It was my birthday last week, and my little brother bought me a cake from Adriano Zumbo. It’s called a Red Velvet Cake. It’s layers of raspberry cake and jelly with a cream cheese frosting and a red sprayed on coating. It’s a cheesecake on steroids.
Hot Chilli Sauce
I had enough chillies to make 1 cup of paste. I made approximately 2 1/2 cups of sauce, enough to fill two and a half small jars.
Place chillies and garlic cloves in a small blender or food processor, and process until finely chopped (try not to breathe any in). In a sauce pan place a cup of sugar, a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, and a couple of tablespoons of salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and add the chilli and garlic paste and some water. Bring to a boil (and open the windows), then add some tapioca or cornstarch mixed with a little water to thicken. Ladle into hot sterilised jars and seal using your preferred method.
|Oozy Risotto with Brown Rice is possible!|
Pumpkin Risotto with Brown Rice
The creamy consistency of risotto comes from the starch of the rice, plus a good amount of butter and cheese added at the final stage of cooking. I’ve left out the butter, and the pumpkin adds to the sauce. The longer you leave this to cook, the creamier it will be – mine took about an hour. Stir, stir, stir!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 tap crushed garlic
1 cup medium grain brown rice
1 glass white wine
400g diced pumpkin
1L vegetable stock
Freshly ground pepper
A handful of fresh thyme
½ cup grated pecorino cheese
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Add garlic and onion ans saute until the onion is soft. Add the rice and gently fry the rice for 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has been absorbed. Continue cooking and stirring, adding spoonfuls of stock gradually. Halfway through the cooking, add the pumpkin, pepper and thyme. Stir the risotto often to tease out as much starch as possible. When the rice is cooked and the pumpkin is a little overcooked, stir through the cheese. Put the lid on the pot and take off the heat. Let the risotto sit for 5 minutes to rest before serving. Serve with an extra sprinkle of pecorino on top.
It’s time for another Tuesday Night Vego Challenge!
I love stuffed mushrooms, and do not make them often enough. These ones make the most of some delicious herbs from my garden. This is a low calorie meal but it’s very tasty.
Mushrooms stuffed with Cottage Cheese (serves 2)
2 large flat mushrooms
200g low fat cottage cheese
¼ cup finely chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, garlic chives)
salt and pepper
½ small red onion
4 sun dried tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180˚C, and line a baking tray with baking paper. Heat a small non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and place the mushroom caps on the baking tray. Some recipes suggest you peel them and remove the gills, but I don’t bother – why waste anything? Just make sure they’re clean by wiping with a damp cloth.
Finely dice the mushroom stems, red onion and sun dried tomatoes and sauté in the frying pan with the olive oil until the onion is soft. Remove from the heat and place the cooked vegetables into a bowl. Add chopped herbs, cottage cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix gently and scoop the mixture into the mushroom caps.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and the cheese is golden on top. Serve with a green salad (and some crusty sourdough if you like, but we’re on a low carb diet).
Tuesday night! Time for another Tuesday Night Vego Challenge!
This week’s in season veggies are a bunch of Kang Kong, or Water Spinach, Eggplant, Tomato, Basil and Chilli.
Given that I have chillies galore coming in at the moment, I feel like something spicy for dinner. So we’re having two stir fried veggie dishes with some steamed brown rice.
|Drying chillies in the dehydrator|
Sambal Kang Kong
Kang kong is an asian green vegetable. In Indonesia it’s often stir fried in a pungent paste of chillies, garlic, dried shrimp, and fermented shrimp paste called belacan. I must admit that I’m not a fan of having really stinky things in my cupboard, so I’m making a vegan version using miso paste instead of the shrimp paste to give lots of umami flavour. The sambal paste makes any stir-fried green vegetable absolutely delicious (and it’s also good for tofu). Like all soft green leafed vegetables, a big bunch of kang kong will wilt to almost nothing. My bunch only just fed two.
1 bunch kang kong
1 pinch sugar
1 pinch salt
1 long red chilli
1 small hot chilli
1 tsp miso paste
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon red bullhorn chilli
You can de-seed the chillies if you are a chilli wimp, but I left them in this time. Place the chillies, eschalots, miso and garlic in a small food processor and blend until finely chopped. My paste came out like a puree.
|Frying the paste|
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok, then gently fry the sambal paste until fragrant – you don’t want the heat too high, or else you will end up with a house full of chilli fumes and bitter burnt garlic. Take your time doing this – you want to evaporate any water out of the paste to the point where it just starts to darken in colour.
Add the kang kong, sugar and salt and stir fry until tender and wilted.
Stir Fried Eggplant with Egg and Tomato
I used this lovely recipe at noobcook.com, with the only change being to use some fresh basil leaves instead of dried ones. Very tasty, and a nice mild contrast to the strong flavours in the sambal. I’d even eat this one for breakfast.
Today is Shrove Tuesday. The little boy ate several of these apple pikelets for his morning tea. The custard powder gives the pikelets a lovely vanilla flavour and a nice yellow colour.
½ cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon custard powder
2 tbsp sugar
¼ cup milk
pinch of cinnamon
6 dried apple rings, diced
2 tsp melted butter
Mix the flour, custard powder, and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Add milk and mix to form a smooth, thick batter. Add cinnamon and apple.
Cook in a non-stick frying pan brushed with melted butter. This made about 8 pikelets.
Time: 15 minutes
Maybe you’re like me, and trying to stick to a budget and save some money after the black hole that is ChristmasNewYearSummerHolidaysBaby’sBirthday.
When it comes to food, meat is an easy target when it comes to saving money. You can buy cheaper cuts of meat on the bone and slow cook them into a tender curry, stew or casserole, then freeze the leftovers for other meals, you can skip the meat altogether and get your protein from tofu or legumes, or you can buy mince and learn ways to make it interesting!
with braised red cabbage, beans and
potatoes with home-grown pesto
Meatloaf is a good way to make mince go a bit further by adding breadcrumbs, veggies, herbs or even dried fruit and nuts. There are lots of great recipes, and the flavours are limited by your imagination. I’m even being super lazy and putting everything in the food processor so I can catch up on the washing up! Making individual meat loaves means you have some easy leftovers for lunch the next day. If you don’t have a mini loaf tin, a muffin tin works well too!
500g turkey mince
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1 small handful thyme leaves
1 handful parsley
1 grated carrot
1 handful dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
1 handful blanched almonds
1 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
This is order to put things into the food processor. Give everything a blitz in between, scraping down the bowl as needed.
onion and garlic
cranberries and almonds
herbs and breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
mince and eggs
Blend until the mixture is very smooth, then divide among an 8-loaf mini loaf tin. Bake in the oven at 180˚C for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. You can glaze the tops by brushing with some barbecue sauce or cranberry sauce that has been melted in the microwave (do this half way through the cooking time, and again once they come out of the oven). My mixture made 6 loaves, and a couple of mini rissoles for the toddler.