Monday 28 October 2019

Mediterranean pumpkin and chickpea salad

While sorting through some old papers recently, I found a recipe I had torn out of a supermarket magazine for Middle Eastern Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad.  So many salads in magazine are a work of art these days and appear as a tantalising impossibility.  Unusually, this appealed because I thought I could just about rustle up the ingredients. 

In particular this salad inspired me to use a wedge of pumpkin that I had bought from the farmers market. I don't have a BBQ so I roasted slices.  Instead of the spices I used dukkah.  I really loved the look of the seeds on the pumpkin.  After all this salad was very much about style. 

Another change I made was to add purple cabbage.  The recipe included red onion.  This is not something I often have.  But I remembered roasting cabbage years ago.  It was a little crispy around the edges and softened on the insides.

Finally I didn't have yoghurt but I had tzatziki.  We have been loving tzatziki with everything lately so I dabbed it over the salad instead of yoghurt.  The final salad was lovely and fresh.  I cooked a little pasta to have with it.  I suspect it would be fine on its own.  I can tell you that it is a very forgiving recipe that stands up to many changes.  This is the sort of salad that is always welcome in my kitchen.

I am sending this salad to VegHog and Shaheen for Eat Your Greens and to Deb for Souper Sundays.

More vegie packed salads on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chickpea, peach and pumpkin curry (gf, v) 
Hurry up pumpkin alfredo (v)
Japanese-style pumpkin, sprouts and tofu soup (gf, v)
Miso harissa roast pumpkin (gf, v)
Roasted cauliflower and pumpkin salad (gf)
Roasted pumpkin and garlic hummus (gf, v)
Tempeh and pumpkin lasagne (v) 
Thai pumpkin, corn and chickpea stew (gf, v)

Mediterranean pumpkin and chickpea salad
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe.
Serves 2 - 4

350g Kent pumpkin, sliced 1cm thick and halved
1 red capsicum, chopped
2 cups purple cabbage, sliced 2cm thick and halved
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp dukkah
2 good handfuls of baby spinach

Preheat oven to 220 C.  Drizzle olive oil into the base of 2 roasting dishes.  Dip pieces of pumpkin, capsicum and cabbage in oil, turn over and arrange in dishes. Scatter dukkah over the vegetables.  30-40 min chopped into 1cm slices and halved.  After 20 minutes check capsicum and cabbage and remove from dish.  Continue to roast pumpkin another 10-20 minutes until slightly charred around edges.

When vegetables are cooked, cool slightly (or to room temperature).  Line base of shallow dish (or individual dishes) with spinach leaves (keep some aside to scatter on top).  Arrange roasted vegetables on the spinach, then add additional spinach leaves, chickpeas and spoonfuls of tzatziki.  Squeeze lemon over the salad.

This salad is open to lots of variations.  Your favourite spice mix can be used instead of dukkah or use a combination of cumin, coriander and smoked paprika.  Other vegetables could be used such as sweet potato, rocket, asparagus, eggplant or cauliflower.  If you don't have tzatziki, use sour cream or yoghurt.  If you want it vegan, use other dips such as hummus instead of tzatziki.  

I served half the salad one night and kept the vegies, chickpeas and spinach separate for the next night.  Then I wanted a salad sandwich so I mashed chickpeas with tzatziki and put them in a sandwich with roasted pumpkin and spinach.  The red capsicum was on the side.

On the stereo:
Rush of Blood to the Head - Coldplay

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Cauliflower cheese pasties (served with carrot pickles)

A large white head of cauliflower in the fridge is a beautiful thing.  It has so many possibilities.  Yet when paired with a stray square of puff pastry, my mind went to the comfort of cauliflower cheese .... in a pastie!  And we needed comfort on the day before school holidays end.  Daylight savings starts just before term 4 starts every year and yet every year I still resent that stolen hour.  So comfort food it was!

The cauliflower I cooked to stuff into pastry was broken up small because I didn't want big chunks in my pasties.  However there was another reason.  I wanted Sylvia to have some and she is not keen on cauliflower.  But what kid can resist any vegetable covered in a rich creamy cheese sauce.  Especially a little fan of mac and cheese.

Amazingly, Sylvia ate her pasties but refused to eat any cauliflower cheese that was not wrapped in a pastry blanket.  Whereas I have loved cauliflower cheese since I was a child and found it as delicious as it was ugly.  And it was incredibly ugly!  I loved eating the leftovers with a simple pea and lentil salad, cherry tomatoes and some pickled carrots.  I really loved the pickled carrots - more than the ones I had made before.  My experimenting in the kitchen does not always work but on this occasion the meals were winners!

More cauilflower cheese recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cauliflower cheese soup (gf)
Cauliflower cheese macaroni
Leftover cauliflower cheese, vegetables and rice soup
My mum's cauliflower cheese 
Vegan cauliflower cheese (v)
Whole cauliflower cheese

Whole cauliflower cheese
An original recipe from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 10-12

1 cauliflower head
15-20 min til falls apart when a knife goes through
2 heaped dessertspoons of butter
2 heaped dessertspoons of plain flour (I used wholemeal)
2 1/2 cups milk (I used soy)
135g gruyere cheese, grated
85g extra tasty cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp seeded mustard
few pinches salt
grind of pepper
puff pastry (ready rolled in squares)
beaten egg or milk for glazing

Preheat oven to 220 C and line a baking tray with baking paper.  (Line more trays depending on how many pasties you want to maek

Steam cauliflower head in a large saucepan with about 1-2 inches of water at the bottom.  Then turn off heat and leave while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce melt butter in a large saucepan or frypan.  Stir in flour to make a paste and stir for a few minutes until cooked - often it is easier to tell by smelling the cooked flour but you may notice a slight darkening in colour.  Gradually add the milk: just a little at first and stir until combined and creamy, continue to add in ever increasing amounts until the liquid becomes thin (this is when you stop adding: it should not be too thick as it will thicken more when you boil it and when you add cheese - you can always add a little extra milk later but it is more work to thicken).  Bring to the boil and it should thicken.  Now stir in the cheeses and it should thicken more.  Season with mustard, salt and pepper, to taste.

Drain the cauliflower.  Tip it into the cheese sauce.  Stir to coat with sauce and use a wooden spoon to break up into smaller pieces.

Cut pastry into squares.  Spread some cauliflower cheese on one half the square, leaving a 1cm gap around the edge of that side.  Brush with egg or milk along the edge around the cauliflower cheese.  Fold the pasty in half (you can do rectangles or triangles but I prefer rectangles for less fussy corners).  Brush with egg or milk and use a fork to make indentations around the edges of the pastry.  Pierce a few times with the fork.

Place pasties on a lined tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is gold brown.

Pickled carrots
Inspired by The Kitchn

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt

2 medium carrots, grated
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 garlic clove, crushed

Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to the boil in a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes while grating carrots.  Place carrots, mustard seeds and garlic in small mixing bowl.  Pour vinegar mixture over and let cool.  Ideally leave for a few hours but I did have a little while it was still warm.  Keeps in the fridge for a week.

On the Stereo:
Remember us to life: Regina Spektor

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Melbourne city (CDB) street art

It's been busy.  Too busy for much cooking.  But I have street art photos from a day out in the city, a walk along SouthBank on the way to a conference and a meeting in the city.  Some humour.  Some whimsy.  Some beauty.  Lots of greenery.  And a little weirdness!  I hope you enjoy.

Above and below: Off Little Bourke Street near the corner of Elizabeth Street.  Climate change is even come to street art!

Below is a lot of photos from Guilford Lane.  Highly recommend a walk along this leafy lane.  (Even if you are not visiting the Cat Cafe - stayed tuned for some pics!)

Above: on Little Lonsdale Street between Melbourne Central walkways!  Because Molly Meldrum is a legend.

Above and below are artworks off Flinders Lane, some of which were part of Flinders Lane Augmented Artwork Festival in Sept 2019 that you can read about at Hot or Not.  I suspect some of the weird fashion artwork on the metro site in Swanston Street at the top of Flinders Lane is to distract from how high they are building on City Square!  Above is a mural along a wall and directly below is a fading but amusing Gargamel from the Smurfs.

Below is artwork from Yarra Promenade along SouthBank.  It is all under a bridge - maybe the Kings Street bridge?

If you are interested in seeing Melbourne city street art, you can find walking tours online.  More Melbourne city (CBD) street art photos from my blog:

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Mini quiches - eggy or vegan

The school holidays ended yesterday with the rude awakening to daylight savings.  I resent that stolen hour of the clock going forward for spring but I do love the light evenings of summer.  We had some fun outings to the zoo, the cinema (Dora the Explorer movie was much better than I expected) and the Cat Cafe.  Photos to come.  I got some cleaning and gardening done but not much in the way of baking.  I had promised Sylvia we would do quiches.

I had been inspired by this mini quiche recipe to try my favourite tofu besan omelette mixture in quiches.  Sylvia is so into eggs that I suggested she try an egg version.  She was so keen that she had a quick chat to me about how to make them and went off to make hers before I had a chance to start.  That kid is very confident in the kitchen!

Her quiches looked great but I left them to her and had my vegan ones. 
They were good but a bit stodgy so I have suggested some milk in them.  I did like crustless ones as an alternative way of serving my omelettes (as well as a gluten free alternative).

We ate the quiches for lunch and felt thoroughly summery.  It was so warm that Sylvia made a rainbow shower with the hose and was ready for a trip to the pool.  I had the tomatoes and johnny jump-ups to repot before we headed out.  Then we got caught up so we had our swim after dinner.  It felt like the sort of thing to do on holidays while there was no school or work the next day.  But now the holidays are over and I still am hoping to find a bit of time for cooking once we find our daylight savings routine!

More quiches on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Crustless asparagus and potato quiche
Leek tofu quiche (v)
Mini tofu crustless quiches (gf, v)
Pumpkin cornmeal quiche
Vegan quiche with tofu and besan (v)
Zucchini and tomato quiche with wild garlic 

Vegan mini quiches
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe's vegan quiche and vegan omelette
Makes about 8

300g silken tofu, drained
6 tbsp besan (chickpea flour),
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
 2 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion granules
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon black salt
handful of parsley
splash of vegan milk (optional)

To assemble:
8 cherry tomatoes
2 squares (approx 25cm x 25cm) of puff pastry (optional)

Roast tomatoes at 220 C for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

Blend filling ingredients until creamy (I didn't use milk but I think it might be good to add to thin the mixture slightly).  Cut each piece of pastry into 4 squares.  Pinch together the middle of each side to make a windmill sort of cup to place in a greased muffin pan.  Alternatively skip this step and make crustless quiches for an easy GF alternative.  Pour filling into each pastry cup or greased muffin cup.  Place a roasted cherry tomato on top and push a few torn basil leaves around it.  Bake at 220 C for 20 minutes.

Sylvia's Mini Quiches
Adapted from Peter Russell Clark’s Kraft Family Cookbook via Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 4

1 sheet puff pastry
grated cheese
fresh basil
about 4 cherry tomatoes
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk

Cut sheet of puff pastry into 4 squares. Grease 4 cups of a 12 muffins pan. Line each muffin hole with a square of puff pastry.

Sprinkle grated cheese in each lined muffin hole. Use scissors to chop a little basil in each and then arrange a couple of quarters of tomatoes in each. Mix egg and milk in a mug with a fork. Use a spoon to distribute this mixture between each muffin hole.

Bake mini quiches at 220 C for about 20 minutes or until they look golden brown and filling is cooked. Sit for a few minutes and then gently remove from muffin cups with the help of a knife. Eat warm or room temperature

On the Stereo:
Legacy: the Very Best of David Bowie

Thursday 3 October 2019

In my kitchen - October 2019

October arrives with glorious spring weather to banish the chilly September weather from our minds. Can you believe it is forecast to be 29 C today in Melbourne!  The sun is shining.  I am on holidays.  That means time for outings, cleaning and gardening.  So we start my monthly peek into my kitchen with a friendly jar of nutella that is waiting on the shelves for the right moment!  I could not resist the fun g'day label.

Another chocolatey treat was this batch of Dorie Greenspan's famous World Peace Cookies.  I baked these for a work morning tea and they were wonderful.  They are egg free so easy to make vegan if you have vegan margarine and vegan chocolate.

We've made sushi a few times lately.  Usually plain.  Sylvia likes her with cucumber in it.

I decided to revisit a sushi rice salad I haven't made for a while.  But I didn't have the ingredients.  So I made pickled cabbage and carrot (riffing on these pickles), chopped some tofu nuggets and added other vegies I had on hand (capsicum, cucumber, corn).  It was delicious and I loved how the pickled cabbage made it purple so I might work on this so I can blog it.

Sylvia made beach cupcakes one night after school.  While they didn't all work out, this one in the picture was great.  (Note to self: if batter too thin and has been added to muffin tins, don't add flour to remaining batter and dollop over thin batter, just return the thin batter to the bowl and wash out the muffin tins.)  It had blue icing, ground marie biscuits (which got soft in the icing), icy pole lollies, and an umbrella.

Coles supermarkets had their third round of little shop giveaways.  As with last year I was torn between admiring how cute they were and being horrified at how wrong they are.  Sylvia collected the lot but the excitement was more subdued this year.

We went shopping for a bundt tin.  The one I wanted was the only one left and nailed to the rack!  So instead we bought a cute cat cookie cutter and a melon baller that had been reduced frequently to $1.  It is Sylvia's dream to make watermelon balls but I am not such a melon person.  Perhaps in summer we will get some use out of it.

I always have besan (chickpea flour) in the kitchen.  One of my favourite dishes to make it vegan omelette.  I recently bought this packet from a local Indian shop and took a photo to share the fancy packaging.

Sylvia's school had an art show.  We purchased some of her pictures for charity.  Coloured.

Black and white.

Art show also means art and craft sessions.  I learnt how to make gods eye weaving.  It seemed I was one of the only people in the world to never have done this before.  We enjoyed it so much that Sylvia and I found some icy pole sticks and wool at home to have a gods eye craft session.

As a kid I loved dim sims from the fish and chip shop.  So I had to try these from the supermarket freezer.  I served them with some oven chips.  Sadly these dimmies and chippies were a sad and sorry shadow of my wonderful childhood memories.

I remember when kombucha was new and exciting.  Now it is in so many stores and cafes.  I even bought a bottle of Cola flavoured kombucha recently.  It was lovely.  I still have dreams of making my own kombucha.  The store bought stuff is nice but relies too much on artificial sweeteners for flavour.

This Messy Monkeys choc crunch cereal had a lot less sugar than Coco Pops.  I liked that it was also more chocolatey.  But I had a bad experience with buying a packet of Messy Monkeys burger rings at a petrol station.  They smelled old, stale and disgusting and left a really bad taste in my mouth.  I gave one to my niece who said she usually loves them.  Luckily Ashy had some at home to give me a taste of the regular ones which are nice.  I must have got a really dodgy pack (not out of date) so now I am a little wary but glad to have tasted the better ones.

Sylvia decided she wanted to try Gerry's Pitas because a friend at school had them.  They were really good but got a bit lost in the fridge.

That one day in September is the AFL grand final lunch.  We love putting together a platter and started buying crisps earlier in September.  It was hard to resist the lure of Grilled Cheese Toastie
Pringles.  A friend made me laugh when she said she could taste the burnt corners.  They were good but I am still not quite sure of the difference between Grilled Cheese Toastie and Cheese flavours.

The Smiths Garlic Bread crisps were marketed to the footy crowd with the picture on the packet and we fell for these too.

While Coles has had great success with little shop giveaways, Woolworths has made more effort to be environmentally friendly with their giveaways.  At the moment they are giving away seeds.  Sylvia had had great fun planting them.  I am not sure how we will go for growing them in pots in our concrete yard but Sylvia is not keen on them being transplanted in my mum's roomy backyard.

Continuing on with our garden, we have embraced spring fever and bought cherry tomatoes (Tommy Toes) and edible flowers (Johnny Jump Ups) that we have repotted into bigger pots in the yard.  Now I have to remember to get back into regular watering with the weather warming up.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens.