Saturday, 19 August 2017

Adam Liaw's pasties veganised

Some weeks back, I saw an Adam Liaw recipe for an Adelaide Pastie.  He talks about how in most of Australia the meat pie is the great Aussie lunch but in Adelaide it is the pastie.  Well, I beg to differ.  In my childhood in rural Victoria we chose between meat pies and pasties.  I usually chose pasties.  Even back then I wanted a little vegies in my meals.  Now, as a vegetarian, I took great delight in making these vegan.

I was particularly attracted to this pastie recipe because it has pumpkin in it.  Adam Liaw notes that "Cornish purists wouldn't stand for beef mince, carrot and pumpkin in their pasties".  It makes me laugh because my version of his pastie is even further from the traditional pastie.  However as a vegetarian, I am pretty used to not being with step with the purists.

I had some purple sapphire potatoes that I wanted to use for a splash of colour.  They were beautiful to slice and chop but once cooked, the colour has somewhat leached out.  I fried them separately in case the colour made everything murky but in the end I don't think it was worth the effort of having two frypans.

I added lentils and walnuts instead of beef and upped the vegemite for flavour and colour.  Though you can see in below photo it looks quite orange and then in the photos of assembling the pasties, the mixture is very brown.  I am not sure why.  But my dream of flashes of purple never came to be.

This is not a quick meal.  I spent about an hour during the day pottering about chopping and cooking the filling.  Luckily it was done before Sylvia came home with a friend from school and we decided to do a sleepover.  I just has to assemble and bake the pasties.  The kids just had puff pastry with cheese between it and some vegies on the side.  We put out the sofa bed and they sat on it with dinner and watched Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1959 version).  While it is a little old fashioned, it has great sense-of-wonder in the scenes and kept the girls' attention

Meanwhile E and I also enjoyed the film and were very happy to have some hearty pasties to eat for our tea.  I was particularly proud of the shape of these pasties.  I have always found it hard to actually get the seam in the middle on top rather than on the side.  So I have a photographic step by step of how I did it (above) to share with other novices or just to remind myself for my next pastie.

However these are huge pasties for a big appetite and a hearty meal.  If you want them for picnics or potlucks then you can make them smaller (and even rectangular) and still consider yourself a pastie princess.  Just don't mention these to the purists!

I am sending this to Meat Free Mondays.

More lentil and walnut combinations on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Lentil and walnut pate (gf, v)
Lentil and walnut roast (v)
Purple carrot balls (v)
Vegetarian moussaka

Vegetarian pasties with lentils and walnuts
Adapted from Adam Liaw in the Sunday Age
Makes 5-6

1/2 cup walnuts
50g butter or margarine
1 brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 heaped cup diced pumpkin
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g tin brown lentils, rinsed and drained
2 heaped tsp Vegemite
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 tsp thyme leaves (or about 5 sprigs thyme)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp stock powder
2 tbsp finely shredded parsley

5-6 sheets puff pastry (ready rolled 25x25cm)
milk or egg to glaze

Toast walnuts on a dry frypan until smelling cooked.   Once cooled enough finely chop the walnuts and set aside.

Fry onion in butter over medium heat for a few minutes until soft.  Ad carrots, potatoes, pumpkin and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients (except parsley) and season with salt and black pepper.  Cook another 5-10 minutes and stir in parsley.  Check and adjust seasoning again.

Preheat oven to 200 C.  Line a couple of baking trays.

Take out 5-6 sheets of puff pastry.  Use a plate to trace a round of pastry.  (The scraps of pastry can be used for decoration or baked for snacks.)  Measure out a cup of mixture and tip into the middle of the pastry round.  Brush edges of the pastry round with egg or milk.  Press together edges of the round at the top of the mixture.  Then press together each side.  Now fold and pinch the pastry along the top.

Place pasties on lined baking trays.  Brush with egg or milk (I used soy milk).  Make a few knife marks for the steam to escape.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

These are great with hot with tomato sauce and some greens or salad on the side.  But I wont judge you if you just want to eat one cold for breakfast the next morning, if you have any leftover.

NOTES: I used 4 medium purple sapphire potatoes instead of 2 large potatoes.  I fried them separated as I worried their colour would bleed and make everything murky but it didn't.  Rather the purple potatoes lost their colour and I could have put them in with everything.  I found that 1 cup of filling in each pastie made 5 pasties.  Adam Liaw directed to used 1/2 cup but this did not seem enough for the amount of pastry.  If you don't want large pastries you could do them rectangular like these pasties.  These pasties can be vegetarian or vegan.  If you want to make sure they are vegan, use vegan butter for frying, vegan puffed pastry (Pampas light puff pastry and Borgs do vegan puff pastry) and vegan milk for glazing.

On the Stereo:
The Captain: Kasey Chambers

Thursday, 17 August 2017

St Collins Lane: 70 Grams, Burger Project, Sake Jr

You gotta be quick in this town.  Some cafes are there one moment and gone the next.  Take Sake Jr for example.  It was my new favourite cafe in the city.  My friend Jane took me there during her lunchtime and I loved it so much that I was so determined to get back to it.  However by the time I finally returned a few months later it has closed.  Waaah!  So I tried a few other places in the St Collins Lane Food Hall.

I hadn't heard of St Collins Lane (260 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD) until I went to Sake Jr in May.  For those of you also scratching your head, it is not a lane but a shopping centre.  Formerly known as Australia on Collins.  They've given it a face lift and a new name.  It shows how trendy Melbourne laneways are that they are now calling shopping centres "lanes".  I just about forgive the silliness of it because I really love the green columns hanging from the ceiling of the food hall.  However it makes for a difficult light to photograph food.

Sake Jr aims to serve beautiful fresh Japanese food.  Indeed I found it to be a notch about your usual food hall offerings.  And it was very easy to order a Build Your Own Bowl as a vegetarian.  I was asked if I was vegetarian or vegan and alerted to any component with fish sauce.  It was refreshing to have someone tell me rather than have to be asking.

Here is what I had in my bowl:
  • Base - brown rice
  • Protein - fried battered tofu and pickled shitake mushrooms
  • Vegies - pumpkin (could have been a tad more cooked), brussels sprouts, edamame, corn
  • Dressing - sesame yuzu
  • Garnish - sesame seeds and dried garlic
  • Pickles - carrot and daikon

It was such a lovely healthy bowl of rice, tofu and vegies.  The sesame yuzu dressing was wonderful - creamy with a slightly tart citrus flavour.  I also had a miso soup on the side.  Since finding that Sake Jr is no longer in St Collins Lane, I have found that it is now open in 555 Bourke Street.  It is the Western end of the city where I don't go often but I am considering making a trip there just to go to Sake Jr.  However with the way cafes open and close, I guess I need to be quick.

When I found that Sake Jr had closed I checked out the other offerings in the food hall.  At first glance it was the usual offerings of Chinese, Indian, pizza and burger.  However I found that 70 grams did not just offer pizza (which looked very good) but also a selection of salads. I chose a freekeh salad of mixed nuts, asparagus, broccoli and parsley with caesar dressing (there was also a choice of vinaigrette). It was delicious and healthy.

It was so healthy that I decided it needed some chips on the side.  I had checked out the fancy Burger Project and not been wowed by the one vegetarian option of crumbed confit mushroom, cheese, onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and secret sauce.  Mushrooms are not my thing.  But the chips looked really good.  They were hot and crisp and just what any healthy salad needs.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Avocado, rocket and brie scones (vegan)

For International Scone Well this week I made avocado rocket and brie scones.  Despite all my ideas for scones such as pumpkin date and tomato cheese, I finally settled on the half avocado to be used, the rocket in the enticingly named scones and the vegan brie that piqued my curiosity.

I took my inspiration from the Avocado and Hemp Scones at Bite Sized Thoughts and the Green Grass Scones at Laws of the Kitchen.  The cheese was a Damona brie that seemed uninspiring when straight from the fridge but was wonderful and melty when warmed.

The dough was quite sticky and needed a lot of flour to be able to handle in any way.  However I managed to knead it and shove some chunks of brie into it.  When it came out of the oven these scones were soft and amazing.  And I loved that they were really green inside.

I had planned to make pizza for tea.  Then the scones were so lovely that I decided to heat up a tin of tomato soup to eat with them.  The pizza will have to wait for another day.  Meanwhile the scones were great for breakfast the next day too.

I am sending the scones to Tandy at Lavendar and Lime for International Scone Week 2017.

More savoury scones on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Beetroot, apple and walnut scones (v)
Cheeseymite scones
Kale scones (v)
Leek, walnut and blue cheese scones  
Pumpkin, pecan and poppyseed scones (v)
Walnut, brie and apple scones

Avocado, rocket and brie scones
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Makes 9

1/3 cup milk (I used soy)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

90g avocado flesh (1/2 an avocado)
1 tsp seeded mustard

1 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp chia seeds
pinch salt

30g (1 handful) rocket, chopped
90g brie, cubed and divided
extra flour for handling dough

Mix milk and vinegar.  Set aside to thicken and curdle.

Preheat oven to 220 C and line an oven tray.

Mash avocado with a fork.  Stir in milk mixture and mustard.  Set aside.  Mix dry ingredients in a medium large bowl.  Gently stir in rocket and avocado mixture.

Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead a few times using a good amount of flour to help handle it if it is sticky.  Pat down and push 2/3 of the cheese into it and knead once or twice, then pat down again.  Cut into 9 squares and transfer to prepared oven tray.  Press a chunk of brie into each piece.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Wrap in a tea towel until ready to eat.  Best eaten warm on day of baking.

NOTES: I used 1 tbsp vinegar with enough milk to make up 1/2 cup but it was really sticky so I reduced it back to 1/3 cup like Kari did.  But I think the extra milk probably helped make the scones softer.  My scones were vegan with vegan milk and vegan cheese but the scones can be vegan or not depending on diet and available ingredients.  I think the scones would work without cheese if you wanted them vegan and could not find any vegan brie - I highly recommend the Damona vegan brie.  I baked my muffins for 15 minutes but they were quite brown and my oven is slow so I suggest checking earlier. 

On the Stereo:
Picaresque: The Decembrists

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Zucchini cheese muffins

When we were planning to visit some properties for Open House Melbourne after Sylvia's gymnastics class, it occurred to me that we hadn't factored in lunch.  And a young girl needs lunch after gymnastics.  Sylvia had mentioned she had made zucchini muffins in the Kitchen Garden program at school so I decided to try changing one of our favourite cheese muffins into zucchini muffins.

I am very grateful to the Kitchen Garden program at school which has given Sylvia confidence and adventure in the kitchen.  It would have been hard to convince her to eat zucchini muffins if not for the program.  And the cheese muffins were inspired by baking in the program too, which has given Sylvia a lot of ownership for that recipe.

The muffins were made after I had made pancakes for Sylvia and her friend who had slept here the night before.  The two girls were a bit flat (tired) as the morning went on but then they discovered the wonderful combination of ribbons and wind.  They were outside marvelling at the ribbons swirling and dancing on the strong wind gusts.  I had hurried through baking muffins and rushed outside to go to gym and found that the ribbons and wind had turned on me.  The ribbons were tangled in the rosebushes and, as I hastily tried to get them out, the wind would rip them out of my hand and tangle them some more.  I was very windblown and cross by the time I emerged with most of the ribbons in a bundle and my hands cut by thorns.

The girls enjoyed snatching a warm muffin or two in the car.  Later that day when Sylvia had finished her gymnastics class, the muffins were great to snack on as we were driving around Melbourne's Open House properties with my parents chatting about places they had known, what had changed and when to ignore the GPS because they know Melbourne well enough even though it is over 40 years since they last lived here.  Seeing the properties was so much more pleasant with a well fed kid.  And they made me happy that I managed to get some greens and protein into her lunch on the run.  A rare win!

I am sending these muffins to Eat Your Greens.  Shaheen is hosting this month and has been sharing lots of zucchini (courgette) recipes so I know she will appreciate these.  Check out her Allotment 2 Kitchen blog for lots more zucchini recipes.

More zucchini recipes at Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Zucchini brownie with smoked walnuts (v)
Zucchini, greens and chickpea salad with blueberry dressing (gf, v)
Zucchini koftas with tomato gravy (gf, v)
Zucchini layer cake with cream cheese frosting (gf, v)
Zucchini and noodle slice
Zucchini and rice burgers
Zucchini slice (with tofu bacon)

Zucchini cheese muffins
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 24 mini muffins

1 medium zucchini
2/3 cup soy milk
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup white plain flour
1/3 cup wholemeal plain flour
2/3 cup ground almonds
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 200 C and grease and/or line 2 x 12 hole mini muffin tins.  (Mine are silicone so I just cut small circles of baking paper for the bottom.)

Finely grate zucchini and squeeze out as much liquid as possible - I did this by pressing it in a colander but it could be done by making a bag of a teatowel or cheesecloth and squeezing out the liquid.  Mix with soy milk and olive oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the liquids and stir until just mixed.

Spoon batter into mini muffin holes.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Sit for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

NOTES: These could be baked as regular sized muffins but might need to cook slightly longer.  We used soy milk and dairy cheese but dairy milk and vegan cheese could be used depending on your preference.  Given that the cheese muffin recipe these came from worked well with vegan (bio)cheese, I would recommend making these with vegan cheese if you want vegan muffins.  To make nut free, substitute flour for ground almonds.

On the stereo:
Fin de siecle - The Divine Comedy

Sunday, 6 August 2017

In My Kitchen: August 2017

August is the month when the year seems to be whizzing by at a frightening rate.  In July you can kid yourself that it is still the middle of the year but in August we are well and truly on the downward slope and suddenly feeling the pressure to do everything we promised at the start of the year.  So it is not just the cold, the dark, the rain and the lack of good fresh fruit that makes August a difficult month.

Luckily pancakes brighten up chilly winter mornings.  Pancakes shapes bring even more cheer.  We found these cheap shapes in a local $2 Shop.  The might have been meant for eggs.  We have had fun making fluffy vegan pancakes in shapes, though they rise a bit so I have had to try and go easy on the amount of batter in the shapes.

The fluffy vegan pancakes are quite like pikelets if you make them small.  However sometimes Sylvia loves to buy 'pikelets' which I think are more like pancakes as they as quite thin.  Lately they have come in a few different flavours.  The one above in cinnamon and we have also had chocolate.  I still prefer home made.

This battered old thing is a stressball in the shape of a cow.  We had her for ages.  I think she was a present.  And quite a lot of fun.  Now she has grown so worn that she is here for old times sake before heading for the out pile.

Sourdough bread.  Fresh loaves are always a delight in our kitchen.

My latest venture for reducing some of our landfill is a worm farm.  The instructions make me feel quite worried for my new little worms.  It said that they like to be warm.  This worried me on the first night here when it was 2 C.  However they are still hanging in there after a few weeks..

During the school holidays, a trip to the Queen Vic Market saw us come home with many goodies.  The walnuts, charcoal lavosh crackers, blueberries, quince paste and dried apricots were for the Christmas in July dessert platter.  The caramel fudge disappeared quickly.  It was very good.  I am still looking for opportunities for the Israeli couscous and the chilli lime carnitas jackfruit.  I also came home with purple potatoes and wish I had also bought the purple brussel sprouts.

I also bought a few cheeses at the Queen Vic Market for the dessert platter: Swiss cheese. smoked cheese, brie and a raspberry infused cheese.  It is a great joy to choose and eat good cheese.

I also picked up these black tahini, black beans, truffle oil and mini crackers at the Queen Vic Market.  I have used all but the black tahini.  I am wondering how to use it.  I have tried it in baking biscuits but would like to try it in bread, cake, brownies or even scones (remember it is International Scone Week next week).

A few new bits are around the kitchen.  Some new bowls with swirly patterns that caught my eye.  When I bought them home, I found that E had also fancied them in the shop.  In the back of the photo are some new ice cream bowls that I bought months ago that had an outing in the school holidays when Sylvia had a yen to make Sundaes.  The mason jar with straw came from an Alice in Wonderland party that Sylvia went to a few weeks back.  A fun way to give out "party bags" in the jar.

I have recently become a fan of Bosisto's washing powder and stain remover.  A friend recommended the stain remover and it really does work well.  I had been looking for a good environmentally friendly washing machine powder and so I have started using this one.  The eucalyptus smell is quite comforting.

I have tried a few vegan yoghurts and found then soy ones to be thin and taste very odd and the coconut ones to be too fatty and bland.  Last week I was looking for a yoghurt and noticed there were quite a few new vegan yoghurts in the supermarket aisle.  I think there were 4 or 5 brands of coconut yoghurt.  I decided to try this Nakula passionfruit yoghurt.  It isn't bad but a bit rich.  I think the passionfruit flavour helps give it a bit of that slightly sour flavour.

As I haven't been baking much, I have been buying crackers for snacks.  Rice crackers and Vita Wheats are favourite.  Recently I tried the cheese pretzels which are ok but I prefer the more yeasted pretzel crackers than these pastry ones.  I am yet to try the hommus crisps.  They sound interesting but disappoint me that it is mostly potato starch rather than chickpea flour.

Lastly, I recently had a clean out of plastic tubs because I found some of the Decor ones that I like and bought them before mine could get too manky.  Once the tubs were out of the cupboard, our cat Shadow hopped in.  He's always curious about what is going on in the house. 

As for our cupboards, I am not feeling very happy about them because I managed to catch my jeans on a handle as I walked through the kitchen tonight and it tore a hole in them. Usually I like our 1960s cupboard handles but tonight I wish we had smoother and rounder handles.

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 10th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to peek into more kitchens. 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

One pot pasta with beans and tomato sauce

Work is busy.  Night falls quickly.  I need meals that are fast and satisfying.  Something I can throw in the pot and cook quickly.  Preferably with leftovers.  And something my 8 year old will eat.  This one pot pasta ticked all the boxes.  If only I could also take photos to do it justice.

The top photo was quickly snapped the following morning before work to snatch some natural light.  Because I really loved this pasta.  It has more protein and more tomato sauce than the last one pot pasta I made.  And it has some flexibility in using up what is in the fridge.  Just the dish we needed after swimming lessons.

The stew saw us through three nights of dinner, with Sylvia having small bowls of it each night.  Tonight I rode home from work in the rain and knowing I had dinner waiting at home cheered me up.  Though even though it was cold and wet, I quite enjoyed the dark streetscapes with mist around the lights and the rain dripping off the edges of buildings.  It all felt a bit film noir.  Which makes it all the more the sweeter to arrive home to a cosy warm bright home with this hot pasta dish waiting on the table to eat with my family.

I am sending this to Meat Free Mondays.

More easy pasta recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Angel hair pasta with feta, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach
Hurry up pumpkin alfredo (v)
One pot pasta with chickpeas and zucchini (v)
Pasta with mint and parmesan
Smoky cheesy peas pasta
Spaghetti hoops (v)

One pot pasta with tomato and beans sauce
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 6

350g spaghetti
2 cups passata (pureed tomatoes)
400g tin cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
400g tin lentils, rinsed and drained
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced thinly
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp pesto
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
3 cups water

Place pasta in a large saucepan.  If it needs to be broken up to fit that is fine.  Place remaining ingredients in the pot finishing with the water.  Check and adjust seasoning.  Cover and bring to the boil.  Simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the spaghetti sticking to the bottom.  Take off the lid and cook on medium-high for another 2-3 minutes with lots of stirring to boil off a little bit more liquid but not all as it will thicken to make a tomato sauce.  Serve hot.  Leftovers are good to serve the next day.

NOTES: If I made this pasta and did not have pesto on hand I would use a bit of stock powder and mixed Italian herbs instead.  Other beans or vegetables could be used here such as chickpeas, kidney beans, kale, mushrooms and broccoli.  Vegetables can be added later if they need less cooking.  The pasta is a little drier when it has sat overnight but as on the night of making it had quite a bit of sauce this was fine and it made for very good leftovers.  I found the onion still to be so slightly crunchy even with chopping it finely.

On the Stereo:
Easy listening: relaxed exotica and space age pop: Various Artists