Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Carb-free! (ish)

Comfort food..

It's a very personal thing. In the past, comfort food to me has been giant (i mean giant) bowls of pasta, even more giant plates of pierogis, fresh tiger loaf slathered with cold butter, and of COURSE absolutely massive turkish bread sandwiches and vegie burgers with poutine!

Didyanotice that that is all carbohydrates?! Thus my problem! So I am cutting down on me carbs! I do actually already feel a lot better already, 1 week into it. It is too easy to whip up a meal around carbs, so it definitely takes some brain power to steer clear of them.

I haven't cut out wrap bread though, as I am a wrap-lover and would probably cry without them ;) Its been pretty easy to snack on fruits and nuts instead actually. For the time being I've also cut out anything overly sugary, such as energy drinks/high-suger juices and chocolate. (the chocolate I miss already!)

One night this week Muffin and I shared a lovely salad plate. We ate it with a few multi-grain vita weats (my favourite bikkie), but essentially just filled up on vegie goodness.

And my most delicious meal this week was actually just a tofu scramble! I shouldn't say just because you should never underestimate a good tofu scramble! This one was more of a dinner edition than a brekky edition though. So easy and SO delicious!

1/2 zucchini, sliced
3 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 red capsicum, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup cooked spinach, chopped
1/2 block tofu
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 avocado
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds.

Add all vegies into a hot frying pan and fry for a couple of minutes until starting to colour. Crumble in the tofu and break down as much as you desire. Add in the rest of the spices and fry for about 5-10 minutes until it is relatively dry and toasty in colour! Serve with fresh avocado and sesame seeds sprinkled on top!
I ate this with beet hummus, rocket pesto and avocado spread onto corn thins.

Another night I made a sort of pizza but used a super thin whole-wheat wrap bread instead of white hunks of dough.

I dry-fried the wrap bread on one side and then topped it with some rocket pesto and a mixture of fried zucchini, mushroom, eggplant and spinach. I added fresh diced tomato, some salt and pepper and a little bit of cheese. I grilled it in the oven and the whole process took about 15 minutes! To serve I dolloped on some beet hummus, avocado and sriracha. Yuuuuuuuuuuuumm.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

So fresh and so clean, clean!

Yes, I was going for the fattest cold roll in the world record! And I think I got pretty close to winning ;)

I make these all the time, and no, I still don't know how to make small ones! I get so carried away because they are delicious. I always serve them with two sauces; 

The peanutty one is actually only 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter to about 1/4 cup of coconut milk and a squirt of sriracha. SO SIMPLE!

The soy one is 1 chinese spoon sweet soy, 1 chinese spoon dark soy, 1 chinese spoon light soy, 1 chinese spoon rice wine vinegar, 1 chinese spoon water, 1/2 chinese spoon sriracha, 1 chinese spoon toasted sesame seeds. EAAASSSSYYY. 

Tonight was bbq weather. I knew this because it was sunny, and not windy = perfect. 

and now, with titles! ("ooooh")

the grilled corn I just threw on the bbq til it blackened a little.

Guacamole was 2 avocado's, mixed with a little spanish onion, lime, tomato, coriander, salt, pepper and chilli (and actually not very nice, the avo's had no flavour!) sad face.

beet hummus had 2 tins of chick peas, 1 Tablespoon tahini, 1 Tablespoon lemon, 1/2 cup beet (i used tinned - fresh would be better), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.

pesto was made with 2 cups rocket and about 1 cup of mixed nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, cashews), 1 clove garlic, good glug oil, salt and pepper! Blitz.

bbq veg, I skewered and bbq'd until cooked. No marinade, just simple :D

polenta flowers, cook polenta according to packet instructions and at the end add in 1/2 cup grated zucchini, 1 Tablespoon parmesan and salt and pepper. Pour mix into greased cake tin and leave to cool. Cut shapes out of solid mix and fry or bbq for a few minutes on each side until crisp! VERY YUM.

sweet potato rosti, literally just grated sweet potato thrown on the hot plate of the bbq. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

stuffed mushrooms, take large swiss mushrooms and scoop out the middle 'gills', place in a bowl with 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs (you could use nuts) a splash of oil and 2 Tablespoons of your pesto. Mix and refill the mushroom caps. Grill for about 5 minutes. 

I also made fattoush:

1 cup mixed gourmet lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 celery stick, sliced (this is not traditional!)
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1 handful marinated artichokes
1 handful black olives
1 handful mint
1 handful parsley

5 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
salt + pepper

1 spinach mountain bread
1 teaspoon cape malay seasoning (I got this from Oxfam. It's a spice mix of coriander, salt, cumin, pepper, fennel, chilli, mustard seed, cinnamon and turmeric! If you can't find it, just use a pinch of the first 5 spices.)

Lightly oil the mountain bread and sprinkle with cape malay seasoning. Grill until brown, leave to cool and break up into pieces.

Add the bread and dressing to the salad right before serving so nothing goes soggy! 


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

pumpkin - meet pie!

when pumpkin met thanksgiving..

a polka dot pumpkin pie was born!

A few days ago was Canadian Thanksgiving, and so in true Australian style we celebrated with a thanksgiving bbq! The only similarity to the Canadian Day was that there was pumpkin pie and we were thankful for it :D

I read billions of recipes to come up with this one and found it difficult to find one without tinned pumpkin puree. I'm not a great fan of tinned moosh when I can make it myself so easily. 

First things first, I chose a Japanese Pumpkin because I think they are sweeter than the others and I can't get sugar pumpkins here in Australia (I wish I could - they are so cute!)

Polka Dot Pumpkin Pie:
For the crust:
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup plain flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
3-4 Tablespoons cold soy milk

In a large bowl, add both flours, sugar, cinnamon, salt and mix together. Add in cubes of butter and mix together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in small amounts of the milk until your dough forms a ball. 

Shape it into a disk and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in fridge for a few hours or over night.

Remove from fridge and roll out between two sheets of glad wrap until it is about 5mm thick. Transfer to a pie dish, prick the base with a fork and crimp the edges. Bake in a 180C oven for about 10 minutes or until slightly cooked but not browned.

For the puree:
1 pumpkin, roasted, pureed (you need 2 cups of puree)
egg replacer, to the equivalent of 3 egg whites, whipped
1 & 1/4 cups cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Cut pumpkin into chunks and roast in a 180C oven until soft. About 1 hour. Remove and wait until slightly cooled, peel and mash. Then use cheesecloth or a tea towel to squeeze the puree to remove the excess moisture. Add in the rest of the ingredients and season to your taste. I like extra cinnamon :D

Pour puree into pre cooked pastry and bake in a 170C oven until the filling is firm, about 40 minutes.

weeee also had another pie. Yes, two pies in one day. This one was Banoffee Pie! Amazing, super simple and super sweet and delicious!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Smoothie town, population: jar.

What's the best kind of smoothie? (well berry of course) 
I love drinking out of jars. Then again, I think I love everything kitsch. 

One thing I always loved about Canada was ordering an iced T and having it arrive in a glass jar with a handle : D Most of the time that was my reasoning for ordering iced T.

I love smoothies. They are a meal in a glass (jar).

In this one I put raspberries, strawberries, a banana, a passionfruit and a splash of orange juice. I freeze my strawberries so there's no need to use ice!

Don't worry folks. A Blag about actual food tomorrow! Cause pie counts as food right?!

Have a lovely day. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

THE Best Moussaka.

Contrary to what my absent blogging may lead you to believe, I have  actually been cooking quite a bit. Most of it has been un-blog-worthy or Carla's recipe tests!

See? see? Photo proof!

As far as my own recipes, this week I made a vegie stir fry with hokkien noodles.

I didn't write down a recipe, just threw in whatever vegies we had and added ginger, garlic, lemongrass, soy, sesame and chilli! Voila. It was pretty tasty, but even better the next day.

TODAAYYYYY I made the tastiest moussaka ever! Well. Possibly a little exaggerated, but it was my first moussaka attempt and it is pretty damn tasty, if I do say so myself. It's one of those recipes that seems like a lot of effort - but once you get going you can do everything as something else is going along... ya know!? Try it, it's worth it. 

Bug's First Moussaka:

2 large eggplants, 1/4 inch slices (yet again, I don't work in inches but this sounds about right!)
1 large zucchini, 1/4 inch slices
1 Tablespoon Cape Malay Seasoning*
Salt + pepper

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 brown onion, sliced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup passata 
2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dried chilli flakes (i like spice :D)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 cup blacked eyed peas, cooked
1 tin lentils

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
500-750mL soy milk (depending how thick you want it)
1/4 cup grated cheese (optional)
white pepper

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 200C.

Roast eggplant and zucchini with spices and oil until soft. About 20 minutes for zucchini, and 40 minutes for eggplant.

Fry mushrooms in olive oil until brown. Remove and set aside.

In a big saucepan, fry garlic and onion until softened. Add in tomato paste and passata and let reduce for 5-10 minutes. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients (except lentils and peas), stir and season to taste. Remove from heat and add lentils and peas at the last minute so they don't over cook.

Make your bechamel by melting butter in a saucepan and adding in the flour. I use a whisk to combine and let the flour cook out a little. Make sure your pan is quite hot and add the milk a little bit at a time at first - and then all in one go. Whisk like crazy at first and then let thicken and whisk not so often. It shouldn't take any longer than 10 minutes. Add the cheese and seasoning at the end and season to taste. 

To assemble:
Lay half of the breadcrumbs on the base of your baking dish. Make a layer of eggplant, then zucchini, then mushroom. 
For the next layer pour all of the tomato bean mix and spread evenly. It will look like quite a lot but the eggplant will suck it up.
Add the rest of the breadcrumbs, top with your bechamel.
Finish with a sprinkling of parmesan, sesame seeds, salt and white pepper.

(if you would like to be awesome like me, then also top with 3 pretty eggplant flowers!)

Bake until browned, about 40 minutes.

* I got this from Oxfam. It's a spice mix of coriander, salt, cumin, pepper, fennel, chilli, mustard seed, cinnamon and turmeric! If you can't find it, just use a pinch of the first 5 spices. 


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