I got all inspired by the food we ate in the Blue Mountains, and not just because of the kilogram I (unexpectedly) lost!
I realised we’d been eating a lot more salads than we usually do, and the steaming hot, wintry, individual Shepherdess Pies from rubyfruit weren’t just delicious, they were also a clever way of limiting our serving sizes.
I often make a vegan shepherd’s pie, but never individual pies in ramekins. My pies seem to get bigger and bigger each time I make them, and we always go back for seconds, or even thirds. The ramekins also made the pies look a bit special, so when I got home I dug out my ramekins to try it for myself.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the cute, coloured 60s ramekins I found in an op shop years ago, and had to resort to the plain white Kmart ramekins. (I can see I’m going to have to tear the kitchen apart sometime soon, because I HAVE TO find the pretty ones.)
Improv Shepherdess Pie
This was actually a fairly quick and easy meal.
First off, I threw some chopped pumpkin in the oven, and some chopped potato into a saucepan to get the mash ready.
While that was cooking, I used the pressure cooker to cook up some dried lima beans, brown rice, carrots, celery and peas in a sloppy sauce. The sauce was flavoured with a whole lot of things by the time my son and I were finished taste testing it. We just made it up as we went along.
I think we ended up with a ton of garlic, Marmite, pepper, salt, onion, stock powder, nutritional yeast, paprika, tomato paste, dried herbs…and goodness knows what else. It took a while, but it did taste very good in the end.
Anyway, it only took about 20 minutes to cook, and the mashed potato and roasted pumpkin were pretty much ready by then.
I drizzled a little bit of oil on top, and sprinkled some paprika and pepper on top before finishing them off in the oven.
They made a lovely, warm, healthy and easy dinner for a really cold night.
Scallion Potato Pancakes
The following night I cooked up the Scallion Potato Pancakes, with Hoison-Mustard Tofu from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for reduction. (I usually spell it ‘hoisin’ – ‘hoison’ looks too much like ‘poison’ to me!)
This probably didn’t brown as much as I’d have liked, because it didn’t have much oil on it and was beginning to burn, but the panko breadcrumbs made it lovely and crunchy. I served it with…more salad.
Miyoko Schinner’s Tofu Bacon
H (my daughter) LOVES salad sandwiches, so I decided to make a wintry version with some roasted vegies and tofu bacon, along with a simple lentil and vegie soup for Saturday night dinner.
I found Miyoko Schinner’s tofu bacon when I came across the Vegan Mashup TV show. This was from the first series, in the episode on cooking for teenagers. This is really delicious and crunchy, but as we don’t use liquid smoke, our version tastes a bit more like tofu cheese slices.
For the fast and easy soup, I chopped a pile of vegies (celery, carrot, potato, garlic, onion) in the food processor and threw them into the pot with some vegie stock and 3/4 of a cup of red lentils. I let it cook away while I made the tofu bacon.
Everyone put together their own sandwiches, piling up their own combination of roasted pumpkin and mushrooms, shredded cabbage, mixed salad greens, tomato, tofu bacon and mustard, onto lovely fresh light rye bread from the Vic Market. I wasn’t until after we’d finished that I remembered I had 2 ripe avocadoes in the fruit bowl. Damn!
Mushroom and Leek Tarte Tartin
Finally, for Sunday brunch yesterday, I tried out Toni Fiore’s mushroom tarte tartin – another find from Vegan Mashup. This one is from a whole episode on mushroom recipes.
I didn’t have quite enough mushrooms for the recipe, but that didn’t matter, it was just a little heavier on leeks than mushrooms – and it was still fantastic.
Both of our kids hate mushrooms, so I didn’t want to bother making this for dinner…but, seeing the puffy pastry, and smelling the delicious smell, P decided he would like to try a piece… and he loved it! Finally we’ve managed to get one of the kids to eat mushrooms! I swear anyone will eat anything if it comes with pastry.
Having another mushroom eater in the house is going to open up a whole new world of recipes that I haven’t made in years! Now, if I could just find those groovy old ramekins…
Vegan Mashup TV show
I get so cross that all the cooking shows on TV are just stuffed full of animal products. I always wish that there was something for us! If you feel the same way, have a look at this show. You have to pay to view (not the preview below, of course), but it’s very cheap and I bought access to both of the series. They have some great recipes.