Category Archives: Recipes

Winter Salads

Learning how to prepare delicious meals with the vegetables that are in season is both challenging and rewarding. Challenging because our choice of repertoire is limited to what we can pick ourselves or purchase locally, but rewarding because it is amazing what lovely meals can be made with a bit of imagination. For those who grow their own vegetables, it is very satisfying to eat a meal using ingredients foraged from the garden.

We have reached a stage in the winter when I feel I have had enough heavy winter food and need an input of some more invigorating lighter food. This week we have made some big salads with farm produce and other locally sourced ingredients.

The chicory family:  (clockwise from LHS) Treviso chicory, scarole, sugarloaf chicory, frisee.

The chicory family: (clockwise from LHS) Treviso chicory, scarole, sugarloaf chicory, frisee.

Bitter Green salad with Pears and Walnuts

This salad is a perfect way to eat the chicory family greens – radicchio, frisee, scarole and sugarloaf endive. They are amazing performers in a winter garden and well worth growing. Any of these leaves and lettuce leaves are used as a bed, on which sliced slightly underripe pear, a small amount of thinly sliced red onion and walnuts are scattered. A vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper is drizzled over before serving.

Bitter Green salad with fennel and Oranges.

Fennel is another vegetable which thrives in the cool wet Albany winter. Navel oranges are also in season now. Fennel and orange salad is a favourite salad combination, to make a bigger salad make a bed of bitter green and lettuce leaves as above. Scatter over a thinly sliced bulb of fennel, orange slices, red onion slices and kalamata olives. Dress as above.

Coleslaw with oriental dressing.

We made this to serve as a side salad with the well known Vietnamese beef stew Bho kho.

Mix together finely shredded cabbage and  other finely shredded vegetables such as carrot and beet leaves, coriander leaves  and a shredded apple. Make a dressing from lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar, crushed garlic clove and some finely shredded chilli (if you like a bit of heat) and mix this through the shredded ingredients.

Jocelyn Bathgate

Beautiful Winter Salads

As I harvested vegetables this week on the farm I was reflecting on the beautiful salad vegetables that we were picking for this week’s bitter salad mix. Winter is the time when the most cold tolerant of our greens, the endives and chicories, are at their best. Frisée and scarole continue to produce beautiful large heads of intricately curled leaves, when the growth of most other plants has virtually slowed to nothing. The cold also intensifies the deep burgundy of the radicchio leaves. Mixed through a salad, these leaves are a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

We have been making a bitter green salad mix for several years at Bathgate Farm. During this time salad mixes have become increasingly popular with customers. Many people were wary of our salad called “Bitter green salad mix”, but there has been an increased awareness of what bitter greens are, and what delightful salads can be made with the combination of sweet, bitter, salty and sour flavours. We have not followed the trend of using baby leaves in our salad, as the best leaves from the bitter greens are the blanched hearts of the mature heads. We also want to encourage people to eat big gutsy salads.

Now is the time during winter when we have had our fill of heavy, substantial , winter fare. The components for some invigorating fresh salads are all coming into season: navel oranges,avocados, red onions, fennel, lettuces, radicchio, rocket, frisée and scarole.

Where to find our Bitter Green Salad

Albany Farmers Market, Mount Melville Fresh Organic Produce and The Source, Denmark. We also supply 14 Peel Place (“where Meals and Memories are made”).

Bitter Green Salad with Pear and Walnut  

This is a salad we regularly return to:

Fill a shallow bowl with salad leaves- if available use a mix of bitter greens (endives and radicchio), rocket and cos lettuce, broken into suitable sized pieces. Scatter over thin slices of slightly under ripe pear and red onion and walnuts. Dress the salad with a vinaigrette of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt flakes and black pepper.

By Jocelyn Bathgate

Humble Delaware Potatoes find their place in Gnocchi

One of the questions we are often asked at the farmer’s market is what is the best potato for making gnocchi? My own reading on the subject had confirmed that a potato which isn’t too floury or too waxy is best, but the specific variety of potatoes to use is often not mentioned in recipes, or may not be available. We grow around 10 potato varieties on Bathgate Farm, these range from waxy varieties such as Norland, Dutch Cream and Nicola to intermediate varieties such as Delaware and Royal Blue and floury and very floury varieties such as King Edward and Ranger Russet. Our friend Owen Cowdell, Head Chef at the White Star Hotel, Albany, is passionate about potatoes, and uses a range of our potato varieties on the restaurant menu, including a popular dish of home-made gnocchi. So we consulted the expert! Owen was quick to answer the question – Delaware is their first choice for gnocchi. For a demonstration and taste test Owen invited us to the White Star to see the Sous Chef, Shaun Barton at work. Shaun has worked extensively in Italian restaurants and making gnocchi is second nature to him.DSCF4914 Shaun emphasised that a critical part of making gnocchi is the selection of the potato variety. He uses Delaware potatoes because they produce a fairly dry mash, which is light and fluffy, and they have the superior flavour of a waxy potato. He prefers to dry bake potatoes in the oven as this produces a drier mash. They are then peeled while warm and pressed through a sieve.  Minimal working of the potato at this stage is required. A sieve (eg chinois or coarse sieve) or potato ricer is preferable to a potato masher, to produce a light, fine, lump-free mash. Once the potato is mashed, it is mounded together on the bench, a depression is made for the egg yolk. Flour, salt and any other seasonings are added and the mixture is kneaded to incorporate everything and produce a soft dough. More flour is added if the mixture is too sticky, although the finished dough is quite soft. It is then rested. Shaun pointed out it is important not to over work the dough. The dough is then rolled into long sausages and cut into short lengths. The gnocchi are cooked in a pan of simmering water until they float off the bottom of the pan (less than a minute). The cooked gnocchi can be added to a sauce or simply tossed in browned butter.

Shaun’s Gnocchi recipe.

  • 700g potatoes washed (not peeled)
  • 80g flour (plus extra for rolling)
  • 1 medium size egg
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • Chopped herbs of choice eg: parsley
  • 50g parmesan

Bake the potatoes in the oven until their flesh is soft. Peel off the skin with a knife while the potatoes are still hot. Mash or crush the flesh. Add the other ingredients and gently mix together while warm, being  careful not to overwork it. The dough should not stick to your hands, add a bit more flour if the dough is sticky. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Flour a bench or chopping board, then in batches roll the mix into sausages about 1-1.5 cm thick. Cut these into 1.5 cm lengths with a knife.  Separate and flour the gnocchi to stop them sticking.  Carefully drop the gnocchi into a saucepan of lightly simmering water. The bubbles on the bottom of the pot will lift the gnocchi when they are cooked. If the pan is boiling too vigorously the gnocchi will disintegrate.  The gnocchi will cook in less than a minute. They can be put straight into a sauce or simply pan fried in browned butter. Serve with a sprinkling of pecorino.