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Join our mission is a plant based mystery door into the world and thoughts of the team here at L’Orto, inspired by a Plant Based diet and of course The Italian Vegetable Garden.

This is where we share with you articles about the Plant based revolution, local events, ingredients and of course where we share some of our favourite recipes for you try at home.

Dive right in, have a ‘sticky beak’ and if moving into a more “vegetable rich way of eating” is something you have wanted to do but haven’t been sure where to start?
“Then register your interest at, “L’Orto at home” where you can get a more guided, and comprehensive experience into how to incorporate a more plant-based diet into your homes and for your family.”

Get on board and join our mission, as its only as a network of like-minded communities that that we can all be a little healthier while helping to nurture our little people’s future.

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‘Plant based’, Why has this become the new buzz word in food trends

‘Plant based’, Why has this become the new buzz word in food trends

‘Plant Based’, unless you have been living under a rock this buzz statement has no doubt grazed your interest, been sold as the future or has you intrigued as to whether it’s something you could do for the world.

Below we have outlined 5 reasons close to own hearts, as to why we adapted a plant based diet.

  • Its clinically proven to be healthier
  • Our insides feel great
  • It has saved our little family both time and money
  • It’s good for the world
  • It’s delicious!

Its clinically proven to be healthier

Whether it’s an online Harvard study you trust, any ‘one’ of the loads of Netflix documentaries about the plant based diet, or your Facebook’s local community group, the benefits of adopting a plant based diet are everywhere!

We’re not here to impose any medical or clinically proven statements upon you, it’s not what we do, (we simply enjoy cooking and eating vegetables). However we can tell you that no matter you look on-line about a more vegetable driven diet there is plenty of scientific evidence to support how good it is for us and the planet.

We ourselves are sold! Plant based diets make us feel great, the health benefits offer us a better sense of well-being and we are now basing a good portion of our lives around offering this delicious staple to our customers and readers!

Our insides feel great

Is this just a cheeky extension of the above paragraph? Yep, probably.

But listen up for just a second. When we first adopted a plant based diet we were dubious, but curious. It was only a couple of weeks later and we were sat around the dinner table chatting about how great we all felt. Lighter, fitter, sleeping better, , our insides feel so clean and energised.

I guess what we are saying is that if you are not already on a plant based diet, give it a whirl for just two weeks and tell us you don’t feel better for it! Go on, we urge you 😉

It has saved our little family both time and money

Eating and living through a plant based diet will also save a few dollars, or at least that’s what we have found. Expensive hunks of meat or fresh fish are costly, vegetables, fruits, legumes, pasta, grains, well they just don’t so much.

Don’t get us wrong, some more boutique vegetables cost the extra pennies but all in all we think it’s a touch cheaper to go plant based or at least incorporate more vegetables into your cooking at home.

(Side note) – The dollars that we save not buying meat mean we can shop around for only the finest, freshest and most local veggies possible. That’s a whole other little joy we have found, shopping locally and stimulating a community, stay tuned for L’Orto at home.)

It’s good for the world

Adopting a plant based diet will reduce you carbon footprint!

Eating meat, and on some levels fish in this day and age, cost our planet greatly in carbon emissions. Its unfortunate that our planet takes such a beating due to over farming and mass production but unfortunately it’s the truth.

Growing vegetables using effective and regenerative farming practices is far more sustainable and will as a bonus, usually reduce food miles and packaging too.

It’s delicious!

Vegetables are delicious; no matter how you look at it.

After spending a lifetime in kitchens (with years of cooking in the finest restaurants) vegetables are where we find the most joy. They are versatile, dynamic and when treated with both love and care they are downright delicious.

So give it a go, get veggie’ing!!

We promise you will love the recipes and equally love how good you feel by even just cutting out some, it doesn’t have to be all, of your meat-based protein sources.

Keep checking in for more reading on our little journey, more recipes we will be sharing, and stay tuned for L’Orto at home. A place where we will be sharing a more in-depth and comprehensive guide into how you can get more vegetable based while saving time, keeping things delicious and interesting, and saving money while feeling great.

Tomato Tart Tatin

Tomato Tart Tatin

Tomatoes are awesome! Where would be if mother nature hadn’t given us tomatoes?
The staple fruit/vegetable, (that is a funny little debate for most, (we’re going with it being both)), of Italy. So much so the Italian’s have built almost the entire countries cuisine on them. We personally can understand why!
Sauces, salads, roasted, fresh, salted, un-salted, with herbs, with cheese, with pastry…
The list can go on and on.
For this recipe at least we are going to look at them in the pastry, cheese and fresh basil combo. Far from an original combo, in fact it’s a combination probably pre-set by mother nature herself when constructing these tasty little treats from the vine.
Either way it’s a dead easy and dead tasty recipe that will make a regular appearance on the dinner table.

What you will need

  • A medium size non-stick fry pan with a non-plastic, or, heat proof handle
  • A serving plate slightly larger than the fry pan

Ingredients

  • 10 medium sized market fresh tomatoes, (OX-heart if you can track them down)
    *cooks tip, get down to your local farmers market and make friends with the tomato growers*
  • 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
  • 50grams of butter
  • 1tbs of granulated sugar, (coconut or rapadura)
  • Good splash of balsamic vinegar
  • ! ball of fresh mozzarella
  • Pinch sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Basil leaves for garnish, or oregano works deliciously

Directions

STEP 1: Trim the pastry

Take your non-stick fry pan and puff pastry sheet. Lay the puff pastry sheet on your work bench and gently turn your fry pan upside to fit over the pastry.
Trim away the corners to make a circle that is slightly bigger than your pan.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.

STEP 2: Cook your tomatoes

Slice your tomatoes in half and on half that has the eye of the tomato remove this using the tip of your knife. On a medium heat melt the butter with the sugar and press your tomatoes flesh side down, filling the pan as much as possible. Let them cook for 5 minutes or so, or until the tomatoes begin to collapse and caramelise, and “de-glaze with the balsamic vinegar.
Remove from the heat.

STEP 3: The tart part

Position your pastry sheet over tomatoes & tuck the edge down into pan.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, remove and let stand for a couple of minutes. *cooks tips, don’t let stand to long so to keep your pastry as crisp as possible*
Place serving plate over the top of the pan, firmly holding it in place & carefully invert the tarte Tatin onto the plate. If any tomatoes stick to the pan, simple poke them back where they came from
Sprinkle with salt & pepper, top with basil and torn chunks of the mozzarella .

Now in keeping with Italian genius, a rocket, apple, dill and finely shredded cabbage salad works brilliantly alongside a generous glass of good Italian Chianti!!

Labneh

Labneh

Labneh is one of those items that sounds mysterious and the sort of specialty product you would find at a gourmet delicatessen with a specialty price tag!
Truth is labneh is super simple, and something you can easily make at home very very easily, and much much cheaper than from your expensive gourmet deli.
As simple as buying a tub of yoghurt and salt!

Here it is, Labna or Labneh is a Middle Eastern staple.
It’s made by removing excess whey from salted yoghurt, which results in a velvety, cream cheese-like spread with a lightly sour note. It’s eaten on bread and topped with olives, mint, tomato, cucumber and olive oil.
It really doesn’t stop there either.
Labneh can be a filling to homemade tortellini, flavoured with preserved lemon to have has a side with Sunday roast lamb.
You can roll it into balls and coat it with sumac, zaatar, any left-over dried herbs from the garden, even simply in olive oil with some fresh thyme and kept in the fridge for any occasion when planning a dinner or lunch.
The options for this super lovely, super simple, and super cheap and easy to make “cheese” are endless.

So get “cheesing” and enjoy this tasty little ingredient in as many ways as you can. It will soon be a staple you can’t go without!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • A good size bowl
  • Small whisk
  • Fine strainer
  • Some muslin cloth (this can be hard to come by sometimes so you can just use a large coffee filter, it will just take a little longer before its ready).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg whole milk cow’s yoghurt
    (cooks tip, you can use goat or sheep’s milk yoghurt when you start extending your cooking repertoire with your labneh)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Season the yogurt

Ok we start by seasoning the yogurt with the salt and lemon juice in a large bowl. You don’t have to use salt, but it will taste much better if you salt it first. The salt also helps pull out excess whey, giving you a creamier, thicker cheese. The lemon juice is optional as well, it won’t help to drain the whey but it gives the cheese a nice flavour at the end.

Step 2: Strain out the whey

Place a fine-mesh strainer on top of a medium-sized bowl or best fit container. Line the strainer with the cheesecloth (or, a linen kitchen towel, or coffee filter), letting a few inches hang over the side of the strainer.
Make sure the strainer has a few centimetres under it so when the whey drains the cheese isn’t sitting in the liquid. Spoon the seasoned yogurt into the cheesecloth and gently wrap the sides over the top of the yogurt, protecting it from being exposed to air in the refrigerator.
Store it in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours, discarding the whey halfway through if your bowl becomes too full.

Step 3: Eat up!

Congratulations, you are now a cheesemaker! Remove the labneh from the strainer and store it in an airtight container.
From here you are only limited by your imagination.
Store it simply as above or roll it into balls and in olive oil for better keeping. You can then roll it into dukkha, sumac, zaatar, chopped olives and herbs, crumb it and fry and serve it with bread, as a dip, as a fried dip.
It honestly can go on and on.

*Cooks tip monitor the cheese as it hangs. The longer the better!
As it gets firmer it just become so much “cheesier” and you can apply it to things like crumbing and frying, into some home made tortellini’s with burnt raison butter and chopped herbs. You will be suddenly become the new restaurant all your friends are talking about!*

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