While I am finishing my studies in Chinese Medicine, I work part time in a gourmet grocery/deli. Some may think this a rather humble vocation, but out of all my bitsy casual jobs, and even career-driven jobs, this one is in the top two. I love it because I’m surrounded by awesome food all day long. I get to talk to customers about their food ideas and ways to use our products, whether it be solicited or unsolicited. And that’s how I got the idea for this soup. A woman came to the register with red lentils and some pancetta I had just sliced for her, so I asked if she was using them together. Sure enough, yes she was. The recipe is pretty simple, so simple she told me in a 30 second conversation at the register. I love red lentils and the texture they create, so I resolved then and there that I’m going to make it, adding my own flare.
Archives For Vegan
When I began to write this post, I realised I have begun another eggplant featured post. I’m seeing a pattern here, that I’m just loving the aubergine right now. On checking, eggplants are in season (in Australia) – being from summer through to early Autumn.
As per my previous post, I’ve been overindulging far too much lately, and eating more animal-protein based dinner than I care to admit. This has negative ramifications on my body. Contrary to popular diet fads, I don’t thrive off protein-laden meals. I admit, I have met some people who do, and this just proves that we’re all different, and have different dietary needs. There are only very few dietary rules that apply to the masses, and these are more like guides rather than absolutes. You can find these in the About section of this blog.
This morning I had Pearl Barley soup for breakfast. It’s not a first, in fact whenever I feel like my digestion is particularly sluggish – lately caused by many rich dinners out, with probably a few too many wines – I often will have soup for breakfast.
Soups are naturally easier to digest, and are a great way to get a bunch of healthy seasonal vegetables and herbs in one tasty shot. I’ve made this soup extra nutritious by adding immuno-protective shiitake mushrooms and kombu*. Plus they give the stock added flavour. I always keep them on hand for this reason.
I hate that name. Porridge. It’s a word from story books, synonymous with caged up princesses, old fashioned, bland, and gruel (an even less alluring name). A whiny voiced, face screwed up you’re feeding me what, mum?
It’s an underwhelming name for one of the sexiest things you can eat for breakfast. Dressed up, dressed down, having a porridge-based breakfast can literally sustain a fun filled, action packed, socially-crammed life.
I do miss my vegan days sometimes. Being vegan opened up my world to a heap more variety and dare I say it, culinary creativity…yet closed the door to a whole lot more food than I care to give up (marinated goats feta for example). I much prefer being flexitarian, or ecotarian, or some other label that I haven’t encountered, to describe someone who eats like a vegan, taking advantage of alternatives, and who also eats consciously, mindfully and wisely.
Which lead me to revisit an old favourite cookbook, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Veganomnicon. Honest, you don’t even have to be vegan to appreciate some well-crafted recipes. So, despite having parmesan in the fridge, I made something different, something more, with a bit more creativity, loads of taste, and some health benefits thrown in. I made Almesan.
It’s not often we see these little nuggets pop up in healthy recipes. And when they do, well most of the time it’s pretty un-inspiring if you ask me, possibly a lay-over from sour-cream doused 80s style recipes which is my recollection, along with leathery, tough, tasteless. It was the one thing my mum probably didn’t nail (she is a pretty darn good cook otherwise). Then, I was introduced to double peeled broadies. See, mum missed this vital step in making broad beans go from “ugh” to “freakin’ amazing!”.
This salad was born out of a craving for carrots of late. Unable to get enough, I’m eating carrot in all forms lately, and especially loving the plank-cut style, cooked to al-dente. Coming into Spring, I am conscious to boost immunity – which is quite ironic because as I write this, I’m laid up in bed with some sort of bug. We can help ourselves in Spring by protecting the Lungs – the governor of immunity – and by regulating the Liver – the governor of Qi. Dark green, chlorophyll rich foods are the perfect tonic for both.
I have to start off by apologising. I certainly don’t post enough gluten free here. I was gluten intolerant for a bit – which was harrowing – then I fixed things up by cleaning up my diet and stress levels and loading up on pro-biotics and been fine ever since. I was lucky, I got onto it early.
Despite how much I could eat pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I like to ease the load on my digestive system. When I heard about them, I couldn’t help but to try them myself. I really do love beans.
Up until the age of 25 I thought legumes were leathery little nuggets that made you fart and only came in the form of Heinz baked beans.
What happened at 25 you ask? I met a Vegan that’s what. He was my housemate and the first Vegan I ever knew. He made incredibly tasty, incredibly easy dishes that he’d share with me, and I realised that this country-girl boarderline vegetarian had a big gaping hole in her cooking repertoire.
The trick is, you just have to know what to do with them. Visit this post to discover how to prepare beans so they don’t give you gas and find out just how much personality different beans have.
- Bean salad – easy; dress cooked bean of your choice with parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Throw in some diced tomato, diced capsicum (all colours) or roasted diced pumpkin for something a little extra. Let marinate for 10 minutes before serving.
- Refried bean tacos
- Cannellini or butter bean dip – gently sauté lots of garlic in lots of olive oil with a pinch of salt until caramelised. Whiz up with cooked beans (you can cheat and use good quality organic canned beans) with a stick blender until fluffy.
- Cassoulet – my favourite hearty winter fuel. Recipe
- Mexican Tortilla soup – Recipe
- Falafel Wrap – I cheat here. My local Lebanese bakery (A1 Bakery for those in Melbourne) stock the BEST pre-made all natural falafel balls. Just pull out of the freezer and cook.
- Miso soup using fermented soybean miso
- Dahl – Recipe
- Bean Croquettes
- Chinese Steamed Red Bean Bao – filled with aduki beans
Why spend all that time soaking, cooking, then preparing them? Mainly because they’re super nutritious, and secondly because they’re super cheap. Worthy of being known for more than the protein of choice for vegans and vegetarians. Packed with fibre you’ll be pooping like a legend and combined with their damp drying qualities means they’re excellent weight loss staple.
So I just read that there is a 21 Day Vegan Kickstart movement happening here in the US (visit the link here for more information) beginning April 4. For those Aussies who missed the 30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge from 1 – 30 March (see my post here) you can join us here in the northern hemisphere.