Vegetarian Cooking


This recipe isn’t entirely my own. I got the recipe from here, and then just looked in the garden and the fridge and expanded on it.

As lentils are full of foliate, this is a great pregnancy soup. Plus the other night it was just what my stomach felt like having, nothing too heavy or full of carbs, but lots of vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • clove (or two) of garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • dried brown lentils (about a cup, maybe more)
  • spinach finely sliced
  • broad beans (fava beans)- these were fresh from our garden so it was an addition because we had it on hand, but canned beans of any variety would work just as well
  • soup stock

In a large saucepan, sauté onion, carrots, garlic in olive oil until onions are slightly brown.

Add lentils and other beans and cover with soup stock- about enough to cover them, and then at least another inch in the pot. You can always add more later as you need.

Simmer for 1 hour until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the spinach close to the end so it doesn’t disintergrate into the soup.

This made about enough soup for the two of us, with enough left over for me to have at work the next day.

It’s been a while between recipes. Lawyer is back at the gym with the dietician,  so we’re trying to watch what we eat. One of the things she has to count are how many serves of fruit, vegetables, carbs, protein, and dairy she has. This one is definitely good on the dairy.

This is something we had at our next door neighbours hens night. And the meal was simple enough that I was able to re-create it at home with a bit of experimentation.

1 packet of gnocchi
300g of pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 onion, diced
1 tblspn oil
1 tblspn flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
grated cheese (as little or as much as you like)
freshly ground pepper

Preheat over to around 180 degrees C.

Boil pumpkin for 5 minutes. Add gnocchi to the same saucepan and cook until the gnocchi floats to the surface. -Okay, I do in one pot because I can’t see the point of making extra pots dirty.

Drain and place into casserole or pie dish, or divide into individual ramekins.

Sauté onion in oil (same pot? why not!). Add flour and mix into a lumpy oniony paste. Add milk and stir until it thickens.

At this point Lawyer decided she wanted a bit of tomato in this, so I added a good slurp of tomato puree. You could also add other vegetables or spices at this point.

Pour sauce over gnocchi and pumpkin. Top with ground pepper and extra cheese.

Bake until the top starts to brown around the edges- around 20 minutes.

While my second batch of these this Christmas is cooking in the oven, I thought I might post the recipe.

Now I’m not claiming to have pulled this recipe out of my head, but I did make the low-fat modifications to it. The original recipe can be found here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/21077/cranberry+spiced+muffins and yes, I have largely copied the instructions from the original.

The mixing bowl

  • 1 cup (140g) dried cranberries (craisins)
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour (or plain flour with 4 tspn baking powder)
  • 3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (70g) pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) apple sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbs finely chopped pecans, extra
  • 1 tbs brown sugar, extra
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Spray/wipe oil through the muffin tray, or line them with paper cases.
  2. Place the cranberries in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes to soak. Drain well.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, pecans, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cranberries in a large bowl. Whisk milk, apple sauce and egg together in a jug. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Spoon evenly among the pans. Combine the extra pecans and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over the muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Turn onto a wire rack. Serve warm.

Lawyer and I love them because they are fruit muffins without sultanas, a highly overused dried fruit when there are so many other interesting dried things. And cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg just scream Christmas.

I think what is making these muffins so fantastic for me is that after years of using an old muffin tray that I have abused and scrapped and scrubbed, I bought a new, teflon coated muffin tray. No more leaving behind half my muffin!

More invention time in the kitchen. Lawyer had a craving for tomato soup after Roller Derby practise one evening. No canned or packet soup in the pantry, so I checked online for a recipe. Whoops, I had no onions, but I did have  can of tomatoes and some fennel bulbs that I bought on special and had no idea what to do with them. Well now I do.

1 bulb of fennel
1 tspn fennel seeds
oil
3-4 tomatoes or 1 can of tomatoes
vegetable stock (1-3 cups depending on how thick you like your soup and how watery your tomatoes are)

Roughly slice fennel bulb and saute in saucepan with fennel seeds and enough oil to coat lightly. If your fennel bulb came with a bit of greenery poking out the top, save some for garnish.

Dice tomatoes and put tomatoes and stock in saucepan.  Boil the life out of it.
When it’s almost ready pulverise it with a stick blender and return to the stove for another 5 minutes.

Serve!

This started as a simple recipe I found on a jar of Kalamata olives, and has evolved to become a dinner favourite that gets us our daily serve of vegetables. The key is the olives, which give it enough salt to flavour the rest of the vegetables.

2 sheets of pre-made pastry (I like puff pasty, but filo pastry is a healthier alternative)
1/2 onion
1 potato
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1 carrot
1 zucchini (courgette)

Preheat oven to 180C, or whatever the pastry packet suggests. Thaw pastry while preparing the vegetables.

Slice and dice vegetables. Don’t make the chunks too big otherwise they may not cook thoroughly. Put all in a bowl and mix.

Put one of the sheets of pastry on a baking tray. I don’t recommend making up the roll on your table and transferring it to the tray. The thawed pastry doesn’t have the strength to hold the vegetables.

Put half the vegetable mixture down the middle third of the pastry. Fold the sides over so it joins on the top. Brush with milk or egg if it doesn’t stick. Repeat with the second sheet and the rest of the vegetables.

Bake in the oven until the pastry is golden brown.

Alterations:
1) I like using any vegetables I can find in the house. Experimentation is the key! Corn, chestnuts, spinach, pumpkin, sweet potato, leeks, semi-dried tomatoes have all found their way in at some stage.
2) For a cheesy option you could add grated mozzarella cheese or cream cheese on top of the vegetables before folding over the pastry.
3) Check the ingredients of the pre-made pastry to make this vegan.

Steaming straight from the oven and served with tomato sauce.

Steaming straight from the oven and served with tomato sauce.

I love vegetarian sushi. Lawyer doesn’t, which for someone who studied Japanese language for many years and travelled there is unusual. However a few sushi bars have started serving other Japanese foods. Lawyer has fallen in love with Okonomiyaki again.

Since Lawyer is still on her calorie controlled diet, I’ve counted out the calories for all the ingredients used as a rough guide.
913 Calories all up / how many you make = calories per pancake (condiments additional)

One pancake dressed with mayonnaise, vegetarian oyster sauce and pickled ginger.

One pancake dressed with mayonnaise, vegetarian oyster sauce and pickled ginger.

1 1/2 cups plain wholemeal flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups water
75g bean sprouts
250g cabbage
2 vegie sausages
1 spring onion

(cabbage is the main vegetable used in these pancakes, but feel free to experiment with whatever you have handy in the fridge)

Mix plain flour, eggs and water into a runny batter.

Rinse sprouts, finely chop cabbage, vegie sausages and spring onion. Add these to the batter and mix through. Most of the batter will run to the bottom, so mixing it so you’re bringing the batter to the top and letting it run back through the vegetables works best.

Spoon onto frying pan and cook on a low heat. Make sure there is enough batter to bind all the vegetables. When the base appears to be cooked and most of the batter is firm enough, flip and cook on the other side.

Serve with your favourite condiment. We love vegetarian oyster sauce and mayonaise, but sweet chilli sauce works just as well.

This is a dead simple dip recipe that is gluten free, lactose free, low fat and of course vegetarian, and even vegan friendly.

Lawyer has just started a calorie counting weigh-loss diet through our local gym and is on a 1500 calorie a day restriction. This dip, with carrot sticks or celery kills the food cravings.
It has roughly 200 calories for the whole dip.

1 can Cannellini Beans
1 clove of garlic
1 tblspn lemon juice
A few fresh sprigs of your favourite herbs

Wizz the whole lot up in a small food processor or with a stick blender. Small amount of water can be added for a runnier consistency.

Note 1: this works best if you can leave it overnight for the flavours to infuse.

Note 2: experiment with different flavours, herbs, seasonings, etc. Personally I love the aniseed flavour of tarragon, but you can experiment with what you have in the garden, what’s in season or in the supermarket. Chillies and paprika give it a nice kick, and the batch I made last night had oregano, thyme and tabasco sauce in it.

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