Sunday, 30 September 2012

October Vegetarian Challenge

When people complain of lack of variety in veg food I always think of hippie herbivore Neil in The Young Ones being responsible for dinner but always cooking lentils (even if occasionally, there's a bit of crockery mixed in ).  We don't just eat lentils - and if we do, they are bound to be tasty, delicious, gourmet lentils of course!

With October being the Vegan Month of Food, Be Kind to Animals Week being from 1st-7th October, and World Animal Day being on the 7th October; if you aren't veg already, I challenge you to try for four weeks! If you can't handle cutting out all meat, dairy and/or eggs, just try cutting out meat and fish. And if you really can't handle that, try eating veg Monday to Friday? It really is easier than you think, better for your body, and better for the environment. Not to mention better for the animals! With so many people blogging for October, there's plenty of food for thought, and yummy recipes to try. It may just surprise you how tasty vegetarian food can be. and I'd love it if you told me how you are going/went. I had a couple of people accept my challenge last year and it was very positive - so give it a shot!

To see what Vegan MoFo is all about go here. And if you want to hear about a lady that is nothing but kindness itself to animals, read all about Pam and the team at  Edgar's Mission - they do such a fantastic job at not only rescuing animals, but educating people - and that my friends, is half the battle.

Happy vegging out!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Hazelnut & Pine Nut Dukkah

You may have noticed a little change on this blog, a fresh new look for Spring! I've got a new space just for taking blog photos and I love the rustic little nook with lots of natural light. Since the days are getting longer and daylight saving is just around the corner, I will hopefully getting more posts up on growing and eating great vego food. Not to mention Vegan Mofo is almost here!

Mrs Bean and myself have just done some catering for a wedding. I'd love to post some photos but alas we are just too busy to stop and smell the salad dressing. I have stopped and smelled the dukkah though. As part of an antipasto platter I made a heap of dukkah using some gorgeous fat hazelnuts grown in Orange. Not many people grow hazelnuts in Australia, so it was lovely to have some home grown organic ones to use instead of the smaller imported ones. The smell of the spices and nuts as I toasted each ingredient individually before crushing them wafted through the kitchen and all I wanted to do was eat all of it!

There are lots of recipes, but this is my version. I find the pine nuts give it a deeper flavour. Have some served with some virgin olive oil and some good quality sourdough.

150gr hazelnuts
100gr sesame seeds
50gr pine nuts
60gr coriander seeds
60gr cumin seeds
freshly cracked black pepper
sea salt flakes

In a frying pan, dry toast each of the nuts and spices individually. 
Crush each ingredient separately either in a mortar and pestle, or with a spice grinder on a coarse setting. You can make it as fine or as coarse as you like.
Toss ingredients together and add salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Here Comes the Sun

Spring has finally arrived in the Southern Hemisphere! Daffodils, jonquils, and snowdrops have appeared all over our garden, and I can see blossoms swelling ready to burst on the apple and peach trees. I am so glad that winter is over, and the weather has begun to warm up, as I can get out into the garden and begin sowing, planting, and growing delicious food again. We've had some lovely warm days in the last couple of weeks, although the nights have been very cold. Yesterday I got up and the water pipes had frozen overnight, so the Beloved decided the best method would be to get my kitchen blowtorch and thaw the pipe out LOL! It did work, but it just goes to show that tender seedlings can't be put out just yet...

I have been busy putting seed into punnets and thinning out seedlings already sprouted in my propagation units. The mini greenhouses have sat on the heat mats for two weeks and already I'm having success with some early tomatoes, eggplants, and luffa. All of these guys need a fairly long growing season, so starting them off indoors, and then thinning out into bigger pots will give me a great start. Eventually I'll be able to harden them off and put them out after the frosts have finished. 


Today I did round two, which was sowing tomatillos, pumpkins, melon, corn, and cucumbers, all which will go on the heat mats for a couple of weeks. If you live in a cooler climate, I highly recommend investing in one of these. Some people put seed trays on top of their water heater, which is fine if you have one inside, but ours is outdoors. Without the boost, I wouldn't get as many plants. I could buy some of course, but the heirloom varieties are pretty hard to come by as ready to plant seedlings.

If you haven't thought about the garden yet, get cracking! Leave it too late and all the good seed varieties will  have run out! Don't forget to check through last years seed packets and see what's left. Most of them will still be viable, but if you aren't sure, or you have a mixture of seeds and don't know what they are, get a tray full of seed raising mix, and sow some, watering well. See what pops up, and thin out as they get stronger. By the time the true leaves appear, you should be able to work out what plant is which, or at least which family they belong to, and plant out accordingly. You may not need to buy any new seed at all!

Happy Spring!