So it’s Saturday evening, the day before Farmers’ Market day, and the fridge is a bit bare. Also, you were out all day and are now somewhat exhausted. You really don’t want to go to the supermarket. And the dishes situation is really somewhat epic, due to the fact that you have made yourself four birthday cakes so far this week (this was not the original plan, but sometimes these things happen).
But you do need something sensible for dinner after all that picnic food and cake for lunch. And you had takeaway last night, so that will certainly not do.
So you look in the fridge, and find the two carrots leftover from making carrot cake. You find the lovely sausages that were delivered today (meat being the one thing you currently do have fresh and in quantity). You still have some of those chillis drying out on the table from the huge autumnal veggie box a few weeks ago, and you are certainly still rich in garlic and onions. Three tomatoes are considering succumbing to dodginess on the fruit stand. On the benchtop, there is half a packet of lentils and about a quarter of a packet of risoni pasta, and your father was just talking today about how Nonna used to make pasta with lentils and how he could probably still make it now. (It’s almost certainly nothing like this recipe, though.)
Maybe you have the makings of dinner after all… and a one-pot, comfort-food dinner at that, just right for a cold night.
(Just don’t chop up the chillis and then rub your eyes and nose, or you will be much more awake and much less happy)
Your Shopping List (or, What’s Lurking In The Kitchen Today?)
1 -2 tbsp olive oil
4 sausages, any kind that you think will go with lentils or that happen to be on hand
1 garlic clove
1 dried red chilli
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
salt, pepper and a pinch of fennel if you have it
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup risoni pasta
Posted in dairy-free, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, main courses, nut-free, Recipes
Tagged carrots, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, lentils, low GI, main courses, nut-free, onions, pasta, recipes, sausages, tomatoes
This is such a lovely easy dinner – very fresh and full of flavour. It’s also an excellent way to use up zucchini or tomatoes that are abundant but a bit watery – roasting concentrates the flavour, the balsamic vinegar sweetens them, and you wind up with a glorious, chunky, full-flavoured sauce that really takes only about five minutes of actual kitchen time.
What more could you want, really?
I do apologise for not actually giving quantities of things like oil, vinegar, herbs and seasonings – these are very much to taste, I think. And also, I go, splash, splosh, drizzle, and this isn’t really very measurable.
Your Shopping List
8 roma tomatoes
8 zucchini, pattypan squashes, etc – any kind, and a mixture is excellent
1 bulb of garlic
300 g pasta
Posted in dairy-free, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, main courses, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged dairy-free, egg-free, garlic, gluten-free, low GI, nut-free, pasta, tomatoes, vegan, vegetarian, zucchini
I just couldn’t resist the pun in that title. Sorry. But it really is half baked, because I did toast about half of what went into this muesli while leaving the rest untoasted. The reason for this is that we are about to have a houseguest who has expressed a preference for cereal for breakfast, and has diabetes. I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable about diabetes as I should be, but to me this sounds like something low-GI is called for, and oats are pretty much the definition of low-GI.
Except that if I’m making muesli, I’d like to make a kind that I’ll eat myself, and I do rather like my muesli toasted. But toasted means you have to toast it with something, generally either fat of some kind or sugar of some kind, neither of which are particularly diabetes-friendly.
So I’ve compromised. I haven’t used any fat, and have used a small amount of apple juice and agave nectar to crisp things up. And then I’ve added extra, un-cooked and un-sweetened oats at the end, along with the dried fruit, to dilute any inappropriate sweetness. I know I’ve created something delicious; the question will be whether it is both delicious and something my guest can eat…
Your shopping list
250 g rolled oats, plus 100 g rolled oats for later (proper oats, not the quick kind, please)
100 g flaked or chopped almonds
80 g raw unsweetened pistachios
85 g sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
30 ml agave nectar (or honey, of course)
60 ml unsweetened apple juice (which, lets face it, is plenty sweet already)
60 g dried cherries
60 g dried cranberries
60 g dried apples
60 g dried apricots
Posted in dairy-free, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged almonds, apples, apricots, cherries, cranberries, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, light meals, low GI, oats, pistachios, recipes, sunflower seeds, vegan, vegetarian
This recipe is inspired by our local Turkish restaurants, which we don’t go to nearly often enough, actually. They all have some variation of eggplant ‘yogurtlu’, eggplant that has been fried in oil until it is sweet and caramelised, and then cooked into a yoghurt sauce. Or something like that – I can deduce the ingredients, but I’m not 100% sure of the method. It’s amazing stuff – juicy and tangy and sweet and addictive – possibly the best ever use for eggplants.
Anyway, there were really beautiful eggplants at the shops yesterday, and we had guests round to dinner, so I thought I’d try giving it a shot. My version of eggplant yogurtlu was a great hit, with the one problem being that I have hardly any leftovers. We had it with youvetsi, a Greek lamb and tomato stew, because one of our guests doesn’t really eat vegetables unless you disguise them really well, or unless they are potatoes. But it would also be fabulous as a meal in its own right, just served with really good Turkish or Lebanese bread, or, of course, as part of a mezze platter.
Your Shopping List
2 large eggplants (about 750 g)
quite a lot more olive oil than most people would recommend, but really, it’s wonderful and you need it.
6 roma tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
400 g tinned tomatoes
salt, pepper, fennel, chilli, lavender
250 ml Greek yoghurt (incidentally, if you have access to Black Swan low fat Greek Yoghurt, I recommend it with enthusiasm)
small bunch mint leaves
Posted in cooking with vegetables, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, nut-free, Recipes, side dishes, vegetarian
Tagged egg-free, eggplant, gluten-free, light meals, low GI, mint, nut-free, recipes, tomatoes, vegetarian, yoghurt
This is the revised version of a recipe I noted down here a while back, because I never really put in any quantities, just typed in the ingredients as I remembered them, because it was late and I was tired!
But the recipe really is too delicious not to be written up properly, and with Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes starting a new Pasta Please monthly challenge with a cheese theme for January, it seemed the perfect time to re-visit this recipe and do a proper version of it. So here is the new, improved version with actual quantities and also variations!
The quantities I’ve noted below will definitely work, but feel free to experiment or change things – the essence of this dish is pasta, ricotta, and some herbs and vegetables so that you can pretend it isn’t all about the cheese. You really can’t go wrong with this sort of meal.
Vague shopping list
1 punnet (250 g, approx) shelled broadbeans
1 small bunch of parsley
1 handful each of basil and mint
350 g ricotta
100 g parmesan, grated
25 g salted butter
1-2 tablespoons of butter, olive oil, or, ideally, a combination of the two, for sautéing vegetables.
3 spring onions (the long skinny kind)
1 baby fennel bulb
2 small bunches asparagus
3 yellow pattypan squash
350 g rigatone pasta
Posted in egg-free, everyday cooking, foodie challenges, low glycemic index, main courses, nut-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged asparagus, basil, broad beans, egg-free, fennel, foodie challenges, low GI, main courses, mint, nut-free, parmesan, parsley, pasta, recipes, ricotta, spring onions, vegetarian
We’re getting into the really hot days now, when any recipe that doesn’t involve switching on the stove, oven, or even toaster, is a recipe to be valued. And in these post-Christmas weeks, there is a certain urge towards salad, to balance out all the rich foods we have been eating recently…
This recipe is another one of those embarrassingly simple ones, but it’s so very useful I’m putting it here anyway. There’s a lot to be said for a recipe that requires no measurements, is portable, and gives you a reasonably filling and balanced lunch at the end of it. Now, if only I had a really good vegetarian version of this… (stay tuned, however – I have plans!)
Your shopping list (serves 2)
1 lebanese cucumber
1 red capsicum
1 green capsicum
350g – 500 g (1 1/2 – 2 punnets) cherry tomatoes, any kind, or 3 nice tomatoes
1 x 185 g tin of tuna or salmon, in olive oil if possible
2 x 125 g tins four bean mix
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Posted in Basics, cooking with vegetables, dairy-free, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, main courses, nut-free, Recipes
Tagged capsicums, cucumber, egg-free, gluten-free, legumes, light meals, low GI, lunchbox ideas, nut-free, recipes, salads, tomatoes, tuna
I am a sad, sick little Catherine today. Worse still, I woke up with no voice at all, which is most distressing, because I am supposed to be singing solos in three different performances this weekend, one of which will be my first ever go at doing a collection of solos from an oratorio. Or anything. Assuming I have a voice. Though I’ve been steaming it assiduously, and staying scrupulously silent, and it’s beginning to feel as though there might be a voice there after all. Fingers crossed…
Anyway. If I’m going to spend half my time leaning over a bowl of steaming water, I figure it might as well be soup. And since I had all this lovely, rich chicken stock left over from slow cooking a chicken last weekend, chicken-noodle soup seemed like the way to go. I did a survey of the fridge and discovered beans, onions and carrots, and then toddled out to the supermarket for corn and tiny pasta… which is where I found that they had cheese tortellini on special.
Tortellini in brodo (broth) is generally more of a celebration thing than a sick day thing in Italian culture, but given my Nonna’s penchant for feeding us eggy things and chickeny things when we were sick, it seemed appropriate. So a miniaturised, more vegetable-oriented tortellini in brodo is going to be my lunch today…
Your Shopping List (serves 1-2)
1 small onion
2 baby carrots (teenaged, really) or one adult carrot
100 g green beans
100 g corn – either in a tin or off the cob
2 cups of broth, any kind so long as it is actually tasty, because it’s the main flavour of the soup.
100 g dried tortellini (Barilla is a good brand)
Posted in dairy-free, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, nut-free, Recipes, soups, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged beans, carrots, corn, dairy-free, egg-free, low GI, nut-free, onions, recipes, soups, stock, tortellini, vegan, vegetarian
I try not to do the foodie thing, really. I mean, I don’t try to avoid the totally obsessed with food thing, because I am absolutely in favour of that, but the organic quail eggs with sea salt drifting like snowflakes over a bed of ethically raised zombie truffles (now you know why they smell like that) thing is a bit much for me. Good food is one of the great pleasures of life, and making it into a source of one-upmanship and anxiety is, I think, against its life-giving spirit. And now I sound like I’m inventing some strange food-based religion, though one could argue that food is in fact central to most religions, not least because it is life-giving, and I got 5 hours of sleep last night so I really need to get this post under control before it rambles off into theology land. Though a food philosophy post may be on the agenda soon.
ANYWAY. Having said all that, this recipe is a bit food-snobby, because it really does require truly wonderful ingredients. I’m sorry, but there’s no way around it – when there are only three main ingredients in this recipe, and basically no method, those three ingredients have to be really, really good. So this isn’t a recipe to make with strawberries that are kind of blah but you are in a strawberryish sort of mood – it’s a recipe to make because you found these amazing strawberries and (ideally) lovely, fresh cream today at the market or the greengrocer or maybe even the supermarket, and you want to just sit back and let them do their thing without interference, because their thing is wonderful.
Of course, I will fiddle around and give this recipe a few frills, because that’s who I am – I like to sprinkle my berries with just a splash of kirsch or strawberry syrup or raspberry liqueur, but it’s fine if you don’t have those things. And I think strawberries and cream want something a bit crunchy and waferish to go with them, but again, this is just decoration. And speaking of decoration, everything tastes better when you pile it into a tall sundae glass and sprinkle it with little edible stars. Or grated chocolate. Or what you will…
Your Shopping List (makes 3 glorious servings)
(No! Not a shopping list! This is serendipity – you make the dessert because you have the ingredients, you don’t buy the ingredients to make the dessert…)
Posted in desserts, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, nut-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged cream, desserts, egg-free, gluten-free, low GI, nut-free, recipes, strawberries, vanilla, vegetarian
I’ve started a lunch swap at work with a colleague of mine. On Mondays (or sometimes Tuesdays), I bring lunch lunch to share with her, and on Thursdays, she brings lunch to share with me. My colleague is vegetarian and can’t eat wheat or dairy, which makes life a bit more challenging, but it’s also kind of good, because I think it’s healthy to be vegan and gluten-free once in a while!
This week’s lunch was going to be quinoa tabouli, but when I got to the shops on Monday night, they were out of mint and flat-leaf parsley, which are kind of a necessity. So I looked around the supermarket to see what they *did* have, and found coriander and basil and zucchini and roasted peppers and tomatoes and corn … I had limes and curly parsley and quinoa and spring onions at home, so I thought this might be the basis for an American-inspired sort of salad.
It’s pretty good, actually. Lovely and fresh and terrifyingly healthy – and yes, it’s vegan and gluten-free and quite high in protein from that quinoa. A good lunch for a sticky, humid day…
Your Shopping List
1/2 cup quinoa, any kind
1 cup water
3 small white zucchini or 3 large pattypan squashes
2 corn cobs
1 small chilli, optional
6 spring onions (the kind that look like overgrown chives)
400 g assorted cherry tomatoes
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch parsley
10 basil leaves, or thereabouts
1/2 cup roasted peppers
juice of 1 lime
salt, pepper, olive oil
Posted in cooking with vegetables, dairy-free, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, nut-free, Recipes, side dishes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged basil, coriander, corn, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, lime, low GI, main courses, nut-free, parsley, peppers, quinoa, recipes, salad, side dishes, spring onions, tomatoes, vegan, vegetarian, zucchini