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Meatless Monday – Mushroom and spinach risotto

#meatlessmonday mushroom and spinach #risotto #italian

If you’re like one of the billion of people who stayed up late or wake up extra early for the World Cup final, you’re probably feeling just as wrecked as I am at the moment. After a series of incredibly long, drawn out matches in the last couple of rounds, nothing made me happier than seeing a ball actually hitting the back of the net, and quite satisfyingly so. I just noticed I’ve been posting Italian dishes every Monday. Quite simply it’s because they’re fairly easy to make and with very little hassle. I like my victories delivered on a plate! Read More…

Meatless Monday – Spaghetti alla Carbonara di Zucchine

#365days #365daysproject #meatlessmonday #vegetarian zucchini carbonara

 

With the weather cooling down, I’ve been in the look out for comfort food. I’ve been in the lookout for a vegetarian carbonara recipe, with varying degrees of success. There was a Gilt kale recipe that I attempted and turned out to be disastrous, thought this great blog mastered it. There’s nothing more heart breaking than a failed dish for #Meatless Monday, not only do I have nothing to show for it, I ended up eating the sad rejected dish and hating the experience.

I’m glad to say this was not one of those failed moments. To me a great carbonara should have that classic combination of creamy egg and cheese sauce, tempered with a lovely salty crunchiness that usually comes from the bacon. This recipe from bon apetit is the closest vegetarian alternative I’ve managed to find and I love its simplicity as well.  Read More…

Meatless Monday – Caponata

#365days #365daysproject #meatlessmonday back on the wagon yotam #ottolenghi 'a #caponata recipe with Kalamazoo olive sourdough

Winter is here and after a hiatus in blogging, peppered with a trip around Europe and a new job, it feels right to pick this up again.

There are some dishes that keeps on giving after it is cooked, and this generous dish by Yotam Ottolenghi is definitely one of those. Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant vegetable salad with celery, capers and a sweet and sour vinegar sauce. Traditionally served as a side dish it is also one that can be served as an entree on rustic bread with pecorino or as a main dish tossed with pasta. Read More…

Meatless Monday – Irish Stew

#meatfreemonday #meatlessmonday Irish stew in memory of st pat

I’m starting to appreciate the saying “done is better than perfect”, especially when it comes to forming habits. Sometimes making sure I’m on track is more important than creating the perfect blog entry. Sometimes the end goal is the journey, the longer I stay on the path the more likely I am to reach the destination, one step at a time.

This hearty stew comes from the good folks at Vegetarian Times. The addition of Crown beer provides a nice local touch to this St Patrick’s tribute. Great served with brown bread on the side.

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 200 g button or shiitake mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 1 medium leek, white part only, diced (1 cup)
  • 3 small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 small parsnips, peeled and sliced (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 ½ tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in bundle, plus 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • ½ cup lager beer
  • 1 ½ Tbs. quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 Tbs. white miso
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley

1. Heat 1/2 Tbs. oil in large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; sauté 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are browned. Remove from pan. Add remaining 1/2 Tbs. oil to pot. Add leek, and cook 5 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and tomato paste. Cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, and thyme sprigs; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add lager, tapioca, and mushrooms. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened, stirring often. Remove thyme sprigs, stir in cabbage and miso, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes, or until cabbage softens. Stir in chopped thyme and parsley, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Meatless Monday – Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Sometimes it’s all about how the cookie crumbles, or in this case how the bread crumb crunches. In the spirit of crunchy zen coupled with the autumn breeze sweeping through Sydney’s evening sky I hunted for this old fashioned  Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Read More…

Meatless Monday – Gnocchi with burnt sage butter

Hand made gnocchi with burnt sage butter

I never quite understand the fuss about gnocchi. My first experience had been a starchy, floury thing that made me full after eating a half dozen or so. There had been a number of times when I stared resentfully at a plateful of gnocchi after a few bites and wonder how anyone can finish this impossible dish. Read More…

Meatless Monday – Okra Belachan

Okra

I decided to blog about this particular recipe in the mistaken belief that this was a childhood dish. Turned out that Okra is not an ingredient I grew up with in Indonesia, and this was further confirmed when Mum gave me a puzzled look when I asked how often we ate okra when I was growing up.

Turned out that this particular plant is more common in Singapore, Malaysia and India dishes. Sambal Belachan, the base sauce of this recipe and its variations can be found in South East Asia. The regional difference depends on how sweet or sour you make this sambal. So to my Malaysian and Singaporean friend this is probably something that you  grow up with.

That false sense of nostalgia did not stop me from trying to grow the plant last year. First rule of growing okra, make sure you grow it when it’s warm, otherwise it does not thrive. Miraculously the plant hibernated through winter and to my utter shock started growing fruit this summer. I harvested my first batch a couple of days ago and the second rule of growing okra is to pick them when they are still tender and about 2 inches in length. The longer they grow the more likely you are to chew on bristle rather than pod.

#365daysproject #365days #okra #harvest 5 good sized ones #urbangardener #growing #gardening #gardendiary

This recipe was taken and adopted from SBS’s Food Safari website. It is a very mild, tomatoey sambal and is great eaten as a relish or as a base for stiry fry for seafood or other vegetables. I’ve adapted this recipe to make it vegetarian friendly with my notes in italics below.

Ingredients

  • 500g Okra sliced to 1 cm in lenght
  • 80 ml(¼ cup) peanut oil (20ml for the okra)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger
  • 3–4 red bird’s eye chillies (or to taste), finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp belacan (substitute with vegetarian shrimp paste)
  • 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee’s vegetarian stir fry sauce is the veg substitute for this)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (you can find vegetarian fish sauce in most Thai grocery store)
  • 2limes, juiced
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp pounded palm sugar

DSC_0135

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan until hot.
  • Pound the garlic, ginger and chilli with the belachan. 
  • Add the onion and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the belacan mixture and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in the tomato, until well combined.
  • Add the sauces and lime juice and stir until well combined, then add the tamarind paste and palm sugar. Stir to combine, then remove heat and allow to cool.
  • In a separate pan, stir fry the okra. Add the belachan paste slowly to the okra and continue frying until the okra softens.
  • You may want to add extra salt as the vegetarian belachan is not as pungent as the non veg version, the tamarind can also be quite overpowering without the added salt. 

Note
• Belacan sambal will keep refrigerated in an airtight jar for two weeks.

Okra Belachan

Meatless Monday: Dahi ke Baigan (eggplant in mild yoghurt sauce)

Dahi ke Baigan

Part of the fun of Meatless Monday is the quest to find a new recipe that is interesting enough to cook and photographic enough to share. This recipe was taken from Pushpesh-Pant’s India Cookbook, a large tome of over 1,000 Indian recipes. My criteria was pretty simple, an eggplant recipe that matched the ingredients I have on hand (eggplant, yoghurt, spices, a curry plant) and away I go.  Read More…

Meatless Monday: Leon’s Superfood Salad

DSC_0127

Post Australia Day weekend  I was nostalgic over Leon‘s salad and not the quintessential Australian meatpie. Leon is a chain of great food in London, and one of the places that the London Stitch and Bitch used to frequent. I used to order their Superfood Salad multiple times and their recipe book is one that I tend to frequent now and again. If interested to see their other recipes, the Guardian showcased a number of their recipes from their cookbook “Leon Ingredients and Recipes” here. I am also excited that the great folks at Leon will be releasing a vegetarian cookbook this March, and I will definitely be ordering it.

This recipe is the vegetarian version of their Superfood Salad, replacing the suggested grilled chicken with fetta as its main source of protein. One thing I do have to say is you just have to make their aioli. It is so much lighter and fluffier than your typical variety thanks to the whipped egg white and yoghurt. One tip if you want to bulk up this salad you can always have it with some brown rice. Read More…

Meatless Monday: Ottolenghi’s Kosheri

Kosheri

Starting Meatless Monday with this recipe from Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.  This is a completely unfamiliar dish for me, so cooking this felt a bit like reading a choose your own adventure book.

So what is Kosheri? According to Wikipedia it’s:

Kushari, also kosharykosheri or koshari (Egyptian Arabic: كشرى, [ˈkoʃæɾi]), is an Egyptian dish of ricemacaroni and lentils mixed together, topped with a tomato sauce, some add spaghetti garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. A sprinkling of garlic juice and hot sauce are optional.  Read More…

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