Spring Pea and Mint Risotto

I’m having another kind of cheat day, in that I’m just re-posting an older recipe with a newer photo. Unfortunately I snapped this one a little too late in the day and I had lost most of the good light, so I was not particularly pleased. It will have to do though. I first posted this while we were in the van – we enjoyed it on the waterfront of a Queensland town from our little biodegradable camping bowls. What I wouldn’t give to be back there again!

Make a dish using all seasonal produce.

Okay, so it’s not ALL seasonal produce, but mostly. Unfortunately I had just harvested our snow peas a week or so ago and we had already munched them all, so I did not have home grown peas to add. Instead, I used sugar snap peas from the local fruit and veg market. The peas were not as plump and juicy which was disappointing. Our mint has also gone crazy in the past few weeks – it is growing wild through parts of the garden and the leaves are getting huge. I’ve been appreciating the joy of plucking a few leaves and steeping in hot water for fresh mint tea.

As I mentioned the first time round, this recipe is a veganised version of a Donna Hay one, that my mum picked out and made for me at her house one day. I enjoyed it so much that I have made it several times since.

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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
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups hot veggie stock
3/4 cup frozen peas
200g sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed, blanched and halved
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbsp vegan butter
Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste
Tofutti cream cheese 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. 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 rice and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly before adding the wine and allowing it to cook off – approximately 2 more minutes.

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 mint mixture, yeast flakes, butter, snow peas, frozen peas and salt and pepper (to taste). Serve with a dollop of Tofutti, and if you like, drizzle with a little olive oil. Chuck on some snow pea tendrils too if you have them!

tomatoweb

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

Grilled Polenta Cakes with Ratatouille

Today’s recipe comes to you courtesy of my little pocket of backlog posts that I haven’t gotten around to posting yet.

Luckily, it still fits with my theme of local produce, as the capsicums and zucchini I used were sourced from the local market in Gympie, as was the basil. The tomatoes could maybe be included – they were locally sourced from a bin at the Gympie Muster site. Well, they weren’t yet in the bin, but they were left in boxes by a bin. I can’t verify their location before that, but we saved them from a sad fate of decomposing at a rubbish dump.

I really love polenta, it’s so creamy and versatile. I find it to be filling, without being too heavy either. I haven’t had it in ages, and just got a hankering for it, so I whipped this baby up. We had enough to feed us a few times over too, so we happily munched on leftovers the next day.

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Grilled Polenta Cakes with Ratatouille
(serves about 6)

Polenta

1 ½ cups polenta
4 cups water
1 veg stock cube
1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp fresh basil, torn
2 Tbsp olive oil (I used basil infused) (or non-dairy spread) + 1 Tbsp extra for grilling
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ cup non-dairy milk (optional extra creaminess – may need more water in the beginning though if not using)
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring water and stock cube to a boil in a medium to large pot. Once boiling, slowly pour in the polenta, whisking as you go. Whisk continuously for a couple of minutes until the polenta starts to thicken and bubble. Be very careful as one has been known to be burnt by spitting polenta.

At this stage you may like to change to a wooden spoon or spatula. Turn the polenta down to low and continue stirring, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Add thyme, basil, oil, yeast flakes and non dairy milk and stir to combine. Continue to stir for about ten minutes. The polenta should be becoming less grainy, and firm enough that it comes away from the edges of the pot when you stir it. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Turn off heat and spread polenta into a greased or lined 11×7 inch (28x17cm) baking pan and put in the fridge to set.

Once firm, cut polenta into pieces. Brush a cast iron grill skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat. You can do this on a barbecue grill, or simply shallow fry it in a pan if you’d prefer…I’m simply utilising what I’ve got. Cook cakes until a bit golden, and charred grill lines appear. Flip and do the other side. Serve with ratatouille (recipe below).

Ratatouille

1 medium eggplant, diced 1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
6 tomatoes, diced
¼ cup basil, roughly torn
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and thyme and saute for another minute, until fragrant.

Add the eggplant and saute for about five minutes, until it is beginning to feel tender.

Add the capsicum and zucchini and saute for another minute, before adding tomatoes and basil. Stir to combine, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the tomatoes to break down a bit, and all the veggies to be nice and tender.

Add lemon juice and stir through, season to taste.

Serve warm over grilled polenta (or whatever you want! – Stir through pasta, eat on top of quinoa, top a leafy salad with it…anything goes).

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veganmofo

Backloggin’: Zucchini Fritters

I can foresee the next couple of days being much like today. As long as I am sick, and I am working all day (while snotting and sweating), I am too tired to come up with the spectacular posts that I obviously would have if I had not been stricken down (lets just go with that…)

So today I’m bringing you more backlogs, this time in the form of a yummy recipe that I got from a lovely blog called Lucy’s Friendly Food.

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Last week my haul of local foods from Gympie included some zucchinis and a bunch of parsley. With no plans as to what I was going to use them for, Lucy’s recipe for zucchini fritters came at the perfect time. This was a really easy dish to make, and ready in minutes. Served with a side salad it makes a really nice meal for a warm night when you don’t want to spend too much time cooking.

Hop over to Lucy’s blog and check out the recipe for these delicious fritters here. I am no food photographer, so her pictures definitely tell a better tale than mine.

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veganmofo

Raw Pad Thai

So I’m thinking about doing Vegan MoFo…is anyone else here signing up?

I’ve been following it for years, but now I’ve got my own blog I think it’s time to  participate. I don’t know how well I’ll do at posting every day, especially once we’re on the move again, but hey – could be fun trying! I’m excited for the interweb being alive with vegan blogging!

Yep, I’m in.

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Now, I just wanted to interrupt my backlog to share this beautiful meal I ate the other night, courtesy of the lovely Sophia at Silk and Spice. Raw Pad Thai had been at the back of my mind for a while, and once I saw the colourful recipe she’d put forth, I knew I had to try it. I managed to snap a picture of it just before sun down (we get terrible light in the van), so it doesn’t quite do the dish as much justice as it deserves, but you can hop over and check out the recipe in all its glory here.

I used coriander instead of chives as I had them on hand, and we squeezed a bit of lime juice on top too, and let me tell you – it was deliciously fresh, crunchy and filling. A winner! Thanks Sophia!

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Raw Pasta with Creamy Garlic Avocado Sauce

I loooove raw pasta. For some reason, it seems so much more filling than just eating the constituents on their own, and it’s definitely way more fun. I whipped this one up the other day and we enjoyed it for lunch on a sunny Queensland winter’s day. It’s really yummy, and soooo easy. Go ahead, try it!

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Raw Pasta with Creamy Garlic Avocado Sauce
(serves 2)

1 large or 2 small zucchinis
2 cloves garlic
2 medium avocados
3 Tbsp basil infused olive oil (plain olive oil will obviously work fine too…I had this on hand and thought it would be tasty – it was!)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped tomato and red onion to top (optional)

Turn zucchini into pasta using whatever method you please…spiralise, veggie peeler, grater, etc and separate into two bowls.

Chuck garlic, avocados, oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning. Add water one tablespoon at a time if you’d like the sauce to be thinner.

That’s it! Easy as that! Divide sauce between the two bowls, top with chopped red onion, tomato and a generous sprinkle of pepper. Enjoy!

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Crunchy Sweet Potato Noodle Salad

This is a recipe that I adapted from a trashy magazine I was reading in the waiting room at the burns unit back in Sydney. We had one of those moments where the planets aligned and we had pretty much every single ingredient we needed on hand, so this was perfect. Billy claimed it was his favourite meal in ages (though he says that quite regularly) and at the shops the other day, he disappeared and came back with a packet of fried noodles…subtle hint.

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Crunchy Sweet Potato Noodle Salad
(Serves 2)

1 large sweet potato, cubed
100g fried noodles
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp red curry paste
Dash of chili flakes
2/3 cup peanuts, toasted
1 cup coriander, chopped roughly
Salt

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan and saute the ginger and garlic until golden. Transfer to a bowl or jug and allow to cool. Add coconut milk, lime juice, sugar and red curry paste and whisk together with a fork. I got a bit more of the coconut cream than intended, so added a little water to thin the dressing out. Salt to taste, then set aside.

Heat the other tablespoon of oil in the pan and add sweet potato, cooking over med-low for a couple of minutes. Add a dash of water and cover, allowing the potato to steam a little. Once softer, remove the lid, add a pinch of salt and a (generous) pinch of chili flakes and continue to cook uncovered until the edges are nice and golden and a bit crispy. If you have access to one, you could oven-cook the potato by drizzling it with oil, tossing with the salt and chili and baking for 20-30mins, until tender.

Combine noodles, potato, half the coriander and half the peanuts in a bowl. Pour over dressing and toss to combine. Top with the rest of the coriander and peanuts. We also sprinkled some fried shallots on top as an afterthought. Eat immediately. Yummo.