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.

 

Red wine chocolate mud cake

“This would have to be my new favourite cake!  I’ve always loved a good mud cake but adding the red wine and spices adds a new dimension to this devilishly good dessert.  The smell while it’s cooking is intense and indulgent, filling the house with a mulled-wine aroma that’s hard to beat.  The addition of the port buttercream adds another dimension but I also make it with a basic ganache.  The best news is it’s so simple to make (although the decorating has taken a while for me to get proficient).  This is also one of those recipes that works just as well as a cupcake and lasts really well for up to five days without losing it’s texture.  Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 375g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 600ml red wine
  • 4 eggs
  • 400g dark sugar
  • 450g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Place chocolate, butter and red wine in a saucepan and heat on medium stirring occasionally until all the ingredients have melted and combined.  Allow to cool for 1/2 and hour.
  3. Beat the eggs and the sugar until combined.
  4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Stir in the flour and spice until combined.
  6. Pour into 2 lined 20cm cake tins and cook for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry.
  7. Allow the cakes to cool.“If you plan to decorate your cakes in fondant, cover cakes in glad wrap and refrigerate until the cakes become completely cooled and solid.  This makes slicing them much easier.  If you want to make a simpler version, slice the cakes in half and fill with cream, ganache or butter cream or use sliced strawberries or fresh raspberries. But for pure indulgence I’ve included my port buttercream recipe.  Try not to eat more buttercream than goes in the cake!”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup port
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 200g room temperature butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • a splash of port

Method

  1. place port and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved then reduce to a low heat and let the port reduce to 1/3 of a cup.
  2. Place the reduced port in a container and refrigerate until cool.
  3. Add butter and cooled port (it will be very thick and sticky!) to a food processor and mix until combined.  (You may have to stop the machine several times to help combine the sticky port mixture into the butter).
  4. Add the icing sugar and a splash of port and mix until smooth.
  5. Remove the cooled cakes from the fridge and cut off the domed tops.  Slice the cakes in half and fill with port buttercream making sure the top level of the cake is the bottom of one of your cakes.
  6. Cover the cake in chocolate ganache and decorate with fondant.