Home cooks have long known the value of vegetables and more and more chefs now showcase them as the main event on menus and this 13-part extravaganza sees host Maeve O'Meara explore the bounty of fresh vegetables, vibrant fruits, herbs, grains, pulses and flowers the earth has to offer.
Episode 1 - The New Green
Aired Thursday 12 October at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.
Maeve talks herbs and vegetables with Sydney chef Peter Gilmore in his extensive garden before delving deep into eggplant territory with Thai chef and restaurant owner Amy Chanta and her daughter Palisa Anderson at Boon Luck Farm in the NSW Northern Rivers. Melbourne’s Middle Eastern chef Joseph Abboud, re-imagines the golden smoky delight of eggplant in a dish he calls ‘the whole baba’ – like the famous baba ganoush before it's blended. Then Maeve gets a rare insight into the science-meets-food-art kitchen of Sepia's owner and Executive Chef Martin Benn.
Episode 2 - Staples
Airs Thursday 19 October at 8pm on SBS
This week, Maeve seeks out the deeply satisfying carbohydrates at the heart of many of the great dishes of the world. Indian chef, Ajoy Joshi shares his recipe for the textural delight that is gossamer, thin Indian dosa with spicy potato, sambhar and dhal. While down in Melbourne, she then visits pasta genius Alberto Fava who shows us how to transform durum wheat into silky sheets before shaping them into little ‘hats’ called cappellacci, before meeting Ethiopian bakers Karim Degal and his mother Meftuha Osmen who give Maeve a hands-on lesson in injera bread-making.
Episode 3 - Spring
Airs Thursday 26 October at 8pm on SBS
Spring is the season that chefs around the world look forward to most and Italian food legend, Stefano Manfredi harvests the freshest produce of the season for a Roman vignarola. Chef Chase Kojima reveals the secrets to a perfect tempura batter as Ibrahim Kasif is inspired by a Turkish spring and shares his dish of slow- braised broad beans. Maeve then visits the garden of Zimbabwean-born home cook Dorothy Johnson as she prepares muboora une dovi – a recipe of pumpkin shoots and delicate flowers served with a rich peanut sauce.
Olive oil braised beans with tomato and lemon
Pumpkin shoots with peanut butter
Episode 4 - Legumes
Airs Thursday 2 November at 8pm on SBS
Protein-rich beans have always been the heavy lifters of the vegetable world. In this episode, Maeve discovers the secrets of a classic falafel with Al Alseel's chef and restaurateur Faysal El-Abd. Culinary teacher Daisy Rajan shares her delicious recipe for Keralan green beans with coconut and Maeve also discovers how soy beans are transformed into silky tofu with the Kim family. And to finish, pastry chef Joao Cadete showcases his Portuguese tart using white beans known as queijadas de feijao.
Red lentil köfte
Episode 5 - Herbs & spices
Airs Thursday 9 November at 8pm on SBS
This week, Maeve explores the wild thyme known as za’atar and finds out how it is grown, dried before using it in a home-baked flatbread. Young Persian chef Sanam Janghorban creates a spectacular flavoursome fresh herb omelette kuku sabzi before Bangladeshi-born chef Tapos Singha showcases the whole spice blend known as panch phoron in a Bengali vegetarian dish called shukto. After this spicy bash, Maeve is then rewarded with a luscious Sri Lankan love cake baked by Debbie Solomon.
Roasted beetroot salad
Episode 6 - Summer
Airs Thursday 16 November at 8pm on SBS
Tomato Day is the most special of day on the Italian food calendar and Maeve joins three generations of the Baggio family in suburban Melbourne as they preserve the goodness of summer with a homemade passata. Italian food legend, Guy Grossi celebrates the seductive power of the vegetables known as nightshades (eggplant and tomatoes) with a delicious pasta dish, garganella alla norma. With an abundance of fresh fruit over the summer, third generation gelato-maker Marco Enea of the Melbourne gelateria il Melograno whips up fragrant fresh strawberry gelato, Sicilian-style!
Braised eggplant with saltbush
Garganelli alla norma
Crispy eggplant with spiced red vinegar
Episode 7 - Flowers
Airs Thursday 23 November at 8pm on SBS
A touch of saffron as Maeve cooks up a saffron risotto with Italian-born chef Alessandro Pavoni. From Tassie, Maeve travels up north to Darwin to meet food legend Jimmy Shu who unlocks the butterfly pea for a Nyonya-style dumpling. And as the world of flowers are explored, Maeve goes behind-the-counters and into the kitchen of sweets palace Abla’s to see how those delicate essences are used before taking some of those notes and layering them in a baklava recipe by Armenian home cook Arpy Iskikian.
Artichoke and pea tagine
Risotto alla Milanese
Blue pea flower dumpling
Fried cauliflower with tarator
Stuffed zucchini flowers
Episode 8 - Stuffed, rolled & wrapped
Airs Thursday 30 November at 8pm on SBS
From the Mexican favourite of mild fresh poblano chillies stuffed with a melting cheese, fried and added to a delicious tomato-based sauce, Maeve begins to explore the amazing versatility cuisines take in stuffing your vegetables. This week, she explores the intricate and complex world of classic Chinese dumplings with Shanghai-born chef Chris Yan who shares his recipe for their best-selling silverbeet and spinach dumplings. Then it's an afternoon of showstopping yemista – a range of vegetables stuffed with delicious herbed rice then baked before getting on a roll with easy silverbeet and fig leaf mezze sensations.
Silverbeet and spinach dumplings
Stuffed poblano chillies
Episode 9 - Tropic & exotic
Airs Thursday 7 December at 8pm on SBS
Exploring Australia’s enduring love for Asian flavours, Maeve visists the respected master of Thai cuisine, David Thompson who shares his recipe for the most delicious, all-vegetarian pad see ew. Then, it’s the fresh crispness and astringent power of unripe, or green fruits, as chef O Tama Carey demonstrates her Sri Lankan family recipe for green mango curry. Colombian-born chef, Oscar Espinosa showcases the power of the plantain and then Maeve discovers how to extract real coconut cream before delving into a Goan treat of coconut and jaggery, known as patoleo.
Pad see ew
Plantain chips with guacamole
Sour green mango curry
Online exclusive: Pandan custard
Episode 10 - Autumn
Airs Thursday 14 December at 8pm on SBS
It’s the season of mellow fruitfulness and this week, Maeve hits the road and joins her friend Franca Norris and her father, Angelo Bonacci on a mushroom hunt before discovering the secrets of perfect gnocchi with mushroom sauce. Autumn’s olive harvest is one of the highlights of the food world as Pietro Demaio demonstrates how easy it is to bottle your own olives. Then modern Greek chef Peter Conistis makes magnificent olive and tomato keftedes with a green olive sauce, before joining home cook Judy Saba to discover how to make the Lebanese Lenten staple, pumpkin kibbeh.
Olive and tomato keftedes
Red wine elderberry pears with ginger cake
Wild mushroom gnocchi
Episode 11 - Sweet & sour
Airs Thursday 21 December at 8pm on SBS
Explore the sweet power of onions with Spanish chef, Pablo Tordesillas Garcia and discovers the delights of a Catalonian favourite of char-grilled baby leeks with romesco sauce. Sicilian-Australian chef, Rosa Mitchell shares her version of caponata - a sweet-sour vegetable dish and Maeve visits Israeli born chef, Michael Rantissi who shows us how to make pomegranate molasses from scratch which then goes into a vibrant fresh cauliflower and pomegranate salad.
Cauliflower and cranberry salad
Charred leeks with romesco
Tamarind and date chutney
Burnt wheat, yukari and yuzu tart
Episode 12 - Preserving & fermenting
Airs Thursday 28 December at 8pm on SBS
In this week's episode, Maeve meets preserving supremo Pietro Demaio who shows her the ropes to a fiery Calabrese ‘Explosive Mix’ – a magnificent blend of chopped preserved vegetables perfect for bruschetta. From there she visits Korean food ambassador Heather Jeong who demonstrates how to make a vegan radish kimchi before chef, Somer Sivrioglu shares his secrets for making the red pepper paste in every Turkish pantry known as biber salçasi.
Thanks to Pietro Demaio (author bestselling Preserving the Italian Way)) Claudia Kindler, Martin Boetz (Cook’s Co-op), Paldo Kimchi, Heather Jeong, Somer Sivrioglu (Anason/Efendy), Tomoko Onuki and Yukiyo Copley (Rice Culture) and Brent Savage (Yellow).
German cucumber salad
Koji black rice with snake bean
Korean radish kimchi
Episode 13 - Winter
Airs Thursday 4 January 2018 at 8pm on SBS
Root vegetables come into their own during winter and Food Safari Earth explores a spicy Singaporean ‘white carrot’ cake made from daikon radish known as chai tow kway which is a hawker stall favourite and an easy recipe shared by Maeve’s friend, home cook Helina Lee. Cabbage is another winter favourite and Maeve meets Danish chef Bente Grysbaek who shares her recipe for spidskål using sugarloaf cabbage, horseradish, salted lemon and burnt butter. The comfort of warming puddings and desserts never goes unnoticed and home cook Ulku Gani makes a deliciously healthy touch–your-heart Turkish sweet that’s often referred to as “Noah’s pudding” called asure with dried fruits, barley, spices and nuts.
Fried carrot cake
Steamed sugarloaf with burnt butter
Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? Maeve is back from Thursday, 12 October at 8pm on SBS.