There are very few things in life that are as satisfying as the annual Easter long weekend, and nothing so sad as the last few hours of the said long weekend. I did a fair bit of cooking and other domestic duties during the last couple of days and stocking my fridge until it fits to bursting. One of the dishes being this cheese, leek and herb souffle casserole from Martha Stewart. Read More…
There are some sights that are so unexpected that it stays with you for life. Last year, I was in the midst of Seville’s Semana Santa and saw hundreds of years of traditions re-enacted in the 21st century.
Semana Santa or Holy Week is a week long celebration leading to lent. This year Semana Santa starts from 19th March to 6th of April. Although Semana Santa occurs all over Spain, Seville’s Semana Santa is arguably the most famous. There are over 55 brotherhood all over the cities with fraternities dating back to the 13th century. Throughout the week multiple processions takes place starting from various churches all around the cities carrying pasos a float depicting a scene from the Passion of Christ. Read More…
Happy Austraya Day! Depending on where you live in this continent, you are either basking in the sun or hiding indoor enjoying the cool sojourn from the relentless heat this week. Today also marks the end of the annual Sydney Festival. Sadly I didn’t venture to eat Gelato Messina’s mind bending creations, but I did manage to see Zhang Huan’s Sydney Buddha during a quiet rainy Sunday. Read More…
Happy New Year! I watched the last day of the year go by in Cairns, and really enjoyed the chilled atmosphere and surprisingly lack of smart phones being pulled out as people watch the firework over the jetty. Makes a nice change and hopefully is a good omen for the year and the remaining 360 days left, but who’s counting?
With that let’s kick off this year’s first Meatless Monday. Thanks to my mother I received Ottolenghi’s Plenty More and I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes from the book. One that caught my eyes was this Indian Ratatouille recipe, for those who followes Ottolenghi he published a very similar recipe in the Guardian a couple of years ago. If you would like to have a look at that version instead click here.
Spring is finally here after a rather slow start, I’m still not a 100% sure that I will be packing away my heater anytime soon while the wind is still howling like crazed wolves. In the meantime there is another Meatless Monday recipe to count the year away.
For whatever reason, I had a craving for stuffed capsicum never mind the fact that I never had these before I cooked them. I imagined biting into crispy capsicum followed by the satisfying heartiness of brown rice. This recipe was created on the fly, with a few bits and pieces taken as inspiration from around the web.
- 3 capsicums, deveined and gutted then sliced in two, don’t be silly like me slicing the capsicum horizontally, rather slice down the middle
- 1.5 cups of cooked brown rice
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of shredded tasty cheese
- a handful of coriander
- 150ml sour cream
- Turn the oven to 170 degrees. Roast the capsicum for 20 minutes. Peel the capsicum skin and put aside
- In the meantime brown onion, add cooked brown rice, bean and tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon the rice and and bean mixture into the capsicum
- Sprinkle cheese on top and place back into the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts
- Sprinkle coriander and serve with a spoonful of sour cream
Serves 3 people
Incredibly, it had been a full 6 months since my last post. During that period of hibernation from the blog sphere many things happened, but for the most part I was in survival mode through a long cold winter (both literally and metaphorically). With summer just around the corner and glimpses of warmth peeking through, I feel it’s appropriate to shake the winter’s blues and get back to the swing of it again with a Meatless Monday recipe.
Vegetable lasagna is one of those comfort dishes that can warm a cold winter’s evening. Unfortunately like its cousin the cottage pie, it is not the most photogenic of meals. Though Billy from A Table For Two can make the dish look oh so deliciously glamorous. On a side note, today is his book launch, a big congrats to him and a reminder to myself that I will need to pick up a copy at some stage.
The following recipe is one that I made up and tweak everytime I make lasagna, enough so that it feels like I need to record it for posterity sake to refer to in the future.
Ingredients for lasagna and filling – serves 4
- 1 packet of lasagna sheets (you don’t need to use the entire box just enough to layer the lasagna)
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 100g of mixed mushroom (swiss brown and shitake)
- 1 large egg plant 500g, sliced horizontally
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 brown onion – diced
- 1 jar of passata
- teaspoon of chilli flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon of oregano
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 250g vegetable mince (optional)
- Olive oil
- 50g of parmesan and tasty cheese mix
Ingredients for bechamel sauce
- 60g butter, chopped
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 4 1/2 cups milk
- 75g parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 25g tasty cheese, finely grated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- good pinch ground nutmeg
Method for bechamel sauce
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from heat. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Return to heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in both cheeses salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
Method for lasagna filling
The night before slice the egg plant horizontally to create egg plant steaks. Cover both sides with salt, then layer egg plant in a dish and leaver overnight in the fridge. This will draw out the water from the eggplant and result in non spongy egg plant. The next day, rinse the salt from the egg plant steaks the next day. Place on paper towel and put aside.
Heat oven to 200 degree.
Heat oil in a pot. Brown the diced onion until tender, then add crushed garlic. Add vegetarian mince and mushroom until mushroom is wilted. Pour chopped tomatoes and passata into the mixture, add chilli flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Wait until the sauce is boiling slighty, add oregano and sliced zucchini to the mix. Wait until the zucchini is slightly wilted and take the pot off the heat.
Layer the bottom of a lasagna dish with the eggplant steaks, handful of the mixed cheeses, the tomato mixture, the bechamel sauce followed by the lasagna sheet. Repeat the order with the next layer and continue building the lasagna ending with the lasagna sheet on top. Cover the lasagna sheet with remaining grated cheese mix. Pop into the oven, turn down the heat to 150 degree, then bake for 30 minutes. Leave the lasagna to cool in the oven in order for the top layer of the lasagna to crisp and turn brown without burning.