Wednesday, 19 September 2012

NCR Stew with vegan parmesan - and springtime photos

I wish more trees wore jumpers.  Doesn't this tree look so cheerful.  (Apologies Mother Nature.  I love your work.)  I have been driving past it on the way to work for quite some time now.  I finally took a photo a few days ago.  Just as well.  The jumper has suddenly been cast off.  It is Spring after all.

I am a bit slower to throw off the wintery stews.  They are still appearing in our kitchen.  My mum brought me some kale from her garden.  I just didn't know what to do with it.  I found a couple of soups that helped guide me: Kale Quinoa and Black Bean Soup and Sweet Potato Corn and Kale Chowder

The resulting soup wasn't brilliant.  In fact I might not have posted it if not for the vegan parmesan.  It enhanced the soup like the knitting brightens the above tree.  Merely giving you a work in progress soup seems mean so I am also sharing some random photos.

I was pleased to have an opportunity to get out and take some photos around North Carlton last week.  Hence the tree photo at the top.  This photo above is of some Spring blossoms.  I have been having a lovely time with my new macro lens.  The hardest thing with having three lens for my DSLR is changing lens as I try and work out which lens is best for each setting.

From Spring to the Winter of my Disrepair.  I would be sad at the decay of this old terrace house if I wasn't delighting at its beauty.   Perhaps the ugly modern block of flats next to it, has made this place let go of itself in despair!

This week (in Melbourne) Dr Who had fun with Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.  Meanwhile on Planet Earth we have dinosaurs on a bicycle.  What better mural to have on the wall of a bike shop!

And lastly here is our own garden.  My mum gave us some parsley a few months ago.  It has suddenly flourished, unlike other parsley plants that have never taken off.  The thyme is also doing well in the green pot.  Of course a wombat garden guardian helps, even if the little cat is too sleepy to assist.

I love having thyme and rosemary as my hardy perenniels in the garden.  Whenever I make vegetable stock I cut a handful of herbs to throw in.  In preparation for making the soup, I made a batch of freezer scraps stock

I'd like to say that home made stock made sure that soup was a success.  Unfortunately no!  I overcooked the cabbage, beans and quinoa.  (What a waste of hard-to-find black beans!)  The components all became too much mush rather than interesting textural elements.  In the recipe below I have made some changes to try and made amends.  I have called it a stew even though it was really meant to be a soup.

Far more successful was the vegan parmesan.  It was adapted from Dreena Burton's Let Them Eat Vegan.  I was sure I had tried vegan parmesan before on the blog but I could not find one reference.  This one was fantastic.  I probably could have ground the almonds more but I quite liked a bit of chunk in them.  Dreena oven roasted her parmesan but I fried this because I just didn't have the patience to wait that long for dinner.  This parmesan gave the stew the salty and sharp cheesiness that the stew needed.  Perhaps it means I needed more seasoning in the stew.

I am sending this soup to Lisa for No Croutons Required.  This month the theme is vegan soups or salads. I fear this month's offering is not as fine as last months which was awarded a prize by Jacqueline.  (Thanks Jac and Lisa.)

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: PPN: Meaty Cauliflower and Walnut Lasagne
Two years ago: Green Tambourine Cafe
Three years ago: Simple Feta and Tomato Supper
Four years ago: Pudla – for when your team lets you down!

Kale Potato and Quinoa Stew
Inspired by Whitely Creek and Whole Foods
serves 5-6

2-3 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 parsnip, diced
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cabbage, finely sliced
6 cups vegetable stock
4 medium potatoes, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
1 generous tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried wild garlic (or 2 crushed garlic cloves)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
2/3 cup dried quinoa
bunch of kale, chopped
1 tin black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tin borlotti beans, rinsed and drained

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a stockpot.  Fry onions, carrots, parsnip and celery for about 5 minutes.  Add cabbage and cook another 5 minutes.  It should be translucent but not cooked through.

Add vegetable stock, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomato paste, garlic, smoked paprika and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add quinoa and kale.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until quinoa is cooked.

Stir through beans and heat through.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.  Serve with vegan parmesan.

Vegan Parmesan
Adapted from Let Them Eat Vegan

1/2 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt

Finely chop almonds in the food processor.   Mix with remaining ingredients.  Dry fry on a non stick frypan for about 5-10 minutes or until lightly golden (but not brown).

On the Stereo:
A Secret History: the best of the Divine Comedy


  1. aw the arrival of spring is always so exciting! how cool that you're transitioning to spring and "up north" we're transitioning to fall!!

    1. thanks Caralyn - it is always strange to read all the blogs from the northern hemisphere and feel out of step with your seasons - for that reason (among others) I enjoy reading local blogs too

  2. I've been quick to embrace spring-I've been waiting for it for so long! But the idea of vegan parmesan intrigues and I'd make a soup or some lovely cheese toasties for it! :D

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I bought my first bunch of asparagus this week and it made it feel like it is really truly spring. re the cheese toasties - vegan parmesan does not melt but it adds lots of flavour - so it would be interesting to put it in a toasty with other food (eg tomato)

  3. I take photos around my neighbourhood too. Love the wombat and the stew!

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I love doing it but I have less time for it these days so it is a treat when I can!

  4. yeast flakes eh? You know what's awesome about this foody land of ours, I'm always hearing of something different to play with.
    Love the wall street art too, (and any reference to Dr Who :-)

    1. Thanks Brydie - seems every time I feel complacent, I am suddenly hit by something new in blogging. I am really enjoying yeast flakes lately - and am glad you enjoyed my link between wall art and dr who :-)

  5. I am slowly making my way into fall eats but relishing the end of summer produce while it is still here. Who would have thought black beans would be hard to find? Borlotti beans are much harder to find here, especially in tins! Stew still looms good, though. :-)

  6. Your pictures are beautiful! I love the blossoms, and the gallery (?) makes me dream ... it looks so enchanted with ist entwined cast-iron railing and arches!

  7. That tree jumper is such fun. We've got a few yarn bombers here in Liskeard, but they haven't come up with anything nearly as creative as that. Hard to believe spring is going on somewhere in the world now - it's all getting dark, cold and miserable here. That cherry blossom is so lovely.


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