Sweet potato and rice burger

Oh dear…the Bloody Bonza Bucketty Beetroot and Bean Burgers did not pass muster from the tough judges running the Inaugural Mangrove Country Fair Veggie Burger Taste Test.

Head Taster Shrek saying “I really, really liked the flavour, quite a meaty consistency if I can use that word, and they held together pretty well.” Cheeky and Mrs Shrek however expressed their concern over the colour “I just don’t understand why any vegetarian would want a burger that looks so red – its like meat. Veggie burgers needs something green in them”.

The killer however was the case of shall we say “bottom burps” that all the tasters were afflicted with afterwards. Personally I don’t get this….the 4B burgers have been made and eaten quite a few times in the VegHead household and we can’t report any subsequent windy-pant problem. However we’ll settle for the judge’s final word in this and so we’re submitting another entrant: Sweet potato and rice burgers.

For the putting in:

  • 1 large potato, peeled and quartered
  • Sweet potato to approximately the same size, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1/3 cup of dry rice, cooked to just beyond al dente
  • 2/3 cup of oats, ground to flour – not quick cook oats (to make these gluten free follow the same advice as in the 4B recipe)
  • 2/3 cup of cooked chickpeas, roughly mashed
  • 2/3 cup of green peas (either frozen, or if using fresh blanch first)
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of dried mixed Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons of tamari
  • Olive oil
  • NB: For those looking to use this recipe for catering size proportions, such as we did for the Mangrove Mountain Country Fair and the Gasfield Free Mountain Districts Declaration, base all ingredient amounts on using 1kg each of sweet potato, potato, (uncooked) rice, oats and frozen peas. You can expect about 60 generously sized burgers from such a mix – which each burger formed into a ball a little smaller than a tennis ball. When making such a large mixture I have found it to be best to mix the peas through the cooked rice, and mash everything else together separately. Refrigerate both mixes overnight in covered containers. Fork the rice/pea mix to separate then combine everything in a large container (or split the mixes into equal portions and do in batches if need be). There is no better way to evenly combine such a large quantity than to just do it with your hands.

To prepare:

Boil the potato and sweet potato until soft, then drain and mash.

Meanwhile, saute the onion over a medium heat in a generous amount of olive oil until transparent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds, then add the spices (not the herbs) and continue for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Mash together the potatoes, sweet potatoes, herbs, onion/garlic/spice mix, oat flour, tamari. Once mixed add the cooked rice and the peas, and thoroughly mix by hand or with a spoon until completely combined.

Cover and refrigerate the mix for at least 2 hours before forming patties.

Cook patties in a cast iron pan until crisp on both sides.

Patties can be frozen uncooked, once formed separated by squares of waxed paper. Uncooked mix should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Handy Tip: When forming veggie patties use an “egg ring” to get a good tight burger and also ensure even sizing. Form a ball of mix (experience will show how much you’ll need) and press tightly into the ring using palm or a flat spatula. Lift off the ring before cooking. You can either do this directly into the pan, or if preparing for later cooking form the patties in this manner onto the waxed paper. If a wider, thinner burger is desired to suit the size of the bun then squash the pattie as it cooks, just before turning it over to cook the other side.

Penne Pasta Bake

It’s not spaghetti tempehgnese. It’s not lasagne. It is pasta based though – and it cooks in the oven (mostly). Woo hoo…it’s Penne Pasta Bake.

Here’s who you need to bring to the party:

  • 1 cup of uncooked penne
  • Half a medium aubergine, chopped into large chunks
  • Half a medium cauliflower, separated into large florets
  • One small onion; halved into hemispheres then quartered and separated (basically you want big chunks)
  • More garlic than is socially acceptable; roughly chopped.
  • 1/2 cup of your favourite (destoned) olives
  • 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup of marinated artichokes (if whole artichokes then cut them into quarters))
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked chick peas (or a standard sized can)
  • A spring of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Ground black pepper
  • Miso (or your favourite vegetable stock)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine (plus extra for you)
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup of capers (optional)

Here’s what you know you want to do:

Start preheating the oven (220c) and while doing so lightly toast the pine nuts (now this will challenge your multi-tasking skills won’t it!?! There is nothing quite as disappointing as singed pine nuts)

Cook the penne according to the manufacturer’s instructions but for half the time.

Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic over a low heat in an ocean of olive oil. At the last moment add the pepper then remove from heat.

Throw the cooked mix into a deep, lidded oven-proof pot (take the lid off first or you’ll make an awful mess).

Add the parsley and rosemary.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain about a cup of the liquid back into the saucepan you cooked the onion etc in and reserve the rest of the liquid. Add the miso to the saucepan and dissolve in the cup of pasta water and the white wine.

Layer in to the oven proof dish in the following order; the pasta, the fresh herbs, the aubergine, the chickpeas, the olives, artichokes and sundried tomatoes (and chopped capers if using) and the cauliflower.

Pour the miso stock over and then drizzle very generously with olive oil.

The level of the water should be a centimetre or two below the cauliflower i.e. the florets should be exposed. If you need more liquid to achieve this level use some of the reserved pasta water; discard what you don’t need.

Bake, covered for 30-45 minutes.

Just before serving mix through the pine nuts (no…I hadn’t forgotten them!)

Handy Tip

For the first 15 minutes after putting the meal in the oven crank the temperature up, I mean really crank it. This will get the party started (especially if you’ve had a few glasses of that white wine) and much reduce overall cooking time. After 15-20 minutes reduce the heat to 220c. A gentle word of advice from experience; much sadness results from forgetting to turn the over down from FURNACE and back to 220c.

 

Greek Moussaka

I found this recipe a while ago, and bookmarked it.  I knew that one day soon I would think to myself, hmmm, I feel like cooking something different today.  And today was the day.  I am often happy to cook meals that I have cooked many times before, as they involve little thought, unlike Veghead, who much prefers something new and exciting to come from the kitchen.  The original recipe I found on the blog of Carol J. Adams, who was given the recipe by Shirley Wilkes-Johnson, apparently a vegan who had been around for a very long time.  I changed the recipe around a little bit, due to our preferences, and reduced the amounts significantly as there were only two of us eating it, not ten.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium to large eggplant, stem end cut off and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 tab extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium chopped onion
  • 1 inch slice of red capsicum, chopped
  • 120g mushrooms, chopped or quartered
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup passata (recipe called for 1 tab tomato paste but we didn’t have any)
  • here the recipe calls for 1 package ground beef style veggie meat (I have no idea how much that is as the recipe is American). I used chickpeas, 1 or 1 1/2 cups, which are yum, unlike the sound of that fake meat.
  • 2 tabs fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tspn cumin powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/4 tspn black pepper
  • 1/8 tspn each cinnamon and nutmeg

Bechamel sauce ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tabs cornstarch
  • a couple of thin slices of onion, finely chopped (the recipe called for powdered onion, but why would you bother)
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/8 tspn pepper

What to do:

Preheat oven to 204.4 repeater degrees celsius (this is the metric conversion of 400 fahrenheit).  205 degrees is probably OK.  Place the eggplant and potato slices on well oiled baking trays and brush them with more oil.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

While the eggplant and potatoes are roasting, sauté onions, capsicum and mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or so.

Stir in tomatoes and passata until mixed.  Add chickpeas and the herbs and spices.

In an oiled baking dish, add a layer of eggplant slices, then a layer of potato slices.  Add a layer of the chickpea mixture then cover with potato slices, then the rest of the eggplant slices.

To make the Béchamel sauce, blend all the ingredients together and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.  Pour sauce over eggplant.

Bake at 176.667 degrees celsius for about 30 to 35 minutes.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Leftovers are good the next day.  This statement is actually written in the recipe but I think that is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be said at all.

Golden cauliflower in a glorious sea green bed of ginger spinach

Your powers of multitasking will be required to create this dish of two stir fries. The cauliflower takes a little longer to cook, as the spinach is just being wilted, so start that cooking first. The golden colour comes from a mixture of powdered turmeric, as well as some grated fresh turmeric root.

In the golden cauliflower…

  • half a red onion – roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower florets
  • 3 cm length of turmeric root – grated using a ginger root grater
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of spanish smoked paprika
  • olive oil for frying
  • Saute all ingredients together in a heavy based pan – should take between 5 and 10 minutes

In the glorious sea green spinach…

  • a generous colander full of washed and well drained spinach leaves
  • a generous handful of green beans – topped and tailed and halved
  • a cup of chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 4cm length of ginger root – grated
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • a splash of tamari
  • olive oil for frying
  • In a large wok, saute everything. Start with the garlic, cumin, mushrooms, and beans, cooking these on their own for about 1 minute. Add everything else and toss to ensure even mixing

Serve, with the spinach arranged in a ring around the plate, and the golden cauliflower in the centre. Squeeze half a lime lightly over the meals before serving.

TGV Pumpkin soup

Travelling to Cannes last week on the train, The VegHead knew that the rail buffet sarnies would be as edible as a monkey’s earlobe. The day before travelllng, this soup was made, then warmed up again just before leaving and poured into a thermos.

Paris never seemed as welcoming…

In…

  • 1/2 cup of chopped pumpkin – boiled til soft
  • 1/2 cup of cooked chick peas
  • 1 teaspoon of Berbere paste
  • olive oil
  • water

Do…

  • lightly saute the chick peas with the paste
  • mash the chick peas with a fork
  • blend the cooked pumpkin with some water, to your desired soupy consistency
  • mix through the mashed chickpeas
  • take the train to Cannes. Take some pita bread with you. Go to the buffet car when you’re hungry and ask for a large waxed paper cup to pour the hot soup into. Watch the fellow passengers eating vending machine sandwiches and feel superior.

Broad bean hommous

SheWhoMustBeFed fffzzzzzz’d up the pressure cooker today, so it was the VegHead’s duty to follow up with some hommous. Unfortunately, SheWhoMustBefed was doing three batches of beans; adzuki, chickpea and butter beans. The adzuki beans got done first, leaving The VegHead with an hour before having anything to do as the chickpeas weren’t ready.

How to pass the time?

Fiddle…fiddle……fiddle…..

Decided to lightly saute the garlic and cumin for the hommous.

Then had time to think and so decide to use half and half chickpeas and broad beans.

Fortunately by then the chick peas were ready!

What went in…

  • half a cup of cooked chick peas
  • half a cup of blanched broad beans
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • olive oil
  • french walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Doing….

  • very lightly saute the garlic and cumin in a little olive oil
  • blend / bamix everything together

Its a hing thing

Hing is the Indian name for asofetida, which together with a big, fat, grated root of fresh turmeric is the spice that gives the most to the flavour of this chick pea curry. Many recipes have asofetida thrown in to the hot oil at the beginning of cooking, together with the other dried spices and chillies. However The VegHead finds that its flavour is overcome and lost if this is done, and prefers instead to sprinkle a little in once most of the cooking has been done.

Friday’s are the principal shopping day for the VegHead larder, and so Thursday nights tend to be “whatever is left” night. A shiny black-skinned aubergine begged to be eaten, and a pile of orange sweet potatoes just cried out to be culled somewhat. These, together with the big jar of chick peas in the fridge formed the basis for dinner.

The Thursday night larder:

  • 1 medium aubergine – cubed
  • 1 medium sweet potato – cubed
  • 1 cup of cooked chick peas
  • 1 small onion – diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes – chopped
  • 1 chilli – chopped
  • 1 thumb sized turmeric root (substitute 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder if unavailable)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • small pinch of fenugreek seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon of asofetida powder
  • 1 tablespoon of miso (or substitute vegetable stock)
  • sunflower oil
  • water
  • corn flour (or other thickening agent)

To do:

  • dry roast the spice seeds for 10 minutes or so, then grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle
  • roughly mash the chick peas with a “potato masher”
  • fry the dried spices, chilli, onion and garlic over a low heat for a few minutes (if using powdered turmeric add at this stage too)
  • add the chick peas, sweet potato, and aubergine. Mix thoroughly and cook covered over a low heat for several minutes
  • add the tomato and miso, and enough water to cover. Bring to a steady, low simmer and maintain until the sweet potato and aubergine are tender but not mushy
  • if using fresh turmeric root, grate and add now (best to only grate fresh turmeric root just before using or it browns quickly through oxidisation). Also add the asofetida powder. Simmer for another few minutes.
  • thicken the sauce. The easiest way to do this is to scoop out the vegetables into a bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving just the sauce in the pan (off the heat). Then spoon out a little of the sauce into a small bowl, add a little corn flour, and mix all the lumps out with a fork. Then add the corn flour mix back into the rest of the sauce in the pan, and mix through thoroughly over a low heat. Then add the vegetables back in. This might sound fussy but it ensures a lump-free thickening experience at the expense of two extra bowls and a slotted spoon in the washing up.
  • bring the saucepan back to a low simmer
  • serve with rice or idli