Once again, I have to apologise for being an absentee blogger. I’m afraid I have no real excuse – this has just been one of those weeks when I’m wandering around feeling tired a lot (which could not possibly have anything to do with the five Easter services I sang in last weekend). It’s also been a week when I feel like playing with recipes from actual cookbooks, which gives me less to write about.
I do note, with some amusement, that after three days of basically going “meat, meat, must have meat” after Easter, I’ve been cooking vegetarian food again for the last few days. The craving has been satisfied, and I’m reverting back to part-time vegetarianism. This is a bit of a relief – I really was wondering about my carnivorous tendencies for a few days there.
Part of the inspiration for this has been my discovery of the gorgeous new cookbook The Green Kitchen, which I found quite by accident yesterday, and seems to be the cookbook I have been needing for the last few years.
It’s by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl of Green Kitchen Stories, and is full of recipes that actually work as after-work food, being simple, appealing, and the sort of food that speaks to my culinary cravings. This, despite being entirely vegetarian, fairly low in carbohydrates (and mostly gluten-free), quite low-GI, and also free of processed sugar (though sugar from fruits and those that come in the form of natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and agave nectar are fair game). Oh, and most of the recipes are either vegan or can be easily veganised, and there are usually tips for doing this. This is a very good book for people with a pretty wide range of dietary requirements (though the low-fructose brigade are probably out of luck).
Interestingly, the authors are Swedish, which I wouldn’t have guessed from the names of recipes, but which is reflected in their choices of ingredients. Their culinary repertoire is influenced by Italy, the Middle East, India and Asia, but again and again their ingredients feature stone fruits, root vegetables, elder-flowers, and in general the sorts of produce that I, at least, associate with the far Northern climate. So far, I’ve made their Beet Bourgignon (which really has a surprisingly Beef Bourginon flavour to it) and their tomatoes stuffed with amaranth and haloumi, which comes with a built-in side dish of root vegetables roasted with olives, rosemary, lemons and garlic (I am undecided about the stuffed tomatoes, having been able to find any amaranth grains, and having replaced this half with quinoa and half with popped amaranth, but the vegetables are a definite winner).
I’m also charmed by their Flowered Granola, which, to my delight, includes 4 tbsp of edible dried flowers or a flower blend for herbal tea… though the dried nordic superberries may be harder to come by. I’ll be making the Zucchini Parmigiana and the Vegetable Tagine in the next week, and am already planning to buy corn, mangoes, avocado and savoy cabbage at the market this Sunday so that I can make their tacos. I also have my eye on the frozen strawberry cheesecake on a sunflower crust for dessert next week.
All of this makes me very happy. I don’t think this will be the year I go fully vegetarian, but this book, in particular, makes me feel as though going back to meat a couple of times a week, and eating more interesting grains and legumes in between, could actually be really quite easy and appealing. There really isn’t a single recipe in there that I’m not keen to try. Which is a good thing.
On an unrelated note, I am now the proud possessor of a gingerbread skeleton cookie-cutter-press! It cuts out the gingerbread man and presses an indentation of the gingerbread man’s skeleton into the cookie at the same time. I am fairly certain that this is the true meaning of culinary happiness.
And speaking of ginger, it’s beautiful ginger season at the supermarket – you know, the time of year when the ginger is sweet and pale pink and crisp and fresh and utterly inviting? I really have to come up with something to do this justice in my Sweet Spices, Savoury Suppers challenge…
Also, I bought another cookbook by an Australian chef, notable for featuring not merely a savoury recipe that included kumquats, but also several using Warragul Greens, infamous for being uneradicable once planted in an Australian garden. Actually, he uses a fair number of Australian plants in his recipes, which is fun all around. But you’re not getting a review of that one until I’ve played a lot more with the Green Kitchen…
Also, and this really is totally unrelated to anything of note, but it makes me happy, I got my ears pierced eight weeks ago, which means I can finally have pretty ear-rings. And the ones I want are these ones right here. Are they not absolutely stunning? (I knew I could relate the ear-rings back to my obsession with baking one way or another)