Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Salsa and soup…and evidence that I cannot neatly ladle soup into these bowls.



Makes about 6 servings

  • 1 kg of carrots, peeled and chopped into lengths
  • 1 brown onion, diced finely
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp dried rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Vegeta stock powder


Makes about 4 servings.

  • 1/4 of a thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • handful of basil and parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of roasted red peppers, diced

Soup: Heat your oven to 180°, pop some baking paper on a sheet pan and tip on your carrots. Drizzle with olive oil and rosemary and a sprinkle of salt and pepper then pop in the oven for 40 minutes or until soft. You will need to turn them once or twice to ensure they get lovely and roasted all over. Meanwhile boil a kettle and mix your 1-2 tsp vegeta with 2 cups of boiling water.

Once your carrots are roasted you are GTG for the rest of the soup. In a large saucepan, cook your brown onion until soft and translucent, then add your garlic into the pan, cook until fragrant and then add your carrots. Stir well and cook for a minute or two, then add your 500mL of stock and another 500mL of water. Bring to the boil and then cook on a low heat with the lid on for about 40 minutes, season to taste.

Take off the heat and cool, then blend in a blender or an immersion blender. Once blended and cooled, you can chill (or even freeze) the soup at this point and reheat when needed. If the soup is a little too thick, add a little water when you reheat and check the seasoning.


Salsa: Combine red onion and the vinegar in a bowl and let stand for at least an hour until the onion softens. Then add in the herbs and capsicum, stir well and season with salt and pepper then let stand for about 30 minutes. Spoon on top of soup just before serving.

Marinading to release the flavours

Hot tips: Grit your teeth and respond with “No it doesn’t” when one of your friends leaps to assume it has coriander in it because there is something green in it (and they have apparently forgotten the numerous times over the years they have highlighted they don’t like coriander to you and the numerous times you have remembered that particular dislike without needing to be prompted when catering for their culinary preferences as they stand for this particular month). And grit your teeth and respond with “NO it doesn’t” when another of your friends says “is that tomato” (because they have forgotten the numerous times over the years they have highlighted the fact they don’t like tomato and the numerous times you have remembered that particular dislike without needing to be prompted when catering for their particular culinary idiosyncracies.) Then have another glass of wine.

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I freely confess that I had two agendas for planting nasturtiums in my backyard:

  1. I do love the flowers, and their leaves, and the fact that they spread everywhere each year…enroaching a little bit more on each part of my tiny back garden
  2. I’ve always wanted a source of edible flowers on tap, and boy do I have that this year.

Flowers…not just for decoration

This salad is just a simple riff on an italian salad, which I jzuzzed with my nasturtiums.

Too pretty to eat? I think not.


  • Several large handfuls of rocket
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced (go for a Beurre Bosc or a Golden Pear)
  • Shaved parmesan (you know it has to be freshly shaved)
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbps Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Nasturtium flowers, as many as you think your guests will eat

Arrange layers of your rocket, pear and parmesan on a platter. Mix up the balsamic with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and then artfully (has to be artfully) arrange your nasturtium flowers around the platter. Serve!

Serves 4.

Additional options:

  • Serve individual plates of salad with a poached egg or two on top for a light dinner, or quartered soft boiled eggs
  • Sprinkle capers in the salad for a tangy bite (goes really well if you are including the egg)

Super pretty

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Mushrooms to the left, tomatoes to the right…stuck on a platter for you

I have to confess that I am one of those people who can’t be trusted with a tub of plain cottage cheese: I like it. No: I really like it.

Cottage cheese is more savoury than ricotta (which I also like, but not quite as much). You can eat it straight from the tub, have it on salada crackers for lunch (when your boss might ask you if you are dieting, to which you reply: no I just like cottage cheese), you can add it in place of ricotta to many savoury things….and I have started using it in place of cream cheese (contentious I know) when I make canapes.

There are a couple of rules around cottage cheese:

  • Never, ever, ever buy pre-flavoured cottage cheese. Buy it unadulterated and add any flavourings you want after the fact…if there is any cottage cheese left over once you’ve attacked the tub with a spoon.
  • Always buy 500mL, never the 250mL. You will always be able to eat more of it than you think
  • Don’t leave me alone with a tub of it, if there is a spoon in easy reach

Beginnings of a nice high tea

I invented this recipe when I had Les Chicas over for high tea: it’s a great one for vegetarians and very cheap and simple to make.


  • 8 slices of baguette bread
  • Spray olive oil
  • 8 tbsp cottage cheese (let’s say about 150mL of your 500mL tub)
  • a selection of fresh herbs, finely sliced: I went with parsley and chives from my garden
  • 6 cherry tomatoes sliced in two
  • 3 button mushrooms sliced thinly
  • sprig of rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Pop the cottage cheese in a bowl, mix through your finely sliced fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Pop in the fridge to infuse until you are ready.

Spray olive oil onto each side of your baguette slices, and toast until both sides are golden under your grill, leave to cool.

Oil a small baking dish, place your cherry tomato halves in it and pop in the oven to bake until they are slightly dried and charred (takes about 15-20 minutes at the most). While the tomatoes are baking, heat olive oil and rosemary in a small frypan and fry your button mushroom slices until they are luscious and softened.

To serve: top each crostini with a tbsp of the cottage cheese mix, then place either mushrooms or cherry tomato halves on each crostini. You will end up with 4 of each type of crostini. Grate some salt and pepper over your crostini and challenge anyone who says cottage cheese is only a diet food.

Serves 4 🙂

Artful crostini


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Green, green, green soup

This is another soup from my winter 5:2 fasting days. With the peas, it’s a bit more filling than the zucchini soup.

Pop Aye’s favourite soup?


  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 sticks celery, sliced
  • 200gm frozen peas
  • 250gm frozen spinach
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1.7L water
  • 1-2 tsp vegeta stock powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the onions and celery, cook until onions are translucent. Add in the zucchini and cook until it softens a bit. Add the water and stock powder and simmer for about 20-30 minutes (celery should be softened). Add in the peas and frozen spinach and cook for about 5 minutes.

Take pot off heat and cool, then blend to combine (it’s easiest if you use a stick mixer).

Makes about 5 servings, and each serving is around 60-70 calories.


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Recipe: Vegetable Stew


Vegetable goodness for winter fast days.

This is another recipe for my 5:2 diet days: it’s warming and filling while also being very low calorie and easy to make.


  • Eggplant (diced into 1.5cm cubes)
  • Zucchini, medium sized (slice into 1cm thick slices, then quarter those)
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jar tomato passata or two tins diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Dried thyme  (I use sprigs I’ve harvested from my garden)
  • Dried rosemary (two large pinches)
  • Olive Oil
  • t tsp Vegeta stock powder
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat the oil in a large casserole pot, add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and the eggplant and continue frying until the eggplant is slightly softened. Add the zucchini and stir to mix well and coat it with the oil. Add 2 cups of hot water and the vegeta stock powder and simmer with the lid on for about 5 minutes. Add your tomato paste and your tomatoes (either the passata or the tinned tomatoes), replace the lid and bring to a simmer, then turn down low and cook for about 30 minutes.

This makes about 6 serves, and is about 80-100 calories per serve tops.

Cup a stew

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Why have egg and cress sandwiches, when you can be totally extra and have egg and two cress sandwiches?

Is it egg and two cress, or egg and two cresses?

It’s all very Famous Five, but these are absolutely delish sandwiches to serve at a high tea (or to take on a picnic where you solve mysteries accompanied by potted meat sandwiches, seed cake and lashings of ginger beer).

Substantial high tea, artfully photographed.

Embarrassingly: the reason why I purchased the lebanese cress is because I saw Shane Delia’s cooking show and decided I simply must grow lebanese cress… Now that I have grown it successfully: I’ve been struggling to find recipes to include it in. Luckily a shortage of home grown watercress, a surplus of lebanese cress and an impending high tea led to this recipe-spiration 😉

Note to self: find time to search for Shane Delia and locate his recipes using lebanese cress.

Sandwiches hiding behind neverfail chocolate cake

I cut my sandwiches into 4 triangles, and people will generally eat 2-3 triangles per person. I’ve written this recipe so you can easily make as much as you need for your high teas, picnics and assorted mystery-solving adventures.

Aerial perspective.


  • 1 hard boiled egg per sandwich (peeled, obvs)
  • 1 spring onion, green part only chopped finely (0.5 of an end per sandwich is a good ratio but it does depend on how long your spring onion is)
  • 4-5 sprigs of lebanese cress per sandwich, leaves only (cut the leaves off the stalk)
  • 2-3 tbsp of watercress leaves (or land cress leaves) per sandwich, leaves only (cut the leaves off the stalk)
  • 1 dessert spoon of egg mayonnaise per sandwich
  • 2 slices of white sandwich bread, buttered (or nuttelexed, or margarined: whatever your preference)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Mash your boiled egg(s) in a bowl: I like to use a potato masher to break them up finely, and then a fork to stir. Add in the spring onion, lebanese cress leaves, water/land cress leaves and egg mayonnaise. Stir well with the fork to ensure the egg and other ingredients are completely and evenly mixed through.

Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.

You use about 1-2 dessert spoons of this mixture per sandwich, so pop your spoonfuls of egg-and-two-cress-mixture on one of the slices of bread and smooth out evenly to cover the whole slice of bread, then cover with the other slice of bread and THEN cut into 4 triangles.


These sandwiches are so much more satisfying as triangles.

Triangles by supreme edict.


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The wonder and the majesty

This Mac N Cheese is a little bit extra, if I do say so myself. It’s not for the calorie counters, or the carb and dairy avoiders. Oh no: not for you. Not for you at all.


  • 1.5-2 cups of elbow macaroni (dried)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 cup milk
  • 1 cup stock made up (I use vegeta vegetable stock)
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/3 of a half round of Creamy Blue Castello, chopped (if you are wondering what to do with the rest of the round, make this amazing blue cheese dip)
  • 100gms provolone, finely grated (you could substitute a tasty cheddar)
  • 100gms parmesan, finely grated
  • 100gms gruyere, finely grated
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Olive Oil

Cook the curly macaroni in salted water and drain. Oil a large baking dish and pre-heat the oven to 170°C.

In a large saucepan (it needs to be large because you will be adding the macaroni to it), melt the butter and add the spring onions and when you can smell the cooked onions, add the flour (you’re now making a roux), stir while cooking. If it starts to stick add a tiny bit of olive oil (less than 1/2 tbsp) and keep stirring. and the roux is a nice golden colour, add 1/3 of the milk to it, turn the heat down to low-medium and stir until fully combined. Now add the rest of the cup of milk and stir until combined.

Turn the heat up to medium and add the pasta, and stir until covered in sauce (congratulations, you’ve just made pasta with white sauce). The sauce should be starting to thicken at this point, so turn down the heat to low-medium and then add your provolone, parmesan and gruyere cheese one at a time, stirring thoroughly when you do.

Once the cheese has melted into the white sauce, take off the heat. Tip out into your baking dish (you can freeze any surplus and microwave, it’s very nice). Tuck your pieces of Creamy Blue Castello into the pasta in the dish (making sure every part of the dish has a portion of goodness), top with panko breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of parmesan and/or gruyere and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes (it’s already cooked, you are just heating the top and melting the cheese). Then serve…#yourewelcome

It’s pretty deluxe

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