Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides

Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides | @naturallyella

I had no intention of really cooking much for the fourth since we were hiding inside (our dog really hates fireworks and it’s easiest just to watch a movie). However, Mack was cool with hanging out with M for the day so I took advantage, went to the farmers market, and got inspired to do a bit of cooking.

Instead of a recipe, I thought I’d share four ideas that I made yesterday. Each one is extremely loose and can easily be adapted to flavors you may like. Summer is the best time to take produce and have fun.

Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides

Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides
Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides

Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides

Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides

Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides

Farmers Market Summer Vegetarian Sides

Breakfast Radishes | @naturallyella
Armenian Cucumbers

Grilled Radishes | @naturallyella

Grilled Radishes with Armenian Cucumbers and Pearled Couscous

Ingredients I used: Pearled Couscous, Armenian Cucumbers, Breakfast Radishes, Scallions, Feta, Lemon Juice, Champagne Vinegar, Olive oil, and Salt/Pepper.

Saying I love Armenian cucumbers is a bit of an understatement. While these beauties aren’t actually straight cucumbers (just related), the flavor is of a sweet cucumber. I could easily eat grilled radishes with these cucumbers without the couscous (but the couscous makes it more substantial). I already had leftover couscous and just tossed everything together with a drizzle of the vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Keep it vegan by ditching the feta or for gluten-free, use quinoa or sorghum.

Grilled Radish and Armenian Cucumber Couscous Salad | @naturallyella

Grilled Corn | @naturallyella
Grilled Corn | @naturallyella

Grilled Sweet Corn

I have a particular way I grill corn that I think is worth the bit of extra effort. I peel back the husk, remove the silk, butter (or olive oil) and sprinkle with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic. Toss is on the grill until the husk is charred and the yellow of the corn has perked up. You can easily eat the corn now, but I peel back the husk and return it to the grill to lightly char.

Grilled Shisito Peppers | @naturalyella

Grilled Shisito Peppers

Toss the shisito peppers with olive oil, soy sauce, honey, and sesame seeds in a cast iron skillet. Cook on the grill, stirring occasionally. (I would typically roast the peppers in this mixture but it’s been 100˚ and I wasn’t about to turn on the oven except to make pie, because pie did happen). I eyeballed the drizzle of each liquid but any extra thickens into a nice sauce.

Tomatoes | @naturallyella
Tomatoes | @naturallyella

Heirloom Tomatoes with Basil

It’s the beginning of July which means I’m starting my overeating tomatoes. This is about the easiest way to serve tomatoes: slice, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh basil, salt, and pepper. Done and done.

grilled vegetarian sides | @naturallyella

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Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

I am motivated by the “summer bucket lists” I’ve been hearing about or seeing on Instagram. With Curran and the work we have to do around the house, I’ve thought the fun parts of this season would fall to the wayside but that is silly thinking. There are local weekend trips to take, pizza down at the beach at sunset, farmers market hauls for peach crisps, and apricot jam to swirl into plain yogurt. There may be a fence to build, a storage area to fix up, and a kitchen that needs updating but those tasks can blend in with the things that make us feel alive too. I forget that sometimes. Head down, responsibility, get things done… it’s never that stuff that lightens my heart and fills me up even though it’s my default setting. Time for a summer list. 

It started warming up around here this week and I’m not great about drinking water. My goal is to reward every two tumblers of water with a more tasty drink – I have a cucumber, apple, kale juice in the fridge which I like over ice or this super refreshing grapefruit and watermelon juice with a splash of sparking water for fizz. Sunkist sent me some California Star Ruby grapefruits that were super juicy and the watermelon juice cuts the tartness just right. I went for a 50/50 blend this round, but you could alter that based on preference. Also, it makes a dreamy cocktail mixer. The happy hour fix is crushed ice, this juice, a tiny tip of triple sec and a glug of tequila for the best summer margarita. Maybe a little extra lime if you have one around. This recipe makes enough juice to make about six cocktails so it’d be great for a small party. All said, I hope your summers have started off in the best way. 

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

GRAPEFRUIT + WATERMELON AGUA FRESCA // Makes one generous liter

I use a juicer for efficiency sake, but I understand not everyone has one. For the grapefruit and lime, you could squeeze the juice by hand or with a citrus juicer into a bowl. The watermelon pieces can be blended in a food processor and then strained to get a smoother juice. You basically need about 2 cups of each grapefruit and watermelon and the juice of one lime. Use whatever grapefruits you like, I find the red varieties produce more juice.


  • 4 California Star Ruby Grapefruits, peeled
  • 1 small watermelon, cubed and peeled
  • 1 lime, cut in quarters
  • crushed ice
  • sparkling water, optional
  • tequila and triple sec, optional


In a juicer, juice the peeled grapefruit, watermelon and lime. Stir together to mix. Add more lime to taste. 

As an agua fresca, enjoy cold over ice. I add a splash of sparkling water. It also makes an excellent margarita with a bit of triple sec and a shot of tequila. 

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

This post is sponsored by Sunkist Growers. Fruit and compensation provided by Sunkist, all opinions are my own. 


Steamed Silken Tofu

Steamed TofuThe first time I bought silken tofu I cooked it in a stir-fry, just like I’d cook firm tofu because I didn’t know any better. It was awful. The tofu was so soft that it fell apart, became an ugly, gluggy mess, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would use it over firm tofu.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I came across a recipe for steamed silken tofu. My eyes were opened and my mind was blown. I’m now a silken tofu convert.

Steamed silken tofu has an incredible creamy texture. This soft and smooth tofu combined with a fragrant, spicy, sweet, and salty dressing makes this one of my favourite vegetarian tofu dishes.

Steamed Silken Tofu

Serves 2.
Slightly adapted from a Kylie Kwong recipe at The Cook and the Chef.

  • 300g silken tofu
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • Steamed greens and/or rice, to serve
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, to serve
  • Pinch Sichuan pepper and salt, to serve


  • 1 tbs finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbs sliced spring onion
  • 2 tbs chopped coriander stems
  • 2 tbs kecap manis
  • 2 tbs Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tbs light soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli
  1. Cut tofu into rectangular pieces. Oil the top of a bamboo steamer and place the tofu pieces in the steamer (alternatively, if you do not have a bamboo steamer, place the tofu on top of a piece of baking paper in a saucepan steamer). Steam for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Remove tofu from the steamer and drain away any excess liquid.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tbs sesame oil in a small pan on high heat until smoking.
  5. Place the tofu on a plate in a single layer, pour the dressing over tofu, then carefully drizzle with hot oil.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves, Sichuan pepper and salt. Serve with steamed greens and/or rice.


The Reuben

pa044790May I start by saying… How good is corned beef?! It’s a bit daggy, but I’ve always loved it. I remember eating it as a child, and daily when Paul and I holidayed in Fiji many years ago. It’s funny how food memories stick with you.

Corned beef has become quite popular lately, thanks to the mighty Reuben sandwich which has been popping up on menus all over Sydney this past year (or has it been longer? I can’t remember, don’t quote me!). There are many variations of Reuben, but the one I’m into is from Reuben & Moore in Westfield Sydney.

Reuben & Moore’s Reuben is made with ‘prime Wagyu salt beef, served on hand sliced freshly baked rye, Swiss cheese, homemade dill pickles, sauerkraut & mild mustard mayo’. Amazing.

I had purchased a glorious piece of grass-fed corned wagyu beef from Tim at Urban Food Market and there was really only one destiny for it. I had to make my own Reuben at home.

pa044787In the past we had cooked our regular corned beef on the stovetop for a couple of hours, with various additions such as cloves, sugar, vinegar, bay leaves, and of course vegetables. The corned beef was nice, but it was never super tender.

There was only one way to cook my wagyu corned beef, and it wasn’t on the stovetop. I slow cooked it for 8 hours with minimal additions (as per instructions by Chef’s Armoury) so that we could get the true flavour of the beef. The result was top quality corned beef that was deliciously tender. Sliced and added to a sandwich of Brasserie Bread Rye, sauerkraut, polski ogorki (dill pickled cucumbers), Swiss cheese, and homemade Dijonnaise, it was definitely worth the slow cooking time.

Are you a corned beef fan? If no, why not?! ;)

Wagyu Corned Beef and The Reuben Sandwich

For the corned beef:

  • Corned beef (wagyu or otherwise)
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and studded with 8 cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thickly
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  1. Remove corned beef from packaging and rinse.
  2. Add beef to slow cooker, add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot, then top with cold water 2 inches above the beef (note: the corned beef tends to float, so I weighed mine down with a flat dish so it stayed completely submerged).
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until the beef is very tender (note: I had the slow cooker on low for 7 hours and on high for the final hour, but next time I might try 4 hours on high).
  4. Discard vegetables, remove the beef from the pot and let sit for 20 minutes, slice and serve, but if serving cold, let it cool in the cooking liquid.

T0 assemble Reuben:

  • Rye bread
  • Swiss cheese
  • Polski ogorki (dill cucumbers), sliced
  • Sauerkraut
  • Mayonnaise, mustard, or Dijonnaise (purchased or make your own – it’s so much easier using a food processor by the way)
  1. Choose a good quality rye bread (I used Brasserie Bread). Add a slice or two or Swiss cheese on a piece of bread and place under grill to melt.
  2. Top with slow cooked corned beef (re-heated), sauerkraut, dill cucumbers, and the condiment of your choice.
  3. Marvel at the best sandwich ever, that you’ve just created.

Nigella’s Roast Buttermilk Chicken and Coleslaw

Buttermilk ChickenYou know that old question “Are you a breast man or a leg man?”… Well I’m no man, but let’s apply it to a different subject and talk about chicken! When it comes to chicken I’m definitely a breast girl. People say chicken breast lacks flavour and is dry, but when cooked well I can’t go past the white meat.

I never cook chicken wings, thighs or drumsticks, unless I’m roasting a whole bird, but I saw a recipe for roast buttermilk chicken drumsticks in Nigella Express that looked and sounded delicious so I put aside my prejudice and gave it a go. Another dislike I overcame was coleslaw. Nigella said it goes well with the buttermilk chicken so who was I to argue?

Well I’m glad I didn’t argue, because the whole meal was delicious – drumsticks and all!

Nigella recommends marinating the chicken in the buttermilk marinade overnight, or at least 30mins-2 hours (max) out of the fridge. I was cooking these the same day so they only had a few hours in the fridge. The recipes for both the chicken and coleslaw dressing call for maple syrup, but I only had honey stocked and it worked well. Another change I made was using walnuts instead of pecans in the coleslaw.

And the end result? This was super easy to make, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the drumsticks for lunch the next day! They’re very juicy and tender thanks to the buttermilk – no stringy, dry chicken here! The skin could have been crispier, but then that would have encouraged me to eat it, so I was ok with that ;)

And whilst I won’t win any contests in knife skills (it took me a while to work out how to best chop the cabbage…), the roughly chopped coleslaw was so fresh and I loved the added crunch from the nuts. The dressing was fantastic as well, quite light but full of flavour.

So… are you a (chicken) breast or leg man/woman? :D

Roast Buttermilk Chicken
From Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

  • 1.25kg chicken drumsticks (ours were quite large so we had 5 in total)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised and skins removed
  • 1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon Maldon salt, sea salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  1. Place the chicken drumsticks in a large freezer bag, and add the buttermilk and 1/4 cup of oil.
  2. Add the bruised garlic cloves to the bag with the crushed peppercorns and salt.
  3. Sprinkle in the ground cumin and finally add the maple syrup, and then squish everything in the freezer bag around to mix the marinade and coat the chicken.
  4. Leave the buttermilk marinated chicken in the fridge ideally overnight or out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Take the chicken pieces out of the bag shaking off the excess marinade, and then arrange them in a roasting tin lined with foil.
  6. Drizzle over the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil, and then roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until brown, even scorched in parts, and juicily cooked through.

New Orleans Coleslaw
From Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

  • 1 head white or savoy cabbage, about 1kg before trimming
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 spring onions
  • 200g best-quality store-bought mayonnaise (I used low-fat whole-egg)
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 teaspoons apple or cider vinegar
  • 100g pecans, fairly finely chopped (or walnuts)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Trim and shred the cabbage, either by hand or with a food processor.
  2. Peel and grate the carrots, and finely slice the celery and spring onions.
  3. Whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, maple syrup and vinegar and coat the shredded vegetables with this dressing.
  4. Season, and toss through the chopped nuts