Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A perfect squished picnic sammidge.

You know what's good? Sandwiches. 
You know what else is good? Spring. And it begins tomorrow! I am getting in early and practising picnic food, I tell you what - this baby is a sure fire winner.

One of my many missions in life is to create the perfect sandwich, or, sammidge as I prefer to call it. Also, the perfect cupcake + icing flavour combo. This sammidge is pretty dang close to perfect. It has everything I love in it and it's a joy to make. Set aside a day, or a morning and make this - because your efforts will reward you with a delicious sammidge! I made this for a family picnic once and it was all devoured quite rapidly. It's the perfect picnic sandwich because you can make it ahead of time ... like... the night before!

When attempting to find the correct name for this type o' sammidge I came across about a billion. More like 8347239 billion. Apparently every nation has their own version of a pressed sammidge. So it's a cross between a Mediterranean picnic sandwich, a Cuban sandwich, a Schiacciata al Mattone (which google tells me translates to 'the crushed brick' whaaa?) or just a plain ol' brick sandwich!

Prepare for many photo's as this thing was like my baby! 


1 large eggplant, cut into length way slices, about 1cm thick
2 zucchini's, cut into length way slices, about 1cm thick
10 whole garlic cloves
10 mushrooms, sliced thickly
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely sliced
1 large red capsicum
Olive oil
1 handful basil leaves
1 handful baby spinach
1 big crusty loaf of bread, preferably Italian (crusty is important, otherwise it will go soggy!)

Roast eggplant, zucchini and whole garlic cloves on baking trays with olive oil and salt and pepper for 30 mins at 180C, or until soft and slightly browned. 

Squeeze out roast garlic deliciousness from cloves and set aside to spread on sandwich.

Fry mushrooms and rosemary in olive oil until brown and soft. Set aside.

Blacken capsicum over a flame, set aside and cover with cling wrap to sweat for about 10 minutes. Peel away skin, deseed and slice.

Rocket, basil, spinach pesto
2 cups mix of rocket, basil and spinach
2 garlic cloves
1/2 red chilli
1/2 cup cashews
good glug of olive oil
squeeze lemon juice


Olive tapenade

150 grams black pitted olives
1 teaspoon capers
1/2 red chilli
1 clove garlic
squeeze lemon juice
glug olive oil


Caramelized onions

Take 2 red onions, finely slice them and fry them in olive oil on a low heat until they are super soft. Deglaze with a little white wine, splash of red wine vinegar, add a teaspoon of sugar and stir. Crank up the heat a little and watch til they caramelize and are delicious! Set aside.

To assemble

Slice loaf in half but leave it connected on one side. Scoop out bread on top and bottom, so there is a valley of space (ooh poetic!).
Spread pesto on the bottom and the tapenade, roasted garlic and caramelized onions on top.
Layer eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, capsicum, baby spinach and fresh basil. Top with fresh cracked black pepper.

Wrap sandwich in cling wrap. Tie it tightly with string at 4 intervals so the filling doesn't come out of the sides when you press it.
Wrap in tin foil.

Place bricks on top evenly across - how ever many you feel is necessary. I used four.. and then thought that was a little extreme so then took away 2!

Leave from anywhere between 3 hours to over night. Depending on how much oil/liquid is in your vegies and how crusty your bread is will depend on whether your bread goes soggy! (it shouldn't) :D

Slice with a serated knife, stare at the beauty of your perfectly layered sandwich and eat!

also, lookie here:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Choconana muffins!

This is another recipe from the wickedly awesome book from my childhood, Kids Cookbook 2. I have never made this recipe before, but I feel as though nothing in this book can be a failure, even the coconut ice! (literally coconut, sugar and food colourful - aka, da bomb when you're a kid obsessed with sugar and bright colours)

I baked these especially for muffin, and as my fabio is still liver cleansing and I feel funny about eating eggs - he can eat ALL TWELVE OF THEM. It was a lovely sunshiney day to be baking and generally enjoying life.

I think this recipe could be easily veganized, just add egg replacer and use dark chocolate. Voila.

Choconana Muffins
Makes 12

1 small ripe banana
1 cup white self-raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup choc bits
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup oil

Mash banana in a big bowl. Sift in flour and add husks left in the sieve.
Throw in rest of ingredients and stir with a fork until just combined - overworking the mix will make a heavy muffin!
Bake in an 180C oven for 20 minutes.

* I didn't add the extra oil and they still seem moist enough.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A delicious food week!

This week we had a family dinner at my mumma's. She, like most mums, is an amazing cook.

She made lasagna - both meat and vegie to accommodate everyone, and we ate it with a nice garden salad and AMAZING olive sour dough bread from the Semaphore Bakery. SO GOOD.

For dessert we had individual carrot cakes, tiramisu and donuts... well, i mean... ya know, we shared it all n stuff. Muffin and I definitely rolled into bed that night and I fell into a deep food-coma like sleep. Whereas he couldn't sleep at all due to feeling too round! HAHA.

Last night muffin and I had vegie burgers with rocket pesto, mushroom 'pate', tomato, alfalfa and pickles! Very simple. My favourite veggie patties to buy are definitely the cracked wheat rissoles from Foodland. I've eaten them since I was a little kid and at $1.80 each they are a bargain! They're not too strongly flavoured, but you can see peas in them which I assume means they're healthy. Amirite, amirite?! I hope so.

For brekky one day this week I had THIS.... 

actually i lie, i had less than half of this. What was I thinking?! It was a day after mums giant meal and I think I stayed full for about 16 hours! It was baked beans, tofu scramble, a million vegetables, grilled tomato and vegetarian sausages. Anywho, what I did eat of it was tasty. See that toast there? Avocado and sweet chilli sauce! The best thing ever! I'm onto something with that winner.

And to finish off this lovely post... lookie what Muffin got me!!!!! Man oh man, its a submarine tea infuser. THIS IS LOVE.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana with smoky home fries and rosemary vegies. Phew.

I love eggplant. It's one of my favourite vegetables. It's so versatile and can be so many different textures. This meal is always a winner in my books because it's so hearty and the eggplant just melts in the mouth. Sometimes I breadcrumb the eggplant first and fry it off before topping it so it becomes more crispy, but tonight I wanted that melty texture.

Tonight muffin was out in the city and thus I wasn't going to make this meal as I had previously planned it for two. Then I watched this clip and changed my mind! Alone time is fine, and obviously I should treat myself to a delicious dinner for one!

(I love this clip. I keep watching it over and over. So lovely. WATCH IT!)

Eggplant Parmigiana with smoky home fries and rosemary vegies:

1 tin whole tomatoes tomatoes
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh tomato, diced

3 cloves garlic
4 potatoes, diced into cubes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 mushrooms, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced

1 big eggplant, cut into two 1 inch slices ( I actually don't work in inches, I just assumed this was about 1 inch hahaha, use your brain and you shall prevail :D)
splash wine (i used white but red would probably be nicer)
2 slices cheese

serves 2.

First things first put the tinned tomatoes, vinegar, sriracha, chilli, salt and pepper all in a saucepan and leave to reduce. Mash the tomatoes up a bit with the spoon whilst reducing.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Par boil the potatoes until the edges are soft and easily pierced with a fork. When draining, use the colander to shake the excess water away and also rough up the edges a little; this way they'll crisp up.
Toss the potatoes in paprika, sesame, olive oil, salt and pepper and lay on a baking tray. Throw 3 whole garlic cloves on the tray also. Cook in the oven until potatoes are crisp and browned. About 30 mins.

After about 20 mins, remove the garlic and squeeze into the tomato sauce. It will be rich and almost sweet. DELICIOUS. Add in the fresh tomato now, just to add a little texture and also sweetness.

When the potatoes are almost ready to go, fry the thick slices of eggplant on either side, deglaze with wine and place a lid on them until softened, about 5 minutes. Top with tomato sauce mixture and grated cheese and place under the grill until brown, melty and delicious.

Fry the mushrooms, zucchini and rosemary in a little butter and oil and season with salt and pepper.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

burger, dip, vegies = dinner noms.

Super simple, super easy, super cheap, super fast recipe. Also great for winter as it is delicious and hot - i mean really, what more do you want in winter?!

Moroccan vegies with cous cous:
olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 big zucchini, diced into big chunks
7 mushrooms, diced into big chunks
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tin tomatoes
1 handful rocket

1 cup cous cous
1 cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon za'atar

In a big pot fry onion and garlic in oil until softened. Add in zucchini and mushroom.
After about 5 minutes, add in cumin, chilli flakes and tomatoes.
Place lid on pot and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In the meantime bring stock, salt, pepper and za'atar to a boil in another saucepan. Once boiled, remove from the heat, stir in cous cous with a fork, replace lid and leave for around 3 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
NOTE: this is my perfect way of doing cous cous, i have no idea why but this makes it crazy fluffy and amazing and never stodgy. It retains enough heat to fully cook through within a few minutes and be perfect. Perfect, i tells ya.

This recipe should clearly have eggplant in it to be uber-moroccan, but i had none :D

Rocket pesto
2 cups rocket
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup cashews
good glug of olive oil

Blend everything to buggery in a blender. The end.

Paprika chips:
Cut potatoes into chunky chip size. Pat dry. Lay on baking tray with olive oil, paprika and s+p. Roast at 200 for about an hour, flipping every 20 minutes ish until crisp.

 For dinner we had swiss mushroom burgers with rocket pesto, tomato, onion, carrot, alfalfa and lettuce! I figured giant swiss mushrooms would be almost as good as portabellos (how do you spell this freaking mushroom?!?!!) ... alas, they shrunk to about half the size when I fried them in a balsamic marinade. Still tasty - just small.

 burger production line :D

nom nom nom.

Sunshine muffins and brekky of champions (fat ones)

My mojo is back! I quit a sad-making job and am about to start a new one (hopefully happy-making).

The first thing I made from my newly arrived Veganomicon were the Carrot Pineapple Sunshine Muffins. I made them for my fabio (daddy-o) who is on a liver cleansing diet. He's not eating dairy and he is a lover of all things muffin so these were great. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup brown sugar but i left it out and they were still sweet enough. I think the pineapple brings a lot of sweetness to the tasty muffin table. I also used egg replacer instead of flaxseed and I left out the raisins - why? because they are disgusting.

(EDIT: i had to edit this recipe after originally posting as i'd copied and pasted from another blog - laziness - and it was actually wrong! dang it.)

1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt
1/2 plain or vanilla soy milk
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained (use canned only; reserve juice)
1/3 cup pineapple juice, reserved from crushed canned pineapple
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
1 heaping teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour, or a combination of both
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease a non-sticknon-stick 12 cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together the soy yogurt, soy milk, and ground flaxseed. Whisk in the canola oil and maple syrup. Squeeze the crushed pineapple to remove as much excess juice as possible and add to the bowl, along with the reserved pineapple juice, carrot, orange zest, and raisins, and thoroughly mix. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Stir only just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. Bake for 24-26 minutes.

Makes about 12.

We had this delicious breakfast one day this week.

By the time I came around to cooking it it was actually about 3pm... so more like an early dinner really. I love a good giant brekky. Fried capsicum, onion, zucchini, tomato, rosemary-mushrooms with baked beans, avocado, vegetarian sausage, rocket and turkish bread! SO HUGE. This is the kind of meal you take a nap from afterwards. hahaha.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Minty pea-ee pasta.

PEEEEASSSS. I love em.

This pasta dish was brewing in my brain for a few days and redeemed my lack of inspiration lately. I still have a cold but I could actually taste this dish! Woop woop! It was delish. I really, really liked it. I love the taste of peas and the mint and lemon add a nice freshness to the dish. This only makes 1 serving, so double it for 2 people and so on. It could definitely take more mint too.

Minty pea-ee pasta.
1 serve spaghetti
1 cup peas
1 big handful fresh mint
Juice of half a lemon
olive oil
1 spring onion, finely julienned on the bias
1/4 onion, finely julienned on the bias
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red chilli, finely sliced
2 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 zucchini, julienned on the bias
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup vegie stock
1 Tablespoon butter

1 slice day old bread, roughly chopped
oil to coat

Take 1 slice day old bread and break into rough breadcrumbs. Lightly coat with oil and salt and pepper and grill in oven until golden and crisp. About 10 minutes.
Cook pasta until al dente, set aside.
Blanch peas. Blend peas, mint, lemon juice and stock in a blender until super smooth.
Fry spring onion, onion, garlic, chilli, mushroom and zucchini in olive oil until soft and slightly browned. Remove and set aside.
Add pea mix to frying pan and reduce until a slightly thicker consistency.
Add in pasta, spring onion, onion, garlic, chilli, mushroom, zucchini and tomato and season with salt and pepper. When all is heated through chuck in your butter for a smooth and shiny appearance.

Serve with crispy breadcrumbs on top and a few whole peas for a cute look!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

ode to a blender.

my oh my. I mean it. And I used to work at Boost Juice... I know my blenders!! 

Fo serious though. This thing is like a maniac. It has 5 settings as well as an ice setting and it massacred (in a pleasant way) the entire smoothie in about 30 seconds. and no bits! NO BITS AT ALL. This was a strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and banana smoothie - and nooooooo bitsssss. Insanity!

I think i'm in love.
That is all.
And now, I compose a haiku:

gazing at flowers
brightly scented berry fruit
my shiny blender

books, blenders, meals, colds and cookies!

Today is a day of new things! Our power was shut off from 8am-3pm today so I tried my best to stay in bed until at LEAST 1pm.. alas, the plan didn't work. It was nice to be woken up by the postie bringing me my copy of Veganomicon though! I accidentally ordered this on Amazon when I was trying to figure out how much postage would be! A pleasant accident. I stayed in bed all warm flipping through the pages and making mental notes of what I will cook first. Where do I even begin?!

My brother moved out a few weeks ago and took his blender with him. I know, the shock, the horror. I have been smoothie-less since! Today I went and bought a blender. It it glass and super lovely and brand new and shiny and will make me full of smoothies again! Woop woop.

Muffin made me dinner the other night (this is a rare occasion) and it was delish! A miso soup base with carrots, mushrooms, tofu and quinoa. Very tasty indeed.

This food week isn't the most inspired.. dont say you weren't warned. I have a cold now and am trying my best to be inspired but all i want to do is be warm and not spend time writing recipes!

One night we had spuds. I LOVE A GOOD SPUD. I love baking spuds in the oven and then looking whats in the fridge and throwing it all on top. It's even better when it tastes good (!) I fried mushrooms with zucchini, onion and garlic and made a spicy yoghurt to go on top, in place of sour cream. I flavoured it with cumin, chilli, coriander, garlic, lemon and salt+pepper and we ate it with a nice salad.

Another night we had a simple stirfry and muffin plated up.. notice a chef difference?!

Right now I am eating freshly baked cookies from the freezer from this recipe.

and soon I will eat a vegetarian snossage in bread with sauce and curl up along side the heater/tissue box. LOVELY!

Also, i'm reading Cravatalicious! I highly disliked watching Matt Preston on Masterchef. Mostly because I don't like watching people eat but also because he always made creepy faces and creepy eye movements that made me feel uneasy. WITH THAT SAID, his book is actually hilarious and I have a new found respect for him as a food journalist.


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