Kumera & English Spinach Gnocchi from Harvest Vegetarian

Kumera & English Spinach Gnocchi from Harvest Vegetarian Cookbook is an incredibly time consuming recipe but it’s worth the effort.

The recipe below yields quite a bit of gnocchi but don’t fret because gnocchi freezes well. Just lightly dust them with flour and freeze them in a bag.

If you don’t have time or energy to make your own gnocchi, you could buy ready-made gnocchi from chiller section of your supermarket and bake it with Lemon and Garlic Cream Sauce.

English Spinach Gnocchi

Kumera & English Spinach Gnocchi from Harvest Vegetarian
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Gather:
500g (2 cups, 1.1 lb) desiree or pontiac potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
250g (1 cup, 8 oz) kumara (sweet potato), peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons salt pepper to taste
1 bunch lemon thyme, leaves only
90g (3 oz) English spinach leaves (wash, chop and wash again)
2 tablespoons fresh basil or oregano, finely chopped
500g (2 cups, 1.1 lb) plain flour

Lemon and Garlic Cream Sauce
300ml (1/4 cups, 10 fl oz) cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon

250g (1 cup, 8 oz) parmesan, grated

Create:
• Boil potatoes until just cooked-when a wooden skewer can just be inserted, do not overcook. Drain. When cool, peel and return to pan to dry off well. Mash until smooth.
• Boil kumara until just cooked. (Do not cook with potatoes as each has a different cooking time.) Drain and mash.
• Combine potato and kumara mash, salt, pepper to taste, lemon thyme leaves, chopped spinach and basil or oregano. Add flour to thicken and mix thoroughly.
• Wash and oil your hands and roll a teaspoon of gnocchi mix into a ball. Place on a tray and continue until all the mix is rolled. You will need to wash and oil your hands as you go.
• Roll each ball in the seasoned flour and roll in clean, floured hands for up to two minutes each, to help develop the gluten and allows the gnocchi balls to maintain their shape when cooking. Place balls on a clean tray and continue until all the gnocchi is rolled and ready to cook.
• Drop 6-8 balls at a time into a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water. They rise to the top when cooked. Remove and place in sauce. (Or, prior to placing in sauce, you can keep in refrigerator for two days or freeze for later use.)
• To make the Lemon and Garlic Cream Sauce: Combine cream, garlic and lemon juice in a saucepan bring all ingredients to the boil then simmer until thick. Stir frequently. Place gnocchi in sauce and stir to coat.
• Transfer into an ovenproof serving dish and cover with grated parmesan then grill until golden.

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Thyme

Creamy Cauliflower Salad Lemon Thyme

I have been growing some of my herbs in our outdoor area for some time. Some of them have been successful, some died and replaced and even the replacements died. It’s a process I’m learning and in the end, all this will translate into a mini eBook (hopefully) for you guys to download. I will keep you posted on VegFusion Facebook page. So, go and like the page if haven’t done so.

Lemon thyme I used in this Creamy Cauliflower Salad is the one from my own herb garden. I have always thought that buying a bunch of lemon thyme to be used just one thing was waste of money. However, you pick just the right amount if you’re growing your own and the rest of it will still live.

Mixing yoghurt and mayonnaise is a common practice where I come from. It sort of balances the creaminess of the salad dressing. And, here in this recipe, I flavoured this creaminess with Dijon mustard and added some tanginess with white wine vinegar.

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Thyme
Ingredients:

1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
Juice of ½ lemon

For the Creamy Dressing:
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt, thick Greek style
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I used Plamil Egg Free Mayonnaise which is vegan)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

2 twigs fresh lemon thyme, leaves separated
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
• Wash the cauliflower and drain. Broke into small florets.
• Boil enough water in a large pot. Once it starts boiling, add the lemon juice (you can squeeze it directly into the pot) and cauliflower florets. Cook the cauliflower for 10 minutes. Drain and immediately drop the florets into cold water to prevent further cooking. Cauliflower florets should be slightly firm. Once they are cool, drain and set aside.
• To make the creamy dressing: Mix together plain yoghurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar. Season to taste.
• Place the cauliflower in a salad bowl and dress it with the creamy dressing. Mix well.
• Garnish with lemon thyme and freshly ground black pepper and serve!

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Yesterday, I was tidying up my Indian recipes on my computer. All of a sudden it occurred to me that I haven’t done much Indian cooking recently. I was especially missing my Aloo Matar (potatoes and peas) and it seemed like I may have cooked it a million and a half years ago. I quickly checked the radiation levels in my fridge and for that I mean ingredients. Eventually decided to make my aloo matar and something else. That something else is below…

prawns

My Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce recipe was inspired by Meena Pathak’s Chingri malai curry from her book; Flavours of India.

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Meena Pathak says that the dish is from the east coast of India. Of course, it uses real prawns but I substituted them with vegan/vegetarian prawns. The recipe also calls for bay leaves but I didn’t have any. So, I left it out completely.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 vegan/vegetarian king prawns, thawed and cut into 2
½ cup frozen baby green beans
5 baby corns, chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic
1 piece ginger (about an inch)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
2.5 cm (1 in) piece of cinnamon stick, broken into 3 (I used a very thin one)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon plain natural yogurt
270 ml coconut milk
Salt to taste

Method:
• Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and add vegetarian prawns, green beans, baby corn and turmeric. Fry them on high heat until they are crispy. Remove and set aside.
• Place the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste.
• Wipe the pan with paper towel. Add the remaining oil to the pan (1 tablespoon) and add the cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon.
• Reduce the heat, and add the onion, garlic and ginger paste to the pan. Stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
• Add 1 teaspoon turmeric and red chilli powder. Sprinkle with a little water and stir well.
• Add the yogurt and mix well. Pour in the coconut milk and return the vegetarian prawns, green beans and baby corn to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
• Serve with plain boiled rice.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Recipe: Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)

Aloo Matar

Aloo Matar (Potatoes with Peas) is one of my favourite vegetarian Indian dishes of all time. Partly because it was the first Indian dish I ever learnt to cook.

Aloo means potato and matar means peas, by the way. It is a dry style Indian dish which can be added to other dishes like a daal or another main dish. I found the recipe in Shehzah Husain’s Vegetarian Indian cookbook many years ago. I make changes all the time like (you know me) but I have the original recipe here for you. Enjoy!

Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)
Ingredients:
Tomato puree (1 large tomato)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon garlic pulp
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 onions, diced
125 g (4 oz) peas (I use baby peas because they cook faster)
300 ml (1/2 pint) corn oil
3 potatoes, roughly diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
½ green pepper, deseeded and sliced
½ red pepper, deseeded and sliced

Method:
• Mix the tomato puree, ground coriander, chilli powder, garam masala, garlic, turmeric, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and fry until golden brown. Pour the tomato puree and spice mixture into pan, lower the heat and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and set aside.
• Heat the remaining corn oil in a karahi or deep frying pan to 180C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds, add the potatoes and fry them until they have golden edges and are cooked through. Remove the potatoes dice from the pan and add to the peas and spice mixture.
• Finally, add the fresh coriander and sliced green and red peppers and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Serve the dish hot.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

I hope you guys all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was fun and it lasted (the fun bit) until we were finally exhausted. Exhausted from eating and drinking but that’s what you do at this time of the year, right?

As promised… this is the salad we had for Christmas as a side to the main and a couscous dish. I thought it would be a good idea to keep all three Moroccan. I remember considering this particular salad for Vegan MoFo a few years ago when I had the Mediterranean theme for the whole month but never got around to it.

Recipe Notes: You might like to play around with the spices. I personally LOVE cumin and hot chilli so I use a lot more than specified in the recipes and even add more later on—which is true for cumin every time.

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)
Ingredients:

5 medium sized carrots (I must admit, Olly ate some while I was preparing. So, I can’t guarantee the exact amount 🙂 )
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chilli
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
juice of ½ lemon, freshly squeezed
A few black olives, pitted and halved ( used 6 olives)

Method:
• Cut the carrots into four lengthwise, then into sticks. Steam until al dente. Drain well and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a large frying pan (I used a non-stick, stone pan which is big enough for the job).
• Add the carrot sticks and sauté on a medium heat for a few minutes, until carrots are covered in oil evenly.
• Add the crushed garlic, cumin, chilli, cinnamon, salt and pepper, and sauté until the garlic is aromatic and slightly golden.
• Drizzle the salad with lemon juice and decorate with olives. Serve cold.

Broad Bean Salad with Fresh Dill and Feta

I have to juggle a lot of things recently. To be precise, since NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has started. During November, writers from around the world sign up for this event and write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. I participated it last year—it was my first time. This year, I’m participating again.

During the time of NaNoWriMo, everything gets to put on hold. I mean everything. Most days, you forget to do a lot. For example, I managed to trim Olly’s face, neck and front legs but totally forgot to do the rest. So, the rest of him is in its shaggy state. He is also getting a bit smelly because I forgot to give him a bath as well. See what I mean?

It’s worse when hunger kicks in, especially while I’m writing something very important. I have to leave my desk and try to come up with something that’ll be fast, filling so that I won’t need to repeat the same cycle within 2 hours and that something still needs to be edible. On top of everything, today I’m following US elections.

In between all of this, I managed to put together this salad though…
Enjoy!

Broad Bean Salad Fresh Dill FetaBroad Bean Salad with Fresh Dill and Feta
Ingredients:

½ pack (250gr) Heinz broad beans, frozen
100 grams feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
4 spring onions, chopped
½ bunch fresh dill weeds, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Method:
• Place frozen broad beans in a saucepan (small) with enough water to cover them and bring to a boil. Once it starts bubbling, reduce the heat and cook the beans until they are soft.
• Remove from heat and drain. Run cold water through them. When the beans are cool enough to handle, peel the tough skin covering each one of them.
• Place the beans in a salad bowl. Add the feta cheese, spring onions and fresh dill weeds.
• In a separate small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk well and drizzle over the salad.
• Toss together and serve immediately.

Çılbır or Turkish Poached Eggs with Garlic Yoghurt and Burnt Butter Dressing

Turkish Poached Eggs with Garlic Yoghurt and Burnt Butter Dressing or Çılbır
Traditionally, Çılbır (pronounced “chilber”) is a starter. It is the harmony of simple ingredients like poached eggs, garlic yoghurt, butter, ground sweet paprika and dried mint. My husband thinks the garlic yoghurt in Çılbır takes away the heaviness of egg yolks. For me, it’s an absolute comfort dish –starter of otherwise.

I believe Çılbır dates back to Ottoman palace kitchen. I remember our cook at one of those hotels I used to manage making Çılbır for our hotel guests. It was always a crowd pleaser. My recipe below is based on his recipe. Only with a twist.

ÇılbırTurkish Poached Eggs with Garlic Yoghurt and Burnt Butter Dressing or Çılbır
Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 fresh free-range eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

For Garlic Yoghurt:
1 cup plain yoghurt, preferably Greek style (unsweetened)
1 clove garlic, crushed

For Burnt Butter Dressing:
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
1 teaspoon or maybe a bit more dried mint

Method:
• Fill a wide saucepan with water until approximately 5cm deep. Add vinegar and bring to a boil.
• Meanwhile, crush the garlic and mix with yoghurt. If the yoghurt is too thick, thin it down with a little bit of water. Garlic yoghurt needs to be a bit runny to make it easy to spread over eggs.
• Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When it starts foaming, add the paprika and dried mint. Swirl it around and remove from the heat.
• Crack eggs individually into a ramekin or a small bowl. You could process two eggs together if you want to. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat down to medium. Water should be just simmering. Slowly, tip the eggs into water. Poach the eggs for 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Divide the eggs between plates.
• Return the burnt butter to the heat and heat it up a little. Top the eggs up with garlic yoghurt first and then drizzle with burnt butter. Serve Çılbır immediately.

Recipe Notes:
• Mop Çılbır up with some Turkish bread.
• Most people back in Turkey has Çılbır with Turkish chilli flakes. So, there’s a thought.

Na’ama’s Fattoush recipe from Jerusalem

Fattoush

This is a fabulous fattoush recipe from a fabulous book: Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I own a signed copy of it –signed by both authors. It is a beautiful book with a cloth cover and full of childhood memories around food, tradition, history and the city itself.

My fascination with Jewish food started with Marlena Spieler’s cookbook called Jewish Cooking and later on continued with Yotam Ottolenghi. None of these cookbooks are vegetarian. Nevertheless, they are great source of inspiration for me.

Back to the recipe… I have the original recipe here for you. However, I had to adjust a few things while I was making my own fattoush. For example, I reduced the measurements because it’s just the two of us. And, I used Afghan bread instead of Turkish flatbread or naan. As I always say: my kitchen is my queendom and I rule! 🙂

Na’ama’s Fattoush

SERVES 6

200 g Greek yoghurt and 200ml full-fat milk or 400mI of buttermilk (replacing both yoghurt
and milk)
2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan (250g in total)
3 large tomatoes (380g in total), cut into 1.5cm dice
100 g radishes, thinly sliced
1 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (250g in total), peeled and chopped into 1.5cm dice
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
15 g mint
25 g flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp dried mint
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp lemon juice
60 ml olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
¾ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sumac or more according to taste, to garnish

Method:
• If using yoghurt and milk, start at least three hours and up to a day in advance by placing both in a bowl. Whisk well and leave in a cool place or in the fridge until bubbles form on the surface. What you get is a kind of home-made buttermilk, but less sour.

• Tear the bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add your fermented yoghurt mixture or commercial buttermilk, followed by the rest of the ingredients, mix well and leave for 10 minutes for all the flavours to combine.

• Spoon the fattoush into serving bowls, drizzle with some olive oil and garnish generously with sumac.

Fattoush

Fettuccine in Creamy Prawn and Bacon Sauce (all vegetarian)

Fettuccine in Creamy Prawn and Bacon Sauce
Every week, we have one pasta dish for dinner. Supermarket bought ready to go, pop-out-of-the-jar style pasta sauces can be very practical. I use Arabiatta, Bolognese (by adding vegetarian mince to it), there is Napolitana and an olive variety as well. They are all tomato based as you can tell. So, it gets a little boring after a while.

To remedy the boredom situation in pasta dishes, I decided to add creamy pasta sauces to my repertoire. My Creamy Lemon Fettucine with Mushroom, Spinach and Pine Nuts was the first attempt and we enjoyed it so much. The recipe below is my second attempt. I think the second one is just as interesting as the Creamy Lemon Fettucine with Mushroom, Spinach and Pine Nuts. What do you think, Peoples?

Fettuccine Creamy Prawn Bacon Sauce

Fettuccine in Creamy Prawn and Bacon Sauce
Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 vegetarian prawn, thawed
2 rashers of Sanitarium Bacon Style Rashers
200 grams dry fettucine
1 tablespoon butter
1 tub thickened cream
1 tablespoon chives, snipped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
• Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan and add vegetarian prawns. Fry them on both sides and set aside.
• In the same frying pan, fry Sanitarium Bacon Style Rashers on both sides. Drain and set aside. Once Sanitarium Bacon Style Rashers are cool enough to handle cut them into small pieces.
• Meanwhile, cook fettucine according to packet instructions. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the butter and mix well making sure the butter is melted fully and fettucine is coated well.
• In a frying pan (or a skillet), heat the thickened cream with garlic and lemon juice. Once blended, add vegetarian prawn and Sanitarium Bacon Style Rashers. Season with salt and pepper.
• Combine fettucine and the sauce. Serve immediately with snipped chives on top.

Spinach with Eggs or Yumurtalı Ispanak

I have recently introduced my husband to this fantastic Turkish dish called Yumurtalı Ispanak (Spinach with Eggs). Now he keeps asking for it. Yes, I know; I created this monster. Anyway, this is a good example of Turkish comfort food and I sometimes crave it myself too.

The day I made the decision to make Spinach and Eggs, though, I didn’t have any spinach in my fridge –neither did onion. So, on my way back from my singing lesson the other day, I popped in to our local supermarket and grabbed some spinach and onion.

spinach eggs

There are a few different varieties of this dish back home. One of them uses mincemeat which can be substituted with vegetarian mince easily. Some people love it with chilli flakes and cumin and sometimes it is eaten with garlic yogurt, too. What I have here, however, just plain Spinach and Eggs.

Spinach with Eggs or Yumurtalı Ispanak
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 bunches English spinach
1 medium brown onion, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Method:
• Wash the spinach in cold water a few times until all the dirt is washed away. Discard the stems and chop roughly.
• Peel the onion and chop.
• Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable of in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until the onion is completely soft. Add the spinach and cook until it starts to wilt. Season with salt and pepper.
• Create two holes for eggs and break them into the holes. I usually try and spread the egg white as it binds the spinach nicely. And when it is time to serve the dish it is a lot easier to lift it with a spatula like a galette or omelette. Put the lid on and cook until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still soft.
• Sprinkle with extra black pepper and serve immediately.