At both the cooking school and eatery we make our own ricotta and goat's cheese. Although most people don't realise it, milk is a seasonal product, produced after kidding. I also love to use artichokes, shunned by many. With a little work they are a true joy of springtime eating.
230g (1 cup) ricotta
230g (1 cup) soft goat's cheese
100g (½ cup) white rice flour
½ tsp salt
500ml sunflower oil
2 brown onion, finely shaved
Braised artichokes with mint
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
4 globe artichokes
1 cup mint leaves, torn
1. In a food processor combine ricotta, goat's cheese, rice flour, eggs and salt and process until smooth.
2. Line a teacup with a piece of plastic wrap allowing plenty to overhang and spray with non-stick oil. Spoon a quarter (about 150g) of the dumpling mixture into the lined cup and twist plastic wrap to enclose then tie a knot to secure. Repeat with plastic wrap and mixture to make four dumplings.
3. Place dumplings into a bamboo steamer over a pot of boiling water to steam until just set, about 15 minutes.
4. For braised artichokes, prepare artichokes by removing outer leaves and trimming top. Peel outside of artichoke stalks. Halve artichokes lengthways and, using a teaspoon, remove hairy choke, then halve again into quarters. Place artichokes into a bowl of acidulated water (water and lemon juice).
5. Heat oil in a large deep frying pan, add thinly sliced onion and a pinch of salt, then cook over low heat until soft, about five minutes. Add artichokes and 125ml water, cover and gently cook until artichokes are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then stir through torn mint leaves.
6. Heat sunflower oil in a large saucepan to 180C, add shaved onion and fry until golden brown, about eight minutes, then using a slotted spoon remove to a plate lined with absorbent paper.
7. Spoon braised artichokes onto serving plates. Remove dumplings from plastic wrap and place on top, then a garnish with handful of fried onion and serve.
Recipe from chef and cooking teacher Rodney Dunn, of Tasmania's farm-based cooking school the Agrarian Kitchen, and this year's Good Food Guide Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year - the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store.