Silverbeet is one of the best veggies to let run wild in your veggie patch. The colourful varieties of silverbeet, known collectively as rainbow chard, add vibrant splashes of pink, orange and yellow to the garden. It takes very little care and can be used in so many different ways. Silverbeet and spinach can easily be exchanged in recipes, and, once blanched, it shreds up so finely that it’s a great way to get some more greens into fussy eaters.
Damper is a quick, scone-like bread that is easy to whip up to serve with soups in autumn & winter, so I’ve got a few variations that I make with kids in their school kitchen garden programs. The secret to a light and fluffy damper is to avoid over-kneading the dough – which can be somewhat challenging for young cooks!
Silverbeet & Herb Damper
3 ½ cups self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
½ cup milk, plus extra for brushing
1 ¼ cups water, approximately
3 silverbeet leaves
½ cup grated cheese
A handful of parsley
A few sprigs of oregano
Preheat the oven to 220C. Wash the silverbeet and remove stems. Place in a colander over the sink, and pour a kettleful of boiling water over it to blanch it.
Using tongs, place the silverbeet into a potato ricer, if you have one, and squeeze to remove all excess moisture. Otherwise, leave in the colander and try to drain away as much water as possible.
Turn out onto a chopping board and shred finely.
Wash the herbs and remove all the leaves. Discard stems, and chop leaves finely.
Sift flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl and rub in butter.
Mix in silverbeet, cheese and herbs.
Stir in milk and enough water to mix (you may not need the whole 1 ¼ cups) into a sticky dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until just smooth.
Divide dough in half and place halves onto greased oven trays. Shape into rounds, and with a large knife, mark the rounds into 8 wedges.
Brush dough with a little extra milk.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve at once.