Yotam Ottolenghi’s Tofu and cauliflower ‘korma’

Serve this splendid vegan curry with rice or naan depending on personal preference, and a dollop of dairy-free yoghurt.

Prep 20 min
Cook 75 min
Serves 4

½ red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
40g cashew nuts
20g blanched almonds
120ml olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods, shells discarded, seeds roughly crushed in a mortar
2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar
2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar
¾ tsp ground turmeric
2 tomatoes, grated and skins discarded (180g net weight)
1 large cauliflower, cut into large florets (750g net weight)
15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
250g extra-firm tofu, crumbled into medium chunks

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/425F/gas 9. In a small bowl, mix the red onion, a tablespoon of lemon juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.

Put the cashews and almonds in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, simmer for 20 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat one and a half tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high flame, then fry the onion, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until soft and well browned. Transfer to a blender, add the nuts and 200ml water, and blend for two minutes, until very smooth.

Heat another tablespoon and a half of oil in the same pan on a medium-high heat, then fry the garlic, ginger and chilli for a minute. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, a teaspoon each of cumin and coriander seeds, and half a teaspoon of turmeric, and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the tomatoes, cook for four minutes, until thickened, then add the onion and nut mixture, 500ml water, a teaspoon and a half of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to medium and leave to cook for 20 minutes, until reduced by a third.

In a bowl, mix the cauliflower with the remaining quarter-teaspoon of turmeric, three tablespoons of oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Spread out on an oven tray lined with baking paper, and roast for 18 minutes, until cooked through and coloured. Stir into the sauce, add two-thirds of the coriander and the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, and leave to simmer for five minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a medium saute pan on a high flame. Add the tofu, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp – about eight minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining teaspoon each of cumin and coriander seeds, and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir half of this mixture into the cauliflower, and reserve the rest.

Transfer the korma to a shallow serving bowl, top with the pickled red onion, followed by the remaining tofu and coriander, and serve.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/nov/10/yotam-ottolenghis-curry-recipes

Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Eritrean and Ethiopian recipes

An East African feast, including berbere lentils and vegetables, cucumber, coconut and lime salsa – and teff flatbreads to scoop it all up with. All the recipes can be found here:

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/oct/06/yotam-ottolenghi-eritrean-ethiopian-recipes-berbere-vegetables-teff-flatbread

Hetty McKinnon’s roasted baby carrots with carrot top chimichurri recipe

Striving for simplicity in weeknight cooking doesn’t have to mean simple flavours. For me, every meal must count and every dish must deliver on taste and heart. This recipe shows how one humble ingredient, carrots, can spearhead an easy-to-prepare, flavour-bursting dish.

Using carrots from top to tail reduces waste and also challenges our taste buds. Carrot tops are herbaceous and earthy, with just a hint of carrot flavour, and add a surprising herbal accent to salads and sauces like pesto and hummus. For dinner prep, a bunch of carrots can go a long way.

The lush green flavour of carrot tops makes them the perfect addition to chimichurri. On a recent trip to Argentina, upon busy tables replete with carne asada (grilled beef), Malbec wine and oversized Coke bottles (an Argentinian tradition, I’m told), I salivated over the jars of chimichurri, herbier and heavier than usual. Dramatically tinged with paprika, and embellished with chunky chopped herbs and tiny specks of tomato, this Argentinian version of the sauce brought an exciting brightness to my plate of vegetables. In my twist-on-chimichurri recipe below, carrot tops are a lively replacement for the more traditional parsley.

This dish of roasted baby carrots with carrot top chimichurri, served on a bed of smashed white beans, comes together in about 30 minutes, and effortlessly shows off the flavour possibilities of simple ingredients. The recipe comfortably serves two, but if you are cooking for more, just up your carrot and bean count. No need to increase the amount of ingredients for chimichurri, as this recipe makes about one cup, more than enough for extra mouths. Keep extra chimichurri in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 14 days. The chimichurri can also be made ahead to allow the flavours to meld.

Roasted baby carrots with carrot top chimichurri and smashed white beans

Serves 2, or more if eaten as a snack

1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots, trimmed and tops reserved
extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic
1 can cannellini beans, drained (drained weight 280g)
1 tsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar
handful of slivered almonds
sea salt and black pepper

Carrot top chimichurri (makes about 1 cup)

1 cup finely chopped carrot greens
1 tbsp finely chopped oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli flakes
¾ cup good extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
sea salt and black pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C.

Scrub the carrots well and pat dry. Lay them out on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper, and roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender and golden (this time may vary depending on the size of your carrots).

To make your chimichurri, place the chopped carrot tops in a small bowl. Add the oregano, tomato, garlic, cumin, both paprikas, chilli flakes, olive oil and vinegar. Stir to combine. Season well with 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt and a good turn of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

For the smashed beans, place a small clove of garlic in a mortar, sprinkle with some sea salt and pound it into a paste. Add the beans and pound until half of them are broken up but the consistency is still chunky. Stir through 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or more), and season with sea salt and black pepper.

To serve, place the smashed beans on to a plate and top with the roasted carrots. Spoon over some of the chimichurri and scatter with slivered almonds.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/sep/22/hetty-mckinnons-roasted-baby-carrots-with-carrot-top-chimichurri-recipe

Meera Sodha’s Gorditas with drunken beans, pickles and avocado cream

Traditional Mexican fried bread topped with beery beans and avocado cream

The world over, people make delicious things you can eat with your hands, and one of my favourites is the Mexican gordita – ‘chubby’ in Spanish . It is traditionally made with masa dough, but I have used more readily available cornmeal and topped it with beer-infused beans, beetroot pickles and a sprightly avocado cream.

There are four elements to this dish, but don’t let that put you off. The pickles and avocado cream are fairly quick to make and both those and the beans can be made in advance.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

For the drunken beans
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 medium jalapeño, deseeded and finely chopped
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp hot smoky paprika
2 x 400g tins pinto beans, drained
330ml pale ale or dark beer suitable for vegans

For the pickles
250g or 2 medium beetroots, peeled and grated
¼ or 150g red cabbage, finely sliced
100ml apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt

For the avocado cream
2 small ripe avocados
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt

For the gorditas
150g fine cornmeal
150g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
160ml-180ml water

Heat the olive oil for the beans in a medium-sized pan over a low heat and, when hot, add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for eight minutes, until translucent and starting to caramelise, then add the jalapeño, salt, oregano and paprika. Stir to coat the onions, then cook for four minutes to soften the jalapeño. Add the beans to the pan, stir to combine, then increase the heat to high and add the beer. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare the pickles and the avocado cream. For the pickles, combine the beetroot and sliced cabbage in a small mixing bowl and add the vinegar and salt. Mix well so that everything is coated, and leave to pickle for 30 minutes.

For the avocado cream, combine the avocado flesh, vinegar, oil and salt in a blender, and blitz for one or two minutes until completely smooth. Depending on the ripeness of your avocado, you might need to add a teaspoon or two of water to get a silky mayonnaise like texture.

Finally, the gorditas. Mix the cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the water a little at a time, using a spoon to bring the dough together each time. Once all the water is added, bring the dough together with your hands, knead into a smooth ball and rest for two minutes. Divide the dough into 12 even balls, each weighing around 50g, and roll each out on a lightly floured surface until you have a pleasingly chubby disc of dough roughly 5mm thick.

Fry the gorditas in batches in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat – two or three to the pan at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Fry the gorditas for two minutes a side, until crisp on the outside with no dark doughy spots. To serve, top each gordita with a spoonful of beans, some avocado cream and a pinch or two of pickles.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/sep/08/vegan-recipe-drunken-bean-and-avocado-gorditas-meera-sodha

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Bulgur with tomato, aubergine and preserved lemon yoghurt

Bulgur with tomato, aubergine and preserved lemon yoghurt

 

Just look at all the pantry staples made with tomatoes – tinned, paste, passata, sun-dried and more – each a variation on the bright-red theme. It’s that desire to capture summer in a jar, tin or tube that provides cooks with some of their snappiest tools for layering tomatoey flavours. Yes, there’s nothing quite as glorious as a perfectly ripe, raw tomato, but in cooking, adding all its derivatives into the mix opens up a world of creatively fine-tuning sweetness, acidity and freshness.

This is made of three components – roasted aubergine, bulgur with tomato, and yoghurt sauce – all of which adorable on their own. Together, however, they make a truly memorable main.

Prep 15 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4 as a main (It also works as a side dish, in which case these quantities will serve six to eight.)

2 large aubergines (500g net weight), cut into 3cm chunks
100ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground allspice
400g cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
250g bulgur wheat
200g yoghurt
1 small preserved lemon, pips discarded, skin and flesh finely chopped
10g mint leaves (about 1 tbsp) finely shredded

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Put the aubergine in a large bowl with four tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix, then spread out on a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the aubergines are caramelised and soft. Take out of the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, put three tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan for which you have a lid and heat on a medium-high flame. Once hot, fry the onion for eight minutes, stirring a few times, until caramelised and soft. Add the garlic and allspice, fry for a minute, stirring continuously, until the garlic is aromatic and starting to brown, then add the cherry tomatoes, mashing them with a potato masher to break them up. Stir in the tomato paste, 400ml water and a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 12 minutes. Add the bulgur, stirring it in so it’s completely coated, then turn off the heat and set aside for 20 minutes, so the bulgur can absorb all the liquid.

In a medium bowl, mix the yoghurt with the preserved lemon, half the mint and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.

Divide the bulgur between four plates and serve with the yoghurt and aubergine alongside and a sprinkling of the remaining mint.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/aug/18/yotam-ottolenghi-tomato-recipes

 

Recipe: Hetty McKinnon’s Green bean tahini casserole with lentils and crispy turmeric shallots

Green bean tahini casserole with lentils and crispy turmeric shallots

100g (1⁄2 cup) puy lentils, rinsed (changed from black lentils in original)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1kg green beans, trimmed and halved
250g fresh shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped or sliced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
90g (1⁄3 cup) tahini
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
Handful of chopped chives
Sea salt and black pepper

Crispy turmeric shallots

2 French shallots, finely sliced into rounds
2 tbsp rice flour
1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
125ml (1⁄2 cup) sunflower or other high-temperature oil, plus extra if needed
Sea salt and black pepper

Substitute
Shiitake mushrooms: button or Swiss brown mushrooms
French shallots: small red onions
Rice flour: plain flour

Preheat the oven to 190C. Oil a large baking or gratin dish.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the lentils, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, make the crispy turmeric shallots. Toss the shallot rounds together with the rice flour, turmeric and a pinch of salt and pepper, using your hands to break up the rings so that they are evenly coated.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan until very hot (test with a wooden chopstick or wooden spoon; if it sizzles, the oil is ready). Add the shallot rings to the oil a handful at a time and fry until golden brown. When ready, place them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil and immediately sprinkle with some sea salt. Repeat until all the shallot rings are cooked. Allow to cool.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the beans. Season with sea salt and black pepper and cook for 5–7 minutes, until the beans are tender and turning golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add another drizzle of oil along with the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the mushrooms have turned golden. Remove from the heat.

Place the tahini in a small bowl, add the lemon juice, garlic and chives
and slowly whisk in cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of thickened cream. Season with sea salt and lots of black pepper.

Combine the beans with the mushrooms, lentils and tahini sauce. Transfer to the baking dish and bake for 10-12 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, top with the crispy turmeric shallots and return to the oven for another five minutes. Serve immediately.

Tips

The crispy turmeric shallots can be made up to a day ahead. If you are short on time, buy ready-made crispy fried shallots from your Asian grocery store or supermarket.

The green bean casserole can be made the day ahead and topped and baked with the onions just before eating.

Other high-temperature oils include peanut or rice bran.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/aug/19/hetty-mckinnons-green-bean-tahini-casserole-recipe

Recipe: Carrot marmalade

Great on crumpets or toast with (vegan) cheese but it also works just as well next to a dal or curry.

Prep 10 min
Macerate 2 hr
Cook 20 min
Makes 700g

1 tbsp coriander seeds
500g carrots, peeled and grated
1 small thumb fresh ginger, grated
200g caster sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp runny honey
100ml white wine vinegar
Salt

Bash the coriander seeds in a mortar and tip into a bowl; add the grated carrots, ginger, sugar and zests, and put into the fridge to macerate for at least two hours to draw out the liquid.

When the carrots are done, mix the honey, citrus juices and vinegar with half a teaspoon of salt in a large heavy-based pan, and stir until the salt has dissolved.

Tip in the carrot mixture and slowly bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the carrots and ginger are tender. Turn the heat up and boil until almost all the liquid has evaporated. You will need to stir it towards the end to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Spoon into warm sterilised jars. It will keep for 18 months but, once opened, store it in the fridge and eat within a month.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/aug/10/anna-jones-recipes-carrot-marmalade-vegetarian-roast

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi’s sushi rice cakes with chilli and spring onion dipping sauce

Wet your hands to shape the cakes, otherwise things will get very sticky. You can shape them ahead of time and fry at the last minute, if you prefer. And simply omit the chilli from the dipping sauce to make this child-friendly.

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Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr 20 min
Makes 16

300g sushi rice
60ml rice vinegar
2½ tbsp caster sugar
Salt
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp groundnut oil
2 tsp sesame oil

For the dipping sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tsp groundnut oil
½ small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

Put the rice in a large bowl of cold water and stir with your hands for 10 seconds, to help release the starch. Drain into a large sieve, refresh under cold running water, then return the rice to the bowl. Cover again with cold water and repeat the stirring and draining procedure four or five times, until the water in the bowl is almost clear. Return the drained rice to the bowl, cover with fresh water, leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain one final time.

Put the drained rice in a medium saucepan, pour on 360ml cold water, cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, without lifting the lid or stirring. Turn off the heat and leave the rice, still covered, to rest for 10 minutes.

Put the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan with three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Heat gently, just until the sugar dissolves, then pour all over the rice.

Sprinkle the cornflour over the rice and then, using a spatula, very carefully stir the rice, so it’s all coated. Cover the pan again and leave to sit for 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients.

When you’re ready to shape the cakes, wet your hands and have ready a damp plate to put the cakes on. Take about 100g of the rice mix and form into a roughly 4cm-wide x 2cm-thick cake. Put on the damp plate and repeat with the remaining rice, wetting your hands again between forming each cake. You should end up with 16 cakes.

Put half the groundnut oil and half the sesame oil in a large, nonstick frying pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the oil is hot, carefully lay in half the rice cakes and fry for two to three minutes, until the base is golden brown – don’t be tempted to turn them over before they reach this stage, or they may fall apart. Carefully turn each cake, fry for two to three minutes more, then transfer to the damp plate with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and rice cakes, then serve warm with the dipping sauce.

Source: Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/28/yotam-ottolenghi-party-recipes

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi’s sweet potato and quinoa fritters

You can play around with the veg in these, swapping carrots, pumpkin or butternut squash for the potatoes, if you like. Whatever you use, though, don’t leave the fritter mix sitting around for too long once it’s made, otherwise it will go soggy. These are best eaten straight after baking, but they are also good warmed up in a low oven a few hours later, or even the next day.

Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
Makes 16

30g black quinoa
1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated to get 250g
2 small baking potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated to get 250g
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
25g picked coriander leaves, roughly chopped
75g plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
Salt and black pepper
400ml sunflower oil
2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve

Cook the quinoa in plenty of boiling water for 10 minutes, until it is cooked but still has bite. Leave to drain in a sieve, then pat dry to remove as much liquid as possible.

Put both potatoes, the onion, coriander and quinoa in a large bowl and mix well to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together both flours, the spices, a teaspoon and three-quarters of salt and a good grind of pepper. Slowly whisk in 100ml cold water, until you have a smooth batter.

Heat the oil in a medium saute pan on a medium-high flame.

Tip the batter into the vegetable bowl and mix together well. Using your hands, form the fritter mix into golf ball-sized portions weighing about 50g each, squeezing them very tightly to compact them and extract most of the liquid. Cook the fritters in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan: carefully drop three or four balls into the hot oil and fry for about four minutes in total, turning them once halfway, until golden-brown and cooked through, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper (if the fritters start browning too quickly, adjust the temperature of the oil as you go). Serve hot with the lime wedges alongside.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/28/yotam-ottolenghi-party-recipes

Stuffed, baked Lumaconi pasta

Alas the only picture of this dish would be of two empty plates smeared with sauce and watched over by two burping, sated diners. It looks nice and it tastes great and if you want to see what it looks like then get off the computer and get into the kitchen. Now dammit!

This needs to be baked in a lidded dish large enough to lay out the pasta at the bottom of the dish. Assume 6 pieces of pasta for each person and test the dish size by laying out the right amount of pasta straight from the packet.

Ingredients (Serves two as a main meal)

  • 1 tin chick peas (or approx 2.5 cups of home cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • Lumaconi pasta or other large pasta that can be stuffed. About 6 pieces each
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • half a cup of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 large zuchinni
  • 1 medium onion, crushed (put it through the garlic press. WARNING – onion juice squirted in your eye hurts)
  • 3 to 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbl spn light miso
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 to 2 cups of water or stock
  • olive oil
  • 1 tspn paprika
  • 1/2 tspn smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tspn cumin
  • 1/2 tspn cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • cracked pepper
  • tamari sauce
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 or 3 fresh bay leaves

Method

  • Lightly saute the chickpeas in a closed saucepan with a splash of olive oil with the garlic, onion, paprikas, cumin, and cayenne. Take off the heat and mash. Add a generous splash of tamari and the carrot, mix thoroughly and set aside until cool enough to handle the mix
  • While the chickpea mix is cooling pour a generous splash of olive oil in the bottom of the baking dish. Put the oven on to warm. Chop the eggplant and zuchinni into large chunks. Chop the celery and the herbs, have a glass of wine, go feed a bird some seeds and whistle to them a bit. They’ll think you’re mad and pity you for not having wings but the gift of some seed to eat will see you good.
  • Stuff the Lumaconi pasta with the chickpea mix and lay out the pasta at the bottom of the oiled baking dish. If there is any mix remaining just add to the dish.
  • Top the pasta with the chopped herbs and the bay leaves
  • Add the zuchinni, eggplant, and chopped celery. Add the miso and a generous grind of pepper
  • Cover with the tomatoes
  • Add the wine and water/stock
  • Bake covered in a prewarmed medium oven for about an hour. Check about the 40 minute mark to make sure it is not drying out. If so add more water/stock.

 

Recipe: Meera Sodha’s Caramelised fennel and carrot salad with mung beans and herbs

The dressing for this first course or light lunch is a salsa verde, a piquant herb and citrus sauce that works well with the sweet caramelised vegetables.

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

2 large carrots (400g), peeled and cut into thin batons
2 fennel bulbs (500g), thinly sliced and fronds reserved
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Olive oil
Salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
125g mung beans
125g giant couscous

For the dressing
10g dill leaves
30g parsley leaves
10g fresh mint leaves
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6 and line two baking trays with foil.

Lay the carrots, fennel and garlic cloves in a single layer across the two trays. Mix four tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and the chilli flakes in a small bowl, spoon over the vegetables, then toss with your hands to make sure everything is well coated. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing the vegetables halfway through to ensure they cook evenly.

In the meantime, put the mung beans in a pan, cover with plenty of cold water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the couscous to the pot, turn up the heat and boil for six to eight minutes, until tender, then drain.

To make the dressing, finely chop the herbs and fennel tops, put in a bowl and add the chopped flesh of the roast garlic, the lemon juice, capers, mustard and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Add enough olive oil to make a dressing (roughly three to five tablespoons), mix very well, then taste and adjust as you see fit.

To assemble the salad, spoon the mung beans and couscous on to a serving plate, lay the vegetables on top, then mix in the green herb dressing to taste and serve.

 

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/07/meera-sodha-recipe-caramelised-fennel-carrot-mung-bean-salad

 

Courgette and Aubergine Stroganoff

A very hearty tomato stew, thickened by cashew cream. Is it Stroganoff? Strictly not of course, but then again sometimes a close brush with reality is all we need to anchor ourselves to the thin crust of sanity.

The day this dish entered our damaged and seemingly deranged world the overnight air had frozen the heavy dew on the roof at Ridgesong and long, thin tongues of ice slid off the eves as the morning sun broke weakly threw the heavy mist. Brrr….. At that, my little lovely, is what a fire is for!

Serve with Garlic Bread. Enough for two for a hearty stomach full.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 1 medium aubergine
  • a fistful of green beans
  • 1 small onion
  • lashes of garlic
  • 1 tin tomatoes, or equivalent of fresh
  • 1 medium red capsicum (roasted)
  • a BIG dab of sweet miso
  • some white wine
  • about 1/2 litre of stock
  • 1 cup of cashews, soaked for at least four hours in a cup of boiled water
  • 1 cup of chickpeas
  • lots of rosemary from the garden, chopped
  • lots of parsley from the garden, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tspns of hot cayenne
  • 4 to 5 tspns of sweet paprika
  • 1 tspn of smoked paprika
  • 1 tspn of ground black pepper
  • 1 tspn of ground cumin
  • a generous pour of olive oil

To make:

  • wizz the cashews with the liquid to cashew cream and reserve
  • Barmix the onion, garlic, tomatoes, capsicum, miso, and wine. Use some of the stock too if needed
  • chop the aubergine, courgette, and beans into big chunks
  • lightly saute the spices to release the flavours
  • add the vegetables, chickpeas, herbs, wine, stock, and sauce
  • simmer for hours on a low heat (preferably on top of the lovely warm fireplace). The vegetables should be well cooked but not mushed
  • stir through the cashew cream
  • serve with garlic bread and red wine

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Courgette, thyme and walnut salad

This needs to be dished up the moment its made, before the courgettes start ‘weeping’ and losing their freshness, so don’t let it sit around for too long. It goes well with hot food fresh from the grill or alongside a bunch of meze.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
10g thyme sprigs
1 lemon – peel finely shaved into 6 strips (avoid the bitter white pith), then juiced, to get 2 tbsp
1 garlic clove, smashed with the flat side of a knife
600g courgettes (a mix of green and yellow looks great, if you can find both), trimmed and shaved into long, thin ribbons with a potato peeler or mandoline
60g walnut halves, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
15g basil, roughly shredded

Put the oil, thyme, lemon peel and garlic in a small saucepan on a low heat and leave to infuse for eight minutes, until the oil becomes aromatic and the garlic, lemon and thyme start to colour. Take off the heat, leave to cool, then strain the oil into a large bowl. Pick the leaves off the sprigs and add to the oil; discard the sprigs, lemon and garlic.

Put the courgettes, walnuts, lemon juice, a third of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper into the oil, then massage the courgettes for a minute or so – they will break up a little – then stir in the basil and serve at once.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jun/23/yotam-ottolenghi-courgette-recipes

Recipe: Anna Jones’ Four colours of portable picnic dips

Each of these easy dips use tinned pulses as a base. They all follow the same formula: once you get the hang of the ratios, you can experiment and try different flavour combinations. They each follow the same basic method.

Prep 20 min
Serves 4

Easy hummus
Pulse: 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
Garlic: 1 small clove
Tahini: 1 tbsp
Citrus: Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Liquid: 4 tbsp olive oil, 100ml ice water
Top with: olive oil, toasted and bashed coriander seeds, lemon zest, pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes)

Black bean and cumin hummus
Pulse: 1 x 400g tin black beans
Garlic: 1 small clove
Tahini: 1 tbsp black tahini
Citrus: Juice of 2 limes
Liquid: 4 tbsp olive oil, 200ml ice water
Top with: black sesame seeds, toasted cumin seeds

Summer herbs butterbean dip
Pulse: 1 x 400g tin butter beans
Garlic: ½ small clove
Liquid: 4 tbsp olive oil, 150ml ice water
Citrus: Juice of 1 lemon
Top with: more herbs, olive oil

Pink cannellini and beetroot dip
Pulse: 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans
Garlic: 1 small clove
Liquid: 200g cooked beetroot, drained and pureed
Tahini: 1 tbsp
Citrus: Juice of ½ lemon and ½ orange
Liquid: 200g cooked beetroot, drained and pureed
Top with: orange and lemon zest, sliced radishes

Put the drained tin of pulses, garlic, tahini (if using) and citrus juice and zest (if using) into a food processor and blitz smooth, adding the oil/water/beetroot bit by bit until you have a creamy dip. Add your toppings, then serve with raw vegetables, crackers and flatbread for dipping.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jun/18/anna-jones-recipes-puy-lentil-picnic-salad-dips#img-1

Recipe: Anna Jones’ Spiced and herbed puy lentil salad


A salad that travels well and is more than a sum of its parts. Rice, quinoa or normal couscous can be used in place of the giant couscous if you like.

Prep 20 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

100g raisins or currants
4 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 x 400g tin cooked puy lentils, drained, or 250g home-cooked
150g wholemeal giant couscous
Olive oil
4 sticks celery, finely chopped, any leaves reserved
1 large bunch each parsley and coriander, leaves picked

For the dressing
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
Seeds from 4 cardamom pods or ¼ tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
Zest and juice of 2 unwaxed limes
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard

Soak the raisins in the vinegar and leave to one side.

If you are cooking your lentils yourself, then cook in boiling water for 20-30 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Cook the giant couscous in boiling salted water according to packet instructions, then drain well.

Make the dressing. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes, until they smell fragrant. Add the ground spices, stir quickly, then take the pan off the heat and tip the lot into a mortar. Bash with the pestle until they are broken down a bit. Tip into a jam jar, add all the rest of the dressing ingredients and shake to mix well.

Drain the lentils and put in a large bowl with the couscous, chopped celery and dressing. Roughly chop most of the herbs on a board, drain the raisins and add to the pile of herbs, chop the lot together, then add to the lentils. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and taste, adding more salt, pepper, lime and oil as needed. Remember, it will mellow a little as it sits. When you are ready to eat, scatter over the rest of the herbs and any celery leaves, and pile into bowls.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jun/18/anna-jones-recipes-puy-lentil-picnic-salad-dips#img-1

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Grilled and marinated sandwich vegetables

Great on a sandwich and also work in a salad or as antipasti. If you have any of the aromatic oil left over, it’s great on pasta and salad.

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

1 medium fennel bulb
200ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
240g baby aubergines, trimmed and quartered (or 1 regular aubergine, cut into 10cm x 2cm wedges)
5 multicoloured Romano peppers
2 large mild red chillies
1 garlic bulb, top fifth trimmed to expose the bulbs
1 lemon – skin finely shaved of in 6 strips, then juiced, to get 2 tbsp
10g oregano
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced
5g dill, roughly chopped
½ tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
½ tbsp pink peppercorns, toasted and crushed

Heat the grill to its highest setting and put a rack at the top of the oven. Cut the fennel in half lengthways and then into 1.5cm-thick batons, keeping some base attached, so the pieces hold together. Gently toss the fennel in a teaspoon of oil and a good pinch of salt, then lay out on a large oven tray.

Toss the aubergines in a teaspoon of oil and a good pinch of salt, and lay cut side up on the same tray. Grill for 12 minutes, until well charred, then transfer the aubergines to a large bowl. Turn over the fennel pieces, grill for another six minutes, then add to the aubergine bowl.

Turn off the grill and set the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Put the peppers and chillies on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle a little oil over the garlic bulb, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then wrap tightly in foil and add to the pepper tray. Roast for 25 minutes, turning halfway, until the peppers are blackening on both sides. Remove the peppers and chillies, and roast the garlic for 10 minutes more.

Put the peppers and chillies in a bowl, cover tightly with clingfilm, leave for 30 minutes, then peel off the skin, discarding the seeds, stalks and any liquid. Tear the peppers into 8cm strips, roughly chop the chillies and put both in the fennel bowl.

When cool enough to handle, unwrap the garlic and squeeze out the flesh into the fennel bowl. Add the remaining oil, the last six ingredients, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and mix gently to coat. Ideally, leave .

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jun/16/yotam-ottolenghi-picnic-recipes

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Giant couscous with golden raisins, lemon and almonds

This is just as good eaten at room temperature as it is warm. It’s an ideal portable meal, because it can be made well in advance, it’s easy to transport and it will keep for hours.

Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

250g giant couscous
500ml vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper
1 lemon
½ tbsp olive oil
50g golden (or normal) raisins (or replace with chopped dates)
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground in a mortar
60g flaked almonds, toasted
10g dill leaves, roughly chopped
10g basil leaves, roughly torn

For the parsley oil
30g parsley leaves
120ml olive oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled

Put the couscous in a medium saucepan for which you have a lid, and dry toast, stirring occasionally, over a medium-high heat until some of the pearls begin to colour – about four minutes. Add the stock and a half-teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed, then turn off the heat and leave the couscous to sit, covered, for 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, finely grate the lemon peel into a small bowl – you should have two teaspoons of zest. Using a small, sharp knife, trim the top and tail off the zested lemon, then cut away the skin and pith. Release the lemon segments by cutting between the membranes, then cut each segment into rough chunks and add to the zest bowl with any remaining juice squeezed from what’s left of the lemon – you need about a teaspoon. After the couscous has rested, stir in the lemon mix and the oil.

Put the raisins in a bowl, cover with about 100ml boiling water, leave to soak for five minutes, then drain. Mix the raisins, cumin, almonds, herbs, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper into the couscous.

Put all the ingredients for the parsley oil in a blender with an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and blitz until smooth.

Pack the couscous into a portable container and spoon the oil on top (though, if you’re serving this at the table, spoon on the oil just before you eat).

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jun/16/yotam-ottolenghi-picnic-recipes

 

Meera Sodha’s Wild rice, chickpea and aubergine salad with a tamarind and yoghurt dressing

Prep 20 min
Cook 50 min
Rest 10 min
Serves 4

For the rice
1 red onion, peeled
½ large cauliflower (about 600g)
350g baby aubergines (ie, about 4 slim ones)
300g vine tomatoes, halved
Rapeseed oil
1 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
250g basmati and wild rice
400g tin chickpeas
15g fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

For the tamarind dressing
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 ½ tbsp date syrup
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
¼ tsp ground red chilli
½ tsp ground cumin
Salt

For the ‘yoghurt’ dressing
100ml non-dairy yoghurt
Salt

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4 and line two large oven trays with foil. Chop the onion from above into wedges, separate into “petals”, then arrange on one half of one tray. Break down the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and put these on the other half of the tray.

Cut the aubergines lengthways into quarters, and put them on one half of the second tray; lay the tomatoes on the other half.

Whisk four tablespoons of oil with a teaspoon of salt, pour this over all the vegetables, then toss with your hands to coat all the surfaces and get into the nooks and crannies. Bash the garlic cloves with the back of a knife and put on the aubergine tray, then roast the onion and cauliflower for 20-25 minutes and the aubergine, tomatoes and garlic for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash the rice in a sieve under the cold tap until the water runs clear, then tip into a large saucepan. Drain the chickpeas, add to the rice, then cover with plenty of cold water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain into a sieve, then cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.

Now make the dressings. In a small bowl, mix the tamarind paste, date syrup and oil with a tablespoon of water. Add the chilli, cumin and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and mix again.

Put the yoghurt in a second small bowl. Squeeze the flesh from the roast garlic on to a board and finely chop, then stir into the yoghurt with a quarter-teaspoon of salt.

To bring the salad together, in a bowl mix the rice and chickpeas with the baked vegetables, toss with the tamarind dressing and transfer to a portable container. Serve drizzled with the yoghurt dressing and scattered with coriander.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jun/16/meera-sodha-recipe-wild-rice-chickpea-aubergine-salad-tamarind-dressing

 

Roast Cauliflower Salad

Family get togethers always tend to get the creative spark firing – not least because there are at least two other Kitchen Stars in SheWhoMustBeFed’s extended family. It just isn’t on to be bringing out the same ol’ dish all the time, though it must be said that The Plumber is rather fond of Soccattata  – especially as it is gluten free. When he is left near a plate of Socha’ you only have to blink twice and half of it is gone. Woosh!

A food processor is handy for making this salad, though not mandatory. Grating the cauliflower could be done with a hand grater over a large bowl, though it would of course be far more work than whizzing it down the chute of the processor and I suspect generate a lot more mess. Cauliflower does tend to fly around the place when grating!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large cauliflower
  • 1 bag of baby spinach leaves or mixed salad greens
  • 1 standard punnet of cherry tomatoes, all halved
  • Olive oil
  • Tamari

Method:

  • Grate the cauliflower using the “coarse” holes in your hand grater / or food processor attachment
  • Spread out the grated cauliflower on one or two baking trays (best to not have it too deeply piled)
  • Thoroughly coat with olive oil and a few dashes of tamari. It is best to roll up the sleeves and use your hands to help evenly coat everything.
  • Bake at 180-200c for about 20 minutes. Give the baking cauliflower a mix and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. You’re aiming for a slightly crisped, but not burned result.
  • Allow the baked cauliflower to cool to room temperature (consider preparing the cauliflower a day before you need the salad and refrigerate overnight)
  • Just before serving, mix the cauliflower with the greens and the halved tomatoes

 

Black Bean casserole

Some beans really contribute to the taste of a dish while others are more subtle and tend to just round out the flavours of everything else in the meal. Black Beans don’t like to stand on the sidelines – they’re definitely an “Individual Contributor”.

In

  • However many Black Beans you get from pressure cooking one cup of dry beans (maybe two standard tins worth?)
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 medium potatoes, halved
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Handful of fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 TBSP ground pepper
  • 2 TBSP miso
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • Generous splash of olive oil
  • Water

Cook

  • In a large, lidded baking dish…
  • Add the herbs, garlic, pepper, oil and miso
  • Next add the spuds and the onion (try not to separate the onion halves into rings)
  • Tip the beans over
  • Add the wine, and enough water to cover everything
  • Bake at a medium heat until the liquid is well reduced.

 

WOW! Burgers

I keep asking SheWhoMustBeFed where the name for these burgers comes from. The answer seems to involve either She or one of the LoinFruits exclaiming “Wow! They’re nice burgers.” upon first tasting them. Personally, I keep thinking that “WOW” must surely be some clever acronym.

Here are some suggestions from the long list of possibilities:

  • World Of Warcraft
  • Women Of Wrestling
  • War Of the Worlds
  • Women On Wheels
  • Wendy O Williams
  • Whip ’em Out Wednesdays

However you slice that (potential) acronym these are indeed a tasty burger that hangs together really well (courtesy of the oats and the linseed) that also have a really great ‘mouth feel’ due to the inclusion of all the seeds and the veggies.

Wow, what do I put in them?

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup linseeds
  • 3/4 cup oats (or replace with gluten free flour)
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 2 1/4 cups of butter beans, mashed
  • 2 TBSP Tamari
  • 1/2 TSP ground pepper
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Wow, those all sound good! What do I do with them?

  • Process the nuts, seeds and oats in a Bamix or similar until grainy but not powdery
  • Thoroughly mix everything in a large bowl
  • Form into patties (this recipe should make about 12 patties)
  • Fry or bake
  • Exclaim “Wow! They’re nice burgers.” upon first tasting them

As with all burger mixes, these will hold together even better if made ahead of time and refrigerated for a few hours (cover container).

 

Macadamia Cheese

She-Who-Must-Be-Fed has recently gone a bit nuts about cheese making…macadamia cheese that is. Which of course raises the very reasonable question…how do you milk a macadamia? Answer: using very tiny hands.

macadamia cheeseIn fact she is in the kitchen just now finishing a batch and has just called out “I like making this cheese…its fun!” Of course she doesn’t actually realise that I am in the process of putting up this entry so what is fun is knowing that at some point she’ll come back to check the recipe and find that I just typed her little exclamation in as part of the intro’, and say “Hey!!”.

Back to the cheese; this recipe entry is really just a pointer to Russell James’ ‘the raw chef‘ site, as it is his recipe. It’s just that every time that She-Who-Must-Be-Fed wants to make this cheese, she has to look it up and that requires going to Russell’s site and hunting through it to find the right recipe. Also I thought that all my readers (yes I’m addressing you both) might also be interested in this.

So, click here to find the recipe.

PS. James spells macadamia as ‘macademia’ which perhaps is meant to infer this is a thoughtful and studious recipe.

Brazil’s awesomely sensible ten suggestions about eating well.

Brazil’s Ministry of Health have issued new dietary guidelines that are simply awesome. They can be found in full here (PDF).

The guidelines can summarised as follows:

1.    Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet
2.    Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts when seasoning and cooking natural or minimally processed foods and to create culinary preparations
3.    Limit consumption of processed foods
4.    Avoid consumption of ultra-processed products
5.    Eat regularly and carefully in appropriate environments and, whenever possible, in company
6.    Shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods
7.    Develop, exercise and share culinary skills
8.    Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life
9.    Out of home, prefer places that serve freshly made meals
10.   Be wary of food advertising and marketing

Braised cabbage in miso

Long read? Slow food? How about nearly four hours for a cabbage dish…howzatgrabya?

To be clear; I don’t actually like cabbage. Generally I think they’re like a Godzilla-ish Brussel Sprout. Only the death ray doesn’t shoot out of your eyes it shoots out a little lower down. I do however like this dish, which says a lot about the merits of this recipe in my (ever humble) opinion.

Needed:

  • About 1/2 a large cabbage, or equivalent.
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tabs light miso
  • 400 ml water
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 4 hours

Doing:

Crush and very lightly sauté the garlic in the oil. In the same pan, add the water and bring to a boil, then add the miso and thoroughly dissolve.

Remove any manky outer leaves off the cabbage and compost. Cut the cabbage into 5cm or so thick slices, going across the layers. Try to keep each slice as intact as possible.

Lay the slices, tightly packed into a lidded baking dish that has sides high enough to be higher than the cabbage slices. If you don’t have enough cabbage to pack the dish, and don’t have a smaller dish, cut another slice of cabbage. Go with the flow people!

Pour the liquid evenly over the cabbage.

Bake the container with the lid on at 250c for 30 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 150c and bake for another 90 minutes. After that, carefully turn all the cabbage slices over and repack them as tightly as possible. Bake for another 90 minutes.

An even better quiche recipe

Real men don’t eat quiche. Real men eat vegan quiche, then do the washing up followed by giving their partners a back massage.

This is a superior quiche to this one.

A lot of the heavy lifting steps in this recipe can be done ahead of time, indeed the pastry needs to be made ahead of time and refrigerated for while. The cauliflower can also be roasted a day or two ahead if you happen to using the oven already.

In:

  • 1 batch Shortcrust pastry
  • 1 batch Scrambled breakfast tofu
  • 300 g cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • Handful of green beans, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced fairly thinly
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tabs of light miso
  • handful of your favourite olives (de-stoned if necessary) and sliced
  • 2 or 3 (semi) sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • Olive oil

Do:

Dissolve the miso into the water. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, miso water, 2 tbsp of the oil. Cover and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. There’s no need to refrigerate it – in fact…just don’t. The keen eyed will note that this step is based on a Soccatta mix.

Once the Soccatta mix is ready…Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Roast the cauliflower. Place in a bowl with a splash of olive oil and coat well. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until softened and slightly charred. Put to one side.

Whilst roasting, add a teaspoon of oil to a pan and fry the onions for about 3 minutes until they start to caramelise. Meanwhile, put a small saucepan of water on to boil.

Once the water is at a rolling boil add the chopped beans and blanche quickly. Drain and cool them with cold, running water. We want them still slightly crunchy.

Line an oiled quiche dish with pastry, prick the bottom and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and prepare the filling.

In a large bowl (or use one of the saucepans if big enough) combine the cauliflower, beans, olives, sundried tomatoes, onions, and scrambled tofu. Toss until fairly evenly mixed.

Add everything from that bowl into the pastry shell and gently smooth down until fairly even. Pour the the flour mix over as evenly as possible. Top with the sliced tomatoes.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, brush with a little olive oil, place in the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Allow to cool before serving.

Kitchen Note: If you don’t have one of those quiche dishes where the sides can be removed separately from the bottom despair not. The shortcrust pastry has a tendency to shrink slightly so will almost always smoothly pull back from the edges during cooking. Lightly oil the quiche dish if in doubt.

Creamy Mushroom Penne

If you don’t eat anything with a face nor anything that comes from something with a face then you can end up eating a lot of tomato based Italian food. How much? A LOT. The default meal cooked by a restaurant “chef” who couldn’t be bothered spending 3.764 minutes finding a decent vegan recipe is “Pasta in a tomato sauce, with whatever vegetables need to be used but always capsicum”. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good Spaghetti Bolognese in this house, but sometimes it is nice to have something different when taking the menu to Italia for the night. Something with a creamy sauce rather than a tomato sauce.

But how to dream of cream without playing milkmaid?

Nuts!

Yes…nuts….or to be more specific cashew nuts. Oh yes…

Soak raw cashews in water and then blend them and you get…cashew cream; another one of those unlikely little transformations that make cooking a joy. Cashew cream is a great base for cream based recipes whether sweet or savoury.

So…Vieni con me in cucina con i vostri anacardi e faremo una bella cena insieme (*)

Portate con voi (abbastanza per due)

  • 1/2 cup of raw cashews
  • half a dozen or so medium sized mushrooms, quartered
  • your choice of: green beans, asparagus, broccoli spears, fresh peas, broad beans or whatever something green you like. In any case you want about an equal amount as you have of mushrooms. Chop into stir-fry type pieces
  • one small onion, cut into large rings or quartered and separated.
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • a TBSP of light miso paste
  • about two TSP of chopped, fresh rosemary
  • about 1/4 of a cup of chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley
  • one bay leaf
  • 2 TSPN of ground pepper (this may seem excessive but the cream sauce dulls the heat a lot)
  • one cup of white wine
  • olive oil
  • penne – use gluten free if desired (however much you think you’ll need; some people like a lot of pasta, some not so much. Go on…make a decision on your own)

Come fare

  • Before getting to the rest of the “method” – don’t forget to cook the pasta as per the manufacturer’s recommendation, timing the pasta to be ready whenever the following is done. Helpful tip: The steps related to making the creamed cashews, and mixing it into the saucy, wine mix can be done ahead of time, making it all much easier to get the timing right.
  • Firstly, soak the cashews in water. Best to use freshly boiled water; cover the nuts and leave them for at least three hours. Oops!! You didn’t read this until it was WAY too late to leave them for 3 hours! Panic not and do what everyone else does…cheat. Put the nuts and water into a small, covered pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Regardless of how you got there…drain the nuts afterwards, retaining the water.
  • To cream the cashews: place the soaked nuts in a Bamix Wet and Dry Processor or similar. You could use any food processor of course but something small like the aforementioned will work best as you’re not doing a high volume of material. Add a little of the water and blend until a fluffy, smooth and absolutely-no-solid-bits consistency is achieved. Keep adding a bit more of the water as needed, as you go along. If you run out of the reserved water just use some extra. Once done…put aside.
  • In a small pot very lightly sauté the garlic and ground pepper in some olive oil. As soon as it is aromatic add the wine, the miso, the bay leaf, rosemary and half of the parsley. Dissolve the miso then continue to lightly simmer for a minute, then remove from the heat. Add the creamed cashews and mix thoroughly.
  • In a heavy fry pan sauté the onion in some more olive oil until clear.
  • Add the mushrooms and whatever green vegetables you decided on into the pan with the onion. Cook until just done – it is nice when the vegetables retain some crispness.
  • Remove the vegetables from the heat and add the sauce to the vegetables along with the rest of the parsley and mix thoroughly. You will notice that the creamed cashew mix thickens somewhat when added to the hot pan; add a little more water to thin the mix if desired.
  • Serve over the pasta.

(* this may or may not translate as “Come with me to the kitchen with your cashews and we will make a beautiful dinner together”)

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.

 

A pesto bean bake that the Larger Loin Fruit unexpectedly didn’t like all that much

The larger loin fruit is very partial to pesto. And so it was reasonable to assume that a bean loaf flavoured predominantly with said pesto would be a hit. With SheWhoMustBeFed and the VegHead – a big hit. With the larger loin fruit – not so much. NB: this wasn’t even a starter with the smaller loin fruit – fussy bugger.

Anyway – the two most important people in the house liked this so we’re keeping the recipe for posterity:

For the putting in:

  • One (450g) tin of mixed beans (aka “Four Bean Mix”)
  • Half a packet of firm tofu (about 175g)
  • 1 cup of oats – not quick cook (see note below regarding making this gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup of pesto
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • Teaspoon of cumin powder
  • Teaspoon of ground pepper
  • Splash of tamari
  • 3 medium size mushrooms
  • 1 medium courgette
  • Olive oil

For the making:

Mash the tofu in a large mixing bowl until well smushed.

Process the oats in a bamix dry food processor attachment thingy (or food processor) until they have reduced to a fine flour.

Combine tofu, oats, beans, spices, pesto, pine nuts, tamari and mix thoroughly. Use your hands or a spoon rather than a masher so that you keep some lumpy consistency.

Slice the mushrooms. Slice the courgette in coin shapes.

Using a medium size, lidded baking dish of your choice: add half of the tofu/bean mix. Cover this with the mushroom slices, artfully arranged. Drizzle the mushroom slices with olive oil. Add the remaining tofu/bean mix. Cover the top with the sliced courgette, again making sure you arrange the slices in a manner most pleasing to the eye. Drizzle this layer with olive oil.

Bake in a preheated medium-high oven with the lid on for about half an hour, then remove the lid and bake for another ten minutes until the courgettes brown.

Adapting to gluten free:

Replace the oats with lightly toasted cashews, same weight and same processing

Add a binding agent. Recommended method is: two teaspoons of linseeds ground in the way as the cashews, then soaked in 2 tablespoons of water until gooey. Add this mix to bowl when combining everything.

Bloody Bonza Bucketty Bean and Beetroot Burgers

All those B’s – it just has to be good for you! After all, it is a well known fact that alliteration is an essential ingredient in a balanced diet.

These burgers are currently being taste tested by Shrek, and depending on whether they pass the muster of his MasterChef taste buds they may even be the veggie burger of choice come the next Mangrove Mountain Country Fair.

Buy (or grow) these things:

  • 3 large red beetroots (just under half a kilo)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats – not quick cook oats (see also below for note on making this recipe gluten-free)
  • 2 (450g) cans black beans – or preferably cook the beans yourself (alternatively use kidney beans)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons seed mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Bashing it all together:

Heat the oven to 220c. Wrap the beetroots loosely in aluminium foil and roast until easily pierced with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm (not completely mushy). Drain any remaining liquid from the rice and set it aside to cool.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions every minute or two, and cook until they are golden and getting charred around the edges, if the onions are burning lower the heat.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and cook only until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander and ground pepper and pour in the cider vinegar and scrape up the dark sticky crust. Continue to simmer until the cider has evaporated and the pan is nearly dry again. Remove from heat and remove from the pan so they can cool, and not overcook from the residual heat of the pan.

Process the oats in a bamix dry food processor attachment thingy (or food processor) until they have reduced to a fine flour. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Drain and rinse the cans of beans. Transfer half of the beans to the food processor along with the mustard and the sun dried tomatoes. Pulse in 1-second bursts just until the beans are roughly chopped — not so long that they become mush — 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining half of the beans to the mixing bowl as well.

Scrape the skins off the cooled roasted beets; the skins should slip off easily. If still too hot to handle do this step under running cold water. Once cool enough to handle grate the peeled beetroots on the largest holes of a box grater.

Transfer the squeezed beetroot, cooked rice, and sautéed onion/garlic/spices to the bowl with the beans. Add the oatmeal flour and the thyme. Hand mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Add salt, extra pepper or more of the spices to taste.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the burger mixture for at least 2 hours or (ideally) overnight. The mix can also be kept refrigerated for up to three days before cooking, and once formed into burger patties can be frozen uncooked, separated by squares of waxed paper.

(Don’t) Burn them:

Shape into burgers.

Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Cook as many as will fit without crowding. Cooking time will depend on size of formed patties. Cook to a crust either side.

Adapting to gluten free:

Replace the oats with lightly toasted cashews, same weight and same processing

Add a binding agent. Recommended method is: two teaspoons of linseeds ground in the way as the cashews, then soaked in 2 tablespoons of water until gooey. Add this mix to the processor when doing the beans/mustard/sundried tomatoes.

Shortcrust pastry

This is a very easy to make shortcrust pastry recipe good for sweet or savoury fillings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of vegan margarine (Nuttalex brand is good in Australia)
  • 1/2 tspn of good quality salt – Celtic for example (make sure salt is finely ground)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp of water

The doing:

  • combine flour and salt in a bowl
  • add margarine and cut through with knife, then rub with fingertips until “breadcrumbed”
  • add water and mix with wooden spoon (don’t flour your kneading surface)
  • if the pastry is not pliable enough, add a very small amount of extra water – think “a teaspoon at a time”
  • wrap in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  • roll out to suit (again, do not flour bench or pin)

NOTE: cooking tray will NOT need greasing

Quinoa and pecan salad

When SheWhoMustBeFed and I first started eating quinoa, many moons ago, we had never heard it pronounced, only read it. So for an embarrassingly long period of time we pronounced it “kwin-oh-a”. I can’t recall whether our verbal fumblings were ever met with a knowingly condescending smile; probably not as it wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is now, so in all likelihood we never came across anyone who knew any better than we did. At some point we learned of our mistake and in a scene earily prescient of this we said to each other “Oh, it’s kinwah, not kwin-oh-a. Honestly being vegan is a nightmare. It’s no wonder we don’t have any friends.”

Now of course we are infinitely cleverer and wiser than before, because not only do we know how to pronounce quinoa, we also know that cranberries aren’t meant to be sweet. For a time we lived in that wide, wild and wacky land The Yoonited States of A-merica where cranberries are always sweet, and cranberry juice tastes like a large bottle of deeply purple sugar. In actual fact drinking a glass of natural, unadulterated cranberry juice has an affect something like sticking the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner into your mouth. All the spit in your mouth will instantly disappear, your cheeks will suck in tight, and once you’ve managed again to draw breath you will say “Well, that was a little sourer than I expected.” In this recipe, try to use dried unsweetened cranberries if you can get them. Sweetened works OK, but in our humble (cleverer and wiser) opinion, the tartness of dried, unsweetened cranberries will do it more justice.

Credit: This recipe came from elsewhere. I’d like to say where, but all I can tell you is that it has been cut out of a magazine and stuck into SheWhoMustBeFed’s recipe scrapbook. It was probably an American magazine, as the recipe called for “cilantro” as opposed to “coriander”. So, credit to the original creator and also the publisher of the magazine which printed it on a green page sometime.

Ingredients ((ɪnˈɡriːdɪənts):

  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of quinoa
  • 1 bunch shallots, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup of coriander
  • 3/4 cup of finely sliced celery
  • 3/4 cup of coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
  • pinch cayenne pepper

Method (meTHəd):

  • Boil the water, add the quinoa, stir and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft (approx. 25 minutes, but keep an eye on it)
  • Lightly toast the pecans
  • Once the quinoa is cooked, allow to cool to room temperature, then combine everything except for the pecans in a large serving bowl.
  • Ideally, allow to sit and stew for an hour before serving at room temperature. Stir the pecans through just before serving so they are still a bit crunchy.

 

Bevski beetroot

This’ll bring a lively dash of colour to the table, and elsewhere too the next day. The Bevski made it for us on Christmas Day, so it probably won’t taste nice, even though it does. Tinned beetroot just ain’t gonna do here, as they will already have been preserved in salt and vinegar. If you have a pressure cooker use that for the beets, as cooking them in a normal pot takes a tedious spell of time.

You’ll need:

  • 500g beetroot (weight not including the stalks)
  • 500g punkyin (or use pumpkin if you like)
  • 250g green beans
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup of pine nuts
  • caramelized or otherwise very thick and yummy blasamic vinegar (or use balsamic vinegar instead)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the making:

  • Pressure cook/boil the beetroot until just soft, and slip off the skins under cold water. Discard the cooking water;  The Bevski say’s it is very good for the vegie garden once cool.
  • Chop the cooked beets into large wedges
  • Meanwhile chop the punkyin into large chunks, brush with oil and roast
  • Halve the peeled onion at the ‘equator’, then slice each half into four even chunks. Along with the crushed garlic (and optional salt and pepper) saute until onion is clear.
  • Blanch the trimmed beans; aiming to have them still crispy. Flush thoroughly with cold water after removing them from the heat to stop them from continuing to cook.
  • Combine everything into a large bowl, drizzle with the blasamic vinegar and sprinkle it all with the pine nuts.
  • Serve, ensuring you tell everyone “This won’t taste nice” (don’t worry – it will)

Christmas

Since about April we have been wishing for rain, as the ENSO cycle has brought an end to the wet of last year. December has been pretty much a zero rainfall flatline, however as the old saying goes “You need to be careful what you wish for”, because Santa brought us just a little more wetness than we would have liked: Screenshot from 2012-12-30 08:50:41

 

 

.

The water tanks were happy. The frogs in the dam were happy. The garden was happy. The eleven of us sitting around the table on the deck outside having Christmas lunch…well…not so happy. Apparently this was the wettest Christmas Day on the East Coast of Australia in seventy years. See…you wish for rain…you get rain. Don’t say Santa never delivers.

In between dodging raindrops we exchanged gifts and bonhomie, and demonstrated our mutual affection by cooking up a storm. The Others ate various dead animals they had prepared elsewhere and brought along already cooked. Meanwhile we feasted on stuffing; roasted baby potatoes with garlic, pine nuts and dill; rose harissa tagine, Bevski beetroot; sweet potato salad; quinoa salad, and I don’t even remember what else. Afterwards, just to ensure we hadn’t missed filling any spare sections of intestine we had Bevski Pud, and chocolate self saucing pud. And then we all looked like our friend Monty, right after he’s eaten a large something.Monty pythonLike Monty we all wanted to just lay in the sun for a few days and digest everything. Alas, there wasn’t any sunshine to lie in. Well, not for a few days anyway.

North African roasted capsicum and tomato sauce

tomato and capsicumRight, well that picture just about takes care of the ingredients list. Which just leaves me to blather on for a little while first, before we get to the bit about how to make this (Hint: use a blender).

Let’s play for a moment a game of word association using the word “Africa”. Rift valley. Origins of mankind (unless you believe in this version). Elephants. Bloody conflict. Colonial invasion. Lions. Despots. Diamonds. Apartheid. Famine.

How are we going, have you said “Roasted capsicum and tomatoes” yet? Thought not. Most people associate the foodstuff of Africa with the picture of horribly starving children and Bob Geldoff fund raising concerts. When the crops aren’t failing, the lands being bombed, or the various ethnic tribes are not being murdered and chased from their lands by religious nutters, invaders, diamond and oil seekers and assorted other examples of human scum this great, wide, wonderful land produces foodstuffs both wonderful and assorted. The legacy of this land to our taste buds is one so great we ought to prostrate ourselves at the feet of every passing native African.

In a very simple way, using ingredients common in the kitchen, you can sample one small slice of this legacy.

Get these:

  • One large red capsicum
  • 250g semi sundried tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 large red chillies
  • Fresh coriander
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Do this:

  • De-seed and de-stalk the capsicum and lightly brush inside and out with (extra) olive oil. Roast in a medium oven until the skin will fairly easily peel off.
  • Blend the roasted capsicum along with everything else until a smooth consistency is achieved.

That’s it. All done bar the eating. Serve as a condiment. Use it as a pasta sauce or spread on a pizza. Smear it on yourself if you’re feeling a little weird and raunchy. Just keep it in the fridge and seal it in the jar with a layer of coconut oil (or olive oil if you don’t have any of that). Preserved this way it ought to last 2-3 weeks before growing something unpleasant.

Scrambled breakfast tofu

Tofu is a much maligned substance, usually described by it’s critics as “Tasteless, white nothing; I’d rather have a slab of steak any day thanks very much.” The exact origins of tofu are unknown, though it is cited that Chinese legend ascribes its invention to prince Liu An (Chinese: 劉安 Liú Ān) who kicked around the kitchens of China in period between 179 and 122 BC. The inventiveness of the Chinese is well heralded in many areas of industry, philosophy and science so I can well believe that Prince Liu gifted us with the legacy of curded soy. An arguably more useful legacy that anything the British Royal family has managed lately.

Personally, I can understand the disdain that steak eaters have for the flavour of tofu as it’s raw flavour is perhaps too subtle for many palettes. Myself, I like the flavour of uncooked tofu and will occasionally nick a small piece off the kitchen bench after slicing and dicing the block in preparation for cooking. However tofu’s greatest strength is its ability to sponge up for other flavours, and in doing so act as a vehicle for their transportation to taste buds. The other interesting characteristic of tofu, and one which greatly extends its culinary usefulness is that the texture utterly changes when a block is solidly frozen and then defrosted. Putting tofu through this cycle makes it both firmer and most importantly leaves it with a bready consistency.

Tofu naturally comes in a number of grades (not of quality but of texture) ranging from very firm through to the jelly like consistency of silken tofu. The change made by the freezing and defrosting cycle is most noticeable when using silken tofu. In its original state silken tofu is akin to the consistency of solid custard, however after the freeze cycle it acquires a consistency similar to that of white bread – albeit in a wet tofuey sort of way. When lightly mashed with a fork it then becomes almost exactly like scrambled eggs, thus providing the perfect base material for creating a vegan alternative – with no chicken littlens required.

There’s one more thing you need to know before we get to the actual recipe bit – after defrosting the tofu you must thoroughly drain in order for the breading process to wok properly. Left too long stewing in the water that will be in the packet will begin to render it back to its original consistency. To drain thawed silken tofu press it firmly either between the flats of your palms, or between two plates.

Of course you’ll still need something else to add flavour to this dish; something to be carried along in the vehicle of the tofu sponge if you will. The other magic ingredient in this dish is fresh tumeric root – alas, the more common tumeric powder just won’t do. You can usually obtain tumeric root from any Asian green grocer, and sometimes in better supermarkets.

turmeric-root

Ingredients (serves two)

  • One block of silken tofu, frozen, thawed and drained
  • 2cm cube of tumeric root, finely grated (use a ginger grater if possible)
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed dry Italian herbs
  • 2 teaspoons of tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of soy milk
  • Grated pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Over a low heat lightly sauté the tumeric, garlic and pepper. Do not allow to burn.
  • Add the tomato, tofu, herbs and tamari. Lightly stir with a fork.
  • Once the tomato is softened, add the soy milk.
  • If the result has too much liquid for your liking, cook for a few minutes with the lid off. Next time try draining the tofu a bit more as perhaps some residual liquid remained after the thawing and squeezing process.

Serve on toast, optionally spread with avocado.

Next time I make this dish, I’ll try to have a camera handy to take a foodporn photo.

 

Spinach and Olive Soccattata

Soccattata is a termed coined by vegan blogger Erin Wyso. The recipe below is from her blog and it’s delightful. The word is a combination of the words socca, an unleavened, savory pancake made of chickpea flour, and ttata, from frittata, the Italian dish much like an omelette or quiche.  This meal turned out to be a huge hit.  Veghead and Spinneychick loved it, as did the larger loinfruit, LeStrange.  The smaller loinfruit, KarateKid, said that he wouldn’t run a mile for it, but that he would tolerate it on rare occasions, perhaps once yearly.  Oh well. He’ll just have to have something else when the rest of us are eating such a delicacy.  I bet he’d ask for something like baked beans.  Such heresy.  How anyone could pass up a meal that has spinach, sliced chiffonade, is beyond me.  I have taken a shine to that word and I feel that I may have to use it far more often.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup chickpea flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tspn salt
2 tabs olive oil
1/2 red onion, cut into thin half-moon slices
1 tab oil cured olives, depitted and roughly chopped
2 tabs sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2/3 cup spinach, cut chiffonade (a posh word for sliced very thinly) (you can also use Warrigal greens if you like – we did)
olive oil for frying

METHOD
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, water, salt and oil. Cover and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. There’s no need to refrigerate it.

In a small 9-inch cast iron pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the sliced onions and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let the onions caramelize for about 30 minutes (don’t stir the onions as they caramelize). Fifteen minutes into your caramelizing time, preheat your oven to 205°C.

After the onions are caramelized and your oven is preheated, increase the heat under your cast iron pan to high. Add in the olives, tomatoes and spinach to the pan with a couple tablespoons of oil. Sauté until the spinach is reduced a bit, then add about two cups of the chickpea/water mixture to the pan. It should sizzle immediately. Place the entire cast iron pan into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until it slightly browns around the edges.

Delish!

 

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.

Shepherd’s pie

When I was a loinfruit, dinners followed a pretty predictable rhythm: Sunday night roast, Monday night reheated or cold slices of Sunday’s dead animal, Tuesday night Shepherd’s Pie, and so on through the week until Sunday’s roast came again. Later, whenever I could drag my teenage mind away from the distractions of girls, girls, girls, and oh…look….a pretty girl, I began to wonder why a dish made from ground up left over roast lamb under a bed of mashed spuds was called Shepherd’s Pie. I mean, isn’t the whole idea of being a shepherd meant to be that you look after the flock and bring them all back home where they can be slaughtered in the comfort of their own barn? Surely, I thought, you’re not meant to be tucking into a cheeky bit of lamb up on the mountaintop pasture. And furthermore, where did the shepherd get a spud masher? And furthermore….oooh look…a pretty girl.

And so it came to pass that many years later I turned my thoughts again to the question of making Shepherd’s Pie. Being much older and wiser now, with the cunning and sense of reason that comes with maturity, I realised that if the Shepherd had had the wisdom to bring along a spud masher, he or she would almost certainly have thought to bring along a few other little useful things too in the rucksack, so as to be able to whip up a lovely pie high on the mountain top pasture. Meanwhile, I resolved the quandary of why a shepherd would scoff into lambsie by deciding that instead, he’d save the lamb and eat kidney beans instead.

For the putting in:

  • 400g cooked kidney beans
  • Medium onion, chopped
  • Few cloves garlic, crushed
  • Large zuchinni, grated
  • Large carrot, grated
  • Medium stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 400g finely chopped tomatoes
  • Tspn powdered cumin
  • Tspn powdered mild paprika
  • Tspn powdered cayenne pepper (or adjust heat to taste)
  • Tbspn dried mixed Italian herbs
  • Tspn chopped fresh rosemary
  • 100ml stock
  • 50ml red wine
  • 50ml passata

Also:

  • 500-750g potatoes

Also:

  • 1/2 cup of soy milk
  • Tbspn of leftover rice that you happened to have some of in the fridge
  • Tbspn of pine nuts

For the doing:

  • In a largish saucepan, lightly sauté the onion in a generous splash of olive oil
  • Once the onions are clear, add the garlic and powdered spices. Continue sautéing briefly
  • Add everything else in the main list of ingredients
  • Simmer, covered, stirring regularly to avoid sticking.
  • Once the liquid is well reduced place this mixture into a large oven proof baking dish (pyrex or similar), one that is wide and shallow rather than small and deep.

Meanwhile:

  • Boil the potatoes and mash finely with a dash of olive oil, or vegan margarine

Meanwhile:

  • Whizz up the soy milk, rice and pine nuts using a bamix (or similar inferior kitchen tool) until no lumps remain

Cover the layer of sauce in the baking dish with the mashed potatoes, then spoon the soy milk mix over the top and smooth it out evenly. Bake in the oven at 180c for 30 minutes. Serve with steamed veg’ or salad.

Today’s handy kitchen trick:

Getting an even layer of something like mashed potato over a layer of something saucy can be a right pain in the donkey. This helps; get a shallow tray that is almost the same size in area as the dish you have placed the sauce into. Put a sheet of baking paper into your tray, then layer the mashed potato onto it in an even layer. In a swift, graceful manner, invert the spud filled tray onto the sauce. Then peel the baking paper off the top and discard. This should result in a nice, smooth, even layer of mash on top of the saucy stuff. Using a spoon, gently do any minor repair work required.

P.S. Keen eyed readers will note the similarity between this dish and The Templar’s Mexican chilli beans. Three words my friends: Reuse, recycle, reduce.

 

Templar’s mexican chilli beans

We used to cook a very lovely Mexican bean dish that along with the kidney beans had some torn off chunks of tofu, all swimming in a suitably Mexican sauce. Sadly, the loinfruits, both great and small, looked at it with that expression on their faces that said “Oh goodie, dog excrement for dinner.” And so with our hearts chastened we would retreat again North of the Mexican border with our packets of tortillas and cornchips slinking behind us.

And then one day, Templar came to our rescue, riding in an a small, shaggy, dust coloured charger, lance held crazily in her hand with wide wind of duct tape mid-shaft where it had been bent slightly during some prior heroic rescue attempt. Flicking her dishevelled hair back from her hooded eyes she looked down from her humble steed and cried “Hola mis amigos. Estoy aquí con una receta de frijoles mexicanos que sus hijos les encantará. Ahora tráeme un vaso de vino y dame un beso.” Which roughly translates as “Hello my friends. I am here with a Mexican bean recipe that your children will love. Now bring me a glass of wine and kiss me.” And so we did both while she busied herself in the kitchen.

Afterwards we begged her to allow us to share her recipe so as to be able to spread the joy around. After brushing the dust from her horse and promising to bring her fresh flowers at dawn every day for a year she granted us her permission. She is THAT sort of gal,

For the putting in:

  • 400g cooked kidney beans
  • Medium onion, chopped
  • Few cloves garlic, crushed
  • Large zuchinni, grated
  • Large carrot, grated
  • 400g finely chopped tomatoes
  • Tbspn powdered cumin
  • Tspn powdered mild paprika
  • Tspn powdered cayenne pepper (or adjust heat to taste)
  • Tspn dried oregano leaves, crushed
  • 2 Tspn cocoa powder
  • 200ml stock
  • (Optional) Tspn brown sugar

For the doing:

  • In a largish saucepan, lightly sauté the onion in a generous splash of olive oil
  • Once the onions are clear, add the garlic and powdered spices. Continue sautéing briefly
  • Add everything else minus the cocoa powder
  • Simmer, covered, stirring regularly to avoid sticking.
  • Once the liquid is mostly reduced add the cocoa and stir through thoroughly

Serve with rice, a bowl of corn chips, perhaps a bowl each of chopped coriander, chopped avocado, and Spanish olives.

Comer con niños felices y un baño en su amor” my friends.

Smoked paprika and rose petal curry

Spanish Smoked Paprika has a unique flavour – think “more smoke” and “less paprika”. The VegHead has no recollection how, where, when, or even why a tin of this first came into the larder, but ever since it did it’s been in regular use. Get a tin. You cannot replicate the flavour by using standard paprika and just nipping outside for a quick puff. There are other brands than “La Chinata”, however this happens to be one that we used first and have continued using ever since. It is widely available both online and in most supermarkets, and wherever good smoked paprika is sold.

This pinto bean curry is flavoursome, but not too hot. If you wish to add heat, add 1/2 a teaspoon of your favourite dried chilli powder, or one chopped fresh chilli. Serve with a grain like quinoa, millet, couscous, or barley couscous, or even a side of wok seared spinach and ginger.

Needing:

  • 1 can of cooked pinto beans (yes – it was canned beans night in The VegHead’s larder)
  • 1/2 a small celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • a few slices of onion
  • a clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of rose petals
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • olive oil

To do:

  • saute and onion and garlic
  • add the celeriac, pepper and paprika. Cook over a low heat until celeriac is medium soft.
  • Add the beans and tomato. Stir to ensure everything is evenly covered in spices
  • Once the tomato has softened, add the rose petals and cook for a further 5 minutes on low

Harissa beetroot and aubergine

The VegHead exceeded government guidelines on the consumption of alcohol last night. Thursday was, therefore, a “slow” day. Earlier in the week, prior to this unfortunate slip in decorum, The VegHead and SheWhoMustBeFed had earmarked Thursday dinner as Beetroot and Aubergine Sri Lankan Curry night, on account of having a particularly nice looking aubergine (tight, dark flesh and firm to the touch) as well as two precooked (and un-vinegar-ed) beetroots in the fridge. However, come dinnertime both comfort food and ease of preparation was called for. Thus, I introduce to you “the lazy version” of the curry. Total cooking time is not much more than the time it takes for the aubergine to cook through.

Needing (serves two):

  • 2 cooked beetroots (not preserved in vinegar or salt), cubed
  • 1 medium aubergine, cubed in a chunky sort of way
  • 1 cup of cooked butter beans
  • a few thin slices of onion
  • 2 tablespoons of harrisa paste (or more or less to taste)
  • olive oil
  • generous handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk

To do:

  • sauté the aubergine, beans, onion, and paste in a generous splash of olive oil
  • once the aubergine is cooked, add the beetroot (adding the beetroot later in the cooking process ensures that you end up with some colour variation in the meal. Add it too early and everything just ends up purple. As the beetroot’s already cooked, you’re really just warming it up and getting it coated it spice)
  • just before serving, mix through the coriander and the coconut milk

Serve with mashed potato a.k.a. “comfort food”

Baked tofu and bean balls

These balls are ideal for either Loinfruits or as party finger food. They bake to a lovely dark golden colour. To ensure that they were easy to remove from the tray once cooked The VegHead cooked a batch in a large muffin (or “cup cake”) tray – and used a load of the happy little paper cup cake whats-its. The Loinfruit saw the uncooked balls sitting in the gaily coloured trays before they went into the oven and there was a near riot in the kitchen ….

“Look! It’s cakes for dinner!” , said The Loinfruit
“Oh no it is!”, said the Nasty Ogre, cruelly crushing their happiness *

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of medium tofu
  • 1 cup of giant Baked Beans
  • 2 slices of bread, finely crumbed
  • 1/3 cup of cashews, finely crushed
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of light tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of tamari
  • pepper to taste

To do:

  • Mash everything together to an even mixture
  • If too wet, crumb another slice of bread and mix through thoroughly
  • Form into firm balls of approximately 5cm diameter, place into prepared paper cups
  • Bake in a hot oven for 35 minutes

(*) “The Nasty Ogre” is a.k.a. “The VegHead”

Broad bean and lemon tagine

Very simple, lightly spiced. Is this Moroccan? It is cooked in a tagine and it does use preserved lemon, which are two hallmarks of Moroccan cooking. However the thyme is generally thought of as more Mediterranean than North African. The herb is however widely used across the region and in as comfortable in Middle Eastern cuisines as Italian and Greek. Who knows. Quit asking difficult questions and just eat!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of shelled broad beans (*)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • a few thin slices of red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of light miso
  • 1 small preserved lemon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each of fresh thymes leaves, and fresh lemon thyme leaves. Chopped.
  • black pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • water

To do:

  • If using frozen broad beans, bring them to a rolling boil for a few minutes first in small saucepan. Doing so will reduce your cooking time for the tagine in the oven by up to 45 minutes compared to what it would have been had you put the frozen beans straight into the tagine! Use the boiled water as stock in the tagine.
  • Thoroughly mix everything, making sure the miso is dissolved evenly
  • Add enough of the water to cover the beans
  • Bake at inferno setting in a preheated oven for around 45 minutes (or about 90 minutes if you didn’t thaw your frozen broad beans!)

* Broad beans are one of the few vegetables The VegHeads keeps in the house “snap frozen”. The VegHead and SheWhoMustBeFed adore fresh broad beans when they are in season and we will happily shell them and then individually peel them – there’s nothing like fresh broad beans lightly steamed or quickly blanched. However The VegHead once weighed all the discarded shells etc and confirmed the suspicion that when you buy fresh broad beans by weight you are paying for one third edible beans, and two thirds compost feed. And they’re not cheap to begin with. So any other dish we cook using broad beans (which generally means a tagine) we use organic, snap frozen broad beans instead.

Shittake Mushroom dip

You have to take a break from hommous every now and then don’t you? Though the Bamix eventually gets a little itchy for some blending.

What’s in the fridge?

What’s in the fridge?

Hmm….some nice shittake mushrooms, and a bag of fruity brown gilled mushrooms too…

Mushroom dip….yumm….

The following is how The VegHead would make it next time, as the first time it ended up a little sloppier than the ideal consistency.

Need to find in your fridge:

  • 4 to 6 large shittake mushrooms, chopped
  • an equal amount of open gilled “standard” mushrooms, chopped
  • an equal amount of pine nuts (by volume), fairly finely crushed
  • 2 thin slices of red onion
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • olive oil
  • teaspoon of dark sesame oil
  • teaspoon of mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tamari
  • tablespoon of tahini
  • ground pepper

きのこののり作成方式 (*)

  • Lightly sauté the shittake mushrooms together with the garlic, onion and pepper in a little olive oil
  • Blend the cooked shittake mushrooms etc together with the raw mushrooms.
  • Add the nuts, and the sesame oil, mirin, tamari and tahini. Continue blending to a smooth paste

Store in a covered container in the fridge, lightly drizzled with a little more olive oil. Try to finish it within 3 days of making.

* Roughly translates as “The method of making mushroom paste”

Roast butter bean and celeriac

The cumin/pepper/ginger sauce used in this is originally from a “Marinated tofu” recipe from some or another commercial cookbook that populates our shelves. It has become a widely used marinade for beans, broad beans, tofu, cauliflower and lots more. Its just one of those sauces that “works”.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of cooked butter beans
  • half a celeriac, peeled and cubed to approximately 2cm cubes
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper (this will make it fairly spicy)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cm of ginger root, grated
  • a generous splash each of tamari, olive oil, mirin, and toasted sesame oil

To make:

  • Mix everything together in a bowl
  • Pour mixture into a lidded baking dish (take the lid off before pouring)
  • Just cover with water
  • Bake at inferno for 45 minutes

Served with a large bag of baby spinach leaves, lightly stir fried with chopped mushrooms, and a light sprinkly of (vegan) Worcestershire sauce.

So THATS what you do with a Celeriac

In this age of political correctness, it is unacceptable on the whole to use the word “ugly”. We’re meant to dress things up and pretend we live in some sort of Disney version of the world where we’re all happy shiny people, living happy shiny lives and there’s never anything truly offensive.

However there are some pretty ugly things out there, lets face it. Ugly buildings and developments. Ugly abuses of human rights. Ugly truths like climate change. There’s probably even some little part of you that you find ugly about yourself, maybe that small toe you dropped a brick on one day. Maybe that nasty nagging in-grown hair. In the US alone $1900,000,000 was spent last year on cosmetic surgery to change what someone thought was a little bit of ugly.

So lets be honest and admit that in the world there are some ugly things.

Like celeriac.

When the Flying Spaghetti Monster was handing out characteristics the celeriac was all the way at the end of the line for looks. In contrast, think of an Orange. There is a fruit that so epitomises its colour that it is called the colour. Or vice versa perhaps. Then there is the rich, fragrant simplicity of the basil leaf. The endless velvety form of our mushrooms.

And then there’s the celeriac.

Like you, The VegHead has looked at a pile of celeriacs sitting amongst the potatoes, carrots and so on and wondered exactly which planet it transported in from. Just where is Planet Fugly? All the while however you have to admire its pluck. The power of the supermarket is so strong that they can dictate exactly what colour an apple can be, and which shape is suitable for bananas, cucumbers and tomatoes. Its like the celeriac is just sitting there smirking and thinking “Go on…try to regulate me into some lovely package”.

The celeriac is the ugly man in the room of same-same Hollywood blandness, the person so outstandingly out of place with ugliness that you eventually cross the room at the party to go see what the story is. Because there has to be one right?

So The VegHead bought one. Which is different from knowing what to do with it. So to save you the same searching on Google here is what you need to know:

  • they’re good for roasting, boiling and mashing
  • they need to be peeled
  • they’ll smell like dirt before you peel them and have a light celery smell to them once peeled
  • they oxidise very quickly once peeled, so only cut and peel them just before cooking or they’ll blacken
  • lemon apparently slows the blackening
  • they can bitter if not cooked properly. If boiling, place into boiling water not cold water (and brought to the boil) as the latter method makes them bitter
  • most of the nutrients are just under the skin so don’t peel too deeply

So far, The VegHead has only tried it roasted with some spices. It was good. More experimention to come. Leave a comment if you know of any good recipes using celeriac.

And remember; all the freaky people make the beauty of the world.

Potato and bean balls

The Larger Loinfruit polished off nine of these together with a salad for dinner, and had to be dissuaded from stealing a tenth off the plate of the Smaller Loinfruit, who isn’t as keen on them and who would have been happy to foist one off his plate if he could have got away with it.

These balls cook to a lovely light golden colour, however their popularity meant there were none left to pose for the camera so you’ll just have to take The VegHead’s word for it. Perhaps next time the potato paparazzi will be in town.

All well as keeping Larger Loinfruit fed, these are a good grown up party finger food, and can be made and refrigerated ahead of time and placed into the oven 20 minutes before you need them.

When you roll the balls, aim for a bit smaller than a squash ball.

The following makes about 12 balls, depending on how large you make them.

You will need:

  • 1 large potato; peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup of cooked butter beans (or haricot)
  • 1/4 cup of finely ground roasted cashews (not salted variety)
  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread, finely crumbed
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of cumin powder
  • 1 fine slice of red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Get all dressed up and go to the Potato and Bean Ball:

  • No black tie required, but roll up your sleaves and make sure someone is around afterward to turn on the tap so you can wash your hands
  • Lightly saute the onion and garlic in olive oil
  • Mash all ingredients together
  • Knead lightly until mixture binds fairly well
  • Form into evenly sized balls
  • Grease a baking tray lightly with olive oil
  • Lightly brush each ball with same oil
  • Bake in a medium oven for 15-20 minutes

This recipe is courtesy of SheWhoMustBeFed

Quite possibly the perfect hommous

Most of the world’s religions have a central theme of mankind’s continued path toward knowledge and redemption. No less than Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, the Latter-day Saints, The Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Rastafari movement, various Islamic faiths including Sunni and Shia, Dick Cheney and the rest of the lunatic base of the US Republican Party, Zoroastrians and Buddhists and a few others too subscribe to the idea of End Times. In almost all cases a series of events, some small and seemingly insignificant, and some calamitous and far reaching will herald the end of humanity’s reign on the material planetary plain of existence, while the faithful ascend to a better place where 17 organic, fairly traded, low love-mile virgins await all.

Last week my friends we all jiggled just a little closer to the end. A sign was there to see if your eyes were unclouded by the lurid distractions of supermarket ready-meals. Last week, the perfect hommous was invented.

Remember the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. The BKWSU believe in a 5th age called the Confluence Age, a time of both a total annihilation of humanity by Nuclear weapons, civil war and natural disasters; and revelation of perfect hommous making. Watch out for the next indicator – McDonalds turning into a vegan paradise. Meanwhile, enjoy this dip while awaiting the doors of paradise to be opened.

If you want to recreate this miracle you will need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 2 teaspoons of tamari
  • 2 teaspoons of thick, sweet balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of mirin
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

To do:

  • Very lightly saute the garlic in a small amount of the oil
  • Bamix everything to a smooth paste