Food Connect Boxes

I have decided to add a new page for any readers who subscribe to “Food Connect“.
I’m sure that everyone is thrilled with the quality of the product that we receive, but sometimes there may be a bit of a run on one particular vegetable that we might need a little extra inspiration for, or we may be confronted with something that we don’t often cook. Each week I will take a look at what is in our box and offer some suggestions and recipes to help everyone get the most out of the beautiful fresh, organic produce inside.
If you have any suggestions or queries about any particular fruit or vegetable please just ask me – I’m fairly sure that I will be able to come up with something sensible (most times!).

You can find the list of what is in the boxes this week (depending on which size you order) here.

The new seasons citrus is just wonderful and oranges, in particular, are so versatile and can be used loads of ways.  Today I have two different ideas for you.  The first is just a plain and simple orange cake.  this recipe is one that I have had for ages and it never fails.  It is very rich with 4 egg yolks, but these can be substituted for 2 whole eggs if necessary. It can be iced with a butter cream icing flavoured with orange juice or I often just make a low fat icing by mixing icing sugar with straight orange juice and pouring that over the cake.

2 cups SR flour
pinch salt
125 gms butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
grated rind of 1 orange
4 egg yolks
juice of 1 orange

Grease and flour 20 cm ring tin and preheat oven to 180C.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about 4-5 minutes. Add yolks one at a time, beating well between each one, then add rind. Fold in sifted flour and salt and orange juice.
Pour into tin and bake 40 minutes. Check that it is cooked by piercing with a metal skewer which will come out clean if cake is done.
Cool on wire rack before icing.
Printable recipe ORANGE CAKE.

The second recipe is a dish my mother used to make – but, in spite of that, is really very nice!

4 chicken breast fillets or on the bone (skin on is nicer, but no skin if you must!)
Juice of 2 oranges
1-2 tsp ground coriander

Preheat oven to 180C
Place chook fillets in shallow baking dish, skin side up, and squeeze juice over them, then sprinkle evenly with coriander and place in oven. After about 10 minutes, remove from oven and drizzle each breast with about 1 dessertspoon of honey and baste with juice. Return to oven for 15-20 minutes, basting again after 10 minutes, the honey will caramelize with the juice, making it all sticky and yummy.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX – 2 JUNE (Where is the year going!!!?)
Now I seem to have the hang of this – the link to the list of this weeks contents is here!
If you need some inspiration for the pumpkin and/or leeks you need look no further than my home page where I have only just posted a recipe for a pumpkin and leek risotto!

The carrots that we have been getting are just lovely and last night I just peeled them, cut them into chunks, tossed them in some butter and olive oil melted together and put them in a shallow baking dish in the oven. After about 15 minutes of cooking I drizzled them with honey and sprinkle some ground coriander seeds over them and gave the pan a bit of a shake. I cooked them for about 40-45 minutes, tossing occasionally to prevent them sticking – delicious! If you have some maple syrup on hand I think that would be a fantastic substitute for the honey.

I am thrilled to see our local citrus becoming available now – our oranges are very hard to beat!
I have a fantastic, idiot-proof, healthy and simply delicious dessert using fresh oranges here – enjoy!

I’m obviously a little slow first thing in the morning, otherwise, instead of listing the box contents each week, I would just put a link here! There, that saved some work!!

Well, I noticed that our old friend spinach is still around, but I must have given enough ideas for that by now – haven’t I?

The Granny Smith apples have been just divine and the other night I cooked some up. I peeled, cored and sliced about 5-6 of them (it is really worth getting one of those winding peelers – they are only about $30, they make life soooo much easier and kids love them) and tossed them into a baking dish sprayed with olive oil. I then melted about 2 Tbsp of butter with about 1/2 cup of honey and 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice in a pan, poured it over the apples, tossed them and put them into a moderate oven until cooked through (20-30 minutes). I coated a lean loin of pork with olive oil, seasoned it with salt and pepper and sprinkled it with 5 spice and browned it all over in a fry pan, then popped it on top of the apples, cranked up the heat and cooked it for 15-20 minutes. The apples start to caramelize and get sticky and are a wonderful accompaniment to the pork. They were just as nice with a simple rice pudding for dessert.

Speaking of pork, cabbage goes well with it too, either quickly fried in some butter or oil with some salt, pepper and some celery seeds (or tops if you have them), in a slaw or in an Irish comfort-food classic – colcannon. This dish is dead simple! Just slice up the cabbage and a couple of spring onions and lightly fry together in some butter – or butter and olive oil – until just cooked, not soggy! Boil some potatoes, then season, mash with plenty of butter and milk and then stir through the cabbage and serve. This dish can be as wicked as you like – depending on how much butter you use or if you choose to put some cream in the mashed spuds – it’s all up to the individual! Do use butter and not margarine – the flavour of the butter is important in this dish.

With the end of the warm weather and the citrus not in yet, it may look a bit like more of the same, but all gorgeous quality again and with one big surprise for most of us!!

Granny Smith apples
Pink Lady apples

I still haven’t run out of spinach recipes, so if you need some inspiration there, just drop a note in the comment section of this blog and I will post another one!
(Already had a request – see below!)
This beautiful crisp celery was made to go with those Granny Smiths, some nice walnuts and homemade mayo in a Waldorf Salad, while the weather is still a bit mild. I made a delicious Caramelized Leek, Pumpkin and Thyme Fritatta last week and the recipe and a picture is on Lamb’s Ears home page.
The pomegranates this week are a very welcome and slightly exotic surprise for us all! They are simply gorgeous to look at and can be used as a really eye-catching garnish on many dishes – especially salads. However, I have managed to find a very special recipe using both the pomegranates and beetroot, for any of those who still have some of that rattling around in the bottom of the fridge. I am particularly fond of Middle Eastern food and can’t stop myself from buying cookbooks on the subject. When I first saw this book I decided I just had to have it. “The Book of New Israeli Food”, by Janna Gur (Schoken Books, New York) is a beautifully designed volume full of the freshest ideas and recipes and I hope that the author doesn’t mind if I share just one with the rest of Adelaide!


3-4 medium beetroots
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (available in gourmet shops or at the Central Market)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (more/less depending on your preference)
Sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 cup pomegranate seeds

Boil the beetroot until tender (or roast for a sweeter flavour), cool, peel and dice quite small.
Mix with pomegranate molasses, juice, chilli and sea salt. Stand for about 15 minutes.
Mix with the coriander and pomegranate seeds, dress with the oil and serve.

Emergency Spinach Recipe –

I found this little winner from Mark Bittman – not sure what to call it, but enjoy!

2 cups chick peas – soak dried peas are best, but well drained canned ones will do in a pinch!
150 gm chorizo sausage, sliced
olive oil – good quality
bunch of spinach, chopped rughly
1/4 cup good oloroso sherry (this is a rich, dark, but dry sherry – dry Marsala would be a good sub)
fresh breadcrumbs

Dry chick peas thoroughly in paper towels, heat oil in a heavy frypan and fry chickpeas and chorizo until peas are crunchy and sausage has released all the lovely flavours and crisped up.
Add some more olive oil and add the spinach and sherry and stir for a few moments until spinach starts to wilt.
Sprinkle top with bread crumbs, pop under a hot grill until browned.

Here follows the selection in my box this week. The contents of the boxes will vary depending upon the size that you have ordered.

Granny Smith apples
Pink Lady apples – if they are the same as last week, they will be excellent eating!!
spring onions
brown onions
Butternut pumpkin

It is very chilly here in the hills today, so those leeks and potatoes are going to taste fantastic combined in – you guessed it – leek and potato soup!
The Granny Smiths – did you know that Granny Smith apples originated here in Oz in the 1860’s? – are perfect baked. Core them out and cut a strip of peel from around the middle (to stop them splitting) and stuff with a mixture of sultanas, cinnamon or mixed spice and a little brown sugar if you like. Dot the tops with butter, place them in a shallow pan with enough water in it to cover the bottom of the pan and bake at 180C for about 30 minutes. Serve with custard for the perfect comfort food.
I know that it can get a little difficult to continue to inspire the troops to enjoy spinach, but this stuff is so very fresh and lovely – maybe this recipe from Claudia Roden will appeal!

Spinach with Pine Nuts and Sultanas

Bunch of spinach
1 onion, chopped
50 mls extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp sultanas soaked in water for about 15 minutes (or soak in a great spanish sherry if you can lay your hands on one!!)

Wash the spinach, chop roughly and steam for just a few minutes until softened.
In another pan, saute the onion in the oil until golden. Stir in the pine nuts and toast lightly.
Add the spinach, drained sultanas, season to taste and cook very lightly, stirring for a moment or two.
If you have soaked the sultanas in sherry, pour the remainder over the spinach.


My sources tell me that this week we can expect – again, depending upon the size of box that you receive –

Butternut pumpkin
Pink Lady apples
Granny Smith apples
spring onions

With the autumn chill (finally!) in the air, I think that we are heading into soup weather and some of these lovely veggies are just perfect for that.
French onion soup is easy and just divine with a big slice of crusty bread and melted gruyere floating on top – what could be better than a steamy bowl of that, a glass of good red and a cosy fire!?
Corn is another vegetable that lends itself well to a thick, hearty soup and kids just love it.
Everyone knows that rhubarb and apples are an unbeatable combination in pies and crumbles, but how about poached rhubarb and pears, served with a vanilla speckled creme anglaise for a stylish dessert?
If you are one of the lucky ones to get some more of that lovely, crisp celery, but are running out of ideas for it, then you will be pleased to know that I have a great recipe for a tasty celery soup that will use quite a significant amount of it!


50 mls olive oil
1 onion, chopped (or you can use your spring onions!)
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chopped celery – including some leaves for extra flavour
1 ltr chicken or vegetable stock
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bunch flat leaved parsley, chopped
sour cream

Heat oil and saute onion gently until translucent, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add celery and stir to coat with oil, then add stock and potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until celery and potatoes are soft – 15-20 minutes.
Puree until smooth with a stab mixer or in a processor.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with the parsley.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX – 28 April!

I have not picked my box up yet today, but I have been given a sneak peek into a few so that I can let you know what is coming up!

Depending on the size of box that you have ordered, you can expect a selection, or most of the following –
Pink Lady apples
Pontiac spuds
Butternut pumpkin

We have had a lovely time in our house with the fantastic carrots we have been getting. Not only has my carrot salad been on the table, but carrot cake with cream cheese icing keeps getting made and then promptly vanishing!

Pumpkin is also very popular both in soup and roasted or mashed, but the big hit was when the Butternut pumpkin from last week made it’s way into a delicious pumpkin rotolo dish, the recipe for which I found in the current “delicious.” magazine. With a tiny hint of chilli and some fennel seeds, it was a relatively simple, but very tasty way to use up this versatile veggie.

I’m told that the celery is spectacular this week so, with the chilly weather coming in it may be time for some soup making! I love fresh, crisp celery in a salad with nuts – either toasted walnuts or slithered almonds, some chopped up apple or pear and a drizzle of balsamic over the lot – maybe even white balsamic for a change – or a good homemade mayo! Celery leaves are wonderfully tasty to add into soups or casseroles and, I recently discovered, they can be used as a substitute for fenugreek leaves if necessary!

Spinach is still beautiful, as are spinach and cheese pastries, but I do happen to know of a very nice, quick dish that is a winner too! I have used cannelini beans in the recipe, but borlotti beans will do, as would chick peas. This has no meat in it, but the smoked paprika really gives the whole dish a wonderfully big flavour.

4 spring onions, sliced
1/2 cup semi dried tomatoes, chopped
olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 400 gm cans of beans, drained
1 bunch spinach, chopped roughly
1 cup water or stock

Heat olive oil in a deep pan, add onion and tomatoes and saute gently until soft, add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add rest of ingredients, simmer gently until liquid is reduced.
Serve with crusty bread for a hearty, quick meal.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX – 21 April

I pick up my box on a Wednesday afternoon and here is what I found yesterday!

And here is a rough idea of what I will be doing with my goodies!

Spuds and onions – well they are just staples in our house. If the weather cools down on the weekend – as I’m told it will – I will probably make a potato bake. A simple, comfort food dish, it is a perennial favourite with the teenagers and couldn’t be easier – just layer slices of potato (and onion if you like – or not – whatever) in a greased dish, sprinkle layers with grated cheddar cheese and cover the lot with light cream. For a lower fat version use 1/2 in 1/2 cream and milk and substitute some of the cheddar with grated parmesan. Bake at 160C for about 1 hour.

Carrots – I don’t know about anyone else, but this unseasonal warm weather means a last chance for a BBQ and my Carrot Salad is just the accompanying dish!

Zucchini or corn – both make delicious fritters (as do carrots) and kids love them!

Spinach – my youngest just loves spinach – weird isn’t it!!? I will often shred it and put it in a green salad with lettuce, but her favourite treat is spinach and cheese pasties. I chop up the whole bunch and very lightly steam it until just wilted. In a bowl I mix 300gms of ricotta cheese, a handful or two of grated cheddar, 2 chopped spring onions, a beaten egg, the spinach, a little grated nutmeg and salt and pepper. I spoon that onto squares of defrosted puff pastry – cut to whatever size suits – fold them over, brush with a beaten egg and bake at 190C for about 25 minutes, or until golden.

I was lucky enough to score a couple of the limes this week. I could make a lime pie or make a thai dish.
Or I could just get out the gin and the ice – hmmm, decisions!!

Hope that these suggestions provide some help for you!


6 responses to “Food Connect Boxes

  1. Pingback: Lambs Ears and Honey — Food Connect Adelaide

  2. the celery soup was really really good! even my resident soup hater loved it! thanks.

  3. Oh no … more spinach in the box.. 🙂
    I think I would like another recipe 🙂 if you have time to post one:)
    Thanks, Susi

  4. oh my – that emergency spinach dish sounds awesome! sometimes having a vego in the house is a pain!!!

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