Tasty Asian Flavours Quinoa – Virtual Vegan Potluck 2013

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“Eating superfoods won’t turn you into a superhero, but it might help you look better in Lycra.” ~ Nicole Cody

Quinoa (pronounced keen- wah) is touted as one of the latest ‘superfoods’ and apparently all the cool and beautiful people have recently discovered it. As you well know, I’m not in the ‘cool and beautiful’ department but I have been eating quinoa for years, and it rocks!

It looks like a grain but quinoa’s actually a seed; gluten free, low in fat, high in complete protein, and chock full of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc.

My previous efforts for the Potluck have included Vegan Broccoli, Cashew and Lime Soup and Creamy Satay Hotpot.

Today’s quinoa recipe can be served warm as a side, or cold, as a salad. It’s a terrific dish for all your vegan and vegetarian friends, as well as a tasty addition to your average carnivore’s plate. It also doesn’t take much cooking skill, so it can be prepared by the least confident of cooks! :)

Ingredients:

I cup of quinoa, 2 cups of water or vegetable stock, 1/2 large or 1 small red salad onion finely diced, 1/2 to 1 cup of broken walnut halves, 2 oranges peeled with seeds and membranes removed and chopped into small pieces, 2 scallions/green onions/shallots chopped, 1 small bunch of coriander/cilantro chopped, butter lettuce or similar to serve.

Quinoa white and ready to be cooked

Cooking the Quinoa:

Place quinoa and water or stock into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is fluffy and delicious.  Feel free to eat a spoonful or two as a taste test.

While the quinoa is cooking, cut up your herbs, onion and oranges, roughly chop or break your walnut halves and drink some water.  Water is good for you.  If it’s cold drink warm water. There, doesn’t that feel better?

Dressing:

1 teaspoon of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari or soy sauce, 1/3 cup of fresh orange juice, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root (use this to taste!), 1 to 2 cloves of freshly crushed garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder (optional but good).

Whisk all ingredients together until well blended, or place into a lidded jar and shake vigorously to combine.

To assemble:

If you want to eat this as a warm side, immediately toss all the other ingredients and the dressing through the quinoa and spoon onto your washed and drained lettuce leaves.

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For a cold side, let the quinoa cool and then add all other ingredients.

It looks very decorative served up in a pretty bowl lined with lettuce, or it can be plated up individually.  This dish makes for great left-overs too!

quinoa with asian flavours

To enjoy the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck recipes, click on the navigation buttons below.

Clicking go back takes you to Canned Time – a vegan delight, where Angela has created the most delectable Pear and Broccoli Sprout Salad with Balsamic Caramelized Sweet Potato Cubes.

Clicking go forward will land you at an unrefined vegan – hosted by the honestly amazing, undauntable, and most lovely Annie. Her blog is a thoughtful and beautifully assembled exploration of her journey into veganism, and that bumpy road we call life. Hugs and love to you, gorgeous Annie! Her offering today is Sweet Potato Fries with parsley, garlic and lemon zest.

Annie is the original inspiration behind these Virtual Vegan Potlucks, and I’m so glad that I stumbled upon her blog about the time when I first started my own. Thanks too to Somer and Jason for all their efforts with making this Potluck happen.

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the rest of the Potluck! xx

                      

And if you’d like to start from the beginning of this fabulous Potluck click here.

Passionfruit and Lime Curd ~ Passionfruit Butter Recipe

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Two things grow like crazy in our neck of the woods come summer – limes and passionfruit. A friend gave me a bag of old wrinkly-looking passionfruit yesterday and asked if I might still be able to use them.  You bet I can!

Passionfruit are very pretty when they are all firm and plump, but they are usually fine even at their wrinkliest.  Just check each one carefully before spooning pulp into anything.

This is a delightful variation of my traditional Easy Lemon Butter ~ Lemon Curd Recipe. It makes a smooth, rich curd that can be placed into tart shells and pie bases, or dolloped onto scones, toast, pancakes or ice-cream. It is tangy and sweet, and is also delectable eaten straight from the spoon… (Yes, I am speaking from experience :D!)

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, juice and finely grated zest of two limes, 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen passionfruit pulp plus an extra tablespoon or two kept to one side, 125g unsalted butter (4oz or 1/4 pound) chopped into small cubes.  You can use salted butter if it’s all you have to hand, but unsalted makes it taste extra delish.

Ensure all ingredients are ready before you start. (This will make around 2 cups, but you can easily double the quantities for more – that’s what I do so I have some to give away.)

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Method:

Zest and juice your limes, cube your butter and get your passionfruit ready. Lightly whisk your eggs in a small bowl. Then make a double boiler by half filling a saucepan with warm water and bringing it to a very slow simmer, and then snugly fitting a basin over the top.

Pop the sugar, lime zest and eggs into the basin, and begin whisking. (You could use a wooden spoon if you prefer, but I am devoted to my whisk collection!)  Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Then dump in the cubes of butter and whisk again until amalgamated.

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When the butter is melted add in the lime juice and 1/2 cup of passionfruit pulp. Keep whisking over low heart until mixture thickens, which takes about ten minutes. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle. Mind you, if the heat is too low it shall take longer to thicken, but you will get a good arm workout.

Finally the mixture will have a rich, silky texture and shall coat the back of a spoon thickly. Tip in the last two tablespoons of pulp and mix through after you have taken the curd off the heat. It will thicken a little more as it cools.

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Pour into sterilised jars or other lidded containers, and allow to cool on bench before putting on their lids.  Store in refrigerator. It should last about a month, but then again, it will probably be eaten before the use-by date!

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*These recipes give great opportunities for using your new batch of Passionfruit and Lime Butter:

Nana’s Pikelet Recipe (Pikelets are like little pancakes!)

Easy Lemonade Scone Recipe

Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe (Substitute the Passionfruit Butter for the Jam to give a lovely tropical feel to your pudding.)

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Vegan Broccoli, Cashew and Lime Soup Recipe – Virtual Vegan Potluck 2012

Today’s post is part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck – where you can find 100 fabulous new plant-based recipes to try at home! Thanks to the awesome Annie, who made this Blogfest possible.  Her Blog is well worth a visit: An Unrefined Vegan.

For the last Potluck I made a Creamy Satay Hotpot Recipe. My offering this time is soup.

I found inspiration for this soup after a trip to a local farmers’ market. It celebrates all things green and good, and is one of the most delicious combinations I’ve tried in ages.  It’s so tasty that non-vegans will happily slurp it up in all its green goodness. And it uses one of my favourite vegetables – BROCCOLI.

Ingredients for 4 big serves: 4 heaped cups of broccoli, 4 cups of silverbeet leaves (or spinach), 2 cloves of garlic, 1 large potato, 2 sticks of celery, 1 cup of raw cashews soaked in water, 3 cups of good vegetable stock, zest and juice of one lime, salt and pepper to taste

*Note on cashews:  Cashews give a lovely creamy texture to this soup without the use of dairy.  They are also magically good for you.  The secret is to soak your cashews a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight.  More info on soaking nuts here.

Method:

Chop broccoli into smallish pieces and add to a large cauldron.  Then peel your potato, cut into small cubes and add to the pot.

Slice your celery and then peel and chop your garlic cloves roughly, and place them in the pot with the three cups of stock.

Lastly, cut the white rib out of the silverbeet leaves, chop the green section coarsely and stuff this into the pot as well.  Don’t be alarmed if your pot is brim-full.  The vegies will shrink down dramatically as they cook.

Cover with a lid, turn heat to high, and cook for ten minutes, before turning the heat to low.  Continue cooking until the broccoli and potato are soft (this could take five to ten minutes, depending on your stove heat and how big your vegetable pieces are).

While the soup cooks, zest your lime, and then extract the juice.  The lime gives a lovely freshness to this dish, and lifts the flavour superbly.

When the soup is ready, add the lime zest and juice and the soaked cashew nuts. Blend with a stick blender or cool slightly and use a food processor.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Thin your soup with a little extra stock if necessary.

Serve with some crusty bread, and a good salad, although it’s perfectly delicious on its own.  It’s also good cold the next day, if you can’t be bothered reheating it!

To enjoy the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck recipes, click on the navigation buttons below.

Clicking go back takes you to the inspiring Cocina de Nihacc – a vegan delight, where today’s offering is Roasted Tomato and Pepper (Capsicum) Soup.

Clicking go forward will land you at Emmy Cooks – one of my favourite cooking blogs.  Emmy’s meals are simple, delicious and made with an emphasis on practical living and joyful celebration of good ingredients.  I even named the sweetest little calf on our farm after Emmy (that story here). Emmy will show you how to make Creamy Roasted Celery Soup.

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the rest of the Potluck! xx

Roasted Tomato Salad with Sumac Dressing Recipe

Yesterday morning I ventured out early to the Mullumbimby Farmers’ Markets. One of the joys of market shopping is that you never know what produce will be offered or what you might bring home.

In my basket ended up some celery, mixed lettuce, local cheddar, a jar of local honey, and some sweet firm tomatoes.

It became a busy day – my lovely assistant Nicki came to visit at my farm, and we spent the morning sorting through crystals.  By lunch we were famished. I needed quick food that was tasty and satisfying – a barbeque and salad!

The barbeque part was easy – we threw some lamb chops on the hot plate.  And the salad?  Elevated to something special with just a few minutes work, using my basket of fresh produce!

I used sumac in the dressing because it gives such a refreshing lemony zing. If you don’t have sumac, add a shake of paprika or smoked paprika and a little lemon zest instead.

Ingredients:

Firm ripe tomatoes, salt and pepper and a spice or herb of your choice (I used cajun herbs), olive oil spray, lettuce, celery, some good cheese.

Dressing:

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon sumac, 1 teaspoon honey – Put into a lidded jar and shake like mad for a minute until combined.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Method:

Slice your tomatoes and arrange on a sheet of non-stick paper for easy clean up.

Spray or brush lightly with olive oil and then sprinkle your seasoning on, and a little salt and pepper.  Place into a very hot oven for fifteen minutes.

Tear up your clean lettuce and place into a bowl.  Chop celery and cheese, and make dressing while you wait for the tomatoes to roast.

Snack on some celery and cheese – what a winning combination.

Remove tomatoes from oven. Place on salad leaves.

Throw the celery and cheese on as well.  Give the dressing one last shake and pour over the top.

Serve and enjoy.  This salad would be great on its own with crusty bread, or as a tasty side for grilled meats, roasts, or rich foods.  Vegans, this tastes just as good minus the cheese!  If I was going to veganise this, I’d add some lightly toasted walnuts instead.

This last picture proves that the salad was indeed fast, and made with a minimum of fuss in a kitchen entirely devoted to a higher purpose… LOL!

Berry Nice Fruit Crumble Recipe

This is one of those desserts you just throw together. It’s fantastically easy and it tastes like heaven in a bowl. It comes to you courtesy of the mulberry tree in my back yard, and the amplitude of strawberries in my refrigerator.  I would like to claim that I grew the strawberries too, but alas, between Bert and the blue tongued lizard, there are never any strawberries left for human consumption in my vegetable garden.

Be careful of the mulberries. Their juice will stain fingers, chopping boards and clothes. But a green mulberry rubbed over the stain of a ripe mulberry works just like an eraser. Who would have thought? (Thanks to my grandmother, Marga, for that tip. They had a mulberry tree on their farm that we would climb as little kids to gorge ourselves on the fruit.)

Here’s a pic of the mulberries which actually made it into the bowl yesterday (as opposed to my mouth…).

While you are preparing your fruit, turn on the oven and preheat to 160 degrees celcius (gas mark 3, or 325 degress farenheit). Drop the temp just a little more if your oven is fan forced. By the way, this recipe serves 6 people. Less if the people at your table are starving or piggy people, more if your people are small-child sized or have already enjoyed a good dinner.

Fruit: 1 large granny smith (or other firm cooking) apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces; 1 punnet (about 1 1/2 cups) of strawberries washed, hulled and chopped; 1 1/2 cups of mulberries or other soft sweet berries – washed and stalks removed; 2 tablespoons strawberry jam.  Mix fruit and jam gently together until combined. If the jam is very thick add a little boiling water to thin enough to mix through.

 

Crumble topping: 1 cup plain (all purpose) flour, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup flaked almonds, 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/4 cup raw (demerara) sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 heaped teaspoon lemon zest.  Rub butter into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. **This can so easily be made with gluten-free flour!!!

Place fruit into a greased pie dish. Dump crumble mixture on top and use your fingers to press it out to the edges of the dish. Place on a baking sheet and put into oven. Bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, and bubbly at edges.

Serve your crumble with good vanilla icecream or some pouring cream. It would also be good with yoghurt. Enjoy!

 

Creamed Rice Pudding Recipe

“It’s  lovely rice pudding for dinner again.” ~ A.A. Milne

Winter has well and truly arrived Down Under. It’s freezing in Brisbane right now. (Well, as freezing as sub-tropical can be…) Puts me in the mind to eat warm foods, and there is nothing better than my Nana’s Creamed Rice Pudding, a velvety-smooth vanilla rice concoction. This is another fantastically simple recipe which is equally good eaten warm, or served icy cold from the fridge for all my friends who are enjoying summer on the other side of the world.

Nana always prepared this as a dessert, but I must admit to also having eaten it for breakfast and as a filling snack.

It never lasts long around here. Want the proof of that?

The rice pudding thief broke in and stole my dinner…

I cooked a double batch of creamed rice, and served some up immediately. Who could resist it when it was warm and smelled so heavenly?  After my initial consumption I had intended to take some pretty photographs with my remaining rice pudding, arranged with berries and some little wafers, but when I came back to do so, the pot had been scraped nearly clean. Luckily I had taken a few shots of my rather less exotic creamed rice and stewed cinnamon apple lunch! (Click here to find out how to make the stewed apple)

This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be adapted to be vegan, dairy or sugar free too.

Here’s what you need to do to make this rice pudding for yourself:

Ingredients: 4 cups of milk (1 litre), pinch of salt, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup short grain white uncooked and unrinsed rice, 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  This recipe is easily doubled – just make sure you use a large enough pot. (Note – you can also use stevia or another sugar substitute. The milk can be swapped for soy milk, almond or rice milk.) A single batch will make four small serves.

Method: Place milk in a large saucepan.  Add the sugar and salt, then stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to boil.

Don’t you love this action shot with the steam rising from my milk and sugar mixture?

Slowly add rice.  Return heat to a slow swimmer.  Stir every so often, leaving uncovered.  It will take about 60 minutes for your pudding to cook, depending on how low you have your heat. Add a little more milk if needed. Test the rice – if it is soft, and the mixture is thick and creamy, it is ready. Stir through your vanilla, taste test again. Note – Pudding will thicken more as it cools.

About midway through cooking; the rice is swelling and the starch from the unrinsed rice is slowly thickening the milk.

This rice pudding can be served warm or cold.  It is delicious served with canned, stewed or fresh fruits. A sprinkling of nutmeg on top is also yummy! Enjoy. ❤

Not arty, but tasty!

Pumpkin Soup Recipe and the Writing Disease

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it. ~ Anais Nin

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~ Ray Bradbury

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

I’m deep in a story right now.  Whenever writing grabs me by the throat like this I forget to eat, it becomes too much bother to cook, and when I do suddenly remember that I’m hungry I want something I can eat fast. It’s like an illness, this kind of writing. I breathe story, dream story, bleed story.  It’s all I can think about. Food? Yeah, when my stomach aches and grumbles I want to eat something that fills me up and nurtures me, but that also lets me get back to work again with a minimum of fuss.

The answer to my problem is soup!

I like to make an industrial-sized vat of the stuff, so that there is plenty to feed me, and anyone else who happens to be around, for at least one meal. In truth, if there is enough soup, and enough bread, I can exist in this writerly state for days…

My soup of choice today happens to be pumpkin.  Why? I have a triffid-like  jap pumpkin vine taking over my vegetable garden.  Jap pumpkin is sweet and buttery, easy to cut, and a great all-rounder in the kitchen. Once this writing frenzy subdues a little I might whip up a batch of pumpkin scones and share that recipe with you too.

Of course I also got to leave my desk and wander up the hill to pick a pumpkin, and some shallots (green onions) for my soup. I already had garlic hanging in the laundry from summer’s harvest.  Gardening is a very healthy and grounding pastime for writers!

Pumpkin Soup Ingredients:

Vary the quantity to suit the size of your crowd, but for four hearty serves you’ll need half a jap pumpkin (about 4 to 6 cups of flesh – you can also use any other kind of pumpkin with good flavour), a large onion, two bay leaves, stock (at least two cups, or a quality stock powder and some water – if I have none of my own stock in the freezer I use Massel brand chicken style stock – great flavour and it’s 100% vegan!) 3 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to season, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of honey.

To serve you’ll also need some good bread for toast, some plain yoghurt or sour cream (if you’re vegan or dairy-free try coconut yoghurt!), and some fresh herbs such as green onion, chives, coriander (cilantro) or parsley.

Method:

Take a large saucepan.  Peel and chop your onion and garlic roughly. Then skin and de-seed your pumpkin and chop into chunks. Dump into the saucepan with the onion and garlic.  Barely cover with stock, or a good stock powder and water.  Season with some salt and pepper, and add in the cumin and bay leaves.  Bring to boil and then reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for twenty minutes. Take off the heat, and allow to cool a little.

If you have a stick blender you can puree the soup directly in the pot.  Otherwise transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Return to a saucepan to reheat.  Test seasoning, and adjust if required, adding honey if necessary.

To serve, ladle into a bowl.  Add a dollop of sour cream or natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.  serve with hot buttered toast. Enjoy!  ❤

Feel motivated to grow your own pumpkins or herbs? It’s easier than you think. Maybe this will inspire you: