Vegie Bolognese

“Recently, in an attempt to have less meat in our diet, I’ve been trying to create vegetarian and vegan recipes that still satisfy me and pack a punch of flavour and texture.  My favourite would have to be mushroom parmigiana.  Right up there with the chicken version!  One dish we eat heaps of is Bolognese or Chilli con carne and I’ve started using half beef, half lentils to great effect.  I still wanted to do a vegan version, so started experimenting with this recipe.  My aim was to get a dish that felt like you were eating the original and still had heaps of complex flavours.  The fact that my carnivorous husband loves it means it must be a success. This is a good recipe for doing in bulk and freezing for later.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp star anise powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 x 400g can of tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can of lentils
  • 1 x 400g can of chick peas
  • 1 x 400g can of black or red beans
  • 400g mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Barbecue sauce (optional)
  • 100g pecans, finely diced
Method
  1. Cook the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in a large frypan until soft.
  2. Add the tomato paste, star anise, cumin and paprika and cook off for a few minutes.
  3. Add the red wine and tomatoes then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Put the mushrooms in a food processor until diced. You want to keep a bit of texture. Do the same with the chick peas.
  5. Put mushrooms, lentils, beans and chickpeas in a large stockpot or slow cooker.  Pour in the tomato and red wine mixture and combine.  Allow this to sit on low heat for at least an hour.  If the mixture gets too dry, add more red wine or vegetable stock.
  6. Add the kecap manis (or dark soy sauce) and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you want a smokey flavour add the barbecue sauce.
  7. Stir in the pecans just before you serve for added texture.
  8. Serve with the pasta of your choice and parmesan cheese.

 

Vegetarian “Sausage” Rolls

“I’ve got an increasing number of friends that are either vegetarian or vegan. so I decided I’d better perfect a vegetarian “Sausage” roll.  As I plan to open a cafe in the future I thought it would be a good addition to the menu.  I’ve found that other veggie rolls I’ve had have been a bit bland and lacking in texture so I’ve added pumpkin seeds and a few other ingredients to give them a culinary kick.  The filling contains no animal products so vegans can make them simply by substituting vegan pastry for the puff pastry I’ve used.  I’ve also used the filling as a veggie burger patty by rolling in bread crumbs and shallow frying.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 150g mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 75g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 60g olives
  • 100g bread crumbs
  • 400g can of chick peas, drained and lightly smashed
  • 400g sweet potato, roasted or grated
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry or vegan pastry
  •  Egg-wash or almond milk to brush on pastry
  • Poppy seeds
Method
  1. Place the whole unpeeled sweet potato on a tray and bake at 180 degrees C for 40 minutes or until it is soft all the way through.  Let it cool then blitz in a food processor until smooth. (You can also just grate the sweet potato and add to the mixture, but I prefer the baked version)
  2.  Fry the diced onion, garlic, mushroom and fennel seeds until onion is translucent.  Set aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor, blitz the sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
  4. Combine the grated carrot, zucchini, bread crumbs, smashed chick peas and pumpkin seeds.  Add in the tomatoes and olives, the garlic and onion mixture and the pureed sweet potato. Stir the mixture well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Lay out 4 sheets of puff pastry or vegan pastry and distribute a log of the cooled filling down the middle of each.
  6. Wrap the pastry around the filling and place seam side down on a baking tray.
  7. Brush with egg-wash or almond milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees C for 30-45 minutes or until the pastry has cooked and browned.
  9. Let the rolls cool slightly before slicing into segments and serve with a sauce or chutney.

 

 

 

 

Hummus Chicken

“After a weekend of catering three different events with three completely different and rather complicated menus I thought it would be good to post my favourite simple stand-by recipe.  I came up with this recipe years ago when I started making hummus from scratch (when I realised it’s so much better than the store-bought varieties!).  I needed a dish that I could prepare in the morning and throw into the oven when I got home.  It’s also really easy to modify by substituting different vegetables such and capsicum or eggplant.  I sometimes do it in small ramekins for a more formal occasion but usually I just bring it to the table in the baking dish and let everyone dig in!  It may not look pretty but the flavours are sensational!  Enjoy!”

Hummus Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g tins of chick peas
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp tahini paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat a small fry pan and add cumin seeds, stirring until they become fragrant.  Grind with a mortar and pestle until reduced to a powder.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add a small amount of water if it’s too thick and season to taste.

Hummus chicken ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 medium mushrooms
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 quantity of hummus
  • 850g chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare all your ingredients.  Finely slice potatoes (I use a mandolin on the thinnest setting).  Slice onion into rings. Slice mushrooms.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into 4mm strips.  Cut chicken thighs into quarters.
  2. Grease a baking dish and put a layer of potato and red onion at the bottom.
  3. Follow this with a layer of mushrooms and cover with the zucchini.
  4. Spread some of the hummus (about a cup) over the zucchini in an even layer.
  5. Spread the chicken on top and cover with another layer of hummus.
  6. Finish with a layer of potato, season with salt and pepper and some Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees c for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the topping is golden.
  8. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread to soak up the sauce and vegetables.