Tag Archives: main courses

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.)

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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
salt
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: Sweet potato and chickpea curry with roast cauliflower

This was one of those recipes you make up as you go along which then turns out to be rather good, so you sit down straight after dinner to hastily reconstruct what you did before you forget it.  It does use several spice mixes, I’m afraid, because that’s what I do when I’m cooking things that I don’t plan to turn into my own recipes… and of course, there are only two photos, because photographing my food at multiple points in the cooking process is really not something I do unless I’m planning to blog about it – which I wasn’t this time!

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1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas if you have a pressure cooker, or 2 tins cooked
1-2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves
2 red chillis
2 tsp ginger puree
1 finger-sized piece of turmeric, peeled and grate
2 big sweet potatoes – about 1.5 kg, I think – peeled and cubed
2 cups of water
2 tsp Spice Fusion Thai curry blend (contains coriander, cumin, chilli, turmeric, ginger, pepper, cloves, fennel, cardamom and white pepper)
1/2 a cauliflower
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp Gewürzhaus tandoori masala
basmati or jasmine rice,  yoghurt, to serve

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Living Below the Line: Pasta Bake Recipe!

I’m sure you are just itching to know how these recipes work, so allow me to share with you the first of my ‘famine’ recipes.  Actually, this one isn’t so famine-ish, because it contains actual fish, and came in at just under $1.10 per serving.  Luxury!

75 g cashews
1/4 cauliflower, coarsely chopped, including bits of stem
5 garlic cloves
salt3/4 cup water, plus more for the vegetables
1 enormous beetroot, or two medium ones
3/4 of a butternut pumpkin
1/2 cup of mixed frozen vegetables
185 g tinned tuna or salmon
550 g pasta
1 slice bread
 

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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.  

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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
salt
pepper
 

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Recipe: Stuffed zucchini on roasted tomatoes

I was originally going to post this to my Tomatoes challenge, but then grant season got the better of me and nothing happened at all.  And now I have a Tofu challenge in play, and I have no idea what I’m going to do with that.  But right now, I’m working on the backlog of recipes that I created and scribbled down onto random pieces of paper in February (in fact, what I scribble down is a list of ingredients and quantities, trusting myself to remember the method, which is a bit of a gamble if the piece of paper then gets knocked off the desk by a cat, and batted under a couch, and then only found many weeks later), since this blog has been very nearly a recipre-free zone of late.

Anyway.  Zucchini flower season is almost over for us in Australia, but for once, I can give the Europeans and Americans a thrill by posting something that is about to come into season for a change!  I am constitutionally incapable of not buying zucchini flowers when I see them, which means that I then have to instantly re-jig any menu plans I’ve made, as zucchini flowers must be used the day you buy them, or at the very most, the day after.  In all probability, there are better ways to cook them – in fact, I am constantly being exhorted by farmers to try deep-frying them, stuffed or un-stuffed, in tempura batter, but since deep-frying is the one un-healthy culinary habit that I do not have, I am reluctant to learn it, even if tempura zucchini flowers does sound amazing.  God, that sentence was dreadful.  Sorry. 

Anyway, since I eschew the deep-fryer, my preferred option for zucchini flowers has always been to stuff them with a herby spinach and ricotta mix, and then bake them either in a simple tomato sauce or on a bed of roasting tomatoes. So far, nobody has complained at the lack of deep-frying, so here, for your delectation, is the recipe I normally use.  I apologise for the poor photographs – the light in my kitchen isn’t very good for photography.  I promise you, these zucchini flowers taste amazing, however they may look in these photos.

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Your Shopping List

12 zucchini flowers, preferable with the little zucchini still attached
1 kg assorted beautiful tomatoes
salt, pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
olive oil
2 tsp vinegar
oregano, to taste
150 g frozen spinach, defrosted (or a bunch of fresh)
300 g ricotta
50 g parmesan
a handful each of mint and basil leaves, chopped finely
nutmeg, pepper
1 egg
 
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Recipe: Miniature Pumpkins stuffed with Spiced Split Pea and Rhubarb Stew

This post is brought to you by Farmhouse Direct – or rather, by the fact that I have been too exhausted of late to contemplate getting up early to go to the market on a Saturday morning.  But I can’t come at buying most of my veg from the supermarket, either, so instead I hopped online, looked for fruit and veg, filtered my search for Victorian Farmers, and then went to see what was available.

What was available was boxes of produce from Vegie Bunch – huge bunches of rhubarb, mixed boxes of cucumbers, beetroot, carrots, garlic and potatoes, and boxes of tiny Jack Be Little pumpkins that could only be described as adorable.  I got some of everything, and it arrived on my doorstep on, I think, Thursday morning.

(And then I had to find places to put all of it, because none of this produce is small or self-effacing…)

Anyway, we had friends around to dinner on Friday, and what with it being Lent, I’m vegetarian – but what with it also being me having people around to dinner, it was absolutely necessary to make something spectacular. The Green Kitchen have a recipe for a split pea and rhubarb stew, for which I actually had most of the ingredients, and I thought it might be fun to stuff this into teeny tiny pumpkins and serve them roast potatoes, tomatoes from my garden, and a lot of tzatziki.

It was *amazingly* good, and I wouldn’t have thought to write it up, because the stew recipe was adapted from the Green Kitchen, until my friend asked if I was going to photograph the pumpkins, at which point I considered the recipe, considered how many ingredients and methods I’d changed, and realised that this was probably actually quite legit to write about.  Also, the tzatziki absolutely makes this dish, and that was definitely my idea.

Of course, this means that there are only photos of the finished product, but I’m hoping that the finished product is cute enough that you won’t mind.  Also, be warned – these little tiny pumpkins look like they will be a light meal, but this is just how they draw you in – we all managed to finish what was on our plates, but it was a near thing.  These babies are filling, and I think that with a few more baby pumpkins I could have easily fed ten to twelve people rather than the four I was actually cooking for.  I certainly had enough stuffing to fill more pumpkins…

Also, I apologise for the spice mixes – I didn’t have all the spices the recipe suggested, and I did have all these luscious spice mixes hanging around that seemed to fit the profile, so I used those instead.  Because sometimes, one wants to use one’s beautiful spice mixes.  I’m figuring that most of you probably do have some random Middle Eastern and chilli spice mixes lurking around your kitchen – here’s your opportunity to use them!

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Your Shopping List

8 Jack Be Little Pumpkins, or other miniature pumpkins suitable for stuffing
3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 tsp of a good chilli con carne or similar spice mix, one which is heavy on both chilli and cumin
1 1/2 tbsp of a good middle eastern sweet spice mix such as ras el hanout or a turkish spice mix – you want something that has cardamom, cinnamon and the like, but also a little bit of savoury bite and heat to it. 
1/2 tsp ginger
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, crushed,
500 g orange sweet potatoes
300 g carrots
5 sticks rhubarb
1 red apples
150 g yellow split peas
2 Lebanese cucumbers
500 g Greek yoghurt
a small bunch of mint
salt, pepper, olive oil
 
 

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Recipe: Gnocchi with Broccoli pesto and Tomatoes two ways

Ooh, tomatoes two ways.  So MasterChef, don’t you think?  But one of the points of this recipe really is that one gets to treat the tomatoes essentially as two separate ingredients with separate tastes – the slow-roasted tomatoes (and yes, I know I’m obsessed with these at present) are sweet and deep in flavour, and raw tomatoes are fresh and light and a bit more acidic.  Yum.  As a bonus, you get to use up some of the zucchini which are hopefully taking over your garden in tandem with the tomatoes.  Mine aren’t actually taking over yet, but I live in hope.  And I do seem to be nicely off for zucchinis at present.

And then you top the whole glorious thing off with a big glob (or quenelle, if you are feeling fancy) of broccoli pesto, which has the quadruple advantage of looking good, tasting excellent, adding a bit of protein to your life, and, best of all, not needing to be stirred through the pasta!  (Seriously, has anyone ever achieved a home-made pesto which was actually sufficiently non-solid in texture that it didn’t destroy the pasta or else just sit there in petulant little clumps, mocking you for attempting to stir it through?)

It’s good stuff.

This recipe turns out to serve three people, with rather a lot of pesto left over.  Such a shame – you’ll have to have the reset of it on your beetroot gnocchi tomorrow night…

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Your shopping list

450 g cherry tomatoes, preferably from your garden and in assorted colours
5 big roma tomatoes
olive oil, salt, pepper
1 head of broccoli
50 g pine nuts
25 g pistachios
115 g basil puree from a tube
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50 g parmesan
500 g gnocchi
4 zucchini, any kind

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Recipe: Pasta with All Those Greens You Normally Throw Out, plus Sausages and Chilli

This recipe makes me happy, happy, happy!  Its antecedents are in a lovely recipe by Diana Henry for pasta with broccoli and sausage, which I make all the time, but this version gains extra farmers’ market and frugal credibility by making use of the tops of root vegetables and wild greens. 

Radish greens, as it turns out, cook down to something that tastes deliciously spinach-like, and I think most people already know that beetroot greens are essentially the same as silverbeet.  Another green I didn’t use was carrot greens, but you could certainly go that route, to bring a slightly more herbal taste to your pasta.

The other lovely thing about this recipe, of course, is how easy it is to throw together.  It’s just a lovely, tasty, comforting pasta dish for a work night.  And it makes me feel good both to make it and to eat it.  I hope you love it too.

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olive oil
6-8 good sausages, any kind you like
1 big onion
3 big cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
Three bunches of leaves – I used leaves from one bunch of radishes, one bunch of beetroot, and one bunch of Fat Hen – washed and picked over.  This is the longest part of the recipe.
1/3 cup white wine
300 g penne pasta
parmesan, to serve

 

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Recipe: Vegetarian Nacho Salad

This is a recipe  I make constantly in hot weather.  In fact, I usually double or triple the batch of chilli and freeze it, so that I can just briefly reheat it on hot days and then put together the salad without warming up the house further.  Because it’s so straightforward (being closely related to my vegetarian taco recipe), and tends to vary a bit depending on what salad ingredients I have, I haven’t previously written it down and the ingredients list will be a little vague.  Think of it more as an idea than a recipe, and alter it to your liking!

Your Shopping List

olive oil
1 brown onion
cumin, chipotle chilli, oregano, paprika, and any other herbs or spices you like to put in chilli, to taste.  I’m sorry, I really couldn’t tell you how much I use.
2 tins black beans or red kidney beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1-2 handfuls of salad greens
250 g cherry tomatoes
1-2 capsicums or sweet chillis
1 lebanese cucumber
4 tiny carrots
85 g tinned corn
1 avocado, or guacamole
juice of 1 lime
tortilla chips, plain or any flavour you like.
grated cheese – I use a four cheese mix that includes mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan and I think an easy melt cheddar.

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Recipe: Pumpkin and Tofu Curry with Lemongrass

served2I 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
1 onion
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.
 
 

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