From time to time classic dishes can stand a bit of reinvention, so here's a modern-style waldorf salad. We can do ditch the gunky mayonnaise thank you and also make use of delicious seasonal pears. It's a good make-and-take salad, can also be conveniently be prepared the day before.
1 ripe pear
1 apple (any variety, though I like red-skinned for colour)
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/2 cup water
2 sticks celery
2 small or 1 large carrot
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup raisins
8 leaves fresh mint
1 Tbs red wine or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbs walnut or macadamia oil
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
SuperTassievore: substitute fresh or dried blueberries for the raisins.
Nutfree: subtitute sesame oil for the nut oil; substitute sunflower kernels or pumpkin seeds for the walnut pieces.
Lowfat: take half the oils out of the dressing and replace with water.
Gluten free: Is already gluten free, yay!
This is an interesting and tasty achar or pickle from Nepal. I made some for the Nepalese-Indian class that I held in conjunction with Gita Sharma last week. I say interesting because it's not actually that hot...provided you choose the right chillies. I find mild chillies have more in the way of flavour and that too much heat can destroy nuances as well as the lining of your mouth. And for my untimely bout of do-as-I-say-not-do-as-I-do, I used a mix of green and red chillies in the batch I made just so I could take a photograph for this blog post.
10 long green chillies
1/2 Tbs oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 Tbs sesame seeds
1/2 cup water
1 lemon (juice of)
1. Cut the green chillies crossways so you have small rings. Heat the 1/2 tablespoon of oil until quite hot.
2. Gently fry the green chillies and the tablespoon of fenugreek seeds.
3. After a couple of minutes, when the chillies look as though they have softened, add the 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Stir briefly.
4. Carefully add 1/2 cup of water. Simmer for a about 5 minutes until the water has reduced.
5. Remove from heat and stir through the juice of 1 lemon and a little salt. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Cooking Times -
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 5 minutes
Yah, I know you all know how to peel a mandarin. But this is a cute trick I thought I'd share with you, particularly for those with children or for people who pack a lunch box for a lazy eater.
There is some research which shows that people, particularly men, are more likely to eat fruit if it is cut up and 'ready' for them to eat. And lets face it, if food looks attractive and convenient we are all more likely to be tempted.
So here's a method for preparing a mandarin so that it is absolutely ready to go. And the best thing is that the preparation doesn't take much time at all...with a bit of practice you can do it in less than 10 seconds.
I guess you might as well try it and see what the feedback is like from your significant-food-eating-others.
Okay, put your mandarin on its side and slice off the top of the skin without getting into the flesh. Then do the same for the bottom. Don't laugh, this really is about mandarins and I'm not trying to trick you into making a Tony Abbot out of household fruit :->
Then make a cut through the skin from the top of the mandarin to the bottom. That's it. Your mandarin is ready to pack and with its now very flat base will sit neatly in a lunch box.
When it's time to eat, simply prise open the mandarin along the vertical cut that has already been made through the skin. The mandarin will 'magically' open up with all the segments conveniently displayed and ready to eat.
A delicious and versatile appetiser using strips of zucchini as wraps. These snacks are surprisingly easy to make and go well at any time of year; although 'summery', they were a huge hit at the Wellness Expo at Glenorchy recently. And a quick hi to all my friends at West Moonah Community House who did a great job organising the event.
about 1 cup of your favourite dip, relish or spread
various cut fresh vegetables, sprouts, etc.
1. If you are planning ahead and can shop specifically for this recipe, choose large, cylindrical zucchini that are reasonably straight. Skin blemishes are unimportant. Wash the zucchini and pat dry.
2. Using a mandoline slicer, make thin slices along the length of the zucchini. The first few will be too thin and unuseable; either compost them or use them for a soup or casserole. You should get about 12 viable slices.
3. Lay the zucchini slices flat on a bench. Sprinkle a pinch of salt along each strip and leave for 10 or 20 minutes. You can leave even longer if you want but 10 minutes is the minimum.
4. The zucchini will be softened by the salt. At this stage you can wash the salty water off or just pat the slices dry with a tea towel.
5. For the filling, you should ideally have some kind of reasonably firm dip and some fresh cut raw vegetables like capsicum, cabbage, salad onion, sprouts, carrot or pumpkin sticks, celery, etc. Brush a teaspoon or two of the dip along the first two-thirds of the zucchini slice. Next, lay the vegetables crosswise. Roll up the zucchini strip, folding it over the vegetables. You can press as you roll so the bundle is tight.
6. Lay each zucchini roll seam side down on a serving plate or on a patty pan. Garnish if desired and serve.
Favourite dips for this recipe include hummus (made from chick peas), ajvar (capsicum and eggplant) and guacamole (avocado). You can make these yourself - yay! - or look for them in the supermarket. You'll find ajvar along with other European delicacies like waffles, pickled cabbage and so on.
You can use white daikon or Japanese radish instead of zucchini for the strips. You will need to leave it a bit longer for the thin slices to soften. The favour is also a little stronger than the mild zucchini.
If you don't have a mandoline slicer I would highly recommend one. They come with various attachments that enable you to do various thicknesses and also make julienne strips. Mandolines - and the very similar V-slicers - are available at homewares stores like Your Habitat, Harris Scarfe and even Shiploads around Hobart.
Actually, the concept is very simple. Take some sweet potato, cut it into a pretty shape and dress it up with a topping or two to make it look schmancy. And there you have it, a very attractive and reasonably healthy canape that can be prepared well in advance.
And once you get the hang of it, you'll see this has plenty of potential. Beetroot stars? Why not. Other shapes? Grab your favourite cutter and populate the hors d'œuvre tray with ducks, hexagons, snowmen, etc. to your heart's content.
sweet potato - an average sweet potato might give you about 10 cut shapes, plus a lot of leftover bits :-) Save them of course; why not make a delicious sweet potato mash?
toppings - in the photo I have used a macadamia creme and a pinch of mixed fresh sprouts. I grow them at home and like to put a few things in the mix such as rocket and cabbage that bring quite a burst of flavour.
The macadamia creme worked very well because it's a little sticky and hence doesn't easily slide off the sweet potato base, and also grips the little floral tripon top.
Summer is well and truly over - we had the first, gorgeous, snow of the year on Mt Wellington this week - but my tomato plants have been hanging on. It's time to do something with both the red and the greens. I'll deal with the green ones in another post but tonight I felt like making a simple, filling and warming dish to eat by the fire using the lovel ripe tomatoes that are bursting with flavour and sweetness. I suppose you could think of it as something like baked beans but without all the sugar and gunk they put in the tinned versions. In actual fact bean dishes similar to this are quite traditional in some parts of the world; I remember eating something like this with green beans in Tuscany.I hope you'll like it.
350g small white beans like cannellini or navy beans
half a leek
350g ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
by Gita Sharma & Alan Whykes
Pakoras are a tasty snack for any time of day or as an accompaniment to a meal. We had a free demonstration of this recipe and tasters to give away at Taste of the World at Moonah, Hobart, on 30 March 2014. Many thanks to Gita for doing a great job: seemed like the audience very much appreciated the 60 or so pakoras we served up.
2 medium potatoes
1 cup besan flour
1 tsp salt
1 pinch baking powder
½ tsp curry or chilli powder (optional)
500ml oil (for frying)
Interestingly, there's an enormous variety of wonderful vegan snacks and dishes from around the globe. I like to explore these cuisines, especially those of places where I have lived such as Indonesia, Italy, Germany and Russia. Specialty ethnic cuisine classes are usually titled Ethnovegan on my workshops page.
Feel like snacking on something Javanese? No, not Japanese! Over a number of years on various trips to Indonesia I became quite familiar with Javanese cuisine, which although consumed by 100 million people or so on a daily basis is precious little known outside its heartland. I also spent 5 weeks living as an exchange student in Semarang, which in particular has a reputation as the home of wingko babat.
Wingko babat is a coconut-flavoured rice cake that is very easy to make. Why not have a go yourself? Enjoy them warm just out of the oven or cold for a day or two afterwards.
* Ingredient tip - you can get glutinous rice flour from Asian specialty grocery stores. Don't substitute it because it gives these sweets a characteristic gluey texture.
400ml canned coconut milk, & a dash of water
200g brown sugar
200g glutinous rice flour
150g dessicated coconut
1. Tip the coconut milk into a mixing bowl. Use a dash of water to rinse the can and add to the bowl as well. Meanwhile preheat an oven to 190C.
2. Measure the sugar into the mixing bowl. Stir vigorously until mostly dissolved.
3. Measure the glutinous rice flour and the coconut into the mixing bowl. Stir until well combined: the mixture should be thick like pancake batter.
4. Spoon the batter into a greased mini-muffin tray or into paper cups. Bake for 20 mins or until the wingko babat are beginning to turn golden brown.
5. Turn out on to a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Consume warm or cold. These bite-sized sweets are very good with strong black coffee.
Time: 25 mins.
Yield: 30 small cakes.
- add a teaspoon of vanilla essence to the batter. Or a pinch of salt. Some people think this helps lift the flavour.
- pour the batter into a shallow tray and bake it as a single mass, then cut it into diamonds or squares. Don't make it more than 2cm thick.
- Green it: add a teaspoon of pandan essence! This works both as a flavour and a colour, highly recommended. Pandan essence is also available from Asian specialty stores. I used to harvest pandan leaves from a tree grown in my back yard in Darwin but unfortunately Moonah's a bit cold for pandan :-/
A lovely summery canape that is fresh and easy enough to make. As is commonly the case with raw recipes, you'll need to plan ahead a little. Sprouting the quinoa adds some nutritional punch so it's very worthwhile doing.
4 medium tomatoes
2 cups sprouted quinoa
2/3 cup pesto
I'm very interested in the edible weeds of just about anywhere. I think it started in 2006 when I was in Malta. I was standing at a bus stop when I recognised what I thought was rocket (arugula) growing by the side of the road. I pinched off a leaf and smelled it...yep, definitely was! By the time the bus arrived I'd picked a whole bunch to take home for a dinner salad and I was feeling Very Clever Indeed. But it made me think about what makes a plant a supermarket commodity and what leaves it to grow in ditches. Economics has a lot to do with it. At this point we need to honestly recognise that economics is not necessarily going to grow, distribute and sell the full range of plants known to have nutritional and medicinal value. Therefore it's up to us to educate ourselves about non-commercial plants and what they can do for us. In the particular case of weeds, it's their very abundance that is enticing. Suppose you discover you like dandelion root...woohoo, you'll likely find a lifetime supply, free, up and down your street. And we all like free stuff :-)
In an alleyway at the end of my street there are lots of cleavers, Galium aparine. There are even a few in my yard. I picked some leaves, then air dried them by leaving them to sit uncovered in a bowl on the kitchen bench for a week. Then I made a tea by pouring boiling water over them. It was quite palatable, with straw-wood-alfalfa notes that reminded me of Chinese tea.
According to Annie's Remedy, cleavers is a valuable lymphatic tonic and diuretic, can be used to treat psoriasis and arthritis and lowers blood pressure without side effects. Applied externally, cleavers tea can treat sunburn, rashes and cuts and is a useful hair rinse for dandruff and dry scalp.
If you live around Hobart I'm sure you can find some cleavers and I'd certainly recommend you try it at least once. Make sure you identify it properly: if youcome to one of the Otis Beanery classes just ask and I'll show you some. Drink up!
We blog about once a month on vegan and food topics in and around Hobart.