Spring flavors: In season, in Canberra


Spring in Canberra is not only beautiful, but also delicious. Asparagus and broad beans, red beets and the seeds of our magnificent native acacia – there is no shortage of bright seasonal flavors to experience in the coming months.

For 4 people

  • 500g broad beans, shelled
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets, stem peeled and cut into 8mm discs
  • 1 bunch of asparagus cut into 2 cm
  • 3 packets of buckwheat soba noodles (270g)
  • 100g English baby spinach, washed and dried

For the ginger tahini miso sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini or smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice seasoning (shichimi togarashi Where furikakesold in Asian grocery stores)
  • 2 teaspoons of miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
  • A good pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cm peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated

To serve

  • 1 ripe, creamy avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 bunch coriander, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced ​​rice seasoning, for sprinkling (optional)

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

Add the broad beans and blanch them until they are green and tender. Remove them and refresh them under running cold water until they are cool enough to touch. Double husk the beans in a bowl, splitting the skin with your fingernail and pushing out the bright green flesh.

Return the water to a boil and blanch the broccoli for 3 to 4 minutes, until bright green. Drain, refresh under a cold tap, add to the beans and set aside. Bring the water back to a boil and blanch the asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely green. Take it out and set it aside with the broccoli.

Bring the bleaching water to a boil again. Add buckwheat noodles, wait until softened enough to submerge, then cook 1 minute less than package instructions suggest. Drain the noodles and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking.

Combine dressing ingredients in medium bowl. Dip the noodles in the dressing and toss to coat well.

When ready to serve, add the blanched vegetables and baby spinach to the dressed noodles, tossing until well coated. Taste the seasoning – an extra splash of soy is worth it if the salad needs a salty boost.

Scatter the avocado, cilantro and spring onion over the top and sprinkle with additional rice seasoning.

Beet, chocolate and acacia seed cake

Images and text of First Nations Food Companion by Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan, photography by Josh Geelen. Murdoch Books RRP $49.99.

For 8 people

  • 125g softened butter
  • 1 1/3 cups (300 g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted ground acacia seeds
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 75g melted dark chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups (225g) self-rising flour
  • 2/3 cup (50 g) raw cocoa powder, sifted
  • 250 g cooked beets, peeled and grated

For the Muntrie cream

  • 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure icing sugar
  • 1 cup (155 g) muntries or raspberries/blueberries

For the icing

  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 135g sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (30g) pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon toasted ground acacia seeds

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20cm cake tin with parchment paper (or two tins if you are making a two-tier cake). Cream the butter, sugar, acacia seeds and eggs in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until pale and frothy, then add the melted chocolate and beat to combine. Gently stir in the flour, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt, then stir in the beetroot.

Pour into molds and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes, then unmold onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the muntrie cream, whip the cream and icing sugar together until thickened.

For the glaze, place all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water) and stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat and continue to stir until shiny. Let the cake and frosting cool. For a single cake, transfer to a serving platter and frost the cake, serve with cream and muntries. For a two-layer cake, transfer one of the cakes to a plate, spread the cream on top and sprinkle with muntries. Carefully place the second cake on top and drizzle with frosting. Devour.

Get the latest Canberra news, sport, entertainment, lifestyle, competitions and more straight to your inbox with the Canberra Weekly Newsletter. register here.


Comments are closed.