Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lentil & Bean Stew

My Mum came home today, after four months away.
Not much of a welcome, thick and constant rain and about 17C(62F).
The classic story of- if only you'd have been here yesterday!
We were going to go out to lunch, but her car battery died.. so house bound, I made lentil & bean stew.
She bought me gifts from Papua New Guinea, South Africa, India, Madeira & the U.K!? :)
Recipe Serves 4
1Tbs olive oil
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped finely
1/4 red capsicum, chopped finely
12 basil leaves
1 tin organic peeled tomatoes
1 tin organic borlotti beans
1 tin organic cannelini beans
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup water
Chilli paste
Salt n pepper

1.After browning the onions with the capsicum and carrot, put all the ingredients in a pot and cook for about 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lentil soup with homemade rye bread

I made this a while ago, but forgot to post it.
I made the soup ala my recent lentil and carrot pasta- adding more lentils & water.
The bread was made with rye & spelt flour.
It was ok, but I'm such a lazy kneader, and thus my bread is usually quite leaden!
Cucciolo mio remarked "You could kill someone with that thing".
I'm not sure if he meant by feeding it to them, or hitting them over the head with it!?
Either way, he was probably right. Still the soup, the soup was delicious..

Vegetable Tagine

I love this dish.
I'm so pleased I braved making it the first time -many, many months ago now..
To a certain extent, I generally stick to that which is familiar- cinnamon sticks in cooking, was not..
Still, I persevered, and it was a taste sensation. I made it many times last winter, and intend to do the same this year.
"Vegan with a Vengeance", labels it a spring vegetable tagine, but I think the warming spices and hearty lentils lend it to autumn or winter fare..
Oh, and did I mention it has sultanas in it!? Any savoury dish with sultanas in it, pretty much wins me over. I love when they get all plump & juicy..

So far as the herbs and spices, I pretty much follow VWaV to the letter.
With the vegetables I tend to use, whatever I have on hand- Last night there was broccoli, cabbage, green beans & carrots.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Eggplant in tomato

I remember eating this dish growing up. It's generally served as a side-dish, but we always had it over rice, as a one-plate-meal. Small meatballs done in the same way, were often served for lazy sunday lunches- you could use veganballs.

Last night I had this as a side, with a simple basil pesto pasta. Today, for lunch over rice.
(Yes, I am running out of ingredients and need to go to the store! :D )

For such a simple dish, it is surprisingly tasty!
Feel free to add herbs, I've used basil & oregano at different times.

Recipe for 4 side serves
2 skinny eggplants, sliced about 1cm (1/4inch) thick
(The 'skinnies' are usually the same length as regular eggplants)
1 clove garlic, minced
2tsp olive oil
1/4tsp chilli paste
1Tbs red wine (optional)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste

1.Lay slices of eggplant in a baking dish evenly.
2.In a bowl combine tomatoes, chilli paste and garlic, mix well.
3.Pour bowls contents over eggplant.
4.Drizzle wine & olive oil over the top.
5.Bake in a pre-heated 200C(350F) oven for about 20minutes.
6.Give everything a good stir, and return to oven for about 10 more minutes.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Where's the hole donuts!?

Tempted by Vegan Yum Yum's delicious looking mini-donuts, I decided to make my own.
I don't have a cute lil donut baking pan like her, so I went with this weird flying saucer like, pan I have- no holes.

One of my favourite donuts, was always the classic cinnamon- especially hot from the fryer.. oh yeah!

It has been many years since I've had one of those.
I used unbleached spelt flour, instead of regular flour- I am really liking the spelt!
Canola oil instead of margarine- reduced by 1Tbs.
For the topping I simply put 4Tbs of raw granulated sugar in a food processor, with 1tsp of cinnamon. Then, hot from the oven, dunked my little discs in the mixture..

Yum! These, like the 'real' thing, are very addictive..

Lentil & Carrot Penne

I made up this recipe the other night, because I had a hankering for lentils.
I wasn't sure what I was going to serve them with, ultimately I went for penne.
I later discovered, the sauce makes for a much more tasty, stand-alone soup.

Recipe for 2 serves of pasta + 1 soup OR 2 serves of soup
1/2 cup dry red lentils
2Tbs olive oil
1/4 green capsicum, chopped finely
1/2 onion, chopped finely
2 small carrots, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
8 basil leaves, chopped roughly
1 cup stewed tomatoes (I use organic tinned)
3Tbs tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste

1.Saute onion & capsicum with oil, in medium saucepan, on medium heat. Cook until golden.
2.Add carrots & garlic, and cook until fragrant, but not browned.
3.Add lentils, and stir well to coat. Add remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste.
4.Put lid on saucepan, reducing heat slightly, and allow to cook until lentils are tender- about 20 minutes.
5.Give small whizz with blender-stick-thinga-ma-jigga, retaining some of the chunk.
6.Serve as soup or over pasta- I say soup is best!

Friday, April 13, 2007

General Tso's Vegetables

I have a new lazy dish. For those days when you're already hungry, and you haven't even thought about cooking yet.. The recipe's sauce qoutient is definitely for 4 serves though!-
Use it with veggies for 2, at your peril.. Your veggies will be swamped in chilli goodness :)
It was a gorgeous, sunny 27C(80F) yesterday, so I took my lunch outside..

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sweet Potato & Mushroom Curry Puffs

This is another recipe from my friend Amanda. I remember she made it with her sister, when I was 16. At that stage, my veggo repetoire basically only covered stir-fries, so I was well impressed.
We ate these, curled up on the couch watching "Northern Exposure". Almost falling into swoon induced comas, from watching Chris.

Rain usually makes me feel mellow: curl up in a corner time, slow down, smell the furniture. Today... it just makes me feel wet. What is it about owning things? Why do we feel the need to own what we love, and why do we become such jerks when we do? We've all been there, you know: we want something; we own it; and by owning it we change it. When you finally win that girl of your dreams, the first thing you do is try to change her. That little thing she does with her hair, the way she wears her clothes, the way she chews her gum. Until eventually, what you like, what you don't like and what you change all merges into one. Like a watercolor in the rain.
-Chris Stevens

This is also great as a simple curry over rice.

Recipe serves 2
1Tbs oil
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1/2 sweet potato, diced
3 large button mushrooms, sliced
Curry to taste (I use about 2 tsps)
1/4 cup lite coconut cream
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed)

1.Saute onion in oil, in a large frypan on medium heat. Cook until golden.
2.Add sweet potato & mushrooms, stirring to coat.
3.Add curry, stirring well, before mixing through coconut cream.
4.Cover pan, and leave to cook, until potato is tender (about 10 to 15 minutes). You may need to add some more coconut cream, if mixture is a bit dry, or sticking to pan.
5.Cut pastry in 1/2, and spoon mixture on each piece. Cover 1/2 the pieces, leaving the edges uncovered. Fold over uncovered pastry halves, to cover mixture, and press down edges with a fork to seal.
6.Cut a few slits in the top of the pastry. And bake in a preheated 180C(350F) oven, until pastry is golden- about 15 minutes.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Although the weather still isn't that cold, I'm in autumn mode.
The ocean is still a luscious 23C(74F), so really I should be surfing.. except, I feel like curling up under the doona and watching DVDs instead.
We got: "Art school confidential", "The departed", "Little miss sunshine", and another one I can't remember the name of.
I feel like eating lentils and rice at the moment.. warm, hearty & satisfying food.
So I made my own version of Tessa Kyro's- ribollita (from "Twelve"), and served it over basmati rice.
Recipe for about 4
2Tbs olive oil
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1 carrot, finely grated
1/4 small green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 can (10 1/2 oz) cannellini beans, drained
1Tbs tomato paste
1/2 stewed diced tomatoes (I use tinned organic)
1tsp chilli paste (fuoco d'amore)
water to cover
Salt & pepper to taste
2 slices stale bread
1.In a medium-large saucepan, saute onion in olive oil, on medium heat, until golden.
2.Add garlic and carrots, and cook until fragrant, but not browned.
3.Add remaining ingredients, except for bread. Fill the pot with water, to cover ingredients.
4.Lid pot, and turn down heat slightly, leave to cook for about 20 minutes.
5.Depending on the size of your cabbage pieces, they should be almost tender by now.
Remove lid, and return heat to medium. Cook until cabbage is tender.
6.You may have to add a little water, if it has mostly been absorbed already.
7.Add bread, and allow to absorb water and become soggy. Whiz briefly with a hand-held mixer, being sure to get the bread. It's nice if you can leave some beans and cabbage whole though.
8.Serve plain or over rice.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Choc Chunk Cookies

The store was out of cucciolo mio's favourite 'fresh' cookies.
Last night he was craving a sweet hit, so I offered to make something his style, from scratch.
When I mentioned Betty Crocker white-chocolate-chunk-macadamia-cookies, he said yes please.

I got the cookbook as a wedding gift from his great-aunt, and while I have a soft spot for Betty, she's just not my style. But last night, I sought her out.
I followed the recipe faithfully- with organic butter and vegetarian fed, free range eggs..
But I drew the line with the sugar, and reduced the called for amount, so there was an equal flour sugar ratio (I mean comeon', more sugar than flour!!?)

As they were baking I thought I would probably like a rice milk dunking buddy too-
So I made dark-chocolate-chunk-cookies, based on the recipe from 'Sinfully Vegan'.
They weren't amazing, but they were SO quick & easy.

Sadly & peculiarly, cucciolo mio only had one cookie.. saying they were ok, but nothing great..

Me: You mean not sweet enough?
Cm: I don't know.. just bland
Me: Okay, but if they had more sweetness they'd be better?
Cm: I don't know.. probably.. they just taste flour-y..bland

Recipe makes about 1 dozen
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (overflowing cup!)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2/3 cup dark choc chips
2 1/2 cups spelt flour

1.Pre-heat oven to 180C(350F).
2.Place canola oil, maple syrup, vanilla essence and choc chips in a mixing bowl, and stir to combine well.
3.Slowly add the flour, and mix well.
4.Drop spoonfuls of mixture, on a lined baking tray, and press to flatten.
5.Bake for about 10 minutes, or until just browned on their bottoms.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Chilli with Tears

I was supposed to go to the football, with cucciolo mio last night.
Anticipating few vegan food options, and a chilly autumn night, I made a pot of chilli.

As it turned out, cucciolo mio bought home an orphan stray kitten.
We nixed our plans in favour of looking after, the little fuzzball of cuteness.

Sadly, little one ended up dying last night :'(
We don't even really know what happened to her. She just started crashing, and never got better..
Cucciolo mio and I were so upset, we didn't feel like eating at all.

Today I am still feeling a little tender..
But with a big pot of chilli in the fridge, I decided I should eat some for lunch.

I made up the chilli recipe- I've made chilli so many times, I know the basic formula now..
Still, right now I can't remember what I put in it.