Gardener's Recipes

We don't just like to grow things, we're also pretty keen on cooking & eating!

Here's a selection of delicious recipes from our members...

Saffron Arancini

Everyone loves these little, golden balls - served at the Sauce Day 2023 lunch.


large pinch of saffron threads
250 ml white wine
100 g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
750 ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons thyme
225 g risotto rice (vialone nano, arborio or carnaroli)
50 g Parmesan, grated
100 g mozzarella or fontina, cut into cubes
75 g dried breadcrumbs
oil for deep-frying

Soak the saffron in the wine while you prepare the risotto. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes until softened but not browned. Heat the stock to simmering point in another saucepan.

Add the thyme and rice to the onion and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to seal the rice. Add the wine and saffron and stir until the wine is all absorbed. Add several ladles of the hot stock, stirring continuously so that the rice cooks evenly. Keep adding enough stock to just cover the rice, stirring frequently. Continue in this way for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is creamy.

For arancini, it is not so essential to keep the rice al dente. Add more water or chicken stock if the rice is not fully cooked. Make sure all this liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, then spread out onto a tray covered with clingfilm. Leave to cool and, if possible, leave in the fridge overnight.

To make the arancini, roll a small amount of risotto into a walnut-sized ball. Press a hole in the middle with your thumb, place a small piece of cheese inside and press the risotto around it to enclose in a ball. Repeat with the rest of the risotto. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs, pressing down to coat well.

Heat enough oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep frying pan to fully cover the arancini. Heat the oil to 180°C (350°F), or until a piece of bread fries golden brown in 15 seconds when dropped in the oil. Deep-fry the arancini in batches, without crowding, for 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and leave for a couple of minutes before eating. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Panzanella Salad 

A great, easy salad, served at the Sauce Day 2023 lunch.

4 - 5 cups (loosely packed) stale bread , torn into 2.5cm/1” chunks

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 medium tomatoes 

1 tsp salt 

2 Lebanese cucumbers (or 1 long telegraph/English cucumber), peeled if you prefer

1 cup basil leaves , loosely packed

Dressing -

2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar 

1 tsp Dijon mustard

8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 1/2 tsp garlic, finely minced


Preheat oven to 180°C /350°F (160°C fan).

Toss bread chunks with 1 tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Spread bread on a a tray and toast for about 15 minutes, until the outside is becoming golden and crunchy but the inside is still a little soft, like toast. Remove and leave to cool.

Cut tomato into 8 wedges each. Sweat tomato with salt: Put tomatoes into a colander over a large bowl. Season with the salt, toss and set aside for 10 minutes to draw out the juices. RESERVE the tomato juice in the bowl for the dressing.

Cut cucumber into any shaped chunks aroun 2.5cm / 1" pieces. Place tomato sweating in colander into large bowl. Add cucumber and basil, toss gently.

Add Dressing ingredients into bowl holding the tomato juice, whisk well.

Add bread to salad, pour over dressing. Give it a light toss.

Rest then serve: Leave for 5 minutes to let the juices soak into the bread, tossing once or twice. 

Broccoli Slaw

Source: - Deb Perelman

Makes about 6 cups of Slaw.

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced toasted almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise (this is more than is in the original, to thicken the dressing further)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply hand chop it into smaller pieces. Use the stem and the florets.

Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Should keep up to a week in the fridge.

Banana, Fig & Walnut Loaf Cake 

Recipe from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James
Makes 1 large loaf
Notes from Tahlia - Use very ripe bananas in the mix for this cake. I've also found that you can substitute the weight of the walnuts & dried figs (340g) for whatever combination of nuts/dried fruit/chocolate you prefer, or have on hand.

155g plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon powder soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt

250g very ripe bananas, peeled (approx. 3-4)
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
85g unsalted butter, soft
170g caster sugar

115g walnut halves
225g dried figs, stems removed and quartered
1 banana (less ripe, for slicing thinly)
1-2 tablespoons raw (demerara) sugar, for topping

Preheat your oven to 160C & grease a 9 x 22 x 10cm loaf tin and line it with baking paper.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, mash the very ripe bananas & lemon juice until soft, then stir in the eggs and vanilla.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Gradually add the egg and banana mixture, beating well between each addition until fully incorporated. If the mix looks like it’s splitting while adding the egg, add a tablespoon of the flour mixture and mix till it comes together then continue adding the egg and banana mixture.

Add the dry ingredients and mix gently until combined, then add the walnuts and figs and mix together.

Peel the other banana and cut into thin slices lengthways.

Pour the mixture into your prepared tin, then place the banana slices over the top. (It is important the slices are thin, otherwise they will sink into the batter as the cake bakes.)

Sprinkle with raw sugar, if desired, then bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Sift icing sugar over the cake to make the banana glossy.

Green Tomato Pickle

Source: Annie's Garden to Table - Annie Smithers

Makes 6 – 7 x 300 ml jars. When the days get shorter and the last of your tomatoes aren't ripening, make this great pickle. So delicious with a big chunk of sharp cheddar...

2 kg green tomatoes

6 large onions

300gm coarse sea salt

1.2 litres white vinegar, plus extra to blend

1 kg raw sugar

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon cloves

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon mustard powder

35g cornflour

Thinly slice the tomatoes and onion ( a food-processor slicing blade works well for this). Mix with the salt and leave overnight.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar, cayenne pepper, chilli, peppercorns and cloves in a large saucepan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Leave to stand overnight.

Rinse the tomato and onion very well in cold water and squeeze out any excess moisture.

Strain the pickling syrup, then return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Mix together the turmeric, mustard powder and cornflour and add a little extra vinegar to make a paste. Stir into the boiling pickle to thicken the liquid.

Bottle immediately in sterilised jars. Store in a cool, dark place for 12 months. Once opened, store in the fridge.

Broad Bean Dip

300 g double peeled broad beans

3 tbsp soft feta (greek yoghurt or creme fraiche also work)

½ lemon, juice

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill (basil or parsley also work)

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the broad beans and cook until tender. Drain and refresh in iced water, to keep their vibrant green. Blitz all but the herbs together in a food processor. Stir through the herbs, and season to taste. Eat with crunchy bread :)

Baked Beetroot w/ Balsamic Vinegar, Marjoram & Garlic

Serves: 4 (or more as an accompaniment)

Source: Jamie Oliver: ‘The Return of the Naked Chef’

Notes from Jenny & Rod - This is our ‘go-to’ recipe for Beetroot, especially when the crop needs to be harvested all at once. You will find it all over the internet. We’ve found that you can scale this recipe up for larger quantities. In the oil/vinegar, it will last for weeks in the fridge. We haven’t ‘preserved’ this dish but I think you could if you have a preserving kit. The recipe says to serve with white fish or beef, as part of a salad, or as part of an antipasti plate. Garnish with marjoram leaves. You can use the beetroot leaves like a spinach (especially the younger leaves) as another option in a tossed salad.

500g (1 bunch of large or 2 bunches of baby beetroot)

10 cloves garlic, peeled & squashed

1 handful of fresh marjoram (or sweet oregano) leaves

salt and black pepper

10 tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 200°. Top and tail beetroot, cleaning up around base. Scrub & clean with scourer in water and let water escape. Cut beet roots into preferred size as if necessary. Place in casserole dish. (Use some rubber gloves to keep your hands clean.) Peel and squash garlic cloves.

Add balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil & marjoram leaves and season. Mix through.

Place in pre-heated oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove and let cool.

Refrigerate to store.

After the beetroot is finished, save oil/vinegar as a base for the next batch.

Zucchini with Harissa & Lemon

Source: Yotam Ottolenghi: Flavour
85ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tbsp rose harissa (adjust according to the brand you are using; we use ‘Rose’ Harissa
1 red chilli, finely chopped
½ preserved lemon, finely chopped, discarding any pips (10g) – purchase jars from the
supermarket or make your own. It lasts in the refrigerator
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1kg zucchini, finely sliced (we have a V-slicer device)
10g basil leaves, roughly torn
1¼ salt

Place a large, non-stick pan on a medium-high heat with the oil and garlic. Gently fry for 4 minutes, stirring often, until soft, golden and aromatic. You don't want the garlic to become at all browned or crispy, so turn the heat down if necessary.
Remove 3 tablespoons of oil, along with half the garlic, and transfer to a small bowl with the harissa, chilli, preserved lemon and lemon juice. Stir together and set aside.
Return the pan to a high heat and add the zucchini and 1¼ teaspoons of salt. Cook for 18 minutes, stirring often, until the zucchini are very soft, but are still mostly holding their shape (you don't want the zucchini to brown, so turn the heat down if necessary).

Stir through half the basil and transfer to a platter. Spoon the harissa mixture over the zucchini. Leave to sit for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and finish with the remaining basil.

Stir Fried Saltbush

Heat 50ml peanut oil in a wok until shimmering, then add; 

200gm fresh saltbush leaves

20gm julienned ginger

3 thinly sliced garlic cloves

1 thinly sliced long red chilli (optional)

Stir-fry until wilted and fragrant (2-3 minutes), then add; 2 tbsp soy sauce, 70ml chicken or vegetable stock. Stir-fry until hot (1 minute) & serve.

Blood Orange Cordial

1kg caster sugar

1litre water

30gm citric acid

30gm tartaric acid

300ml blood orange juice (approx)

Zest of 2 blood oranges

Place the water and the sugar in a saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar. Turn off. Add the acids and dissolve. Cool in fridge. Grate the zest and juice the blood oranges. When the syrup is chilled stir in blood orange juice and zest, and bottle in sterilised bottles.