Friday, March 30, 2007

Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potato. It's so versatile. I love it cooked every which way.
I've made oven baked sweet potato fries before, and while yummy, they didn't quite do it for me.
I decided to try again, this time, frying the chips for a couple of minutes, with oil & sea salt.

Recipe for about 2 serves
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into fries
Olive oil spray
2tsp olive oil
Sprinkle coarse sea salt

1.Place chips on a lined baking tray. Spread out evenly, and spray with a fine mist of olive oil.
2.Place, covered, in a pre-heated 180C(350F) oven.
3.Bake for about 40 minutes, or until tender.
4.Heat 2tsp of olive oil in a large frypan on medium heat. Add salt, and chips, and cook until the chips glisten, and start to get nice brown crispy bits on them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Apple, Walnut & Sultana Loaf

I am in love with Tessa Kiros.. well her books.
They are not simply recipe books- scientific equations for food production.
They are a treatise on life..

I wanted to make a fruity not too sweet, almost breadish cake, so I turned to her book "Apples for Jam" for inspiration.
The following, is an adaptation of her recipe "Apple Bread with Sugar & Cinnamon Topping".
This is what she writes about it:
I love the name apple bread- it carries me off in my fantasy to some very green hills with chunky plates and jugs of fresh cream, with rosy cheeked children skipping about here and there. It is perfect for snacks, breakfast, with a meal or as a meal with a few chunks of cheese...

This cake is moorish. Although I did share it with cucciolo mio & a few friends, it is already gone, with not even a crumb remaining.
Cucciolo mio had 2 slices (still warm) last night, with a smear of organic butter, and a mug of milk. Mmmn, comfort food.

1 cup red wine (I used leftovers from my pasta & Andrea Bocelli night)
1/2 cup sultanas
1 red apple, peeled & cored
1/2 vanilla pod, split open (or dash of vanilla essence)
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder)
2 Tbs raw granulated sugar
1/2 cup raw granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup wholemeal flour, sifted
1tsp bicarb soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup apples, peeled, cored & coarsely grated
Used vanilla bean insides
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1.Place red wine, sultanas, apple, vanilla pods, cinnamon & 2 Tbs sugar in a saucepan on medium-high heat, and bring to boil. Cook on a gentle boil, until apple is tender, but not mooshy.
2.Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Prepare a loaf pan.
3.In a large bowl, beat together oil and 1/2 cup sugar. Mash cooked apple, and add to bowl, beating well.
4.Sift the flour, bicarb soda, baking powder & cinnamon in. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, well.
5.Pour wine & sultana mixture through a strainer, into a container. (The wine is yummy on fruit as a syrup, or just drunk as a mulled wine)
6.Stir in grated apples, walnuts & sultanas to bowl.
7.Take vanilla pod from wine pot, and scrape out the inside seeds into the bowl (or add vanilla essence). Stir well.
8.Spoon mixture into loaf pan, and back for about 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes.
If the top starts to brown before it's done, cover with foil.
9.Turn out onto cooling racks- but DO eat a slice while still warm..

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Penne with Tomato & Basil

I had the house to myself tonight.
I don't know why that makes dinner feel so different, but it does.
I recently bought a basil plant, and it's succulent & sweet smelling leaves, have been calling me.
So tonight, I decided on a simple pairing- tomato & basil.

I used some canned tomatoes- last years harvest from my Dad's farm.
I poured myself a glass of delicious wine, from said farm, and put on Andrea Bocelli (loud).
Recipe (for 2)
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
10 or so basil leaves
1 cup passata
1 cup stewed roma tomatoes, chopped (canned is fine)
1/2tsp fuoco d'amore or chilli sauce
1 Tbs red wine
Salt & pepper to taste

1 Tbs pine nuts
1 Tbs bread crumbs
2 basil leaves, chopped

1.Heat oil in frypan, on medium heat.
Add onion, and cook til golden. Add garlic, cooking until softened.
2.Add remaining ingredients.
3.Cook pasta as per directions.
4.Place pine nuts, bread crumbs and basil leaves on a tray, under the grill (broiler) until golden.
Pour into a motar and pestle, and beat around until evenly textured.
5.When the pasta is about ready, add pine nut mixture to sugho(pasta sauce). Turn off heat.
6.Drain pasta.
Add to frypan, and stir sugho through well.

General Tso's Vegetables & Basmati Rice

After reading about no impact man, in the New York Times, I have been thinking of ways to further lessen my environmental impact, in regard to food.
I decided buying in bulk from the co-op (so I can use my own containers), is a good start..
As well as habitually(I've been sporadic at best) frequenting, my local organic farmers market.

All this takes some planning though, and so, until then, I'm foraging through what's left in my pantry and fridge-
And so, again last night I had General Tso's veggies TA-DA!

Cucciolo mio had home-made pizza instead, but after having a bite of mine, said he would have rathered it - wow, veggies over pizza!?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chickpea and Green Bean, Tomato Stew

I have no idea of the origins of this dish- neither literally, or ethnically..
It came to me from my dear friend M, she bought it along to a potluck picnic once.
I've been making it ever since. It's a nice, reliable 30 minute meal (who doesn't love 30 minute meals!?)..
The secret ingredient, which really transforms the whole dish- is white vinegar:
Don't ask me, in this case, I just follow the instructions.


1-2Tbs olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2tsp cumin seeds
1/2tsp asafoetida
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (I used tinned organic)
2Tbs tomato paste
2Tbs water
1 can(400g) chickpeas, drained
2 handfuls green beans (or snake beans) split, and halved
4 small dried bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2Tbs white vinegar

Basmati rice

1.Add oil and onion to frypan on medium heat. When softened, add garlic, cumin & asafoetida, and saute until onion is browned.
2.Add all remaining ingredients, except vinegar, and stir well to combine. Cover, and turn down heat just a little.
3.Boil water for rice, and cook per instructions.
4.By the time your rice is cooked, and drained, the green beans should be tender.
Add vinegar, and stir in well. Cook for 1 or 2 more minutes.
5.Serve, with rice.

St Pats Naked Irish Oatmeal Cupcakes

If you squint your eyes, and look really, really carefully, you can see I'm Irish..
Some of my great(etc+) grandparents came to Australia from Ireland, 211 years ago.
There could also be green blood, a wee bit closer, somewhere in there, but that's not yet known..
My husband says he's Irish American- so far it seems to me, we're probably similarly nano-decimal-Irish.. but then, he does have a cool Irish name.

When we were in Portland, OR, last october, I had many delicious slices of Irish Oatmeal cake (vegan), from New Seasons [truly the friendliest store around!]..
It came close to being my favourite cake -ever..
So, being St Pats day and all, I decided to try to make my own version.

I found this recipe, and veganised it, subbing:
1/2 canola oil for the butter (oops, it should have been 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup granulated evaporated cane juice - instead of white sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup - instead of brown sugar
2Tbs ground flax seed, mixed with 2Tbs water - instead of 2 eggs
1 1/3 wholemeal flour - instead of white

I also added:
1/2 cup of applesauce, along with the oil
1/2tsp baking soda, along with the baking powder
Omitted the salt
1/2 cup rolled oats, just before spooning into liners

I didn't make the topping, because I was unsure of a condensed milk sub, and anyway, I was planning on doing a vanilla buttercream frosting..
Which I tried, but it was just too rich and sweet for my liking.
So, naked they stayed.

While these were yummy, they didn't touch on the bring-you-to-your-knees-delicious-ness of the Portland cake.
Gotta keep on trying :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

General Tso's Tofu with Vegetables & Basmati Rice

I've never had General Tso's before.
I haven't even seen it on a menu, here in Australia.
Still, considering how much my husband adores it- I figured it was worth trying..
Then I found this recipe, via ateoto ...

Cucciolo mio(my little pet/husband)doesn't like tofu, so I only did enough tofu to satisfy myself- and because I'm not a fan of cornflour, I only used it sparingly..
I also added:

1 1/2 carrots (diced)
1 1/2 smallish zucchinis (diced)
1/2 head of broccoli (cut into small florets)
Handful of green beans (sliced in 2 and halved)
1 rib of celery (cut into small strips)
1 smallish onion (diced)
1/3 red capsicum/bell pepper (cut into chunks)

*While I was preparing my tofu, as per instructions, I steamed my veggies (except the onion and capsicum) until just tender.
*I then set both aside, and continued to make the sauce as per recipe.
*I added the onion and capsicum, with the ginger and garlic.
*Finally I stirred the whole kit and caboodle together, and served it over some basmati rice.

I'll definitely be making this again.
This was enough for cucciolo mio and I + leftovers for 1

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cauliflower Pasta with Toasted Breadcrumbs

It's always a challenge, when you have a few lonely vegetables in your crisper, and not much else by way of ingredients.
I realised, despite good intentions- a lot of vegetables I buy, go straight from crisper to compost.
So, in the spirit of 'use what you have', this pasta was born..

I've been a bit bored with pasta lately- I know all my own tricks too well..
But this was something new, and it was really quick and easy to make- always a bonus.

I don't know if it was the addition of fuoco d'amore (Fire of Love) chilli sauce (actually a gift for my husband), but this dish was really a flavour notch above my usual pasta staples..

Makes 2 serves
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 onion (I like red)
1/2 cup mushrooms (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
2/3 cup cauliflower (chopped into small florets)
2/3 cup diced tomatoes (I use organic tinned/canned)
1 tsp chilli sauce [I used fuoco d'amore (product of italy) but you can use any that contains real chillies]
2 Tbs water

250g(about) dried pasta (I used wholemeal penne)

2 Tbs breadcrumbs
2 Tbs pine nuts
2 tsp mixed dried herbs (I wanted to use 2 Tbs fresh parsley)

1.Put oil in a fry-pan on medium heat, and cook onions until golden.
Add mushrooms, until softened, then add garlic. Cook until garlic is golden but not brown.

2.Add cauliflower, diced tomatoes, chilli sauce and water, and stir until well combined. Cover.

3.Cook pasta, as per directions.
Place breadcrumbs, pine nuts and herbs on a lined baking tray, and place under the grill/broiler.
Keep an eye on them(I burnt one lot!). Toast til golden, then set aside.

4.By the time your pasta's done, your cauliflower should be nice and tender- if not, continue to cook until it is.
Drain pasta.
With your frypan on the still warm, hotplate, add pasta, and stir well to coat.
Stir in breacrumb mixture.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Breakfast for his Birthday

Yesterday was my husbands birthday.
Although as he argues, he was actually born on the other side of the international date line, and thus is entitled to two birthdays! :)

Our eating habits & tastes, are vastly different-He isn't a vegan.
SO, for breakfast I made him- Buttermilk pancakes, with maple syrup and fresh bananas & blueberries..

His verdict- YUM

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Two posts in one day!? ack

Due to a bloody moth invasion, my pantry is very bare, still I had the required ingredients for oatmeal raisin's.
They are also my husbands favourites.. and it is sort of his birthday week.

I altered the recipe from "The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook"
When I got to measuring out the flour, I realised my organic wholemeal flour had been infested- So I nixed that and decided to use 1/2 rice flour instead.
I've never used it before- but I guessed it would be more nutritous than white flour.
Am I being delusional?

If you want a real gooey-chewy cookie- a lot of people like their oatmeal raisin's that way:
Add more 'fat', either in applesauce or canola oil.
Edit 3/11/07: I think I was just so starved for a vegan cookie, any vegan cookie, that these tasted good. Don't get me wrong, they weren't terrible.. but ordinarily they wouldn't have hit my cookie spot. Definitely more fat needed!! And rice flour was a bad idea!

Recipe (I only made a 1/2 batch)
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soymilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups rice flour (or like I wanted- wholemeal flour)
1 1/4 cups white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins (pre-soaked in orange juice or hot water)

1.Cream apple sauce and oil together. Cream in sugar.

2.Add soymilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

3.Beat in flour, baking powder and salt.

4.With a spoon, stir in oats and finally the raisins, until well combined.

5.Bake at 180C/350F oven, for about 10 minutes, or until undersides just start to brown.

Spiced Yellow Split Peas with Vegetables and Basmati Rice

I'm a little too fond of my breakfast ritual.
So much so, that lately I have been eating breakfast, twice a day..
To curb the ill effects of too much tahini, I tried something different last night.

This was a make-it-up-as-you-go type dinner, with the starting point being split-yellow-peas.
It ended up being a quasi indian meal- spiced split peas and veggies, with basmati rice.

We have been having monster rain storms around here lately.
Such that, it already feels a little bit like autumn.
So with this in mind, I cosied up on the couch, and ate this last night.
It was mild, yet still flavourful.
Had a real satisfying comfort food feel- I think it would be lovely in winter.
It hit the spot.

1/2 onion
1/2 rib celery
1/5 capsicum (bell pepper)
1/3 carrot (save the rest)

1tsp tumeric
1tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Chilli or cayenne pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups split yellow peas

2 large cauliflower florets (cut off from a head of cauliflower)
Remaining carrot
1 apple (peeled & cored)
1/3 cup raisins
1 zucchini

Basmati rice

1.Finely dice onion, celery, bell pepper and 1/3 of the carrot .
Place in saucepan with enough olive oil to suit, on medium heat.
Stir in spices, and cook until onion is browned.

2.Pour in washed split peas, and stir to coat the split peas thoroughly.
Add enough water to cover, and bring to boil.

3.Roughly chop zucchini, apple, cauliflower and remaining carrot.
Add the sultanas and reduce heat, to a gentle boil.
Cook for about 10 minutes.

4.Cook basmati rice, as per directions. Mine usually only takes about 10 minutes on the boil.

5.Add cauliflower, apple and carrot to mixture.
If split peas are running dry, add a little more water.
Cook for another 15 minutes, stirring every now and then.

6.Add zucchini, and continue to cook until tender.
You may have to stir more frequently towards the end, to prevent sticking.

7.Your split peas and veggies, by now should be tender but not mooshy!
Serve on top of basmati rice..