COOL CHANGE

CRISPY CUCAMELONS RE­CALL CULI­NARY AD­VEN­TURES IN GREECE FOR CHEF ALAS­TAIR MCLEOD

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | EYE FOOD - Alas­tair Mcleod is the chefowner of Al’freshco, al­freshco.com.au

WORDS: ALAS­TAIR MCLEOD STYLING AND PHOTO: MI­RANDA PORTER

In Athens last year, I reac­quainted my­self with old friends – ho­ri­atiki, tzatziki, and saganaki to name a few. I just love the bright, con­fi­dent, lusty food cul­ture that de­fines the Greeks. I reckon I ate tzatziki ev­ery day for three weeks, so once home, I made a briam and a spanako­pita, and that was my Hel­lenic culi­nary itch scratched. A few weeks ago, Jacki Hinchey from Blue Dog Farm at Mt Mee dropped me a pail of her fab­u­lous cucamelons, or Mex­i­can cu­cum­bers. Their crisp, fleshy, er, cu­cum­ber­i­ness led me back to Greece with a di­gres­sion on the clas­sic mezze, tzatziki.

CU­CUM­BER SALAD, LABNEH, MINT Serves: 4 IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

250ml Greek yo­ghurt 1 Le­banese cu­cum­ber, juiced 20 cucamelons Sea salt, sugar and freshly milled pep­per 8 mini cu­cum­bers 1¼ bunches mint, leaves picked 100ml grape­seed oil 1 clove gar­lic, very finely chopped ¼ bunch dill Lemon juice

METHOD

Line a small colan­der or sieve with a damp Chux cloth and set over a small bowl. Add yo­ghurt, fold over Chux and re­frig­er­ate for an hour to drain. Next, pour the juiced cu­cum­ber over the cucamelons with a gen­er­ous pinch of salt and sugar, and a few twists of pep­per. Halve the mini cu­cum­bers length­ways and also sea­son with salt, sugar and pep­per. Leave them to cure for 20 min­utes. Mean­while, to pre­pare mint oil, blanch the leaves of 1 bunch of mint in boil­ing wa­ter for 20 sec­onds then im­me­di­ately re­move and place in iced wa­ter to ar­rest the cook­ing. Re­move from the wa­ter and squeeze firmly. Place in an up­right blen­der with the grape­seed oil and blitz un­til smooth. Set aside for one hour to in­fuse, pass through a fine sieve, add gar­lic and chill. Finely chop re­main­ing mint and dill to­gether and place on a bak­ing tray. Drain mini cu­cum­bers, pat dry, toss in a lit­tle mint oil and roll in the chopped herbs. Re­move cucamelons from juice and add lemon juice to taste. When ready to serve, trans­fer drained yo­ghurt to a bowl and sea­son. Ar­range the cu­cum­bers and cucamelons on top. Driz­zle with the cu­cum­ber juice and the mint oil.

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