Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pear, Rocket, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad

Good morning all!

I've just got home from seeing Harry Potter and am still in a daze. David Yates - the director - has done incredibly well. Without giving anything away I can say that this film is much more sinister than the previous ones have been and was very true to the book. I'd even recommend those who aren't Harry Potter fans to go and see it, simply because even if you haven't seen the previous films you'll still enjoy the cinematography and the fantastic story line. 
Enough of that for the moment though and onto food!

Notice of Warning: The next few posts are going to be of recipes that have been made whilst I neglected the blog so they will not be vegan. Though of course you can make them such by omitting or replacing certain ingredients. 

Today’s post is on a pear, rocket, walnut and blue cheese salad I made back in winter - yes I know it's a long time ago for such a familiar meal but I think it's one of those comforting recipes you can have on stand by and whip together in a moments notice. For the vegans out there, while the blue cheese gives it a greater depth of flavor it is by no means essential, if you want to give the salad another dimension try brushing the pears with maple syrup and char grilling them. It should also be pointed out that I don’t like salads to be dressed so I often leave mine plain, however a walnut or blue cheese dressing would be prefect.
1 nearly ripe pear
2 handfuls of rocket (I also added two leaves of romaine lettuce, and some spinach)
½ handful of walnuts
2 slivers of blue cheese, crumbled
few shavings of parmesan 

- Wash, dry and trim the salad leaves.

- Cut the pear in half lengthways and using an apple corer, melon scoop or teaspoon remove the core. Stand pear up again, pressing the two halves together and cut into eights to achieve segment-like pieces. If char grilling the pear heat the pan on a medium-high heat and with a pastry brush lightly cover the pears in maple syrup, once pan is hot transfer pears to the heat and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes on either side. You only want them to caramelize and slightly burnish, if you think the pan is too hot them immediately turn it down.

- Roughly chop the walnuts and crumble cheese. Finally, toss everything together and transfer everything to a serving bowl and garnish with the parmesan.

Question: Have you read all the Harry Potter or seen the films … or both? If so what was your favourite? Have you been disappointed by any of the films?

My favourite book was the Deathly Hallows simply because it made you think and anticipate what was coming more so than the previous ones did. The same applies to the film, which definitely stands out from the others more strongly. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's about time!

Well well well, where to begin? My last post was back in July and I'm torn between starting all over again and simply continuing on here.
During this three month absence a great deal has happened. The weather is warming up again and we can almost taste summer, which means BBQs, Christmas, New Year, the beach, long walks with friends, cycling, running (hopefully) and a new seasons produce! I've also finished first year university, had my 19th birthday, tried out a handful of new restaurants in Melbourne, discovered a zillion new foodie blogs which have ultimately lead to the biggest change of all which is my turning vegan(ish).  
Why? I hear you cry in surprise and alarm. Firstly, I’m not going to be terribly strict about this, it’s more a general eradication of dairy, eggs etc from my diet as they make me feel somewhat sluggish. Secondly, I’ve unknowingly been vegetarian for two months and I can’t say I hugely miss meat. As this isn’t a motivated by morals I shan't hold back on ordering something with fish or a meal containing a dairy product when at a restaurant, life’s too short to deprive yourself of something you want plus I’m doubtful that it will make me feel too lethargic if it’s only every not and then. Finally, for months now I’ve been taking even more of an interest in the food I eat and I want to know exactly how it’s prepared and what’s going into it so there’s a greater emphasis on ‘clean eating’ and on sourcing as much as possible locally. Now I promise you, being vegan does not limit my meals in anyway, if anything it’s enhancing my food knowledge and gently encouraging me to experiment more in the kitchen. It’s far from the stereotype of tofu and lentils. 
So without further ado let me introduce you to Katie, she’s prompted - in part - this change thanks to her delicious recipes. Before I began reading her blog about 7 months ago I hadn’t given much though towards vegan food. So thank you Katie for opening my eyes and introducing me to another area of foodie goodness! 
I decided that my contribution to ‘Hug a Vegan’ would be to make Angela’s variation of Katie’s ‘Hot Chocolate Butter Melties’ which I've further altered to turn them into maple truffles.
30 g coconut oil/butter
20g cocoa powder, extra for dusting
1/8 cup agave (I used maple syrup) the amount is optional but this is a good starting point
Melt your coconut oil in the microwave or a water bath then whisk in maple syrup.
- Add the cocoa and stir until thickened.
- Place in ice cube trays, chocolate moulds or whatever else takes your fancy and set in the fridge (10 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes). Personally I like mine frozen as they’re more chewy. If you want to make them into truffles as I’ve done then simply chill the mixture in the freezer for 5 minutes then roll a teaspoon of the mixture in your hands, place back in the freezer for 5 minutes then roll in the extra cocoa.

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