Tuesday, March 22, 2011

La La Soup

Yeah that's right - that's what I call it; La La Soup. It started as Asian Soup A La Marian, but over time has morphed into La La Soup. - 'Cause that's how I roll. So, now that I've shown you a small glimpse of my neurosis, here's the recipe for my famous La La Soup - the soup to eat when you think you're getting sick, or when you're already sick and want to burn that mother virus outta yo self. Check it.

What you need;

half a head of cauliflower
a small broccoli
a big carrot (or 2 little ones)
2 juicy lemons
crushed ginger
crushed lemongrass
5 or 6 cloves of garlic ... yep, I like garlic
1.5 litres boiled water
1 massel chicken stock cube
1 massel veggie stock cube
hot chilli (either fresh or powdered)
fresh coriander
1 cup jasmine rice

What you do;

1) First things first, put the stock cubes in the boiled water and sit aside so the stock dissolves.

2) Heat some olive oil in a pot then fry the crushed garlic and about 2 teaspoons of crushed ginger (I use the stuff in a jar). Add the chopped carrot, broccoli and cauliflower and fry for around 5 minutes.

3) Add the stock/water to the pot, bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add the juice of two lemons and about 1 teaspoon of lemongrass (if you're using the crushed stuff from the jar - if it's the sliced stuff from the jar, you can use a bit more).

4) Add as much chilli as you like and let simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are cooked to your liking.

5) Meanwhile, cook your jasmine rice.

6) When the veggies are done, add a bunch of chopped coriander to the soup. Serve on a bed of jasmine rice.

I always keep a batch in the freezer so I can do emergency soup-drops when friends are sick. Lately I've started blitzing the leftovers (not with the rice) and having it with crusty bread the next day. Deelish. Between the garlic, the lemon and the chilli, you should be feeling better in no time! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marrow, mushroom, barley risotto

I whipped up this risotto today because I was given some wonderful marrows (like zucchini) and wanted to make a hearty meal with them. I much prefer barley to arborio rice - it's much lower GI and is all round better for you - it's also got a great nutty texture if cooked 'just so'. Anyway, it turned out delish so here's the recipe, it serves 4.

What you need;

1 large marrow
3 large field mushrooms
a bunch of asparagus
1 brown onion
1 cup of barley
3 cubes Massell chicken (or) veg stock
half a cup dry white wine
olive oil
3 garlic cloves
fresh thyme
fresh continental parsley
2 tablespoons Tofutti Sour Supreme
1 teaspoon Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese

What you do;

1) Heat about two litres of water in a large pot and add the stock cubes. Heat oil in a separate deep pan and fry garlic and onion til translucent. Add barley and toss for a minute or so before adding the wine.

2) Add the stock to the barley a few cups at a time. Keep it on a simmer, if it's boiling the barley will stick to the bottom.

3) When the barley's half done, fry the marrow, mushroom and asparagus till just under-cooked in a separate pan (yep, we're up to 3 pans now). Then set it aside. I added some chopped thyme to the barley at this point.

4) It's just a matter of waiting for the barley to cook through now. It can take up to 2 and a half litres of liquid, I just kept adding to it until it was as soft as I like it.

5) Once the barley's done, add the veggies and mix til heated through and the barley takes on the colour from the mushrooms. Then take off the heat and stir through the Tofutti creams and as much parsley as you like (I put heaps because I love it).

It should look something like this;

That's about it - enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Trying New Things - fast, easy Indian

For a quick, easy, delicious dinner I love these Tasty Bite dishes. They're vegan and available in most supermarkets. All you need to do is heat them up and serve with rice (or whatever you like). 

One pack is a good sized meal for one person - if I'm cooking for two I like to mix two flavours together. 

Here's what I do;

Choose a mix of two. My faves are Mumbai Mushroom mixed with Punjab Eggplant, or Bombay Potatoes with either. All you have to do is heat them up, so I heat them together and add a bit of tomato sauce ... yep, just old-school White Crow tomato sauce, it makes it a bit tastier and I love tomato flavoured curries. You could go nuts with what you add to it, but I'm usually in a hurry when I'm serving up this dish.

I serve it on brown rice, with a bit of Tofutti Sour Supreme Better than Sour Cream and fresh parsley or coriander. This is a really quick, really easy meal - particularly if you always cook extra rice and have some in the fridge ready to go.

When people find out I'm vegan they say things like "gosh, you must find that really hard". I actually find it the complete opposite. Particularly when there are great products like these on the shelves (so I too can make a bang-up meal and feel like I'm cheating *wink*).

Cheers, M

Mushroom Wonton Soup

Wonton soup is really easy and yummy - it's just a bit time-consuming - so it's good for a weekend meal. This is just a twist on the classic chicken wonton soup, with mushrooms instead ... yep, I love mushrooms. This mix makes about 50 wontons - you can freeze them too.

What you need;

for the broth
1.5 litres water with 2 Massel chicken stock cubes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
a chunk of peeled ginger 

for the wontons
3 large field mushrooms
1 small zucchini 
1 small carrot
fresh chives
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornflour
wonton wrappers

 What you do;

1) Get the water boiling and reduce to simmer. Add the stock cubes, soy sauce and the chunk of ginger. Leave to simmer while you make the wontons so the ginger can infuse.

2) Grate the zuchinni and carrot and chop up the mushroom into little pieces. Mix in a bowl with chives, crushed garlic, soy sauce and cornflour. 

You might want to add a bit more cornflour depending on how wet the mix is.

3) I like to make the wontons in my hand. You put the wrapper on your palm, then spoon a bit of the mix in to the centre. Run a wet finger around the edge of the wrapper and fold it over into a rectangle. Press the edges closed, and try to get as much air out of the centre as possible. Then pinch the edges into a wonton shape - it's a bit like a pleated skirt ... but not really.

4) By this time the broth should be smelling amazing. While it's simmering, put in the wontons (however many you need - a good meal is probably 8 per person, an entree 3 or 4). They'll go translucent and float to the top when they're done. I always put in an extra one to taste test and make sure the edges are cooked through.

5) Divide the wontons into bowls with a slotted spoon and cover with the broth (get rid of the ginger). Add some chopped chives to make it pretty and eat!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Trying new things - Pearl couscous

I was stalking the aisles of my local supermarket the other day and the beaming smile of Australia's original favourite French chef*,  Mr Gabriel Gate caught my eye on this Blu Gourmet Pearl Couscous. 

I cooked it using the recipe on the side of the box - genius, I know - onions, stock and parsley. And I served it with mushrooms (cooked using that amazing recipe from a few posts ago). It turned out to be a really filling and delicious meal. 

I'd been looking for pearl couscous for ages  after eating it at Maha's and couldn't find it - even in the market spice shops. How ironic that I found it in the local Coles with a celebrity chef on the pack!

Here's how the meal turned out. Yes, I waited a few seconds and took a pic before I shoved it in my gob. 

Have you noticed that seemingly everything in my kitchen is green?! I promise there are some other colours in there somewhere. Also, my friend Jodie gave me a really simple little recipe today to help me with my "I'm going to learn to love avocado" self-imposed challenge. I'll whip it up later in the week and post it asap.

Cheers, M 

* Before Manu

Classic Potato Salad with Asparagus

I was at a BBQ a few weeks ago and there was a classic creamy potato salad. I never really ate potato salad but I've been thinking about it since so decided to give it a go. Here's a vegan version of the classic potato salad, using asparagus instead of egg and some vegan alternatives for the creamy sauce.

What you need;

potatoes, asparagus, spring onion, pickles (a.k.a. dill cucumbers or gherkins), capers, fresh dill, Praise 97% fat free mayonnaise (vegan!), Tofutti Sour Supreme (Better than Sour Cream), crushed garlic, lemon juice

What you do; 

I'm not using quantities because you can really make as much or as little as you like. It's a matter of how much tang you want = more or less capers, pickles and lemon.

Basically you boil the potatoes til just soft and let them cool (you don't want to overcook them or they'll just fall apart when you mix it up).

While they're cooking cut the spring onions and pickles into small pieces and chop the capers finely. Mix about 1 part Sour Supreme with 2 parts mayo in a bowl with crushed garlic and a bit of lemon juice to taste (don't go crazy on the lemon to start - too much lemon is hard to balance).

Steam the asparagus for about 2 minutes then refresh in cold water.

Once everything's cool, throw it all together and add finely chopped fresh dill. I put it in the fridge for a few hours before serving it so it's cold and refreshing.

Take it to your next BBQ and no-one will know it's vegan!