Category Archives: Recipes

All hail the choko

As the choko season draws to a close I’d like to take a moment to thank the choko for its generosity.

I find people fall into three categories over the choko. Love them, hate them, never heard of them. I’m in the first and if you’re curious here’s some tips.

Choko must be grown from choko. You can’t extract the seed. So buy a choko or get one from someone already growing, leave it in the back of your cupboard for a few weeks and then pull it out when it’s sprouting and stick it in the ground (choko’s prefer ground over pot but if you have a really large pot and no ground I’d still encourage you to give it a go). Choko’s aren’t keen on really hot spots but do need some sun. They also need to climb and if you let them will keep going and take over trees, sheds, houses… So you need to think carefully about where you plant your choko and how you are going to control it. Any unpicked fruit, no matter how small or deformed looking, will sprout and grow another choko vine.

Once you’ve got your chokos (and if you’ve planted it right you’ll have a lot of chokos) pick and eat them as soon as you can. I find they store better out of the fridge in a cool dark spot but left too long they will sprout so you need to have some choko eating strategies.

Chokos are slimy. If you peel them with bare hands you’ll get a slime over your hands that dries like glue so I’ve taken to wearing gloves. Another way to prepare them is to cut them in half and bake them, then scoop out the flesh (no slime when they are cooked.)

Best choko uses I’ve found are: choko pickle or chutney, choko chocolate cake (grate a couple of chokos into any cake recipe for added moisture and fibre) and choko added to curry or dhal. The choko is able to take its place in desserts or savoury dishes because it has no actually flavour of its own but will absorb the flavour of whatever it’s cooked with. Choko can even be used to fluff out an apple pie but I don’t think this is where it shines.

The choko is a low kilo joule vegetable and a source of fibre and vitamin C. I’ve included the choko chocolate cake recipe below in case you’re feeling adventurous.

1 ½ cups sugar

2 ½ cups plain flour

½ cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

125g butter

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups grated choko

 

Cream butter and half the sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients including balance of sugar. Add choko and mix gently. Bake at 160C in 23cm spring-form tin for 50-60 minutes. Cool in the tin for five minutes. To glaze melt 60g butter plus 125g dark chocolate in a double boiler. Add 1 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon golden syrup when the chocolate mixture is smooth. Spoon onto cooled cake.

Recipe is from www.annettemcfarlane.com (when I made it I made them cupcake size and skipped the glaze, kids didn’t notice)

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Rhubarb

What a fantastic, shade loving, perennial plant Rhubarb is.  It lasts for years and it produces offspring so you can divide it up and plant out more or give it to your friends.
Rhubarb doesn’t like growing in a pot as it has a large root system but that’s about it’s only fault.  Oh, and it’s posionous leaves.  Don’t eat them and don’t feed them to your rabbit, guinea pig, dog, children… they are fine in the compost.

Rhubarb has a crown which doesn’t like being soggy so keep them in well drained soil.  They go dormant in the cooler months which is the time to move or divide them and you need to be careful you don’t disturb their roots if you’re digging in the area.

Aside from this they are pretty hardy, pest resistant and giving plants.  Pull off the stems as you want to use them.  I cut them up and simmer them in orange juice.  Great for adding to yoghurt.  Or go the old classic and simmer them up with sugar and apple (and strawberry if you want something really special), then give it all a crunchy sugary top and throw it in the oven to brown.

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Krispy Kale Chips

I love growing and eating kale.  It looks beautiful in the garden and gives a great supply of leaves over a long period.  The problem has been my family isn’t so keen.  Even my mother wasn’t particularly interested.  So thanks Ms A from my organic vegie co-op who shared this recipe.  EVERYONE in my family ate it, enjoyed it and it was about as simple as it gets cooking wise.

You’ll need:

Kale – washed and dried

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

Turn the oven on to 275 degrees.

Cut out the ribs from the kale and then slice into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Put them on a baking tray and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

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Beetroot and Feta Salad

This recipe is so easy to put together. Enjoy!

8 baby beetroot

handful of baby silverbeet leaves

good glug of olive oil

2 glugs balsamic vinegar

70g good feta, cumbled

Bring a large pot of water to the boil.  Add a dash of salt once the water is boiling.  Trim the beetroot and place the leaves with the silverbeet.  Place the beetroot into the leaves with the silverbeet.  Place the beetroot into the boiling water for approx. 30mins.  Poke a knife into the beetroot to check if it’s ready (knife should slide easily into the beetroot).  Drain the beetroot and when cool enough to handle, peel the skin off (don’t wait until the beetroot is cold as the skin becomes difficult to remove).  Cut the beetroot into quarters and place in serving bowl.  Put the oil on now while the beetroot is still warm.  Add the silverbeet leaves and balsamic.  Toss through and top with crumbled feta.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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