Falafel Salad

Falafel Salad

Today’s lunch is falafel salad. What you see is what you get: baked falafel, spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado & tomato salsa.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been stocking up on food for the freezer (mostly soups). Over the weekend I made a quadruple batch of veggie “chorizo” (16 sausages!) and last night, I made over 24 falafels and decided that I couldn’t wait to reap the benefits of my bulk cooking, so I’m having some for lunch today!

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk
Nolan St, Bendigo
VIC 3550
Australia
(03) 5443 9855

Boardwalk 5

The Boardwalk is a well established café/restaurant in Bendigo that overlooks Lake Weeroona. I’ve been there a couple of times in the past and was heavily unimpressed with the food, thus I hadn’t returned for quite some time. When I heard in November that it was being taken over by a new owner, I was keen to give it another chance and I wasn’t disappointed.

I organised a corporate Christmas party there last month for a group of tradesmen & civil engineers – all meat eating men – thus below you will find some non-vegan photos. The purpose of this is to spread the word about the new chefs, who are highly skilled and very accommodating to veg’ns and meat eaters alike. Unfortunately I can’t tell you much about the current menu because we had a set menu, but I can tell you that the food is creative and while it’s not necessarily vegan friendly, with a bit of notice (and some rough guidance to the chefs if there’s anything you don’t/can’t/won’t eat), you’ll definitely be looked after.

Boardwalk 1

This is the chickpea salad I was served. My guidelines to the kitchen were “vegan, no fake meat or dairy, happy to have salad”. This had some thinly sliced pear mixed in with the veggies/greens/chickpeas and the sweetness worked wonderfully – and as you can see, I was wow-ed as soon as I saw the plate. It’s just gorgeous! My only suggestion for this dish would be a lemon wedge. It definitely needed something citrussy to cut through the oily dressing. That being said, I ate the lot and was really happy with being served something so colourful, healthy and heavy on raw veggies.

Below are the two dishes the boys ate – one was a grain fed eye fillet steak and the other was a chicken dish. I meant to ask if they used free range but forgot. Hopefully if Andy sees this he can clarify in the comments section for me/you. No complaints from the boys, everyone loved their meals.

Boardwalk 2

Boardwalk 3

Here’s me with Andy (the new owner)! He comes to The Boardwalk from The Match, along with some other staff. The freedoms he has awarded the kitchen staff is definitely working in his favour; I’ll be sending as many people to The Boardwalk as possible to give them a chance to start fresh.

Boardwalk 4

Can you tell it was just before Christmas by my silly little hat? Thanks for that Sarahfaé! 😉

Boardwalk on Urbanspoon

Gluten Free Spinach Crepes

I took the week off from blogging last week because my brain was feeling a bit overloaded; I’ve had too many ideas on the go at once lately and none of them were becoming finished products, they were just lingering around as something stressful on my to-do list! I’ve also had a super slow internet connection. So slow, in fact, that my last post took an hour and twenty minutes to show up online. Lame!

Anyway, today I’ve got something impressive but super simple for you – spinach crepes! They were inspired by Mission‘s Garden Spinach & Herb wraps, which are pretty delicious, but not gluten free.

You can eat these at any time of day & serve them with whatever you like. In the photo, I’ve used mashed pumpkin, some very thick cashew béchamel sauce & julienned granny smith apple.

Spinach Crepes
Makes 8 Crepes

2 C Baby Spinach, tightly packed
2 1/4 C Water
3 TBSP Canola Oil
2 C Chickpea Flour (Besan)
1/2 t Salt

  • In a blender, blend together the baby spinach, water & oil. Don’t sweat it if it’s not completely smooth, a bit of texture isn’t a bad thing!
  • Place your chickpea flour & salt in a mixing bowl, and slowly whisk in the green liquid from the blender.
  • Heat an 8″, heavy bottomed non-stick skillet on low heat. Spray with oil. When hot, add a ladle full of batter and swirl to spread across the pan. Cook until the batter appears to have dried out, then flip with a non-metal spatula and cook opposite side for no longer than a minute (you want to only *just* give it some colour).
  • Continue the above method for the remainder of the batter, using a fresh spray of oil each time.
  • Serve rolled up with your stuffings of choice!

Sweet Potato Chips (Fries) & Za’atar Salad

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the late post this week! I’m juggling a couple of different recipe ideas which you’ll be seeing on the blog soon – they’re just not quite perfect yet. Here’s last night’s dinner to tide you over!

Nachos x

Sweet Potato Chips & Za'atar Salad
Serves 4

Sweet Potato Chips
4 C Sweet Potato, cut into chips (fries)
Spray Canola Oil
Seasoning of your choice

  • Preheat oven to 200C.
  • Arrange chips on two trays with baking paper and spray lightly with oil. Season as desired.
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 200C, then toss the chips around and bake a further 12 minutes, but at a higher temperature of 230C.

TIPS:

  • Use the spray oil sparingly. If you use too much, your chips will be soggy.
  • Do not crowd the chips in the oven. I suggest spreading them out across two trays so they have a more even exposure to the heat.
  • If you’re unsure about choosing a seasoning, I can recommend some combinations. Salt & rosemary, salt & thyme, pepper & lemon or lime zest, or you could even use pre-made seasonings such as Herbamare & Trocomare, which can be found in the health food aisle of most supermarkets.

Za’atar Salad

4C Rocket
1 Large Eggplant
Oil
4 TBSP Sprouts (Lentils & Mung Beans)
24 Olives (Green or Kalamata)
1.5 C Chickpeas (Cooked or Canned)
1 tsp Za’atar Seasoning*
4 Lemon Wedges
S+P

  • Cut your eggplant into 12 rounds, approximately 1cm thick. Heat up a griddle pan with some oil in it and fry in batches on both sides, leaving to drain on paper towel afterwards.
  • Assemble your salad. Rocket first, then 3 slices of eggplant per serve, followed by 1/4 of the chickpeas, 6 olives, 1 TBSP of sprouts and 1/4 tsp za’atar.
  • Serve with a lemon wedge (to be squeezed over the top) and salt & pepper.

*I haven’t attempted making my own za’atar yet so I can’t offer you a recipe but there’s plenty available on the internet. On this occasion I used a pre-made mix from my local health food store. The ingredients are: Oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, ground cashews, ground almonds, black pepper & paprika.

Chickpea & Salad Wrap

Today’s recipe is one that might be referred to as “rabbit food” by the average neanderthal-minded man; don’t let that scare you off. There’s nothing wrong with a nice, healthy lunch!

Chickpea & Salad Wrap
Serves 1

1 Wholemeal or Gluten Free Wrap
1 C Rocket Leaves
1 Rib of Celery, sliced finely on the bias
1/4 C Alfalfa Sprouts
6-8 Pitted Green Olives (you can use stuffed ones if you like!)
1/2 C Cooked Chickpeas
1 TBSP Mayonnaise
Pepper to taste

  • First, you’ll need to prep your chickpeas. If you’re using tinned ones, rinse them thoroughly. Mash roughly with a fork, then stir in the mayonnaise & pepper.
  • Assemble your wrap with the rocket on the bottom and the alfalfa on the top. All the other ingredients can go anywhere in the middle. I suggest doing it this way so that no wet ingredients are in direct contact with your wrap – you don’t want it to go soggy! (And on that note, when you wash your rocket, dry it off in a salad spinner, or pat it down with some paper towel.)
  • Roll up, cut in half if desired and dig in!

Chick(pea) & Pumpkin Cacciatore

This is a sweet, comforting dish – and one that has come from my mission to get through my supply of free, organic pumpkins without resorting to pumpkin soup!

Chickpea Pumpkin Cacciatore
Serves 6

Sauce:
1 Brown Onion, roughly chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, smashed
1 Red Capsicum (Bell Pepper), roughly chopped
1/4 Yellow Capsicum, roughly chopped
3 Truss Tomatoes, cut into eighths
4 TBSP Tomato Paste (no added salt)
1 TBSP Raw Sugar
1 Cup Water

Filling:
700g Jap Pumpkin
2 Red Capsicums
1.5 Cups Cooked Chickpeas (1x 400g tin)
1 Cup Stock (I used Massel “chicken” stock which is vegan & GF)
1/2 tsp Dried Basil

Fresh parsley to serve & salt to taste.

  • Cube pumpkin into bite sized pieces and roast with a light spray of oil at 180C for 25 minutes.
  • To make the sauce, first sauté the onion on medium heat. When it starts to brown a little, add the garlic.
  • Stir for a minute, then add the tomatoes & capsicums. Switch heat to high and cook until the capsicums are tender.
  • Add the tomato paste, raw sugar & water. Stir to combine, then let cool before blending.
  • When your pumpkin has finished roasting and your sauce is blended, you’re ready to rock – err, I mean assemble. Roughly chop the remaining two capsicums into bite sized pieces (similar size to the pumpkin) and sauté until tender. Add the chickpeas and stir for a minute or two.
  • Finally, add the sauce, stock & dried basil, then fold the pumpkin in, being careful not to mash it – you want it to hold its cubed shape. Heat through, add salt and serve.

The cacciatore in the photo was served with gluten free pasta but you could serve this with regular pasta, rice, mashed potato or whatever floats your boat. It’s also good on its own!

Also, don’t be shy with the salt – it really brings out the flavours in this.

The Perfect Hummus

If I had a first born, he/she would come second to this recipe. I’ve guarded my hummus recipe for years, despite being pressed for my secret by many people, including my own grandmother! This is a winning dip to take to parties; hummus can really be overlooked sometimes, but not when it’s as special as this.

What’s so special about this?

No oil. Oil adds unnecessary fat and personally, I prefer hummus without it.
Only one clove of garlic. If you like to let your hummus sit in the fridge for a few days to use for different dishes/pre-packed lunches, you’ll know that the garlic flavour develops with time. The standard two cloves in this sutiation is a little too harsh on the average person’s breath.
Cumin. I spice my hummus with cumin because cumin & hummus make a perfect marriage; you’ll have to take my word for this… or not. Try this recipe!

ThePerfectHummus

The Perfect Hummus
1.5 Cups Cooked Chickpeas (1x 400g Tin)
1 Clove of Garlic
2 TBSP Tahini
1 Heaped TBSP Cumin
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice (the juice of approx 1 lemon)
1/4 Cup Water
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Blend all ingredients, except water, in a food processor. Add the water in a slow stream while the ingredients are blending. If the mixture is too thick, you may need to add an extra tablespoon of water.

Serve with seedy seasoning, a few whole chickpeas and a lemon wedge. This can also look good with a sprig of parsley in it. Be creative!

If you’re feeling fancy or just want to try something a little different, substitute the lemon with lime (you will need 2 limes to get 1/4 cup of lime juice).