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This Is Northern New South Wales

Choko Chanel – Recipe

Honest to Goodness
A selection of stories and recipes inspired by Honesty Box ingredients delivered to your CG inbox, monthly.
Words and Recipe Samantha Gowing, Photos Nigel Carboon 

In all honesty, some of the best ingredients I’ve ever found are right on my doorstep – take the local produce offerings nestling in the Honesty Boxes of the Northern Rivers for example. Here they are, just crying out for a home and hopefully, a tasty recipe to showcase their loyalty to the season.

So pack up your bestie, your favourite shopping bag and a handful or two of coin and set about on a seasonal, local journey of inspiration. Afterwards, swing by the Harvest Café, Newrybar for a fireside tipple and few pages of inspiration from Maggie Beer’s “Harvest” and see what you can come up with.

Choko Chanel
Despite being a gourd – which traditionally grow on a stem close to the ground – chokos are the social climbers of the vine world. Plentiful in Australia, they are also known as chayote, christophe, xuxu and belong to the cucurbitaceae family, as do melons, zucchinis and pumpkins. These ridged, cucumber-pear like vegetables’ appearance can often deter the uninitiated cook, however they are delicious and lend themselves to some very tasty dishes indeed. If in doubt about where to start from, think zucchini-style recipes and work from there.

2 small chokos, skin on
½ teaspoon organic butter – or best quality local, macadamia or olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 rashers lean bacon, finely sliced
2 slices thick white sliced bread, crusts removed

3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
200 ml extra virgin olive oil
½ butter lettuce, washed, dried and torn roughly

• Boil chokos in plenty of water for 20 minutes, skin on
• Remove from pot and set aside
• Meanwhile heat butter and/or oil in a small heavy based skillet
• Add thyme and bacon and cook gently until transparent, remove form pan with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels
• Using the same pan, heat residual bacon fat/oil in toast bread cubes until they become crispy croutons – set aside
• Combine dressing ingredients in a large bowl
• Slice chokos into 1 cm slices and add to dressing
• Allow to marinate for about 15 minutes
• Then toss with thyme, bacon, croutons and bitter lettuce to serve