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 Vegetarian
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.
No, it’s not what you think, foodiecure hasn’t gone on some erotic bent. But lately, the french bughas got me thinking all things gastronomic pleasure. The story behind this dish is I was walking home from work…the clinic being south side, and I live north side, and you see, I needed to get my Qi flowing after a day sitting down. As I wandered through the chilly Euro tinged streets of Melbourne, rugged up in a leather jacket, scarf, knee high boots and flat cap, naturally all I could think of was French Onion soup and Pinot Noir. Naturally. My minds eye drifted to the roast cauliflower in the fridge that I had cooked the night before – with the intention of doing something way more boring – and that’s how I got the brainwave to add the voluptuous flavours of roast cauliflower to rich, hearty, deeply caramelised onion. In soup format, it makes it better and easier to digest – especially good for the majority of us who need to protect our digestion.
~ The recipe ~
makes 2 main serves or 4 entree
1/2 head cauliflower, roasted
good drizzle of olive oil
1 med – large onion, sliced and caramelised (approx 25 mins)
2 c. vegetable stock
salt, to taste
rye sourdough cut into rounds with a cookie cutter
Gruyère or similar hard cheese (I only had manchego in the fridge which worked fine!), grated
- Caramelise sliced onions on low heat, lid on, with olive oil and butter (if unsalted, add a pinch of salt) for a good 25 mins. You want the onions to be nice and brown (not burnt), sweet and rich in flavour. About halfway through add a good grinding of fresh white pepper.
- Bring the cauliflower and vegetable stock to the boil, then simmer, lid on for 20 mins (do this while onions are caramelising). This will make for a nice rich base for the soup. If your vegetable stock is unsalted, add a pinch of salt here.
- Once cauliflower done, puree really well until super smooth. Make sure the consistency is quite runny, you want an almost broth consistency, with that same richness. If you have one, pass through a chinoise for added smoothness.
- Add cauliflower ‘stock’ to the onions, bring to the boil then simmer to meld the flavours for about 10 minutes. The longer the better. Up to 45 mins would be divine.
- Test for seasoning and adjust (ideally you season enough through the middle stages you don’t need to salt at the end…this results in a well composed dish as opposed to salt-sitting-on-top-at-the-end kind of thing. Read this post for more info.
- Scoop into bowls and top with sourdough rounds and grated cheese. Put under broiler (grill) until bubbly and golden, then drizzle with some truffle oil for added decadence. Buon appetit!