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Portabello Summer Salad

Simple Summer Eating


Portabello Summer Salad

This post is sponsored by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association.

Summer social events at this time of year often include a request for guests to contribute a salad or dish to share. This is an easy way to share the work load of entertaining for the host, as well as the perfect opportunity to try new dishes and swap recipes with friends.

This Portabello Summer Salad is simple, fresh and packed with flavor. No one will guess how quickly you threw it together!  A big hit of lemon, the saltiness of prosciutto, creamy mozzarella and the crunch of cos makes the most tasty of Summer salads. Although very simple to make, this salad has a memorable flavor. Take it to a BBQ or catch up with friends and make sure that you make it for yourself.  This Summer Salad also makes a lovely side dish to enjoy with simple poached chicken or fish.

The lead up to Christmas can be manic. Each year I vow to do less than the previous year, to book less catch ups, to try to not feel stressed by back-to-back events and the requirements for each – a salad for one, a dessert for another, a kris kingle gift for the kids, a hostess gift…..Parties, end of year catch ups, family gatherings, sport and work break ups, the list goes on. It is possible to keep the food simple, quick and fresh without compromising on nutrition and flavour – enter the fabulously versatile mushroom!

Mushrooms are low in fat and a source of many antioxidants, for my family this= a winning ingredient to feature in recipes across the frantic “silly season”. One serve of mushrooms contains more than 20% of seven essential nutrients. (Source: Power of Mushrooms) The thing that  I most love about mushrooms is that in addition to their health benefits, they also partner with a wide range of ingredients and flavors, thus making them incredibly versatile.

Create my Italian(ish) style Portabello Summer Mushroom Salad to take along to your next social event:

Portabello Summer Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Portabello Summer Salad. Simple Summer Eating. This salad is so easy to make, no one will guess how quickly you threw it together! A quick 15 min salad perfect to share at a BBQ or social event.
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • dash of oil for cooking
  • 2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
  • 1 piece of preserved lemon - sliced finely and rinsed
  • 200 grams portabello mushrooms - halved or quartered
  • pinch of salt
  • cos lettuce to serve 4
  • 4 pieces of prosciutto - pulled apart
  • 50 grams buffalo mozzarella - pulled apart
  • fresh basil leaves
  • Dressing:
  • ½ tablespoon macadamia oil
  • ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
  1. Add the oil to a hot pan with the garlic, preserved lemon and mushrooms. Stir to coat the mushrooms and then don't stir again.
  2. Cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium-high heat, remove the pan from the heat, add a pinch of salt, stir and allow the mushrooms to continue to sit in the cooling pan and cook a little more.
  3. Add the lettuce to a serving plate
  4. Top the lettuce with prosciutto, the mozzarella, mushrooms, fresh herbs and a drizzle of the dressing over the top
If you can not locate portabello mushrooms don't be afraid to try another variety such as button or brown
Serving size is based on the dish being served as a side
I used a combination of both sweet basil and purple basil (Red Sapphire) leaves as that is what I had in the garden. The purple leaves have a very similar flavor to the green.

Mushroom Salad

This salad will remain on our menu well after Summer fades. I chose to use Cos lettuce for it’s lovely crisp fresh crunch. I had some gorgeous baby Cos lettuce in my garden that are never going to mature as I have been collecting leaves almost daily!  They were begging to be used for this salad. As with the mushrooms, you could substitute for a lettuce variety of your choice.

This recipe featured preserved lemons (from our own tree) I adore the dense, slightly salty flavor. You could substitute with fresh lemon but it will not provide the intensity of flavor that makes this dish stand out. If you do not have your own lemon tree to make your own, preserved lemons can be purchased from good delis or markets.

I hope that you enjoy this salad as part of your festive activities. Happy holidays.x

Do you like to use preserved lemons in cooking? Have you tried it with mushrooms?



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Rhubarb Pie Recipe

Christmas Macadamia Apple and Rhubarb Hand Pies


Apple Rhubarb Pie

If you grow rhubarb in your vegetable garden you probably have lots of it, have made your favorite recipes and are now looking for new recipes to use it.  If you do not grow it, it is in season and makes a lovely addition to the holiday table.

Using produce from your garden as part of your festive entertaining menu is a wonderful way to:

  • Reduce the costs of Christmas
  • Include and enjoy seasonal food
  • Highlight the special quality of home grown food
  • Celebrate with your family a successful harvest, the bounty of your work

Get into the kitchen with this simple recipe that is made festive by the shaped pastry wrapping, or keep it simple with individual pies, or one large one.

Rhubarb is abundant when it is in season. Last year I reduced my plants from  4 to 2 as there was way too much rhubarb for my family.

This year I am using a wire frame to force the stalks up and keep them contained so that that the space they take up in the garden is reduced.

Force RhubarbThis method of growing rhubarb is a new one for me and I am impressed with the results. It certainly has kept the plants well contained and the stalks are lovely and straight.  The leaves also seem to be smaller than they tend to be when allowed free reign in the space they are allocated.

We harvested the first of this years crop late last week. It inspired this festive Christmas recipe, along with my fast diminishing supply of creamy, buttery Australian grown Macadamia nuts. I was gifted the nuts from Australian Macadamias. Macadamia’s have long been one of my pantry staples. I adore the flavor. If a packet is left in my vicinity and there is no recipe calling for them they do not last very long!  Macadamia nuts add a special quality to any food created to celebrate an occasion or family meal.

Fresh rhubarb

Rhubarb Pie Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rhubarb Pie Recipe. Christmas Macadamia Apple and Rhubarb Pies. This simple recipe is made festive by the shaped pastry wrapping, or keep it simple with individual pies, or one large one
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 6 rhubarb stems - chopped
  • 3 apples of choice - peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 lemon - juiced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts - processed or chopped roughly
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • Defrosted ready made puff pastry sheets (number is dependent on the size/type of pie being made so use your judgement!)
  • 1 egg - whisked (optional - for brushing the top of the pastry)
  • Plain yogurt to serve
  1. Add the rhubarb, apples, lemon juice and cinnamon to a pot, cover and bring to simmer
  2. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes
  3. Set the oven to heat to 170 degrees Celsius
  4. Cut the pastry sheets into the desired shapes. I used cookie cutters to make the Christmas tree shaped hand pies.
  5. When softened add the macadamia nuts and sugar and stir
  6. Remove from the heat
  7. Place the base of the hand pies on a non heated baking tray, scoop the pie filling mixture onto the pastry and then cover with the top piece of pastry and seal the edges. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
I was running short of time when making these hand pies. I made 7 of them and decided that they would be perfect for the kids and then proceeded to use the rest of the mixture using individual pie tins (5 of them). I estimate that I could have made an additional 18 more....
The size of the hand pies, or pies will determine the required cooking time. The trees took 15 minutes, the individual pies 30 minutes.
Brush the top of the pastry with whisked egg if you wish (optional)

As mentioned in the recipe notes, I ran out of time (or maybe patience!) to continue making the trees so I finished off the filling mixture by making individual pies. This recipe is designed to be enough for entertaining a crowd so halve it if you wish.

Apple Rhubarb Pies

Are you growing rhubarb in your vegetable garden? Will it be a part of your festive menu?



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