#MeatFreeMonday: Meat-less Meatballs – The Global Vegan – Ellie Bullen

The Global Vegan by Ellie Bullen,

Published by Plum

RRP $34.99

Photography by Ellie Bullen

 

Meat-less Meatballs

These flavour-packed vegan meatballs are made using kidney beans for a protein kick. Dunked in
passata sauce and served with pasta, they make a hearty main, but on their own they also make
a great healthy snack or lunchbox filler. p164 Mains

Serves 2
cooked spaghetti, to serve
Parmesan Crumble (see page 265), to serve

Meatballs
3 tablespoons red or white quinoa
1 portobello mushroom, roughly chopped
400 g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
30 g plain or gluten-free flour
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tomato, deseeded and finely diced

Tomato sauce
250 ml (1 cup) passata
⅓ cup basil leaves, plus extra to serve
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

To make the meatballs, cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, then drain and set
aside to cool. Place the mushroom and kidney beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until
just combined. Transfer to a large bowl and stir through the quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Roll the mixture into ten even-sized balls, then place on the prepared tray and bake for 18–20 minutes or until cooked through. To make the tomato sauce, heat the passata in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the basil
and salt and pepper to taste, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Divide the spaghetti between two plates and top with the meatballs and sauce. Scatter over the parmesan crumble and extra basil leaves.

TIPS
You can also serve the meatballs and sauce as a tapas-style dish with the parmesan crumble.
If you prefer, you can shallow-fry the meatballs. Heat 3 tablespoons of avocado oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 2–3 minutes on all sides or until golden and crispy.

Review: The Mummy Animal Book – Jennifer Cossins

The Mummy Animal Book

Jennifer Cossins

Hachette Australia

ISBN:  9780734419897

RRP $9.99

 

Description:

An adorable and informative picture book about mummy animals and their babies from the author of THE BABY ANIMAL BOOK and 101 COLLECTIVE NOUNS.

 

Did you know that a mother peacock is called a peahen and a baby peacock is called a peachick?

 

THE MUMMY ANIMAL BOOK is an adorable and informative picture book about mummy animals and their babies that is perfect for Mother’s Day, from the author of the CBCA Notable THE BABY ANIMAL BOOK.

 

 

My View:

This is another delightful book from one of my favourite children’s authors and illustrators.  Jennifer Cossins once again delivers a children book that is engaging, beautifully illustrated and educational. You are sure to enjoy the time you sit with your pre schooler sharing this beautiful book.

PS Anyone looking for a gift for the many kindy parties your child will be attending, this book is perfect. Be assured that you will be giving a gift of learning and joy; encouraging reading is such valuable habit to inspire and it is a bargain too.

 

 

 

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Guest Review: Colombiano – Rusty Young

Colombiano

Rusty Young

Havelock & Baker Publishing

ISBN: 9780143781530

 

Description:

In Colombia you have to pick a side. Or one will be picked for you . . .

All Pedro Gutiérrez cares about is fishing, playing pool and his girlfriend Camila’s promise to sleep with him on his sixteenth birthday. But his life is ripped apart when Guerrilla soldiers callously execute his father in front of him, and he and his mother are banished from their farm.

Swearing vengeance against the five men responsible, Pedro, with his best friend Palillo, joins an illegal Paramilitary group, where he is trained to fight, kill and crush any sign of weakness.

But as he descends into a world of unspeakable violence, Pedro must decide how far he is willing to go. Can he stop himself before he becomes just as ruthless as those he is hunting? Or will his dark obsession cost him all he loves?

Colombiano is an epic tale of rural villages held to ransom, of jungle drug labs, cocaine supermarkets, witch doctors and buried millions, of innocent teenage love, barbaric torture and meticulously planned revenge.

Superbly told and by turns gripping, poignant and darkly comic, Colombiano is the remarkable story of a boy whose moral descent becomes a metaphor for the corruption of an entire nation. Both blockbuster thriller and electrifying coming-of-age story, Rusty Young’s powerful novel is also a meditation on the redeeming power of love.

Brenda’s Review:

As fifteen-year-old Pedro Gutierrez was forced to watch his father being murdered, he vowed he would do everything in his power to get vengeance against the men responsible. Grieving, angry and determined, Pedro and his best friend Palillo joined the Autodefensas – opposition to the powerful and brutal Guerrilla, the group that the men he would kill belonged to. Pedro had been a naïve teenager whose love for his girlfriend Camila, his mother and father, as well as fishing with his Papa had kept him innocent. His life would change dramatically in the two and a half years he was with the Autodefensas.

Pedro’s obsession with finding his father’s killers overrode any common sense he might have and Palillo did all he could to keep Pedro from doing crazy things. But would the world of violence he had descended into turn him into a killer as well? Would he turn into one of the monsters he was pursuing?

What an incredible tale, told by Aussie author Rusty Young after his seven years in Colombia where he interviewed special forces soldiers, snipers, undercover intelligence agents and members of the brutal gangs which were at war in the country. The child soldiers were the ones who tore his heart apart, and so, in telling their story, Colombiano was born. Blending fact with fiction, this story – at 820 pages – is a long one, but one well worth reading. Pedro was an excellent character as was Palillo and I was captivated by the story; by the heartache and poignancy which saw a coming of age story along with a thriller like none I’ve ever read before. A superbly told story, Colombiano is one I highly recommend. 5 stars

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: The Orange Grove – Kate Murdoch

The Orange Grove

Kate Murdoch

Regal House Publishing

ISBN: 9781947548220

 

Description:

Blois, 1705. The château of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue. Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the chateau with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies. The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in love and domestic politics strive for supremacy.

In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.

 

Brenda’s Review:

The Duc Hugo d’Amboise had a wife, the Duchesse Charlotte and several mistresses who all lived together in his chateau which was surrounded by beautiful gardens and the orange grove. It was 1705 in Blois, France and the politics of the household was rife with petty jealousies, anger and enemies. When a new mistress arrived, the young and beautiful Letitia, Charlotte was intensely jealous. The duc wanted a son; Charlotte was unable to produce one therefore the duc’s mistresses felt the pressure to give him what he wanted. The problem was, the duc’s affections for Letitia overtook his affections for anyone else, including his wife.

Henriette and her daughter Solange lived quietly in the chateau, with Henriette high up in the realm of mistresses. But that was to change when she befriended Letitia. Charlotte was bitter and angry, looking for anything that would remove Letitia from her husband’s affections. What would happen in the chateau as tensions escalated and rivalries flared? And how was tarot card reader, Romain de Villiers involved?

The Orange Grove by Aussie author Kate Murdoch is set in France in the early 1700s where it was normal for men to have mistresses, for wives to know and even approve in some cases. What a horrible time to bring up your children! As a woman, you’d need to be on your toes, fully aware of what could – and probably would – go wrong any time, day or night. And as a young woman, to be sold to ease your family’s financial woes, to a duke who was willing to pay money for a pretty young face and body – I’m glad I wasn’t born back then! Filled with intrigue, The Orange Grove is one I recommend. 4 stars

With thanks to the author for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: The Viennese Girl – Jenny Lecoat

 

The Viennese Girl

Jenny Lecoat

Allen & Unwin AU

ISBN: 9781760877927

 

Description:

Inspired by the true story of a young Jewish girl – Hedy Bercu – who fled to Jersey from Vienna only to find herself trapped on the island during the German occupation.

In June 1940, the horror-struck inhabitants of Jersey watch as the German army unopposed takes possession of their island. Now only a short way from the English coast, the Germans plan their invasion.

Hedy Bercu, a young Jewish girl from Vienna who fled to the isolation and safety of Jersey two years earlier to escape the Nazis, finds herself once more trapped, but this time with no way of escape.

Hiding her racial status, Hedy is employed by the German authorities and secretly embarks on small acts of resistance. But most dangerously of all, she falls in love with German lieutenant Kurt Neumann — a relationship on which her life will soon depend.

A remarkable novel of finding hope and love when all seems at its darkest.

 

Brenda’s Review:

When her employers escaped the island of Jersey, Hedy Bercu decided to stay put. Her parents and siblings were still in Vienna and she hoped that Jersey wouldn’t be occupied. But two years after her escape from Vienna, the Nazis arrived on the island and gradually took over, using their power to dominate and terrify the inhabitants.

Hedy was Jewish but kept it to herself. Her best friend Anton and his new girlfriend Dorothea kept her secret, but the hunger and deprivation caused Hedy to take a risk, gaining herself a job as a translator for the Germans. She was only earning a little, but the food coupons helped stave off starvation. Falling for the German lieutenant, Kurt Neumann wasn’t part of her plan, but soon it became apparent he felt the same way. Hedy’s acts of resistance were dangerous and could mean the end of her life, but still she continued. What would happen to Hedy in the months and years which followed?

The Viennese Girl by Jenny Lecoat is based on the true story of a young Jewish girl, Hedwig Bercu, and what happened to her during the German occupation. Heartfelt, heartbreaking but also filled with hope, the determination of Hedy was phenomenal. Starving, thin and weak, she gritted her teeth and kept on going. What an amazing young woman. Jenny Lecoat has written an excellent historical fiction novel of one more aspect of World War II and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended. 5 stars

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

#MeatFreeMonday – Cauliflower Steaks with Red Hummus: More – Matt Preston

More

Matt Preston Published by Plum

RRP 39.99

Photography by Mark Roper

“I don’t really understand the attraction of fake meat that bleeds. Who is it going to attract? For me, part of the attraction of plant-based dishes is precisely that they don’t bleed. It’s probably something to do with carnivore guilt. Still, for that section of society here’s a steak that comes swimming in something sort of red that doesn’t involve a laboratory Petri dish. ” p75

Cauliflower Steaks with Red Hummus

 

2 teaspoons cumin seeds
juice of 1 lemon
60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
35 g (¹⁄3 cup) currants
finely grated zest of ½ lemon
2 small heads cauliflower
¹⁄3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

RED HUMMUS (AKA MUHAMMARA)

150 g roasted red capsicum (from a jar is fine)
60 g (½ cup) walnuts, toasted
400 g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon harissa
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 small ice cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preheat a barbecue at plate with a lid on medium–high.
Combine the cumin seeds, tablespoons of the lemon juice and tablespoons of the olive oil in a bowl. Season well.

While your barbecue heats up, combine the currants, lemon zest, remaining lemon juice and remaining oil in a bowl. Season with salt and set aside so the currants plump up a bit.

Cut each cauliflower into 1. cm thick steaks, leaving the base intact, you will get about three steaks from each cauliflower. Save any leftover cauliflower for making rice to go with the Sri Lankan beetroot and cashew curry on page 236.

Brush the cauliflower steaks with the cumin mixture and place on the barbecue at plate. Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes or until golden and nicely charred. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and golden.

Meanwhile, make the red hummus. Blitz the capsicum and walnuts in a food processor until almost smooth. Remove half and place in a bowl. Add the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, harissa, cumin, lemon juice and ice cubes to the processor and blitz until almost smooth.

With the motor running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until smooth and well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the parsley to the currants and toss together well. Spread the hummus over serving plates. Top with the reserved capsicum and walnut puree followed by the cauliflower steaks. Sprinkle with the currant mixture and serve.

 

**MEATY ADDITION: Reduce the cauliflower to 1 and serve with Barbecued white fish fillets see page 275 or 4 Barbecued or chargrilled chicken breast fillets see page 260.

Review: The Museum Of Desire

The Museum of Desire

(Alex Delaware #35)

Century

Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9781780899046)

 

Description:

ONE NIGHT OF HEDONISM. FOUR MURDER VICTIMS.

 

A run-down mansion nestled between Beverley Hills and the San Fernando Valley is leased out for one night to house a party big enough to herald the end of days.

 

When a limo is discovered in the grounds of the house the morning after with four dead bodies inside, a mind-bending case begins.

 

With no link between the four people in the car, and each of the victims murdered in a different way, psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis are about to begin their grisliest and most baffling case yet.

 

And as they struggle to make sense of the vicious mass slaying, they will be forced to confront a level of lust and evil for which their combined wisdom can provide no preparation.

 

 

My View:

This was an engaging, weird, quirky, dark murder mystery but the strangest things about this read are; it is the 35th book in the series and I have never read anything by the author before (my bad) he is a talented writer who writes with sharpness, intention and skill. This is the 35th book in the Alex Delaware series yet I easily read it as a standalone – more kudos to the writer. The protagonists – quirky, likable, authentic.  The crimes – gruesome, diabolical and twisted.

A great read.