#MeatFreeMonday – Watermelon Salad

 

 

 

 

 

Edited extract from Fruit by Bernadette Worndl, published by Smith Street Books, $55. Photography © Gunda Dittrich. Out November 2018

 

WATERMELON SALAD WITH FETA, TOMATO, MINT AND CUCUMBER

” On hot summer days, I can eat this salad constantly. The sweet, juicy watermelon in combination with the fleshy oxheart tomatoes could not go better with the crisp, thickly sliced cucumbers and salty feta.” p. 136

 

 

Watermelon salad

1 small seedless watermelon

1 Lebanese (short) cucumber

3–4 oxheart tomatoes

3–4 mint sprigs

200 g (7 oz) feta

**fleur de sel, to taste

olive oil, for drizzling

juice of ½ lemon

 

Halve the watermelon, remove pieces of the flesh using a spoon and arrange on a large plate. Peel the cucumber and cut into thick slices. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and arrange on the watermelon, along with the cucumber. Pick the mint leaves and tear into smaller pieces.

 

Crumble the feta over the salad, scatter over the mint and fleur de sel, and drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice.

 

Fleur de sel – is a finishing salt to flavor and garnish food. It is added just before serving to boost the flavor of eggs, fish, meat, vegetables, chocolate, and caramel.

#Meat Free Monday: Pumpkin Curry and Cashew Soup – Pete Evans

Eat Your Greens

Eat Your Greens by Pete Evans, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99,

Photography by William Meppem

This meal in a soup has to be one of the best comfort foods I have come across. It is delicious, nutritious and can be easily modified ( use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock ) to make this a satisfying vegetarian dish. Since I  received this book I have made this particular recipe on a weekly basis.  I am sure you will enjoy it too.

 pumpkin, curry and cashew soup_

 

Pumpkin soup will always be a family favourite, as it ticks all the boxes when it comes to flavour. It is also budget friendly, very easy to get on the table and a great time saver; you can make up a big batch and freeze the leftovers to have on hand for when you need a quick meal. With this recipe I have lightly spiced it with curry powder and added
cashews for a lovely texture. If you wanted to add some fish or prawns, then be my guest.” p237

Comfort Food
Serves 4–6

SPICED PUMPKIN AND CASHEW SOUP
2 tablespoons coconut oil or good-quality animal fat,* melted
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1.5 cm dice
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons finely grated ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
120 g cashew nuts (activated if possible*)
1 litre vegetable stock or Chicken Bone Broth (page 312)
500 g butternut pumpkin, cut into 2 cm dice
2 tomatoes, cut into 2 cm dice
400 ml coconut milk
sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves

Heat the oil or fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the veggies are softened and slightly caramelised. Add the garlic, ginger
and spices and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in the cashews and stock or broth and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium–low, add the pumpkin, tomato and coconut milk to the pan, stir and bring back to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper
and stir in the spinach. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, scatter on the coriander and chilli flakes (if using) and serve.

To serve
roughly chopped coriander leaves a couple of pinches of chilli flakes (if you like it a little spicy)

* See Glossary

#Meat Free Monday – Goats Cheese Salad: The Catalan Kitchen – Emma Warren

The Catalan Kitchen

From The Catalan Kitchen: From Mountains to City and Sea – Recipes from Spain’s Culinary Heart

by Emma Warren. Photography © Rochelle Eagle | Food styling © Lee Blaylock (Smith Street Books, October 2018 – AU$ 55, NZ$ 65)

 

Goat's cheese salad

FORMATGE DE CABRA GRATINAT

PAN-FRIED GOAT’S CHEESE SALAD

Serves 4

2 tablespoons raisins

60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

80 ml (2½ fl oz/¹∕³ cup) extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted and chopped

½ teaspoon salt flakes

250 g (9 oz) goat’s cheese log with rind, cut into 1–2 cm (½–¾ in) thick slices

freshly cracked black pepper

½ radicchio, leaves separated

70 g (2½ oz) rocket (arugula) leaves

1 red apple, cored and thinly sliced

½ bunch chives, cut into 3 cm (1¼ in) lengths

 

Heat the raisins and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 4–5 minutes to rehydrate the raisins. Stir through the honey and remove from the heat. Allow to cool a little then pour in the olive oil and mix through the walnuts and salt flakes. Keep at room temperature.

 

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

 

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. When the pan is extremely hot, add the cheese and cook for 1–2 minutes each side. Transfer to the prepared tray and crack some black pepper over the top.

 

Arrange the salad leaves on serving plates and top with the apple and fried goat’s cheese.

 

Spoon over the dressing and rain over the chives.

 

Authors note:

This simple, go-to warm salad is a modern Barna favourite served in restaurants throughout the city. It’s also very popular at functions, where it’s often served as an entrée.

 

The fats in the goat’s cheese make it an ideal cheese to fry with as you can get a crusty seal without the milk oils separating. Rinded goat’s cheese is a French product and its soft, creamy and acidic flavour pairs perfectly here with the sweet vinaigrette and fresh bitter leaves.

#MeatlessMonday: Lentil Hotpot with Steamed Greens – The CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet -Dr Tony Bird, Dr Michael Conlon and Pennie Taylor

CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet

Recipes extracted from The CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet by Dr Tony Bird, Dr Michael Conlon and Pennie Taylor. Available now, Macmillan Australia, RRP $34.99.

 

p178 THE CSIRO HEALTHY GUT DIET
21 G FIBRE PER SERVE GOOD SOURCE OF RESISTANT STARCH
UNITS PER SERVE BREADS AND CEREALS 1 PROTEIN 2 FRUIT 0 VEGETABLES 3 DAIRY 0 FATS AND OILS 0

Lentil hotpot with steamed greens

SERVES 4
PREPARATION 20 minutes
COOKING 1 hour, plus potato cooking time

 

Lentil Hotpot

olive oil spray, for cooking
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 × 400 g tin salt-reduced chopped tomatoes
1 × 400 g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
1 × 400 g tin salt-reduced four-bean mix, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups (180 g) frozen peas
5 potatoes, cut into 5 mm thick slices, steamed and chilled overnight (see page 41)
sweet paprika, for sprinkling
1 head broccoli, trimmed and cut into small florets
100 g green beans, trimmed

 

Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced). Spray a 1.5 litre baking dish with olive oil.
Heat a deep heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and spray with olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and curry powder and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Stir in the tomatoes, lentils and bean mix and bring to a simmer over medium–high heat, then stir in the
peas and return to a simmer; add a little water if necessary to prevent the mixture from sticking.

Spoon the lentil mixture into the prepared baking dish, then top with the potato slices, placing them in overlapping lines to cover the lentil mixture. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake the hotpot for 45–50 minutes until the potato topping is golden
and crisp.

Just before serving, steam the broccoli and beans in a steamer basket over a saucepan of simmering water for 3 minutes or until tender but crisp.

Serve the hotpot with the steamed vegetables alongside.

into small florets
100 g green beans, trimmed

 

Meat Free Monday: Gnocchi with Mixed Greens and Cave-Ripened Cheese – Adriatico – Paola Bacchia

Adriatico_cover

 

From Adriatico: Stories and recipes from Italy’s Adriatic Coast by Paola Bacchia

(Smith Street Books, September 2018 – AU$ 55, NZ$ 65)

Photography (c)  Paola Bacchia

 

Gnocchi with mixed greens and cave-ripened cheese

Gnocchi con erbe e formaggio di fossa

 

Gnocchi with mixed greens and cave-ripened cheese

SERVES 4

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) mixed greens (such as silverbeet/Swiss chard, spinach and witlof/chicory)

iced water, to refresh

200 g (7 oz) fresh ricotta, drained

100 g (3½  oz) parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

100 g (3½ oz) formaggio di fossa or a crumbly pecorino, grated

2 eggs, lightly beaten

100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) dried breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon chopped dill

finely grated zest of ½ lemon

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter

 

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Wash and trim the greens, then plunge them into the boiling water. Once it comes to boil again, let the greens cook for a few minutes. Drain and refresh in iced water (to help retain their colour), then roughly chop and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, place the ricotta, grated cheeses and egg in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Add the cooled greens, breadcrumbs, dill, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste and combine well – the mixture will be quite thick. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Ideally the gnocchi should be cooked as soon as you make them – don’t let them rest too long.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Before you add the gnocchi to the water, melt the butter in a large deep frying pan over low heat. (You may need to do this in two pans or batches if you don’t have a very large pan.) Once the water is at a rolling boil, carefully drop in the gnocchi in batches, using a slotted spoon. Once they rise to the surface, lift them out with the slotted spoon and carefully drop them into the melted butter. Allow the gnocchi to cook for a few minutes on each side until nicely golden. Spoon onto warmed serving places and drizzle over some of the deep-golden butter.

 

Scatter with extra grated parmesan and serve immediately.

 

Authors note:

In Solignano al Rubicone in Emilia-Romagna, just north of Le Marche, they make cheese that is buried in the ground while it ages. It is called ‘formaggio di fossa’, literally, ‘cheese of the pit’. The cheese is made with sheep or cow’s milk (or a combination of both). It is wrapped in muslin and buried in a straw-lined rocky pit – typically of volcanic ash – three to four metres (about three yards) deep, and matured for a period of up to three months. During this time the cheese develops a distinctive woody flavour.

 

The cheese vendor at the weekly market in Cervia encouraged me to have a taste; it was crumbly, pungent and intense – what I would have called a ‘smelly cheese’ as a child. These days this sort of cheese is right up my alley; a worthy companion to softer milder cheeses on a platter, and a sharp-tasting addition to gnocchi or risotto.

 

These gnocchi are a bit like gnudi; ‘naked’ filling for ravioli without their pasta coat. Adding the ‘pit cheese’ makes them more flavoursome, and works well if you add some bitter greens to the mix and coat them in melted butter at the end. I am lucky that my local specialised deli in Melbourne sells imported formaggio di fossa, but if you can’t find it, use a crumbly strong-tasting sheep’s milk cheese that has been aged no more than 12 months, such as pecorino sardo.

Meat Free Monday: Vegetarian Pho – Fodmap Friendly – Georgia McDermott

FODMAP Friendly Cover

FODMAP Friendly by Georgia McDermott, Published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $34.99

“Vietnam is one of my all-time favourite travel destinations, and at least 70% of that assessment is a direct result of
the national dish, pho. While pho is traditionally made with a beef broth heavy in onion and garlic, I’ve created
an inadvertently vegan and advertently FODMAP-friendly version. Shiitake mushrooms add a necessary depth to the
broth, but you can adjust the amount if they are a trigger for you.” p.66

 

Vegetarian pho

Vegetarian pho
Serves 4
Pho broth
4 cinnamon quills
7 star anise
2 cloves
1 tablespoon peanut or
sesame oil
2 large carrots, roughly
chopped
1 large fennel, roughly chopped
(you can throw the fronds
in too)
10 g fresh ginger, peeled and
finely sliced
75 g fresh shiitake mushrooms,
sliced
4 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
2.5 litres water
a bunch of Thai basil, leaves picked, stems discarded
a bunch of Vietnamese mint, leaves picked, stems discarded

to serve
200 g firm tofu
1 large carrot, julienned
a bunch of bok choy
250 g rice noodles
fresh red chilli, finely sliced
lime wedges

 

1. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat, and dry-fry the cinnamon, star anise and cloves for a minute or two, or until fragrant. Add the peanut oil, chopped carrot and fennel and cook for a couple of minutes until it begins to sizzle. Add the ginger, shiitake and a splash of water, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.
2. Add the tamari, and once it has reduced down and caramelised on the bottom of the pan, add the water. Place the lid on the pan and bring the broth to the boil. Add a handful of the herbs, reduce to a medium heat and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan over a medium heat, dry-fry the tofu, cubed or in slabs, and then pour over
a splash of tamari. Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Transfer the tofu to a plate, then rinse out the frying pan and return it to the heat. Gently cook the carrots and bok
choy with a splash of water until done. Remove from the heat.
5. Prepare the rice noodles as per the packet instructions.
6. To assemble, divide the noodles between four serving bowls and then arrange the tofu, carrot and bok choy on top. Ladle over the pho broth, and finish the bowls with some fresh chilli, herbs and wedges of lime.

A CookBook To Suit Everyone’s Needs

Recently I came across a cookbook that asserts that: “Whether you’re an occasional meat-eater, a vegetarian who needs to cook for meat-eaters, or even a dedicated veggie, you’ll find this very flexible book filled with delicious and practical recipes for every lifestyle. The Flexible Vegetarian’s beautiful and tasty dishes offer two solutions: they can be served as completely vegetarian meals, or with the addition of a simple meat, chicken or fish recipe, making them suitable for meat-free days and meat-eaters alike. Recipes cover international flavours, from spiced poke to peashoot and asparagus gnudi, and they are all simple, quick, packed with protein and well-balanced. As well as easy meat and fish additions and hacks for each vegetarian recipe, The Flexible Vegetarian shows you how to ace a handful of classic recipes, from the perfect roast chicken, to the perfectly cooked fillet. Chapters include: Brunch, Broths, Small Plates, Large Plates, and Dips & Bits.”  https://www.murdochbooks.com.au/browse/books/tv-celebrity-chefs/The-Flexible-Vegetarian-Jo-Pratt-9780711239043

The Flexible Vegetarian

 

I have a dilemma  – do I give this to my vegetarian daughter so she can cook the occasional meal for her non vegetarian friends and family ? Or do I keep this one to source recipes for when my daughter visits?  (I am always looking for new and tasty meals I can prepare that we can all share when she visits.) What would you do?

 

**As a bonus this book contains many recipes that include cheese, and one I will  definitely be making in summer, Grilled Peaches, Burrata and Mint Pesto – YUM.   The section “Dips and Bits” deserves a special mention – there are so many of my favourite foods presented here: labneh, hummus, tahini dressing, pesto…and section, “Small Plates”… well I just have to try smashed bean, kale and tomato toast – what a great breakfast idea!  So many good ideas here. I dont think I could choose just one favourite.