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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.