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Dreamt up by four friends, Milenka Osen, Karl Cooney, Zoran Mitrevski and Georgie Swift, the Veggie Patch Van is one of ten food trucks ready to take Sydney by storm. Their aim? To serve amazing vegetarian food from locally sourced seasonal ingredients. “It’s about making people aware of what they’re eating and where it’s come from,” says Osen.
A solar panel system adorns the roof to power the lights, pumps and 12 volt appliances. Alongside solar panels will be a herb garden in wooden crates made from old fence palings. Osen says, “these will be used to garnish the food and in the cooking”.
Most materials used to fit the truck have been sourced secondhand, from the salvaged fence palings cladding the exterior, to the fridges and other appliances in the kitchen.
While solar powers the van’s electrical needs, the engine has been converted to run on vegetable oil. “The aim is to be totally sustainable with a low ecological footprint, so we use all the waste from the van,” says Osen. The oil used to run the van will come from their own deep-fryers.
“We won’t have an exact menu because it’s all seasonal,” says Osen. Items such as their vegie burger will be varied depending on what is available locally throughout the changing seasons. (See their zucchini and chickpea version below).
All food will be served on natural bamboo and palm leaf packaging to ensure it’s quick and easy to compost. “We have also been speaking to the compost revolution (www.compostrevolution.com.au) which is a free Eastern Suburbs council project, to move organic and compostable waste produced by the Veggie Patch to community gardens,” says Cooney.
The Veggie Patch Zucchini Fritter Burger
By head chef Danya Billinsky
You will need:
- 4 Ancient Grain bread rolls
- 1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 roma tomatoes (sliced)
- 3 medium beetroots (boiled, peeled and sliced)
- Baby spinach leaves
Zucchini feta and chickpea fritter
- 100 g zucchini, grated
- 80 g canned chickpeas
- (40 g feta, crumbled)
- (50 g parmesan, grated)
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 40 ml olive oil
- 40 g chickpea flour
- (1 egg)
- 60 ml cold water
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
Place grated zucchini in a clean tea towel and squeeze, releasing as much liquid as possible. Place in a bowl and mix with the chickpeas, feta, parmesan, dill, mint and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper.
In a separate bowl combine the ingredients for the batter. Once combined smoothly into a batter, add the zucchini mixture and gently fold it into the batter. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based frying pan. When the oil is hot add a large ladle of the batter and cook on each side for three minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
Dill and cumin mayonnaise
- 4 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 4 Spanish onions
- 2 tbsp butter
Finely slice onions with a mandolin. Melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat and add the sliced onions. Cook the onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally or until soft and translucent.
Slice an ancient grain bread roll in half and toast lightly. Smear a tablespoon of the cumin mayonnaise on the base of the bun and top with the zucchini fritter. Next place freshly sliced beetroot and then add sliced tomato. Cover with a handful of chopped coriander and baby spinach leaves and finish with a spoonful of the apple cider onions.