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

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

• 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.

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…


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

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

• 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!)

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

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

• 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


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

• 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.

Cauliflower Bake with Baby Capers

Cauliflower Bake with Baby Capers

I have been making this bake since my early days of cooking. Cauliflower Bake with Baby Capers is your ultimate winter bake with its creamy texture and heartiness. Best served with a fresh salad as it is quite filling. Try a winter salad like coleslaw. I served mine with white cabbage, green onion and parsley salad with creamy mustard dressing. The recipe below is for 2.

cauliflower bake baby capers

Cauliflower Bake with Baby Capers

½ cauliflower
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
1 cup boiled water
1 teaspoon Turkish chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon baby capers in brine
1 tablespoon flat-leaf continental parsley, chopped

For Béchamel Sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 cup milk
Salt to taste

Grated cheese (I used Nimbin)

• Boil some water in a pot and add the cauliflower and lemon juice. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a pot. You can use the same pot as you boiled the cauliflower in –just dry it properly before you return it to heat so that the oil won’t splatter. Fry the onions until they are thoroughly cooked. Dilute the concentrated tomato paste in boiled water and add to the onions. Season with Turkish chili flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lastly add baby capers and chopped parsley. Mix in the par-boiled cauliflower and make sure that each piece is covered in tomato sauce.
• Remove from heat and divide the cauliflower dish in tomato sauce into two oven-proof dish.
• To Make the Béchamel Sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. When melted, add flour and cook stirring with a wooden spatula. Spatulas work better than wooden spoons in a situation like this in a way that the sauce does not form lumps. It is more difficult to achieve smooth texture with a spoon. Remove from heat and slowly add cold milk, whisking constantly until the sauce becomes thick and glossy. Add salt, stir well and remove from heat.
• Cover the cauliflowers with béchamel sauce and top them up with grated cheese.
• Place the bakes under the grill and brown the top. Serve hot.

Vegetarian Chorizo Pizza for Eurovision 2016

vegetarian chorizo pizzaYesterday, I was forced by my husband to get out of the house and buy some ingredients from The Cruelty Free Shop in Glebe. There are reasons for this…

The reason number one: I have been couped up at home, rehearsing for Open Mic Night at The Vanguard or in Big Music Studios with the rest of the band. Now that the event is behind us, I can focus on other things.
The reason number two: I have been experimenting with ready-made, supermarket-bought pizza bases for a while and hoping to get more of Gran chorizo which works really, really well. When you have it in your cupboard, though (which I didn’t). So, I had to go out and get some ingredients.
The reason number three: Since we are way into Autumn here in Australia and experiencing really good weather makes you think how many more days like this we have left? Saturday was a really good example so use these days wisely while you can.
The reason number four: Eurovision semi-final was on last night which was screaming pizza and large quantities of alcohol to drink after every key change and wind machine 🙂

vegetarian chorizo pizza

Vegetarian Chorizo Pizza

1 pizza base (I used Pomodoro Brothers brand which I buy from Coles)

For Passata:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped or grated
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
Salt to taste

For the Pizza Topping:
2 rings pineapple, chopped
10 slices Gran Chorizo
1 spring onion, chopped
2 pickled baby cornichons, sliced
1/3 banana chili, chopped

Grated cheese

• Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan forced) or 200ºC.
• Place the pizza base on a tray (preferably earthen pizza tray).
• To make Passata: Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the tomato, garlic powder and onion powder. Cook over medium heat until tomato pieces lose their shape completely and the consistency is sauce like. While hot, spread it all over the pizza base. This will soften the pizza base a little.
• Arrange the pineapple pieces, vegetarian chorizo, spring onion, baby cornichons and banana chili on top of passata. Top it all up with grated cheese and place it in the middle of the oven. Bake the pizza for 20 minutes.
• Slice and serve immediately.

Turkish Stuffed Zucchini or Kabak Dolması

Turkish Stuffed Zucchini or Kabak Dolması

I order our fruits and vegetables –along with some other pantry items –through Harris Farm to be delivered to my door every week. They now have this “imperfect picks” option. Basically, your usual fruits and vegetables that don’t look good on the outside. The ugly guys, so to speak. However, they taste good and are cheaper as well.

We’re having friends over for dinner on Friday night. So I put together a menu after I talked to them if they were allergic to anything or if there’s anything they don’t like –standard dinner party procedure. Based on what I’ll be cooking for them and our weekly menu items, I put my order in. Luckily, the ugly zucchinis I ordered happened to have large bottoms! That means, they are large enough to stuff!

Turkish Stuffed Zucchini Kabak Dolması

A note on vegetarian mince: I used Quorn vegetarian mince in this recipe because I can’t get Linda McCartney’s mince anymore in Australia and I really don’t like Sanitarium’s mince. The other alternative to vegetarian mince is The Redwood VegiDeli Gourmet Meat Free Mince but I find it quite expensive and not so easy to get. Quorn mince, on the other hand, can be purchased from Woolworths or Coles, depending on the branch.

A note on an absent ingredient: The traditional Kabak Dolması has rice in the stuffing mix and we have it with plain buttered pasta as a side dish –very German/Austrian, I know. I didn’t use rice this time because I was planning on making a rice pilaf as a side dish and didn’t want things too rice-y. Well, I didn’t make the rice pilaf in the end but dolmas were already cooking when I made that decision. Let’s not talk about it, shall we?

Turkish Stuffed Zucchini or Kabak Dolması

4 large pieces zucchini

For the Stuffing Mixture:
4 tablespoons Quorn vegetarian mince, thawed (see note above)
½ small brown onion, chopped finely
1 small tomato, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon Turkish pepper paste (hot)
A drizzle vegetable oil
A large pinch Turkish dried mint
Salt to taste
A pinch ground sweet paprika

For Garlic Yoghurt:
4 tablespoons Greek style plain yoghurt
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 twig fresh dill, chopped

• Peel and carve out the fleshy part of zucchinis.
• Mix together the vegetarian mince, chopped onion, chopped tomato, Turkish hot pepper paste, vegetable oil, chopped dill, dried mint, salt, black pepper and ground paprika.
• Fill the hollow parts of zucchinis with the stuffing mixture. You will have some extra stuffing mixture.
• Place the extra stuffing mixture in a saucepan and lightly cook. Carefully transfer the stuffed zucchinis into the saucepan and fill up the gaps between dolmas with boiled water. Put the lid on and once it starts to boil, reduce the heat.
• Meanwhile, prepare the garlic yoghurt by mixing together yoghurt, crushed garlic and fresh dill weeds. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water until you reach the right consistency –it should be a little runny. Set aside.
• When stuffed zucchinis are fully cooked, serve immediately with garlic yoghurt. Afiyet olsun!

Turkish Stuffed Zucchini Kabak Dolması

Stir-Fried Vegetables with Ginger and Cashew Nuts

Stir-Fried Vegetables Ginger Cashew NutsStir-Fried Vegetables with Ginger and Cashew Nuts

My husband and I decided to have a whole Thai week; cooking our favourite Thai dishes for the entire week. He made his famous Pad Thai and Thai Green Curry and I made Roasted Faux-Duck Curry and Stir-Fried Vegetables with Ginger and Cashew Nuts –the subject of this post.

The recipe comes from a vegetarian cooking class we did together in Bangkok. This one was one those dishes we actually cooked during the class taught by May Kaidee. It took me quite a long time to make another attempt outside Thailand but when I did, it turned out to be quite something.

Stir-Fried Vegetables with Ginger and Cashew Nuts

Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pack prepared tofu
1 small carrot, chopped
½ onion, coarsely chopped
1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 birds eye chillies, finely chopped
¼ broccoli, broken into florets
¼ cauliflower, broken into florets
8 pieces woodear mushrooms, torn into small pieces
12 tbsp water
2 tsp vegan fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp Lamyong Mushroom (Oyster) Sauce
4 tbsp grated ginger
4 tbsp dry-toasted cashews

• To prepare the tofu, drain the whole pack and pat dry. Place the tofu on a plate with two layers of paper towel on and wrap the tofu up with the paper towel for better absorption. Put another plate on top (upside down) and stack up a few heavy books. Change the paper towel about an hour later and repeat the process until the tofu is dry. Then cut the tofu into small squares. Heat 1 cup of oil in a wok and fry the tofu until golden brown. Drain and set aside. Discard the oil and wipe the wok with a paper towel, getting it ready for the vegetables.
• Heat the oil in the wok and add carrots, onion, tomato, garlic, chilli and prepared tofu. When they are cooked thoroughly, add woodear mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower and water. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
• Add vegan fish sauce, sugar and mushroom sauce. Once the mushroom sauce starts to dissolve, add ginger and cashews. Carefully stir all the ingredients and serve immediately.

Baked Whole Cauliflower, VegFusion style

baked whole cauliflowerBaked Whole Cauliflower, VegFusion style

I have been very lucky with my latest cauliflower dishes recently. While my luck lasts, there is one other cauliflower dish that I would like to try and make. It is something I have been seeing done by very good restaurants around Sydney and many other places around the world. Baked Whole Cauliflower, that is. So I wanted to give it a try. Mind you, my version of this dish has more Turkish flavours than its Western counterparts.

Here’s how I worked it out: To keep the covering moist, I used plain yoghurt and for browning purposes, I used egg yolk. I came very close to using dried spearmint –which goes nicely with cauliflower, by the way –but changed my mind on the last minute and used onion powder instead. It turned out to be a very good decision as onion powder added some savouriness to the dish. Well, I’m quite happy with the results. If you would like to try, here’s the recipe:

Baked Whole Cauliflower, VegFusion Style

1 medium sized cauliflower
1 large pinch salt
4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 egg yolk
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground sweet paprika
1 teaspoon (heaped) onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste

• Preheat the oven to 200 °C, 180 °C (fan forced)/350 °F/Gas mark 4.
• Cut off the leaves from cauliflower. Boil water in a large pot and add the cauliflower –stalk side up. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain and place it on a baking dish. Set aside for at least 10 minutes before pouring the sauce on top.
• Whisk together the yoghurt, egg yolk, crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil, ground sweet paprika, onion powder, ground black pepper and salt until it is well combined and sauce-like.
• Pour the mixture over cooked cauliflower gradually with a spoon, making sure that the mixture is even.
• Bake the cauliflower in the oven for 20 minutes. Cut into 4 slices and serve immediately.

Vegan Fish and Chips

IMG_5269 (1280x974)

I have been wanting to add a vegan fish and chips recipe to my repertoire for a very long time. The recipe for the batter came from Dad and it’s the one Granddad had used at his own fish and chips shop. Surprisingly, it’s originally vegan. (Thanks Dad!)

I did have some challenges, though. Adjusting the amount of batter specifically for 4 pieces of Lamyong Soy Fillets was one and getting the right batter consistency was the other one. Well, it all worked well in the end.

Vegan Fish and Chips
4 pieces Lamyong Vegetarian Soy Fillets (sliced variety), thawed
4 medium-sized potatoes, cut into chips
Sunflower oil, for deep frying
Tartare sauce for serving (Masterfoods’ tartare sauce is suitable for vegetarians and vegans)

For Batter:
2 tbsp (heaped) plain flour and some extra for dusting the soy fillets
1 tbsp (heaped) self-rising flour
1 tsp (heaped) baking soda

• Preheat deep-fryer to 190 degrees C.
• Peel and slice the potatoes, pat dry and cut into chips 1.5 cm wide.
• Fry the chips until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel. Season with salt.
• Mix plain flour, self-rising flour, baking soda and very little water. The batter should be quite thick so add the water gradually. Whisk until all the flour and everything else is well incorporated and the batter is smooth.
• Dust the soy fillets with plain flower and lightly coat in batter. Add to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, turning regularly. Drain on paper towel, season with salt and serve with the chips and tartare sauce.

Note: Vegan Fish and Chips goes really well with Leffe Blond (Belgian beer).