Amber bremner brings her delicious food to the Kiwi
We’re delighted to welcome Amber Bremner, author of popular plant-based food blog Quite Good Food, to Kiwi Gardener. A champion for cooking and eating food that makes you feel good, Amber believes small changes in the way we approach food have the power to make a difference.
After wistfully saying goodbye to the last of autumn produce, it’s time to transition to heartier winter fare. For our mostly vegetarian household, that typically means a focus on a wider range of plant proteins, slower cooking, all the soups, roasted everything, more lentils and beans in the meal rotation, and the odd wholesome dessert.
As merely an enthusiastic amateur in the garden (just ask my green-fingered mother), my winter garden is nothing to get too excited about. i have plenty of leafy greens and herbs going on, rampant rosemary threatening to push over a fence and lots of citrus. i appreciate having a steady supply of fresh greens and herbs on hand to elevate heavier winter meals, but i’m a fairweather gardener, let’s be honest.
italian-style chickpea farinata is high in protein and deeply satisfying. Chickpea flour, water and salt are whisked together to create a smooth, thin batter, then set aside for a few hours for the chickpea flour to hydrate. Rosemary is a traditional addition, and i love it with a little lemon zest and chilli for good measure. to cook the farinata, you need a heavy, ovenproof pan (cast iron is ideal). Heat the pan and oil until they are smoking hot, pour the batter in, then put on a high shelf in a very hot oven to grill until it’s deeply golden, crispy on top, with lacy edges pulling away from the sides. You can serve it in wedges, as it is, but i like to top it with something seasonal – in this case, charred broccoli, a scattering of capers and parsley, and a big squeeze of lemon.
With dinner done and dusted, how about dessert? every year i end up with bowls of feijoa everywhere and a freezer full of scooped fruit ready and waiting for future use. the idea is to make it last through the barren, feijoa-less months ahead of us, but in reality that never happens as we gobble it all up in desserts and smoothies! this version of apple and feijoa crumble is made with rolled oats, buckwheat flour, ground almonds and chopped macadamias in place of white flour. sweetened with brown sugar, it has a darker and more caramelised flavour than a traditional crumble, and the macadamias are a real highlight with their buttery flavour and crunch. Also departing from tradition, i use coconut oil instead of butter. A dairy-free spread like olivani works well too, or go ahead and use butter if you don’t need it to be dairy-free. swap out the brown sugar for the alternatives listed if you prefer it to be free from refined sugar.