So its full steam ahead with The Potluck Club as we’ve been compiling and proofing recipes, chasing up submissions and sorting through ph

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otos. 24 bloggers have submitted a total of about 35 original recipes and as many photos. A huge thank you to everyone who has submitted their work to help raise money for Foodbank, in conjuction with The $35 Challenge.

This October, as part of the the City of Sydney Libraries’ ‘Lunches with bite’ series, I will be presenting a couple of talks on The $35 Challenge – one on Tuesday October 9th at the King’s Cross Library and one on Friday 12th of October at Custom’s House Library. The talks are on the week before the challenge, to get you ready-slash-psyched. Both talks are free but places are limited, so if you’re interested, follow the links to register.

I’ll also be hosting a recipe swap at the Glebe Library in November. We’re encouraging everyone to bring their favourite home recipes, cookbooks and food blog links – we’re calling it an ‘old-fashioned-meets-social-media recipe swap’. I’m both excited and phenomenally terrified, so come on down. If nothing else, it’ll be good for a laugh.

Since its been all about the e-cookbook lately, I thought it a good idea to post an actual recipe. I’ve been eating roasted cauliflower all winter as a side dish, but it also makes a fab ‘share plate’, as the kids say. Serve it with crusty bread and mediterranean dips, or maybe as a side to roast chicken or a comforting casserole.

Roasted Cauliflower Shareplate with Red Capsicum and Goat’s Cheese

  • 1 large red capsicum (you will only need half of what you roast)
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about 900g), sliced into pieces of about 2cm thickness
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • a very generous slosh of extra virgin olive oil, to coat the cauliflower
  • 1 tsp baharat or, failing that, ground cumin
  • freshly cracked salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 50g goat’s cheese
  • chopped continental parsley, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c. Roast the capsicum in a large baking dish, turning every 10 minutes or so, until soft and slightly blackened. Put to one side in a bowl and when no longer hot but still warm, cover with cling wrap to sweat.

Toss the remaining ingredients together (except cheese and parsley) in a large bowl to coat the cauliflower. Pour onto the tray used to bake the capsicum. Turn the oven down to 175 degrees c and bake for 30 minutes. Then turn over the cauliflower and bake a further 15-30 minutes until soft and slightly brown.

Meanwhile, skin the almost-cool capsicum, discarding the stem and seeds. Slice finely.

Arrange the cauliflower on a plate, draping the capsicum and dolloping the goat’s cheese as desired. Share with friends.

If I’m asked to choose my favourite food from a particular country, it’s likely to be a condiment. In the case of Argentina, I can’t go past the pulpy, herby, vinegary mess that is chimichurri. Made of parsley, oregano, oil, vinegar, garlic and ají molido (fine, mild chilli flakes), this sauce is slathered on meats after cooking for an extra bit of zest, flavour and texture.


Image courtesy of Food Stories

Contrary to popular belief, this salsa isn’t always a lurid green, nor is it mandatory at Argentine asados. It also doesn’t have to be served fresh – it can last for months in the fridge. Allowing it to sit for a few hours or even a few days will allow the flavour to mellow and the dried herbs to soften, and many people prefer it this way. If you’re interested, you can read more about chimichurri in this excellent post from Asado Argentina.

A word of caution – dried chilli flakes in Argentina are a lot milder than those we get in Australasia. Our chilli flakes are larger and usually include chilli seeds, thus if you are using these kind of chilli flakes, use them sparingly. Chimichurri is not traditionally a hot condiment, sometimes the chilli is omitted altogether but usually it’s added to taste.

Chimichurri
1 cup very finely chopped fresh parsley (use a food processor if you like)
½ a head of garlic, very finely chopped
1 bay leaf, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon fine salt
Ají molido or dried chilli flakes, to taste
½ cup of oil – olive or grape seed for example, something mild yet suitable for salad
1 cup wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
½ cup water

Mix all herbs and spices together. Add oil and vinegar, if the chimichurri is too thick; add enough water to thin it out. Add chilli flakes to taste and leave to sit for at least 2 hours.

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