Tag Archives: “Meatless Monday”

Meatless Monday : Pumpkin Soup

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I am so over this winter, colder, wetter and longer than last year it just feels unnatural not to have the sun up in the sky for days on end. No idea how I managed to cope with this ungodly weather in the UK. Cold weather means soups and finally using the Food Processor I bought for the sole purpose of making hearty winter soups by the bucket. I could never get away from the classic pumpkin soup even if I did end up swearing my head off after the first few blisters trying to carve and peel them as I go. It always seems easier in my mind when I pick up a pumpkin or two from the grocery store and drop it in my shopping trolley.

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This fool proof Pumpkin Soup recipe from Delicious Magazine is perfection on a shivery cold evening. The only thing I added are extra chilli flakes and a sprinkling of ground pepper when serving. Also depending on the type of pumpkin you use, you might want to add more salt or end up with a very sweet pumpkin soup.

As great as the recipe is, I forgot that photographing soup is quite difficult. What you get is usually goopy looking orange yoghurt thing in a bowl… if I’m lucky. Perhaps I need to put a pumpkin in the background next year.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1kg peeled pumpkin, diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled, diced
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) thin cream
  • 1 tsp Chilli flakes

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and leek and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add garlic and spices and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add pumpkin, potato and stock and bring to the boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in batches.
  2. Return soup to pan, stir through cream and reheat gently. Season and add a little more nutmeg and chilli flakes if desired.

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Meatless Monday: Spinach, red onion and feta tart

Spinach, red onion and fetta pie

A crazy few weeks and being stranded in odd cities for work and leisure thanks to the ash cloud meant that I am a bit behind on posting (again1!). Nevertheless, here’s let’s hope we stay back on track with this simple, but delicious Spinach, red onion and feta tart.

I found the recipe from one of those recipe cards I picked up at Coles and was pleasantly surprised to realise that the Sydney Market has a pretty big list of recipes based on different season’s produce! Not so good is realising that their PDFs are locked and in order to reproduce the recipe I will have to type it up from scratch!

Ingredients

  • 3 sheets frozen short crust pastry
  • 2 bunches english spinach, leaves trimmed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten (I made do with 3)
  • 3/4 cup thickened cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 60g kalamata olive pitted
  • 100g feta cheese crumbled
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degree celcius. Take pastry from freezer to defrost. Once defrosted use pastry to line up a 30cm loose based tart pan. Prick the base of pastry with a fork. Bake blind for 5 minutes, remove weights and bake again for another 6-8 minutes until pastry is crispy. Take out of the oven and cool slightly. Reduce temperature down to 180
  2. Wash and wilt spinach in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Remove exceed liquid and chop roughly
  3. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly, line base of pan with onion and garlic mix. Sprinkle spinach on top.
  4. Whisk egg, cream, salt and pepper together. Pour over spinach. Sprinkle with olive and fetta, bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Cool slightly and remove from pan to serve.
Using the red onion for the base adds a lovely sweetness to the dish, balanced by the tartness of the olive and fetta. I added an extra sheet of pastry as the pastry became  a little too crispy with just 2 layers, other than that this is a very solid recipe!

Meatless Monday: Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils

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Winter is well and truly here. The weather has turned from the pretty leaves on the ground stage to doonas and incredibly unattractive long john stage. With that in mind, comfort food is the way to go and nothing spells out comfort food like Shepherd Pie.

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This particular recipe was taken from Taste.com.au  with a few tiny modification on my part. I have to apologise for the unlovely photo, but I have not quite mastered the art of making pies look rustic and glamorous all in the same shot ala Donna Hay. Trust me though, this is one hell of a delicious pie!

Lentil and Vegetable Cottage Pie

Ingredients (serves 4 easily)

  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbs sundried tomato pesto
  • 1 cup (250ml) canned dice tomatoes 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs chopped thyme
  • 1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
  • 300g can lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 250g vegetarian mince
  • 800g potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • 100g grated cheddar (see note)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion for 1-2 minutes. Add celery, carrot and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add pesto, canned tomatoes, bay, thyme and stock.
  2. Simmer gently for 15 minutes until vegetables are cooked. Stir in lentils vegetarian mince and season, then transfer to a 1.2-litre baking dish. Sprinkle nutmeg throughout. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.
  3. Drain and mash. Stir in butter, milk and cheese. Spread over lentil and mince mixture and roughen top with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and goldenNotes: I added vegetarian mince to add a bit more texture to the pie,  a bit of nutmeg also gives it a bit of zing. The original recipe instructed to stir 2 yolks into the mash, but you don’t really need eggs for this pie. 

Lissie @ Oxford Art FactoryI am listening to Lissie while I am typing this, their show at the Oxford Art Factory not so long ago still fresh in my mind. For whatever reason I forgot she wrote ‘Everywhere I Go’, the last song played in the final episode of the Dollhouse. There’s something so hauntingly sad about the song that matched the last hour of a day before another Monday passed away.

Catch you next Monday for another blog, if not before…

Meatless Monday – Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki

I’ve been meaning to post on Mondays about Meatless Monday for a while, but so far a number of Mondays managed to slip by without a post.

The Meatless Monday campaign was and still is a non for profit  initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal was to help meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet.

Why Monday, aside from the fact it’s the only day that starts with the letter M?

For most Americans the week begins on Monday. On Monday we move from the freedom of the weekend back to the structure of work or school. We set our intentions for the next six days. We plan ahead and evaluate progress.

From an early age we internalize this rhythm. And studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health and the health of our planet.

Monday is the call to action built in to every calendar each week. And if this Monday passes you by, next week is another chance to go meatless!

So much for Monday blues! Who would have thought starting anything on Monday is a great idea? Certainly not me! On a personal note, I have been cutting my meat intake due to the presence of a non meat eater in my life. That being said, I do believe that we all can afford to eat less meat. In general, our eating habit demands meat to be presence in any meal in order for it to be deemed satisfying. Whether this be McDonalds or sausage roll, it did bother me to realise how much meat I consume on a daily basis. I’m not sure I can turn completely vegetarian, but that’s another blog post for another time.

In the meantime, there’s this rather delicious recipe for Okonomiyaki from the amazing 101 Cookbooks that I need to share.

Okonomiyaki

Ingredients

2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup leeks, well washed and chopped 
2/3 cup plain flour
a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1+ tablespoon olive oil

Garnish: toasted slivered almonds, chives/ herbs

Combine the cabbage, leeks, flour, and salt in a bowl. Toss until everything is coated with a dusting of flour. Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is evenly coated.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil. Scoop the cabbage mixture into the pan, and using a metal spatula press it into a round pancake shape, flat as you can get it. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden. To flip the okonomiyaki, slide it out of the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate on top and flip both (together) over. If you need a bit more oil in your skillet, add it now, before sliding the okonomiyaki back into the skillet. Again press down a bit with a spatula and cook until golden on this side – another 3 -5 minutes.

When you are finished cooking, sprinkle with toasted almonds and chives, and slide it onto a cutting board to cut into wedges. 

I like the overall taste, but find it a little dry. For added sauce taste add some Japanese mayo and Tonkatsu sauce as well as shredded seaweed. Itadakimasu…