Saturday, 26 March 2016

Renghan Lothiu

I don't know about you, but a while ago when I was watching Gordon Ramsay's Best Restaurant series, I was cheering on tiny vegetarian family restaurant Prashad.

I knew that they had a cookbook out, but I have so many cookbooks it's sometimes hard to justify buying new ones, especially big beautiful (and expensive) hardbacks. So I was super happy to find their latest cookbook, Prashad at Home, in my local library.

I might have mentioned before what a fan of eggplant I am, so I was intrigued by a dish I found in the book for spiced chickpea flour coated fried eggplant slices. Tonight I made the dish, named Renghan Lothiu, for dinner.

First the eggplant slices are soaked in water with one teaspoon of salt. Then while the oil heats in the pan, the chickpea flour is mixed with chili powder, salt, turmeric, cumin seeds, asafoetida, ground coriander and ground cumin. Then the eggplant slices are coated in the flour mixture and fried in the oil, turning regularly to cook evenly. I think my burner plates may be too hot, as many of my slices burned a little despite my turning the heat down lower. I'd recommend a medium heat.

I served these with some white rice and mango chutney. They were spicy and crunchy and the eggplant had cooked perfectly in the centre, to a gooey soft texture. Yum!

What are your favourite eggplant dishes? 😊

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Yummy tom yum and savoury samosas

This weekend I was out with a friend and we had some vegetarian tom yum soup from an Asian noodle place and it was delicious, so I decided to try making it myself. What could be more warming and happy than spicy soup in cold weather?

I didn't manage to get the taste exactly like I remembered it, but it was still pretty tasty! I used this recipe and substituted what veggies I had, which were carrots, red pepper and bok choi, and some chick'n pieces. I also added some vegetarian fish sauce in place of half the soy sauce, and a couple of tablespoons more lime juice because I like it sour. :-)

Earlier this weekend I also made some sweet potato curry samosas to freeze for my bento lunches. I found this great simple recipe and substituted sweet potatoes because that's what I had on hand. I also added some peas, corn and carrots. The pastry was relatively easy and they turned out delicious! Definitely making again, and may adapt for potato pierogies. I had some in my bento lunch today (pictured below).

The best foods for warming the soul in Melbourne pre-winter!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Chocolate Frangelico Macarons

So after reading a lot about chickpea juice and its amazing similarity to egg whites for vegan meringue baking, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I used this recipe for Chocolate Amaretto Macarons, and substituted Frangelico for the liquor in the icing.

And so my first attempt* at macarons was a moderate success!

It worked! Mostly... I think I added too much vanilla and piped some too big so they spread too much. Also they are a little gooey and undercooked inside, but otherwise very yummy!

I think next time I need more chickpea juice (everyone is calling it aqua faba now), less vanilla essence, and to pipe them smaller and bake a little longer.

(*There was one other attempt with a packet mix, but that was such a dismal failure that melted all over my oven that we don't speak of it)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bento fillers

So I know I've been AWOL for a while, I've been recovering from ankle surgery and busy getting back into work. But I'm still bento-ing!

Here are some photos from my recent efforts, including epic cooking day today in which I made spicy lentil balls, carrot and parsnip kinpara, mini green pea burgers, and teeny muffin pan tofu omelets with red bell pepper and mushrooms (from Isa Does It, this is the easiest and best way to make omelets ever). [Not pictured: mini black bean burgers and daikon radish pickle.]


Thursday, 19 February 2015

Bring on the Bentos

So lately I've gone on a bit of a bento binge. Watching lots of anime has inspired me to cook more japanese food, and to buy more bento boxes. (My favourite sites are Bentoland and Bento and Co). I recently bought a shikiri compartment bento (pictured below) and an adorable book-shaped one.

So while I haven't cooked anything new this week, I have enjoyed yummy lunches packed with various dishes I made during a day-long cooking frenzy last weekend.

Behold, my delicious lunches:

Peanuts, currants and pumpkin seeds, easy sesame carrot salad, nasu dengaku eggplant, and rice.

Dumplings steaming!

Omelettes are harder than they look...

Imo yokan jelly snack (from Daiso), tofu, currants, potato salad, spinach, tamagoyaki, pumpkin water chestnut wontons, and rice.

New Shikiri bento box!
Pesto risotto with garlic roast zucchini, spinach, tamagoyaki, tofu, potato salad, Bio cheese flowers, and mushroom steamed bun. 

For the buns, I used the sauce from Terry Romero's BBQ seitan buns to cook the mushrooms in, and the simple dough from Jamie Oliver that I featured in the Tofu Dim Sum post.

The dough for these is genius in its simplicity, the only hard part is getting the bloody things closed so they don't leak!

Pumpkin wonton, spinach, tofu, Bio cheese, carrot salad, and sweet potato latkes with apple sauce. I used Isa's regular latke recipe for these, swapping some of the potatoes for sweet potatoes.

Has anyone else ever made bentos? I would love to start up a vegan lunch box photo pool on Facebook. :-)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Kitsune udon

Today I've been feeling under the weather, so I made a simple and comforting kitsune udon soup, inspired by an adorable anime I've been watching. In Gourmet Girl Graffiti, the main character cooks this for her cousin when she has a cold.

It was very warm and filling! Definitely something good to whip up on a weeknight.

Recipe here. I also added some wakame seaweed for extra nutrients.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Tofu dim sum with coconut buns

Since Jamie Oliver has started to offer quite a few vegan recipes on his website, I've been getting more interested in him lately. Recently I was browsing his 15 Minute Meals cookbook and came across this recipe, which intrigued me. 
Originally it had chicken, but veganising it was pretty easy,  as every other ingredient was vegan. What I really liked about it though was the genius idea of two-ingredient coconut buns. This reminded me of a great tip someone offered on one of my Facebook food groups for the easiest vegan cake ever: tin of coconut milk, packet of vanilla cake mix, sliced apricots (or other fruit) on top, baked. 
This was super delicious (although it didn't take fifteen minutes of course) and I'll be making the coconut buns again, possibly with a filling next time. 
I've included the modified recipe below. 

For the Coconut Buns
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
2 heaped coconut milk tins (500g) of self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
For the tofu, pickle & garnishes
400g tofu (I used puffed tofu pieces)
140g mixed mushrooms
3 tbsp hoi sin sauce, plus extra to serve
2 limes
200g tenderstem broccoli (I used bok choi and red cabbage instead)
1 cucumber
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
½ a bunch of fresh coriander
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
Pickled ginger
1 – 2 fresh red chilies
Pour the coconut milk into a food processor with 2 heaped tins worth of self-raising flour and a good pinch of salt, whiz to a dough, then tip on to a flour dusted work surface. Roll the dough into a sausage shape, cut into 8 even sized pieces, then place each one into a double-layered muffin case, and squeeze those into one layer of the steamer. Pour 5 cm of boiling water into a large wok or on top of a medium saucepan. Put the basket of buns on top with the lid on and leave to steam until firm. 
Toss the tofu in a bowl with the roughly torn mushrooms, hoi sin sauce, juice of ½ lime and a pinch of salt. Mix with your hands.
Tip the tofu and mushroom mixture into the second steamer basket along with the trimmed broccoli and pop underneath the tray of buns for 5 minutes until cooked through. (I cooked the tofu and vegies in a wok as I don't have two steamers)
Peel the cucumber into ribbons (I used a vegetable peeler), toss into a bowl with the soy sauce, vinegar and a few torn coriander leaves, then with clean hands squeeze and scrunch everything together to make a pickle.
Toast the sesame seeds in the frying pan on a low heat until golden, then tip into a little bowl, cut the remaining 1 ½ limes into wedges, and serve with the pickled ginger and extra hoi sin sauce in little bowls.
Serve the buns and tofu scattered with the remaining coriander leaves and finely sliced chilli.
Serves 4