Back in my uni days, weekends were a time for me to get in some more hours of work to earn some money- at one time I was working three jobs, one on the weekdays, one at nights and one on the weekends. When I first started working full time I did try to keep the busy weekends going, making sure I filled my weekends with plenty of activities but much has changed since then, and even though it has only been less than two years since I finished uni, I honestly do not know how I did it!
Today’s recipe is a little different from my usual recipes- I do plenty of veggie recipes, and some recipes which may involve meat, but not so much a crossover between the two like I have today with these mock ‘meat’ balls made from a combination of mushroom and black beans!
Mock meats are quite prominent in Asian culture, regardless of whether you are vegetarian or not. I can’t say I’m a huge fan, especially as I find that they’re not do cooked the right way most of the time, but I was keen to try this recipe because it
a) actually looked very similar to meatballs in the picture and
b) I had just fresh mushrooms in the fridge and a can of black beans that were almost reaching their expiry.
So why not?
As I mentioned in my last post, I still have a couple of summer recipes up my sleeve which I’d love to share with you, and although the majority are salad recipes, summer food doesn’t only have to be salad!
One of my favourite ways to cool down in summer is with cold noodles, with Naengmyeon, or Korean cold noodles, being my go-to in summer. I always have mine served with plenty of ice, so it’s perfect for those 40+ degree days.
There are days when I really put effort into my food looking good, and then there are days where I really cannot be bothered and as long as food is edible, it gets thrown onto my dinner plate. Most days it’s the latter, which is why this blog isn’t as full of nice home cooked meals and recipes as it once was, but occasionally I do get moments of inspiration (especially if I’ve been on Pinterest for a little too long)!
For those who have followed this blog for a longer period of time, you’ll have noticed that the frequency at which I post, the types of recipes and posts I put up, style of writing etc has changed drastically from when I first started this blog. Whilst the blog started out being a place to document all my bakes and desserts, it has turned into a lot more of a collection of lunch dishes that I’ve been making as of late. In fact, as I’m quickly scrolling through the few posts I’ve written up this year, I have only posted one dessert recipe this whole year.
I’m still incredibly passionate about baking, and really enjoy whipping up a delicious dessert here and there, but of course the further I journey into adulthood, the less time I have for making these treats and saddingly, less calorie allowance for these too- these days, I’m finding that as much time is spent making these as it is trying to convince others to help finish them off!
As for cooking, it’s something I also enjoy and do much more regularly (hence the surplus of recipes on this blog) although it’s never quite as exciting as baking- a decorated cake is beautiful enough to photograph on a plain background but a plate of steamed veggies is not.
My cooking style isn’t too exciting either, in winter it’s often stews where I throw in whatever I feel like whereas in summer, it’s usually salads where I also throw in whatever I feel like. Which works half the time, and the other half….let’s just not talk about that!
But every once in a while, when I have a little time on my hands (i.e. the whole weekend) and I’m inspired to do something a little more creative than the usual, I do get up to some more exciting things in my kitchen. Such was the case with this beautiful spiral vegetable quiche, which I came across whilst browsing through recipes on Taste, and it was definitely something different to what I was originally looking for!
It’s actually much more simple than it may at first appear, and only requires a handful of ingredients, mostly veggies. I’m always looking for different ways to incorporate more veggies into my diet, to get my 5 serves (or more!) a day so this was perfect!
To get the nice spiral, you’ll need to thinly slice all of your veggies and cut them to a similar width. You’ll need either good knife skills or a nice sharp mandoline, or which I had neither, and once the veggies are all prepped, just roll, pour over the egg mixture and bake!The original recipe uses filo pastry as well, however I thought it would be slightly less fiddly without it (and it saved a trip to the supermarket) and it worked find with just the veggies.
It looks absolutely amazing when baked, although it did fall apart slightly when cut- next time I’d increase the amount of the egg batter used but I’m definitely not complaining. Now if only everything I cooked looked this good, I’d probably have much more to blog about! 🙂
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup shredded mozerella
- 3-4 large zucchinis
- 3-4 large carrots
- 2-3 large eggplants
- Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Combine the eggs, milk and cheeses in a jug. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 5cm-deep, 24.5cm round ovenproof dish.
- Slice the vegetables into thin slices lengthwise using a mandolin or vegetable peeler. Once the slicing is complete, check that they are roughly the same height and trim any edges to reduce the height as necessary.
- Roll a strip of zucchini into a tight spiral, followed by a strip of carrot and then eggplant. Continue alternating, forming a tight spiral. As the roll gets larger, you may find you need to use two strips of vegetable to complete the circle. Once the roll gets too large to handle easily on the bench, place in the centre of the filled crust. Continue arranging alternating layers of vegetables around the spiral until you reach the outer edge of the crust.
- Drizzle tart with olive oil and bake for 1 hour or until golden and set in the middle. Serve at room temperature.
This semester of uni has been unbelievably busy, which is why I haven’t really had a chance to blog about anything in the past month. Luckily, studying a food related degree meant that most recent assignment is completely related to blogging, giving me content for a couple of blog posts 🙂 It’s definitely my favourite assignment ever, with the task being to prepare a four course meal, with each meal presenting a different challenge, and then to photograph and write about the experience in a casual blog-like style. Couldn’t have been more perfect for me, could it?
Of the four challenges, we could assign each to a different course, so for the starter, I chose the challenge of cooking something from an unfamiliar cuisine. Although there’s plenty of cuisines I have never tried before, much less cooked, there was quite a lot to choose from, but I really wanted one which I hadn’t even heard of before so I went off to google, and decided on Georgian cuisine which was particularly interesting because it had such a strong character and was so unique.
A google search of ‘Georgian Cuisine’ comes up with three main results- dumplings (Khinkali), flat bread (Khachapuri) and an eggplant dish (Badrijani Nigvzit)- three of the more common and well-known Georgian dishes, all three quite different from one another, highlighting the diversity of the cuisine. The eggplant dish was the one which really caught my attention, with the combination of fried eggplant slices sandwiching a paste of walnut, garlic and herbs- all foods that we may commonly eat, but rarely together in one dish.
The dish itself is quite simple to prepare, fry or grill eggplant slices, whizz together the remaining ingredients in a blender, spread onto the eggplant, roll them up and you’re done. And because it’s served cold, you can make it ahead, which is perfect when you’re trying to juggle a couple of courses at once (although admittedly, I didn’t cook all four courses in one day).
What was surprising, given the name of the dish, was that the walnuts served much more of a thickening role rather than taste role, so most of the taste came from the eggplant and the garlic.I had put a little too much garlic in, which was off-putting for those who aren’t too much of a fan of garlic, but otherwise, we did generally quite enjoy the combination of garlic, walnuts and eggplant, with the sweetness of the eggplant balancing the spiciness of the raw garlic.
The versatility of the recipe leaves much room for improvisation and adaptation to each person’s taste- I’d definitely cut down on the garlic and increase the herbs for next time. My mum even suggested adding avocado for extra creaminess!
Eggplant with Walnuts: Badrijani Nigvzit Recipe
1 large or 3 small (~500g) eggplants
¼ cup salt (plus ¼ tsp for paste)
1 cup (115g) chopped walnuts 2 cloves garlic, peeled
6 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp of paprika
½ tsp white pepper
- Wash eggplants and cut lengthwise into ½ inch thin slices (approx. 12 slices). Sprinkle slices with salt and let stand at least 30 minutes, then rinse in a colander, pressing out juice. Pat dry.
- Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet and heat in preheated oven (180oC ) for 20 minutes, flipping it halfway. Leave to cool.
- Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor; purée until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Set sauce aside.
- Spread a generous layer of filling on one side of each eggplant strip. Roll it up and serve (approx. 2 rolls per serve)