Because I am a terrible vegetarian, not to mention a poor, struggling student (pity party, table of one), I’m always on the lookout for delicious, filling, vegetable dishes. The kind that will hold their own as a proper dinner, instead of that all-too-familiar ‘I am just a supersized accompaniment without the tasty meat on top’. Enter: Coconut Spinach Chickpeas with Lemon. Adapted from the kitchn’s excellent recipe, this hearty casserole-curry-stew is best scooped over a chunk of roast pumpkin, or your favourite root vegetable.
One last thing – the toasted coconut flakes are totally worth it for the crunchy flavour, and easy to get going while you prepare the onion. Do it.
The perfect storm was brewing: too much work, too little time, too few nutrious meals. This ratatouille increased the veggies in my life, created dinner, lunch and then some for the freezer. Bam.
I’ve gotta say, the fresh thyme and basil made it feel decidedly more fancypants than just a bland old tomato-based veggie casserole, so if you can splurge, do so. Or pick some fresh from the garden, you smug bastard.
Eat in any combination of pasta shells, parmesan, rice or yoghurt.
I am hopeless at being a vegetarian. Which is why I am not one. However, I can (begrudgingly) admit there is value to the humble vegetable, and there is even more value when it is delicious. To be frank, my main fear with vegetarian meals is that I will still be hungry afterwards. After all, the water content of a lot of veggies is pretty high. If I’m ingesting so much H2O as part of my food intake, then how much actual food am I eating once you subtract that pesky ‘water’ ratio, I ask you. You might chortle into your sleeves, but these are derp thoughts that I think about derply.
Regardless, this curry is easy, freezes well and is perfect to impress your herbivore friends. And, as a card carrying omnivore, I can assure you that it will satisfy any hanger problems. Oh right, the chicken stock. Use a substitute. Told you I was bad at this.
FACT: Cornbread is delicious. FACT: This cornbread is THE MOST DELICIOUS. Cornbread, for the unitiated, is less ‘bread’ and more ‘cake’ but in truth lies somewhere in the middle. It is delicious, buttery joy and you should have some in your life, too. For true star-spangled spirit, serve with chili con carne. (Or eat it straight from the pan like me.)
Protip: buttermilk can be made by adding 1tsp of white vinegar to regular milk. Or, if you have some natural yoghurt, just substitute the 1/2 cup of milk for yoghurt and mix it well with the 1 cup of normal milk. Easy!
Adapted from here.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda (aka bicarb soda)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup polenta (aka cornmeal – it might be in the health food section of your supermarket)
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
wee nub of butter (for greasing)
OK, so it’s not technically Monday, nor is it really soup weather in Melbourne. But it is that time of year when no-one has any money and even less money because they’ve just bought their summer festival tickets. So I bring you: Cheap-lunch Mondays, where you cook in bulk and freeze for future fun-times.
Lucky for those who don’t like carrots, this soup tastes nothing like them. There aren’t many ingredients, but the flavour you get from combining ginger-thyme broth and roasted orange sticks is sweet and heavenly.
1kg or so of carrots
1.5L stock (chicken, vegetable, whatever)
1 piece ginger, an inch long, peeled and chopped into chunks
Couple sprigs of thyme (best stolen from the neighbour’s herb garden)
1 onion (red is best, brown will do fine)
2 large garlic cloves, chopped*
Freshly ground black pepper
Most northside Melburnians would be familiar with the wares of Beatbox Kitchen, a roaming caravan that looks like a beatbox and sells fries and two kinds of burgers – one raph burger (meat) and the amazing shroomburger. Beatbox pops up in a different location every day, and move on when they’ve sold out.
Naturally, being an eldest child, I am unable to live with this kind of inconsistency. I am obsessed with the shroomburgers, so I devoted a Saturday to discovering how to create my own at home any time I want. And baby, it’s so easy.
These quantities will make enough marinade for up to four burgers, so increase if you’re serving an army. You don’t want the shrooms to be swimming in marinade, as the vinegar could make them taste a bit sour.
- 1-2 portobello mushroom caps per person
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (good quality stuff)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 thin slices provolone cheese per shroom
- a bun for each shroom, soft and white
- aioli (buy it or make yourself if you have a whizzer)
- tomato sauce (if you can get home-made from your local primary school fete, do it. Or make your own here or here.)
The road to shrooming out begins here
One of my besties is pregnant and vegetarian and permanently nauseated from the worst-ever morning sickness. So I’ve been hunting around for old-school casserole recipes that I can freeze for the nights when she’s too sick/tired/knocked up to cook. Enter: the chickpea casserole!
It is, in no particular order: fresh-tasting, vegetarian, low in fat, high in fibre and the kind of dish that makes you leak smugness out of your pores. And it’s really easy – once you’ve done the chopping, just let it simmer away until you’re happy with the firmth (not a word) of the vegies and reduction of the sauce.
1 tbs olive oil
1 large onion
2 small parsnips
2 large carrots (you want roughly the same amount of parsnips and carrots in your mix)
5cm piece of root ginger, grated/finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds, roughly crushed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsps paprika
Can chopped tomatoes
Can chickpeas, drained/rinsed
1 tbs brown sugar
600ml stock (chicken or vegetable)
torn coriander leaves, to garnish (I always forget to do this, so not necessary)