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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

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03Sep 12

Pinoy Style Seitan Curry

Pinoy Style Seitan Curry
This Philippines-inspired Pinoy style seitan curry is a vegetarian variation of  Ginataang Manok, which is chicken cooked in coconut milk.

I’ve substituted the chicken with seitan and added a few more spices to maximise the flavour.  If you have a wheat allergy, or just don’t like seitan for some reason, you can substitute tofu for the seitan.  I’ve tried this, and while I didn’t like the result as much as with the seitan, it was still a very good dish.

Just remember to press the tofu for 15 or 20 minutes before using it. Otherwise, it won’t absorb all the wonderful aromas of the spices.  I’d also recommend using a nice and firm tofu. If not, the results could be a bit mushy.

If you do use seitan, I strongly recommend making it yourself. It’s much cheaper and more satisfying  than buying it at a shop, and you can add appropriate spices directly to the dough to complement your recipe.  You can find my basic seitan recipe here.

 

Pinoy Style Seitan Curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A vegetarian variation of Ginataang Manok
Ingredients
  • 800g seitan, cut into thick chunks
  • 1 big potato, washed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 5cm length
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp Tamari sauce
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 thumb ginger, peeled and cut into strips
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Fry the potato in 1 tablespoon of butter for about 10 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Set aside.
  2. Fry the seitan in 1 tablespoon of butter for about 5 mintues, or until brown and crispy on the outside. Set aside.
  3. In the pan where the seitan was fried, sauté the garlic, onion and ginger for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the fried seitan, Tamari sauce, and curry powder.
  5. Add the water and simmer until the seitan is tender, about 5 mintues.
  6. Put in the red bell pepper, celery, and fried potato, then simmer for 5 more minutes
  7. Add the coconut milk and mix well.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately.

 

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16Jul 12

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean CasseroleThis classic green bean casserole is a delightfully rich and creamy main course and a great way to get your kids to eat their green beans.  It uses rice and cornflour rather than wheat flour, so it can very easily be converted into a gluten-free dish if necessary, simply by using gluten-free soy and Worcestershire sauce.

What you’re going to need:

For the topping:

  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced  in ¼-cm rings
  • 125g cornflour
  • Canola oil (or other light oil) for frying
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the casserole:

  • 60g sweet rice flour
  • 315ml milk (or soy or other milk)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (about 400g) cut green beans
  • 1 can (about 200g) sliced mushrooms, drained

What you have to do:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Generously grease an ovenproof casserole dish.
  3. Make the onion topping: Dust the onions with cornflour or place both in paper bag and shake thoroughly.
  4. Heat 1-inch of canola oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. Fry a few onion rings at a time until they turn golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper immediately.
  5. Stir the sweet rice flour into about 60ml of the milk until smooth. Place this mixture and the rest of the milk in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan. Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, celery salt, salt, garlic, and pepper.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
  7. Add the green beans, mushrooms, and half of the onion topping and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the greased casserole dish.
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle rack of the preheated oven, or until the casserole is bubbling.
  9. Top the casserole with the rest of the onion topping.
  10. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until onions are hot.
  11.  Serve immediately.

 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

Note: If getting kids to eat their veggies is a problem, there are tons of ways to “disguise” the flavour – like in this carrot halwa recipe. Why not make the green bean casserole as the main course and the carrot halwa for dessert? You just couldn’t get any healthier!

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13Jul 12

Asparagus in Tofu Hollandaise Sauce

Asparagus in Tofu Hollandaise SauceThis asparagus in tofu Hollandaise sauce uses soft tofu instead of double cream and is therefore considerably less fattening than the traditional version.  The tender asparagus drizzled with the rich and creamy sauce make a great starter for any meal and can even be used as a tasty, if somewhat messy, hors d’oeuvre at a party. (Also try these steamed spring vegetables with pine nuts.)

Asparagus is a very healthy vegetable which is high in antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C and is also very useful for cleansing your system. So go ahead and eat as much as you like without feeling guilty!

 

What you’re going to need:

For the sauce:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 250g soft silken tofu
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or buttery spread, or canola oil

For the asparagus:

  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 450g asparagus, ends trimmed off

What you have to do:

 

  1. First, prepare the sauce:  Blend the egg yolks, tofu, lemon juice, and xanthan gum in an electric blender for a few minutes, until they get light and fluffy.
  2. Pour the mixture into the top of a double saucepan that sits over, but does not touch, simmering, not boiling, water.
  3. Add the butter, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, adding 1 tablespoon or more of hot water until it easily pours from a spoon.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the salt, mustard, cayenne, and pepper. Keep warm over simmering water while cooking the asparagus, up to about 30 minutes.  (If it starts to separate or thicken too much, add a teaspoon of boiling water and whisk briskly until it easily pours from a spoon.)
  5. While the sauce is simmering in the double saucepan, prepare the asparagus.  Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on their size.
  6. Remove from the water, drain, and pat dry with kitchen towels. Drizzle the sauce over the top of the asparagus and serve immediately.

 

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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11Jul 12

Crispy Potato Wedges

Crispy Potato WedgesAlthough these crispy potato wedges require several steps to prepare, the wonderfully crunchy end result makes it well worth the effort.  The white rice flour gives them an amazing texture when fried, while the cayenne pepper and other herbs provide a subtle spiciness that just can’t be beat.  They taste great on their own, but for best results, I recommend serving them with a freshly made sour cream and chive dip.

For another recipe with fried potatoes, I suggest these Aloo Bonda Snacks. They are an Indian fried potato ball – definitely worth a try!

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 large potatoes cut in ½ cm wedges
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 70g (½ cup) cornflour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 250g white rice flour
  • Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying
  • Additional salt to taste

What you have to do:

  1. Place the potato wedges in a large microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Whisk together the salt, onion powder, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne, and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the spices over the potatoes and toss until the potatoes are thoroughly coated.
  4. Lay a sheet of crumpled non-stick baking  paper over the bowl, and cook on high power for 5 minutes, or until potatoes are almost, but not quite done. Let the potatoes cool slightly.
  5. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the cornflour, baking soda, egg, and lemon juice, adding water if necessary until you reach a thin consistency.
  6. Place the white rice flour in a second shallow bowl.
  7. Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep heavy pot to 185°C.
  8. Dip the potatoes in the rice flour, then in the egg mixture, and then again in the rice flour.
  9. Immediately fry the potatoes in batches until they are browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
  10. Add more salt to taste.  Serve the wedges immediately on their own or with your favourite dipping sauce.

 

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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02Jul 12

Spinach and Potato Gratin

Spinach and Potato GratinCheddar cheese, potatoes, cream, spinach and pine nuts, grilled to perfection au gratin, this spinach and potato gratin dish has quite literally every single one of my favourite comfort foods, all rolled together into one, big, brilliant recipe!  I make absolutely no claims as to the healthiness of this creation, but sometimes you just want to forget all about that and just eat something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This dish definitely fits that bill!

Personally, I leave the skins on the potatoes, and since they’re supposed to be the healthy part anyway, I don’t feel too guilty about stuffing my face with this every once in a while. (Also try this potato au gratin with pesto and salmon steaks. Just take out the salmon to make it vegetarian, or perhaps you could replace it with tofu!)

 

Spinach and Potato Au Gratin
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients
  • 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 150ml double cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 225g frozen spinach, thawed
  • 80g cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 25g pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven, on grill setting, to 200ºC. Or alternatively, use the grill, if you have one.
  2. Spread the potato slices out evenly along the bottom of a large, deep, non-stick frying pan.
  3. Sprinkle the minced garlic and the sliced scallions over the top of the potato slices.
  4. Pour the double cream and the milk over the top of the potatoes and onions.
  5. Place the frying pan over medium heat, bring to the boil and then cover and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Using your hands, wring out the spinach until it is as dry as possible.
  7. Add the spinach to the potato mixture and stir gently to mix them in.
  8. Cover the pot and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Season to taste with the salt and fresh black pepper.
  10. Spread the mixture evenly along the bottom of a deep, oven-safe dish.
  11. Sprinkle the grated cheddar over the top of the potato mixture.
  12. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top of the cheese.
  13. Place the dish on the top shelf of the oven or on the grill and bake for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the topping is golden and bubbling.
  14. Serve immediately.

 

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16Jun 12

Tomato and Cabbage Soup

Tomato and Cabbage SoupI had an awful cold the other week, and it dawned on me that one of the worst things about being a vegetarian is not being able to eat chicken noodle soup.  It may not really be a cure for the common cold, but it certainly has proven to make you feel a bit better, at least while you’re eating it.  In any case, this tomato and cabbage soup recipe is my first attempt to make a vegetarian-friendly, feel-good soup for those pesky winter colds.

The young garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chilli help to clear your sinuses, and the fennel seeds and honey help to sooth a sore throat.  To be honest, it tastes nothing like standard chicken noodle, but it definitely did make me feel a bit better, and the effect lasted for a few hours after I ate it too!

What you’re going to need:

  • 3 medium tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded or chopped
  • 400ml cabbage, cut into 1cm x 3cm strips
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 young garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 250ml rice
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1tsp honey
  • ½ a cinnamon stick
  • 1/2tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2tsp black pepper
  • 3 litres water
  • 3tbsp olive oil

What you have to do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the leek and young garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage, carrot and tomato and continue sautéing for 3 more minutes with the heat on full.  Stir continuously to avoid burning.
  5. Add the honey, stock cube, chilli powder, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaves and fennel seeds.  Sauté for 30 seconds to bring out the aroma of the spices.
  6. Add the water and the rice to the pot and bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a fast simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  8. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Note: If you like your soups a bit cheesy, try this Cauliflower and Emmental Soup recipe.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Easy

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13Jun 12

Bean and Red peppers Burritos

Bean and red pepper burritosI love Mexican food, and it’s so easy to make it vegetarian!  These bean and red peppers burritos are my take on the classic Mexican burrito.  Even if you’re normally not a fan of beans and pulses, I think this dish will get your taste buds smiling. They’re fun to make and even more fun to eat! If you want to make it even more entertaining for your guests, place the bean mix in the centre of the table along with the garnishing and let them heap their own burritos!

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans, drained and mashed. (You can also use black beans.)
  • 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 100g tomato purée
  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pack of 8 flour or corn tortillas
  • 200g mature cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 150ml sour cream (optional)
  • Diced tomatoes, sliced Jalapeños or Mexican salsa (for garnish)

What you have to do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the onions and red pepper and sauté until the onions turn translucent (approx. 4 minutes).
  3. Remove the onions and peppers and set aside.
  4. Sauté the onions, cumin, black pepper and paprika for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  5. Add the onions and peppers back into the mix along with the tomato paste and salt and mix well with the spices.
  6. Add the mashed kidney beans and mix well.  The mixture should be thick, not runny.  If it’s runny, cook a little longer to evaporate any excess water and add a tablespoon of  cornflour  to help thicken.
  7. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. Remove the tortillas from their packaging and heat in the microwave on medium power for 1 minute to soften.
  9. Place two tablespoons of the bean mix on each tortilla, in a line a little off-centre to the left and running from the top to about 4 cm from the bottom.
  10. Place a slice of cheddar cheese, a spoonful of sour cream and a few jalapeños (if desired) on top.
  11. Wrap the burritos by first folding up the bottom, then the left-hand side and then the right-hand side to make a kind of envelope.
  12. Serve warm.
  13. If you really want to add to the “bean theme,” try serving this borlotti bean, celery and tomato salad on the side.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  20 minutes

Serves:  3-4

Difficulty:  Medium

 

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08Jun 12

TVP Veggie Burgers

TVP Veggie BurgersBefore I became a vegetarian, one of my all-time favourite foods was hamburgers.  So when I finally converted to vegetarianism, I decided I had to learn how to make veggie burgers.  Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) seemed like the way to go for substituting the meat, and after a few slightly disastrous attempts, I eventually came up with this recipe for TVP Veggie Burgers.  The recipe was an instant success with both family and friends and has been a weekly staple of my diet ever since.

If you prefer not to use TVP, these spicy beanburgers are also rather tasty, and a good alternative for those who try to refrain from “meat substitutes” like TVP or tofu.

The hardest part of the recipe is getting the right ratio of wet and dry ingredients so that the burgers stick together when you mould them into shape.  This is achieved by varying the exact amount of breadcrumbs added to the mix. At first, try using a little bit less than the indicated amount and keep adding more until you get them to a consistency where they stick together well but not to your hands.  As always, practise makes perfect.

What you’re going to need:

  • 200 g TVP (Vegetable Protein Mince)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml soy sauce
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

What you have to do:

  1. Mix the TVP in a large mixing bowl with the soy sauce and boiling water and wait for it to puff up (about 2 minutes).
  2. In the meantime, fry the onion in the olive oil over a medium heat until it’s translucent but not brown and add to the TVP mixture.
  3. Add the paprika, curry powder, salt and pepper, and stir well.
  4. Beat in the 2 eggs and add breadcrumbs. Mix well.
  5. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Take it out and form it into tightly packed balls, about the size of tennis balls.
  7. Squeeze the balls between your hands to make patties about 1.5 cm thick.
  8. Fry the patties in a little oil over medium heat until they are dark brown on the outside (about 4 minutes per side).
  9. Leave the finished burgers on a wire cookie rack to cool, allowing the oil to run off so as to avoid greasy burgers.
  10. Serve between 2 slices of toasted whole-grain bread with your favourite toppings.

Preparation time: 45 minutes (including 30 minutes setting in fridge)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 8

Difficulty: Medium

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06Jun 12

Aubergine Purée with Cumin Pitta Bread

Aubergine Purée with Cumin Pitta Bread

This aubergine purée with cumin pitta bread is about as close as you can get to everyone’s favourite Greek restaurant aubergine purée.  It is intended to be an appetiser, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it hard to stop eating it and end up ruining your appetite for the rest of the meal.  So either make only half of the recipe, or make sure you’ve got plenty of guests to share it with.  Alternatively, just make a whole lot of it and eat it as your main course – you’ll only need a little salad and some black olives to complete the meal!

If you love aubergine like I do, I also recommend this baked aubergine parmesan with tofu pesto.

To make it pretty, I like garnishing it with black olives, lemon and a bit of red pepper. You can present the dip any way you´d like, or not at all. It´s all up to you.

 

Aubergine Purée with Cumin Pitta Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large aubergine, washed
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped very fine
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 6 pieces of pitta bread
  • Extra olive oil for brushing the bread
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  2. Baste the aubergine in olive oil and roast it in the preheated oven until it is deeply golden, about 40 minutes.
  3. Leaving the skin on, blend the aubergine adding the olive oil a tablespoon at a time as you blend. The mixture will expand quite a bit.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, lemon juice and cayenne and blend again until the mixture turns light and creamy.
  5. Stir in the chopped herbs by hand.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and place in the centre of a round serving plate.
  7. Cut the pitta bread into quarters and brush both sides with olive oil.
  8. Arrange on a non-stick baking tray.
  9. Sprinkle the cumin seeds over the oiled pitta bread quarters.
  10. Bake in the oven for 5 or six minutes or until golden brown. Keep a close watch to make sure they don't burn.
  11. Serve immediately while the bread is still warm.
  12. Eat by dunking the bread into the purée.

 

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31May 12

Cream of Courgette Soup

Cream of Courgette SoupI really like eating soup, and this Cream of Courgette Soup recipe has got to be one of my all time top-five!  It has a lot more than just courgettes in it, so I guess it’s not technically a simple cream of courgette, but I find that the celery provides a nice tangy contrast while the carrots and potato give it a bit more depth.  And the nutmeg, well, that’s probably the whole secret to this incredibly tasty soup!

I strongly suggest leaving the skin on the courgettes, mostly because that’s where a lot of the nutrients are, but also because it gives a nice green colour.  I’ve also used cornflour rather than cheese or cream to thicken the mix in order to make it vegan-friendly, but if you prefer, you can go ahead and use those as you would in any other creamy broth (such as this roasted fennel and somerset cider soup).

What you’re going to need:

  • 4 medium size courgettes, washed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dry parsley
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tsp water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish

What you have to do:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into medium sized chunks (the size isn’t very important since they’re going to be puréed anyway).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  3. Sauté the onion for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the courgettes, carrots, celery and potatoes and sauté for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir often so it doesn’t burn or stick.
  6. Add the vegetable stock, parsley, nutmeg, bay leaves, black pepper and salt.
  7. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
  8. Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
  9. Purée the soup with a hand blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  10. Mix the cornflour with the water to a make a thick paste.
  11. Add the cornflour paste to the soup and mix it in well.
  12. Garnish with a few coriander leaves and a dash of nutmeg and serve.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Medium


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