Monday 29 August 2011

Cauliflower and Date Tagine

Cauliflower and Date Tagine
from Pure Vegetarian, Paul Gayler, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2008.

Always on the lookout for vegetarian tagines I found this one in Pure Vegetarian.

The book is not by a vegetarian and I find these are often the best cookery books as the meat eater usually knows the difficulties experienced by vegetarians in restaurants and also knows how to make a meal that would satisfy them.

The cauliflower and date tagine consists predominantly of just those two ingredients but with the addition of lots of herbs and spices, plus tomatoes. This is a rich blend that makes for a very satisfying tasty meal.

The Tunisian pilaff that accompanies it is a nice variation from the usual couscous—and one that I think I prefer. The addition of currants and freshly roasted almonds adds a great touch.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔ 

Sunday 28 August 2011

Egg 'Tripe'

Frittatine in Trippa
from Tuscany, Phaidon Press, 2011.

I’ve really taken to this cookery book. Perhaps ‘cookery book’ does not quite describe it for it is more than that. It examines the different regions of Tuscany and the foods that are special to each one. And accompanying the regional descriptions are recipes for dishes that are specific to each region.

It is not a vegetarian cookery book but there is a reasonable number of dishes that are vegetarian.

From the Pisa region in Tuscany comes this interesting frittata dish. Because it looks a little like tripe it is named ‘tripe’ frittata. It is, however, a vegetarian dish, or the recipe in the book is, for it does state that it is often cooked in lard which would make it unsuitable for vegetarians.

The dish is rather easy to make. Flat, thin frittatas are made and rolled up. The rolls are then sliced and left as rolled up strips. A tomato sauce is then cooked in a pan. When ready the frittata strips are added and stirred in. With parmesan sprinkled over the top this is a pleasant and flavoursome way in which to enjoy a frittata.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔ 

Cavolo nero on sour dough

Crostini di Cavolo Nero
from Tuscany, Phaidon Press, 2011.

Nothing could be easier than this. Cavolo nero is now much easier to obtain from the shops and this is a good way in which to try it out.

It was my first attempt at using the cabbage and I would think that I did not quite cook it long enough. Nevertheless it was a pleasant addition to some slices of sour dough bread.

I’ve only used Tuscany once before and do enjoy browsing through it. It has heaps of information on the regions and their foods and I tend to wander through its pages, picking up information every time I use it. It has, for example, a whole page of information on cavolo nero.

Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔ 

Saturday 27 August 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

Parmigiana di Melanzane (Eggplant Parmigiana)
from Italian Food Safari, Maeve O’Meara with Guy Grossi, Hardie Grant Books, 2010. This recipe by Rosa Matto.

The wonderful eggplant seems to be such a versatile vegetable and tends to be the hero of many dishes. While it is not overly tasty itself it soaks up flavours readily.

This dish has the eggplant sliced, floured and egg dipped before it is fried like a schnitzel. It is then layered in a casserole with a tomato sauce, pieces of mozzarella and torn up basil.

When this is baked the savoury casserole is a richly satisfying dish. Mine didi not turn out looking as colourful as the one pictured in the book but it tasted pretty good.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔ 

Friday 26 August 2011

A vegetable salad with a great sauce

Broccolini and Sweet Sesame Salad
from Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2010

I’d never used broccolini until I tried this recipe. I’ve seen it at the greengrocer’s but, being used to broccoli, I’ve always settled for that. Thanks to Plenty I’ll be using broccolini much more.

There are really three vegetables in this salad: French beans, mangetout and the broccolini. Each of the vegetables is cooked separately. They are then mixed with some oil.

A sauce is made—a very different sauce—with tahini, mirin and honey among other ingredients. This is poured over the vegetables. It’s such a tasty sauce that I think I could easily use it in other vegetable-based salads.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔