Category Archives: Vegetarian

Something I forgot to post before I went to France.

 

 

Montpellier is rilly fun. It’s really French, everyone walks around carrying baguettes, and the cheese and wine is really cheap. It’s been really warm and hot, but there is a chill in the air now (23 degrees) so beach trips are probably gonna have to stop taking place. This is a food blog so I should probs talk about the food and not the heat and my tan. Urm, well, in the excitement of moving I haven’t had that much time to dedicate my time to cooking. I’m very content to eat cheese, salad, lentils, cheese, bread and raped carrots. The hummus here is awful, it’s so bland and overpriced. They do sell Yarden, but it’s about 4 euros for a pot. It makes me sad. I could make my own, but the 30p chickpeas I get in Leeds are hard to come by as well. Too much hummus talk.

 

It’s a shame I didn’t write this post when I made the meal because now I have completely forgotten the method of how to make it. I remember making it, eating it and liking it, and the memory in my mind should be enough to help me recreate the recipe 3 weeks later. It’s so basic that it doesn’t matter if I go a little off course. It’s basically an aubergine parmigiana. Just aubergines, tomatoes and parmesan. Yum.

What I really hate is when people are like ‘I dislike aubergines, they’re too spongy’. It’s a common sentence I hear. Fair enough if you don’t like aubergines because of the taste (even if that’s a bit weird), but if you dislike aubergines cos they’re spongy, then it means you haven’t cooked them properly. It’s equivalent to saying ‘I hate raw eggs, they’re so gloopy’. Correctly cooked aubergine is not spongy. And I will tell you how to cooked aubergine properly here and now. Ici et maintenant.

Ingredients

-3 aubergines, sliced into medallions.

-1 tin of chopped tomatoes

-1 onion, chopped

-1 clove of garlic, crushed or chopped

-handful fresh basil and rosemary, or 2 tsp of both  dried basil and rosemary

-1 heaped tsp sugar

-100ml water

-150-200g parmesan grated

-100g of breadcrumbs

-olive oil

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 6, 200c  and grease the inside of a large casserole dish.

-Okay, here’s what to do with the aubergines. Sprinkle your medallions with a generous amount of salt. But not too much. Leave them for at the very least 15 minutes. I tend to do this in the morning, put them in the fridge and then come back later but that’s cos I’m lame.

-Wanna know what this does and why it’s important? Aubergines are very watery, like courgettes and strawberries. So normally what happens when you cook aubergines is that they swell with all the moisture that’s trapped inside them. They’re like a sponge, they just have so much water in them. Hence why people say they’re ‘spongy’. Salt, as you probably know, draws the moisture out of the aubergines. It basically draws out all liquid from them, leaving them with their distinctive flavour with no water masking it. This means that when you cook aubergine they have just their flavour and they also absorb the flavour of whatever they’re cooking with, making them delicious. There. Salt is important.

-While your aubergines are left to sit, make your tomato sauce. So fry up your onions and garlic in some olive oil and salt. Once the onions have softened add your chopped tomatoes, water, herbs and sugar. Give it a taste, it might need a bit more seasoning.

-Bring the sauce to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

-While the sauce is simmering, and if the aubergines have been sitting for the correct time, it’s time to wipe down the aubergines. With a dish cloth, just wipe away the water that the aubergines have released. Don’t use a kitchen towel, other wise you’ll have bits of kitchen towel in your aubergines.

-Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start layering. Place 1/3 of the aubergines on the bottom layer of the casserole dish, top with a 1/3 or the tomato sauce, and then 1/3 of the parmesan. Do the same for the next two layers (i.e, until you’ve finished your ingredients).

-Top with the breadcrumbs, and  a bit more parmesan if you’ve got some to spare. THEN, pour olive oil liberally (I’m thinking 3-4 tbsp) over the dish. I’m not trying to be all American and make it unhealthy, but it gives that extra something the aubergines can absorb.

-Place in the oven and cook for 1hr and a half, if it looks like the top is burning, cover with foil. I cooked mine for ages just so the aubergines almost disintegrated into nothing when I prodded them. You know it’s ready when the top has browned, and when you poke a fork into the dish, it’s REALLY SOFT.

-Bon appetit.

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Filed under Italian, Vegetarian

Gold Granola

LOOK I’VE MADE AN OLYMPIC-THEMED DISH. I love the Olympics. It took quite a few days for the Olympic mood to kick in, but now I’m in love. It’s ironic. We’re watching athletes throw up and rip their muscles apart (well, except for shooting and archery-WHAT NON-SPORTS), claiming that we love sport…yet we do all this while sitting on the sofa and doing nothing all day. I have managed to keep a good balance, I do a good run/swim/gym as soon as I get up and, being slightly employed/unemployed, I can just sit on the sofa and knit all day with whoever wishes to join me. It’s a shame, I guess, that I didn’t get tickets, but I’m living in the goddamn city. You can definitely feel something in London which I doubt you can get elsewhere in the country. Maybe it’s because I live at the bottom of Ally Pally, where the Dutch team are located, so every night when I look out my window I see this bright orange-illuminated building. Or maybe it’s because everytime you step outside EVERYONE is sporting some sort of national sports jersey. It seems everyone also has a union jack flag just sticking out from their rucsacks. Hmmm, who needs tickets?

I have seen many a granola recipe in my time. I have EATEN many a granola recipe in my time. But MAKE granola? Mehhh, it was never very high on my to-make list. But granola is so pretty when it’s made and just sitting in a jar. It then also looks really nice as a present.

I was always quite turned off it because of the high sugar content, because it’s made of maple syrup, most of the time. However, I (my parents) purchased some agave nectar because I wanted to try and do some healthy baking. That is what made me want to make my own granola. Turns out it is probably the easiest thing in the entire world. And my mum EATS IT (my mum rarely eats anything). I’ve made two batches in the space of 1 week! It’s getting hoovered up. So a healthy granola that is ridiculously healthy? I give it the GOLD MEDAL.

Ingredients-Yield is about 1.25 litres (adapted from this)

-3 cups of porridge oats

-1/2 cup of agave nectar

-1/2 cup of almonds

-1/2 chopped walnuts

-1/2 cup of dried apricots

-1/2 cup raisins/sultanas

-1 scant tsp of salt

Method

-Preheat oven to 300 f, or around gas mark 5. Line a large baking tray with grease proof paper.

-Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Make sure it is very well combined.

-Spread out onto the paper, making sure it is as spread out as possible.

-Put in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. Be careful not burn.

-Take out from oven when it looks like most of the porridge is browned.

-Leave to cool, and then put an airtight container.

 

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Filed under Healthy Sweets, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian

CHIPS.

 

Soooo chips.  As a child, it was all about chips. At a restaurant, I would always have chips. I was that annoying child at a very reputable restaurant…getting just a plate of chips.

Now I have to admit now, that these were not for me. These were for my dad.  My overdosing on chips as a child has meant that I don’t really eat them these days (it’s the same with crisps and juice). I also see little point in having white potato, when you could have sweet potato, whose complex carbohydrates are much more preferable. But my dad doesn’t like sweet potato.

But of course I had a try of these potatoes, as I do with all my dad’s veggie friendly accompaniments, and they were delish.ous.

 

What I love the most about them is that they’re just SO  FRICKEN EASY.

Ingredients-serves 2

-4 large king edward potatoes, around 600g

-2 tbsp oil

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp dried oregano

Method

-Pre heat oven to gas mark 7, 220 c.

-Chop your potatoes in to chip shapes. This involves chopping potatoes in half lengthways, and then halving each half. And then chopping each sigment into thirds. If that doesn’t make sense, just use your initiative.

-Place potatoes on a baking dish, pour over oil, salt and oregano and stir together thoroughly to make sure all potatoes are covered.

-Place in the oven, for about 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are brown on the outside, and when you poke a fork through a chip it is soft.

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Filed under Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian

Summer Greens Salad.


YEAHHH, it’s soooo hottt!! It was about 28 degrees today here in London, which is terrific because I love the heat. Bake bake bake. I would make some sort joke about Olympics and me being BRONZE, but I’m just a bit too overheated to think of something witty enough. I just came back last week from 2 weeks in Bordeaux with my family, it was lovely. The weather was intermittent, but I guess that is what happens when you go at the beginning of July (my dad’s choice, it was evidently cheaper and he didn’t wanna miss the Olympics). Because of the less than great weather, this hot spell in England is SO welcome. It’s that type of heat that really hits you when you leave the house. Stifling I think is the word.

SO, because of the sudden upsurge in temperature, I really wanted something all fresh and healthy and themed. ‘Themed’ as in green.

Gorgeous and green! Just add a bit of french dressing and there you have a suitable, filling lunch or dinner.

Ingredients-serves 4

-1 cup of frozen peas

-1 cup of soya  beans

-1 cup bulgar wheat

-2 courgettes, sliced into medallions

-1 stick of celery, chopped

-about 4 inches of cucumber, chopped

-Mixed herbs

-salt and pepper

-2-3 tbsp olive oil

Dressing

-3/4 cup of olive oil

-1/2 cup of white wine vinegar

-2 tsp honey

-1 tsp french grain mustard

Method

-Put all your raw ingredients into a salad bowl.

-Cook your soya beans and peas in the same sauce pan in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and put in the salad bowl.

-Cook your bulgar wheat according to packet instructions, and add to the salad bowl when cooked.

-Whilst your bulgar is cooking, fry your courgette medallions in the olive oil and mixed herbs. About 7 minutes on one side, and then 4 minutes on the other side should do. Make sure they’re browned off and add to the salad bowl.

-I saved the frying oil and used some of it to make the dressing, but you don’t have to. To make the dressing, simply mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

-DONE!

Note, this would be delicious with feta.

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Filed under Grains, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cooking Up My Bookmarks: Sun-blushed tomatoes

Lots of tomatoes. Beautiful beautiful tomatoes. We’ve had this enormous surplus of cherry tomatoes. On the online shop each week (not my choice, I love supermarkets), we always order more cherry tomatoes, so when the new shop arrives no one wants to eat tomatoes that are more than a week old. Fair enough. But we literally had about 3 punnets not in use. THUS we had 4 punnets of cherry tomatoes that needed eating. I happily eat them in a salad, and these cherry toms are very nice raw. But comon, everyone loves tomatoes (more?) when they’re cooked.

So while using tomatoes liberally in all types of salad, I’ve been doing various ‘roasting’ recipes. I did these Super Saver Roast Tomatoes, but I also saw this recipe from Culinary Travels and added it to my bookmarks. So when we were inundated with these cherry tomatoes, I decided to cook another bookmark.

(Halfway through cooking)

Ingredients

-500g cherry tomatoes

-2 tbsp olive oil

-1 tsp sugar

-1 tsp salt

-A few sprigs of fresh thyme and a small handful of basil leaves

Method

-Preheat oven to 140 c. and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

-Chop each tomato in half, and put in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix together.

-Take the tomatoes and place them sliced side up on the baking paper. Pour the oil etc. from the bowl over the tomatoes.

– Put in the oven for 2-3 hours, until started to shrivel but still quite plump. Leave to cool, and store in a jar. Submerge with oil.


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Filed under Italian, Mediterranean, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: CARROTHUMMUS.

Any ‘cat sick’ comparisons are discarded now. Personally I think this looks delicious, but there are those of you who might say ‘this looks like s**t’. Well you’re wrong. So flavourful, so salty, and also quite sweet. This is just delicious. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for AGES, and I finally got round to it today. That is what happens when you work very few shifts, most of which are at night. You have a lot of time. But I love being on holiday, after having studied a lot this year, I’m loving having some down time just chilling at home and seeing friends. Doing some yoga as well.

So this is carrot hummus that uses carrots instead of chickpeas. It means it’s slightly healthier in that carrots are amazingly healthy, but calorie-wise (who’s counting?), there isn’t a great difference. There’s just a lot more goodness in this dip.

 

Ingredients

-500g carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks.

-2 tbsp olive oil

-Mixed herbs

-4-5 garlic cloves (I used about 7, but I love garlic and I’m not kissing anyone anytime soon)

-3 tbsp tahini

-Juice of 1 lemon/3 tbsp lemon juice

-100ml water

-Salt and Pepper

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 8, and put the carrots, garlic cloves (whole, unpeeled), a generous shake of mixed herbs and oil into a baking tray. Stir around to make sure everything is covered and combined. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the middle of carrots are reasonably soft when prodded with a fork.

-Once cooked, add the carrots into a food processor. Squeeze the insides of the garlic out of their skins, and then add the leftover oil from the baking tray.

-Add the remaining ingredients, and process in the food processor. Breaking from time to time to make sure the processor doesn’t over heat. You might want to add more water to make it creamier.

-It all depends on what texture you want, but once you think the dip is ready for your liking, put into a tupperware dish and enjoy like hummus. Hot OR cold (one of the joys of this recipe).#

 

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cooking Up My Bookmarks: Root Vegetable Gratin


Mmm. Just goodness. Just before eating this we found out that Francois Hollande had won the French Presidency. The first Socialist President in about 2 decades. We didn’t mean to have a French-named dish, but we did. So I guess we had a gratin in dedication to Monsieur Hollande, but…we didn’t really. IT WAS ALMOST LIKE FATE.

Again, as part of my mission to cook my bookmarks, I’ve made this recipe. It was really great, with leeks, onions and sweet potatoes. Made in a cheesy, creamy sauce and then topped with breadcrumbs (and a bit more cheese). Baked. Great stuff.

Honestly, this bookmarks mission is really getting me to shake up my cooking routine, I was getting into a bit of a rut.

Ingredients-serves 5, adapted from this.

-1 leek, sliced into rings

-2 red onions, chopped into big chunks

-1 clove of garlic-chopped

-1 sweet potato sliced REALLY FINELY into rings.

-1 tbsp butter

-1 tsp salt

-3 tsp dried rosemary

-lots of black pepper.

-1/3 cup white wine

-3/4 cup of milk

-1/2 cup + 1/4 cup of grated gruyere cheese separated (or whatever cheese you have)

-100g breadcrumbs

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200c. Grease a baking dish, or individual ramekins.

-Melt the butter in a large sauce pan, and add the onions, leek, potato slices and garlic, add the seasoning too. If the mixture seems a bit dry, you might need to add a bit of olive oil.

-Add the white wine, and cover the sauce pan with a lid and cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

-Once the vegetables have softened, add the milk and 1/2 cup of cheese and stir.

-Once the cheese has melted and the mixture starts to bubble, spoon the mixture into the baking dish(es).

-Top with the breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese, and add some more pepper. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top has browned off.

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Filed under Cheese, Vegetarian