A personal Yuletide favourite
Our Christmas recipe is one that’s close to my heart as it’s the nut roast that I’ve been bringing to our family’s Christmas Day celebrations since I can’t remember when. It’s Rose Elliot’s Brazil Nut Roast en Croute and comes from her ‘Supreme Vegetarian Cookbook’ which was first published in 1988. I know that we’ve moved on a lot in terms of vegetarian/vegan consciousness as well as in the range of amazing ingredients at our disposal since then but Rose Elliot was such a trail blazer when vegetarianism was still ‘wacky’ and this is still a humdinger of a recipe so what more need I say? It takes a little bit of prep and, as that’s not what you want to be doing on Christmas morning, I like to make it early on Christmas Eve and have nothing to do but pop it in the oven on Christmas Day. And, as every good roast needs a good gravy to go with it, we’re suggesting a classic gravy recipe from Cranks Cook Book. Enjoy. read more →
Anyone for Salad?
I never thought I’d be reviewing a chipper for Only Natural but our food culture is changing and that’s exactly what I’m doing today. I recently had a chat with Geraldine, the owner of Mangan’s in The Faythe because I’m fascinated by just how much she’s taken the idea of traditional chip shop fare (not the healthiest of cuisines) and substantially changed it to reflect today’s changing tastes and dietary choices. Geraldine was certainly ahead of the curve when she decided to overhaul her menu in favour of healthier options in June 2016. She was certainly the first in Wexford to realize that she could attract a broader audience by offering healthier and vegetarian choices beside traditional chip shop fare. What’s exciting is just how successful her initiative has been with the result that she’s still adding to the choices on offer. She’s effectively broadened her restaurant’s appeal to include those of us who want the convenience and tastiness of a take away now and again but without the heart clogging downside. We applaud you Geraldine.
What’s on the menu at Mangan’s?
The main ingredient in this recipe is tempeh, not sure what tempeh is? Well it’s a traditional soy product that stems from Indonesia. It is made from whole, fermented soybeans, has a firm texture and a nutty flavour. It contains more protein, fibre and nutrition than it’s well known cousin, tofu, and is used as a meat alternative in dishes whether you are vegetarian, vegan or just trying to reduce the amount of animal protein in your diet. Even though we sell it instore it hasn’t been on my shopping list for quite a while so when I came across this recipe I decided to give it a go and remind myself what I’m missing out on!
1 packet tempeh, cut into 1 inch cubes
120ml cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs tamari
2 cloves garlic, minced
60ml cup olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp arrowroot starch
Preparing the Marinade
1. In a bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, tamari, garlic, olive oil, and thyme.
2. Add the tempeh to the bowl, stir and cover.
3. Let sit in the fridge for 2-24 hours, mixing occasionally.
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Place tempeh and sauce in a glass dish and cook covered for 20 minutes.
3. Remove from oven, stir around and bake for another 20 minutes.
4. Remove tempeh cubes from sauce and set aside.
5. Place remaining sauce in a pan over medium heat.
6. Add arrowroot starch and stir constantly to thicken.
7. Plate tempeh and scoop marinade over top as a sauce, or serve on greens or whole grain of choice.
I really enjoyed cooking with tempeh and was reminded just how versatile and tasty it is. Like tofu it readily takes on whatever flavour you choose to pair it with so the choice is limitless. I marinaded and baked it for this recipe but it can also be cubed and stir fried or crumbled and used like mince for bolognese etc. It’s going onto my shopping list from now on and if you haven’t tried tempeh yet I’d urge you to give it a go.
I’ll have a burger and chips please
How can you turn the ultimate bloke’s chow down into something that’s good for you? It can be done, read on!
The burgers in question are Oliver McCabe’s ‘Lentil and Cashew Burgers’ from the ‘Fuel Food Cookbook, they’re simple to make and taste wonderful. They’re full of protein, fibre and vitamin C, gluten free and low GL.
145g red lentil, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
115g red onion, finely chopped
100g kale, washed and shredded
70g toasted cashew nuts, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Himalyayan fine rock salt
30g oat bran
Rapeseed oil, for frying
- Place the lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 25 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the liquid is absorbed.
- Use a spatula to scrape the lentils into a medium-sized bowl. Add the apple cider vinegar and mash well.
- Heat the olive oil in a wok over a low heat. Add the onion and sauté for 7 minutes, until softened. Add all remaining ingredients except the oat bran and sauté for 7 minutes more, until all the vegeables are tender. Add to the lentils with the oat bran and mix well. Leave to stand for 1 hour, until cool.
- Form six medium-sized burgers with clean hands. Heat a little rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the burger for about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through and golden on the outside.
Then for our ‘chips’. This simple recipe for ‘vege fries’ comes from Anthony William’s medicalmedium.com website where you’ll find all manner of great recipes based on natural food and superfoods.
The trick is to boil the root vegetables and then shake them vigorously before baking. The herbs and garlic generously coat the outside and the smudged edges will turn crispy in the oven. If you’re pressed for time, you can omit the extra steps and send them straight to the oven, though those few extra minutes will yield truly amazing results. Make a big enough batch to share -these won’t last long.
Recipe of the Month – Denis Cotter’s Gratin of Asparagus, Roasted Tomatoes and Gabriel Cheese with Chive and Mustard Cream
Firstly this is a typical Denis Cotter recipe, it’s quite involved. You have four separate elements to prepare which you then combine. It takes about an hour to prep but for me this is perfect. I can’t think of a better way to unwind.
Reason two isn’t a bad one either. I cooked this recently and was blown away by it. I’m a huge admirer of Dennis’s work, his recipes are all about getting the same complexity of flavour and pure culinary pleasure without using meat. You can even do the prep the day before and get some pals over, assemble and pop it in the oven on the night. Stress, what stress???
Oh and don’t forget the Mars Bar ice creams for dessert, it’s a night to go easy on yourself. read more →
Oh no, not MORE detox advice!
Yes I’m afraid so, but this time let’s assume you’re eating well, drinking lots of water and that there’s no shortage of spring in your step. Let’s look at one of your most precious resources, the place that’s yours, your space, your home. Places can be toxic on many levels and whether you’re smudging to cleanse the spirit of the place, decluttering (I never feel better than when I’ve taken the bull by the horns and just gotten rid of lots of stuff that I just don’t need) or just having a good spring (or any time of year!) clean, it’s hard to beat the feeling of security and peace that the word ‘Home’ stands for.
Let’s look at the last of these, keeping your home clean. Using conventional, synthetic based home and laundry cleaners may be an option but I don’t think it’s the healthy one. Fortunately green cleaning products have never been more available or affordable and, believe me, when you try them you won’t turn back. read more →