Mushroom makes a bloody good mince!

I usually make this mushroom mince when I have a glut of mushrooms that I either forgot about or overbought from the bargain bin. Semi dried out, sad looking mushrooms are perfect for this! It’s a bonus if they’re fresh, but I’ve made this with both and it’s delicious either way. It’s an umami-rich lighter alternative to mince. My go to use for this is usually a riff on Chinese san choy bao or in a rice bowl. When I don’t have much left of this I just stretch it by adding a few spoonfuls to meals on the side.

Everything is chopped in the food processor since we have it out anyway! If you don’t have a food processor you can roughly hand chop everything up with a little more time, but definitely more love.


RECIPE

MUSHROOM MINCE SAN CHOY BAO

INGREDIENTS
600 g mushrooms (any mix really, I often use a mix of field, button and swiss, whatever you have or whatever’s cheaper)
1 large onion
1 cup leftover cooked white rice
Canned bamboo shoots, sliced (approx 225g)
Canned water chestnuts, sliced (approx 227g)
3 tsp oyster sauce
3 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp brown bean paste* (fermented soy bean and flour paste)
2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
Pepper and salt to taste


TO SERVE
Coriander
Sesame oil
Baby cos lettuce – washed and dried
Pickles on the side (optional)

METHOD
1. Heat a large fry pan on medium with a bit of vegetable or another neutral oil. Roughly halve and quarter the onion and finely chop in a food processor, then add to the hot pan with a pinch of salt and fry for 2-3 mins or until golden.

2. Add the washed and drained water chestnuts and bamboo shoots to the food processor and carefully process with the pulse function to a rough chop. Keep some texture as this part adds a bit of crunch, so some larger bits are fine. Add to the pan with the onion and saute for 5 mins. Add another glug of oil if it’s drying out then 1 tsp each of oyster, soy sauce, brown bean paste and kecap manis – mix through well – this imparts extra flavour into the chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Cook for a few minutes, then set aside in a medium bowl.

4. Meanwhile chop the mushrooms to a rough dice, in the food processor. Work in batches (depending on the size of your food processor) so the chop is even – tear large mushrooms into smaller bits for a more even chop. Do some finely, some more chunky to get variation. Be careful not to over do it as they’ll cook down and shrink. Add more oil to the large pan on medium high heat and add your chopped mushrooms and leave them, if you overmix them you’ll coax out more liquid. Letting them sit allows them to brown and set a bit of colour on the edges. The cooking time depends on your mix of mushroom varieties. I cook them until they don’t have that raw taste anymore. Should be around 5-10 minutes. 

5. Throw in the chestnut and bamboo mixture and cooked rice with the mushrooms, mix well and warm through. Add the remaining sauces and the rice wine vinegar: 2 tsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp brown bean paste, 1 tsp kecap manis and some white pepper. Taste for seasoning after each sauce addition if you’re not confident mixing and layering asian sauces then do a final taste for seasoning. 

Photography by Eric Cech

TO SERVE
Spoon warm mushroom mince into prepared lettuce cups and top with coriander (finely sliced stems or leaves) and pickles on the side – chinese pickles, kimchi, takukan (yellow pickled daikon), do chua (pickled carrot and daikon) or just sweet sliced pickled cucumbers work well). Crunchy cucumber slices and lil’ red radishes are nice too if you have some handy. Enjoy!

NOTES: *Brown bean paste: Is a fermented soy bean and flour paste. If you cannot find it substitute with extra soy sauce to taste.

There’s so many ways to eat this, how would you do it?

Photography by Eric Cech

Long live Condimental! Quirky, long-life pickles, preserves & sauces curated seasonally

#NOTANAD: Condimental have been on my radar for a while now – a local Sydney-based business putting out limited edition, seasonally curated boxes of elevated condiments (they also produce their own label items). Definitely a ‘first aid kit for boring food’ as you’ll see from some of my recipes below. From vinegars, hot sauce, miso and pickles to chutneys (ones you’ll actually use, not like the shit re-gifted xmas type) and fancy finishing salts – there’s a box for everyone (they also sell single products if you just want to dip your toe in). As the runs are quite small batch, some of the really good gems are only available in the seasonal boxes!

I couldn’t stop thinking about their ‘Summer Box‘ in particular. It’s the perfect mix of special and more everyday (only in use, not in quality!) items in my opinion. The Summer Box (the fourth curated box so far) includes these condiments: a red wine ‘field blend’ vinegar from Chef Hugh Piper at Dear Saint Eloise in Potts Point, Two Good Co head Chef Megan’s eggplant kasundi (a nice eggplant chutney of sorts packed with an Indian-style spice blend and flavour), pineapple chilli chutney by Condimental themselves (this one is a banger!), red gum smoked salt from Olsson’s in the cutest ceramic thingy with a lil wooden spoon (the smoky flavour is unreal), myrtled fennel pickle – another own brand creation from Condimental. I love Cornersmith’s pickled fennel, so I figured I’d be into a version with a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’ extra.

How the hell did I use these new found flavour-bombs? I had some sloppy (but really tasty, tasty) toasties and rice bowls in the privacy of my own home…but I took photos of my greatest hits to share here. Keep scrolling to see what was in the box, and how I used it.

How good is this packaging

PINEAPPLE AND CHILLI CHUTNEY – CONDIMENTAL
My fave condiment in the whole box so far

Ham, cheese and pineapple toastie with pineapple chilli chutney (crispy ham rind garnish)
Ploughman’s plate with pineapple chilli chutney (top left)
Close up of the pineapple chilli chutney with ham

RED GUM SMOKED SALT – OLSSON’S
Versatile for sweet and savoury use and deeply smoky.

Fig, nectarine, goat’s cheese and basil salad dressed w/ evoo olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Olsson’s red gum smoked salt
Kale stem pesto toast with a fried egg and a sprinkle of Olsson’s smoked salt

☝️See my recipe for kale stem pesto here

Country style ham hock beans (using xmas ham bone meat leftovers) finished with smoky red gum salt to enhance the ham
Smoked trout on toast sprinkled smoky salt and served with a chunky tabouli (lemon juice and evoo on the side to sprinkle on top)

MEGAN’S EGGPLANT KASUNDI – Two Good Co

A rice and veg bowl with an egg. Eggplant kasundi added for a flavour punch!
Leftover lamb, roasted sweet potato and eggplant kasundi sandwich

The products remind me of produce you’d get at a fancy grocer or farmer’s market, if you do the math (I did, haha) it’s often not as pricey.

There’s always a nice mix of condiments. The best part being that most of them are long life items, so you can take your sweet time getting through them (not that I’ve had much success with that…I only have 3/5 items left and one is a smoky salt I’m using sparingly).

I’m saving the pickled fennel for good ideas and have a lot of red wine vinegar to use before I open this special one. I will update this post with the ideas I have for using both those eventually, I promise!

Each seasonal box comes with a card like this to inspire and explain

Here’s the Condimental Summer Box in all its glory. If you want your own, be quick, as there’s only 16 left at the time of writing. Shop now.

Cauliflower stem and leaf pizza with egg

Cauliflower leaves make an excellent pizza topping

Cauliflower leaves are quickly becoming my go-to zero-waste staple. This non-traditional pizza recipe came about when I ran out of baby spinach but was craving a spinach and egg pizza. The closest thing I had in the crisper was a whole cauliflower + extra cauliflower leaves (everyone left them behind at the grocers, so I sneakily grabbed a handful and put it with my cauliflower bag hehe). I thought…I COULD USE CAULIFLOWER LEAVES!

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I was going to use tomato paste on the base but decided to use kale stem pesto because I had some fresh. I usually make a big batch and keep some in the fridge, then freeze the rest in sheets so I can break off the amount I need. You can also just use readymade, but if you want to give it a go here’s my recipe for kale stem pesto.

Kale stem oesto spread on a pizza base

It’s pretty easy. Seperate the leaves and stems, cut the stems into small pieces and baked quickly to soften a bit, then pop it on a pizza base spread with kale stem pesto (my recipe here, you can also use store bought). Add a few other bits and pieces, pop it back in the oven, add your egg towards the end and there you have it! YOUR OWN. PERSONAL. PIZZA.

All the ingredients below can be subbed for whatever you have available…I just used what I had for this very last minute pizza. For the cheese go ahead an use something fancier like mozzarella or bocconcini (it’ll be better, obviously, but sometimes you just need to offload a few slices of cheese) or scale it back to the tasty cheese slices…nobody will know, not even Instagram. If you don’t have pistachios, almonds or hazelnuts would work just as well. The pizza base I tried happened to also contain cauliflower (Picasso kitchen cauliflower base – a regular base with cauliflower added to up the veg content). It wasn’t bad! I’d buy it again for quick meals like this. It was thin and became nice and crispy. I’d usually have less toppings but my slight distrust of the pizza base and hunger meant I piled it on a bit more.

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RECIPE

EASY CAULIFLOWER LEAF & EGG PIZZA

INGREDIENTS
Cauliflower leaves, 4 large pieces, stems attached
Pre-made pizza base
2 tbsp kale stem pesto (or pre-made pesto alternative)
10-12 kalamata olives, drained
1 tsp capers (optional – can just use a pinch of salt instead)
2 slices gouda cheese, torn into pieces (or whatever cheese you have)
100g pistachios, shelled and chopped
1 large egg
Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD
1. Pre-heat a fan forced oven to 180°C. Rinse and trim the cauliflower leaves. Pat dry. Line a large oven tray with baking paper and set aside.

2. Pull leaves off cauliflower stems, keeping leaves and stems seperate. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Chop stems into 1cm pieces, halving any large ones, then pop onto your lined baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and 1 tsp of capers and pepper. Toss to coat in oil, place tray in oven for 2 minutes or till stems are beginning to soften slightly (this pre-cooking ensures they’re not undercooked at the end).

3. Spread pesto evenly onto your chosen pizza base using a spoon leaving a bit of a border for the crust edge. Scatter the cauliflower stems and capers, cauliflower leaves and pistachios on top making sure to leave an egg-sized bare circle on the middle of the base for the egg later on (one or two leaves on the circle are ok you just don’t want a mound of things there messing with the egg and popping the yolk). Top with cauliflower leaves and put back in the oven following the packet directions for the pizza base (my thin one required 8 minutes). Halfway through add your cheese on top (still avoiding the middle bare bit).

cheese

4. Meanwhile crack your egg into a ramekin so it’s easier to place it. Take out your pizza and drizzle with a little olive oil (the cauliflower leaves should be crispy, this addition of oil just ensures they don’t burn).
Carefully slide the egg out of the ramekin into the middle ensuring the yolk doesn’t break (no biggie if it does, it’ll just cook quicker). Use a spoon to spread out the egg white slightly to fill any gaps between it and the fillings. Place the olives anywhere the egg isn’t and put back into the oven for 2-3 minutes or until your pizza crust is golden and the egg is just starting to turn white on the edges (without clear bits).

rawegg

5. To serve sprinkle with some chopped pistachios, fresh basil leaves and pepper (there’s probably enough salt with the capers and olives). Season the egg with salt and pepper. Cut into 4 slices, ensuring all bits get a bit of egg/yolk and enjoy!

I’d love to hear your spin on this pizza! What did you add?

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MORE OF MY CAULIFLOWER LEAF RECIPES:
Easy Cauliflower Stem Breakfast Salad

WHAT ABOUT KALE STEMS, YOU SAY?
Save your stems! Easy raw kale pesto

Zero Waste veggie peel fritters

How often do you peel a carrot or a potato and chuck away the skin? Imagine if these nutritious strips could be turned into a whole ‘nother meal.

Well dream no more.

Recently I was cooking a bunch of carrots and parsnips, and didn’t have the heart to bin the peels — so I developed this frugal fritter recipe to make the most of them. It actually transforms them into caramelised discs of savoury goodness, with a subtle earthiness. You’ll never bin a peel again.

fritters1

RECIPE

ZERO WASTE VEGGIE PEEL FRITTERS

Serves 2 with leftovers. Cooking time: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5 cups parsnip and carrot peels*, chopped finely (peels of approx 5 carrots and 4 small parsnips)**
  • Half a brown onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp whole fennel Seeds
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • For serving: Greek yoghurt, salsa or chutney

METHOD

  1. In a biggish bowl mix together the eggs, onion, parsnip and carrot peels and any other veg. Add the flour, turmeric, cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.

  2. Heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick fry pan on medium heat. Add heaped tablespoonfuls of the fritter mix in the pan pressing it flat into 1cm thick fritters before the mixture sets. Cook in batches for 2-3 mins per side or till golden.
  3. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm. Serve fritters with salad and greek yoghurt, salsa or chutney.

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COOKING NOTES

* You can swap in and out any of the following veggie peels with this recipe: potato, sweet potato, beetroot and zucchini (if you weirdly were peeling zucchini for some reason, though it might make the mix watery so add flour to counteract).

** If you’re peeling veg but don’t feel like fritters, the peels will store well in a ziplock if used within a few days.