New season whets appetite for 'nature's party'

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

New season whets appetite for 'nature's party'

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The season of new beginnings has brought with it an explosion of new produce, TAFE NSW cooking guru Sara Morley said.

Spring is nature’s way of saying “let’s party” and there’s plenty of party food on the menu, according to TAFE NSW cooking guru Sara Morley.

Speaking on her popular TAFE Buds segment on ABC Riverina with Sally Bryant, Ms Morley said the season of new beginnings was the ideal time to take advantage of the abundance of fresh produce springing to life.

“When you think of spring, you think about all that produce that’s energised by the warmth and grows quickly,” Ms Morley said.

“Things like asparagus, broccoli, leeks, Chinese vegetables, spring peas and plenty more.

“When you’re transitioning from winter to summer you don’t want food that’s too stodgy but you still need food that fills you up.”

Ms Morley suggested a spring grain salad, featuring ancient grains, blue cheese, nuts, dressing and a host of in-season veges (see recipe below).

“Just pan fry your veges with some olive oil, mix through the grain and dressings, add some nuts and blue cheese and you’ve got a nutritious, fresh meal with lots of depth and body,” she said.

“Eat it at room temperature, sitting out on your balcony in the sun on an early spring day – perfect!”

Ms Morley said an early spring pasta (see recipe below) was another mouthwatering way to feature seasonal produce.

“It’s so easy to cook and you can have dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes,” Ms Morley said.

Ms Morley also encouraged listeners to consider taking the next step in their career by attending the first ever TAFE NSW Virtual Open Day on September 9 and 10.

Organised as an alternative to the popular TAFE NSW Open Day due to COVID-19, the event will offer a range of activities and information, including video presentations by teachers, group one-to-one Q&A sessions, 360 degree virtual tours of the state-of-the-art TAFE NSW facilities, and personalised chats with student support services.

To learn more about taking part in this exciting event, visit



Spring Grain Salad


  • 2 cups Ancient Grain (eg Farro, freekeh, bulgur, millet, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, chia)
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 100g Blue Cheese, crumbled
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 Zucchini, diced into small even pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or chopped shalotts
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Dressing: 1 tbls each Walnut oil and lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper


Bring large pot of water to the boil. Salt generously.

Add the grain and cook according to packet directions, or until al dente. Drain.

Spread the grains on a large baking sheet and set aside to cool.

Zest the lemons over the grains and stir to combine.

Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces.

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a medium fry pan over medium high heat and cook the asparagus and zucchini until just tender — about 2 minutes.

Toss the cooled grains with the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the walnuts and crumbled blue cheese.

Whisk the lemon juice with the walnut oil.  Pour over the grain salad just prior to serving and toss, season to taste.



Early Spring Pasta


  • 100g snap peas, trimmed and sliced into 2
  • 100g fresh peas (podded)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3 pieces
  • 50g butter
  • ¼ bunch spring onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g baby spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200g fresh fettuccine or tagliatelle
  • 50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • chopped parsley and/or other fresh herbs


Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Salt generously.

Melt butter in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add sliced snap peas, podded peas, asparagus and spring onion.

Cook until vegetables are just tender. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir through baby spinach leaves.

Season with salt and pepper; Remove ½ and blend in a food processor with the cream fraiche.

Add the pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water.

Toss the pasta with the vegetables, ‘green’ crème fraiche, grated parmesan cheese and chopped herbs.

Add a little cooking liquid if it is not saucy enough.

Season to taste.

Serve with extra grated parmesan and chopped herbs.