“This book is a culmination of a lifelong love affair with cooking and sharing food,” says Clare Scrine, author and food guru.
The Shared Table is a celebration of shared homes and their most iconic dishes – the food designed to feed your crowd, without breaking the bank or slaving for hours in the kitchen. It is a book about community, warmth, love and the unique connection of a nurturing home, where shared meals are central to the environment. Plus, (without getting too preachy or kumbaya about it…) all the recipes in the book are vegetarian or vegan.
The eight chapters in The Shared Table are each captured in different share houses throughout the inner suburbs of sunshiney Brisbane. Each chapter has a distinct theme, as dictated by the culinary skills of those living in the featured house: A breakfast spread menu; Hungover brunch; A leisurely long lunch; Eat it with your hands; Mexican-inspired feast; A Mediterranean dinner party; Pasta night; and Comfort food spread.
Through its clean and bright photography – captured by Savannah van der Niet – The Shared Table is simultaneously luxe and sincere. Each shared meal is captured as a poetic photo essay, that speaks to these eight tightly knit communities. It’s a loving and inviting book, that every share house needs on their communal kitchen bookshelf.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia, we have three sample recipes for you to try before you buy! Give them and say tuned for our review of the whole book in the near future.
Slow Baked Beans
By cooking the beans both on the stove and in the oven, they develop a super-rich, tomatoey flavour. Baking them also crisps up the top layer, providing a great contrast with the mushiness underneath. Forget those sickly sweet tinned baked beans (kidding, they are obviously still delicious and should never be totally ditched). These are a little more special. Make ’em for a big brekkie spread, or just on a slow Sunday to eat on toast throughout the week. I love them with a side of greens and polenta for dinner, too.
Serves 6–8 as a side · vegan, gluten free, leftovers friendly, freezer friendly
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, or 1 small handful fresh rosemary, chopped
- 200 g cherry tomatoes, diced, or 4 ripe roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
- 2 × 400 g tins cannellini beans (including soaking liquid)
- 2 × 400 g tins good-quality tomatoes (I use cherry tomatoes)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped, plus extra to serve
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
Heat a frying pan with the olive oil and add the onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, rosemary and fresh tomatoes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for a further couple of minutes.
Add the beans (including their soaking liquid), tinned tomatoes and sugar. Reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until simmering.
Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and stir the basil through. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Bake for 40–60 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and browning on top, stirring once halfway through cooking.
Serve sprinkled with extra basil.
Note: Butterbeans are a great substitute for cannellini beans in this recipe.
Roasted Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Walnuts and Sage
Slow-cooked caramelised onion, roasted pumpkin and a hint of spice give this mac ’n’ cheese a subtle sweetness, with crunchy walnuts and crispy sage making it just a little bit more special. The flavour combination is perfect. The trick to making this dish super delicious is to roast the pumpkin until it is brown and very soft, and to caramelise the onions properly— be patient! This version contains a lot of sauce, as the pasta tends to soak up a lot of liquid while it is being finished off in the oven.
Serves 8 · vegan option
- 1.5 kg butternut pumpkin, cut into 2 cm chunks
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 large brown onions, sliced
- 25 g butter or margarine
- 500 g macaroni or curly pasta
- 3 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 375 ml (1½ cups) milk (or nut milk)
- 500 ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
- 60 g (½ cup) grated cheddar (or vegan cheese/nutritional yeast), plus extra for topping
- 25 g (¼ cup) grated parmesan (or vegan cheese/nutritional yeast)
- 1 handful sage leaves, thinly sliced
- 60 g (½ cup) walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Arrange the pumpkin chunks on a large baking tray. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20–30 minutes, or until soft to touch and dark brown in colour.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil over low heat and slowly caramelise the onions, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until browned. Stir in the butter, cook for a few minutes more, then set aside.
While the onions are slowly caramelising, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted, boiling water until almost al dente, but drain it 1–2 minutes before you normally would, as it will continue to soften in the oven. Drain the pasta in a colander, run cold water over it and set aside.
Add the flour, nutmeg and tarragon to the caramelised onion mixture and stir well. Pour in the milk and stock, and stir the sauce until it comes to a simmer and begins to thicken. Add the roasted pumpkin and mix well.
Using a stick blender, whiz the onion and pumpkin mixture until it is completely smooth. Alternatively, you could transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender.
Add the cheddar and parmesan to the sauce and stir until melted. Taste and season to your liking.
Combine the pasta and sauce in a large baking dish. Top with the sage, walnuts and extra cheddar. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheddar is melted and the sage is crispy. Serve garnished with fresh herbs if desired.
Peanut Butter and Honey Brownies
Peanut butter and honey on toast was my comfort breakfast and snack of choice as a kid, and it’s still a flavour combination I adore now. These brownies are incredible: the perfect pick-me-up or treat for someone you love. Cook a lot—everyone will want some.
Makes 20 brownies · gluten-free option, leftovers friendly, freezer friendly
- 200 g crunchy peanut butter
- 3 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp honey
- 225 g (1½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, or 200 g (2 cups) almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 90 g (¾ cup) good-quality cocoa powder
- 100 g butter, softened
- 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
- 345 g (1½ cups) caster sugar
- 165 g (¾ cup) brown sugar
- 2 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 150 g (1 cup) dark chocolate chunks or chips
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a large baking dish with baking paper.
Put the peanut butter, milk and honey in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir gently to combine, until the mixture becomes thick and a little darker. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Mix the flour, baking powder and cocoa together in a bowl.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, vegetable oil, caster sugar and brown sugar for 2–4 minutes, or until thick and pale. Add the vanilla, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the flour mixture and gently stir until just combined, then fold the chocolate chips through.
Pour the batter into the lined baking dish. Spoon the peanut butter mixture over the top, swirling it to distribute evenly. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes on top.
Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the batter is just set and no longer wobbly. Be careful not to overcook, to ensure the brownies have a fudgy consistency.
Allow to cool before slicing the brownies. Best eaten fresh, with a cold glass of milk.
Recipes extracted from The Shared Table by Clare Scrine, published by Smith Street Books. Photography © Savannah van der Niet. Released September 2019. RRP $39.99