Friday, 29 October 2010

Potato and Kale Enchiladas

As I mentioned in my last post, fellow blogger Lisa came to dinner last week. I don’t have dinner guests as often as I used to but I invited her on a day I wasn’t working and got most of the preparation done while Sylvia had a long sleep.

Lisa helped herself to the pea pate while Sylvia ate her vegies, chickpeas and tofu. I think Sylvia felt quite sorry for Lisa with all that green gunk because she began to slip her the odd chickpea or tomato. But we had more to come.

I had decided to make the PPK’s Potato and Kale Enchiladas. It might give you some insight into the cooking if I tell you that my first task was to ring my mum and check the kale in the backyard was ready to pick. Using kale from a pot meant that I didn’t have as much as the recipe called for. I used the remainder of a bag of spinach to bump up the greens and there was plenty of colour. My tortillas must have been much larger than the PPK's – they used 12-14 and I used 6.

[As an aside, I got this recipe off the web last week. My timing was excellent because the link is not working this week. I think the PPK might have updated their site but can’t be sure. I gather that the recipe can be found in Vegenomicon)

I showed a reckless lack of planning in assembling the enchiladas. I chatted to Lisa and kept an eye on Sylvia rather than reading the recipe. It was only when I looked at the recipe afterwards when making blog notes that I found I was meant to heat tortillas and dip them in the tomato sauce before rolling them around the filling. I wouldn’t have had the concentration for such messy work. Besides, they worked fine my way.

The enchiladas were spicy, smoky and tasty with lots of sauce on top but not too heavy. I thought the potato and kale filling had a bit much lime juice and salt so I would go easier with these next time, though the flavours weren’t overwhelming in the final dish. There was also dessert but I’ll tell you about the banana choc chip cookies another time.

We had a lovely evening with Lisa. Anyone who has read her eclectic blog knows she is an interesting person. She recently spent time in Edinburgh where E hails from and gave lots of attention to our pussy cat, Zinc. Just the sort of blogger I am happy to have living just around the corner.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time one year ago: Purple Pleasures, Purple Dinner
This time two years ago: WTSIM: of cats, ukeleles and enchiladas

Potato and Kale Enchiladas
adapted from Vegenomicon
serves 4-6

For the Enchilada Sauce:

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped

1 chipotle in adobo sauce
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon oregano
2 x 400g tins of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For the Potato and Kale Filling:
450g waxy potatoes (I used Desiree)
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
60g kale, finely sliced
100g spinach, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup water
1-3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

½ cup pine nuts, chopped
½ teaspoons salt, or to taste

6 wholegrain tortillas

To make enchilada sauce: Fry onion in olive oil until it is quite soft. (This takes quite a while 10-30 minutes – you can start on potato and kale filling while it cooks or play with a small child.) Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make potato and kale filling: peel and dice potatoes and cook in boiling water for 15-20 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Fry garlic gently in oil, stirring constantly until garlic is lightly browned (this only takes about a minute). Add kale and stir over medium low heat about 2 minutes, then add spinach and cumin seeds for another 2 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and stir for another 3-4 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. While the mixture is cooking, use the back of a wooden spoon to coarsely crush the potatoes. Go easy on the lime juice and salt, check for taste and add more as required.

To assemble
: Lightly grease a largish casserole dish and preheat oven to 200 C. Lay a tortilla on a flat surface and spoon about 2 dessertspoons of the potato and kale filling into the middle and shape into a long strip. Roll up tortilla around the filling and place seam down in the casserole dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour enchilada sauce over the filled tortillas and bake for 40 minutes uncovered. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

On the Stereo:
Rose clouds of holocaust: Death in June

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Pea pate - sandwiches

In an ideal world I would always have a good home made dip in my fridge. It is excellent for snacks, sandwiches and filling the gap before dinner. I had fellow blogger Lisa over for dinner last week and on the spur of the moment decided to make a dip because I had basil to use up and the enchiladas (recipe to come) were taking longer than I expected.

I decided to adapt the pea pesto to use the ingredients I had on hand and to veganise it for Lisa. I will probably make a version of this again as I have tofu in my fridge more often than the cream cheese that is in the original recipe. Peas are perfect for a dip. They are usually in my freezer, are convenient and retain their brilliant green colour.

I had pate left yesterday so I made a great sandwich of leftovers. Pea pate, mashed potato, sliced cherry tomatoes and cold grilled vegetarian sausages. A bit like a bangers and mash sandwich. That is no coincidence as Mondays are often bangers and mash night in our house.

I also enjoyed eating the pate with mashed potato and promite on toast. That was exactly how I finished it up this morning and now my fridge is yet again bereft of home made dip. Hopefully it wont be too long before I make this one again.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time one year ago: The joy of mouldy soy cheese and other quirky notes
This time two years ago: WTSIM: of cats, ukeleles and enchiladas

Vegan Pea Pate
adapted from this pea pesto

170g cooked peas (200g frozen)
70g firm tofu
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of half a lemon
¼ tsp salt
35g (1 bunch) basil, roughly chopped or torn
½ cup pinenuts, toasted
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
freshly ground black pepper

Blitz in blender, adjust seasoning and lemon juice to taste. This is quite a thick dip, hence it seemed more pesto than pate to me, but could be thinned a little with olive oil or water.

On the Stereo:
The end of the rainbow: an introduction to Richard and Linda Thompson

Monday, 25 October 2010

Potluck, Salad and Car Trouble

It was a busy weekend. A barbecue lunch for my sister Susie’s birthday. Lots of good food and kiddie mayhem. We test-drove a new car (well, it was new to us). We decided to buy it. Our old car that has been a faithful steed for the past 8 years took umbrage and broke down on the Geelong Road. A tow truck ride, a service station sojourn and a ride with my brother found us arriving at home rather late.

Nevertheless I was pleased to see the sun shining on Sunday for Kristy and Toby’s vegan potluck bbq. I love bbqs with my family but it is a treat to go to a bbq with no meat. Unfortunately the weekend did not find me with much time and energy for making food to take along. At least salads are quick to put together. I took my favourite lentil salad to my family and I made a carrot salad to take to the potluck bbq.

The carrot salad is one from Food Stories that I bookmarked a couple of years ago when Helen had a great series of salads. She used alfalfa sprouts but I went for the snowpea sprouts because I get worried about soggy boxes of unloved sprouts in the fridge. I also decided to toast the sunflower seeds with tamari because one of my housemates used to do that and I loved them.

So I packed some salad and some plain vegies and chickpeas for Sylvia, she grabbed dolly and her blanket, and we hopped on the train to the park. My salad offering didn’t have a wow factor but I always think a good salad is welcome at a barbie. Once the sunflower seeds were mixed in they were a little less impressive but the salad was full of vegies, protein and mustard.

It is always great to meet other bloggers at potlucks and have my prejudices challenged. When we arrived Toby was cooking Vegan Dad’s ultimate BBQ tofu on the barbecue. I never feel very brave about using public barbecues or making BBQ sauce but this was one of the highlights of the day. I loved how it was charred and smoky as well as full of sweet and spicy flavours.

I enjoyed a plateful of interesting dishes. My carrot salad, Toby’s tofu, MeVeg’s lemony asparagus risoni salad, Craig’s curry pasta salad and roast potatoes. Lastly was Michael’s Kentucky BBQ Ribz which I have bookmarked but also felt a little shy of the seitan and sauce combination. It was great to taste it because it was excellent. All washed down by Krristy’s refreshing pomegranate lemonade with pretty mint ice cubes.

I was also pleased to be able to taste Cindy’s Vegan Vanilla Slice that I saw recently and bookmarked. I have had no trouble believing that this would taste amazing but have felt this is a little indulgent to make to eat at home. It was really good with creamy custard and the slightly crunch and tartness of the passionfruit icing.

There were lots of interesting options on offer for dessert. I enjoyed MeVeg’s velvety fudge though the coffee flavour was a little much for me. I had two cheesecakes. Keira’s lemon cheesecake was lovely and creamy. Kristy’s teasecake had a little more texture because it was made with millet, though I wouldn’t have guessed if she didn’t tell me but I did enjoy all the berries on top.

People were divided when the question arose of whether you could return to savoury food after sweets. I am one who can happily ricochet between the two. So after finding I had had quite enough sugar, I had one of Erin’s tofu kebab with mhummara sauce and roasted lemon. It was fantastic. Very spicy and far more lemony than I would usually choose but it left my mouth feeling so wonderfully zingy.

As for Sylvia, she ignored the vegies I brought along for her but she couldn’t get enough of Fat Fueled Vegan’s slightly sweet cornbread. She was full of frowns when she arrived (all those strange people) but broke out the smiles once she started playing on the nearby slide. I am sure she would have stayed longer but she was due for a nap by the time we left and had fallen asleep with dolly before we even reached the train station.

I had a great time. As always I didn’t get to try enough of the food on offer, or photograph enough or even speak to enough people but I did taste lots of interesting food and enjoy meeting up with fellow bloggers and foodies. Thanks Kristy and Toby.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time one year ago: Snags, coleslaw and Julie/Julia
This time two years ago: My Personal Vegetarian 100 List

Carrot, Sprouts and Chickpea Salad with Seeds
adapted from Food Stories

1 handful sunflower seeds
½ tsp tamari
300g (about 5 medium) carrots, grated
50g snowpea sprouts, chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 generous tsp wholegrain mustard
Juice of ½ medium lemon
2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp crushed garlic – about 2 small cloves
Salt and pepper, to taste

Gently fry seeds in a small saucepan with tamari (I added a little water to help to distribute tamari evenly) until seeds are dry and toasted.

Mix remaining ingredients together in a medium salad bowl. Check seasoning and add as required. Scatter with seeds.

On the stereo:
But, what ends when the symbols shatter: Death in June

Thursday, 21 October 2010

SOS Tahini Muesli Bars or Mama Mia!

Everyone has one. Even me. Yet I wanted more. You can never have too many muesli bar recipes. Over the past month, I have been on a mission to find the perfect muesli bar. After three attempts I have found something close to perfection. Good enough to post.

I have many expectations of this muesli bar. Lots of oats, no flour, lots of dried fruit, not too sweet, no large chunks of nuts. Most importantly I wanted them to hold together. It shouldn’t be that difficult for a muesli bar to hold its shape. Yet I have made two batches of muesli bars that have crumbled so much they have ended up as muesli. Not bars!

I don’t blame other bloggers whose recipes didn’t work for me. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I meddle with good recipes. I used flaked coconut rather than dessicated coconut and reduced the honey in Ashley’s Granola Bars.

I wanted to follow Erin’s Strawberry Granola Bars recipe. I was attracted to the idea of using up strawberries in this way. I wanted my bar to be fruity. I added some coconut and LSA. She warned that the berries made them more crumbly. Mine were damp. Such a shame. They had a wonderful chewy top. But fell to bits. I rescued the mixture by returning it to the oven in bits to dry out. It made a wonderful muesli. Maybe these muesli bars would have been better with more cooking.

I couldn’t find the brown rice syrup that Erin used. I purchased some malt extract instead. It is a thick and sticky syrup which reminded me of honey. Darker, far less sweet and less refined. Surprisingly it contains Vitamin B12. I read it is often used with other sweeteners. I used it with maple syrup. I think it added to the chewy crust. Be warned that it is made from barley and is not gluten free.

Finally I decided to try some tahini as a binder. The internet didn’t yield enough inspiration for tahini. Instead I found there were plenty of peanut butter granola bars recipes. I tried the
Cherries & Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars. I used tahini not peanut butter, and made a few other little changes.

Finally I had my eureka moment! They hadn't even cooled. Yet I could see it was a bar that would stay together. I took some slice to work for snacks. Even after the rough and tumble of being in my bag, shunted about by my bike commute, it still was in one piece. That is success.

Did I mention I wanted them to be child-friendly? Hence my decision to avoid large chunks of nuts. Sylvia loves muesli bars right now. “What do you want for dinner?” I asked her on Monday. “Mia” she replied with a toddler’s enthusiasm. I have heard the word often enough to know it means muesli bars. (Does that mean I could be known as Mama Mia!) My mum says they are sweet enough for her. All that dried fruit was enough for me. Sylvia prefers sweeter bars.

As I said at the top, the bar wasn’t perfect. There are too many options to have one perfect bar. As well as wondering about adding a tad more sweetener, I would also love some coconut and molasses. I will keep trying other combinations. Yet I hope to return to these bars.

This batch is being sent to
Ricki and Kim’s SOS (Sweet or Savoury) blog event that asks bloggers to share recipes made with whole foods, whole grains and minimal processed foods. This month they are seeking recipes featuring sesame.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

This time one year ago:
Pumpkin bread pudding for interesting times
This time two years ago: Tom Phat: Funky fusion

Tahini museli bars
Adapted from Healthy Food for Living
  • ½ cup unsweetened 100% applesauce
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp malt extract (or other sweetener such as honey or maple syrup)
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 1½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I used apricots, sultanas and cranberries)
  • ¼ cup LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • pinch salt
Line a small slice tin (18 x 28cm) with baking paper, ensuring that paper hangs over the long sides of the tin. Preheat oven to 170 C.

Mix together the tahini, malt extract and vanilla essence until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Tip into prepared tin, press down evenly and smooth with the back of a spoon.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and starting to crisp at the edges. Cool in tin about 10 minutes and then use the overhang of the baking paper to transfer the slice to a chopping board to cool completely. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or bars.

On the Stereo:
The RatPack Revisited (Sunday Age freebie): Dean Martin et al

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Noodles in Broth

We had a lovely warm spring day today. It is a surprise to see the sun after so much rain. It brings back memories of normal Melbourne spring rain before we became accustomed to drought. It seems times are a changing. Australia has its first saint (Mary McKillop) and Sherlock Holmes has been brought into the 21st Century on our television. And me? I am leaving behind the stews of winter and embracing asparagus and lighter soups.

I am rather fond of Asian-style noodle soups full of vegetables and flavour. However I am no expert. Many recipes call for separately cooking the broth, the vegetables and the noodles. I like to throw everything in together, though the wisdom of doing so might be questionable.

I haven’t had much success with rice noodles so I moved onto soba noodles which I find almost as challenging. I put them in a soup that reminded me a bit of this autumnal soup but adding cooked rice was easier than soba noodles. I had the leftovers the next day for lunch and enjoyed it but was surprised that the broth was all but absorbed.

E enjoyed the leftovers for dinner less than me. I was pleased because I finally returned to making rice paper rolls, three years after I first tried it (thanks to Lisa for inspiration). I had forgot it was so easy. E was not impressed. Unfortunately for him, I loved it and hope it will be the summer of the rice paper roll. If you happen to find yourself with some leftover noodle soup and wondering how to serve it, I would highly recommend serving a small bowl with a plate of rice paper rolls.

I am sending this soup to Jacqueline (and Lisa) for the No Croutons Required blog event because this month’s theme is noodles.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Mr Natural Gourmet Vegetarian Pizza
This time two years ago: Fried Rice

Asparagus, Corn and Tofu Soup with Soba Noodles

inspired by this soup by Herbivoracious
Serves 3-4

  • handful dried shiitake mushrooms (about ½ cup)
  • 2 tsp dashi powder
  • 1 piece of dried kombu seaweed (about 6-8 inches long)
  • 1 tsp of ginger juice (squeezed from finely grated pulp of about 1 inch of fresh ginger)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 200g firm tofu, cubed
  • 6 cups of water (or more)
  • 2 carrots julienned
  • 500g dry soba noodles
  • kernels of 2 cobs corn
  • 8 stalks of thick asparagus, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • few drops of toasted sesame oil
Place mushrooms, kombu, dashi powder, ginger juice, tofu and water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add carrots and simmer another 5 minutes. Add noodles and simmer 1 minute. Add corn, asparagus, and spring onions. Simmer 3-4 minutes. Stir in tamari, mirin and sesame oil. Serves hot.

On the Stereo:
Thursday’s Fortune: Club Hoy

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Spinach Rice Gratin

During the week I followed Kathryn’s advice and made Heidi’s excellent spinach rice gratin.. Heidi intended it as a healthy single-pan recipe that would use up the ingredients on hand. Initially I intended to follow the recipe and then I realised I had ingredients that could be substituted successfully, so I followed the spirit rather than the recipe.

In went the spinach that had been around too long, the forgotten vegetarian sausage I found at the back of the fridge, some leftover sundried tomato pasta sauce that had not been a hit, wilted spring onions, a heel of parmesan cheese that was drying out. Once the gratin was in the oven I found that I had accidentally omitted the salt and oil. They could have enriched it but their absence did not distract.

I am sure I will be making this again. It is a great way to use up vegetables, rice and eggs. Especially if this unseasonally heavy rain keeps me from visiting the Vic Market and life continues to be so busy that it is hard to find time for shopping (or baking for today's Bread Baking Day).

Nupur of One Hot Stove is seeking one dish meals inspired by other bloggers for her Blog Bites (#8) event this month. This gratin would be great with a green salad and chutney but I served it as it was and loved it so I am sending it to Nupur.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Beauty and the Beast for World Bread Day
This time two years ago: Biscuits like birdseed

Spinach Rice Gratin
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
serves 4-6

3 cups cooked brown rice, at room temperature
2 cups chopped baby spinach
2 medium carrots, grated
70g firm tofu, crumbled
1 vegetarian sausage, cooked and finely chopped
2 dessertspoons of sundried tomato pasta sauce (or pesto)
2 spring onions, chopped
½ cup finely chopped roasted (unsalted) cashews
100g gruyere cheese, grated
3 eggs

Topping:
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1-2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 25cm round baking dish with a bit of olive oil.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl except the topping. Tip mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and smooth with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until casserole is set and topping is golden brown and crispy. Serve warm.

On the Stereo:
Little Earthquakes:
Tori Amos

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Pate, Goslings and Bubbies

Do you ever buy a book for its cover? I did last week. I was recently saddened to see a new version of How it all Vegan. The cover in muted earth mother tones was just wrong. These colours are fine for the autumn fashion collection but not right for this book. The tone is full of fun and frivolity. I have always been attracted to the original gaudy cover with the colourful photo of the kooky authors. So when I saw a copy of the book with that original cover I snapped it up.

I have browsed the book in the stores often enough to be confident I would enjoy the pages in between the cover. Given that I own cookbooks that I have never cooked from, it is a good sign when I make a recipe from this book within a week of purchase. And the Voracious Vegan Pate was excellent. I made quite a few changes but for me, a good recipe should be flexible enough to work with different pantries. I also love new ideas the seem so crazy they just might work. Grated potato in pate is a new one for me but it does add to the texture.
So the recipe was flexible, innovative and delicious. That is high praise. But I must caution that when I first tasted it I wasn’t quite sure of it because it tasted too meaty for me. Then I tried it again and identified more flavours – mushroom, onion, nutritional yeast flakes, smoked paprika, cayenne powder and the merest crunch of sunflower seeds.. This was a recipe I needed as I have had good intentions of trying pate for a while and I haven’t had much inspiration in my dinner lately. The pate has been a great sandwich spread, the centre of healthy dinner platters and an excellent snack. I made it on Sunday when I had a bit more time. Which was just as well given that, once I had the vegies frying, I couldn’t find any sunflower seeds so I went to the supermarket in the middle of making the pate.It was one of those relaxed days which started with a lie-in while E amused Sylvia and then a walk to Coburg Lake where we watched the geese with their fluffy goslings. In the afternoon E and Sylvia played outside with her new sandpit while I started on the pate. I made the dough for a batch of Tofu Pesto Biscuits while Sylvia had her afternoon nap and baked them in the evening.Biscuits are very popular in our house at the moment. Sylvia’s face lights up at the very word, even if she is the one who is mentioning them – and it usually is! She drives them around in her trolley and will offer them to Zinckie but she knows that our cat has her own bikkies. She offers them to the alien in the sock, who is more receptive and often responds “nummy”. I suspect if given the chance she would have offered them to the goslings at the lake.

Whereas E and I prefer to just eat them. We have had lots of bikkies in the house with our pate. Tofu pesto biscuits, oat and walnut biscuits, sesame seed and poppy seed biscuits, rice crackers. We had the pate again for dinner last night and I discovered that the combination of avocado, pate and tomato is excellent. There is still more in the fridge so I am going to enjoy it for another few days. I am sure I will be making this again and I am looking forward to more great recipes from How it all Vegan.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: HoTM: Chocolate Sesame Cookies
This time two years ago: Broccoli Soup from AWW


Voracious Vegan Pateadapted from How it all Vegan
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 medium or 10 small button mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, ground
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (or besan flour)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 1/4 cups water
  • 1 medium potato, grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 medium carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce (or maybe less)
* NB I used breadcrumbs instead of flour and reduced the water. My pate was quite moist and I wondered about increasing the breadcrumbs or using less water next time, by about ¼ cup either way.  Update: I have made this with chickpea flour (besan) for a gf version.

Heat olive oil in frypan and add onion, mushroom and garlic. Fry over low (or medium) heat until onion is soft. I think I fried mine for about 15 minutes and then left the onions in the warm frypan while I went to the supermarket.

Stir in ground sunflower seeds, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, herbs, sage, smoked paprika and cayenne till you have a crumbly mixture. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Tip into a lined and greased or a silicone loaf tin (as I did or a 20cm cake tin as the original recipe did). Bake for 45 minutes at 180 C until golden brown and the middle has firmed up.

Cool before eating and serve at room temperature. The recipe suggests it is best after sitting overnight and I would tend to agree. I just left mine in the fridge in the silicone loaf tin with some clingwrap on it but I think it would look excellent as a loaf on a serving platter surrounded by greenery or dippers if you were entertaining.

On the stereo:
Excuses for Travellers: Mojave 3

Sunday, 10 October 2010

GYO Tahini Caulflower and City Sights

A couple of weeks ago I went to the city with Sylvia to buy new Doc Martens. I finally re-discovered an alleyway that I was shown in a literary tour of Melbourne some years ago. It is called Heffernan Lane and is noteable for the artwork that could be mistaken for your regular street signs.

But look closely and the text is unlike the usual regulations and restrictions on such signs.

Above is my favourite sign. Less poetry and more regulation than the first sign, it is good advice that a lot of us could heed. If only more street signs imparted such wisdom, we would live in a better world. Though, maybe not as many people don't take much notice of street signs (as I have learnt now that I regularly drive down clearways at peak hour)!

I had to take some photos of these signs and once the camera was out of the bag, I found much of interest for pointing and shooting. Coming out of Heffernan Lane, you see the remaining buildings (above) of what was once the Queen Victoria Hospital that covered a whole block.

Instead of a hospital much of the block now houses a Queen Victoria Centre with a food court. The (Asian-style) Bread Top shop is always fascinating for all the weird and wonderful bread on sale there. E has brought home the bamboo charcoal buns because he was so amazed at how black they were. It looks unnatural but tasted good.

The bread is very soft unlike than the dense sourdoughs that I enjoy. But I do love to look. This cake that looked like a puppy dog was very cute.

Instead of Bread Top, I yielded to the temptation to try one of the custard filled cookies at Puffy because I had never seen such a cookie before. It was delicious but I would prefer a choc chip cookie if I wanted a treat so probably would not go back there in a hurry.

Then I wandered down Swanston Street past the State Library. There is one of the new bike racks outside it. I would love to try these that are outside my workplace but I think I need to remember my helmet and work out how to alter the height of the seat (unless someone else as short as me has been riding the bike). Soon, I hope! I also liked this photo with the painted lamp posts - now that is my sort of street art!

When it comes to street art one of my favourite pieces is just along the road. This chunk of cornice seems like it has fallen from the library after some science fiction event - you can't help but look for which bit of the building it came from.

Actually, it is not the library that is missing but the museum. It used to live in half of this building until it was moved to a big shiny new home in the Carlton Gardens. But I still miss the old-fashioned ramshackle museum with its rows of old cars by the entrance and the huge room of dinosaur skeletons and stuffed animals by the exit.

Enough wallowing in nostalgia. Onto the recipe. At home was a large cauliflower bought on a whim. I found a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi for Fried Cauliflower with Tahini. The original recipe called for frying cauliflower in 500ml of sunflower oil. That is not my way so instead I roasted mine. Then I used a similar sauce to dress the roasted cauliflower.

The sauce interested me because it had tahini, pomegranate molasses, and fresh herbs that I had on hand. On the first night I found it quite intense. We had it with a rice ball and some capsicum. I enjoyed it more on the second night when more of the sauce was absorbed into the cauliflower and the flavour of the herbs were more prominent among the heavy tahini. It might have helped that it was more of a side dish and went surprisingly well with pesto and pasta.

So my verdict is that too much too soon is just not quite right. Ottolenghi mentions that this recipe was inspired by a trip to Israel. He suggests serving it on a mezze platter or just with pita bread and tomato. I think that maybe this dish would be great served with Turkish bread, falafel and tabouli.

I am sending this to Ann of Mom Gateway who is hosting this month’s Grow Your Own. This event, coordinated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes is for bloggers to feature home grown produce in their cooking. I used mint from our garden and parsley from the neighbour’s garden.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

This time last year: Chocolate cookies, bbq and mum’s sponge
This time two years ago: Jamie Oliver: the Ministry and the Risotto


Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic, finely chopped
  • glug of olive oil
  • few pinches salt
  • 2 dessertspoons tahini
  • 3 dessertspoons yoghurt
  • 10g mint, chopped
  • 10g parsley, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • seasoning

Toss cauliflower and onion with garlic, olive oil and salt in a large roasting pan. Roast at 220 C for about 45 minutes or until the cauliflower is starting to brown at the edges and is soft when pierced with a fork. At this point I turned off the oven and left the cauliflower in until I was ready to use it.

While cauliflower is roasting, mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Use a bit of water if you need to think it down. Season to taste. Mix with roasted cauliflower and serve warm.

I put leftovers in the fridge overnight and served the next day just slightly warmed in the microwave. It was as good if not better than fresh – less creamy but the herby flavours had had time to infuse.

On the Stereo:
Revolver: The Beatles

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Quicklinks from my archives

I often remember my friends by the things they taught me. When I play Sudoku I think of Jane who insisted on teaching me, I think of Kathleen when I clean the bathroom because she introduced me to microcloths, and as I check the eggs for cracks before I buy them I remember it was Yarrow who taught me to do that. I learnt to drink more from one friend's example and to drink less from another's. I still part my hair the way a school friend showed me and I know that fruit juice has as much sugar as soft drink thanks to a former housemate.

Similarly, I have learnt much from blogging. When my blog reader, Bloglines, announced they were closing down last month, I found I had accumulated an embarrassing amount of bookmarks in the reader (almost 1,500). It was the push I needed to sort through my bookmarks. Many had to go. Quite a few ended up in my new Delicious account that lets me search for bookmarked recipes by ingredient.

Some posts that I had bookmarked weren’t recipes but just snippets of wisdom and beauty. Most are now deleted but I don’t really need the bookmarks for the choice ones. They are like those moments with friends that stay with me. So today I will share a selection of my favourites (in no particular order).

Posts that resonate and fascinate:

Beauty that makes me sigh:

Good advice:

Useful references:

Something to make me smile

You will also notice that I have posted two new posts I have been working on for easy reference to pizzas and salad dressing. Sadly, my blog is easier to organise than my house – sigh!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Salad dressing ideas

I love a simple salad dressing - a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or a slurp of raspberry vinegar - but sometimes I want something a bit more fancy. I have oodles of salad recipes on this blog but I wanted to collect the ideas for dressings so I can find them when whipping up a quick salad.

Update - I know these dressings are overwhelming so if you want a good basic vinaigrette for 2 people try the Lemon vinaigrette.

Below are just some of the ways I have dressed salads on this blog.

Citrus dressings:
Creamy dressings:
South East Asian dressings:
Berry dressings:
Other dressings (no citrus):
Last updated May 2014

Pizza ideas - bases and toppings

Every now and again pizza inspiration hits me. So for next time I (or you) want some pizza ideas I am gathering together some of the ideas scattered throughout the blog:

I like to try different ideas for a sauce but most of my pizzas have tomato and cheese, though they are packed with enough flavour to be delicious without cheese. I know to be authentic that pizzas have sparse toppings but I love to load it with veg. Check each post for information on how I baked each pizza.
Gluten Free bases:
Vegan topping:
Dessert pizzas:
Last updated Oct 2014

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Nachos, Scramble and Cheeze

On the weekend we went to the city to see the Tim Burton exhibition at ACMI. The prodigious output of drawings was impressive albeit overwhelming. They all bore the hallmark's of Burton's inimitable kooky spooky style. I especially loved seeing some of his film memorabilia.

It was great to see the angora cardigan from Ed Wood, the Cat Woman outfit from Batman and the hands from Edward Scissorhands. E told me that the screen clips are not necessary any more (thanks to Youtube) but it was great to watch them while comparing characters to Burton's sketches. I also appreciated the crayons and paper at the end of the exhibition. Perfect for small children! A fascinating exhibition, though it would have been nice to go when it was quieter!

Afterwards we went to the ACMI Cafe where I had nachos for lunch. It has been some time since I last ordered nachos when eating out. I got tired of ordering them and finding that they just weighed me down with too many corn chips. These ones were good, though still a bit heavy. Perhaps I needed to return to the original concept after a vegan trial went awry the previous week.

I am very fond of corn chips covered in melty cheese. But I keep finding tempting vegan cheezes in the blogosphere. The one that really caught my eye recently was Dreena's “Vegveeta” Cheese Sauce that Ricki used in her Layered Mexican Casserole. I then found myself with the right ingredients and the sauce was made.

I have tried a few vegan cheeze sauces with mixed results. Fortunately I have never tasted velveeta cheese so at least I didn't have that comparison for Dreena's vegveeta cheeze sauce. It was an impressive tasting sauce if a wee bit heavy on cashews after I added cashew butter when my food processor wasn't doing so well grinding up the raw cashews. However the flavour was creamy, mellow and full of good flavour if a little lacking in salt.

I had thought I could try it on some nachos because I wanted it to be quicker than Ricki's casserole but I think I should have followed her example. The nachos were quite tasty but stodgy and had none of the gooey melting cheese strings of regular nachos like the platter ACMI serves.

Fortunately I had cheeze sauce leftover the following night and it made the best ever tofu scramble. I mixed some cheese sauce in with tofu, a bit of tamari and lots of vegies over a high heat. I am not sure what I did but it was so tasty with crispy bits. Served with rice and my leftover lentil and tomato salsa, it was an excellent meal.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: All About Apples: history, culture and soup
This time two years ago:
Milestones and Rissoles

Vegveeta Cheeze Sauce
Adapted from Viva Le Vegan
  • ½ cup raw cashews (or 125g cashew butter - I used both)
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 cup milk (I used cow’s but for vegan cheeze use almond, soy or rice milk)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp yellow mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric (for color)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Dreena says to just blend everything in a food processor. Even with pre-soaking and blending the raw cashews in milk, the nuts did not grind finely enough until I added some cashew butter. In future I might use cashew butter instead of raw cashews - at least until I own a more powerful food processor. Highly recommended in a tofu scramble.

On the Stereo:
The Captain: Kasey Chambers