Roasted Garlic Mushroom Stacks

Last night we celebrated 17 years together.

Kid free – but we had to do our tax …. ah well, at least we got to have a yummy dinner!!

Peter says that if I had presented him with this kind of meal 15 years ago, he might have run … but he has gradually learned that you can have delicious flavour and texture without meat. So if you’re looking to add a meat free dish to your repertoire – this might be a very simple place to start – and it has 2 enthusiastic thumbs up from the carnivore!

  • Butternut pumpkin, two discs, about an inch thick
  • olive oil to brush
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 tsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 large ripe avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Handful pine nuts OR pumpkin seeds

Peel your pumpkin discs, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle the nutritional yeast over them. Place on a lined baking tray and into a 200C oven. After about 25 minutes, turn the pumpkin over and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

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While the pumpkin is cooking dry fry your pine nuts/seeds in a hot frying pan until they are golden – be careful… it doesn’t take long! Then set them aside.

Melt together the butter and garlic olive oil and brush it over both sides of the mushrooms. Place these on the baking tray with the pumpkin discs (that have now been in the oven for about 35 minutes). Sprinkle over the thyme and return to the oven for about 15 minutes.

Mash together the avocado with the lemon juice plus the salt and pepper.

Place the salad greens on the plate. Top with the roasted pumpkin, then spread a thick layer of the avocado on to the pumpkin. Top with the mushrooms and then add the pine nuts over the meal.

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When you remove the mushrooms from the baking tray, you’ll see that they have produced a dark juice … don’t waste it – drizzle it over the salad leaves!

 

Sprinkle the top of the mushroom with a little extra thyme and salt.

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Serve immediately.

Enjoy 😊

 

Simple egg slice

This is such an easy way to get in some extra veggies. It’s fast to make, really flexible and works well to use up veggies that might otherwise be past their best.

It does contain egg so this is not a meal that we can eat as a family … but the biggest little one loves to take it in his lunchbox and I like it on standby in the freezer for days when I’m really rushed and need to grab something to take to work for breakfast.

  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup flour (spelt or GF)
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3-4 cups chopped/grated veggies*
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds (optional)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

*We use up what we have in the fridge. Mostly it is a mix of carrots, zucchini, corn, capsicum, tomato, sometimes asparagus and sliced mushrooms

Place flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl and use a whisk to combine evenly.

Add in grated/chopped veggies and seeds.

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Fold through veggies and seeds so that they are evenly coated in the flour mix.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and the oil.

Pour the wet mix into the veggie mix and fold through until there is no dry flour visible.

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Pour into a lined baking dish, smooth out and place into a preheated moderate oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked through.

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Eat warm, or slice and freeze.

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Serves 8

Enjoy 🙂

 

Thai pumpkin soup

Hello soup weather!

I’ve been making this delicious, comforting soup for the past couple of years.

It is an absolute winner with Peter and I and Will. I’ll be honest though … It isn’t a favourite with the other small ones. 2 of them tolerate it … One of them will have a taste but that’s as far as it goes. 🤦

Ah well, you can’t win ’em all … And I’m delighted to have a freezer stocked with lunches!

  • 1.5kg butternut pumpkin
  • 400g sweet potato
  • 2 heaped tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp red thai curry paste (I like the Ayam brand)
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • 2L hot veggie stock

Place the curry paste into a hot saucepan and stir until fragrant.

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Home grown veg plus curry paste home made from homegrown lemongrass, chillies, onion and garlic – makes me SO happy!!

Add in the diced pumpkin and sweet potato and stir to coat the veggies in the paste.

Add in the stock and bring to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the coconut cream and the seed butter.

Use an immersion blender to blend until silky smooth.

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We like to serve with fresh damper 😋

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Makes about 10 serves and it freezes and defrosts well.

Enjoy 😊

Chicken, black bean and carrot burgers

Building your own burger is always a fun, messy, dinner.

Mostly we go with a veggie burger patty but we mix it up sometimes with this chicken burger.

The beans and carrots work to bind the patty without egg and they also mean you can spread the meat further and significantly boost your fibre intake too.

  • 4 large chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 420g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • OPTIONAL 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • oil to cook

Chop and steam the carrots until they are soft.

Place the chicken thighs in your food processor and process until chicken is evenly minced (speed 5, 10 secs)

Add in beans and carrots then aminos and thyme. Process further until well combined (speed 4, 10 secs)

Add in the nutritional yeast and process until just combined. (Speed 4, 5 secs)

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Ready for the frying pan

Form heaped tablespoons of the mixture in to patties and place into a hot, greased pan.

Cook until golden on one side, then flip and cook on other side until cooked all the way through.

You can also spray with a little olive oil and bake in a 200C oven for about 20 minutes, flip them over and cook for a further 10 mins or until cooked through (keeps the stove top much cleaner! 🤣)

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Serve on your bread of choice with your favourite burger toppings.

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He likes his with pineapple, tomato, capsicum, lettuce, cheese and egg. The lot!

I like a leftover patty on its own topped with avo for lunch.

Makes about 12

Enjoy 🙂

Butternut butter bean sausage rolls

Sausage rolls are a massive favourite with my kids … and husband!

They are easy to make in bulk, and freeze and they are perfect for hiding veggies, so it is nice to know that they can be a slightly healthier option for my family – Obviously they’re still wrapped in pastry so they’re definitely a ‘sometimes’ food!

This is a simpler version of my veggie loaded sausage rolls and are Harry’s current favourite 🙂

I use Chevup sausages in my mix. They are a skinless, gluten free, Aussie beef sausage with about half the saturated fat of normal sausages – I feel much happier about using them than the questionable sausage mince that is commercially available. You can find more details about them here.

The sausages I use have great flavour, so if you are using regular beef mince, there is a note below the main ingredients for a couple of extra things for you to add.

Gluten, egg, dairy, nut and soy free pastry is the next issue. There are many GF pastries out there but they are often really disappointing. Obviously use the one that suits your diet and that you enjoy.

I have used this pastry from the Gluten Free Bakery:
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And it does a pretty good job. But ….

if you live in WA you really, REALLY have to check out Busy Bees Gluten Free pastry (I buy from Weigh n Pay in Woodvale)! It is amazing! It comes in a long roll and it handles just like wheat based pastry. It is soft and easy to work with and even non GF people have been happy to eat it!

  • 8 Chevup sausages
  • 250g butternut pumpkin
  • 400g tin butter beans (drained)
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 4 sheets of your puff pastry (1 used 3 regular and 1 ‘everything free’)

If you are not using the Chevup sausages, use

  • 450g beef mince, plus
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp mild paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic flakes
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos

Finely blitz the pumpkin. (Speed 6 for 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat).

Add the additional flavourings and oil, if not using chevvups and process again (Speed 5, 8 seconds)

Add the sausages or mince, to the processor and process until it is quite smooth (Speed 6, 10 seconds at a time, scrape down in between).

Add the butter beans and process until well combined (speed 5, 10 seconds, scrape and repeat)

Add the nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, salt, aminos and herbs and then process again until evenly combined and fairly smooth (speed 6, 10 secs, scrape and repeat)

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Cut the pastry sheets in half and divide the mixture up between the sheets.

I find it is best to place it in a thin line down the middle of the pasty.

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Roll the pastry over the top of the mix to form long cylinders.

Lay on a lined baking tray with the join side facing down (helps the join to hold together as it puffs).

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Cook in a preheated 210C oven until meat is cooked and pastry is puffed and golden brown. (Use a short burst under the grill to get them extra golden and flaky). Takes about 35-40 mins in my oven.

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Enjoy 🙂

Vegetable Dhal

Lentils are such an amazing food! They are really inexpensive, easy to use is a wide variety of meals and they pack a serious dietary punch when it comes to fibre and protein. They are one of the star foods for improving your gut health! A really valuable and budget friendly addition to your diet.

Like most of my meals that were inspired by other cultures, this is one you’re unlikely to find on the menu of an authentic Indian restaurant – but it is fragrant and delicious!

  • 2 cups red lentil
  • 1/3 cup French (puy) lentil
  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp ground corrinader
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 rounded tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 1/2 cups hot veggie stock (I use Massel for a store bought option)
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 2 large carrots, grated (roughly 1 rounded cup)**
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped

**you can use an equal quantity of grated pumpkin or sweet potato here if you’d prefer

Rinse and drain your dried lentils

Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and add the onion, cook until soft.

Add in the ginger and mix well to combine.

Add in the dry spices and fry well until fragrant.

Add in the lentils and stir well to coat the mix. Add in the grated carrot and combine again.

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Add in the hot stock, stir well and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan as they are absorbing the stock.

Add in the coconut cream and chopped spinach, stir well and cook until the spinach is wilted, but still bright.

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Serve warm with your choice of ‘bready’ accompaniment – we used suitable wraps that we brushed with a little garlic oil, sprinkled with salt and popped under the grill until they were toasty and brown.

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Makes about 4 adult serves.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Shepherd’s Pie – Veggie Style

Shepherd’s pie is such gorgeous, warming comfort food for chilly winter days. And it was a standard in our house while I was growing up. My maiden name was ‘Shepherd’ so Mum would tease us, and say that she’d need to take fingers or toes from us kids to go in to it.

It’s been a loooong time since I was a Shepherd now, but for years we have still made our version of her pie – you can find that one here.

Lately though we have been making a vegan version of the pie and it is just as yummy and ‘meaty’ as the meat based version. So if you’re a vegan, or if you’re just looking to add some more meat free meals or veggies into your diet – why not give this one a go?

  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if your diet allows)
  • 1 tbsp vegemite (or a GF, soy free miso paste)
  • 1 cup ready made, hot gravy (either homemade, or ‘Orgran’ makes a good vegan and allergy friendly powdered gravy)
  • 3-4 medium grated carrots
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 tins brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups spinach
  • About 800g Mushrooms (I like a mix between button, swiss brown and portobello for textural variety)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Olive oil spray
  • good pinch salt
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary

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In a large saucepan heat the garlic oil, the add the onion, cooking until it begins to soften.

Using your processor or thermal appliance, pulse the mushrooms several times until they are roughly chopped, then add to the onion mix in the pan. Stir them well as they begin to cook.

Add in the aminos, paste and vegemite mix well.

Add the lentils, mix well to combine and allow to simmer gently over a low heat while you prepare the remaining veggies.

Using your processor/thermal appliance or just a grater (if you have the patience!), finely grate your carrot and then add in the zucchini and process until fine (Speed 4 whilst adding and then up to 6 for about 8 secs to process, scrape down and repeat if required)

Add in the spinach, process (speed 4, 8 secs) and then add in the kidney beans through the chute at the top whilst still processing (on speed 4, then up to 5 for 8 seconds once all added).

Next, add the hot gravy to this mix and process until well combined (Speed 5, 8 seconds).

Add this vegetable and gravy mix to the mushroom and lentil mix on the stove. Mix well to combine and bring to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Peel and chop the potatoes, then bring potatoes to the boil in another saucepan and boil until soft. (If you’ve used a thermal cooker to do the veg … you can easily do the mash in it too – Drop chunks of potato onto speed 4 spinning blades through the hole in the lid. Turn up to speed 6 for about 10 seconds after adding. Turn off, scrape down, add about 1/4 cup water and cook on Steam Temp, Speed 2 for about 8 minutes, scraping down once during cooking time. Blitz on Speed 5 until roughly smooth, then add rosemary and salt then mix again on speed 4 for about 4 seconds).

Transfer the mushroom and veg mix to a large casserole dish.

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Drain and mash the potatoes together. I don’t like the mash too smooth – leave it rough and chunky, then add the salt and rosemary.

Top the mushroom and lentil mix with the mashed potato. Because it is quite thick, I find it easiest to place blobs of the mash around the dish and then spread from there. Use a fork to spread it so that you get raised lines that go lovely and crunchy in the oven.

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Spray the top of the potato with the olive oil and then place in a pre-heated moderate oven for about 30 mins, turning on the top element of the oven, or placing under the grill for the remaining 5 minutes to give you a little more colour and crispiness.

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Mmmm …. messy, ‘rustic’ comfort food!!

This makes a very large dinner enough for all 6 (I’d say 4 adult serves) of us for dinner plus 4 yummy lunches too.

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Enjoy 🙂