The Last Supper

Words by
Hetty McKinnon
| November 3, 2013

For me, one of the saddest things about death is no longer being able to eat, to taste, to salivate. But then there is the last supper. One final chance to satiate your taste buds. The ultimate meal in preparation for darkness. Such an intriguing proposition.

When I imagine my last supper, I invariably crave a meal that is nourishing and familiar, with warm flavours that will hug me from the inside out. These dishes will tempt me to over-indulge and compel me to lick my fingers in a shocking loss of etiquette. As a salad fanatic, it is only fitting that my last supper would be two unique, uncompromisingly addictive salads brimming with sacrificial plant matter.

Ginger Peanut Kale with Tofu and Quinoa

For the peanut butter devotees out there like me, this peanut ginger kale, tofu and quinoa dish is the epitome of comfort food. Pack it on your fork, let your eyes roll back and be prepared to die a very happy person – it is seriously that good.

Serves 4-6

  • 2 bunches (500g) kale, washed well and stalks removed
  • 300g hard tofu, cut into 5mm slices
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • 1 cup peanuts, roasted and roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Ginger peanut sauce

  • 4 tbsp (heaped) peanut butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the peanut ginger sauce, heat all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until it has melted and become a smooth, creamy sauce. Add more water if it’s too thick. You want the consistency of thickened cream.

Roughly shred the kale and fold it into the hot peanut sauce. The heat from the sauce will wilt and cook the kale.

Season tofu well with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in pan and fry each slice of tofu until lightly golden on both sides. Allow to cool slightly, then slice into strips.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the red onion for 10-12 minutes until caramelised and sweet.

In a large pot, add rinsed quinoa, a pinch of salt, vegetable stock and add enough water so it covers the quinoa by 2cm. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer until the quinoa is translucent. When cooked, drain the quinoa through a fine sieve or colander.

Combine the peanut kale mixture with the quinoa, tofu and caramelised onion. Transfer to a large serving plate and top with the chopped peanuts.

Photographer: Luisa Brimble, Stylist: Erika Raxworthy
Photographer: Luisa Brimble, Stylist: Erika Raxworthy

Baked Tomatoes With Capers, Olives and Croutons

The passion and drama of a tomato, what the French call pomme d’amour or ‘love apples’, is the ultimate last supper ingredient. Fresh and perfectly ripe, there is no other vegetable or fruit that can compare in sheer natural flavour. But baked, smothered in a creamy concoction of salty capers and olives, and teamed with crunchy croutons, they become simply otherworldly.

Serves 4-6

  • 10 medium (1.5kg) firm but ripe tomatoes (whichever variety you like)
  • 250g crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 60g capers, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated 500g stale sourdough (or other stale bread), cut into 1cm slices
  • 100g olives (whichever variety), pitted and halved
  • 2 tbsp oregano leaves
  • ½ cup basil leaves, torn
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cut the tomatoes into 3cm pieces, in whatever shape you like. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and add the crème fraiche, sugar, half the capers, rosemary, garlic, 1-2 tablespoons of oil and half the grated Parmesan. Toss together well to coat the tomatoes. Place on a tray and bake for 20 minutes until the tomatoes start to crisp up.

Cut the bread into 3cm squares, and coat in 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt. Place on a large tray and bake for around 15 minutes, or until the bread is lightly golden.

Allow tomatoes and croutons to cool slightly.

Combine the tomatoes with the olives. Add the croutons and, if you have the time, allow the salad to sit for about 30 minutes to allow the flavours to intensify and croutons to soak up the rich tomato juices. To serve, scatter over the basil, oregano leaves and remaining grated parmesan.

Photographer: Luisa Brimble, Stylist: Erika Raxworthy
Photographer: Luisa Brimble, Stylist: Erika Raxworthy

EDITORS NOTE: Hetty McKinnon has just self published a book called Community: Recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen. It is brilliant. Truly. The book places salads squarely at the centre of the table, and after trying some of the recipes I reckon you will agree. To Hetty, salads are best made with love, shared with friends, and eaten with joy. Hetty’s warmth permeates the book, making it an absolute pleasure to read and use.

Community is available to purchase from the Arthur Street Kitchen website. It is the only salad cookbook you will ever need.

Image © Luisa Brimble
Image © Luisa Brimble

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