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…
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
• Belacan sambal will keep refrigerated in an airtight jar for two weeks.
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…
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…
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 koshary, kosheri or koshari (Egyptian Arabic: كشرى, [ˈkoʃæɾi]), is an Egyptian dish of rice, macaroni 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…
I have the luxury of a few days of staycation, playing with the cat, unwinding several balls of yarn and just readjusting my head space for 2014,Without realising how, I managed to rediscover my groove or “Flow”.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, wrote a book in the 90′s about Flow titled appropriately “Finding Flow”, he was also featured in a Ted talk about “What makes a life worth living?”, the link is here. Flow is essentially:
complete immersion in an experience could occur while you are singing in a choir, dancing, playing bridge, or reading a good book…Moments such as these provide flashes of intense living against the dull background of everyday life. Read More…
‘Twas the day before Christmas Eve, and all through the house harsh words can be heard as a lone baker struggled with the impossible task of keeping cool during a searing 36 degrees Sydney summer day. The baker realised, that much to her dismay that there was a reason why ginger bread dough needed to rest in the fridge prior to shaping. Wrestling with a warm dough pregnant with 185 grams of butter was rather like wrestling with a melting eel; slippery and impossible.
Nevertheless, a promise was made that a tardis will be delivered come Christmas Lunch. Sighing the baker continues on.
Five months later and I finally managed to get my life back after disappearing into a black hole. Uni and work took most of my time and energy, and though I continue taking photos, having time to upload them is a whole different issue. In any case, without further ado here is my recipe for vegetarian / vegan laksa. This recipe came about after being frustrated in not finding vegetarian laksa that is close to the real deal. Most of the vegetarian laksas in restaurants are either watery or don’t have the right balance of laksa paste that’s sweet, hot and rich all at the same time. This recipe serves four people.
- 1/2 jar of lamyong laksa paste
- 50g of vegetarian belachan – chopped
- 1/2 packet of puff tofu
- 2 quorn fillets cut into large chunks
- handfull of bean sprout
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 packets of egg noodles
- 1/2 cup of coriander
- 350ml of coconut cream
- 1 bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 200g of vegan hot pot mix
- 1/4 lime
- 1 tablespoon of white sugar
- Heat the laksa paste in a pot, slowly add the coconut milk. Add the kaffir lime leaves and chilli to the pot
- Add the vegetarian belachan to the mix, continue mixing. Add salt to taste
- Add the fillets, the vegan hot pot mix and puff tofu
- Squeeze a bit of lime, taste and add sugar as required. Take the pot off the stove.
- Boil some water, pour into a large bowl. Drop the noodles into the bowl for 3 minutes. Drain the noodle and serve in separate bowls.
- Pour the laksa mix into each bowls
- Serve topped with bean sprout and coriander with a slice of lime
There is a fair bit of trial and error to make this recipe, but the result is worth it!
If you’re wondering where I got my ingredients from, check out the following places:
- Most coles should stock the Quorn fillets
- Vegan’s Choice Grocery for the vegetarian belachan
- Citi Super for the vegan hot pot mix
While you’re at it enjoy some photos from Vivid, because Sydney is pretty awesome.
The end of the wettest Australia Day weekend on record (not official), also marked the quiet deflation of the giant duck in Darling Park. Got to say, I rather missed seeing its gigantic inflatable yellow butt as I walk down Pyrmont Bridge.
Today being Monday, I finally have the time to whip up a Meatless Monday meal and blog on the same day. Today’s Meatless Monday is brought to you by the recipe from the back of McKenzie’s French Style Lentils and it surprisingly, amazingly awesome on a cold, rainy Monday!
Ingredients for warm lentils and beetroot salad
|1 cup||McKenzie’s French Style Lentils|
|3 tablespoons||olive oil|
|2 tablespoons||lemon juice|
|1 tablespoon||seeded mustard|
|1 minced||garlic clove|
|To taste||salt and pepper|
|1/2||finely sliced red onion|
|1 tin||whole baby beets, drained and cut in half|
|1/2 cup||chopped italian parsley|
|1/2 cup||chopped coriander leaves|
|1/2 cup||crumbled fetta cheese|
Directions for warm lentil and beet salad
In a medium saucepan bring the lentils, water and bay leaf to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain off any excess water and remove the bay leaf.
Blogging to me is like exercising. They both take a while to get back into rhythm and once I do get back in the rhythm inevitably flu will kick me back into bed and shatter another resolution.
They cycle starts and stops, starts and stops.
The only time both have any chance of lasting is if I have a goal and award at the end (warrior dash anyone?), oh and it helps if I gather points along. Maybe it started with owning my iPhone and started the downward spiral of tracking inane actions such as meals I had (foodspotting), places I visit (foursquare), exercises (fitocracy) and my spending (iexpense) to name a few.
In short wordpress, congratulating me when I post is just not enough. Where is my fanfare, my medals, my quests, props from my legions of fans and my dashboard? Creating content is no longer its own reward, I need my ego to be stroked with each post. It could be so easy, create quests based on subjects and whenever a certain topic is reached every nth time I receive a medal or some credit or…something.
While I put away that minuscule first world problem aside, one thing that does give with every effort is my little patch of dirt attempting to grow and bear fruits.
My first real harvest was literally a handful of strawberry lowana grown from seedling during spring until now. This little plant was surprisingly fruitful considering the amount of rain it received during its flowering period. Taste wise I was expecting juicy summer drenched fruits, but aside from the additional crunchiness it is not noticeably sweeter than the store bought variety.
My dwarf beans were growing beans, but the harvest was somewhat pitiful with only 1 bean being harvested and only a single bean within the pod. My kale was growing until a sudden attack of conscience when spying two green caterpillars meant leaving them alone until they grow fat and big and reduced my entire crop into twigs. Caterpillars are cute, yes they grow into butterflies, but butterflies lay eggs within a surprisingly short period of time.
Unfortunately no birds decide to feast on my caterpillar family while they feast on my kale. What was a surprisingly effective natural predator was the humble lady beetle. During early spring my Japanese maple was completely covered with aphids, so much so that you can shake the tree and handfuls will just drop. A few weeks later small troop of lady beetles arrived and ate their way within two weeks.
Lady beetles I heart you.
In hindsight there were a number of things I should and shouldn’t have done. Such as completely rejigging the soil and adding a truckful of manure to revitalise the soil. 1 bag of compost, 1 bag of potting mix does not a healthy garden bed make, nor does an imaginary green thumb medal create a harvest, but you can always like this post and make me feel warm and fluffy for all of five seconds.