Archive for March, 2007

As promised, after an endless search for the scrap of paper on which I’d written this recipe, I am posting a recipe I developed to use my newly acquired pastry making skills.

Mediterranean Vegetable Pies –makes 4 mini pies–
340g eggplant, cut into thin 1/4 slices
1/2 small onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
60 g semi-dried tomatoes, finely minced (preferable from the deli and not preserved in oil)
100g ricotta cheese
80g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of all it’s liquids
6g fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tbs vegetable stock
thawed ready-rolled pie dough or use your own recipe (a basic short crust recipe is 200g plain flour, 100g butter or margarine and 50ml water)

1. Sweat the onions and garlic in 1 tbs of olive oil over medium low heat, do not allow any colouring. Add the eggplant, toss and cook until the eggplant is very soft and the flesh has acquired a brown colour. While the eggplant cooks, prepare the rest of the vegetables as indicated.
2. In a bowl, combine the eggplant with remaining ingredients and use your hands to thoroughly combine everything by compacting them.
3. Line your pie tins with pastry, fill them, close them and bake them at 190ºC for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden.

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Mondays have officially become the days where I cook meals for the rest of the week; it’s kind of like my chance at being a personal chef. We’ll call Tuesdays, Dirty Tuesdays as it’s a rather blah day of the week, my work weeks begins and I will be posting Monday’s creations. This weeks menu was mainly devised from a stack of cookbooks I’ve hired from the library: Carrot & Saffron Soup, Sancocho Canario, Leek & Broccoli Tart and a Bulgarian Filo Coil. I also made some pesto to use in a fifth dish but I was really quite tired of cooking by that point. I’m currently learning about stocks, soups and sauces in school and took it upon myself to make my first batch of vegetable stock to use for cooking rather than using convenience stocks in the form of powder or cubes.

I took a trip to King & Godfords – a fine foods shop in the Lygon street district – and treated myself to a few products a good cook shouldn’t be without: proper sea salt from the salt beds of Italy, smoked paprika and saffron threads; both from Spain. I almost splurged on some luxurious macadamia nut oil, but decided against it. Below you’ll find photos of my two contributions to my vegan challenge: Sancocho Canario & Bulgarian Filo Coil

Sancocho Canario adapted from The Food of Spain & Portugal by Elizabeth Luard
(a sweet potato and chickpea stew from the Canary Islands)
1.5 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, bruised (smashed with the side of a knife)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, lightly toasted in a dry pan without burning
1 kilo of tomatoes, scalded, skinned and chopped
1 medium sized sweet potato (250-350 g), peeled and cut into even sized chunks
1 thick slice of pumpkin, peeled and cut into even sized chunks
1 can of unsalted corn kernels, drained and rinsed
fresh coriander or mint leaves, to garnish

Bring the chickpeas to a boil with 2.25 litres of cold water and add the bruised garlic along with the chopped tomatoes. Allow the pot to come up to a boil again before adding the vegetable in the order given while allowing the pot to come back up to a boil between each addition. Bring the stew down to a simmer and allow the liquid to reduce down to the same level as the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Finish each serve with fresh coriander or mint leaves, or serve over rice if desired.

Bulgarian Filo Coil adapted from The Cranks Bible by Nadine Abensur (my vegetarian celebrity cook hero)
..recipe coming soon…

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