever they could reach, and spent hours picking the fruits off some branches we pruned, separating them from the leaves and stalks and putting them into baskets and bags.

imageimage   ...and all done while we listened to JJJ's Hottest 100!


Maggie said...

Good one Kate, I might cook that pie for dinner tonight.
The plums look delicious.

HAZEL said...

Yummy...all of it!

Anonymous said...

Kate you are brilliant. The chinese sunflower seeds frustrate me. Thank you for the link!

Kate said...

I do happen to sell all the Four leaf stuff from my little pantry shop!