Hetty McKinnon’s Community Cookbook
I love the suburb of Surry Hills in Sydney. The more I visit my daughter Emma who works there, the more I get acquainted with the area and it’s vibe. I wander the streets, have coffee and people watch. After Christmas my youngest daughter, husband and I drove there for a weeks holiday to visit Emma once again. This time we had the good fortune to stay in a fabulous apartment in Surry Hills near Bills2. Some nights Emma would walk to the apartment after work and have dinner with us and we’d go to Gelato Messina afterwards for ice cream.
It was our last night in Sydney, we bought our ice creams and strolled around the streets of Surry Hills licking and devouring the creamy treats. I don’t know how it came up but Emma said to me something like “there’s someone around here who makes beautiful salads, we get them delivered to work”. I instantly made the connection, “oh yes I know, she makes them from home here in Surry Hills and delivers them on her bike. “Yes” said Emma, “you already know about her”. “My favourite is the Soba Noodle Salad with eggplant”. “She’s written a book with all the salad recipes in it as well” I said. We continued our tour around the narrow streets with Emma pointing out her favourite block of apartments on Crown Street and favourite cafes and shops. We then walked home.
The person was Hetty McKinnon and the cookbook is Community, salad recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen. The recipes in Community cookbook are inspired by Hetty’s Arthur Street Kitchen, the hub where she made salads twice a week to deliver by bike to residents in Surry Hills. In doing so she discovered as much as the business was about local food it was also about the people who ate the food every week. She began to exchange ideas and connect with people and best of all she got to do what she loves most, feed people. She has recently moved to New York with her family and plans to deliver salads in Brooklyn this year.
We drove back to Melbourne, the next day and I invited my cousin Carol over for lunch to see our new house. By sheer coincidence I was absolutely delighted when she gave me Hetty’s book as a house warming present. I couldn’t believe it and was so thrilled. I’ve since made a couple of the salads and connected with Hetty on Instagram. The recipes in the book serve 4-6 people, there’s only 3 of us at home at the moment so I halved the quantity for both recipes. I also couldn’t resist topping mine with gorgeous little micro herbs I found at the Greengrocer near our house.
Recipe Credit: Hetty McKinnon from Community, salad recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen, published by Plum. Pan Macmillan Australia.
Peas and Mint with Quinoa, Feta and Almonds
To make the dressing: blitz all the ingredients in a food processor and season with salt and black pepper. Taste for balance, adjusting the vinegar, oil and seasoning as required. For a stronger mint flavour, add a few more leaves.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a large pinch of salt, the sugar and oil (these keep the peas green and enhance sweetness). Add the peas, sugar snap peas and snow peas and blanch for 1-2 minutes or until just tender. Remove and refresh under cold water.
In a large pot of water, add the vegetable stock powder, a pinch of salt and the quinoa and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down tolow and continue to simmer until the quinoa is tender and transparent. Drain through a fine sieve.
To serve, add the dressing to the mixed peas, mint and quinoa and combine well. Top with the crumbled feta and almonds.
Spicy Fried Edamame with Eggplant and Soba Noodles
4 eggplants (1.5kg), 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, seas salt & black pepper, 400g soba noodles, 3 tbsp sunflower oil, 2 garlic cloves finely chopped, 1-2 long red chillies (depending on how hot you like it) finely chopped, 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated, 400g frozen podded edamame beans, thawed, 4 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp vegetarian stir fry sauce (or oyster sauce), 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp black sesame seeds.
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Partially peel the eggplant, leaving a ‘stripe’ pattern. Cut into 2cm cubes. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the soba noodles for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Next add the edamame beans and stir-fry for 1 minute. Finally add the soy sauce, stir -fry sauce and sesame oil and cook for another minute or so, or until the sauce thickens slightly.
Combine the spicy edamame with the roasted eggplant and soba noodles. Toss gently to combine. Serve with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.