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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

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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

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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…

Finding flow by knitting Owls by @KDaviesdesigns

Owls by Kate Davies

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…

Life lessons from baking a gingerbread tardis

‘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. 

Gingerbread tardis

Read More…

Vegetarian laksa – Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday - Vegetarian laksa

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the laksa paste in a pot, slowly add the coconut milk. Add the kaffir lime leaves and chilli to the pot
  2. Add the vegetarian belachan to the mix, continue mixing. Add salt to taste
  3. Add the fillets, the vegan hot pot mix and puff tofu
  4. Squeeze a bit of lime, taste and add sugar as required. Take the pot off the stove.
  5. 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.
  6. Pour the laksa mix into each bowls
  7. 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:

While you’re at it enjoy some photos from Vivid, because Sydney is pretty awesome.

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Vivid

Vivid

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