food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian food

stuffed mushrooms

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Whoever said life was too short to stuff a mushroom was wrong. I love mushrooms and this recipe uses 3 types of mushrooms to make a most delicious and satisfying vegetarian meal.

For this recipe use portobello mushrooms (these are large, mature button mushrooms) with a good edge to hold the filling. For the filling finely dice some brown shallots, the stems of the portobello mushrooms and some Swiss Brown mushrooms (these are more flavoursome than button mushrooms – they look similar with a darker and slightly mottled cap). Heat some oil in a pan and fry the shallots until just wilting. Add the mushrooms and some fresh thyme leaves as well as some porcini mushroom powder for extra mushroom flavour. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until the mushrooms are softening then remove them to a bowl to cool. Add 1 egg and a generous amount of soft goat’s cheese to the mushrooms. When you’re happy with the flavour spoon the mixture into the mushrooms and place them into an oiled baking dish. Top with some finely grated parmesan or pecorino and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in a moderate oven (along with some roasted vegetables for accompaniment) until nicely browned and well cooked.


Written by michelle picker

May 2, 2018 at 12:17 am

mushroom, walnut and lentil loaf

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Not in the mood for meat? Here’s a high protein, gluten free loaf that everyone will enjoy.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line the base and sides of a 1.5 litre loaf tin with baking paper. Heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a saucepan and add a mirepoix of finely diced onion, celery and carrot in roughly equal portions. Cook until the onion is translucent and soft. Add 240g (8½ oz) of finely chopped mushrooms. I used Swiss brown mushrooms and added a sprinkling of powdered porcini mushroom for added flavour. Cook until the mushrooms are soft then add 2 finely diced or crushed cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of smoky paprika and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Continue to cook for a few minutes more before adding ½ a cup of red lentils and 1¼ cups of vegetable stock. Cook over low heat until the lentils are soft and all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to col a little. Finally add 150g (5 oz) of crushed walnuts, 100g (3½ oz) of finely ground (instant) oats, 100g (3½ oz) of grated sharp cheddar cheese, 3 lightly beaten eggs and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and mix well to combine. Transfer the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and press it down. Bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes until quite firm. Serve with tomato sauce and a fresh green salad.

barley, lentils and mushrooms with fried onions

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Once again Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe imparts amazing flavours to a vegetarian meal.


In a small bowl cover 20g (¾ oz) of dried porcini with 1¾ cups of boiling water and leave to stand for an hour. After an hour, remove the mushrooms and strain the liquid through a very fine sieve to remove any grit, then return the mushrooms to their liquid. Place 120g (4¼ oz) of barley (pre-soaked) and 170g (6 oz) of brown lentils in a large saucepan. Add 4 times the volume of cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl and leave to cool down. Cut an onion into thin slices lengthways and toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat oil in a medium saucepan (enough to cover the onion slices in batches) to high heat and fry the onion in batches for three to four minutes, until golden-brown. Remove them to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside to cool. Slice a second onion into wider wedges. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat and fry the onion wedges for five minutes until charred and soft. Stir in 1½ teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 teaspoons of ground allspice and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Next add 4 sliced large mushrooms, the finely sliced rind of 1 lemon and ½ a teaspoon each of sugar and salt. Fry until the mushrooms start to soften then add the porcini and all their soaking liquid. Boil rapidly for five minutes, reducing the liquid to approximately ½ a cup. Reduce the heat and add the lentils and barley plus 1 tablespoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of dried dill leaves, ¾ of a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Cook for a minute more then remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Serve garnished with the fried onion and chopped parsley with sour cream on the side.

mushroom barley casserole + baked peppers with walnut and feta

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Here’s a hearty vegetarian meal to satisfy eaters of all persuasions.


Finely dice 2 onions and fry them over low heat in some olive oil until wilted. Add 450g (1 lb) of chopped fresh mushrooms and 7g (¼ oz) of finely chopped dried porcini mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have wilted then add 1 cup of dry pearl barley. Allow the barley to heat and become coated in the oil and cooking juices before adding 3 cups of boiling stock. Bake in a moderate oven until the stock has been absorbed. In a small bowl combine ½ a cup of sour cream, 1 large egg, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of cornflour, some chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Spread this over the casserole and top with a mixture of ¼ of a cup of finely grated parmesan and 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika. Return to the oven until the topping has browned a little.


I served my casserole with these roasted peppers.


Slice 2 red and 1 yellow pepper and 3 cloves of garlic and spread them in an oven tray with ½ a cup of shelled walnut pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and top with crumbled feta. Bake until the peppers have wilted and the feta has melted.

buffalo cauliflower and butternut

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Vegetarian and spicy, this dish uses the fabulous flavours normally reserved for chicken wings.


Preheat your oven to 230ºC (450ºF). Cut half a cauliflower into florets and some butternut pumpkin (squash) into chunks. Melt some ghee (clarified butter) and toss the vegetables in the ghee, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven until soft and slightly charred. Meanwhile make a blue cheese sauce by combining ⅓ of a cup each of mayonnaise and sour cream, ¼ of a cup of buttermilk, 1 small clove of crushed garlic, ½ a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ of a teaspoon each of freshly ground black pepper, dry mustard powder, salt and sugar plus a pinch of cayenne pepper to taste. Whisk well then grate 50g (1¾ oz) of frozen blue cheese into the sauce (easier than crumbling fresh cheese) and mix it in a little at a time so that it doesn’t clump. When the vegetables are cooked put them in a bowl and toss them with 2 tablespoons each (or more to taste) of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (cayenne pepper sauce) and Sriracha Chilli Sauce. Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter, drizzle with the blue cheese sauce and garnish with some chopped spring onions.

The sauce recipe comes from Chef John at Food Wishes.

Written by michelle picker

November 16, 2015 at 5:50 am

roasted beetroot and chèvre stack with walnut crumb + roasted leek

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Fresh chèvre and beetroot are a great match. Paired with the walnut crumb and roasted leeks this dish has a wonderful combination of flavours and textures.


Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Peel and slice 2 large beetroots and lay them onto baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast until soft. Wash and trim a large leek and cut into rounds. Place the leek onto another baking sheet, drizzle with oil, season with salt and roast until brown around the edges. To make the walnut crumb finely dice 1 onion and fry in a generous amount of olive oil and butter until browning a little. Add ½ a cup of breadcrumbs, ½ a cup of chopped walnuts and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Continue to cook until the breadcrumbs and walnuts are toasted. Add some chopped parsley and set aside. When the beetroot is ready layer it with fresh chèvre and top with the walnut crumb. Serve with the roasted leek.

sour chick pea curry + vegetable korma

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Indian vegetarian food is so complex and satisfying.

This unusual sour chick pea curry is from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey.


Soak and cook 1½ cups of chick peas (garbanzo beans) in the usual manner or use 3 drained cans of chick peas. Finely chop 3 onions and remove 2 tablespoons of the onion into a small bowl or cup. To this add ½ a teaspoon of salt, 1 finely chopped fresh chilli, 1 tablespoon of finely grated ginger and ⅓ of a cup of lemon juice. Set this mixture aside while you cook the chick peas. Heat ghee or oil in a heavy wide pot and fry the remaining onions until beginning to brown. Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 1 tablespoon of ground coriander and ½ a teaspoon of ground turmeric. Stir and cook briefly then add the chick peas with 1½ cups of their cooking liquid (or water), 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of garam masala and ¼ of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding liquid if necessary. Just before serving add the onion and lemon juice mixture.

This vegetable korma is creamy and sweet.


Fry 1 finely chopped onion, 3 cloves of finely minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of finely minced ginger and 1 – 3 finely diced chillies in some ghee until wilting. Add 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 1 tablespoon of ground coriander and 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric and continue to cook until fragrant. Add 2 chopped potatoes, 2 chopped carrots and ½ a cup vegetable stock and simmer until the vegetables are just beginning to soften. Add 1 bunch of chopped spinach and 1 cup of frozen peas and, after a few minutes ½ a cup of almond meal and ½ a cup of yoghurt. If at this stage the curry is too wet, thicken with a little cornflour to the desired consistency. In a small fry-pan heat some ghee and fry 10 curry leaves and 2 teaspoons of black mustard seeds until they pop then add them to the curry.