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learn how to cook Quinoa with lemon and parsley at Jacican cookingPopping up in my feed is pictures of people cooking amazing things – seafood, tagines, roast with all the trimmings – no one is really living on what they have in their pantry.

I’m taking a different approach and trying to use up what I have in the pantry first, cooking what I have on hand.

And it turns out, I have a lot of Quinoa on hand, leftover from now non-existent catering jobs.

As cooking is in my blood, heart and soul, I am going to work out as many ways to cook Quinoa as possible, maybe come up with 100 recipes.

So far, I have three.

This recipe was served as a side dish with last nights dinner (Building Maintenance doesn’t feel like I’ve fed him right unless there are carbs on the plate).

The next night, I stuffed it into zucchini, then baked the lot in the oven covered with fresh tomato sauce.

Quinoa with pickled lemon and parsley recipe.

Cook Quinoa using pressure cooker method, 1-part Quinoa 2 parts water, 3 minutes on high pressure.

Finely mince a 250 ml jar of pickled lemons and a bunch of parsley.

Once the Quinoa has cooked for its three minutes and the steam has released from the pressure cooker, but the quinoa is still hot, stir through the minced lemon and parsley.

Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Jaci

A friend told me recently, that in tough times make sure you have Brussels Sprouts. They will survive at the bottom of your fridge through everything.

chopped brussel sprouts waiting for your lunch at Jacican

Here’s how you cook them

To save on the typing, from now on I’m going to call Brussels Sprouts, BS.

I like to peel off any leaves for the outside that are past their best.

have brussel sprouts with your lunch at Jacican

You can either cut a cross in the bottom of each BS or cut each BS in half vertically.

chopped brussel sprouts into halves for lunch at Jacican

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Blanc your BS in the boiling water for 2 minutes. I do less time, not more, as I like my BS still crispy. Not grey and soggy. 

Dice a couple of strips of bacon and one onion.

Heat a frying pan. Add a spoonful of butter. Melt.

Add the bacon and onion to the frypan. Fry off until the bacon is crisp, and the onion cooked.

Throw in the BS. Fry off until they start to brown.

fry your brussel sprouts in a frypan with bacon and onion

To finish the BS off, pour in ½ cup of white wine. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and the chef’s secret ingredient, sugar.  

On this day, I’ve served mine with a rack of Wattlebank park farm lamb

Brussel sprouts served with lamb rack at Jacican lunch

Stay safe and keep cooking!

Jaci

Over the last few months, I have spent many hours in the kitchen garden weeding, planting and mulching. The one thing is though, the weeds never seem to go away. So, I have come up with a way to deal with them – Eat them!

 jaci holding a plate of warrigal greens with oyster sauce

There is always an assortment of greens growing wild in my kitchen garden – kale, nasturtiums, rocket and this year self-seeded red leaf lettuce has lined the patch around the citrus tree all by itself. I am always cooking blanched and braised green. I do love mine braised with white wine, seasoned with a little salt and pepper and finished with some cream.  

I'm going to get back out in the garden and see what weediness I can find.

Braised Warrigal greens with Oyster Sauce

Warrigal greens (Tetragonia Tetragonioides) is a native ground cover found in Australia, New Zealand, and eastern Asia. A little while ago, I visited an urban farm in Melbourne, their nursery was selling very small plants for $20.00 each. Mine just grows wild from a cutting someone gave me and has a spread of about two square metres.

Jaci picking Warrigal Greens

We pick this leafy green in my harvest lunches and serve alongside beef dishes. It turns out I like it boiled and dressed with oyster sauce - just like you would find greens served at the local Chinese restaurant.

To cook your Warrigal greens

  1. Pick as many as you would like to serve. Warrigal greens will not shrink down like spinach so only take what you will need.
  2. Pluck leaves away from stems and wash very well.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add Warrigal Green and boil for two minutes. Drain.
  4. Place in serving dish and drizzle over the oyster sauce.

Warrigal greens with oyster sauce

 

A few people ask me what seeds we should plant now because there are lots of people out there that haven't gardened before.

As you can see, I've gardened before.

You can pick these up from any of your normal hardware shops Mr. Fothergills, Radish, broccoli and bok choy (pak choi), are my recommendations to start with.

 Seeds to grow in April in Mirboo North Gippsland at Jacican

I’m going plant bok choy seeds in the garden, and I'll show you how you do it.

It's really, really, really easy.

In the packet, you get a roll of seed tape, two lengths of 2.5 metres.

In a normal household, you would plant 1 metre at a time, which means you got to have five months’ worth of seeds, one meter at a time, once a month for five months.

What we do is scraped back some mulch, throw the ball for the dog in between.

Rough up the top of the soil, it doesn’t need to be very deep, and lay in the seed tape and sprinkle back over the dirt or you could use a little potting mix

That's it, you've planted some bok choy

Bok choy will grow the fastest, it maybe will only take 4 to 6 weeks before you are harvesting your own.

bok choy in the Jacican kitchen garden in Mirboo North Gippsland

It will depend on how warm the weather stays.

This is what you will end up with after about 4 weeks, bok choy ready to eat!

grow your own bok choy in the Jacican kitchen garden in Mirboo North Gippsland  grow your own bok choy at Jacican Mirboo North Gippsland

Jaci

Jacican Cooking School's kitchen garden, Mirboo North Gippsland

Each year I grow a year’s supply of tomatoes in the kitchen garden. Usually, it’s three beds each holding 36 plants. After losses, I end up with about 100 tomato plants. All of them have different colours, shapes and sizes.

How to grow tomatoes at Jacican cooking school, Gippsland

All the tomatoes I grow, I grow from seed. I start tomato season in July, reviewing my collection of seeds, hunting out new ones to try, purchasing fresh seed. If you don’t get your seeds early, you rush when it’s time for planting

Sometimes around the middle of August, I spend an hour or two planting out the seeds in the glasshouse.

How to grow tomatoes at Jacican cooking school, Gippsland

 

How to grow tomatoes at Jacican cooking school, Gippsland

I use a 4 cm square seed raising trays that hold 24 plants. I’m a little bit lazy, so I buy fresh seed raising mix from the Mirboo North nursey. I fill each square with seed raising mix and poke a hole in the mix with a skewer. I then place a couple of seeds in the hole and push back over the dirt.

How to grow tomatoes at Jacican cooking school, Gippsland

Now the most important thing … remember to label. Each tomato gets an ice pole stick, with a handwritten label. I use Ice pole sticks, as they last a season, then break down into the soil.

Jacican grows all tomato seeding for the kitchen garden

Now water and wait. In about 4 months I’ll have tomatoes.

Jaci

PS: You can only harvest your own tomatoes at Jacican, as a guest in a Harvest Lunch, when tomatoes are in season. This is usually between February and early May.

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