Tag Archives: carrots

Recipe: Cauliflower, Carrot, Crouton and Beetroot Thing of Great Yumminess (Vegan!!)

As you might have discerned, I have no idea what to call this recipe.  It’s sort of technically a main course salad, though a salad with absolutely nothing green in it doesn’t seem quite salad-y to me.  I know that ‘Bowls’ are the current big thing, but calling it a Bowl just seems pretentious to me.  Mélange sounds right to me, but probably sounds pretentious to everyone who isn’t me, so that’s no good.

The important thing to know about this meal is that it is *delicious*.  Picture this scenario: it’s the end of a long day at work.  The grants have just opened on RGMS.  I’ve gotten home late, because I was running choir after work.  I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in about a week.  I’m tired and I am cranky and I am sulking because basically I want fish and chips or takeaway, preferably something with lots of creamy cheese in it like four cheese pasta, or alternatively all the chocolate in the world, and here I am with stale bread, leftover beetroot dip, a cauliflower and a bunch of slightly elderly carrots.

This is not the stuff of which comfort food is made.

And yet… honestly, I feel like this is the best thing I’ve eaten all week.  It was sooo good.  Warm and earthy and crunchy and soft and squidgy and aromatic and sweet and savoury and probably nowhere near as good for me as I’d like to pretend, though better than fish and chips, eh, and actually not too much of a pain to make.

So here I am, desperately wanting an early night but unable to rest without writing down just what I did, because I will need to do it again sometime.  Sometime soon.  And maybe so will you.

(I apologise for the slightly vague quantities and the terrible photos – this is what happens when you are making dinner from the fridge and don’t really have plans to write it up because you are sulking at having to eat vegetables when all you want is cheesy cheesy pasta or maybe cheesy cheesy chips.)


Your Shopping (or leftovers) list

1 cauliflower – fairly large, I’d say
1 red onion
olive oil
1 tbsp ras el hanout or other moroccan spice mix
6-8 smallish carrots (no idea how many really, more or fewer will be fine, and colourful is good)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
about half a baguette’s worth of sourdough olive bread, or any other good chewy bread
a tablespoon of parmesan (optional)
400g tin of chickpeas
about 100 – 150g of beetroot dip – I had about half a pot of beautiful beetroot and hazelnut dip with dukkah from Shouki and Louise, which is what I used here.

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Recipe: Asparagus and Carrot Pastries

My blog has gone a bit quiet over the last few days for several reasons. The first is that I bought an iPad, and succumbed to the excitement of cookbook apps and also interactive biology and chemistry textbooks, to the exclusion of all else. The second is that I got really cranky about politics, which meant that I started writing in my politics blog again, and there’s only so much writing I can do in one day. And the third is that… downloading interactive biology and chemistry textbooks (not to mention cookbook apps) kind of used up the last remaining shreds of our broadband for the month. I am currently writing this offline, while waiting for Cate’s Cates to load. It’s been ten minutes so far.   God only knows what it will be like when I have to upload pictures.

So you can expect a few more quiet days around here, until we get our broadband connection back.

Anyway, today is Grand Finals Day, and my team is in it. Very exciting stuff, and probably an apt occasion on which to post the delicious vegetarian goodies I made for last Grand Finals Day and inexplicably never found time to post about.

This is more of an idea than a recipe, but it’s a very good idea, and very easy to make, which works for me. I had bought a packet of puff pastry from the Fairfield Farmers’ Market, and was full of plans to make vegan sausage rolls, but then I was seduced by the simplicity (and cuteness) of asparagus and baby carrots in little puff pastry waistcoats (or more probably straitjackets, now that I look at them, but you probably shouldn’t tell your guests that while you are serving these).

And they were delicious, so everyone was happy. Especially me, because Hawthorn won.


Your Shopping List

1 packet of puff pastry – I think mine was about 250 g
1-2 tablespoons of basil paste or pesto
1 bunch of asparagus (pick relatively slim asparagus, not the gigantically thick kind)
1 bunch of carrots
salt, pepper, lavender salt, chilli, parmesan – all optional


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Living Below the Line: Ribollita (sort of)

Another day, another recipe, and a quick note.  I know that there are cookbooks out there telling people how to live on very little.  Some of them are more useful than others – I think my favourite is written by Sandra of the $120 food challenge blog, because she has actually been living on a tiny income while writing these recipes, rather than doing the thing where you opine from on high about what those who are less well off should be eating.

I’m posting these recipes for two reasons.  The first reason is that they are a record of what I’m doing, and several of my sponsors (sponsor me!) have asked me to do so, because they are curious about what I’m cooking.  The second reason is that some of them have worked out reasonably tasty and could, with a bit of tweaking (and a bit more money) go into my regular repertoire.  But there’s one thing I haven’t told you about these recipes.

I’m hungry.  All the time.  Even right after lunch or dinner.

Part of this is psychological, I think – I really am very afraid of being without food, and I find myself counting the hours until the next meal, so I’m fairly sure that my brain is telling my body it’s hungry even when it isn’t.  But part of it is that, really, even with all the legumes and carbohydrates and protein I’ve tried to stuff into them, these meals just aren’t as filling as what I’m used to.  The portion sizes are fairly small.  One can survive on them, but I don’t know whether one could live on them in the long term.

What I don’t want is for anyone (especially anyone in the current government, quite frankly) to look at these recipes and think, these look pretty good, obviously living on $2 is easy.

It’s not.  Some of these recipes are quite good – this one, for example, is actually pretty tasty, and I’m quite impressed at how much chickeny flavour a single chicken wing can infuse into a soup.  It just needs a bit of cheese to be perfect, sigh.  But divide it into six servings, and it’s a lot less filling than you might think.


Your Shopping List

175 g borlotti beans, soaked in cold water overnight
1 brown onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 celery stick, chopped
1 sprig of rosemary
8 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
1 chicken wing (skin removed and used for schmalz, if you are feeling dedicated)
2 litres of water
1/2 tsp salt, lovely lovely salt!
200ml tinned tomatoes
stalks and leaves from 1 large beetroot
1 potato, diced
2 bread crusts, torn into small pieces
2 cups mixed frozen vegetables

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Recipe: Sweet and Sour Roasted Root Vegetables with Lemon Myrtle and Quinces

I’ve been singing all weekend.  In fact, I’m beginning to feel like the Mystery Chorister, I’m doing so much church music in so many different venues at present.  I’m also learning a lot about architectural styles of different denominations around Melbourne, which are alarmingly consistent at times.  Something tells me that there just weren’t too many church architects / interior designers out there…

Anyway, after being out from 8am until 6:30pm today singing, I wanted to make something simple for dinner – the plan was for roast vegetables with gribiche sauce and a broccoli salad.  But then gribiche seemed a bit too much like hard work, and then I wondered how quinces would roast with all those sweetish root vegetables, and then I had a probably unwise epiphany about lemon myrtle, and the next thing I knew, the menu had changed utterly in personality.  The gribiche got replaced by a garlicky cannelini bean mash, so that we could pretend that there was some protein in the meal.  And the vegetables?  Well, they are actually rather nice.  I was worried that the vegetables would be too sweet, but they really aren’t, and I love the way the quince has sort of camouflaged itself, so you pick up something that looks like a sweet potato, and find that it is actually mildly sweet and perfumed and fruity – a stealth quince!  Yum.  


Your Shopping List

1 large beetroot
1 quince
2 small onions
2 small potatoes
8 smallish carrots
2 small-medium parsnips
1 gigantic or two small sweet potatoes
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried lemon myrtle
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
olive oil

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Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables with Creamy Cannelini Bean Sauce

It’s been very quiet around here.  What always happens is that I write a post explaining why it has been very quiet, and apologising, but of course by the time I write such a post, things have self-evidently calmed down at least somewhat.

Things have not calmed down this time.  I am still in the midst of grants, and every time I’m not reading grants I am singing Bach, and then there have been work politics, and then there have been social politics, and let’s not even think about federal politics, and then there have been more grants, and then there have been funerals, and friends being evacuated due to bushfires, and other friends just having thoroughly miserable times, and sick cats, and did I mention the vile, vile weather?  Anyway, what there hasn’t been around here has been a lot of inventive cooking.  And when there has been, it mostly hasn’t worked out very well.  You know things are bad when not only do I get quiet, but I only emerge to cook savoury food!

(And really, I’m fine, just very, very tired and very, very busy.  And I probably don’t need quite so many grants, either.)

Anyway.  I started writing this recipe just before the last round of chaos, and never finished it.  Let’s see if I can finish it this time, eh?  And I will try to see you on the other side, assuming such a thing exists.  In the mean time, in lieu of content of my own, I draw your attention to my Vegetarian Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes challenge, which is attracting some really fascinating recipes.  Hopefully this will feed your hunger for beautiful food while I try to catch up with the difficult work of existing!


I love roasted vegetables and would happily eat them five times a week or more.  But they aren’t quite a meal in their own right, and while I am all too ready to serve them with broccoli in cheesy sauce (or perhaps I should say, cheesy sauce with broccoli) and call them a meal, occasionally I feel the urge to do a little better.  Hence the cannelini bean sauce, which makes everything OK because it has proteiny goodness!

One thing that you need to know about this recipe is that it is possibly the ugliest thing I have ever photographed.  This is not wholly the fault of the recipe, because nothing is at its best if you photograph it after the sun has set, but the whole pinky-beige sauce slopped over vegetables was never going to be an aesthetic triumph.  I think next time, I’d serve the sauce on the side.  As it is, my photos look as though I took a whole lot of beautiful roast vegetables, slopped gravy all over them, then time-travelled back to the 1970s, got out my old Instamatic camera, and took all the photographs under fluorescent lighting.  Only not quite that pretty. 

In fact, the photos are so bad that I’m not going to show them to you at all, for fear of putting you off, because this is really a delicious (and wonderfully easy) meal.  Anyway, the point I’m getting at is that if you make this and it turns out looking really rather dreadful on the plate, don’t despair – you are almost certainly doing it right.  But it probably isn’t a dinner party dish for any money.

Honestly, though, ugly or not, I love this meal.  It’s going to become a regular on my cool-weather vegetarian (indeed, vegan!) menu.


Your shopping list

2 smallish sweet potatoes
6 little potatoes, like pink fir potatoes
6 baby carrots
1 long beetroot, or two small ordinary ones
1 onion
1 red capsicum
olive oil
lavender salt, or salt, pepper and rosemary
400 g tinned cannelini beans
150 g slow roasted tomatoes
2 garlic bulbs, roasted
1/4 cup good olive oil
zest of one lemon
salt, pepper, rosemary

Now what will you do with it?

Aargh, it’s so long since I made this recipe that I barely remember what I did!  Well, first, one must roast the vegetables.  Peel them and chop them into inviting-looking shapes.  Because really, this will be the only inviting thing about this recipe.  I think I may even have kept the little potatoes whole, because they were these adorable, thumb-sized things which really didn’t need peeling or chopping at all.  The carrots, I peeled and then sliced in half lengthways.  The beetroot got chunked, the sweet potato was sliced very thickly and those slices were quartered, and the onion was cut into half moons.  The red capsicum was sliced.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.


Microwave the beetroot for about 5 minutes in a tiny bit of water in a bowl, because it will otherwise take far longer than everything else put together.

Now fling all the aforementioned veggies onto a huge baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and lavender salt (or ordinary salt and lots of rosemary), and bake everything for 45 minutes to an hour, turning after about twenty minutes or so, and again at the 45 minute mark if you think the veggies aren’t done yet.


Making the sauce is even easier than this.  Drain the cannelini beans and put them in a blender with the slow-roasted tomatoes, the roasted garlic, the olive oil, lemon zest, and seasonings.  Blend until you have a thick sauce.  Add more olive oil if you think it needs filling.


Serve the veggies with the sauce poured over, or poured onto the side to dip them in.  I feel a side dish of green beans or broccoli or even a straightforward green salad would be an excellent addition to this meal.


Eat.  Pretend not to notice that this is very ugly food indeed, because it really does taste amazing.



This meal is gluten-free and vegan and nut-free and low GI, and if you skip the onions, it’s actually not too terrible on the fructose side of things.  Amazing!

You can roast any root vegetables that appeal to you.  You can heat the sauce up, or instead of blending it, you could put everything except the oil in a saucepan (with just one splash of oil), sauté it up a bit, and then mash it with a fork or potato masher.  At this point, it’s more a mash than a sauce, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  You might even add an extra tin of beans in these circumstances and make it a real side dish.

And… that’s it from me.  It’s bedtime in the house of cats.


One year ago: Recipe: Inside-Out Salad

Two years ago: Market Day: High Summer Masquerading as Autumn

Recipe: Root Vegetable Rösti with Peach and Black Bean Salsa

I’m not sure if these technically count as rösti, since they are not all potato, and they do contain a lot of egg to hold them together.  More like fritters, really.  But when you find yourself with a fridge full of root vegetables on a hot evening, fritters or rösti are one of the better options for not heating the house up too much.

Also, they are very pink.  This should not be understated.  Sometimes, pink food is important.

I was a little disappointed in the salsa – it was milder than I intended it to be, and needed a bit more zing.  Next time, I’d add more lime or lemon, and more chilli. And maybe some cumin?  But it did provide a good contrasting freshness to the fritters, which, being composed of root vegetables and eggs and then fried, were not precisely light!

Not a perfect meal, but a rather nice one for a summer evening.  And worth recording, so that I can play with it another time.


Your Shopping List

3 medium potatoes
1 largeish beetroot
4 medium carrots
1 small red onion
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 teaspoon of tarragon
pepper, salt (lavender salt is nice here)
4 eggs
oil and butter for cooking
5 peaches
5 roma tomatoes
2 avocadoes
2 red chillis (or more, to taste)
juice of one lime and one lemon
1 tin (400g) of black beans
1 small bunch of coriander

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Recipe: Spring Vegetables with Lemon Gnocchi and Mint

I love this time of year at the farmers’ market.  After living in the land of brassicas and root vegetables for months, suddenly we are gifted with sweet baby carrots, new peas, herbs, greens of all kinds, and, of course, asparagus.  Add a packet of beautiful gnocchi from Take Me Home and some ghee from the Butter Factory, and you have a meal I could eat every day for a month.  Or at least, that’s how it feels right now.

This may look kind of messy, but it really is a thing of beauty when you taste it – bursting with the sweet flavours of new vegetables, with a zing from the lemon in the gnocchi, and a touch of freshness from the mint.  Perfection.


Your Shopping List
185 g peas (fresh if possible, frozen if that’s what you can get)
25 g ghee (or olive oil, if you are veganly inclined)
4 spring onions
10 baby carrots (about 175 g)
2 cloves garlic
10 asparagus spears (about 240 g before you snap off the ends)
3 tiny zucchini (about 180 g)
500 g lemon gnocchi (or plain gnocchi, and the zest of one lemon)
lavender salt (or plain salt plus some lavender or tarragon), black pepper
250 g cherry tomatoes
350 g fresh spinach (a medium-sized bunch)
a good handful of mint


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Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food: Orange!

Today is the first day of my new pantry, which is just another way of saying I accidentally spent nearly $100 on spices and salts and infused sugars this morning.  It was very, very tempting to make spices my theme for this month, but I did that in April, and one wouldn’t want to be repetitive.  Then I thought about all the dark, leafy greens coming into season and got all enthused about a green leafy vegetable theme, only everyone thinks that vegetarians eat nothing but rabbit food anyway.

Green was clearly right out.  Let’s do a different colour instead.

The JUNE 2013 theme is ORANGE!

(because oranges are not the only orange-coloured fruit) Continue reading

Recipe: Colourful Carrot Salad with Panch Poron

saladThis was an entirely serendipitous recipe, born out of the fact that my dinner really needed a salad to go with it, and what I had in the house was carrots.  And spices.  And orange juice.  It’s sort of based on a recipe by Allegra McEvedy, but the flavour profile has moved from the Middle East to India or thereabouts.  Basically, I didn’t have the pumpkin seeds and cumin that she recommended, but I did, as it turns out, have sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and a bottle of panch poron, a whole spice mix composed of fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard seed and fennel seed.

It’s really rather good, and it takes five minutes to make.  Also, it’s very pretty!  And it used up the rest of my carrots, nicely in time for the market this Sunday, which is definitely a bonus. 

If your pantry looks anything like mine, you should try it.

Your Shopping List

3 carrots, preferably in a range of colours, but orange will do!
2 tsp panch poron spice mix
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp currants or sultanas
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp pumpkin seed oil

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Recipe: Carrot Cake With the Lot (or do I mean banana cake?)

decoratedI have this favourite carrot cake recipe which is full of glacé fruit and spices and all sorts of goodies.  And then I have the Green Kitchen cookbook, which has a carrot cake recipe which is sugar-free and full of spices and even more fruit and all sorts of other goodies.  I couldn’t decide which to make for (yet another) birthday party, so I decided to cross them and make them both at once.

A sensible person would probably have decided to do this by averaging the two recipes out somehow.  Not me.  I added the spices together to make it *extra* spicy (nobody ever puts enough spice in carrot cake), and then gleefully decided that if one recipe had dates and glacé fruit and raisins and pineapple and the other one had dates and banana, we should definitely have all of those things.  The recipe narrowly escaped having hazelnut meal in it, too, even though I don’t like hazelnuts, just because there was an open packet sitting there, looking inviting.

Then, having filled the cake with glacé fruit and ginger, I virtuously turned around and made the batter sugar-free.  Because that makes sense.  I spent quite a lot of the cooking process, in fact, giggling and throwing up my hands, exclaiming “I have no idea what I’m making!”.  This amused Andrew no end, which is probably why we are still married, because it’s an intrinsic part of my cooking process and I suspect it could get quite annoying…

My favourite bit in the whole process was the part where I looked at my date-banana-maple-syrup-oil-pineapple-spice-flour-egg mixture and realised I had created a really nice banana cake batter, to which I was about to add a world of carrots and fruit, potentially wrecking the consistency entirely.  So this, O my readers, is an extra special recipe – it came from two cakes and it produces two cakes!  You can stop the recipe halfway and make a virtuous and sugar-free banana cake, or you can continue the merry madness and have Carrot Everything Cake!  The choice is yours.

Choose wisely.

Your Shopping List (which can basically be summarised as ‘all the edible things’)

12 fresh dates
3 ripe bananas (no need for them to be over-ripe, but if that’s what you’ve got, that’s fine too)
4 tinned pineapple rings
1/2 cup canola oil, or any other not terribly strongly-flavoured cooking oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
3 cups plain flour
2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp mixed spice (I used the Gewürzhaus Apple Cake Spice mix, which is just heavenly)
NB: stop here if all you want is banana cake
4 carrots
300 g mixed glacé fruit, such as apricots, peaches, pineapple, pear, orange, or really anything but ginger or cherries
75 g glacé ginger
125 g raisins
For the icing
400 g cream cheese (half full-fat and half light makes your life easier, and also provides a modicum of virtue to the situation), or use a dairy-free mock-cream cheese such as tofutti
100 g honey
zest of 1 small lemon; juice of half a lemon

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