Thursday, 26 April 2018

Tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette) - vegan and gf

 
When we went to my mum and dad's for ANZAC Day brunch yesterday, mum asked what I would eat.  I was pleased to have my Tortilla de patatas when everyone else had bacon and eggs.  I had decided it would be a good dish to take down because we drove down the previous night when my mum was out doing her volunteer work at dinner time.

I have wanted to make a Tortilla de patatas or Spanish potato omelette for a long time.  In fact when I visited Spain almost 20 years ago, I would have been delighted to know you could make a vegan version.  I went to Spain on a whim without a thought to what vegetarian food I could eat and ended up barely going near a tapas bar because I could not understand the language nor did I know much about the cuisine.  In my defense, there was no easy internet access and I had other things on my mind.

After the trip I spoke to other vegetarians about Tortilla de patatas (often just referred to as tortilla because I think it is the most comment tortilla in Spain) and sort of regretted not trying it but not that sad because it sounded like far too much egg for me.  The discovery of vegan omelettes have made the idea of eating a tortilla far more delightful.  Especially when there are potatoes that really need to be used.

I bookmarked a recipe on Wallflower Kitchen quite some time ago that inspired me.  However I was not sure of just using besan flour so I ended up just making my favourite omelette recipe which uses both besan and tofu.  It is quite a well seasoned mixture so I regretted the pinch of salt on the potatoes and would not do it again, just as I would not fry the onions for a few minutes before adding the potatoes because my onions were dark brown in many places.  But I think a bit of char is fine. 

Traditional tortilla de patatas recipes call for a cup or more of oil to deep fry the potatoes.  I was happy with 3 tablespoons of oil and no leftover oil to drain away at the end of the process.  I think it also helped to go outside and potter in the garden while the potatoes cooked for about 10 minutes so they fried without me prodding and pocking and worrying at them. Getting nicely fried potatoes will really make a big difference to this recipe.

I made the tortilla the day before ANZAC Day.  My usual omelette takes about 20 minutes and is one of my quick meals.  This omelette took about an hour with slicing, frying, frying, frying, and finally browning under the grill.  Yes the frying took a lot longer and there were more steps than frying.  So I don't see this recipe going into regular rotation.  I can see myself making it again as it was excellent.

It was a long time until lunch but it was well worth it.  I went simple with my lunch and put some omelette into a sourdough roll with some of my mum's home made sauce.  It was amazing.

I kept aside most of the tortilla to take to my parents.  We had a hearty ANZAC Day brunch.  My mum made sourdough bread and pancakes to go with egg and bacon (so E had reason to sing Making Bacon Pancakes from Adventure Time.)  Me, I was so happy to eat a vegan Spanish omelette rather than egg and bacon.  (My aunt once told me there would come a time when I would really need egg and bacon for breakfast after a big night out but I still laugh at the idea!)  It was nice to see my famly and share a big brunch.  Did I mention freshly squeezed orange juice!

Unusually brunch was the biggest meal of the day.  We had some sausage rolls before I took sylvia and my niece to the pool.  Then we had fresh scones with jam and cream after some shopping (for boring school tights and exciting rare Beanie Boos).  Finally as I was about to drive home, the car was steaming and leaking so we had to call the RACV to look at it and tell me not to drive it to Melbourne.

As you can see by all the feeding, my parents are good people who are excellent in a crisis.  My dad checked on the car and talked to the RACV.  My mum made cheese on toast for tea, loaned me her car to drive home and rang my sister's boyfriend to arrange for him to fix the car.  If you start your day some hearty tortilla and end it with the support of family, you can handle almost anything that happens in between. 

Other savoury vegan "egg" recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Fried rice with tofu scramble (gf, v)
Tofu besan omelette (gf, v)
Tofu scramble (gf, v)
Vegan bubble and squeak frittata (gf, v) 
Vegan quiche with tofu and besan (v)

Tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette)
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Serves 2-4

Potato and onions:
3 tbsp neutral oil
1 onion, finely sliced
500g potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4 - 1/2 cm thick
Omelette mixture:
300g silken tofu, drained
Handful of parsley, chopped
6 tbsp besan (chickpea flour),
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion granules
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch black salt
1 tsp neutral oil

Fry onion and potato for about 15 minutes in oil over medium heat in large frypan until potato is cooked and a little brown around the edges.  Flip over occasionally (every 5-7 minutes) so that the potatoes aren't handled too much and keep their shape.

Cool potato mixture once cooked and while they cool, blend all the omelette ingredients until smooth in a medium bowl.  Mix potatoes and onions into omelette mixture gently so potatoes hold their shape.

Heat teaspoon of oil over low heat in the same frypan where the potatoes and onions fried. Swirl it around to cover frypan.  Scrape omelette and potato into frypan and use spoon to neaten the edges to make a round shape.  Fry for 10 minutes.  Then put a lid on it and fry another 20 minutes or until the mixture looks cooked (slightly drier than the mixture).  Place frypan under the grill for about 5-10 minutes to brown the top.

Flip onto a plate or chopping board.  It tastes great hot but slices up nicely when cooled and firmed for a bit.  The omelette can be kept overnight in the fridge but will be firmer than when it is freshly cooked.

On the Stereo:
Tooth and Nail: Billy Bragg

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Pumpkin, sundried tomato and basil nut roast

It's been a pleasant weekend of sunshine and blue skies.  Yesterday Sylvia soaked up the sunshine in the park and today she made a house in the front yard with her friend.  Today, in between baking bread and stewing fruit, I swept up the debris left by the tradies who have fixed the tiles on our roof .  But my recipe today harks back to earlier in Autumn when I baked nut roast for Easter Sunday lunch.

I made the loaf to use up some pumpkin I had roasted, the dried up old sundried tomatoes in the back of the fridge and the basil from the garden.  It seemed to bring together Autumn and Spring just as we do in Australia when we celebrate Easter.

I was a bit worried about getting the texture right with the pumpkin.  I have tried some pumpkin nut roasts in the past that are a bit soft.  This one was actually a bit crumbly on the edge but I think that was because I left it in the oven a bit long.  When I make them to take to my mum's for lunch, they get baked twice: once at home and once at my mum's.  The middle was great and not too soft.

Above you can see I had a really lovely Easter lunch of nut roast, chutney, roast potato, peas and cauliflower cheese.  I had quite a bit leftover so I ended up mixing it crumbled with some leftover tomato pasta sauce.  It was like a thick bolognaise sauce.  I took it to work spread on a home made sourdough bread roll with some cream cheese.  I felt quite fancy at lunchtime. 

More vegan nut roasts on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Golden beetroot nut roast (v)
Lentil and mushroom nut roast (v)
Parsnip nut roast (v)
Sweet potato and poppy seed nut roast with strawberry glaze (v)
Welsh nutroast with laverbread, leeks and cheese (v)
Or just check out my complete nut roast list 

Pumpkin, Sundried Tomato and Basil Nut Roast
Adapted from the Vegan Society via Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 4-6

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
225g coarsely ground mix of almonds and cashews
1 cup diced and roasted pumpkin
100g dried breadcrumbs
1 handful basil, roughly chopped
20g dried sundried tomatoes 1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp seeded mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp vegemite (or yeast extract)
1/3 cup hot water 
Seasoning to taste

Fry onion in oil.  Mix with nuts, pumpkin, breadcrumbs, basil, sundried tomatoes, paprika, mustard, and vinegar.  Mix vegemite into hot water and add to mixture.  Season.  Mix to combine and season.  The mixture should be clumping rather than a batter but when you pinch it between your fingers it should hold together.  Scrape into a greased and lined loaf tin.  Smooth top with the back of a spoon.  Bake at 180 C for 30 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.

NOTES: I used old really dried sundried tomatoes so I poured boiling water over them and drained it before adding the sundried tomatoes.  Then I used the hot water to mix with the vegemite.  I weighed my basil to be about 10g but I would use more if I had it and less if it was all I could get.

On the stereo:
Colin Meloy Sings Live

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Holiday baking: pasties, choc chip buns and not cross buns

Yesterday I was back to work after a week of holidays while Sylvia was on school holidays.  Coming soon after my oven was finally fixed, I was delighted to indulge in lots of baking.  Not the cake sort, which I have been doing less, but the bread and buns sort.  Lots of sourdough was used and I also finally got through a packet of puff pastry that had been in the freezer for a couple of months.

When not baking we kept ourselves busy.  Kittens, Early Man (cinema), craft, swimming, cousins, rain, Beanie Boos, friends, housework, late nights, Jungle Book (dvd), baking, Build a Bear, shopping, Ballet Shoes (book), appointments, gardening, Coburg Lake park, pizza, sleeping in, jigsaw, 100 things to do before High School (tv), 

As my oven was only fixed just before Easter, I only baked one batch of Hot Cross Buns.  So we decided to bake some Not Cross Buns, using last year's Hot Cross Buns recipe.  That meant that instead of piping crosses over the buns, we experimented with some different patterns.

Some of our more successful decorations were the minion eye, a hedgehog, a bear and a rabbit.  All of the buns tasted excellent.

While I love the traditional dried fruit Hot Cross Buns, I had promised Sylvia a batch of choc chip buns.  We baked them on a day she had a friend over.  They were really good when fresh out of the oven but with milk chocolate chips and some ginger syrup, were a bit sweet for me.  I scaled back the glaze to 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp water and a shake of mixed spice.  One coat of glaze was just enough (and not so sticky to hold as when I have done lots of glaze) so maybe I will do less on next year's buns.

I also baked 3 loaves of bread and a batch of bread rolls in a week (that is two lots of overnight sourdough bread) so I took a loaf to a friend when we went to see their new kittens.

I was also on a mission to use up some puff pastry that had lingered in the freezer while my confidence in my oven had floundered.  I found a Peter Russel Clarke recipe called My Son's Jumbo Vegetable Rolls. It promised to use up so much from the fridge.  Yet when I came to make them, I had gaps.  No onion.  No celery.  No fruit chutney.  No eggs.  So I improvised. 

I also had odd shaped parcels because they were odd shaped bits of pastry.  I think the packet had fallen out of the freezer during a Freezer Tetris session, which is where I feel I can't possibly fit anything more in the freezer but out of desperation I move around the stuff already in there to amazingly fit more stuff.

I made the pasties during the day because it was a nice break from cleaning up my benches.  They were delicious.  I was out late and when we came home they were so nice - or perhaps I was too tired - and we ate them at room temperature for tea.  The rest of the filling got put away for another day when we weren't running out to the park so I could take some nice photos.  But the daylight hours pass quickly in the April school holidays!

When you look at this photo of Coburg Lake, you can understand why I would prefer to sit in the park and read the newspaper (with the occasional glance to check the kids are still there and have not run away with Gerald the Swan) rather than sitting at home taking photos in beautiful daylight.  At this time of year, a perfect autumnal day is all the more precious because we know cooler days are coming.

Then there were days when it was unseasonably warm outside (31 C) and we spent the day in a shopping centre and cafes.  It hadn't been the plan but Early Man was sold out at the Cinema Nova because they have amazingly cheap $7 tickets during the day on Monday so instead we got lost in a huge shopping centre and ignored the free Ben and Jerry's icecream queue before heading to a more expensive cinema.  Buttercream bear was happy to leave with a new dress and sunglasses.  He looked like a celebrity in Brunettis.  But I get ahead of myself.

I had planned to go the Green Man's Arms in Carlton after the Nova so after the film we drove through slow peak hour traffic to have dinner there.  It was really good and the staff were lovely.  This butternut tahini dip with date molasses was amazing.  I will write about this pub but still hope to go back again.  I would have loved to stay for dessert but we ended up at the old faithful, Brunettis which always does excellent small cakes and coffee.

With all the baking over the holidays, I needed salad.  Preferably salad made by someone else.  This is the King Hemp Bowl (red quinoa, organic tofu, seasonal greens, edamame, avocado, roasted almonds, hemp seed oil dressing + lemon) at King of the Castle on Pako Street in Geelong.  (That's Pakington Street to those who do not spend much time in Geelong.) 

We had a day in Geelong of catching up with family.  Sylvia had some playdates with cousins.  I went out for lunch with one sister and had pizza for tea with another.  My mum didn't get to share a meal with me but she sent me home with a tub of leftover stroganoff pasta bake with mushroom and spinach.  It was a busy day.

After a few busy days, we slowed down for the last days of the holidays.  We did housework, we went swimming and we did craft.  Actually I had been planning to vacuum but Sylvia asked to do craft.  How could I resist a better offer!  We don't have much time for craft these days.
 
Sylvia did some splatter paintings while I made a collage.  She had some mighty splattering that kept coming my way.  Finally we set up a broken umbrella on the table between us so I didn't get totally splattered.  But if you look at my collage at the top of the post, you can see I didn't miss out altogether.  It was a fun way to end the holidays

More pasties from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cheese, onion and potato pasties (Tiddly Oggies)
Creamy pasties with peas or pumpkin
Haggis neeps and tatties pasties (v)
Lentil and root vegetable pasties
Pasties with lentils and walnuts (v) 
Spinach and potatoe pasties

Ripper vegie rice pastries
from Peter Russell Clarke's Family Cookbook
Serves 4-6

Filling:
kernels of 1 corn cob
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
1 carrot grated
1-2 small potatoes grated
handful of baby leeks/chives finely chopped
1 small apple, peeled and grated
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
125g cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp chutney
seasoning

To wrap:
4-5 sheets of puff pastry
milk for wrapping and glazed

Mix all filling ingredients.  Cut pastry into shapes or strips.  Drop a large spoonful or two in the middle and wrap or fold pastry around it.  Brush milk onto the pastry to seal it and on top to glaze.  Bake at 210 C for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

NOTES:  You could try other vegies in here, such as onion, celery, spinach, kale, zucchini, cauliflower, parsley etc.  I did not have onion so I used baby leeks from the garden which are like chives.  The potato, cheese and chia are there for binding.  Ground nuts, egg or even some cheese sauce (vegan or dairy) might help bind.

On the Stereo:
The Music of Ooo: soundtrack from Adventure Time

Friday, 13 April 2018

Sweet and Sour Tofu

My memories of Chinese food when I was young was sweet and sour dishes.  When we went out, there was some sort of meat in crispy batter covered in sweet and sour sauce.  At home, I think the sauce covered chicken.  These days Chinese food is a lot more sophisticated and spicy but when I saw a recipe for sweet and sour tempeh in The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, I had a nostalgic hankering.

As you might have guessed, I did not have any tempeh so I used the tofu at hand.  I made it late at night so it was ready for the next day's dinner after work.  The recipe was unusual in that the sweet and sour sauce used apricot jam rather than pineapple juice.  Fortunately I had some apricot jam that had not been used for a while.  I think of sweet and sour as tending to be quite sweet.  I had to mess about with the spice and vinegar to get the flavouring right.


The sweet and sour tofu was surprisingly good with rice.  I cooked some spring rolls to serve alongside it and the sweet and sour sauce was great for dipping.  You can see from my notes that the recipe needed a bit of tweaking.  I wonder how easy getting the flavours right would be if you did not have a memory of sweet and sour like I do.  I suspect my version is not at all a traditional one but I did enjoy it.

I am sending this sweet and sour tofu to April's Eat Your Greens hosted by Allotment to Kitchen this month (and co-hosted by The Veg Hog).

More sweet and sour recipes from elsewhere:
Cabbage spring rolls with sweet and sour marmalade dipping sauce - Allotment to Kitchen
Easy sweet and sour sauce - Amuse Your Bouche
Sweet and sour chickpeas, pepper and broccoli - Vegan Richa
Sweet'n'sour mock pork - Where's the Beef
Vegan sweet and sour meatballs - Stay at Home Chef

More Chinese inspired recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chow mein (v)
Fried rice with tofu scramble (gf, v)
Lo mein (v)
Mee Goreng (v)
Vegetarian San Choy Bau (gf, v)

Sweet and Sour Tofu
Adapted from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Serves 4

2 tbsp neutral oil (divided)
1 tbsp sesame oil
500g tofu
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger powder
200g (about a cup) apricot jam
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp white miso
4-5 tbsp tamari
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2-1 tsp chilli sauce
1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 red pepper, matchsticks
200g green beans, trimmed and chopped

Fry tofu in 1 tbsp neutral oil and 1 tbsp sesame oil until crispy.  Once done, set aside.

Meanwhile, fry onion, celery and carrots in remaining 1 tbsp neutral oil for about 5 minutes until softened.  Stir in garlic and ginger for a minute.  Add apricot jam and 1 cup water.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

While the onion mixture simmers, gradually mix 4 tbsp of water into 2 tbsp of cornflour until smooth.  Mix in miso and 4 tbsp tamari, cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp chilli sauce.  Add to saucepan.  Check flavours and if required add maple syrup, more tamari, chilli sauce and some rice vinegar.

Add red paper, green beans and fried tofu.  Bring mixture to the boil.  If you are serving straight away, simmer for 5 minutes until green beans cooked.  If serving later, remove from heat and cool.

NOTES: I think next time I would just use rice wine vinegar instead of the cider vinegar which might mean I did not need extra vinegar.  I think I needed the maple syrup because I added too much tamarai, hence reducing it from 5 to 4 tbsp unless needed.  I don't think the jam I used was overly sweet so you might need more tamari if your jam is quite sweet.  I used ground ginger because I did not have ginger.  I kept the spice low because I had hoped that Sylvia might eat it but when she was not interested I added more chilli paste and probably would have added more fresh ginger too.

On the Stereo:
Picaresque: Decembrists

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Red Lentil and Walnut Pate

When I finally get around to making a recipe for Red Lentil and Pecan Pate, instead of heading out to buy pecans, I found an abundance of walnuts to substitute for them.  In fact I was surprised that there were lots of pockets I had squirrelled away walnuts for lean times.  The end of a bag in the freezer, a bag I'd bought on special in the pantry, another tub of walnuts and some in the shell.  And this pate proved that you can never have enough walnuts!

I could have done a bit better with the dip.  I forgot to toast the walnuts.  And I always fail when directed to cook and drain lentils.  So I think next time I cook them in 2 cups rather than 3 of water so the pate is not quite so soft. 

As well as using up walnuts, I was pleased to use some herbs from the garden and it did give great flavour.  Yet after eating the pate with vegies and crackers for dinner, I gave it a bit more seasoning, and, if I remember rightly, a little smoked paprika.  But I didn't have that much parsley in the garden so perhaps more parsley would help the flavour too.

Despite all my problems, I still really loved this pate.  I never ate much in the way of pate before going vegetarian so I could not tell you how it compares to a meat one, but it really worked well as a tasty dip.  Now I think I had better go and by some more walnuts because I love them in so many ways.

More vegetarian pates on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Eggplant pate (gf, v)
Finnish green bean paté (gf)
Vegan pate with sweet potato (gf, v)
Vegan salmon pate (gf, v)
Voracious vegan pate (v)

Red lentil and walnut pate
Adapted from the Vegetarian Times

1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp rice vinegar
small handful each fresh basil, thyme and parsley, chopped
seasoning

Simmer the lentils in 2-3 cups of water for about 15 minutes and then drain off water.  Meanwhile toast walnuts in one frypan and fry the onion and garlic over low heat in olive oil in another frypan for about 10 minutes. Blend walnuts in food processor to make a paste.  Add lentils, onion mixture and remaining ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  Check and adjust seasoning.

On the Stereo:
I am Sam: Soundtrack from the motion picture

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Coburg Street Art IV

It is time for some Coburg street art. Because this post has been lingering for long enough that some of the artwork is starting to be painted over.  You can see this with some flats on the Upfield line near Reynard Street that have gone from detailed flowers to tagging.  And I finally did my collage (above) with Coburg spelt out in street art so it is time to share.

Gay Marriage Referendum 2017





By Marcia Ferguson.  MoreArt 2016.

Gay Marriage Referendum 2017

Richmond (the Tigers) won the 2017 AFL Grand Final.











So there you have some of the colour and fun to be seen around Coburg's streets (and Upfield railway line).  The picture above is from the Coburg Carnivale last year in September.  For more past Coburg street art, check out my other posts: