Everyone goes mushroom mad sometimes. This recipe is perfect for when you’ve bought or foraged a few too many of mother earth’s favourite umami cups. It features the usual pickling spices, plus the Filipino zap of coconut vin – a taste which pairs well with the meaty mushrooms and reminds my inner child of mum’s chicken adobo. Mmm. I used Phoenix Oyster Mushrooms sourced from small-scale grower @maximushrooms (DM Maxim via instagram to order), based out the backdoor of Sydney – but you could easily get ‘em (or other varieties like shimeji, king oyster, shiitake, saffron milk caps or pine) from a good grocer (especially Asian ones) or grow-at-home kit and it’d be lightyears better than the supermarket. Pro tip: Char the mushies before pickling for bonus smokiness.
(A brief aside on coconut vinegar before we commence – Coconut vinegar doesn’t taste particularly coconutty. I used the type made by fermenting coconut water (suka ng niyog). Generally, the brown-tinged variety is made from coconut sap (sukang tuba).)
No more ado – here’s my recipe for Filipino Adobo Pickled Mushrooms:
INGREDIENTS Oyster mushrooms Coconut vinegar (Filipino brand preferred, like Datu Putti) Bay leaves Whole black peppercorns Small garlic clove, thinly sliced Non-iodised salt, a pinch
Sterilise your jars and lids by placing them on a tray in a cold oven, set to 100ºC (212°F).
Clean your mushrooms – by gently pulling them apart (if joined to a big mushroomy mass), and tearing larger ones in half. Wash them lightly (no gritty gills here), and allow to dry in the sun.
Sear mushrooms – Heat an aluminium or cast iron pan on medium high heat and dry-sear the mushrooms till lightly charred (ie. no oil for max char). Don’t overcrowd the pan, otherwise they’ll stew, so doing this in batches is best. Press down the mushrooms with another pan to get an even sear. Flip and do this for all mushrooms on both sides. Set aside.
Make your pickling brine – Make enough pickling brine to fill your jars. Simmer equal amounts of coconut vinegar and water in a small pot.
Take your jars out of the oven with tongs.
Assemble – Add 1-2 bay leaves, 4 black peppercorns and 2-3 THIN slices of garlic (these pack a punch) per 200ml jar (scale this up or down depending on the bigness of your jars). Add your seared mushrooms to the sterilised jars. Pour over the hot hot brine, leaving 1cm headroom. Run a knife around the inside edge of the jar to release air pockets. Tap the jar a few times and repeat. Add more brine if required and pop a lid on.
Storing – Store in a cool, dark place out of sunlight for at least 2-3 weeks to let the flavours develop. Should keep for a minimum of 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.
This recipe is featured as part of a fermentation community celebration for Sandor Katz’ new book ‘Fermentation Journey’s (published by Chelsea Green). A live stream celebration by Cultures Group. Bringing together the fermentation community by sharing our recipes, pickles and ferments in honour of Sandor’s own journey and learnings.
Aesop is an Australian skin-care and self-care company, known for their high-end, well-branded (and incredibly expensive) products. And there’s no bigger epitome of this than their fabled Post-Poo Drops, a toilet freshener which elicits an understated scent of Mandarin, Tangerine, and Ylang Ylang when plopped into your toilet bowl after (and this is to quote the labelling) “vigorous activity has occurred” – far more natural than those artificially pumped up floral fresheners that you find on the supermarket shelves.
The original is beautiful, and actually has a Bottomfeder-esque origin story! “This botanical deodoriser got its accidental start when discarded essential oils from our in-house lab were repurposed to scent an office bathroom. It has since become one of our most popular products” – @aesopskincare
While I originally got these delightful drops for bathroom guests, my partner and I have fallen in love with the scent. And so rather than use it too quickly, I thought I’d have a go at making this mandarin marvel myself. Just save up some citrus skins and let time and patience work their magic. Make a larger batch and gift it to friends and family, or just store it to refill your smaller bottle. The prep time is 3 weeks, and this sounds insane, but like most good preserving projects, it’s very hands-off and mostly about letting time pass…especially something we have lots of in lockdown!
First, we create our own essential oils by steeping dried citrus peels in rubbing alcohol. Commercial versions use a distiller or cold press to extract oils, but alcohol is much more accessible way to draw these oils out at home without needing all that hi-tech wizardry. I used mandarin, orange and lemon peels leftover from eating and cooking. If you want a shortcut or have essential oils on hand you could just use them, however this can be costly and this recipe came about as an elevated way of utilising those naturally zingy smelling citrus peels.
With a paring knife, remove the white pith for each of the peels.
While you’ve got your knife out, cut the peel off the lemons.
Place the de-pithed peels out in the sun to dry for approx 1 wk, keeping them separate so you know which peels are which. Turn every so often.
Put each group of peels into a separate jar and cover with rubbing alcohol, shaking the jar to ensure peels are evenly covered/submerged.
Place a lid loosely over each jar, and put in a cool dry place for 1 wk.
Strain each oil to remove the peels, and place in jars. Optional zero waste drained peel use – Store the strained peels together in a jar – these can be used as a rubbish bin deodoriser, just shake some into your bin to keep it smelling fresh. As they’ve been sitting in alcohol they’re kind of preserved.
Use paper towel and rubber bands to create a breathable lid for each oil. Then put in a cool dry place for 1 wk, shaking infrequently to stop bacteria forming.
(Optional) Store each oil in eye-dropper bottles for ease of use.
For the final mixture:
Measure 125mL of water out into a jug.
Add the glycerin and rubbing alcohol.
Use your nose to mix a balance of the essential oils to your liking. 30-40 drops total ought to be enough. Go slow and add oils bit by bit.
(Optional) Store in eye-dropper bottle for ease of use.
For blending: Mixing the scents comes down to your individual preferences. It’s very subjective, so you have to use your nose to smell what’s right for you. I found that lemon is sophisticated, bright and fresh, orange verges on that musky stereotypically grandma toilet freshener smell, and mandarin is somewhere in the middle. For me, I added approximately 50% Lemon, 35% Mandarin and 15% Orange.
To create an aroma that smells more like the Aesop original: The Aesop original post poo drops have an aroma blend of tangerine peel, ylang ylang and mandarin peel. My version omitted the ylang ylang. I wanted to see what I could make with what I had without buying extra first (I haven’t seen any wild ylang ylang around me either). I recommend you include ylang ylang (native to Queensland, but not as readily available wild to everyone) or something similar like jasmine. You can buy readymade ylang ylang oil if you want, but a lemon heavy version of these post poo drops is pretty darn good as is! It is just going down the toilet in the end anyway!
For storage: You can buy amber glass bottles with some form of a dropper to make dispensing the oils and storing your finished post poo drops easy. They’re available online and at health food stores, or reuse ones you have leftover. The amber glass also helps prevent the oils from oxidising due to heat and light.
Future ideas: I’m currently creating some lemongrass essential oil to hopefully add a bit of a floral note (I usually dry the tough ends and outer parts of lemongrass whenever I buy it. I add it to cooking and make my own ginger and lemongrass tea). Make it your own though! You could add in rosemary, lavender or eucalyptus and take it in a different direction to the Aesop version if that’s what you like. I find it helps to look at or google the blend of scents in perfumes and products you already gravitate towards and try to recreate blends inspired by those (wayyyy easier than becoming an actual perfumer).
There’s nothing like biting into some juicy mango on a hot summer’s day. I have so many memories of cross hatching mango cheeks with a knife and inverting them to become an edible cubist echidna. But what do you do with the pits and the peels that you can’t eat? I recently came across this recipe from Cornersmith (also in the Use It All cookbook) and lowered the amount of sugar since I’d mainly use it as a more savoury marinade. Make your mango scraps go the extra mile! It’s surprising how little mango you need to get a good flavour. This marinade base tastes kind of like a subtle Weis bar with a light gingery kick – you can add other ingredients to tweak it to your taste, see the recipe below for suggestions.
RECIPE MANGO SCRAP MARINADE BASE
INGREDIENTS: 2-3 mangoes 2 tbsp sugar (or honey) 2 cups water A few slices of ginger (or 2 tbsp dried ginger pieces/skin)
METHOD 1. Prepare your mangoes – we need the pits and skins for this recipe. Cut off the cheeks and seperate the flesh from the skin with a large spoon. Peel the section around the pit and cut off any mango you want to utilise – reserve the mango flesh for another use.
2. Add the mango peels and pits, sugar, water and ginger to a small pot on medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a simmer.
3. Simmer for 10 mins, then turn the heat off. Let the flavours infuse for 15 mins.
4. Strain the mango marinade through a sieve pressing as much mango as you can out. Pop the mixture back on the heat on low to reduce further if you’d like it thicker.
5. To use as a meat marinade, use as is, or add salt or fish sauce, pepper, olive oil, and/or chilli to your taste. It also goes great in salad dressing or as is on sweet things like ice cream and pancakes.
MANGO MARINADE VARIANT SUGGESTIONS Add these to the marinade base for something different – Asian: fish/soy sauce, lime juice and zest, coriander stems and/or a bashed lemongrass stalk. – Mango sweet chilli: chilli or sriracha and maybe a little honey. – Mango BBQ: garlic, bbq sauce, chilli.
Merry belated Christmas! I hope, like me and my family, you enjoyed bucketloads of fresh seafood and prawns or maybe you’re having some for New Years. With all those prawns, inevitably comes lots of leftover prawn heads, tails and shells. In this recipe I’m going to show you how to get the most bang for your buck from your prawns by extracting that rich flavour of the sea into a deep red hued prawn oil. Best of all you only need 4 ingredients. Freeze your prawn bits till you have 1kg or so and simply thaw out in the fridge and drain. Inspired by Christmas, but great anytime you have prawns.
This prawn oil is great tossed through pasta or noodles – use it to flavour a stir fry, curry or cook fried rice or vegetables with it. Drizzle it on soups or seafood dishes for an extra oomph of umami prawny flavour.
My partner Mark and I filmed this recipe as a video. We’re going to try do this for our recipes from now on!
RECIPE ZERO-WASTE PRAWN HEAD OIL
INGREDIENTS 1 small brown onion, finely diced (keep the skin and ends) Vegetable oil or other neutral-flavoured oil 1-2kg Prawn heads, shells and tails 1/4 teaspoon salt Optional: Onion skin peels and ends
METHOD 1. Prepare the prawn heads by tearing up the shells from the head flesh you can also bash them with a mortar and pestle. Make sure there’s no poop chutes (otherwise known as the prawn poo veins)!
2. Heat a deep pot on medium heat. Add a splash of oil, then toss in your diced onion and salt. Cook for approx 5 min, stirring occasionally until softened and translucent.
3. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the prawn heads, onion skin and ends and cover them half way in vegetable oil.
4. Cook them for approximately 30-45min, until the oil is reddy/orange in colour. Stir and crush the heads/shells with a wooden spoon periodically to release flavour.
5. Strain into jars. Allow to cool and store in the fridge. It lasts for a couple of months (if you haven’t finished it before then!).
OTHER PRAWN HEAD & SHELL USES – Prawn stock – You could also simmer prawn heads and shells with water to make a flavourful stock. Great as a base for seafood dishes, pasta sauce, tom yum soup, ramen, risotto and as a general flavour enhancer in stir fries, veggies, curries and noodle dishes. – Crunchy prawn heads – Season self raising flour with salt and coat the cleaned prawn heads. Deep fry for a few minutes till crisp and golden right through. Eat with a chilli sambal or sweet chilli sauce to dip.
What are your favourite uses for prawn shells and heads?
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.
ZERO WASTE VEGGIE PEEL FRITTERS
Serves 2 with leftovers. Cooking time: 30 mins
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
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
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.
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.
Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm. Serve fritters with salad and greek yoghurt, salsa or chutney.
* 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.
Growing up, my Filipino mum would whip big batches of chicken adobo for dinner each week. This classic mix of chicken, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic makes for a punchy flavour that hits the spot between sweet, sour and salty. 100% comfort food.
This recipe puts a new spin on that classic Filipino taste, by encasing it in a classic Aussie crust. This dish is kinda like me! A mix of my Filipino and European heritage, with banana catsup – the Filipino version of ketchup – a tropical innovation that stemmed from a WWII tomato shortage, and pairs surprisingly well with the pie.
CHICKEN ADOBO PIE WITH HOMEMADE BANANA CATSUP
Makes 4-6 pies. Cooking time 1.5hrs
1.5kg bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (thighs or whole chicken cut into 8)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar (can also use white Filipino cane vinegar or white vinegar)
½-1 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
10 large cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
Banana catsup (banana ketchup)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed till smooth (approx. 1 cup)
1/4 cup eschallots, finely diced (or brown onion)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
60ml white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon, ginger finely grated
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, finely grated (1 teaspoon if using ground turmeric)
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
To make the chicken adobo filling place the water, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large pot. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan. If the chicken it isn’t covered in liquid add ½ to 1 cup water.
Bring liquid to the boil on medium high heat, then turn down to medium low and simmer with the lid on for about 1 hour (or till chicken is cooked and juices run clear). Stir and turn the chicken every once in a while.
While the chicken is cooking prepare the banana catsup. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot and cook the eschallots till translucent, then add the ginger, garlic, turmeric and all spice. Cook till the spices are fragrant.
Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, stirring well. Follow with vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and mashed banana. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often till it starts to thicken.
If the banana ketchup is too thick add a bit of water to reach desired consistency. To store allow sauce to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks+.
Once chicken adobo is cooked take it off the heat and allow to cool, however if the sauce is too runny remove the chicken and allow sauce to thicken on medium high heat. Next pull the meat off the bones and into bite sized pieces. Toss it with the thickened adobo sauce ready to go into the pies.
Preheat oven to 220C and place a baking tray into the oven. Grease your pie pans of choice with butter (I used a medium 6 cup muffin tin). For the pie bases cut 6 x 15cm circles from the shortcrust pastry to line the base and sides of your pie tins. Brush the top edges with water. Fill with cooled chicken adobo mix. For the pie lids cut 6 x 15cm circles from the puff pastry. Place over meat and press to seal with a fork. Trim the edges to neaten and brush the tops with egg.
Place pies onto a hot tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve with the banana catsup.
It’s a long one, but I swear it’s worth it! Deliciously crispy pastry, filled with salty-sweet fall-apart chicken, finished with a fresh tang from the banana catsup… As an extra tip for your effort: Make a double batch of the chicken adobo and freeze half of it for more pies later or to chow down with rice. You’ll thank yourself later!
Whenever you have a cauliflower with the outer leaves and stalks in tact it’s almost second nature to pull them all off and bin them. I started this process recently and noticed there was almost as much leaf as actual cauliflower. That got me thinking…there had to be a way to utilise them…
To clarify by ‘leaves’ I mean the green outer leaves and the stems they’re attached to. After a few experiments I whacked them in the oven with some seasoning I’d typically use on cauli. Once roasted, the leaves become incredibly crispy, in a kind of unexpected way. They taste like deep fried kale chips and nori (roasted seaweed, often used for sushi), while the stalks retained their cauliflower nuttiness.
I mixed the roasted cauliflower leaves into a little breakfast salad – but you could also enjoy them as a side, with other roasted veg or in a more substantial salad.
EASY CAULIFLOWER STEM BREAKFAST SALAD
Serves 1 as a light salad
INGREDIENTS Cauliflower leaves (middle stalk intact)
Salt and pepper
TO SERVE Fried egg
A few big handfuls of mixed salad leaves
Caramelised white balsamic
METHOD 1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Rinse the cauliflower leaves off and trim any woody ends off. Pat dry, then place on an oven tray. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well to coat.
2. Sprinkle cauliflower leaves with a bit of cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes, salt, pepper.
3. Pop into the hot oven for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves start to become golden and crispy. 10 minutes is enough for some light colour on them – while at 15 minutes they’ll look more like mine did with more char on the stalks and super crispy (almost deep fried looking) leaves.
4. To Serve: I tossed them with mixed salad leaves, a bit of caramelised balsamic and a fried egg on top.
I definitely want to have another play around with these next time I get a leafy cauli and I can’t believe how many times I’ve just mindlessly thrown these delicious stalks away. Never again.
I bought two massive bunches of kale on special, thinking I’d use it all quick smart. I was wrong. After a huge batch of kale salad and a tray of kale chips, there was still a big bunch in the fridge plus all the stems I’d kept (don’t judge me).
I thought I could make it into a pesto, and saw that some people blanched the stems first – but to be honest I tested it blanched versus raw and they both taste amazing, so save yourself the effort.
With that, here’s my recipe for a raw kale pesto that uses up every last scrap of kale and is prime to slather on pretty much anything.
RECIPE Raw Kale Stem Pesto
Yield: Approx. 1 ½ cups of finished pesto (1 x 300ml mason jar full)
INGREDIENTS 1 packed cup kale leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 ½ packed cup kale stems, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves – peeled
25ml lemon juice (approx. ½ a medium lemon)
Zest of ½ a medium lemon
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp pine nuts or roasted walnuts
80ml olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
You could also add any herbs you have on hand like parsley or basil.
Add all the ingredients to a food processor, and pulse in controlled bursts till crumbly-looking without any big chunks. Scrape down the sides regularly to ensure everything’s processed relatively evenly.
Add more lemon, salt or pepper to taste. And add a little more olive oil if you want a thinner pesto.
To store, keep refrigerated in a hipster-looking glass jar for added effect, and top with olive oil to stop it browning. Freeze batches for later use in small containers or plastic freezer bags.
Easy, right? Mix this pesto into pasta, soups, salads, spread it on toast or sandwiches for a herby garlicy, use it as a pizza sauce, toss veggies through it, top eggs with it, eat it with a steak or mix through meatballs. There’s so many ways to use it!