Roasted Romanesco with Garlic, Sage Crumbs (GF, DF)

Roasted Romanesco with Garlic, Sage Crumbs (GF, DF)

Cauliflower and Sage Crumbs

This is a stunning dish, fragrant, tasty, textured and healthy

I have a lot of fun cooking vegetables as sides to my southern Italian in-laws dishes. I can not make what would be perceived as a main dish, as it would be seen as disrespectful, even in my own house and since I don’t want to end up sleeping with the fishes, I choose to make vegetable accompliments that I think might compliment the food

This is one such dish, which I made with garlic and sage so as to stay within the Italian lane to compliment the beautiful muscles and shrimp that my in-laws made

Mr B was super happy to see everyone in the kitchen in harmony whilst he sat back and enjoyed his fathers homemade wine

You could use pretty much any cauliflower or vegetable for this recipe. I like Romanesco for its beautiful Fibonacci spirals, its nuttiness and textured crunch!

Ingredients

  • 1 head Romanesco (core and cut into florets)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. vegan or normal butter
  • ½ cup gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ cup. minced sage
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper

Method

  • Preheat your oven and get a casserole dish ready
  • Place the florets in a bowl with the oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper
  • Roast for 10-15 minutes until they start to brown at the edges
  • Whilst the cauliflower is roasting, add the butter to a pan on a low heat, add the breadcrumbs and garlic and stir to coat, cook for a few minutes and stir the sage in 30 seconds before finishing
  • Remove from the heat and cover the cauliflower
  • I take it straight to the table, steaming hot and serve it straight from the casserole dish
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Methi Matar Malai (GF, DF)

Methi Matar Malai (GF, DF)

Mattar Malai

This is a beautiful fragrant vegan curry from the north of India. It is made with Methi, which is Fenugreek, Malai which is cream, which I substituted for tofu cream and Matar which is green peas

It is a beautifully balanced dish, due to the bitterness of the Fenugreek and sweetness from the onions, almond milk and sugar

Fenugreek is good for liver function, cholesterol and digestion and is therefore used a lot in Indian and Ayurveda cooking

‘When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use, when diet is correct, medicine is no need’

I served these as a canapé at my Indian inspired dinner party, but it is good with rice or a flatbread also

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups of Fenugreek/Methi
  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 1 cup tofu cream cheese
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 1 chilli, chopped
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts

Method

  • Blend the onions, cumin, garlic, ginger, chilli and cashew nuts into a smooth paste
  • Heat the oil and fry this mixture for 5-10 minutes until the raw taste is gone
  • Add the fenugreek, cook for 2/3 minutes
  • Add ½ cup almond milk, mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes
  • Add the cooked peas, tofu cream cheese, garam masala, salt, sugar, mix well and cook for 5 minutes on a low flame
  • Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve with roti, rice or in tart cups as a fun canapé

Cheese Rolls (GF, V)

Cheese Rolls (GF, V)

Cheese Rolls

This is a classic grandma dish, which until recently we had thought was made up for us, until I started finding different versions of the recipe on the internet

It is an Indian version of grilled cheese and can be made in many different ways, depending on your family’s palate

It can be fried or baked and made with different types of bread or cheese. My favourite adaptation is gluten free or rye bread with vegan cheese, but my grandma made it with a classic white loaf and cheddar

Mr B loved these as I added some extra chillies in the mixture for him. He ate an entire portion of 6 in one go, which is the equivalent of half a loaf of bread. I wouldn’t advise this, but it proves that the old recipes are the best!

I am still doing research on this, but it looks like the Turkish dish, Sigara Borek, which has a similar filling but is made with phyllo pastry not bread, influenced these. I’d love to hear from anyone who knows different, as I haven’t been able to track down the exact Indian lineage

Ingredients

  • 6 slices gluten free bread
  • 1 cup grated vegan cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp. coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to brush or fry if you prefer

Method

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheese, onion, coriander and spices
  • Take the bread slices and cut the edges off, roll them flat with a rolling pin, roll as thin as possible
  • Brush the edges with water
  • Place some of the cheese mixture in the middle of the bread, roll and press the edges to seal
  • Brush the rolls with oil and bake
  • Or heat an inch of oil in a deep pan and fry until golden brown
  • Drain and place on kitchen towel
  • Serve hot, chutney optional

Vegan Jerky

Vegan Jerky

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Mushrooms are powerful sources of antioxidants and phytochemicals, best harnessed through eating a mix of raw and cooked mushrooms. This is a great version to use as a snack or put on a pizza or salad

I decided to make these after seeing vegan jerky in the supermarket being sold for 12.99. With two Portobello mushrooms from $3, I thought it was worth the saving!

These are made with an easy marinade and quick dehydration, so very little cooking or effort for such a versatile dish

Mr B likes the smoky umami taste and said he preferred the texture to the meat version

Ingredients

  • 2 Portobello mushrooms, cut into ¾ inch strips

Marinade

  • 3 tbsp. tamari
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 3 drops liquid smoke
  • Black pepper to taste

Method

  • Soak the mushrooms in the marinade for a minimum of 4 hours. I left them to soak and absorb the marinade over night
  • Dehydrate at 115f for 6 hours in a dehydrator or oven until mushrooms are dried but not chewy

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Chilli Chocolate Vegan Samosas

Chilli Chocolate Vegan Samosas

Samosa

I was inspired to create this for a competition where we were asked to use cacao in a creative way. My first thought was to make my grandmothers samosas with a chilli chocolate slant on them. (Mr B’s influence as two of his favourite flavour profiles). I wasn’t sure this would work, but I felt my grandma was urging me on, if only to see me make my first samosa

Well it did work and I’d encourage you to give it a try. It has some wonderfully deep, rich flavours from the garam masala and chilli, with an earthy tone from the cacao and smoked paprika

‘Creativity is the courage to let go of certainty’.

I didn’t want to let go of the certainty of my grandma’s recipe, but this competition pushed me out of my comfort zone and to something new in our relationship. A collaboration of sorts, a recipe created hand in hand, partly from heritage and partly from something new. Growth isn’t just a case of learning something new but about unlearning old limits too

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. chilli powder (adapt to heat preference)
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 500g vegan mince
  • 20g cacao powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 10 spring roll wrappers

Method

  • Heat the olive oil, add the onion and fry till translucent, add garlic and fry for 30 seconds
  • Add spices for 30 seconds
  • Add vegan mince and stir till equally distributed
  • Cook down for 20 minutes
  • Taste and adjust for seasoning
  • Let cool
  • Mix the water and flour together to use as a glue for the samosa pastry
  • Fold, fill and seal (see picture for instructions)
  • Bake or fry and serve with a coriander dipping sauce

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Mushroom Pate (Raw, Vegan, GF)

Mushroom Pate (Raw, Vegan, GF)

Raw Mushroom Pate

This is a lovely starter/canapé. It has a silky texture and earthy tone from the walnuts and mushrooms so your carnivorous guests will think it is made of liver, whilst your herbivore guests will lap it up for exactly the opposite reason.

It takes 5 minutes preparation and can be used for many different things, including a pasta sauce, an umami topping on a burger or a dip for crackers. I edited the recipe, which I took from Plant Food (Matthew Kenney, Meredith Baird, Scott Winegard), decreasing the amount of mushroom powder used to decrease the saltiness and adding fresh thyme to give a little brightness.

Mr B who is not a fan of liver Pate, loved this, although thought I was trying to trick him into eating traditional Pate until I showed him the process pictures.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups mushrooms (Portobello’s, Oysters, Shitake)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup mushroom powder
  • 1 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. agar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

Method

  • Blend all ingredients, for around 8 minutes or until the blender is warm. (I wouldn’t usually recommend this, but in this case you need it to get warm to activate the agar)
  • Pour into a lined terrine mold (I used a small bread pan) and refrigerate for 2 hours to set

 

Porcini Cracker with Chives (GF, V)

Porcini Cracker with Chives

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The wonderful thing about dehydrating food is that there is very little method involved (blend, spread, dehydrate), the food retains it nutrients due to the low temperature and the flavors of whatever you are cooking intensify

This is my second attempt in the dehydrator, adapting a recipe from Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food, to create an umami savory sweet cracker. I offered these crackers to my tasters, without telling them about the method, and they loved them. It is hard to believed that there is no grain or flour in them, just almond and flax seeds and a little seasoning. If you don’t have a dehydrator, an oven, whilst you are in the house on a cold afternoon does the trick just as well

I liked these crackers with a little tofu cream cheese and fresh chives (see previous recipes) but Mr B is quite fond of them on their own, as a portable snack

Ingredients

Porcini crackers

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 tbsp. tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp. porcini powder
  • 1 tbsp. agave
  • ¼ cup flax seeds

Toppings

  • Tofu cream cheese
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped to ½ cm pieces

Method

  • Mix the porcini ingredients together in a blender. Spread 1.4 inch thick on parchment paper and dehydrate for 4 hours at 115f. Punch out shapes with a cookie cutter. Return to dehydrator on screens until dry and crisp, approximately 12 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator, use the oven on the warm setting.
  • Pipe or spread on the tofu cream cheese
  • Top with chives