In the meantime

6 weeks in Sydney, most of February and March.Back about 10 days. Quite a lot of Restaurants, Exhibitions, Markets and goings on in Sydney to talk about. Until I get organized a couple of recipes from Sydney and Springtime France to say I’m still around.

beetroot salad

fratelli fresh

Beetroot, Pancetta, Soft boiled egg with Endive and Dandelion leaves.

I ate this salad at Fratelli Fresh in Sydney. I have added the Dandelion leaves as I have been doing a little foraging the past couple of days.

For 4 serves

4 free range eggs

2 Endives, leaves seperated

About 6/8 dandelion leaves per person

4 small beetroots ( roasted in the oven slowly for an hour produces the best flavour)

4 slices of pancetta

Some herbs such as Chives and flat leaf parsley chopped roughly

Olive Oil and white wine vinegar 40ml and 10ml

Put the eggs into boliing water and boil  for 6 minutes for soft eggs

Put the leaves of salad and herbs into a bowl and toss together with oil and vinegar

Fry the Pancetta in a hot pan with a little oil, until crisp 2/3 minutes,put the pancetta on top of the salad leaves, add a splash of vinegar to the pan and shake to combine

Drizzle this over the salad leaves and top with a soft boiled egg peeled and cut in half.

If beetroots are home grown or from a growers market, you can use the small leaves in the salad.


At this time of year in our garden, which is a former orchard, there are pockets of nettles that we left growing after we cleared it. Dandelions are everywhere, so the other day I decided to put the two of them to good use. The dandelion leaves in the salad and the nettles in the risotto. At Chez Panisse in Berkeley California, Alice Waters’ Restaurant, Nettle Risotto is very often on the menu at the Café. I put leeks in too. I love leeks, they are in season and are the Queen of the Onion Family.They add a creamy quality to the risotto.


I sliced them very fine and sautéed them with the well washed nettles and added them to the risotto 5 minutes before the end of cooking. I think it’s very important to use home made stock for the risotto, I use chicken.

Nettle and Leek Risotto

nettle and leek risottoRisotto Recipe

2 tablespoons of butter (unsalted)

1 onion, finely chopped,  300gm of carnaroli or arborio rice ,100ml of dry white wine

1 litre of hot chicken stock

3 fine leeks and 2 large handfuls of nettles. ( always use rubber gloves when handling the raw nettles) sautéed in olive oil

Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add onion and sauté over low heat until soft. Add rice, increase heat to medium and stir until grains are coated. Add wine, reduce by half, add stock one ladleful at a time, stirring continuously until each addition is absorbed before adding the next, and cook until rice is al dente about 18 to 20 minutes. 5 minutes before the end of cooking, I add the nettles and leeks. Take off the heat when finished cooking and add a knob of butter and 4 tablespoons or so of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and swirl them in vigorously. This is called Mantecare. The final and best touch, adding a wonderful creamy consistency to the risotto. You can add more Parmesan when serving and salt and pepper to taste.

nettle beer

3 thoughts on “In the meantime

  1. Spring is for foraging. Not that it is spring here, yet.
    Sue, nettles in Ireland ! We used to sleep in them, not eat them. But we knew we could eat them, if the hunger came on us.

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