Cook the rosellas with a little water, until soft, and puree in a blender. Measure how many cups of pulp, and add to it half the measurement in sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer, until a tablespoon of the jam shows that it is setting, by thickening when it is placed on a cool saucer. This may take 15-30 minutes of simmering. When the jam shows it is setting, fill into jars and seal. Include some of the seeds (secured in a small bag or cloth) to provide natural pectin to assist. You can use 1 cup of honey to 4 cups of pulp as an alternative to sugar but the jam would then need to be kept in the fridge to prevent mould from growing.
Use the pale lower end of the stalk which can be chopped finely, or bruise the tougher green part of the stem with a pestle, if larger pieces are called for.
Lemongrass can be used in curry pastes, stir-fries, and soups. The stems can be up to 60 cm long so trim the bae, remove the tough, outer layers and finely slice, chop or pound the white interior.
For pastes and salads, use the tender, white portion just above the root.
The whole stem, trimmed and washed thoroughly, can be added to simmering soups and curries and removed before serving.
The flavour of fresh is far superior to dried.
Red Vegetable Curry
Prep time 25 minutes & total cooking time 20 minutes
225 g bamboo shoots or tips (drained if from a can)
2 cups (500ml) coconut milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
2 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 medium potatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground nutmeg
200 g pumpkin, roughly chopped
2tsp dried shrimp
150 g green beans, cut into short pieces
12 large dried or small fresh red chillis, roughly chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 cup spring onion or Asian shallots, chopped
3 small zucchini, chopped
2 tabs oil (try olive, rice bran or coconut)
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
4 stems lemongrass (white part only), finely chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
12 small cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fresh coriander roots & 2 tbsp fresh coriander stems, chopped
3 tsp soft brown sugar
6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 tsp grated lemon/lime rind
2 tsp turmeric
black pepper and salt, to taste
Cut the bamboo shoots in half, discard the tough ends and set shoots aside. Combine the coconut milk, water and curry paste in a large wok or saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and kaffir lime leaves and allow to boil for 3 minutes
Add the potato and pumpkin to the wok and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until the pumpkin is nearly cooked. Add the beans, capsicum, and zucchini and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water if the curry is too thick. Add the bamboo shoots and basil. Season with fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar.
Serve with steamed rice.
To make a Vegetarian version simply replace meat with sliced baked/flame grilled eggplant slices (quite thick cuts) topped with your favourite herbs e.g. marjoram, oregano, parsley etc.
90g butter, plus extra for greasing
3/4 cup plain flour (I recommend Spelt)
1.25 l milk
A few gratings of nutmeg
250g steamed spinach (Aibika – leaves only, sliced)
Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
(my personal version I use my kefir home-made soft cheese or you could buy Ricotta cheese, then I add grated cheddar cheese, nutmeg, salt & pepper and my steamed Aibika and voila sauce done!)
40 g dried porcini mushrooms
70 g butter
2 tabs olive oil
2 spring onions, finely chopped
750 g fresh mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
500 g lasagne sheets
250 g cooked ham, cut into thin matchsticks OR lean beef mince (my personal choice is minced Kangaroo meat which I cook with onions, tomatoes & herbs until reduced down to a spreadable paste to alternate with sauce & lasagne sheets)
100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1. to make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour to cook a few minutes without browning.
2. pour in milk and whisk until sauce is thick and smooth. Add nutmeg, salt & pepper, Aibika spinach. Stir and set aside.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees centigrade
3. Cover dried mushrooms with boiling water and leave for 30 mins, then rinse and chop finely. Strain this mixture through a fine muslin cloth and reserve fluid separately.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter with the oil in a large frying pan, saute the spring onions a few minutes then add fresh and dried mushrooms with lemon juice. Cook uncovered until they start to exude juices. Raise the heat to evaporate most of the liquid before adding the strained water from the mushrooms, boil for a few minutes, add salt & pepper then set aside.
5. Cook lasagne sheets as per instructions on packet before draining on clean tea towels.
6. Mixed cooked mushrooms with Aibika sauce. Lightly grease a shallow, rectangular oven-proof dish (about 33 x 25 cm with some butter before adding a thin layer of the sauce before the first layer of pasta to make it easier to remove from dish when serving.
7. Continue to layer the meat or eggplant slices with Aibika sauce and lasagne sheets finishing with sauce and grated cheese on top.
8. Bake for 40-45 minutes until well-browned and bubbling. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving with a garden or rocket salad.