Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shirl's YamDaisy Menu

A menu of 4 Choices is fine for the YamDaisy Cafe, after all, it is more than you usually get at home!
I collared Shirley and pestered her for a menu (this happens to all my friends!). I not only demand a soup, 2 main courses, and a fruit based dessert, but I ask her to think about the chef in a small kitchen cooking for 150 people a day.
And I remind her that it should be seasonal, local food (but I let her pick any season and locality she likes!). I tell her about the three key things about YamDaisy food: Delicious, Everyday Food and Economical. I ask her to think of a community, maybe a community of her friends, that she would be cooking for.
But Shirley is a trooper, she likes a problem to solve, and she quickly comes up with some amazing dishes. 

Soup: Glorious Soup with Turkish Pita Bread
Main 1: Deadly Nightshade Casserole with Braised Greens
Main 2: Asparagus and Corn Crustless Quiche with Roast Potato and Pumpkin
Fruit Dessert: Baked Quinces with Egg Custard

Glorious Soup 
Shirl chose this soup because it is really yummy with Asian flavours and pretty with the beetroot. It isn't insipid, as some vegetable soups can be, and isn't too spicy so it has wide appeal. This soup has beetroot and other veggies  cooked with kaffir lime, lemon juice, coconut milk and Tom Yum paste. She chose to serve it with Turkish Pita Bread. The flavours stretch from one side of Asia to the other!

Deadly Nightshade Casserole with Braised Greens
Won't kids love choosing this! You will be relieved to know that there is nothing deadly in the ingredients, unless you use it the Koori way where 'deadly' means really good! But there is plenty of nightshade! Tomato, eggplant, potato, capsicum and chillies! All from the nightshade family. 
It was invented by Shirl's friend but she hasn't cooked it herself yet. The instructions were to fry up some onions and layer them in a casserole with all the vegetables, put cheese on top and bake it slowly. She would serve it with a mixture of silver beet (chard) and cabbage, because she finds the beet too acidic by itself.
I was very keen to try this recipe, but it took a while for all those nightshade veggies to be lovely in my greengrocers. February turns out to be the right month. (Unfortunately February also means the cabbage is quite rank, so since peas are nice, I would braise them with the chard instead!).
The recipe is a work in progress. I liked it being so onepot simple, but when I went to make it yesterday I had left it a bit late to bake slowly to cook everything in the oven.
I gently fried onions and garlic with a chopped red chili ~ that made a great couple of layers.
I began seeing it as a variation on eggplant parmigiana so I made a topping with cheese and crumbs and thyme.
I thought I should grill the eggplant slices a bit first. And I microwaved the potatoes so they wouldn't be hard. Then the capsicum needed to be cooked too, so I fried them on high heat till they had tasty blackened edges, and then gave them a microwave zap too, to soften them. 
Next I realised I didn't have as many tomatoes as I thought and compromised with a bit of pasta sauce between the layers and the tomatoes on top as you can see in the picture..
I ended up with a kitchen completely full of almost every dish and saucepan I own and I was completely exhausted! Woe betide a YamDaisy chef that cooks it that way!!!!
But it tasted wonderful last night, and perfect this evening when we added a beautiful tomato sauce that contained garlic and capsicum fried in olive oil and tomatoes (a tin) added and cooked til rich and delicious.
Next time I will make that sauce to add in the casserole and I will try it the easier way, where one pot and the oven do all the work. I will let you know when I have perfected it! 
Main 2: Asparagus and Corn Crustless Quiche with Roast Potato and Pumpkin
This is a clever dish for the YD Cafe also. Instead of a pastry case, this quiche is made by oiling the dish and then sprinkling oatbran to cover. Bite sized pieces of asparagus,corn kernels, sliced leeks and spinach (or other veggies in season) are sprinkled evenly over it. Eggs are mixed with 1/2 evaporated milk, 1/2 cream, seasoned and poured gently over. The quiche is baked gently until just set and served with roasted potato and pumpkin.

Fruit Dessert: Baked Quinces with Egg Custard
Shirl's first choice was apple and rhubarb crumble. This must be the most popular Australian dessert. We have had so many close variations of it that I asked her to choose again. So she chose baked quinces. As luck would have it, when I finally get around to posting her menu, quinces have been out of season for months, and rhubarb is beautiful. However, let's say that the clever chef preserved the quinces and can bring them out now to bake back to warmth for a special treat. We might like seasonal food, but a bit of home preserving is good too!

If you would like to see more of the menu's that show what could be done in a YamDaisy Cafe when we finally get them going... check them out here.

I would love your feedback on this menu, and if you are inspired to suggest a YamDaisy menu (just read through the first paragraph, and look at the menu link)  I would be so delighted and glad to showcase it here!


  1. I love the casserole! I believe it would be wonderful with Brussels sprouts too.

  2. When it is next the school holidays, I will try out some of these recipies!!! They look really delicious. :P
    Lucy xx

  3. This casserole is S-U-P-E-R-B !!!

    Have a blessed week, dear Joy :)


  4. Asparagus and Corn Crustless Quiche with Roast Potato and Pumpkin already sounds so delicious, I can't imagine actually eating it!

  5. Lovely to read these comments, Shirl had exciting recipes!