Thursday, 29 March 2012

Red Quinoa with Grilled Zucchini & Lemon Tahini Dressing

My partner in crime, Mrs Bean bought me some gorgeous red organic quinoa on the weekend. I had been eyeing it for a little while, but was umming and ahhing because it was so expensive. But, I'm glad she did, because I used it to make an anniversary dinner for myself and the Beloved. It was  our wedding anniversary on Monday, and being a work night we couldn't go out and celebrate, so I tried to make the speediest gourmet dinner possible LOL. Anyway, this is what I ended up making. We had it with haloumi, but lemon marinated tofu would be just as delish for a vegan option Dreena Burton has a fantastic one in Viva La Vegan, just replace the thyme with oregano). It's all about making your flavour combo sing! Did I mention this is gluten free as well?

Red quinoa
1 large zucchini, cut into long lengths
1 red onion
2 tsp chicken style stock powder
2 Tablespoons lemon infused extra virgin olive oil (or  zest of a lemon with regular oil)
1/4 cup approx tahini
fresh oregano leaves
either haloumi or lemon marinated tofu
cracked black pepper

Cook quinoa with stock according to packet directions ( I used approx 1 cup)
Pan grill slices of zucchini and red onion, and set aside
Combine tahini, olive oil, and oregano to make a dressing
Grill or panfry haloumi or tofu.
When ready to serve, pile quinoa onto plate, top with zucchini and onion, and haloumi or tofu, and drizzle dressing over the top. Add some cracked black pepper to taste. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sausage- and -Lentil- Casserole -Inna- Bun

When I was thinking of what to call this I just kept thinking of C.M.O.T. Dibbler in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels selling his dubious sausage-inna-buns. But unlike Dibbler, these have no animal by products and will undoubtedly not leave you with indigestion. I daresay these would be welcome off any street cart but perhaps a little messy to eat while walking down the street. For those of you familiar with the books,  even Sam Vimes may deem them a worthy offering instead of his diminished bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches, especially since there isn't much greenery. Then again, maybe not, Vimes is a cynical bugger in most instances, and this doesn't have any burnt crunchy bits.  In any case they are a welcome addition to the Autumn dinner rotation.

6 large lunch rolls

1 cup brown lentils
4 veg sausages, sliced
1 chopped onion
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon beef style stock powder
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp smoky paprika
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
cracked black pepper to taste

Cook lentils in boiling water according to packet directions.
While lentils are cooking saute onion and garlic until soft. When lentils are half cooked add all other ingredients, and simmer until thick and chunky.
Place hollowed buns on a baking tray and bake for approx 10 minutes on 180C until crisp.
Fill buns with casserole, garnish with parsley, and put the lid back on. Voila!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ribbon Zucchini Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

I know this is just a salad. But it was really nice, and a good way to use some of the zucchini straight from the garden. It has a bit of a zing to it, and would be really nice as a side with pasta or a quinoa dish. Or you can just have a big plateful! I used my mandolin to make nice thin zucchini ribbons, but you can just use a vegetable peeler. I added some baby spinach, and some toasted pinenuts or sunflower seeds would have been nice too.

To make the vinaigrette, I put 1/2 cup white wine vinegar in a saucepan and crushed a small handful or raspberries into it, heating it gently on low - don't let it boil, just bring to a simmer and turn the heat off.  Pour into a container and leave in the fridge to cool. Strain the vinegar and add some extra virgin olive oil ( I use 1/3 oil to vinegar). Give it a good shake and toss through zucchini and spinach. Add a little cracked black pepper and voila! There you have it. 

Friday, 9 March 2012

Beer Battered Rice Cakes & Chips

I forgot to share this one from while we were on our beach holiday. Murray decided he was going to have fish, but I wanted something other than just chips. We had some leftover coconut lime rice from the night before, so I added some spinach, shaped the cold rice into patties, made a beer batter from plain flour, pepper, salt, and beer, and dipped them in before frying. They were really yummy! I don't have a recipe for the beer batter, I just chucked in flour and beer until I had a good coating consistency. I could only really shallow fry them because I didn't have a deep fryer but they still puffed up and went crunchy. A wedge of lime hit the spot with some mashed avocado too!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Huli Huli Tofu & Coconut Lime Rice

Currently I'm working on a menu for a Tiki- Tacular a Hawaiian night that  Sprout & Bean is doing in a couple of weeks. I decided to play around with the huli huli chicken recipe that is apparently quite popular at a luau and use tofu instead. I'm pretty happy with it, and the coconut lime rice is a perfect accompaniment.

Coconut Lime Rice
2 cups jasmine rice
1/2 can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
zest of a lime and juice
1 tablespoon Thai seasoning paste
coriander to garnish
vegetable oil

I cheated and used the rice cooker, putting all the ingredients in and letting it cook away while I did the tofu. Rice cookers use the absorption method of cooking rice, so if you do this on the stove top keep a close eye on it so it doesn't dry out and catch.
Once the rice was cooked I stirred through a little oil and separated the grains with a fork, and adjusted the seasoning, adding a little bit more paste. I then squeezed a little more lime juice over the top with coriander to garnish. This made about 4 generous servings.

Huli Huli Tofu
1 block of tofu, cut into thick strips or triangles
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup pineapple juice
piece of ginger crushed
1 garlic clove crushed
a little bit of chilli paste to taste
sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
vegetable oil for frying

Put all ingredients except tofu into a bowl and make a slurry. Marinate the tofu for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Fry until sticky and golden on each side, and keep warm in oven, covered until ready to serve. 

I can't account for the authenticity of the huli huli sauce, but it's pretty good!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Pretzel Cobs

Guten Tag! The Beloved bought me a cook book while we are away Vegie Burgers Every which Way. I think the idea was he bought the book so I could just make everything in it! There are some recipes at the back for making your own buns, and I was taken with the pretzel rolls. I always try a recipe from a book first time exactly as written, and then change it if I have to. Sadly, this was one of them. The quantities of liquid and flour is quite wrong, and since I made the first batch on a wet day when humidity was high, if anything I should have had to add more flour. They turned out ok, but were quite small rolls based on his instructions., and didn't rise very well, even in a pre-warmed oven turned off with the door open. So I just made a bread dough to my recipe, and then followed the rest of the instructions. I think part of the problem is the recipe has no sugar. In my experience bread need sugar, as this is what feeds the yeast and causes the dough to rise. So second time around I made small cob size rolls and they turned out beautifully! Now I need a vegie snitzel and some mustard! Guten appetit!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Vegan Dumplings Part III - The Recipes

Part III - here are the recipes I've been dabbling with, along with a couple of dipping sauces. Happy cooking!

Veg "Pork" & Cabbage 
3 vegetarian pork style sausages  (such as Vegideli)
1 cup Chinese cabbage
1/4 tsp Chinese five spice
soy sauce to taste
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp crushed ginger
Soy sauce to taste

Using a food processor pulse sausages to a coarse mince (or chop finely by hand)
Pulse cabbage in food processor, or finely chop by hand.
Stir fry all ingredients except soy sauce until fragrant.
Add soy sauce to taste, and allow to cool.

Veg "Pork" and Coriander
3 vegetarian pork style sausages (such as vegideli)
1 finely chopped spring onion (shallots)
Coriander leaves
1 small chilli
pinch sugar
pinch salt
lime juice to taste

Make a spice paste using equal amounts of lemongrass, chilli, and garlic. I use about a teaspoon of each, and use my mortar and pestle. Add the chilli, a little at a time until it is hot enough for you. Add finely chopped coriander leaves (a handful will do), pinch sugar, and salt and lime juice to taste (about 2 tsp).

Alternatively you could buy a ready made Thai paste mix if you don't have the time to make your own.

Using a food processor pulse sausages to a coarse mince.
Stirfry mince, adding spring onion, and paste a little at a time until flavour is intense as desired.
Set aside to cool

Veg "Beef" and Shitake Mushroom
1 cup vegetarian beef mince
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp beef style vegetarian stock powder
2 tablepoons ground dried shitake mushrooms
soy sauce
pepper to taste

Saute onion until soft. Add mince, stock, and ground mushrooms, a splash of soy sauce to taste, and a little water. Continue cooking for a few minutes, until mince is thick, and set aside to cool.

"Sweetcorn Soup" Filling
1 1/2 cup corn kernals
1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice
1 tsp chicken style vegetrain stock powder
1 spring onion, finely chopped
pepper to taste

Puree 1/2 cup  of the corn kernals, and add stock, five spice, and onion. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat, adding remaining corn kernals, and ading pepper to taste, cooking for another minute or so. You should have a very thick mixture. Allow to cool.

Veg "Chicken"  Chilli and Mango 
1 cup of vegetarian chicken style pieces (I used the rehydrated dried Explore Asian organic soybean chicken)
finely chopped chilli to taste
3 tablepoons mango puree
1 spring onion chopped
2 tablepoons coconut cream
2 tablepoons roasted cashews, chopped

Pulse "chicken" pieces in food processor, add other ingredients.
Stir fry until fragrant, then set aside to cool.

Curried Sweet Potato and Coconut
1 cup  cooked sweet potato
1 finely chopped spring onion
2 tsp curry powder
2-3 tablespoons coconut cream

Mash all ingredients together, and heat over low heat until fragrant. Adjust seasoming to taste, and allow to cool.

Fried Rice Filling
I won't bother posting a fried rice recipe, there are lots out there, this is more a suggested filling. Keep in mind this can't be frozen, and is best eaten the day it is made, as cooked rice should be eaten within 2- 3 days. If you have some leftover fried rice, this would be a good way to use it up! Try it with a satay dipping sauce.


Coriander,  sweet chill, coconut - mix chopped coriander with one part sweet chilli sauce, to two parts coconut cream.

Satay Sauce - shop bought, or 1/2 cup  peanut butter 1/2 cup coconut milk 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tsp crushed garlic, 1/2 tsp crushed ginger 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce - puree in blender, and gently bring to simmer, turn off and allow to cool

Dumpling Dipping Sauce - 1/4 cup  rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp sweet chilli sauce

Vegan Dumpling Fillings Part II - The Folds

I know, it has been awhile since I promised there would be a second post on dumplings, and a few other things in between. But here it is! I thought I'd show you a couple of different folds depending on whether you have square or round pastry.

When preparing your dumplings have a workstation set up - a bowl of water for dipping your fingers into, your wrappers stacked ready to go, a board for your folded dumplings, and one to work on, a teaspoon, and your filling/s. If you are doing multiple fillings, do one flavour at a time, and do a different fold for each one so you can easily differentiate them.

Step 1 - place a scant teaspoon of filling in the centre of the wrapper.
Step 2 - using your finger, moisten all around the edge lightly

Step 3 - Fold over into a triangle
Step 4 - Press from the filling outwards to remove air pockets and stick together. You can stop here and use this as your first shape, or keep going as follows.

Step 5 - Hold the triangle point downwards and using your thumb, gently press the base pushing down as pictured to spread out the dumpling

Step 6 - turn over and moisten a corner

Step 7 - Bring the other corner round to pinch them together, making a ravioli.

They will look like this! This shape is really good for sitting up in a spoon

Another fold is a simple napkin fold, follow up to step 4, and then bring one side over your fingers as pictured

and then moisten and bring the other side across and pinch together

to look like this

If you are using round wrappers, you can make half moons or ravioli as well using the same folds, or you can make a pea pod shape, which is a little more work but looks pretty cute. This fold also sits up well in a spoon.

Centre your filling, and moisten around edge

Fold over to get a crescent, pressing down from the centre to remove air pockets,and pinch to seal.

Push gently on workbench so that it sits upright, and moisten outer edge

Pinch a few small pleats to create a pea pod shape or purse

That looks like this!

To cook the dumplings, bring to the boil a large saucepan of salted water, and cook for about two minutes, or until pastry is translucent. Don't cook too many at a time, as they will stick together. Remove with a slotted spoon. 

Dumplings also freeze really well. It is best to cook them, and cool them for a few minutes on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper, spaced apart so they don't stick together. Pop them in the freezer for a couple of hours, and then place them in a labelled snaplock bag. They should be good for up to two months. To heat, steam for 20 - 30 minutes in a basket.