Rambunctious rocket Rocket Pesto Nel Rol describes her rural Waiuku garden as, “sort of chaotically organised; the only beds that stay the same are my asparagus beds, I even weed those!”. Her garden is situated in a high wind zone and doesn’t have many bare patches with flowers growing between the veges and if weeds pop up too it’s no bother – they go to the chickens. Nel grows and dries her own organic turmeric, and she lets her rocket go to seed and it comes up every year. She doesn’t even know the variety anymore. The rocket pesto came about when Nel ran out of basil. It’s easy to adapt, sunflower seeds go well (any nuts really but Nel doesn’t like pine nuts). Anytime Nel makes a batch it’s gone within a week at her place. It’s great with cheese on crackers or toast or make a pasta with diced broccoli and a good dollop of the pesto on top. Makes about 1 cup zest and juice of ½ lemon ¼ cup cashew nuts 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 tablespoon organic flaxseeds 1-2 cloves garlic sprig of parsley good handful rocket leaves 50g grated parmesan cheese (or you could use tasty) 2 tablespoons cup good quality olive oil sea salt to taste Put everything in the blender and give it a good pulse for about 2 minutes. Rocket Pie West Aucklanders Adrienne and Graham Peek live on a quarter-acre section in Huia near the beach. Their garden has heavy clay soil and is exposed to southwesterly winds. In the last few years, Graham has built garden beds, which has helped with drainage and weeding. Adrienne likes to grow the Yates wild rocket seed as the plants drop their seeds and sprout easily so there’s no need to worry about starting a new batch of seeds. Adrienne does nothing at all to the plants, apart from cutting them back when they get too big, and they survive all of the year. That means there’s plenty for rocket pie in the colder months and salads in summer. Adrienne’s friend Wendy gave her the pie recipe and Adrienne has adopted it as a favourite because it is so quick and easy to make. You can also add leftover chicken or bacon, or anything else in the fridge you want to use up. Serves 4-6 4 eggs 60g butter or margarine, melted 2 cups milk 1 cup grated tasty cheese 1 cup shredded rocket leaves, plus extra if desired ½ cup flour ½ teaspoon baking powder chilli powder, sea salt & ground pepper to taste Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a quiche tin with baking paper. Place the eggs, butter and milk in a large bowl and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Pour into the lined tin and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before cutting. Rocket & Pear Salad Laura Walker had a glut of a rocket in the garden of her previous house, which prompted her to adapt a rocket salad recipe from the internet and make it her own. It’s a flexible recipe – use whatever cheese you have, cubes of roast kūmara or pumpkin make a great addition as does some chicken breast. It’s a great alternative to cabbage and lettuce salads. Laura’s small vege garden doesn’t have the best soil but they did have successful chilli, herb and potato crops last year. This year, she plans to reserve the garden for potatoes, and to grow a variety of herbs and lettuces in pots. Serves 4-5 2 large beetroot, peeled and cubed olive oil for cooking sea salt and ground pepper 2 bunches rocket, thick stalks removed 1 red onion, thinly sliced 2 pears, peeled and cut into wedges 100g feta or blue vein cheese drizzle of balsamic vinegar Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the beetroot on a baking tray, lightly coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Place the rocket in a large bowl and add the beetroot, onion and pear, and toss everything together. Crumble over the cheese. Just before serving, sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and lightly toss. Rocket, Salmon & Cream Cheese filled Croissants Jenny Price used to live in Clevedon and would regularly buy the filled croissants from local business Italian Country Market, owned by Emma Hagen and her husband Bart Narracci, who hails from New York. (Emma and Bart moved to Havelock North some years ago and lucky locals there can enjoy filled croissants from their business, Bellatino’s.) But Jenny still remembered those delicious croissants, which were a favourite for her, her son and her elderly mother. So she was inspired to make them herself for a “highly addictive” and scrumptious lunch or a light dinner. This isn’t so much a recipe – more like flexible instructions on how to assemble a croissant “sandwich”. If you don’t want to preheat the oven for just one or two, you could also cook the sandwiches in an air fryer. Jenny sometimes uses microgreens instead of rocket, but finds they’re never as good. So while she doesn’t have a garden now that she’s just turned 80 and has some physical challenges, she plans to grow rocket in a big pot. Makes as many as you need! large croissants sliced smoked salmon finely grated lime zest (optional) rocket leaves cream cheese Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Carefully split the croissants in half, not quite all the way through. Place a couple of slices of smoked salmon in each and sprinkle the salmon with lime zest, if using. Add a good handful of rocket and cream cheese. Close each croissant and wrap firmly in either baking paper or tinfoil and place on a baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes. To ensure the pastry is crispy, open the top of the wrapping for the last couple of minutes. Serve warm.