Not Another Thanksgiving Feast: Chickpea-Stuffed Choko

If you, like me, aren’t American and therefore don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, you might also find that the decadent holiday recipes abounding online can get a bit distracting. While I appreciate the sentiment of Thanksgiving, it can be difficult to plan healthy meals when there are all manner of indulgent dessert recipes and pies bombarding your eyes. But never fear, I am here! While today’s post is still a delicious recipe, it’s also very, very good for you. Perhaps if you did celebrate Thanksgiving you might want to make this to balance out some of that pumpkin pie.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m on a mission to try new fruits and vegetables. Sometimes it’s an item that I’ve never seen or heard of, sometimes it’s an item that I love but have never been game enough to cook, and sometimes it’s an item that has a bad rap. I like giving veggies a second chance. I find that usually it’s just a matter of doing it right. Case in point, chokos.

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Feeling Fresh: Mum’s Hedgehog Slice and a Summery Lunch

As the days are counting down towards the end of my degree (34 days to go!), it’s beginning to sink in that for the first time in four and a half years, I won’t be juggling the insane stress of work with study. Needless to say, that’s a really exciting thought.

For a moment back there, a miniscule nanosecond of a moment, I thought “Whatever will I do with my free time?”. Then I forehead slapped myself. Oh, silliness is me, what a foolish thought. The more appropriate question is “However will I fit in all of the things I have been holding back from experiencing, learning or doing due to the time, stress and financial constraints that uni has entailed?” You see, I have a bit of a list of things that I’m trying to find time to do at the moment that keep getting put on the back-burner due to my demanding study schedule. But on top of this, I feel that in order to get the most out of every minute of every day, I need to be feeling my best. Continue reading

For the love all things grilled and good for you: My Grandmother’s Aubergine

In the late 1960’s, counter-top microwave ovens began to appear in the kitchens of trendy, modern families. They became the new, revolutionary and very fashionable cooking appliance. Cookbooks published at the time will tell you how to cook a ‘roast’ dinner in the microwave, a souffle, and even ice-cream! Don’t believe me? Check it out. My mum’s microwave cookbook would have you believe that anything can be made in one (it also fails to mention the high risk of lumpy custards and gravies, and porridge volcanos). Basically, the world went a little batty over the invention of the microwave oven.

The sandwich press is my microwave oven. Continue reading

Vegetables for sustainability: making a plant-based diet work

Over the past week there has been a lot of media attention on the issue of the US drought, rising food prices, and the necessity for the general population to adopt a more vegetable-centric diet. Currently humans derive 20% of their protein from animal sources on average, but by 2050, this may need to drop to a maximum of 5%. Our planet simply will not be able to sustain the world population if meat is still consumed at such a high rate. It takes between five and ten times as much water to sustain the animals farmed for food as it would to grow crops enough to feed the same number of people. Similar figures apply to grains and vegetables grown to feed animals. Basically, if we eat the grains and vegetables directly, we require a lot less of them to sustain ourselves than if we were to feed them to animals and then eat the animals. And with an ever-increasing population, scientists are saying that this will be the only option. On one hand it makes me happy to know that factory farming will have to decrease, but on the other hand, I wonder if, for the many consumers staunchly determined to consume meat, a plant-based diet will ever become a reality.

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Waste not want not: Little Lentil Pies

(again, Mr Camera is on holidays – he’ll be back this weekend – bear with me and my iPhone until then)

The other night Ash was part of a volunteer team cooking up a feast of quiches and pies (450~?) for the homeless people in Sydney. Oz Harvest is a charity that collects leftover food and ingredients from shops and restaurants, and feeds it to the people on the street. Such a wonderful way to a) improve the quality of life for people who are suffering disadvantage, and b) reducing the ‘waste’ food we so thoughtlessly discard. Continue reading

BBQ Chickpeas with Mushrooms and Onion

My camera is on holiday, so here’s a photo taken by a friend of mine while holidaying in France. It makes me happy just seeing all the colours.

Do you remember how I had been cooking to a ‘theme’ each week? I still sort of do, I just haven’t mentioned it in a while. This week’s theme is recipes from a book called ‘Tasty Chicken’. On a vegan blog you ask? Yes, I’m not exactly following the recipes. Continue reading

Cacciatore sans chicken – the best of both worlds

 

In my family, meat wasn’t often tender. Memories of lamb roasts that were so tough I couldn’t chew it probably have to do with my general distaste for meat that helped with deciding to become vegetarian (the vegan choice was made later for mostly ethical reasons). But one thing that was cooked well was chicken cacciatore.

It’s funny, I despised the tomato-ey sauce, while loving the slow cooked chicken. Only later in life when Ash’s Mum cooked it for me, did I discover that the sauce is the best part!

And only now did it cross my mind to veganise it. Better than ever, I swear. Mushrooms and potatoes simmered in an extremely tasty tangy tomato sauce, easily made fat free, and served with a mung bean salad. I served it to Ash and his Mum and we all really enjoyed it. Continue reading

Escaping to the Blue Mountains: two soups and a spicy curry

For the past few days we have been staying in an adorable cottage in the Blue Mountains. We’ll staying the entire week.

Reading a lot, writing a lot. And taking photos.

Today it’s about zero degrees (or so it feels to us, softies that we are), and drizzling rain.

We’ve been pottering around the house in flannelette shirts, red wine in hand, nibbling rum’n’raisin chocolate and playing rummy in front of the fireplace.

While confined to the house, I’ve had the luxury of simmering soup for hours, slow-cooking a curry, and generally appreciating all that is warm and comforting.

Today I’ll share with you the hot and sour soup I whipped up yesterday, a more traditional vegetable and bean soup that sat on the stove for a good two hours before making it’s way into our tummies at lunchtime, and a spicy, creamy, slow-cooked mushroom and eggplant vindaloo. Continue reading

Ash’s smokey chunky tomato sauce. On an eggplant base with grilled asparagus and a simple salad.

At work last week I got an email from Ash, saying that he wanted to cook dinner one night and that he had an amazing recipe idea. And it was amazing. I actually stopped, a number of times, during dinner, to say ‘wow, this sauce, just wow’. It was that good. Continue reading

Heat up that belly: an Indian dinner. And a giveaway!

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me whether Sydney winter gets much colder than what it was at that time, and I confidently reassured her that it didn’t. Never was I so wrong. This past week has been icy! And today has been ever so slightly rainy, so I walked home through chilling winds and tiny darts of freezing rain. Yuck. Curry time I say.

I had a difficult time coming to terms with the idea of a ‘dry curry’ when I started cooking. Maybe it’s the Aussie in me that expects everything Indian to look and taste like butter chicken, but I just thought curry should be swimming in a rich sauce. Not so, as it turns out. Paired with a saucier side of greens, this dry curry of sweet potato, cauliflower and edamame is spot on. Continue reading