Pasta times two

We went to our friend Georgia’s place on Friday night and she made us the yummiest pasta ever!!! So yummy I had to share it…here is the picture and recipe from the book Plenty by Ottolenghi:

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…and here is her amazing rendition

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It had the best creamy sort of texture, and the combo of the fried eggplant and fresh mango was epic. I highly recommend this if you want to impress people…She certainly impressed us!

Here is the recipe as I think the photo is too small to make out:

1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 crushed garlic
1/2 fresh red chilli chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Grated zest and juice of one lime
1 cup sunflower oil
2 eggplants cut into 3/4 inch dice
9 oz soba noodles
1 large ripe mango
1 2/3 cup chopped basil leaves
2 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 purple onion slices very thin

In a small saucepan warm vinegar, sugar and salt for one minute.
Remove from heat and add garlic, chilli, sesame oil. Allow to cool and then add lime juice and zest.

Heat sunflower oil in a large pan. Shallow fry the eggplant 3-4 batches at a time. Once golden brown remove to a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt and leave to drain.

Cook noodles in plenty of boiling salted water stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes until tender but al dente.

Drain and rinse under running cold water. Shake off excess water and then leave to dry on a dish towel.

In a large mixing bowl toss noodles with dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion.

Set aside for minimum thirty minutes. When ready to serve mix through the rest of the herbs and pile on plates or bowls.

While I’m on the subject of pasta, I made a HUGE pasta salad yesterday so that we could have dinner and leftovers for lunches for the week. It made just over five servings…I suppose if you’re feeding a family that is pretty standard, but for us that means a whole lotta pasta

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I used two cups of spelt pasta, about two cups of frozen peas, a cup of fresh corn, a red and a yellow capsicum, some olives, and a zucchini. We will have the pasta with rocket or lettuce as well but I couldn’t fit it in the bowl!

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For the dressing I just used the oil left in the olive container and mixed in about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, paprika, dill, salt and pepper and some mustard powder.

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Yum!!

Ahmaaazing pizza

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I have been plotting this pizza in my head for a few days now and finally had a chance to put my pizza dream to reality last night!!
We used thepotato pizza crust using sweet potatoes, the yams with the purple skin and a couple of regular potatoes. I made a bigger batch then what is in the regular recipe. I did three cups of mashed potatoes and three cups of flour (brown rice flour, chickpea flour, buckwheat flour) any flour will work. It made a LOT so now we have enough for lunch today and dinner tomorrow!! About six servings total.

Spread your pizza dough onto a pan and pre-cook for about 15 minutes. Then take it out and do your toppings and continue cooking until it’s crisped to your liking.
The toppings…

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All prepped by my trusty sous chef!!

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The base was a broccoli kale pesto:

1 head of broccoli
A few kale leaves
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons of oil
Handful of walnuts
5 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (parmesan substitute)
Salt and pepper

Blend it up and spread it on. Add water as needed to facilitate blending.

Sweet and sour tempeh:

Cut up tempeh into bite size pieces and put in a baking dish with a tablespoon or so of honey, a tablespoon or so of ketchup, paprika and sesame seeds.
Bake while the crust is pre cooking.

Cashew cream:

About a cup and a half of cashews soaked
Juice from one lime or lemon
1 garlic clove
3 TBS or so of nutritional yeast
Salt and a decent amount of paprika

Blend and then transfer to a ziplock bag. This way you can snip the corner of the bag and squeeze the cashew cream on to ensure even and pretty distribution. Or if you want you could just dollop it right on there.

Veggies:

Baby tomatoes, corn, capsicum, kidney beans.

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I felt like fresh raw veggies so after I pre cooked the base I topped half and put it back in the oven until the veggies were cooked for Ali and then when that was done I quickly topped the other side (pesto, veggies and then cashew cream) and had it like that. It was really good both ways. The raw side on the left and the cooked on the right.

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The final touch…rocket, avo and a squirt of lime!!!

Cashew cream ETC!!

There has been a slight lack of interesting food happening here since I started my design course at Tafe two weeks ago…and even the interesting things I’ve been too busy/exhausted to do anything about.
Hopefully when I get more into the swing of things I’ll be able to get back into a more frequent cooking and sharing of said cooking, routine.
For now, here are a few pictures taken in the last couple weeks that I have neglected to share that will hopefully serve as some inspiration to cook up some healthy, scrumptious and cruelty free food!

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These bad boys were surprisingly good!! I had the flat kale which I don’t usually get. I was worried the leaves were going to be hard to chew and a bit sour but they were so tasty and tender!! I just lightly steamed them and then filled the rolls with some rice, grilled tempeh, black bean salsa, cashew cream and some alfalfa and rolled ’em up!

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Tasting plate with a few random things including kale chips which I have just discovered are so easy to make and amazingly tasty!! The trick is to make sure you dry the leaves really well after rinsing them so that they get crispy in the oven and not steamed. Once I have fully dried my bite size pieces of kale I massage a bit of sesame oil into the leaves and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, Himalayan rock salt and sesame seeds and then just bake for about ten minutes!!

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A nice fresh salad with lettuce, rocket, cuc, orange, avo, baby tomats, toasted almonds, hazelnut oil, lime juice and kamut cous cous. This is pretty weird but I have never cooked cous cous before…not that you can really call it cooking because you just pour hot water over it for a few minutes and then just like that it is ready to go in all its fluffy glory!!! Mind blown.

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I’ve been obsessed with cashew cheese/ cashew cream lately. Here we are having it on rice crackers with our mum’s delish home made red pepper jelly.
It’s such an amazing alternative and one of the biggest reasons why I feel like I haven’t missed cheese a la cow since I stopped eating it.
I never measure when I’m making mine. I just chuck stuff in the food processor and it always come out a different consistency and flavour which keeps it interesting!

Here is a basic recipe:

1 cup cashew nuts soaked
3 tbs nutritional/savoury yeast
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice & zest of 1 lemon juice
Himalayan sea salt to taste

Blend until smooth. It will be a sort of feta consistency. Add water if you want a thinner cream like situation.

Other ingredients I sometimes add are: tumeric, paprika, miso paste, parsley, basil, green onion, Dijon mustard.

Enjoy your cashew cream on crackers, in sandwiches, crumbled over pasta, on pizza etc!! Also you can make a sweet version by adding the cashews, cinnamon and some natural sweetener and have it as you would whipping cream.

I’ll leave now with a shout out to all the sweet, intelligent, adorable piggies out there ❤ and a promise that I will be posting a fricken legit pizza recipe in the next few days!

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“Scientists consider the humble pig to be one of the most intelligent species on the planet — believed to have the intelligence of a 3-year-old child. Yet, this is not reflected in the abysmal way in which pigs are kept in factory farms.

Despite advances overseas, in Australia, a pregnant pig can still be confined in a ‘sow crate’—a barren metal cage little bigger than her own body. She can barely move and is unable to turn around. Trapped in a cycle of suffering, she is forced to give birth on a hard concrete or metal floor; denied the ability to properly nurture her young; and will be continually impregnated until her body can no longer physically cope.”

-http://www.animalsaustralia.org/radio/old-macdonald/factory-farming.php

Polenta pizza bites

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I can’t remember the last time I ate polenta…I can’t even say for sure that I have ever eaten it. Ali says we have though so I guess I’ll take her word for it.
I randomly had some in the pantry and have been seeing lots of different recipes using polenta on Pinterest so I decided I may as well give it a whirl…and it was a great success!!!

Polenta pizza bites:

1 cup uncooked polenta
4 cups water (check package as apparently some have different water requirements)
Oregano or Italian mixed spice, paprika, salt, pepper, oil

Bring the water to a boil. Add the polenta and a generous amount of spices and a dash of oil. Whisk on low heat until thick and hard to stir.
Transfer to a 9 by 9 pan lined with parchment or tin foil and spread evenly. Allow to set in the fridge for about half an hour. Slice and bake for ten minutes. Flip and bake another ten minutes. I wanted them super crispy on the outside so I then placed them under the griller on high until nice and toasty.

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Once they are crispy, add your toppings and place back under the griller until the toppings are cooked. We burnt ours just a bit and it added extra flavour.
We had two different variations; one a roasted garlic and green onion spread, and the other a pizza sauce with vegan cheese that turned out tasting and feeling just like ricotta after being grilled!! I wish I could recall the recipe but it was one of those taste and add as you go mad experiments…

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The base of it was blended silken tofu and then I added the usual suspects; nutritional yeast, miso paste, Dijon, Himalayan rock salt, some cashews, paprika. I also added some chilli sauce and a few roasted garlics and some lime juice.

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So easy and yummy, we will definitely be eating this again!!! Polenta is also high in protein, vitamins and minerals and is gluten free and a complex carbohydrate.

Makes about 14 pizza bites.