Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Vegan MoFo: Crying Onion Tart

Well, I got lost a bit the last week as we took a much needed short break without the foster hounds, and arranging everything for a just a few days off seemed to be a titanic task.  My planned post for today is somewhat interrupted by the Aussie politics of the last 24 hours. How could I possibly resist a bon voyage post to outgoing PM Tony Abbott when two years ago I posted about his election?

So I spent the afternoon in tears. Not because I'm unhappy about Tony being given the flick by his own party, but because I spent some of it slicing onions. How fitting for me to do a tribute to Tony in the kitchen in the form of an onion tart. I can't see he can complain as I'm only doing my wifely duty poised over the kitchen stove since I loathe the other housewifely activity of being bent over the ironing. ( If I'd had a waffle iron I could possibly have done a recipe with that instead, also fitting for our stumbling mumbling waffling Tony). I suppose I could then thank him for getting rid of the carbon tax so that it lowered the cost of electricity associated with using my iron - but in any case we have solar and I had no problem with the carbon tax to begin with. Yes, he really did say that.

If you aren't aware, Tony is famous for his somewhat bizarre raw onion munching activities, so in a humourous tribute yesterday before the result was even in, social media was alight with #putoutyouronions.  So, my contribution is this delicious rustic chilli onion tart (the chilli is the crying part). Serve with a large helping of bright greens...the leafy kind that is, not the political party ;) So long Tony - now every time I slice an onion, I'll think of you.

One quantity of vegan savoury shortcrust pastry
One quantity of vegan bechamel/white sauce
3 large onions
1 cup sliced sweet potato
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch salt
1/4 - 1/2 rsp chilli powder
few bayleaves

1.On a low heat saute the onions in a little oil with sugar, salt, and chilli powder until soft and caramelised (about 30 minutes).
2. While onions are cooking preapre your pastry and press into a greased tart tin. Pop in the freezer for 30 minutes, this helps prevent the pastry shrinking during baking.
3.Steam sliced sweet potato until just beginning to soften, and set aside.
4. Prepare you bechamel sauce, and while it is cooking out, blind bake the pastry shell for 10 minutes.
5. Take out the tart shell and put the potato on the bottom followed by the crying onions, and then pour the bechamel over the top evenly.
6. Bake for a further 20 minutes. Leave for 5 minutes to cool slightly, and then serve.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 3: Quick & Easy Green Fettucine

Thursday is usually a longish day for me.It's kennel day, so that means it's an hour and a half drive down the mountain and by the time I head home it's the same time back and I'm so beat I want something quick and easy for dinner. Today I was lucky it was a short day but with the Beloved being away and one of our fosters being "extra needs" at the moment I just wanted a simple dinner for one. Which is good since today's prompt is quick and easy!

Basically, I just cooked some fettucine and threw in any green vegie I had with some melted non dairy butter, garlic, chilli powder, and lemon zest. I go a bit overboard with lemon while the hubby isn't here because he isn't fond of it in savoury dishes. I had plenty of kale from the garden, parsley, peas, broccolini, and some avocado. I squeezed a bit of the lemon juice over the top with some pepper and voila! dinner.

I would like to say I ate it at the table but in in reality I just ate it on the sofa watching QI with Lady Poppy for company who was too busy wrapped in a food comatose of her own to be worried about what I had. Any dinner is a quick dinner if you're a greyhound - your mum makes it for you!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 2: Stuffed French Toast

Today's theme is to recreate a meal from your childhood. I decided to try French Toast. I also wanted to make stuffed French toast, because let's face it, if it's in a sandwich you don't have to use a knife and fork and you can eat it with one hand. Plus, the filling doesn't fall out when you flip it over - bonus!

This one sticks out in my mind so much because it was tied to a book. My very first cookbook of sorts. It was called Debbie Learns To Cook and I was five years old. I loved it, with its beautiful illustrations of Debbie learning to cook with a cat and dog by her side, and a few very simple recipes that children can make or help to make. Perhaps I've unconsciously been living by this book - except I installed doggy gates to keep inquisitive snouts out of the kitchen... I remembered I still had the book and it is just as I remembered it.

My first problem while pondering this was the egg replacement. I've tried a few methods, including batter, and silken tofu, but the batter was too heavy and tofu just doesn't quite do it for me as an egg replacement. Don't get me started on scrambled tofu... I've never liked it, however its made. So I decided to give aquafaba (tinned chickpea juice) a try! The result? Fluffy french toast slightly caramelised from the sugar :)

How I styled It: As Above - cute napkin and fork, etc etc...

How I Really Ate It: I ate half of one shooing Kimiko Cat off the table and having a cup of tea - but as I'm still feeling slightly off colour  and no way can I eat all of that, the remainder went to the dogs...Baz really likes banana :)

1 unsliced loaf of bread  (I used sourdough)
1/4 cup aquafaba
 1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
vanilla to taste
few strawberries
1 banana
coconut oil for frying

1.Whisk the aquafaba until it foams like you are making a meringue, and add the sugar. Keep beating, and then quickly whisk in the almond milk to combine, and vanilla, and pour into a shallow dish.

2. Cut the bread into thick slices about 3 cm thick. and then using a sharp knife, cut a "pocket" into the top of the slice, leaving the bottom and sides unopened.

3. Slice the strawberries and bananas and stuff into the pocket.

4. Place each pocket into the aquafaba mixture and allow to soak for a minute on each side.

5. Heat your coconut oil on medium heat in a heavy bottomed frying pan, and place each pocet in the pan. Cook until lightly browned and flip over to the other side. Don't do this on a high heat or the sugar gets too hot and it will stick to the pan. Slice in half so you can see the stuffing, or eat with one hand as is!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Vegan Mofo Day1: Breakfast Mushroom Sandwich

Rise and Shine it's Mofo Time! Not only is it MoFo time it's Spring here Down Under woot woot!

This year I'll be posting the "pretty" blog photos, and then I'll put photos of how I actually ate it. And at times, it might just be how I ate it. Because let's face it, we don't all wear nice frocks and eat tiny sandwiches under bunting with vintage picnic rugs and baskets. More often than not, it's a vegie burger in the car, a bowl of something in pj's (while perching on the 5cm of couch  left to me while being carefully watched by 8 hounds) or eating something one handed while typing with the other.

I don't know about you, but sometimes real breakfast is a luxury item that I can't afford with the little time I have. So often, by the time I've fed the houndies, fed the cats, checked the chooks, and got ready it's time for me to leave and all I've managed is a cup of tea or a juice as I run out of the door. Or, I fall back on toast, which let's face it, quite often isn't really nutritionally optimal, and doesn't keep me full for long. So, this morning, although I knew I had to leave in good time to take The Baz (our fourth canine child) for his therapy appointment -it's about 1 1/2 hr drive in peak- I made sure I was going to have a good brekky to keep me going through the morning. At the moment I have the task of making sure fosterkid Murray Hound has some physio before I leave as well. Breakfast was something I was going to have to eat in the van on the hop. 

A Mushroom Sarnie seemed like a pretty good idea to me - throw two field mushrooms on the sandwich press to use as the 'bread'  and I could wrap it up and take it with my travel mug of tea.  I spread them with coconut oil, and then put chopped tomato, avocado, kale, tahini, and some pepper between the mushrooms. Voila!

I had the presence of mind to prep everything ready to go the night before too, so all I had to do was throw it on and wait for it to "toast" while I sorted out something else. By that I mean Baz, who is usually quite reluctant to get up when he knows he is heading out for an appointment and would rather stay in bed next to the heater (wouldn't we all?!). That said...30 seconds on the table for his "back tickle" and acupuncture and he's out like a light...what a dog!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Roasted Tomatillo & Lime Salsa

5 years ago, we started growing tomatillos as I could not find them anywhere in Australia, other than a few tinned ones through a Mexican food importer. I could however, find the seeds. Loving Mexican food I really wanted to try this fruit that pops up so much in recipes from the US. Now, I can find jars of tomatillo salsa in the supermarket but once it was not so easy! They are a very pretty plant and I love watching the "lanterns" grow and in the autumn, finding the skeletonized husks - they're just so delicate and lovely.

That first year I coddled and coaxed and crooned to my tomatillo seeds, begging them to sprout and then grow into strong seedlings for me (Ok, so maybe I didn't croon to them but let's just imagine for a moment that I did). Liking a warm climate like tomatoes which are notoriously late to ripen in our mountains, I didn't hold out a lot of hope, but I perservered. They were covered and kept warm, and dutifully planted out after the last frost, and covered at night - all of those things a desperate gardener will do for a prized plant. Four out of the twelve plants survived and fruited, and although I liked them, I just thought they would be too laborious for the following year. They didn't like our cooler summers, and it seemed a lot of effort.

The following year, much to my surprise, volunteer seedlings popped up mid spring, and flourished. So much so that every year since the plants have been stronger and fruited earlier, acclimatising themselves to our alpine region and this year, completely invading the garden. Today I decided to pull them all out, the nights are getting quite cold already (that's the Blue Mountains for you, two seasons - winter, and February LOL). I ended up with a bit over 9 kilograms of them (that's about 20 pounds for those using Imperial measurements).  I picked a couple of kilos off some early plants but this is definitely a record! So roasted salsa it is! I've divided the recipe into a manageable and smaller batch for those that don't have  a ridiculous amount like me. I also omitted chilli powder this time as not everyone likes chilli as much as me.... but that's ok feel free to add siracha when you serve!

2 kg tomatillos
2 large onions
3 cloves garlic
1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of salt
1 bunch coriander leaves (cilantro)

Dehusk and thoroughly wash the tomatillos
Quarter onions, peel and halve garlic cloves, and cut and quarter the lime
In a baking dish, put in the tomatillos, onions, garlic, and lime, and roast on 180C n a preheated oven until tomatillos collapse.
Allow to cool and then pulse onion,garlic, and the flesh of the lime in a food processor.
Add tomatillos and pulse a couple of times to chop, not puree.
either in a slow cooker or a saucepan, put in the tomatillo mixture and add cumin, salt, and coriander leaves. 
Simmer until reduced and thick and chunky (I used my enormous slow cooker and left in on low overnight with the lid slightly askew for the vapour to get out).

Serve with your favourite chilli or use as a dip with corn chips, or slather on some hot warm soft tacos

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Zucchini and Potato Latkes

The garden may not have my undivided attention, but it is still productive. Once again there seems to be an abundance of zucchinis all at once, which requires a little creativity in using them all up. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, which if successful I will of course post. I can't promise I will resume blogging with the same number of posts as I did once upon a time, but I will try and make the effort at least once a week. This may or may not mean I will have to resort to what the greyhounds ate for dinner but hopefully it will be entertaining if not informative LOL.

We have at present five dogs in the house four of which are ours and one foster kid. Sometimes there are six, which I think makes me a borderline dog collector but after having a second foster fail last year Mr Sprout has made it clear if any more become permanent residents quite possibly he won't be a permanent resident...oopsie. Mind you this is the same man that will complain about all the dogs in the house one moment and be caught snuggling up and kissing one five minutes later. So I had better be a bit more creative in the kitchen to make up for spending a bit too much time on the dogs. 

Today's effort is latkes. A few potatoes as well as tomatoes from the garden made this an easy summer appetiser to put together. And since the Beloved likes fried anything and it will probably wash down very nicely with a beer or two this will hopefully gain me back some wifely points. 

Makes approx 18 small latkes

1 cup grated potato (the starchier the better, so choose a roasting potato)
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped spring onion
ground black pepper to taste
oil for frying

fresh tomatoes
bunch of dill 
lemon juice
mayonnaise or sour cream (vegan or regular)

1. Drain grated potato and zucchini for about half an hour, pressing out excess fluid.
2. In a large bowl combine flour and water and whisk into a smooth batter.
3. Chop spring onions, and add to batter
4.Add zucchini and potato to batter mixture and pepper to taste. Combine thoroughly with a spoon.
5. Heat oil in large frying pan and drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil, flipping over when golden brown and crisp.
6. When cooked on both sides drain on paper towel.
7. Chop tomatoes ( I used a mixture of varieties which ended up about two cups) and toss with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a bunch of chopped dill.
8. Serve the latkes with the tomato mixture and your choice of mayonnaise, sour cream, and capers.