RSS

Tag Archives: salad

For the love of…Dinner Parties

I’m still searching for inspiration and creativity. I’m in a funk. A food funk. An emotional funk. I don’t crave food anymore. What is wrong with me? I’m definately in a funk. My cousin asked me today “are you excited? About life in general?” No, right now I’m not.

I need to find something to excite me. Food used to excite me. I need to find that again, I was happy, I was motivated. Where did it all go? Now I just feel like i’m an angry mess.

My mum keeps insinuating that she wants to have some sort of dinner party in the not so distant future. I’m taking that as the foundation of my inspiration. The opportunity to create. Mum’s dinner parties are usually buffet style meals with copious amounts of appitisers, main courses and several desserts. All of which scream comfort food. All of which are PERFECT for those family gatherings which start in the late afternoon and end during the early hours of the morning. But recently she’s been saying that she wants to do something different. So I’m thinking. What could be different? Something that doesn’t quite scream comfort food? Something a little more sophisticated? Yet something that is absolutely BURSTING with flavour.

So as I’ve been hunting for creativity I was thinking about appetisers. Something simple, sophisticated and bursting with flavour and I thought about cherry tomatoes. Not just ordinary cherry tomatoes on a plate, but stuffed cherry tomatoes, with pesto. Ok ok so traditionally pesto has parmesan in it, but you can use your favourite vegan substitute, i’m sure you all have one by now, if not – just ask and i’m happy to make suggestions!

Since you all know me, it wouldn’t be my recipe if I didn’t add some sort of twist to it so here goes & let me know what you think:

To make the pesto:

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated soy cheese 
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

 Place all the above incredients in a food processor and blitz until its a spreadable consistency.

Cut the tops off your cherry tomatoes and de-seed them (i use a tea spoon, but I guess it depends on the size of your tomatoes).

Fill the tomatoes with the pesto mix (either using a tea spoon, or piping bag, or a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut out of the bottom corner – all of these work perfectly well). Sprinkle a touch of paprika on top or garnish with half a toasted walnut or a basil leaf or even the top of the tomato – it’s entirely up to you! Get creative! Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps I should stuff the tomatoes with some kind of avocado, pine-nut, herb mix? I’ll have to think about that some more…

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For the love of…Tabouleh

Tabouleh is a middle eastern salad which has a personality of its own. Traditionally Tabouleh is made with bulgar wheat, and many professional chefs will say that it is impossible to marry the flavours which are incorparated in this traditional dish with any other grain. I however, disagree. But please take note, that this is my personal preference – I love making a sort of unconventional tabouleh by using cous cous instead of bulgar wheat. My reasoning is that cous cous takes significantly less time to cook, and is a hell of a lot easier to cope with. I for one cannot cope with having to soak the bulgar wheat before I cook it, nor do I have time to.

So here’s my quick and easy recipe for unconventional tabouleh, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Ingredients

– 1 cup dry couscous
– 1/2 small red onion, diced
– 2 medium plum tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
– handful of parsley sprigs, chopped
– 5-6 mint leaves, chopped
– juice of 2 lemons
– olive oil (about a tablespoon)
– sea salt and pepper (to taste)

A Method to the Madness

To 1.5 cups of boiling water, add the dry couscous. Turn to low heat and cover for about 3-5 minutes. Couscous is ready when the water has evaporated and the couscous is tender Remove from heat and fluff it around with a fork. Set aside and cool.

When couscous is completely cooled, add onion, tomatoes, parsley, mint and lemon juice. Mix well, removing any clumps in the couscous.

Drizzle in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

This recipe makes about 3-4 hearty portions. My favourite way to eat tabouleh is to load it up in a baby lettuce leaf and roll it up as a wrap. The cool, crunchy lettuce is a perfect match to the tartness of the tabouleh. You could even serve it on endives for a clever party-style canape!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2010 in Food, salad, Vegan

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

For the love of Pomelo Salad

My love for Thai food constantly grows, but vegan Thai food is very hard to come by. In fact, I wouldn’t trust a Thai restaurant to say something is vegan because one of the most vital ingredients in all Thai food is fish sauce. So if you’re craving Thai I would recommend that you give up looking in any restaurant and resort to some good old fashioned home cooking.

Although fish sauce is a vital ingredient in almost every Thai dish you come accross, I think that each dish you make at home eliminating fish sauce is just as tasty if you use fresh ingredients and you find that craving completely satisfied.

Pomelo is one of my favourite South East Asian fruits, and you can find it in almost any Asian supermarket. I find myself feeling lucky most of the time with living in Asia and having access to countless fruits and vegetables that you just seem to not find anywhere else in the world other than in specialty supermarkets.

Pomelo Segments

Pomelo is sometimes referred to as a Chinese grapefruit, with it’s thick skin and pear-like shape. It tastes rather like a sweet, overly ripe grapefruit. It actually makes an absolutely perfect salad, pairing particularly well with chilies and soy sauce. Before you judge me, or turn your head away, I highly recommend you try this out for yourself, if you can get your hands on a pomelo that is!

Ingredients

  • Segments of 1/2 pomelo
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed dried chillies
  • 2 tbsp raw cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice of two limes
  • If you don’t have crushed dried chillies you can just as easily use those crushed chilli flakes or better still, use some fresh chillies finely chopped. Simply break the pomelo segments into bite-sized pieces, toss it together with the chillies, sugar, soy sauce and lime juice and let it stand for approximately 15 minutes, almost like marinading the pomelo in the dressing. Dish up and sprinkle some ground peanuts on top and you have a very simple, very tasty, pomelo salad.

     
    Leave a comment

    Posted by on January 12, 2010 in Food, Recipes, Vegan, Weight Loss

     

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,