I love to travel. There’s nothing better than visiting new places, experiencing different cultures, seeing amazing sights and indulging in incredible cuisines. While travel opens the mind, it also empties the bank account.
In between trips, I try to relive my experiences by cooking the cuisine from places I ‘ve been, with the freshest produce available, often from my own garden.
And if you enjoy cooking with fresh produce make sure you visit the Kleenheat Kitchen at the Perth Garden Festival.
With their love of fresh, flavourful ingredients, the Italians know how to eat. Here are some simple ingredients you can grow to help recreate La Dolce Vita.
Tomatoes are the backbone of every Italian dish, whether it’s spaghetti Bolognese, carprese salad or chicken parmesan. Tomatoes are easy to grow with so many different varieties to choose from including cherry, heirloom and the roma.
There’s no shame in a little garlic breath, the tiny bulb adds flavour to every dish and is easy to grow. Simple recipes include spaghetti with garlic, oil and chilli, garlic Italian chicken and Italian roasted garlic and parmesan potatoes
With their hearty meaty texture, mushrooms are a must must add to Italian sauces. They’re easy to grow and perfect protein for vegetarians. They can be used in Italian sautéed mushrooms and spinach, mushroom risotto or a simple fettucine and mushrooms.
Mexican food is colourful, delicious and fun. It uses an incredible variety of chillies and ingredients you can simply grow in your garden.
For me, a creamy guacamole with a hint of lime and chilli is the start of any good Mexican meal. These days you can grow your own avocado from seed. Once established they’re easy to maintain and can provide you with buckets of fruit each year. As well as guacamole, my favourite Mexican avocado recipes include street corn salad with avocado and grilled tequila prawns with avocado salsa.
The humble lime is one of a Mexican cook’s most flavourful tool. They’re perfect for growing in Perth and a must-have ingredient for finishing a dish – squeeze it on tacos, into salsa, and just about anything that needs a lively citrus finish.
You either love or hate coriander but it’s ideal for Mexican. It’s easy to grow in the garden, in pots or even a vertical garden. With its tart, lemon/lime taste it brings to life chicken fajitas, Mexican pork burritos, coriander lime rice and coriander chimichurri sauce.
West Aussie bush tucker
For the Noongar people, the bush is their gourmet delicatessen and using bush tucker is becoming increasingly popular.
The desert lime is a small fruit with an intense flavour. It can be used in recipes where limes or lemons are used. You can try roast pork with honey and wild lime, desert lime and coconut tart, they’re also ideal for drinks, marmalades, jams and dipping sauces.
The lilly pilly is a favourite plant for gardeners because they’re fast growing, hardy and fire resistant. They also have edible fruit that can be used in lily pilly caramel sauce for braised pork belly, lilly pilly apple crumble and candied lilly pilly, it also makes nice jam.
Lemon myrtle is a small growing native tree that likes good soil and warm conditions. The dried leaves, with its fresh fragrance of creamy lemon and lime complements everything from a fish or chicken rub, to flavour stuffing and damper and even ice cream and sorbet. Whole leaves can be used like a bay leaf.
With a little bit of thought you can bring the cuisines of the world to your garden and into your kitchen. And you can try out your international culinary skills with this tasty recipe for rainbow veggie and beef lasagne.
If your mouth’s watering and imagination is running wild – head along to the Kleenheat Kitchen at the 2019 Perth Garden Festival for more flavour combinations from our guest chefs plus tips for growing top-notch produce at home.
Kleenheat exclusive – 50% off Perth Garden Festival tickets
We’ve dug up a great deal! Kleenheat customers can enjoy 50% off PGF tickets by simply selecting the Kleenheat member special when placing an order online. Order your tickets.