This dessert was inspired by the wintry weather and all that lovely dried fruit I bought from Happy Fruit a few weeks ago at the Coburg Farmers’ Market. And then I ordered some freeze-dried fruit from TasteBom and it arrived with a little note saying that I was their 200th customer, and a few extra goodies, including the most luscious, plump-looking vanilla beans I’ve ever seen. A perfect combination.
It’s a bit of a nostalgia dish for me – warm and comforting, and faintly reminiscent of my childhood – I think my mum used to make a more alcoholic version of this for dinner parties back in the 80s.
Best of all, the recipe is very simple, and quite delicious – the dried fruit plumps up and becomes pillowy-soft and infused with flavour from the vanilla and marsala, but mostly it just tastes wonderfully of itself. And, I have to say, it’s pretty exciting to see the dried nectarines swell up until they actually look like nectarine halves. But then, I am perhaps easily amused by such things…
Your Shopping List
100 g dried apricots
100 g dried apples
100 g dried pears
100 g dried nectarines or dried peaches
50 g raisins
750 ml water
50 ml sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) marsala
half a vanilla bean
Posted in dairy-free, desserts, egg-free, gluten-free, low glycemic index, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged applies, apricots, dairy-free, desserts, egg-free, gluten-free, low GI, nectarines, nut-free, pears, raisins, recipes, vanilla, vegan, vegetarian
I know. It’s another curry. This is really weird. I’ve never really liked curry, and I don’t *understand* how curry works, but I seem to have made two which I like in the space of three days. And I don’t know what I’ve done that is different to the many, many curries I have disliked.
To make things even more bizarre, I’m mostly, but not quite, following recipes, because I don’t really know enough to know what I’m doing when changing them. Tonight’s effort was particularly strange because I cook by smell and I just couldn’t make sense of what I was smelling early on. And then it all tasted far too sweet and mild and mangoish, but I didn’t dare fiddle with it, which turned out to be a good instinct, because in the end it was nicely tangy and lemon-grassish with a pleasing kick of heat from the ginger and chilli and no mango or serious coconut taste at all.
None of this makes any sense, but since I appear to have once more made an almost-certainly-inauthentic curry that I actually like and might want to make again, here goes. In case you were wondering, it started life as a Cambodian Pork and Lemongrass Curry, but obviously the pig got away this time (the lemongrass did not).
Oh, also, I think this is the third time I’ve ever cooked with tofu while not making dessert. Learning experiences all round…
Your Shopping List
2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
3 cloves of garlic
a piece of ginger-root about two cubic inches in size
3 big tablespoons of lemongrass paste (check that yours doesn’t contain gluten or fish sauce if these are problematic for you – alternatively, you could go with the 2 tablespoons of chopped lemongrass which the recipe I’m mostly ignoring suggested)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander seed, ground
1 tsp fennel seed
300 g firm tofu
500 g pumpkin
125 g potato
250 g sweet potato
zest and juice of one lime
270 ml light coconut cream
130 ml water
1 big tablespoon of tamarind puree
2 red capsicums
1 red chilli
75 g pistachios, because we really gave up on authenticity and that’s what was in the pantry when I decided that this dish needed some crunch
To serve: rice, about 1 1/2 – 2 cups. Purple Thai rice looks particularly pretty here. This curry serves 4-6 people, I should think.
Posted in dairy-free, egg-free, foodie challenges, gluten-free, low glycemic index, main courses, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged curry, dairy-free, egg-free, lemongrass, low GI, main courses, pumpkin, recipes, sweet potato, tofu, vegan, vegetarian
Honestly, I’m so ridiculously pleased with myself right now. I’ve tried the odd lentil bolognese or lentil moussaka recipe before, and the results have been entirely edible and all, but this one actually tastes like the real thing. Well, my version of the real thing – it’s been a standing joke in my circle of friends for a while that my standard bolognese recipe is practically vegetarian, because the meat gets so thoroughly outnumbered by all the tomatoes and red wine and onions and herbs…
Anyway, this is good, hearty, winter food (which is to say, I put what I thought was a standard-sized helping on a plate and it was *way* too much, though the wholemeal pasta probably added to that effect), just right for a rainy night, and pretty straightforward to make. It’s also the sort of recipe I’d make if I were trying to feed vegetarian food to someone who really doesn’t like meals that don’t have meat in them – it somehow gains a meaty flavour from the cashews and mushrooms and red wine.
Did I mention that I’m really, really impressed with myself about this dish? Because I am…
Your Shopping List
8 sun-dried tomatoes – the kind you buy dry, not in oil
1-2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves
dried herbs and spices of your choice, but probably rosemary, thyme, black pepper, oregano, chilli, marjoram – I used rosemary and thyme plus a pasta and pizza blend from Gewürzhaus, but I think that everyone has their own idea of what bolognese herbs and spices are supposed to be, so this is very much your call
125 g mushrooms (one or two large ones would work best)
1 cup of cashews
400 g tinned tomatoes (chopped or whole)
90 ml tomato paste
250 g red lentils
200 ml red wine
300 ml water
Posted in anyone can cook vegetarian food, dairy-free, egg-free, Food festivals, foodie challenges, gluten-free, low glycemic index, main courses, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged anyone can cook fabulous vegetarian food, cashews, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, lentils, low GI, main courses, mushrooms, onions, pasta, pasta please, red wine, tomatoes, vegan, vegetarian
Oh I have been cooking like a *maniac* this weekend. Curry yesterday, winter fruit salad last night (of which more later), baked gingerbread porridge overnight for breakfast (ditto), and today, purple cauliflower soup, cheese muffins, lentil bolognese (of which *much* more later) and rainbow chard gratin which was totally un-necessary. And also hormone-mandated chocolate and boysenberry brownies, but those were absolutely not my fault.
And nor is the fact that as soon as I finished making them I lost all interest in eating them. Sigh. Stupid body.
I really don’t understand curries very well, which is why I’ve just bought myself a book all about curries from around the world. You would think, then, that I’d follow the recipes in them, and indeed that was my intention, but basically I screwed up. The curry I was going to make was a simple lamb curry with almonds and saffron, because I had diced lamb to use up, but it used twice the amount of lamb I had. No worries – I would just halve the recipe. Except that I forgot to do so, and once I had measured out the saffron water and started cooking all the onions and garlic and ginger – which I had accidentally doubled instead of halved anyway, hello, virus-brain! – and spices it was too late to go back without waste.
So I decided to bulk out the curry with chickpeas and sweet potato. After all, I don’t like stews of any kind that are just meat, meat and meat, sweet potato seemed like it would get along with all the sweet aromatic spices in this dish, and chickpeas are always a good random filler protein in my book. Also, this lowers the glycemic index of the dish *and* makes it suddenly a lot closer to a one-pot meal (by which I mean that the ongoing Sickly Catherine feels empowered not to make a vegetable side dish now, which is a very good thing). And then I looked at the cream added at the end of the recipe, and thought about the fact that I don’t like creamy sauces much and that I had this tin of coconut cream from goodness-knows-when sitting in my pantry waiting to be used, and…
I’m fairly sure we have lost any authenticity along the way (which is why I am not claiming that this is a Kashmiri curry, despite what the book says), but I have to say, it’s the best curry that I’ve ever made. I strongly suspect that the slow cooker was an important part of this – the spices seemed to blend and work together rather than sitting awkwardly in different corners of the room, squinting sideways at each other. That’s not what usually happens when I make a curry. So, while a slow cooker is not a requirement for this recipe, I do recommend cooking it over the lowest heat possible for as long as possible if you don’t have one.
Still, next time, I *promise* I will follow the recipe properly.
I can do that, you know.
Your Shopping List
2 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cup hot water
8 green cardamom pods
2 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
3 cloves of garlic
about 2 cubic inches of ginger root
2 dried chillis
500 g cubed lamb shoulder or other stewing lamb
salt and pepper which I entirely forgot to put in, but you might want to
500 g sweet potato
Either 1 cup of dried chickpeas, partly cooked (of which more later) or 1 tin of chickpeas, which you will add at the end of the recipe
120 g blanched almonds
270 ml (a medium-sized tin – don’t get too hung up on measuring this) coconut cream
Posted in cooking with meat, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low glycemic index, main courses, nut-free, Recipes
Tagged almonds, chickpeas, dairy-free, egg-free, fennel, ginger, gluten-free, lamb, low GI, main courses, onion, recipes, spices, sweet potato
I was thinking that it might be fun to do a sort of Food Blog Kris Kringle for Christmas in July next month (I’m going with July rather than actual Christmas because my Decembers are crazed and I probably don’t need to be organising anything else).
The way it would work would be that participants would be sent the name of another participant’s food blog at the start of July, and sometime during July, they would visit that blog, cook one or more recipes from it (with or without variations), and blog about this, linking back to the blog and to the challenge. At the end of July I’d do a round-up post to see who everyone cooked for and what recipes were featured.
The main criteria for entry would be that your food blog is either vegetarian or has a large number of vegetarian recipes. This is simply because the corner of the blogging world that I’m reading is mostly vegetarian and vegan blogs, and I don’t want anyone getting stuck with a blog from which they can cook nothing. Most of the vegan bloggers I know are pretty awesome at adapting vegetarian food to their needs, so I think this would be sufficient to most people’s needs!
A secondary criteria would be that you have some sort of index or way of finding recipes without scrolling through the whole blog, though I think that goes without saying for most food blogs.
If anyone felt like doing a Christmas in July theme for their choice of recipes, so much the better!
If you’d like to join this Kris Kringle, please comment below, and I’ll add you to my list. If I get 8 people, I think that will be enough to go forward with this time around, though more would be lovely, so if you think this is a good idea, please re-blog or link back to this post.
Let’s see what happens!
Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? This is because it turns out that if one has had a horrible cold for a week and a half, it isn’t actually a particularly brilliant idea to then walk and cycle more than 65,000 steps over the long weekend in a bid to up one’s step count. She says, with the sad wisdom of one who is *still* coughing like Violetta in Act III of La Traviata at random intervals and who has, moreover, been dog-tired and reduced to trudging around the living room every night just to reach 10,000 steps every day since…
Anyway. This evening turned out to be a surprise night off from choir, which is rather glorious, not because I wanted to avoid choir, but because I learned this *after* I had prepared dinner in advance. Better still, it’s cold and rainy outside, I already have a respectable total on my pedometer – so tonight I can be as self-indulgent as I like! I can lie on the couch and watch Pride and Prejudice on DVD! I can curl up in bed with a cat or two and a good book!
…or I can make desserts involving chocolate *and* berries! Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that a tired Catherine in possession of a shiny new P&P DVD must be in want of dessert.
This dessert, too, is rather perfect for the weather. I basically took a whole pail of frozen berries that I bought at the farmers’ market and combined them with a little lavender sugar – summer in a bowl. But winter is the time for hot, comforting desserts, so I covered the whole lot up with an almond and chocolate crumble topping, and baked it until it was bubbling and sweet and gorgeous and almost cakeishly puddingy (I defy you to try to convince me that these are not proper words) and basically everything one could want in a winter dessert. The pleasures of winter with the memories of summer on a lazy, rainy evening.
Life is good.
Your Shopping List
500 g mixed fresh or frozen berries. Frozen is probably easier to work with, assuming they haven’t turned into a brick.
2 teaspoons of lavender sugar (but plain caster sugar would do, and if you have a few dried lavender buds, you could crush them into the mix)
2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar (or, again, plain caster sugar and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
50 g butter, softened
50 g caster sugar
20 g cocoa, the lovely dark reddish Dutch kind, if possible
175 g almond meal, the unblanched kind, if possible
30 g plain flour or coconut flour or any gluten-free flour you like, really
Posted in dairy-free, desserts, egg-free, gluten-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged almonds, berries, chocolate, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian
I have to say, June is really not when I would expect to be buying a lot of berries at the market, but today had a definite berry theme. Admittedly, most of the berries on offer (at three separate stalls) were frozen, but I was interrupted in my first circuit of the market by the amazing sight of fresh raspberries. In winter.
I’m a bit of a newcomer to this whole In My Kitchen blog get-together, but already I love it for the delicious and ever so slightly nosy sensation of being invited into other people’s kitchens to poke around and gaze on their gorgeous ingredients, luscious cakes and pretty or practical utensils with a covetous eye. Of course, this leads inevitably to seeing what they’ve been baking, and then suddenly developing cravings for porridgies or silver palate toffee bars or lime and macadamia Pinata cake or pikelets with quinoa flakes and apple and strawberry.
(excuse me while I leave this blog post right now to go and make pinata cake, because that is clearly the coolest thing in the whole world, even if pikelets would be a much better breakfast)
But turnabout is fair play, so let me open the doors of my kitchen and show you what’s lurking in my pantry and on my table this month…
Being sick is very boring. I spent most of today asleep or dozing as I tried to muster the energy to actually do something. I’m not very good at using sick days to actually rest. Somehow, my sick days always develop these to-do lists. Not that I’ve managed to action anything much more elaborate than ‘make breakfast’ and ‘eat lunch’. ‘Have shower’ is still waiting to happen.
‘Make lemon drink’ has been an all day project that is now nearing completion. It’s actually not a long recipe, but there has been a lot of napping in between steps. ‘Drink lemon drink’ will be the next move. ‘Write about lemon drink’ is probably a mistake, but I feel guilty when I don’t blog every few days, and surely everyone needs a curative recipe or two in their lives…
Anyway. I have no idea whether this drink has any curative properties in real life, but it does make me feel better. This is probably half placebo and half that whole palliative effect of hot drinks on sore throats. But all that vitamin C and honey and stuff can’t actually hurt, now, can it?
Your Shopping List
750 ml water (you don’t have to buy this)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 piece of fresh ginger weighing approx 35 g
1 tsp maple sugar or ordinary brown or raw sugar
honey, to taste
Posted in dairy-free, drinks, egg-free, gluten-free, low fructose, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged cinnamon, cloves, dairy-free, drinks, egg-free, ginger, gluten-free, honey, lemons, limes, low fructose, nut-free, oranges, recipes, vegan