Thursday, October 20, 2011

good advice salad

My friend Jane Willcox, along with her friend Rosemary Cadden, have made this excellent little book, Making a Meal of It. No, it's not a vegetarian cook book, in fact, it's not altogether a cook book at all. It's a handy how-to guide with hints and tips about using up perishables in the kitchen - from fruit and veg to herbs, meat and eggs. 

Even though there are lots of meat/dairy recipes, it's actually really good for vegos. After all, who has more wilting greens and fermenting fruit in their kitchen? Any way, I've been poring over it for the last few days and it inspired a gorgeous salad I made tonight, so I thought I'd share it with you.

To begin with, these were the things I desperately needed to use; a sad looking cucumber, half a bunch of parsley, a half a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil and some just-about-to-sprout garlic.

In the parsley section of the book there's a great little pasta sauce mix. I varied it a little, putting the garlic, sundried tomatoes, parsley and a little oil in a blender. I then added some olives, a tablespoon of the vinegar from the olive jar and a dash of lemon juice. This turned out really lovely, but it made heaps, and I didn't really feel like pasta tonight - also, what about that cucumber? So I split the mix into two, added a bit more oil to one half and put it in the fridge to make pasta with tomorrow.

So, I heeded the book's good advice and used up some other stuff I had lying around the kitchen. I mixed the pasta/pesto whatever-it-is with a tin of canellini beans. I then added the chopped cucumber and a rogue tomato from the bottom of the fridge. I put in some tinned corn for good measure, and finally added some capers - which gave the whole thing that little kick of awesome.

It truly turned out amazing. I now have a refreshing, summery salad in the fridge, ready for me to take to work tomorrow. I'll probably put a few slices of avocado on top, seeing as that's the last thing in my kitchen that needs to be used up before I go to the market on the weekend!

Thanks Jane :)
Check out the book - there's a preview of it here, or you can buy it online through Wakefield Press here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

veggie couscous

Well, I've been busy as all hell lately and haven't posted in a while. Here's a quick couscous recipe I whipped up tonight - and hopefully I'll post a few more recipes over the next few days.

What you need;
1 cup couscous
1 veggie stock cube
Tinned brown lentils
All purpose seasoning
Tinned beetroot
Green beans

What you do;

1) Cook the garlic and onion in oil. When browned, add the chopped carrot and green beans, then 5 minutes later add the chopped mushrooms, asparagus and zucchini.

2) While this is cooking, bring a cup of water to the boil with the stock cube and a bit of oil. When it's boiled, add the couscous, take it off the heat and set aside with the lid on for 3 or 4 minutes. When it's absorbed the liquid, fluff it with a fork to separate the grains.

3) Rinse the tinned lentils and add those and the corn to the veggie mix to heat through. Take the mix off the heat and let cool a little. When it's not so hot, add the cooled couscous to the veggie mix and add spice to flavour.

4) As a final thing - and bearing in mind that this is a quick slap-stick recipe - I chopped up some tinned baby beets and put them on top. It added that final yum factor and went well with the subtle flavours.

It's quick, yum, filling and is a well balanced meal. It keeps well for two days worth of leftovers too - my work colleagues were very jealous last time I made this :)

You can use whatever veg you have in the fridge - last time I made a version of this it was the day before market day and I wanted to use up every last thing! You can play around with the spices too - these are just what i grabbed from the cupboard.