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TAFE Buds: Spring into freshness this season

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

 TAFE Buds: Spring into freshness this season

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: TAFE NSW food guru Sara Morley tells ABC Riverina that spring is the perfect time to get adventurous with food.

Spring is nature’s way of saying “let’s party!”

And while the season of renewal brings with it an explosion of colour, it also heralds in a cornucopia of fresh flavours.

In her weekly ABC Riverina segment TAFE Buds, TAFE NSW food guru Sara Morley outlines the fruit, veges and herbs that are ripe for the pickin’ – and the eatin’ – this season.

“It’s a fabulous time for eating and you just need to look for what’s popping up in farmers’ markets to know what’s in season,” Sara said.

“It’s a good opportunity to swap your usual veges out for in-season veges, things like spinach, snap peas, zucchini, cabbage, carrots, new potatoes, asparagus and more.

“In terms of fruit, strawberries, apricots, cherries, lemons, avocado, kiwi fruit and blueberries are all amazing in spring.

“And herbs are incredible this time of year, think basil, chives, coriander, dill, garlic, ginger, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.

“It will cost you less, it will be fresher, there’s less food miles and you’ll end up eating far greater variety.

“What are you waiting for?”

If you’d like a career in food, TAFE NSW offers a range of courses to help get you into the job of your dreams – visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.

 

Spring Vegetable Gratin

INGREDIENTS

  • 50g butter
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 cups (500mls)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup crème fraîche or ricotta cheese
  • Approximately 1kg fresh spring vegetables (for example Asparagus, Peas, Fennel, Leek, Mushrooms)
  • 2 slices stale sourdough bread, toasted and crumbled for breadcrumbs
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated  (approx. ¼ cup)
  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 50g Goats cheese, if desired
  • salt and pepper

METHOD

Place the milk in a small saucepan and add the bay leaf and garlic. Place it over a low heat and let it come very slowly up to simmering point. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes to infuse the flavours. Strain the milk into a jug, discarding the garlic and bay leaf.

Wash saucepan and place back over gently heat. Melt butter in small saucepan, add flour and stir over medium heat using a wooden spoon,.

Add the infused milk a little at a time and stir until combined. Keep adding slowly until all the milk is combined, and the sauce is thick.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetable by either blanching in hot water or char-grilling until just tender.

Layer the vegetables in a ceramic baking dish.

Pour white sauce over the vegetables.

Mix the breadcrumbs and grated cheeses and sprinkle over the sauce. Crumble over goat’s cheese if desired.

Bake at 400C for around 20 minutes until golden.