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Bush Spiced Polenta with Baked Beetroot and Fennel...

Just over a year ago my husband and I were in Queensland, Australia visiting my parents. We had a wonderful time drinking martinis while watching Huey’s Kitchen, going for long (slightly scary) walks in National Parks and making the most of local farmer’s markets and food fairs.

It was at one of these food fairs that I bought a selection of Australian spices. The Oz Tukka pack contains Wattle Seed, Tasmanian Pepper Leaf, Artesian Salt, Lemon Myrtle and Bush Tomato. Lots of great spices to have fun and experiment with.

Of all the spices the bush tomato was one I really fell in love with. It is similar in taste to caramelized sun dried tomatoes which you can use in substitution if you’re unable to get ahold of bush tomato. The spice pack came with some great recipe ideas and so far this salad has been one of our favourites. It is perfect as a starter or light lunch / dinner. The flavours blend really well together and despite all the different components it is quite simple to make.

The recipe serves 6 people but I made this for the 2 of us and it was plenty for a hearty and healthy dinner.

Here is the original Oz Tukka recipe.

Bush Spiced Polenta with Baked Beetroot and Fennel Salad (serves 6)

Ingredients

For the polenta:

250ml polenta

1 Tbsp Oz Tukka Bush Tomato, finely chopped

1 1/2 Oz Tukka Tasmanian Pepper Leaf

For the salad:

6 small beetroots

2 small fennel

4 Tbsp pine nuts, roasted (I used toasted sunflower seeds which were not only delicious they were also much cheaper)

80g feta cheese

Rocket leaves (enough for 6 small salads – I used a good sized handful each for 2 salads)

For the dressing:

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp Oz Tukka macadamia oil or olive oil (I used olive oil)

1/4 tsp Oz Tukka lemon myrtle

Directions

To make polenta follow instructions on polenta pack. Add spices towards end of cooking. Wet a square dish or container, press polenta into dish, levelling the top and allow to cool

NOTE: I had to adapt this slightly as I was only able to get pre-made polenta. Instead of adding the spices into the mix I added them to the pan with a small pat of butter while grilling the polenta

Roast the beetroot and fennel in a moderate oven until cooked. Allow to cool

Slice polenta into 1cm thick slices and grill until golden brown

Arrange on plates

Mix dressing ingredients

Chop fennel and beetroot into large chunks

Drizzle some of the dressing over the beetroot and keep separate

Toss fennel with rocket and remaining dressing

Serve on top of polenta with beetroot, sprinkle with pine nuts and crumbled feta

Enjoy!

If you’re interested in more recipes and information please visit the Oz Tukka website.

Many thanks to my husband Paul who took such a lovely photo!

Anzac Biscuits...

The word ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The Anzac biscuit as we know it today seems to have originated during WW1 and was sent as part of the rations to the troops fighting in Gallipoli. These biscuits are an important part of Australian and New Zealand history.

Although there is some debate as to where the actual recipe came from, it seems to have been based on Scottish oatcakes. Oats of course are healthy and would have provided the troops with much needed nutrients. The lack of eggs in the recipe also gave the biscuits a long shelf which was essential in preventing them from spoiling on the long journey

Anzac day is held on April 25th in both countries. It is a special day to commemorate all those who have died fighting for their countries.

If you have never tried Anzac biscuits then give these a try. You can find the recipe here at the BBC Good Food website or follow it below.

Anzac biscuits (recipe from the BBC Good Food website)

Ingredients

• 85g porridge oats

• 85g desiccated coconut

• 100g plain flour

• 100g caster sugar

• 100g butter, plus extra butter for greasing

• 1 tbsp golden syrup

• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Directions

1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.

2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.

3. Put dessert spoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Anzac Biscuits