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Fabulous recipes to try using fresh farm food.

This selection of farm food recipes comes from Emma Dean’s A Homegrown Table. 

The most amazing Bircher muesli ever
serves 6

  • 250g rolled oats
  • zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, coarsely grated with skin on
  • 80g runny honey
  • 250ml thick Greek yoghurt
  • about half a cup each of fresh blueberries and poached pears or poached quince
  • toasted nuts, to garnish
  1. Weigh your oats into a plastic container or stainless steel bowl and add water until the oats are just barely covered. When  you push down on the oats a puddle of water should appear.
  2. Set aside for a minimum of one hour, or overnight, in the refrigerator.
  3. Combine all the other ingredients, except the nuts, and stir into the oats.
  4. Garnish with toasted nuts and serve.

This will keep for five days in the refrigerator.

Baked farm eggs with wild mushrooms, spinach and Parmesan
serves 4

  • 2 knobs butter
  • 250g wild mushrooms
  • ½ bunch English spinach leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 150g thickened cream
  • 4 eggs
  • parmesan, 4 large shaves (about 35g)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato kasundi (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. In a deep frying pan, heat the butter and sauté the wild mushrooms with the spinach. Pierce the garlic clove with your fork and use the fork to stir in the mushrooms and spinach together. This will give the dish a hint of garlic. Then, cook until wilted and season to taste.
  3. Splash in the cream.
  4. Pour the mixture into individual ovenproof pans or ramekins or across the bottom of one ovenproof dish. Crack the eggs on top.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until the egg white is cooked and the yolk is still runny. You may have to watch this carefully so it doesn’t overcook.
  6. Once they are ready, remove the ramekins from the oven and add the parmesan shaves over each egg.
  7. Serve with a dollop of tomato kasundi on top.

Char-grilled vegetables with nettle pesto
serves 4

  • 1 cup tightly packed nettle leaves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1–2 garlic cloves
  • 60g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 30g pine nuts or almonds
  • ½–1 teaspoon salt
  • mixed slices of eggplant (aubergine), zucchini (courgette) and capsicum (bell pepper)

1. Wear gloves to pick the nettles off the stalks. Sauté the nettles, on a low heat in ¼ cup of the olive oil until wilted – about 2–4 minutes. After this time, the sting will be well and truly gone. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
2. In a food processor, blend the nettles, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, remaining olive oil and salt. Place the mixture in a small bowl.
3. Slice the vegetables lengthways and brush with olive oil. Char-grill on a braai or grill pan.
4. To serve, season the grilled vegetables with salt and smear with the nettle pesto. Yumbo!

This also works well with basil, nasturtium or parsley. If using one of these to make a pesto, don’t sauté them first, just blend them raw with the rest of the pesto ingredients. It is best to eat pesto on the day it is made, although it does keep for about five days in the refrigerator.

Mussels my way
serves 2

  • 1 eschalot (shallot), peeled, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½–1cm long red fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1kg mussels
  • few handfuls of samphire, if you can find it
  • 1 cup white wine
  • chopped flat-leafed parsley (about 2 handfuls)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, to serve
  • 1 loaf freshly baked bread, to serve
  1. Heat a wok or a wide pan over medium-low heat. Then, sauté the eschalot and garlic in the olive oil. Add the chilli and sauté for a minute or two.
  2. Add the mussels and samphire. Turn the heat up and add the white wine. Put a lid on and shake the pan while still on the heat.
  3. As soon as the mussels open, remove the pan from the heat – this should take only a few minutes. Take out all mussels that haven’t opened and discard.
  4. Toss in the parsley and butter and serve with freshly baked bread.

Honey thyme cake
serves 10

  • 90g butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 185g caster (superfine) sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 60ml cream
  • 90g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 2 cups flaked almonds
  • 90g butter
  • 90g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 60ml cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • fresh thyme leaves,2 heaped teaspoons
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a deep 20cm round pan.
  2. Next, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale. Using a spatula, fold in the lemon zest, butter and cream in batches. After that, fold in the flour. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes until firm in the centre.
  3. When the cake is nearly ready, make the almond topping by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan.
  4. Stir over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and pour the hot mixture over the top of the cake.
  5. Put the cake back in the oven for 10 minutes or until the topping turns golden.  Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin.
  6. Once cool, remove the cake from the tin and place on a serving plate.

This is fabulous with whipped cream.

About the book

With over 80 nourishing recipes, Emma Dean combines the familiar with the unusual in A Homegrown Table (New Holland Publishers). This collection of farm food recipes showcases different cuts of meat, heirloom vegetables and wild greens. Her book proves that seasonal farm food, treated with love, will always be the most delicious. A Homegrown Table is available at all good bookstores.

Emma Dean

For more delicious recipes featuring fresh vegetables, read here.