Warm cauliflower and aubergine salad

Cauliflower has officially made a come back. Its no longer that plain, overcooked until watery vegetable but rather the hero of so many different dishes.  We’ve seen it as pizza bases, a rice alternative, in cakes, in bread and of course flavoursome soups. But my favourite way has got to be roasted until the edges are charred and crispy and the inside still has a little bite. Here it is roasted with turmeric, cummin and cinnamon which lifts the mellow flavour of the cauliflower while also adding a little sweetness.

Now don’t get me started on eggplant because it is quite possible one of my favourite things now after years of hating it as a kid. Roasting, like the cauliflower has got to be my favourite way to cook it. Once again the edges get crispy and charred but the inside is buttery soft and so delicious.

I’ve paired these two beautiful vegetables with green lentils, lots of fresh parsley, sweet dates, tangy pomegranate jewels and a creamy tahini dressing to really create a satisfying salad that is perfect for any day or night.

Warm cauliflower and aubergine salad

serves 4 as a side or 2-3 as a main 

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cummin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 aubergine, sliced into wedges
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp smokey paprika
  • 1/2 C green lentils
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 of a preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 C baby spinach leaves
  • 5 medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • pomegranate jewels, to serve
  • tahini dressing, to serve (recipe below)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1/2 the olive oil, the turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. Spread out on the baking tray and place in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Slice half way down along the wedges of aubergine, making sure not to cut all the way through. place on the other baking tray and drizzle with the rest of the oil, the chilli flakes and paprika. Place into the oven for 30 minutes, or until charred on the edges and soft and gooey on the inside.
  3. Rinse the lentils before placing in a saucepan and covering well with lots of water. Bring to the boil over medium heat before turning to low, covering and cooking for 20 minutes. Refresh under cold water and set aside.
  4. Combine the cooked lentils, roasted cauliflower, parsley, baby spinach and preserved lemon in a large bowl. Add the roasted aubergine on top followed by the almonds, pomegranate jewels and spicy tahini dressing.
  5. Serve immediately.

Spicy tahini dressing 

makes 3/4 C 

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 C tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water, to thin, about 3/4 c

Method 

  1. Place everything but the water in a bowl and stir to combine. Slowly add the water until the desired consistency is reached. Its nice to have it quite runny so its a good drizzle consistency.
  2. Use for the salad and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Enjoy!

 

Cacao & Ginger energy bars

University goes back today, school has been back for a few weeks and I’m sure most of you have been back at work for at least the last month. For me, this means long days at uni filled with chemistry labs and the need something delicious and energising to keep me sustained. I have previously posted the recipe for my Nutty fruit cake, which is a great snack while you’re on the run and is often found in hanging around the bottom of my bag. These bars are another delicious snack and with the addition of cacao which is full of antioxidants, magnesium and iron they really will give you a boost.

I must admit though that these energy bars don’t travel nearly as well as the indestructible Nutty fruit cake however they are just as delicious enjoyed at home with a big cup of tea or a glass of fresh nut milk. Filled with the rich taste of cacao and spicy ginger these are the big kid addition of a chocolate bar so if you want to make them for some little people reduce the ginger and perhaps addd a little honey for a sweeter version.

Cacao & ginger energy bars

makes 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 2 C rolled oats, gluten free is necessary
  • 1/2 C pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 C pitted dried dates soaked in just boiled water for 10-20 minutes
  • 2 C puffed quinoa or millet
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1- 2 pinches flaky sea salt
  • 3/4 C tahini
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp  freshly grated ginger

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the rolled oats and pumpkin seeds on a baking tray and pop it into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the oats are just golden and smelling delicious.
  2. Meanwhile, line a 20x30cm lamington tin with baking paper and set aside. Drain the dates, place in a small bowl and mash with a fork into a sticky smooth paste. Add in the tahini, coconut oil and ginger, mixing to combine.
  3. In a large bowl mix the puffed quinoa, cacao powder and sea salt. Add in the toasted oats and pumpkin seeds.
  4. Finally spoon over the date/tahini mixture and mix quickly to combine.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin and press down firmly with your palm. You may want to wet your hands very slightly to stop the mixture sticking to you!
  6. Place in the fridge to set for about 4 hours before slicing into bars.

 

 

My vegan lasagne

I write this after feasting on another lasagne for dinner and I really could not hold this recipe from you anymore. It’s delicious and worthy in every kitchen, whether you’re vegan or not. I am also thinking it would be the perfect addition to a christmas eve dinner, so it’s just in time for you to start your planning!

This past year lasagne has been making a regular appearance on my dinner table. It’s simple to make vegetarian lasagne but I found it a little trickier to make it vegan and still keep all the delicious and comforting flavours. I have made mushroom lasagne, creamy carrot and lentil lasagne, eggplant lasagne with lemony ricotta and the list goes on. But this recipe is my absolute favourite. It’s creamy, hearty, warming and oh so satisfying.

The layers consist of lentil bolognese, which to me is one of the greatest things ever, a vegan béchamel sauce, grilled vegetables, fresh spinach and all topped off with a home-made vegan parmesan. I used some fresh spelt pasta but choose whatever pasta you like although try and make it a healthy choice.

Notes about the recipe

I often make the lentil bolognese as an easy midweek meal over raw zucchini noodles, spelt pasta or quinoa. Please do try this as it is a delicious alternative to the regular spaghetti bolognese.

The lentil bolognese can be adapted with whatever vegetables you have on hand, celery is great and sweet potato too. The mushrooms add a nice richness so if you have them on hand do include. I often just throw in any extra vegetables hiding at the bottom of the fridge.

I like to buy a large jar of charred capsicum from selected supermarkets or gourmet food stores, they taste delicious and are great addition to many dishes.

It may seem like a huge ingredient list and mammoth task but its not too complicated and most parts can be made in advance.

Lentil, eggplant and zucchini  lasagne 

Makes 1 very large lasagne with 8-10 serves

Ingredients for the lentil bolognese 

  • 1.5 C whole green lentils, preferably soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 200g swiss brown mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 a large red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 C chopped fresh italian herbs, chopped (basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary)
  • 1/4 C chopped and pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 C charred capcicum, finely chopped
  • 1/4 C good quality red wine
  • Himalayan salt and freshly cracked pepper, to season

Ingredients for the béchamel sauce

  • 2 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp chickpea flour
  • 2 C unsweetened plant milk (cashew, almond or soy)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Himalayan salt and white pepper, to season

Ingredients for the raw vegan parmesan 

  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Himalayan salt and freshly cracked pepper, to season

To assemble

  • 1 large eggplant (aubergine), sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • Spelt or gluten free lasagne sheets
  • 2 C fresh spinach or chard leaves

Method 

  1. If soaking the lentils in advance simply place in a large bowl and cover generously with filtered water and a squeeze of lemon.
  2. To cook the lentils drain off the soaking water (if applicable) and place in a saucepan with 2 bay leaves and cover generously with water. Bring to a gentle simmer  before covering and cooking for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  3. To start the bolognese heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the chopped onion and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. The onion needs to gently sweat rather than colour. Add in the garlic, mushrooms, carrot and chilli while continuing to cook gently for another 5 or so minutes.
  4. Add in the tin tomatoes, then 2 C of water, followed by the tomato paste, fresh herbs, kalamata olives, charred capsicum and red wine. Bring to a simmer before covering and cooking for 35-45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. To make the béchamel sauce gently heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan. Add in the chickpea flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the milk a little at a time, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk over a gently heat until it starts to thicken and bubble. Let it cook for another 2 minutes before taking off the heat. Add the nutritional yeast, nutmeg and season to taste. Set aside.
  6. To make the vegan parmesan simply finely chop the sunflower seeds and walnuts and combine in a small bowl with the nutritional yeast and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Lastly, preheat a grill to high. Brush the eggplant and zucchini slices with olive oil before placing in a single layer under the grill. Cook each side for around 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Finally its time to assemble. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. In a large baking or lasagne dish (30 x 20 cm) place a spoonful of lentil bolognese. Spread over the base of the dish before following with pasta sheets, lentil bolognese, grilled zuchinni and eggplant, fresh spinach/chard and a drizzle of the béchamel. Continue these layers until all ingredients are used, making sure you save 1/4 of the béchamel for the final top layer. Sprinkle over the raw parmesan and cover with a lid. Bake for 40-45 minutes, before removing the lid and baking for a further 15 minutes.
  9. Leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving. I like to pop a few potatoes in at the same time for delicious whole baked potatoes. I also serve with a fresh green salad.

 

 

 

Spiced veggie patties

So, university is out for the year and I now have three clear months ahead of me to fill with cooking, yoga, running, swimming and adventuring! Somewhere in there too I will have to find a REAL job to sustain my summer of fun! Anyway to start with I am looking forward to lots of relaxation after a busy few weeks of study and exams. So today you would find me spread out on the couch in the sunny front room of my parents house with a cup of tea and a big appetite to share one of my favourite recipes with you.

Veggie patties are a bit of a staple for me. They are super quick, easy, cheap and can be served in a multitude of ways. I love to wrap them up in a pita with lots of fresh salad in summer or roll them into balls and serve with a rich tomato sauce and pasta in winter. They are just so versatile and always a hit, even with my meat eating friends.

By combining rice and lentils your body receives all 20 essential amino acids, which makes these patties a complete protein source (yes I did lean something this year!). It is very important for vegetarians/vegans to combine different protein sources to ensure they are  consuming complete proteins and these patties make is super easy! With lots of veggies and spices too it makes them an all round winner!

Spiced veggie patties 

Makes approximately 20 patties

Ingredients 

  • 1 C red split lentils, soaked overnight or as long as possible
  • 1 C brown rice, soaked overnight or as long as possible
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 medium zucchini (courgette) , grated
  • 1/2 C parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 C spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 C currants
  • 1/4 rolled oats
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. If soaking the lentils and rice, place in separate large bowls and cover completely with filtered water, add a squeeze of lemon and leave.
  2. Drain the lentils and place in a saucepan with 2 C filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until reduced into a thick paste. Set aside.
  3. Drain the rice and place in a saucepan with 1.5 C filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to very low, cover with a lid and cook for 35 minutes. Do not lift the lid during the cooking process. After 35 minutes the water should be evaporated and the rice fluffy. Set aside.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  5. Place the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the cooked lentils and rice and mix again. The mixture should be sticky and hold together when pressed. If too wet add another 1/4 C rolled oats. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Roll the mixture into 2 balls and flatten out on the tray. Brush with oil before placing in the preheated oven to cook for 20 minutes before flipping and finish off for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with salad, coconut yoghurt, toasted almonds, avocado and pomegranate or wrapped up in a pitta with fresh salad.

Enjoy!

Show me your patties on Instagram #goodnessgraciouskitchen

A nutty fruit cake

This cake has been a lifesaver over the last few months. Every time I’m heading to university I try and have a couple of slices in my bag because I never know how hungry I might get, and this is the perfect snack. Especially compared to what the vending machines have on offer (ew). Taking your own snacks somewhere is always a good idea if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle. You know exactly what you’re putting into you’re body, as you’ve made it yourself. And this nutty cake is full of all things good so you’ll feel fabulous eating it. Plus, it travels amazingly unlike many other soft cakes or muffins that always seen to get squished under everything else in your handbag!

This recipe was inspired by My New Roots life changing loaf of bread. Sarah’s recipe for the beautiful nut and seed loaf can be found here. I have simply turned the loaf into a bit more of a cake, with lots of fibre rich dried fruit to make it a sweeter treat. My recipe is completely oil free and  has remained vegan, held together only by psyllium seed husk, which is almost like magic fairy dust. It just binds ingredients together so easily so you can have beautiful egg free cakes and bread.

Nutty fruit bread

Makes one large loaf

Ingredients

150g oats

4 tbsp psyllium seed husk

4 tbsp buckwheat flour

4 tbsp flax seeds

250g raw almonds or pecans

100g sunflower seeds

2 tsp baking powder

100g chopped dried figs

1 tsp cinnamon

200g dried dates

250ml water, plus extra

juice of 2 oranges, zest of one

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a loaf tine with baking paper.

Weigh and measure out all the dry ingredients, except the dates, into a large bowl. Add the orange zest and combine well.

Place the dates and the water into a small saucepan. Gentle bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until the dates and soft. Mash the mixture together with a fork and mix into the dry ingredients. Add in the orange juice and up to 1/2 a cup of water. The mixture should be really thick.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin and flatten the top. Place into the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully take the loaf out of the tin and place on a wire rack. Brush the maple syrup over the top before placing it back in the oven to cook uncovered for another 20 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown all over.

Remove and cool completely before slicing with a sharp knife.

Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week. Also perfect frozen in slices and lightly toasted before serving.

Enjoy!

 

Moroccan roasted couliflower salad

Even though its the middle of Winter I still have the urge to pack up the picnic basket and head outside for a meal of complete relaxation and deliciousness. Instead of packing salads full of fresh ingredients i tend to make salads with roasted vegetables and warming spices. So even if we are freezing on the outside, at least our bellies are warm. This is one of those salad’s, made with spiced roasted cauliflower, grilled zucchini and lovely fragrant quinoa to make it a little more substantial. Its perfect for a picnic but also a casual lunch or a side for dinner.

Moroccan roasted cauliflower salad 

For the cauliflower:

1 head of cauliflower

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

For the grilled zucchini:

1 medium sized zucchini

2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

For the quinoa:

1 C quinoa (white, red or a mixture)

1.5 C filtered water

1 bay leaf

To serve:

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley

1 bunch mint

2 lemons

1/4 C raw almonds

Pomegranate seeds

cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Slice the florets off the trunk of the cauliflower, reserving the stem for soup. Pop them in a bowl along with the cinnamon, cumin, olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper in one even layer. Place into the preheated oven and roast for 20 – 25 minutes. They should be starting the crisp up on the edges when you take them out. Set aside.

Place the almonds on a small tray and roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Take out and roughly chop. Set aside.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the zucchini and place in a bowl with the olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Toss to coat all slices evenly. Place the slices in a single layer on a baking tray and grill at a high temperature for 8 minutes. Turning once half way through. Set aside.

Wash the quinoa thoroughly and place in a saucepan with the water and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, turn down to very low and cook for 15 minutes. Leave the lid on for another 5 minutes before fluffing the quinoa with a fork. Once cooled slightly place it into a salad bowl.

Finely chop half the parsley and mint and add this to the quinoa. Zest one of the lemons and juice both before adding to the quinoa mix. Now top with the roasted cauliflower, grilled zucchini and roasted almonds. Pull the leaves off mint and parsley from the stems and add this to the bowl along with the pomegranate. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and pack up for a picnic or eat straight away.

Enjoy!

Soup for all seasons

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It’s not very often that I will think about eating soup during the warmer months, I would have smoothies for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I could! It’s just starting to cool down (a little!) here in Perth so I though now would be the perfect time to make a light, fresh soup that could be enjoyed anytime of the year. It went down an absolute treat and with all the garlic I’m hoping to fend of any colds coming my way for the next couple of weeks!

This broth is the perfect base for any vegetables, whatever the season. It’s early autumn here so I have used yu choy as the main leafy green but broccoli, bok choy, zucchini strips or Chinese cabbage would all be delicious. The hot broth is poured over the vegetables, cooking them lightly whilst still keeping everything fresh and crunchy.

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Fragrant vegan soup

4 C salt reduced vegetable stock (home made is best but if your like me and didn’t have time a good quality one will be fine)

2 C water

8 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 T crushed ginger

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves washed

1 cinnamon stick

2 whole star anise

1 bunch yu choy

100g or two bunches of 100% buckwheat soba noodles

300g mushrooms

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T hoisin sauce

Thai basil leaves, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, chilli and radish to serve.

Method

Pull the leaves off the coriander and reserve for serving. Thinly slice the stalks and had to a large pot along with the sliced spring onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, stock and water. Slowly bring to the boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Bring another pan of water to the boil and cook your soba noodles for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and refresh under cool water. Set aside.

In the meantime, slice the mushrooms and fry in the olive oil. Once starting to soften add the hoisin sauce and cook for another minute or until nice and sticky and cooked through. Set aside.

Wash and slice your yu choy or whatever veggies you have chosen and set aside ready for serving.

You can either place everything on your table and let everyone dig in and construct their own soup or serve it up.

Either way, place the yu choy (or your choice of veg) in first followed by the noodles and then cover with steaming hot broth. Then top with your desired combination of fresh toppings.

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Get creative and enjoy!