Food Blogs


  • Click to Join the Foodie Blogroll

Blog powered by TypePad
Bookmark and Share

Vegetarian Recipes

13 July 2010

Vegetarian chilli: a meaty delight for herbivores


Cool weather calls for piping hot bowls of chili. While I am of the carnivore persuasion, I take my chili, vegetarian-style.

It's a meaty dish of black beans and red kidney beans in an aromatic stew of juicy tomatoes, capsicum (peppers), garlic, onion and coriander spiked with cayenne, oregano, cumin and that magical ingredient: smoked paprika.

Served with grated Monterey Jack cheese and a generous dollop of sour cream, this vegetarian chili has been keeping the Australian winter blues away. Although in Australia, the winter blues mainly refer to the crisp blue skies!

It's a simple dish but infinitely satisfying, healthy (if you don't splurge on cheese and sour cream) and economical.

Now if you're meat-lover and don't think you'd cope with a bowl of beans -- I urge you to think again. The combination of the meaty beans infused with spicy, smoky flavours, juicy tomatoes and capsicums and fresh hit of coriander all make for a fantastic meal. Go on, give it a go!

Continue reading "Vegetarian chilli: a meaty delight for herbivores" »

17 July 2009

Sauteed Silver Beet with Chickpeas & Fried Bread


When I think of a chickpeas I think of hummus, falafels, healthy salads and nourishing soups. The last thing that I’d ever associate with it is sex. But don’t let this modest little legume fool you. It once had quite a reputation as potent aphrodisiac.

The chickpea was a medieval form of Viagra. However instead of gulping down a small blue pill, you’d wash down copious amounts of chickpeas with a mug of honeyed camel’s milk... Makes me wild just thinking about it.

If, however, you happen to run out of camel milk, I have a great back-up plan which I am almost as wild about: Sauteed silver beet with chickpeas and fried bread.

This dish works well as a side or as a main. I usually eat it for lunch and if I have any left over it's a brilliant addition to soup. For the fried bread, I prefer ciabatta for its crunchy texture however you can use whatever type of bread is at hand. 

Just before serving I sprinkle on a little smoked paprika. While I only use a small amount, the paprika imparts a sweet, full-bodied smoky flavor and also adds a spicy kick to the dish. I use the La Chinata brand. It's divine and it's my magic ingredient in many recipes.

A note on the chickpeas, for this recipe I use the dried variety which require soaking followed by about an hour of boiling in salted water with garlic. Also, if you're wondering what silver beet is, it's that leafy green vegetable with white stalks and large crinkly leaves. It's sometimes called spinach.

Continue reading "Sauteed Silver Beet with Chickpeas & Fried Bread" »

14 June 2009

Asparagus Soup with Creme Fraiche


I had forgotten how cold Sydney can get in winter. After living in Canada for so long, the thought of a Sydney winter didn't scare me a bit. I laughed defiantly at a city that has never seen a snowflake fall. Bring it on!

How wrong I was. It's cold. I'm wearing two pairs of socks while I type this...and a beanie.

Sydney, it seems, is in denial of the reality of its winters. In Vancouver, it could be 3 degrees outside yet I would be merrily cavorting around the house in a pair of shorts because it was always an agreeable 20 degrees. Here, I am forced into an immature, roller-coaster relationship with my heater who burns my ankles until I can't take it anymore and turn him off. But then...the house seems so cold without him and I find myself soon inviting him back under the table.

Whenever it's cold, I turn to soups. This asparagus and creme fraiche soup however is one that can be eaten in winter or summer. In colder weather I usually have it quite thick which means it's not strained and contains all the nutritious vegetable pulp. In summer, for something lighter, I strain the soup which results in a smooth, velvety broth.

Continue reading "Asparagus Soup with Creme Fraiche" »

22 April 2009

Pomegranate & Spinach Salad


Week two in Sydney. The verdict? Well, no more salty tears welling in my eyes. There were many shed in the first week. Now, the only saltiness is that of the cool, delicious waters of Bondi beach on my skin.

My days have been spent catching up with family and friends and revisiting some of my old food haunts, almost all of which are still thriving.

I'm still to find some farmers' markets and less expensive organic produce, however, I have decided that it may be cheaper to go to the farmers directly...I feel some road trips coming on.

When without a home and pantry of my own, you'd think meals would be a little less healthy and delicious. Not so. Luckily for me I'm staying in a small apartment attached to what may as well be Martha Stewart's kitchen.

A few nights ago dinner was served and on the table was one of the most beautiful salads I had ever seen. It was simple yet dazzling and I was compelled to recreate it the next day.

I give you a baby spinach and pomegranate salad with feta cheese, fresh mint and Spanish onions topped with a balsamic cream.

Thanks Judy.

Continue reading "Pomegranate & Spinach Salad" »

14 February 2009

Himalayan Truffle Pasta


The truffle, a highly prized subterranean fungi, may be the last thing on people's minds in these troubled economic times. With a one ounce truffle costing up to $165, you can imagine my shock to see a basket of fresh black truffles at South China Seas Trading Company selling for $10 each. This must be some kind of mistake!

I tenderly picked a truffle up and sniffed it. While the tuber did have the smell of damp earth, that distinctly pungent truffle musk was missing. It turned out that the truffles were of the Chinese variety, grown in foothills of the Himalayas.

Himalayan Truffles look like your average truffle on the outside. They are knotty and knobbly, a dirty black-brown color, a little smaller than European truffles -- about the size of a walnut. On the inside, they are jet black, with cream-coloured, marbling.

French and Italian truffles grow symbiotically with trees such as the oak, beech, hazel or chestnut while Himalayan truffles predominantly grow near pine trees or other conifers.


It is said that unscrupulous restaurants sometimes pass of Himalayan truffles by enhancing them with  truffle oil or butter. Don Dickson, owner of South China Seas Trading Co, opined that this masquerading has "resulted in Himalayan truffles being negatively regarded as fakes rather than just being appreciated for what they are".


I tasted a sliver of the truffle and decided that it wouldn't hurt to saute them. If anything, it heightened their delicate flavour.

First, I sauteed some onions in olive oil and butter, I added finely chopped garlic, followed by slivers of truffle which I seasoned with flor de sal and then sauteed them for several minutes. I added a handful of finely chopped flat leaf parsley and gave the pan several flips. Finally, I threw in the cooked fettucine and tossed it around to coat it. Simple and delicious.

Continue reading "Himalayan Truffle Pasta" »

29 January 2009

Sweet Corn Cornbread


Cornbread, once a means for survival by European settlers of the New World, has evolved from a "sad paste of despair" to a much-loved staple in parts of America. 

In colonial America, the shortage of flour and sugar meant that settlers had to make do with bread made from ground maize, salt and water. Early cornbread went by names such as "pone, ashcakes, hoe-cakes, journey-cakes, johnny-cakes, slapjacks, spoonbreads and dodgers".

Today cornbread recipes vary depending on location baking techniques. In northern America cornbread tends to be made using yellow cornmeal while southern states prefer white.

For my cornbread recipe I use buttermilk, butter, sugar and eggs. The cornmeal is just gritty enough so that the outside of the bread forms a fine crust. It's delicious and I've been eating it for days. The first time I made it, I ate it with a slow-cooked beef and vegetable stew. This time I've been eating it for breakfast with sliced bananas on top. The recipe has just the right amount of sugar in it to pair it well with savory or sweet foods.

Continue reading "Sweet Corn Cornbread" »

29 December 2008

Parmesan Crisps


With New Year celebrations upon us I thought I'd share a great party appetizer recipe from my recent cooking class at Quince cooking school in Vancouver -- Parmesan crisps with fresh goat's cheese, figs and quince jelly. The jelly is made from quinces picked from chef-owner, Andrea Jefferson's, backyard. 

The lattice crisps are simple to make and can also be used as impressive edible decoration for soups and risottos

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and a tonnes of great food in 2009!

Quince - www.quince.ca
1780 W3rd Ave Vancouver
Tel: 604.731.4645

Continue reading "Parmesan Crisps" »

23 November 2008

Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes


Today is the last day of my detox diet. Tomorrow I'm going to treat myself to a breakfast of ricotta hotcakes or maybe I'll just skip the hotcakes and go straight for a chocolate cupcake.

The detox breakfast itself hasn't been too bad, especially on weekends when I could enjoy a hearty meal of scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes and potatoes. 

During the week I'd be more reserved with breakfasts consisting either of apples and berries, slow oats and soy milk, strawberry soy smoothies or a boiled egg on brown rice crackers with slices of fresh tomato. So it wasn't as if I had to sustain myself on a cornflake and a sniff of an orange peel.

For the scrambled egg recipe, I substituted milk with a little soy milk however I still cooked them with butter, which (for some reason I don't quite understand but am very grateful for) was the only dairy allowed in small quantities during the detox. I like my scrambled eggs to be soft and moist. And for that reason I very rarely order them when I go out for breakfast as they're undoubtedly rubbery and sponge-like.

To prepare the eggs, I whisk them using a small whisk or a fork until they're foamy. I melt the butter in a fry-pan over a medium-low heat and then add the eggs. I let them sit without stirring for about 40 seconds to allow them to set just a little. I then use a wooden spatula to push the eggs towards the centre while tilting the pan slightly to cook the runny bits. I continue to do this while breaking up the eggs with the spatula for another minute or two then I take the pan off the heat and serve the eggs. They might look a little too moist and soft at first, but it's important to remember that they continue to cook when removed from the heat.

In lieu of toast, I served young Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced and then roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. The vine ripened tomatoes were roasted for about 15 minutes until the point that they're just bursting and juicy.

Continue reading "Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes" »

17 November 2008

Spicy Popcorn


It's day five of the detox diet and all is going well although my chocolate cravings are starting to get out of control. It's not that I eat a lot of chocolate normally, I think it's just the fact that I'm not allowed any.

It's my boss's birthday tomorrow so I've spent the afternoon making vegan chocolate cupcakes to take to work. It's been tortuous. The smell of freshly baked cupcakes is playing tricks on my mind. I actually caught myself in a daydream where I was drinking the wickedly delicious batter right out of the Pyrex measuring cup. I'm turning into Homer Simpson

To sate my chocolate cravings, I've been turning to spicy popcorn. While it's not exactly sweet, the the popcorn's satisfying crunch tends to do the trick.

The spices are a simple mix of paprika, ground cumin, chili powder and salt. I don't have a microwave so I cook my popcorn on the stove top, which going by the reactions of my friends, must be old fashioned. It seems to work just as well though, and at least the kernels aren't being nuked!

During the detox diet I've been turning to a few old, yet trusty Taste Buddies recipes some of which include:


Continue reading "Spicy Popcorn" »

14 November 2008

Broccoli & Chickpea Brown Rice Pasta


It's day two of my 12-day detox. What I miss most on this diet is having a little piece of dark chocolate after my lunch. Everything else is manageable. I've actually been fantasizing about secretly placing a  square of chocolate in my mouth and quietly letting it dissolve. Who would ever know?

I would. 

Ok, I'm talking about chocolate again when all I want to do is tell you about detox recipe No. 2 -- broccoli & chickpea brown rice pasta. A dish I'd usually eat with normal spaghetti noodles tossed with pesto and loads of freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. But not this week or next week. To make up for the lack of pesto or cheese, I add a can of tuna in oil.

Stay tuned for more detox recipes...

Continue reading "Broccoli & Chickpea Brown Rice Pasta" »

My Photo


  • Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

Check out the buzz...


  • Foodbuzz

Recent Comments

BCSPCA - Vancouver