Monday, May 30, 2011

Of course what I'd rather be eating is...

GREEK SALAD with delicious sweet ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumber and capsicum. Unfortunately it's hard to get the sweet tomatoes in May... something to look forward too!

This salad is best made just before serving using fresh ingredients.

Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Equipment: chopping board, knife, large bowl

6 ripe yet firm tomatoes, chopped into 1” pieces
3 Lebanese cucumbers, chopped into 1” pieces
1 red onion, halved and then sliced into rings
1 red capsicum, halved seeded and chopped into 1” pieces
200g kalamata olives
220g Greek feta, cubed
1 tsp dried Greek oregano
½ cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

60 ml red or white wine vinegar (optional)
Iceberg lettuce (optional)

1. Place tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, onion and feta in a bowl.
2. Sprinkle over feta, oregano, olives and olive oil and mix till combined.
3. Place into serving bowl and sprinkle with oregano and pepper.
4. Taste and if desired add the vinegar and salt.

In Australia this salad is often served with crisp iceberg lettuce.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's a great day for...

Greek Lentil Soup

This rich lentil soup is traditionally served with a drizzle of red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Serves: 8
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45- 60 mins

Equipment: chopping board, knife, vegetable peeler, garlic press, large pot and ladle.

375gm lentils, washed and picked over
½ cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery, stalks and leaves –chopped
½ red or green capsicums
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoon oregano
3 litres vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

2 tablespoon parsley, chopped to garnish
¼ cup virgin olive oil, extra for drizzling
Red wine vinegar for drizzling (optional)

1. Place lentils in a pot, just cover with water and boil for 10 minutes whilst preparing the other ingredients.
2. In a large pot heat oil and gently fry the onion, carrot, celery, capsicum and garlic for 5 minutes .
3. Add the bay leaves, oregano and pepper.
4. Drain lentils and add them to the vegetables along with the stock, tinned tomatoes and tomato paste.
5. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 30- 40 minutes or until lentils are tender.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve:
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with a splash of olive oil and a dash of good red wine vinegar.

Accompanied with bread, fetta and olives it forms a satisfying and complete meal.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Vegetable Tagine w/ Cous Cous

A hearty Moroccan stew served with sweet cous cous

Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 30 minutes (not including chick pea soaking time)
Cooking time 30 - 40 minutes

Equipment: knife, measuring cup, large pot with lid, small bowl for rubbish, wooden spoon, vegetable peeler


2 brown onion, large cut into 1/8 ths
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
¼ bunch parsley, washed and left whole
¼ bunch coriander, washed and left whole, smash the roots with heavy knife
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper

1 red capsicum, seeded and cut into large chunks
1 green capsicum, seeded and cut into large chunks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 sweet potatoes or kumera, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 zucchini, cut into 4 pieces
2 celery sticks, cut into large chunks (or fennel if in season)
1 tin tinned tomatoes, whole
2 cups chick peas, soaked and cooked (or a tin of well drained chick peas)

1 pinch saffron threads, soaked in half cup warm water
1.5 litres vegetable stock (more water may be added)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot, fry onion gently until translucent, 5 minutes
2. Add the rest of the first list of ingredients and gently fry for a further 2 minutes
3. Add capsicum, carrot, potato and sweet potato and celery, gently colour them whilst stirring for 5- 8 minutes
4. Add tomatoes and chickpeas, place lid on and cook for a further 5- 8 minutes till carrots are slightly coloured and soft to pierce with a knife
5. Add zucchini, saffron and stock.
6. Place lid on and cook gently for 20 minutes till all vegetables are soft and the flavours have developed. Add more water if it is too dry.

To Serve: Serve hot with cous cous or crusty bread

Cous cous is a great compliment to a tagine as it helps mop up the juices

Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 30 minutes (not including soaking time)
Cooking time 10 minutes

Equipment: knife, measuring cup, large pot with lid, wooden spoon, large fry pan or wok.


2 cups Cous Cous
2 cups Water
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon Butter
1 ½ cup dried fruit and nuts, slivered (currants, raisins, apricots, almonds, pepitas etc)
½ lemon, zest only
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 bay leaves
¼ cup fried onion
1 tablespoon dried dill

¼ cup parsley and/or coriander, chopped

1. Heat water, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large pot
2. Add the cous cous and stir quickly, cover with the lid and remove from the heat
3. After 5 minutes remove lid and fluff gently with a fork. Set aside
4. Melt butter in a large frypan and gently fry all fruit, nuts, seeds and spices for 5 minutes to release their aroma
5. Add cous cous to the frypan and fry gently till warm and mixed through.
6. Stir through chopped fresh herbs

To serve:
Remove cinnamon and bay leaf.
Serve cold as a salad or hot with a tagine or vegetable stew.

Organic Veggie Box challenge

Organic Fruit and Veg are a bit of a luxury for a growing family like ours. I always try to snap up any deals on home delivered produce as it's a considerable saving on regular prices. The box above was half price at $39.

Just how far can we get on this box and what meals did I make:

1. Vegetable and Chick Pea Tagine w/ cous cous

Using the pumpkin, parsnip, potatoes, celery and onions.
Supplemented by other veggies and chick peas.
Herbs from the garden.

2. Huge Thick Pumpkin Soup

That takes care of the remaining pumpkin and carrot.
Some onions and celery in here too.
Made 4 litres of delicious pumpkin soup.
Flavoured with bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

3. Creamy Parsnip and Potato Bake
4 potatoes, the remaning parsnip, sweet little onions with herbs from the garden.
A bit of veggie stock, a splash of cream and some grated cheese.
A firm favourite!

4. Quick Waldorf Salad

A great quick lunch with celery, green apple and walnuts. Dressed simply with lemon juice, organic olive oil, salt and pepper. Will have to make it again to get a picture!

We ate the gorgeous broccoli steamed over 3 meals. The carrots were munched up as carrot sticks. It really was great produce.

So that's it! All that remains are a few celery sticks and half a kilo of onions. There's 2 litres of pumpkin soup in the freezer too. Yum!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nasi Goreng

The quintessential Indonesian snack food.

Serves: 6
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

knife, chopping board, saucepan, wok, measuring cup, metal spoon, small bowl for rubbish,


2 tablespoons Sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
2 tablespoons Light Soy sauce
1 tablespoons Sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sambal belado or mild chili sauce (or fresh chilli slices)
Salt and pepper

Stir Fry
¼ cup Canola Oil
175 grams Firm tofu, cut into 1 cm cubes

4 cups Steamed rice, warm or cold
1 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 cup Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup Green beans, cut into half and blanched (boiled till al dente in hot water)
1 cup Carrot, peeled and cut thinly into long matchsticks, blanched
1 cup Snowpeas, julienned into long strips

4 Eggs, fried or thin omelet slices
1 Tomato, thinly sliced
½ Cucumber, thinly sliced
¼ cup Bawang goreng – crispy fried onion

1. Combine all sauce ingredients and set aside.
2. Deep fry tofu till lightly golden, drain and reserve.
3. Keep 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok and gently fry onion and garlic.
4. Add remaining vegetables and stir fry till capsicum and cabbage have softened.
5. Add rice and tofu and mix through, add sauce and mix till evenly coloured.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve in a mound with a fried egg on top of each serve, alternatively slice thin omelet pieces and scatter on top with a few slices of tomato, cucumber and crispy fried onion

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Rice noodle dish traditionally sold by street hawkers. This vegetarian version substitutes mushroom soy sauce for the ubiquitous fish sauce. If you haven't got any just use regular soy sauce.

Serves: 2 individual serves or 4 as part of a meal
Preparation: 15 minutes (excluding noodles soaking 10 mins)
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

knife, chopping board, wok, measuring cup, 2 large spoons or spatulas for tossing noodles, small bowl for rubbish, vegetable peeler.


2 tablespoons White sugar
1 tablespoon Tamarind paste
2 tablespoon Thai Mushroom Soy Sauce (or fish sauce if you like it)

½ packet Thai Rice Noodles (Rice Stick) soaked in warm water till slightly soft
1 tablespoon Canola oil
½ Small onion, finely sliced
2 Eggs
100 grams Firm bean curd, 1 cm dice and deep fried and drained on paper
1 cup Bean sprouts, washed well and trimmed (reserve some for garnish)
1 Baby Bok Choy, cut into long wedges and washed well
½ bunch Chinese chives, cut into 5cm lengths (reserve some for garnish)
¼ cup Coriander leaves, washed (reserve some for garnish)
1 teaspoon Roasted chilli powder

2 tablespoons Crushed roasted peanuts or cashews
1 lime, cut into 2 wedges, “thai style”
2 teaspoon roasted chilli powder
Chinese chives, coriander leaves and bean sprouts
Sauce: Simmer sauce ingredients for 1-2 minutes till sugar is dissolved.
1. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat and fry onion till slightly coloured.
2. Crack in eggs and stir till just set.
3. Add tofu, bok choy stir and then the drained noodles
4. Turn up the heat and allow the noodles to colour.
5. Add sauce, chilli powder and simmer further 1-2 min
6. Add most of the bean sprouts, chives till wilted, adjust seasoning for sweet, sour, salty & spice.

Serve: Pile on a plate with bean sprouts, chives, coriander, lime wedge, peanuts & chilli powder

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bubur: Indonesian Black Rice Pudding

On these cold nights it's nice to have a bit of pudding... with the price of bananas through the roof this usually cheap dish is becoming a luxury... luckily it still tastes great on it's own. I prefer it with tangy mango slices when they're in season.

A lovely South East Asian dessert.

Serves: 6
Preparation: Soak rice overnight
Cooking Time: 20 to 30 minutes, depends on the rice.

knife, chopping board, wok, measuring cup, 2 large spoons or spatulas for tossing noodles, small bowl for rubbish, vegetable peeler.


300gms Black glutinous rice, washed and soaked overnight
7 cups Water
150 grams Dark palm sugar, broken up
2 Drops Pandan essence (or pandan leaf if available)
Pinch of salt
2 cups Thick coconut milk
Toasted shredded coconut for garnish

Optional: Serve with sliced mango cheeks or bananas and palm sugar syrup

1. Drain rice and bring to the boil in a pot with 6 cups of water.
2. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the rice is soft.
3. Add the sugar, pandan essence and extra cup water, stir until sugar dissolves.
4. Take off the stove and chill in a bowl or individual ramekins. (May also be eaten warm or hot)
1. In another pot simmer the coconut milk and pinch of salt till thickened. Cool.
6. Serve a few of spoonfuls of rice pudding topped with the coconut milk and garnish.

To make palm sugar syrup: Dissolve 1/2 cup of palm sugar with 1/2 cup water in a pot over a low heat. Serve hot or cold over the pudding.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lorena's Vegetarian Recipes get a new home...

Or at least a new lease! Lately I've been finding it difficult to keep track of my recipes posted on my facebook page. Facebook doesn't allow you to index your notes and so to find a recipe you need to scroll through page after page to get to a particular recipe... not very user friendly!

So I've decided that this will be the new parking space for recipes... a blog will allow me to index and refer to recipes and images.

Over the coming weeks I'll be importing all the recipes that I've previously posted...

In keeping with my delicious Mother's Day lunch at Indo Rasa yesterday, let's start with some recipes from Indonesia :-)

Steamed rice surrounded by a little bit of what’s on hand!
Here are 4 dishes to serve with the rice: Spinach & Pumpkin Sayur, Tempeh Goreng, Sambal Terong and Gado Gado.

Serves: 4
Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

knife, chopping board, saucepan, wok, measuring cup, metal spoon, small bowl for rubbish, mortar and pestle, food processor


4 cups Steamed rice

Spinach & Pumpkin Sayur (Spinach “soup”)
3 cups Vegetable stock (1 teaspoon powder per cup)
5 cm Galangal, sliced and bruised
1 cup Corn kernels
1 bunch English Spinach, washed and trimmed leaves
200 grams Pumpkin, diced and blanched

1 small red chilli, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green shallots
Salt and pepper
Palm sugar to taste

1. Make spice paste first by blending the chili, garlic and shallots, add ½ cup stock and blend again.
2. Bring the rest of the stock to the boil, add galangal and spice mix, simmer for a few minutes.
3. Add the corn and then the spinach leaves, cook briefly, taste and adjust seasoning before serving.

Tempeh Goreng (Fried Fermented Soybeans)
3 Garlic cloves
½ teaspoon Coriander, ground
1 tablespoon Water
250 grams Tempeh, cut into 1cm slices, scored with a fork
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

1. Pound coriander, salt and garlic together, mix with the water.
2. Rub this marinade over the tempeh slices and leave them to dry min. 20 mins.
3. Deep fry slices till brown, drain and reserve.

Sambal Terong (Eggplant with mild chili sauce)
2 Japanese eggplant (long thin ones) cut lengthways and into thirds
1 tablespoon Oil
¼ cup Sambal Balado or Sambal Oelek
Kecap Manis

1. Place eggplants on a baking tray and brush lightly with oil.
2. Bake at 180C till slightly softened
3. Top with sambal paste and return to oven till warmed through.
4. Serve with a drizzle of kecap manis.

Gado Gado: Vegetables and hardboiled egg with Satay sauce
Satay Sauce
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 Eschallot, finely diced
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoons Grated ginger
¼ teaspoon Sambal Oelek
1 cup Crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon Kecap Manis
1 Lime, juiced
¼ cup Coconut milk
¼ cup Water

1. Gently fry onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in oil.
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and heat till thick and bubbling.
3. Adjust flavourings to suit ie. Sugar, chilli, lime juice, salt.

1 cup Green beans, halved and blanched
1 cup Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced
4 Small potatoes, cooked skin on and sliced
1 cup Bean sprouts, rinsed
4 Eggs, hard boiled, peeled and quartered

Cucumber, sliced
Crackers, prawn or taro
Fried eschallots

To serve Nasi Campur:
Arrange a cup of rice in centre of each plate and surround with a little of the spinach soup, fried tempeh, gado gado and chilli eggplant. Garnish with cucumber slices, crackers and a sprinkle of fried onion.