Spring Pea and Mint Risotto

Okay, so as promised, today I’ve got a recipe for you!

As I said yesterday, we made it to Bowen in the afternoon. Aside from the Big Mango, Bowen is also known as ‘the Mural town’, due to the (you guessed it) murals painted on the sides of many buildings around town. We took a little wander and saw some of them, I think there were upwards of 20 in total though. They all told a little about the Town’s history, or the community which was pretty cool.

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Afterwards, we went down to the foreshore, where they’ve obviously done some recent upgrades. There was a killer new skate park that Billy enjoyed, and also this amazing waterpark/playground that was free for all. Every couple of minutes, the big bucket at the top would fill up and then pour over the whole playground. It was pretty spectacular.

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We decided to cook up a feed before travelling a further 45km to a free overnight stop north of Bowen, on the way to Ayr.

This recipe was adapted from a Donna Hay magazine, and truth be told, my mum was actually the first to veganise this one last time we were in Melbourne. I really enjoyed it, the mint brings a nice fresh flavour to the risotto.

This time I made it slightly different, as I got a bunch of snow peas at the farmer’s market the other day and used them in the place of sugar snap peas. The original recipe also calls for snow pea tendrils for serving, which would have given it a bit more oomph, but we were just using what we had available to us. We got the lovely big bunch of mint from the markets too, and it had been picked just the night before. It smelt and tasted amazing. Anyway, here’s the recipe!

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*note: when we had this at my mum and dad’s, mum used a mortar and pestle to grind up the mint leaves and salt. We don’t have one in the van, so I gave it a few pulses in the food processor, and then used the back of a spoon and a bowl to mush it into a paste.

Spring Pea and Mint Risotto
(serves 4-6)

2 cups fresh mint, roughly chopped
1tsp sea salt flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups Arborio rice
1 1/2 L hot chicken flavoured stock
3/4 cup frozen peas
200g snow peas (or sugar snap peas), trimmed, blanched and halved
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp Tofutti cream cheese, plus extra for serving
Snow pea tendrils for serving (optional)

Put the mint and sea salt in a mortar and pestle and pound until a rough paste forms (see note above). Add 1 Tbsp of the oil and stir to combine. Set aside.

Heat the other Tbsp of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the wine and cook off for another 2 minutes, before adding the rice and cooking for a further 2 mins, stirring frequently.

Add the stock, 1 cup at a time, allowing each to absorb before adding the next, and cook, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked al dente.

Remove from heat and stir in yeast flakes, Tofutti, snow peas, frozen peas and salt and pepper (to taste). Serve with a dollop of Toffuti, and if you like, drizzle with a little olive oil. Chuck on some snow pea tendrils too if you have them! I didn’t..

veganmofo

Travel day: Mackay to Bowen

We packed up and left Mackay this morning, bidding farewell to the showgrounds and our little flower friend that we found hidden away near our camp.

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I love getting to places, but I also love leaving. When we are back on the road, it’s exciting to find out what the next place will be like…it’s all an adventure! On the way out of town, we made a last minute decision to stop at an auto store to pick up a few things.

It was obviously meant to be, as we stumbled across this giant chair that we got to sit on.

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It was like being a kid again, when you sit on a chair and your feet can’t reach the ground.

Next stop, Airlee Beach.

First thing we spotted on the way into town was a skate park, so Bear had to get out and have a roll.

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Next we found a nursery with this dude out the front, which of course meant more stopping for photo ops.

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Airlee Beach itself was a little overrated. The town bit was quite commercial, and the ‘beach’ or bay beach was not even that nice. Perhaps especially because the tide was out, which always kind of makes the front part of the bay look like a wasteland.

We made salad and sat on the grass by the water anyway and enjoyed our lunch.

Then, onto Bowen. Bowen is about 200km north of Mackay, so we didn’t do a HUGE amount of travel, but we like breaking it into smaller doses, especially when it’s hot.

Bowen is a fruit and veggie growing region, and is also home to the Big Mango. We had to stop there, obviously.

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While there, we sampled some of the local delicacy in the form of some mango ‘sorbet’ (pure frozen mango).

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Truth be told, I’m not the biggest mango fan, but this was pretty yum. Also, you can’t go wrong with frozen treats when the weather is warm.

I made a yummy risotto for dinner tonight using some of the farmer’s market produce from the other day…I’ll share it with you tomorrow. We are now about 45km north of Bowen, and we’ll be heading not far up the road to Ayr tomorrow (and possibly onto Townsville). These bears are on the move!

veganmofo