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Rodney's Plants Plus

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Baked Apples with Lemon Syrup 

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 6

  • 6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled
  • 40 g soft unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 sun dried apricots, chopped
  • 12 roasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup water

For the lemon syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zest julienned

Preheat the oven to 200°c. Core the apples using an apple corer (keep the cores), and cut the apples horizontally into 1 cm slices. Reform the slices into the apple shape and secure slices together using wooden cocktail sticks. Cut a 1cm slice from each apple core and place in the base of the core cavities, to prevent the stuffing from seeping out during cooking.

Mix together the butter, brown sugar, apricots and hazelnuts and press into the cavity of each apple. Place the apples into a baking dish. Combine the lemon juice and water and brush over the apples. Pour the remaining lemon water around the apples and lightly cover with a piece of foil to prevent the stuffing from burning.

Cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender, brushing occasionally with the cooking liquid. Remove the wooden sticks and serve warm with the lemon syrup.

Accompany with thick cream.

For the lemon syrup: Combine the water, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a medium sized saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves then boil over a medium heat until the liquid reduces to one cup. Serve warm poured over the baked apples.


Making Green Tea from your Camellia Sinensisgreen_tea.jpg

To make your own green tea use the
youngest and softest tips and one or two of the uppermost leaves of the Camellia Sinensis.

Place about 10 tips (approx 5 gms) onto a saucer. Heat the leaves in a microwave for about 10 to 20 seconds on medium until they are very soft and moist.

Roll all of the leaves into a ball between     the palms of your hands for 10 to 20   seconds this will break up the cells in the leaves and help to release the colour and flavour.

Place your tea leaf ball into a white cup (so you can assess the colour) and add boiling water. Gently stir for about a minute until the water turns light lime green. If you brew for too long the tea will taste bitter.

Strain out the leaves and enjoy your refreshing green tea. You can reuse the same leaves for another 2 or 3 cups.


Scotch Broth

This is a perfect winter warming soup for the whole family; serve it with fresh sourdough bread to mop up all those delicious flavours.

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

500gm Lean neck of lamb

1 Large Onion                                  Scotch-broth-photo.jpg

2 Carrots, sliced

2 leeks, sliced

1 litre Vegetable stock

1 Bay leaf

Sprigs of fresh parsley

55gm Pearl barley

Salt and Pepper


Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy based saucepan and add the pieces of lamb, turning them to seal and brown on both sides. Remove lamb.

Add onion, carrots, and leeks to the saucepan and cook gently until softening. Return the lamb to the pan with veggies and add the vegetable stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pearl barley, bring the mix to the boil and reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.

 Discard parsley sprigs remove lamb and then remove any bones and chop the meat and place back in soup Season with salt and pepper.

This dish tastes even better the next day after it is cooled and refrigerated, remove and discard the layer of fat, then reheat gently and serve immediately.

Pasta Primavera

 Pasta_Primevera_photo.jpgServes 4, prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 15 mins

1 Lemon           

350g farfalle1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 bunch asparagus trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally.

150gm Snow peas, trimmed, thinly sliced lengthways.

1 tbs Olive oil

1 zucchini, trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally,or 8 zucchini flowers (optional).

2 Garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbs Wholegrain mustard

300ml Thickened cream

Shaved Parmesan, to serve

Use a zester to remove the rind from the lemon and then juice the lemon. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water following directions until almost al dente. Add the peas, snow peas and asparagus to the boiling pasta and cook for 1 minute or until bright green, drain well.

Heat oil in frying pan over high heat; add zucchini or zucchini flowers and cook, tossing, for 2 minutes or until tender, transfer to a bowl.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook 1 minute, then add mustard, cream, lemon juice and half the zest and bring to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, add zucchini and pasta mixture and toss to combine.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve into individual bowls and top with remaining zest and parmesan. Serve immediately.


Garlic Prawns


Serves 4, prep time 10 mins, Cooking time 10 mins

  • 300gm whole green prawns, peeled, and deveined with tails left on.
  • 1 tblsp Salt
  • 2 tblsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Chili, finely chopped
  • 1 tblsp Basil, finely chopped
  • 2 large slices sourdough bread, crusts removed and finely processed.
  • 1 tblsp Olive oil to serve
  1. Season prawns with salt and set to one side to drain on a plate lined with paper towel.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick fry pan over a medium-high heat. Add garlic, chili, basil, and sauté. Add prawns and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, sprinkle breadcrumbs over prawns and stir to coat.
  3. To serve, spoon breadcrumb mix onto a serving plate and arrange prawns on top, drizzle with olive oil and serve with lemon wedges and garnish with basil


Oysters with Cucumber Granita

2 Doz fresh oysters on half shellimages.jpeg

2 large Cucumbers

¼ cup fresh mint chopped

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

¼ cup water

Peel cucumbers. De-seed cucumbers by cutting in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Chop into 1 inch chunks.

Place cucumbers, mint, sugar, rice vinegar, salt, and water into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Pour into a shallow pan (20cm baking pan) and cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

Freeze for 20 to 30 mins, unwrap, and stir with a fork scraping to break up the icy bits around the edges. Repeat this fork stirring every 20 to 30 mins until there is no liquid left.

This will take 2 to 3 hours. When ready spoon granita onto oysters, serve immediately.


Lemon Herb Stuffing2dff12eb-a7cb-451d-bf3a-d59f8156e5d7.jpg


After the Lemon Verbena article in this issue, Clive Larkham has given us this wonderful recipe using Lemon Verbena leaves.



Lemon Herb Seasoning for use in making poultry stuffing.

1/2 cup fresh dill                              6 leaves fresh lemon verbena

1/2 cup dried minced onion                       

2 tbsp. fresh celeriac leaf

3 cloves of garlic                                   

2 tbsp. fresh thyme

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary                       

1 tpsp. Fresh oregano (use Hot n Spicy for a bit of bite)

 Finely chop all ingredients and add to stuffing mix 


Mushroom Burger

This is an absolute winner in our house. With a dedicated meat eater husband this burger has transformed his views on “veggie burgers”, even the children love it.
Makes 4 large or 6 small burgers

3tbsp Oil

500 – 700gms Mushrooms roughly chopped (choose a couple of varieties)

½ cup finely chopped brown onion

3 cloves minced garlic

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan images-3.jpeg

1 ¼ cup breadcrumbs

2 eggs beaten

1 tsp fresh parsley chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

Salt and Pepper

Heat 1 tbsp oil in large saucepan. Saute the mushrooms, onions and garlic over medium heat for about 10 mins or until the liquid boils off and the mushrooms begin to sauté.

In large bowl, add mushroom mix to Parmesan, breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix well. Shape into patties and put in the fridge covered for half an hour to firm up.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a large non-stick pan on medium heat, fry patties cooking for about 5 mins on each side until golden brown.

Serve with your favourite burger toppings.

Creamy Chicken Pie

A delicious Pie that can be made on the weekend for an easy weeknight meal, that the whole family will love and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day.

1 small onion finally chopped

40gms buttercreamy-chicken-pie.jpg

40gm plain flour

400-500ml milk, warmed

1 chicken stock cube

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp mustard powder

250gm roast chicken chopped

200gm mixed veg, corn, peas, carrots, broccoli

(whatever you like or have in the fridge)

250gm short crust pastry

1 egg beaten, or milk for glazing

Heat the oven to 200C. Melt the butter in the pan over medium heat, and then cook the onion in it for 5 mins, stirring. Add the flour to the pan and stir to make a thick paste and add the stock cube, cook for 2 mins then slowly add 400ml of warm milk to the pan.

Stir in mustard powder and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper; bring to the boil stirring all the time. Once the sauce has thickened, place on a low heat (if its to thick just add the rest of your warm milk) and add your chicken and veg to the sauce and stir thoroughly and then pour into your pie dish.

Roll out the pastry on a clean floured surface until its big enough to cover your pie dish, lift it carefully using your rolling pin to support it and place it over the dish, trim excess pastry, then press the pastry in to the rim of the dish using a fork, brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg or milk and make a small hole in the centre of pastry for steam to escape, and place in oven for 25 mins.


Lemon, thyme and white wine chicken 

Another favourite in our family, this is a quick and easy dish that will make you look like a star.


8 Chicken thigh fillets skin on and bone in.lemon-and-white-wine-chicken.jpg

2 brown onions quartered

1 lemon sliced

6 cloves garlic unpeeled

10 sprigs thyme

¼ cups olive oil

½ cup dry white wine

1-½ cups chicken stock



Preheat oven to 180 C. Place the chicken, onion, lemon, garlic, thyme, and oil in a bowl and toss to combine. Heat a large heavy based saucepan over high heat and cook the chicken, onion, lemon, garlic, and thyme in batches for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden. Set aside and keep warm.

Add the wine to the pan and cook for 30 seconds, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken mix and stock to the pan and bring to the boil.

Roast in the oven for 30-35 mins or until chicken is cooked through. You can freeze this recipe for an easy meal to pull out for those lazy nights.


Easy Fish Piefish-pie-photo.jpg

Never a fan of fish pie, my mother told me that I had to try this Donna Hay recipe as it was delicious, so always listening to my mother (?) I made this for the family, it was a hit and has become a staple for easy dinner parties, and everyone loves it.

  • •                 ⅓ cup (80ml) olive oil
  • •                  800g firm white fish fillets, skin removed, chopped
  • •                  1 red onion, sliced
  • •                  2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • •                  2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
  • •                  250g cherry tomatoes
  • •                  1 tablespoon store-bought horseradish cream
  • •                  1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
  • •                  ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • •                  3 thick slices sourdough bread, torn

       30g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the fish and cook for 1–2 minutes each side or until browned.

Remove from the pan and keep warm. Add the remaining oil, onion, and garlic to the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.

Return fish to the pan with the tomatoes, horseradish, cream, and parsley and stir to combine. Toss the bread with the melted butter and place over the fish mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until the bread is golden and crisp. Serves 4.

Green Tomato Pickles

With tomatoes coming out your ears through summer, and we move towards the chillier nights of Autumn we always have those green tomatoes left at the end of the growing season. It always seems a shame to see them neglected unable to ripen, so why not make your own delicious Green Tomato Pickle. You need Tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, spices, and flavouring. Use a good quality curry powder for best results.

  • •                750 ml bottle vinegar (white gives the best presentation)
  • •                3kg (6lb) green tomatoes
  • •                1kg (2lb) onions
  • •                Small handful of salt
  • •                ½ teaspoon pepper
  • •                1kg (2lb) sugar
  • •                3 tablespoons curry powder
  • •                3 tablespoons mustard powder

Method: Chop the onions and tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, mix well in a bowl, then leave to stand overnight. Next day drain off the fluid. Add three quarters of the vinegar, bring to the boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, bring back to the boil, stirring, and then boil for one hour, stirring often. Mix the remaining vinegar with the dry ingredients. Add to the pot and stir until well combined. Boil 5 minutes, then bottle and seal.

Matthew Hulse - Dojo Bread recipe

What a great morning we had with Matthew from Dojo Bread in Braidwood. Matthew was not only an entertaining speaker, but also inspired us with his passion for bread and the bread making process.

I hope you all enjoyed the bread you made that day (My family demolished my little loaf)

Matthew promised you the recipe so you could re-create the magic at home, here it is again.

Dear Fiona,

Thank you very much for letting me make bread with your garden club members. 


Following are some notes for the bread we made. You may send this on to anyone who wants some notes.


One loaf! ( I demonstrated with 1kg for two loaves.)

Process Summary:


500 g Strong Bakers  Flour, 350ml warm water, 10g salt, 5g fresh yeast, 5g of Olive Oil.


INGREDIENTS: high protein bakers flour is crucial for success.  

MIX: Flour in first. Water on top to keep dust down. Weigh up all ingredients so none are forgotten. Use warm water when mixing by hand or with low intensity mixer. Follow equipment directions. Try  delay salt and fat, mix to 28 degrees C.  Think “smooth and elastic”. Too wet, too dry and just right. Too hot, too cold and just right!!

FERMENT: 3 hours. Do not knock back.  Keep in warm spot. In a tub to prevent skinning. Doubled in size is a good guide.

WEIGH UP: roll 80-120 g, small loaf 550g, large loaf is 1kg of dough

MOULD: Stretch drum on top, seam down the bottom. “Rounding up” is the basic technique. Two rounds in a tin is a high top. Leave as a cob. Or roll into a vienna loaf. To make a plait or a stick roll into a “sausage”. 

PROVE: in a warm moist area protect dough from skinning. When dough does not return from finger poke it is very ready!  Also “double” in size is a good guide.

BAKE: 180 is cold- 260 is too hot. Pre heat hot as can, drop temp for last half of bake. Thermal mass is good, steam or water spray for crust.

COOL: remove from tin and cool on wire rack.





Dojo Bread


[email protected]


Edible Gifts: Lemon biscuits with honey

Makes 3 dozen


250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

120g butter, softened iced-lemon-chewies.jpg

100g caster sugar

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 egg

clear honey

For the icing

150g icing sugar

tbsp lemon juice

1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and mix to incorporate.

3. In a separate bowl, crack in the egg and add the honey. Stir together until well mixed, and then add to the butter mixture gradually until combined.

4. Add the flour mixture a bit at a time, fully mixing each batch in before adding the next. Once you have a smooth batter scoop teaspoons of the mixture onto lightly greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart and gently press down.

5. Bake for 10-12 mins, until the cookies are set and golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes then transfer with a pie slice to a cooling rack.

6. To make the icing put the icing sugar in a bowl and mix the lemon juice in to form a thick glaze. If it’s not runny enough add tiny amounts of water until you get the right consistency. If it goes too far just add more icing sugar.

7. You can either drizzle the icing over with a spoon, or fill a disposable icing bag with it, snip off the end and create a more uniformed look. Leave to set and then package.


Prawn stuffed pasta shells with tomato basil

vodka sauce



1 box of pasta shells

900gm raw peeled, deveined prawns

1 French shallot chopped

1 garlic clove chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

½ cup white wine

Salt and pepper

1.5 cups ricotta cheese

1 tbsp chopped basil

¼ cup grated Parmesan

Boil pasta shells until al dente (7-8mins) drain and immediately separate shells on to baking paper so they don’t stick together. Chop prawns into bite size pieces, sauté shallot and garlic in the olive oil in large fry pan, add wine and prawns and cook until prawns are pink. Drain liquid from fry pan and in a lge bowl combine prawns, ricotta, basil, Parmesan, and salt and pepper, set aside and make sauce.


1 tbsp butter

1tbsp olive oil

1 French shallot chopped

2 cloves garlic chopped

½ cup vodka

1 400gm can whole peeled tomatoes, blended in blender

½ cup thickened cream

4 tbsp basil chopped

Salt and pepper

¼ cup grated Parmesan

Melt butter and olive oil in fry pan, add shallots and garlic and cook for 2 mins, add vodka and cook for 1 min more. Add tomatoes to pan and cook 10 mins then add cream and basil, salt and pepper and stir cooking for 1 more min. Take a large baking dish and place a thin layer of the sauce over the base. Then stuff pasta shells with 2 teaspoons of prawn mix and place in a single layer in the baking dish. When base of dish is covered with pasta shells cover the shells with remaining sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake in oven at 180C for 25-30 mins and sprinkle with remaining basil. Serve