Spring is currently in full force here in Tasmania and so far the weather has been absolutely perfect. Longer, sunny days with clear blue skies that make heading outdoors incredibly enticing.
This past weekend was Mum’s 60th birthday, and instead of a physical present I organised an outing for her instead. The older I get, the less I tend to buy “things” – I would much rather buy someone an experience that they would remember and enjoy, than a physical item that they possibly don’t want or need. Or even potentially like. I love the idea of supporting local businesses as well rather than just heading online to buy whatever I can get for the best price. So for Mum’s birthday this year, we headed out for a day full of surprises. True to form, the weather was gorgeous – sunny but not too hot.
We headed to a quaint little historic town just outside of Hobart called Richmond for a look around the market and then tackled the maze. The maze was slightly underwhelming – I remember spending an hour tackling it as a child but as an adult it only took four minutes to get to the middle! Next stop was Coal River Farm for a delicious lunch, before we headed back into the city to catch the ferry out to Mona for a winery tour and tasting. It was a lovely way to spend a special day.
With the warmer weather comes a new wave of seasonal vegetables and lighter meals – lots of salads and salad variations replace the heavier curries, soups and stews which we lived off in the cooler months. One thing I have been keen to start experimenting with again is vegetable noodles. I dove right into the craze when I first heard about it a few years back, making all type of noodle dishes, from zucchini to sweet potato, as well as dishes with all of the vegetables for good measure. I experimented with eggplant noodles and attempted to noodle broccoli stems, neither which turned out too successfully. Without doubt, the fall-back vegetable noodle dish would have to be zucchini noodles. They softer flesh of the zucchini makes them perfect to spiralise, and they have a subtle taste which isn’t too over-powering.
This dish is extremely easy and a great way to use up any greens that may have started popping up in your garden. I used a mix of seasonal greens (beet leaves, rocket and spinach) and basil, though you could experiment with other greens and herbs here. Make sure to taste the pesto as you go along as you may need to add more salt/herbs/lemon juice to soften the flavour if the greens you are using are on the bitter side.
- 2 medium zucchinis
- ⅔ cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 1 cup leafy greens (spinach, rocket, beet greens etc)
- ⅓ cup cashews
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 1 - 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 heaped Tbsp nutritional yeast, or 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Use a spiraliser to turn the zucchini into noodles.
- To make the pesto, add the cashews and garlic to a food processor and pulse a few times to roughly chop. Add the remainder of the ingredients except the oil and pulse until well combined. Taste, and add a little more salt or lemon juice if needed.
- Remove from the food processor and stir through the olive oil.
- Toss a few generous spoonfuls of the pesto through the noodles.
- Serve topped with extra pesto and basil leaves.