Can’t Be Effed To Cook (CBETC) – Five Things To Do With A Can Of Chickpeas

tinned chickpea salad

Goooood morning readers!

I hope you’re all feeling fresh and perky – I am – I’ve finally got my hands on nut milk bags and have been making green veggie juices at home, sans juicer. They make me bounce! And not in the fat way!

Anyway, what I’m actually writing about today is food for when you don’t feel quite so fantastic. These are the things you throw together when you just can’t be f’ed to cook. Maybe you have had some long days at work. Maybe you haven’t done your grocery shopping and feel like there’s nothing to make for dinner. Maybe you’re just feeding yourself, and I know that when I’m on my own I often can’t be bothered. Whatever the reason, all I ask is for you to keep some tinned chickpeas in your pantry. Or any legume really. And then what I’m going to do is show you five simple things to do with that tin of chickpeas. Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

The return of the food processor: Pesto Pasta Salad, Bean’n’Basil Besto, and breakfast in a wine glass

Ash’s version: traditional pasta

Hello again world! Yes, I’m alive. Apologies for the delay in posting.

Rather than attempt to post recipes twice each week, I am taking a quality-over-quantity approach. After all, these recipes must be worth repeating, and if I’m draining my creative juices and giving you less-than-amazing dishes, not only will you be disappointed, but I won’t be living up to my own standards. While blogging is important to me, if it is to reach a high standard, it has to be sustainable along with other big time-consuming priorities: working, studying and fitness. So please bear with me, and when you visit Cat’s Kitchen, expect to see a high quality weekly post. I will be only sharing the best of each week with you, which often will mean that each post will include multiple recipes.

Such as today’s. In celebration of the return of my food processor and blender, I succeeded in using each and every part of it – the blender, the big-bowl processor and the small-bowl processor. For breakfast, I made a apple, berry and coconut smoothie – satisfying and delicious. Lunch was a pesto pasta salad, two ways. Creamy, fresh and believe it or not, oil and nut free. The final recipe is a bit of a fusion between a bean dip or hummus, and basil pesto. Bean’n’basil pesto? Let’s call it a besto. 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

Cooking tom yummy soup from scratch

This post wouldn’t have been so overdue had WordPress not crashed and lost my post at 11pm last night. Here goes!

According to a meat-lover who isn’t too crazy about vegetables, this soup is really good. Ash and I loved it too, so I thought it would be worth sharing. Loaded with fresh vegetables, the broth is tasty with only just a touch of coconut milk, which gives it that moreish small-children-would-ask-for-seconds flavour.

Plus, it’s made without tom yum paste. Continue reading

A simple mushroom soup

One of the lovely things about serving a salad with every meal, is that it leaves freedom to simplify the ‘main’. Although personally I’m starting to think the salad is the main dish. The other night I did just that, simmering a mix of shiitake and oyster mushrooms in a simple broth of stock and garlic, punctuated with ginger and chilli. Continue reading

Giving the unpopular one a chance

Make a list of the vegetables you hated as a child. For me, that list included… (take a deep breath) mushroom, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, tomato, spinach, spanish onion and brussel sprouts.

Now cross off that list the vegetables you’ve learnt to love. The only ones I don’t love are cucumber and spanish onion. And considering that two years ago I still wouldn’t eat them, the fact that I enjoy both now in some dishes is a fairly big step.

How do your lists compare? I bet brussel sprouts remained on the list. Continue reading