Since moving to Australia, one of my very favorite things is the abundance of interesting and seemingly exotic fresh fruit and vegetables. I know that sounds silly, and I don’t mean to diss fresh Irish produce in any way what so ever. Absolutely not. I firmly believe Ireland produces some of the finest fruit and veg in the world. All I’m saying is that, wonderful as our food may be, visiting the green grocers in Australian can be a tad more exciting and baffling in equal measures.
Take the recipe below for instance, I will eat my own shoes and call them delicious if any of of the folks back home can honestly say they frequently find baby squash in the local Dunnes Stores. Perhaps pre-recession; but now? Doubtful.
When I was in Dublin, I’d have had to visit the always yumbo Fallon & Byrne (or the Temple Bar food market). And while I probably would have found them, I could pay through the nose for the diminutive gourds; and the taste of middle-class, carbon-footprinted guilt would have been hard to wash away; no matter how much wine I drank with dinner.
Not so in Australia my friends. The same sun that likes to mock my stupid Irish skin does wonderful things to mangos, pineapples, bananas, papaya, passion fruit, macadamia nuts, custard apples, and endless more exotic (and not so exotic) bundles of yumness. And I am busy reaping the rewards.
Roast baby squash with mozzarella and celery leaves
Recipe is from the great Hairy Biker’s Cookbook and serves four.
4 baby squash, halved with the seeds scooped out
4 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
100 g (3.5 oz) buffalo mozzarella
generous handful of celery leaves, finely chopped.
This dish could not be easier to make. Once you’ve chopped the squash and scooped out the seeds, drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil into each squash half. Arrange the squash in a baking tray and season generously. Chop the mozzarella into matchbox sized cubes and place one cube into the cavity of each half squash. Sprinkle the celery leaves on top and cover the baking dish with tinfoil or a lid. Bake the squash in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, just or until they are golden brown and look delicious.
What a fantastic recipe, and not only does it use something I’d rarely find at home, it also calls for part of an ingredient I’d hardly ever use. No longer shall celery leaves be chopped off the stalk and discarded in my kitchen, from now on, they will be popped into salads, sandwiches and whatever else is handy. Deliciousness without waste, what could be better?