Tuesday 14 October 2008

Milestones and Rissoles

About a week ago I had thought I was catching up with my backlog of posts but it seems to have grown while I continue cooking and not really getting so much written up – we have to eat but blogging is a bit more optional. Sigh!

Then I realised how many things have been passing me by:

- This is my 308th post. I love significant numbers but have just missed noticing post 300!
- It was National Vegetarian Week in Australia on 29 September – 5 October. I noticed midway through the week but didn’t manage to do anything, apart from eating vegetarian.
- It was World Vegetarian Day on 1 October. Again it passed me by.
- Discovering that I had missed these ‘events’ I remembered that I became vegetarian in October and it was 17 years ago. Seems a long long time ago.
- Finally it is Vegan Month of Food. It encourages bloggers to post vegan posts over the month of October. But much as I like to include vegan meals in my diet, I am not organised enough to join in VeganMoFo this year, as you might have suspected, given I haven’t managed to mention it until halfway through October!

In finding the above links, I did find out that there will be stalls, workshops, and activities such a speed dating (huh?) for World Vegan Day at Abbotsford Convent on Sunday 26 October. I am not sure if I will get there but it sounds like fun!

Well I might not be a good participant in vegan celebrations, but I will continue to include vegan recipes in my posts. To prove it, here is one I made last week!

I like to cook food that will cater to a wide range of dietary requirements both to prove it is possible to eat well without certain foods, and so that when I do cook for others I will not be intimidated by their diets. (After all, I have had many show me this courtesy when they know I am vegetarian.) However, I only choose to cook dishes that tempt me. This one is no exception. I was intrigued by a recipe for carrot rissoles with red onion gravy because it had millet cooked in carrot juice.

The recipe is from a book I have called Vegetarian Cooking Without. It has the wonderful subtitle: Recipes free from added gluten, sugar, yeast, dairy products, meat, fish, saturated fats. What surprised me what that the recipes are not necessarily vegan. But I had a yen to make this one vegan, even though it had an egg in it.

I am still coming to grips with whole millet grain. My previous experiences have ended in burnt saucepans, gooey nut roasts and undercooked oven bakes. Makes me wonder why I keep going back to it. But it is more than the need to finish the packet lingering at the back of the pantry. It keeps coming up in recipes that interest me. Cooking the millet for the rissoles had its frustrations as well as rewards. The recipe called for 30 minutes of simmering but after 20 minutes, the bottom of my saucepan was beginning to burn. So I am not sure if it was more gooey than intended but it did help the rissoles bind together without the need of the egg.

The rissoles came together nicely and were both delicious and filling. I used breadcrumbs because I didn’t have any of the millet flakes called for, but it would be easy enough to make the recipe gluten free with either GF breadcrumbs or millet flakes.

I always loved it when my mum made rissoles when we were little (just like I delighted in saying ‘see you round like a rissole’). Of course she used minced meat and hers tasted quite different to these. But what delighted me about the recipe was the red onion gravy which really made these rissoles special. It was almost like a relish or chutney with a little tang to it, and reminded me a little of the tomatoey gravy my mum used to serve with rissoles. The only complaint about the gravy was that we probably would have liked more of it. Next time I will double it. Because I hope I will be making it again.

I am not the only one interested in millet in burgers. Recently my eye (and tastebuds) has been caught by ‘burgers’ on Where’s the Beef?, What’s for Lunch Honey? and Tasty Palettes. I’d love to try all of these. Even better, for those interested in millet, is the theme of Let It Grain blog event this month which is being held by Baking a Sweet Life. It is worth checking out the event post for more information on millet. I am sending in these rissoles and am looking forward to more ideas in the round up.

Carrot and Nut Rissoles with Red Onion Gravy
(adapted from Vegetarian Cooking Without)
Serves 4

90g (½ cup) millet grains
500ml (2½ cups) carrot juice
225g carrots, grated (appox 2 medium carrots)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
Shake of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
3 tbsp soy flour
½ cup of breadcrumbs (or millet flakes)
90g (⅔ cup) nuts (I used hazelnuts and pecans), ground
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra breadcrumbs or rice flour to coat
Oil spray

Place millet and carrot juice in medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until grains soft and most of carrot juice absorbed. Stir occasionally while millet simmers to avoid it sticking to the bottom and don’t worry if it is quite moist. I took mine off heat after 20 minutes because it was beginning to stick to the bottom and it was gooey.

While millet is cooking heat oil in a large frypan and cook carrots, onion and garlic over medium heat for about 15 minutes or til softening.

Mix all ingredients together til the consistency of wet sand. Divide mixture into 8 and shape into balls. Roll each rissole in breadcrumbs or rice flour and place on a well greased tray. Spray each rissole with olive oil (or use a brush to coat them with oil). Bake at 200 C for about 25 minutes.

These can be made a day ahead or frozen. I reheated the leftovers the next night for about 30 minutes covered with foil. Serve with Red onion gravy and steamed green vegetables. Any leftover carrot juice can be used in a smoothie.

Red onion gravy
(serve 4-8)

2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
300ml (1¼ cups) vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp mustard (I used seeded French mustard)
1 bayleaf

Fry onions in oil over low heat for about 30 minutes. (After 5 minutes I feared they were already burning at the edges but with frequent stirring they reduced, browned and caramelised - see photo above.) Add remaining ingredients and simmer til thickened and glossy.

On the stereo:
Glassworks: Philip Glass


  1. I can't believe how many of those events I missed, too! But I am so glad you finally found a successful millet recipe--it's become one of my favorites (and I cook it for 20 minutes--tops--and it's ready!).

    Congratulations on the huge milestone of more than 300 blog posts! That is incredible, and a great accomplishment!

  2. This is a fabulous recipe, Johanna. I always think of rissoles in a British/meat sort of way (50's "Captain's Paradise" flick w/ Alec Guinness), so your take is especially fascinating.

  3. I really shouldn't look at your blog when I am hungry! What a unique recipe and I'm always looking for new ideas for millet.

  4. Happy vegiversary, Johanna!

    I've already got World Vegan Day down in my diary - might see you there. :-)

  5. I'm a huge fan of millet, it's so creamy and yummy! Thanks for all the millet links. I'll be in heaven for ages (and those rissoles look mighty delicious too!)

  6. Millet is something I love. I really like your rissoles and the whole dish looks extremely appetizing. I am sure once you work more with milliet you will find it's very simple to use. I often use it in pilafs as a sub for rice.

  7. it can be tough to keep up! I have the hardest time doing it, myself.
    your recipe sounds fabulous, no doubt. the red onion gravy totally caught my eye, and I'll be trying it soon.

  8. thanks Ricki - that's good to hear that 20 minutes is enough for millet - still aiming to try your millet based quiche some time!

    thanks Susan - I just think of my mum's cooking with rissoles - never hear the word so much these days - but the name probably drew me in to the recipe

    thanks Lisa - always like to tickle the tastebuds with new ideas :-)

    thanks cindy - I like 'vegiversary' - it always seems significant to realise I have been veg for another year - and nice to know I will no doubt hear your take on World Vegan Day if I don't manage to get along

    thanks Vegetation - yes some lovely millet ideas in the blogosphere

    thanks Meeta - millet pilafs sounds interesting - always good to see how others are using it

    thanks Celine - I would highly recommend the red onion gravy with lots of burgers and nut roasts or anything really...

  9. that red onion gravy sounds great - i reckon it would be a very useful addition to the kitchen around here. happy 300 posts as well as marking the other milestones, too.

  10. thanks Frances - I am sure the red onion gravy would be a good addition to lots of kitchens.

  11. Wow 308 posts! I love the sound of these rissoles and the onion gravy sounds fantastic.

  12. I missed all those things too! But I love the look of this recipe - they look nice and crunchy. And I have some millet flakes I've been at a loss as to how to use up, so I'm definitely bookmarking this!

  13. thanks Katie - yes, they were v tasty

    thanks Lysy - I had millet flakes for a while which I think I used in cookies (like oats) and also in crumbles - was amazed how useful they were! Wished I had some for the rissoles!


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