Marjoram & Coriander Spiced Rice with Lentil and Cumin & Coriander Fried Tofu

We were nearly not going to have dinner tonight, since we had the worlds biggest and most delicious vegan burger from World Vegan Day Fair at Green Edge. If you live or plan on visiting Brisbane, you have to check out this place. They also sell the most amazing brownies, cheese/chocolate cakes, which are all vegan and gluten free. I first discovered this place when I was looking for casin free cheese and gluten free products, because of my milk and gluten intolerance. I have been a regular every since. Today the store was so busy, so unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to buy anything from the fridge section, so I’ll be back next week for lunch and vegan cheese.

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a fellow blogger, Avocado and Ales. Her recipe for Salt & Pepper Tofu looked so good, so I had to try it. I just added cumin, chili and coriander to the tofu, before dipping it in cornflour. I paired it with a lentils and rice. I had a bunch of  fresh coriander and frozen marjoram. I’ve never used marjoram before. By the smell of it I thought it would go with well with coriander. I actually bought fresh poultry herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon  marjoram) on sale last week and froze it them. Since I don’t have my herb garden up and running yet, freezing fresh herbs means I have them when I need them. Aldi also has a new range of frozen herbs, which are really great and once you add them to the food you wouldn’t know they were frozen. I prefer fresh or frozen herbs better to dry herbs, which can be really bitter. Anyway I hope you like this recipe as much as my boyfriend and mum did. It’s easy and very quick to make.

Marjoram & Coriander Spiced Rice with Lentil (gf, sf, nf)

Ingredients- 3 cups of cooked basmati rice, 2 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion chopped, 2 large garlic cloves diced, 1 carrot chopped,1 red capsicum chopped, 1 zucchini chopped, 100 g mushrooms chopped, 2 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp chili powder, 4 sprigs of majoram, 2 tbsp coriander stems diced, 1 handful coriander leaves chopped, 1 can brown lentils, juice of 1/4 lemon (more to taste), herbamare/sea salt to taste

1. Put rice to cook in the rice cooker.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add red onion, garlic, carrot, capsicum, cumin, chili, cinnamon. Cook on medium heat for 5 mins or until onion is soft.

3. Add zucchini, mushrooms, coriander stems and marjoram Cook for a further 4 mins or until zucchini is soft.

4. Add coriander leaves, rice, lentils, lemon juice and salt. Cook for another few minutes and adjust seasoning before serving.

* Serves 5-6

Cumin & Coriander Fried Tofu (gf, nf)

Ingredients- Canola Oil, 190 g organic firm tofu (1/2 375 pack), 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tbsp coriander leaves diced, 1/2 cup corn flour,  sea salt to taste

1. Drain and press water out of the  tofu, then cut it into small cubes.

2. In a bowl add 2 tbsp canola oil, cumin, chili, coriander and sea salt. Then stir through tofu. Make sure all sides of tofu are covered in herb oil.

3. Cover the tofu in corn flour on each side.

4. Heat canola oil in a fry pan then fry the tofu till it is crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.

*Serves 4

Butternut Pumpkin Gnocchi, Cinnamon and Cumin Spiced Pumpkin seeds and Banana Gelato

I love gnocchi. In fact ‘gnocchi’ was my first word, when I was a baby. I don’t eat it as much anymore since the store-bought gnocchi has heaps of nasty preservatives and usually gnocchi from restaurant are not dairy free. So tonight I decided to make my own. I’m running out of food at the moment, but luckily I had some butternut pumpkin left in the fridge.  So I thought I would try using them to make gnocchi. I decided to roast the pumpkin with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg and bind the dough with a bit of vegan butter and flour. The mixture was very sticky, so I added a truck load of more flour. To form the balls I had to roll them on the board with  flour, so that the mixture wouldn’t stick to my hands. Other then being a bit sticky they were really easy to make. I just served them with a simply olive oil, herb and mushroom sauce, so that the pumpkin would be the star of the dish.

Tonight I also made some Cinnamon and Cumin Spiced Pumpkin seeds. The last two batches I have made got severely burned. Luckily tonight I didn’t forget them in the oven and they were a success. I only found out last year that I can cook pumpkin seeds. I use to always throw them out. They are so delicious and healthy and a great snack when you are waiting for dinner.

Lastly, I made my first vegan gelato. I read a while back about making gelato with frozen bananas, but I never got around to it. Luckily last week mum had a whole heap of bananas, which were going brown and I remembered to put them away in the freezer. I was a bit skeptical that frozen bananas could be turned into gelato. However, I was pleasantly surprise. I can’t believe how much it tasted like real gelato. After living in Italy for 5 months and eating gelato  just about every day, I certainly know what it taste like. This recipe gives the same texture of gelato, which is like a custard that is cold but not quite frozen. So if you haven’t tried this I really recommend it. Now all I can think about is all the new flavours I’m going to try to recreate.

Butternut Pumpkin Gnocchi  (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

800 g butternut pumpkin

olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons vegan butter

2 cup unbleached plain flour (use gluten free flour if you prefer)

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup dry shitake mushrooms (pre-soaked for 15 mintues)

handful of herbs (I used sage, tarragon and thyme)

sea salt to taste

Method:

Chopped pumpkin, before roasting

1. Preheat the oven 200 degrees.

2. Chop butternut pumpkin into thin slices and place on a tray with baking paper.

3. Add olive oil and sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt. Cover the baking tray with aluminium foil and cook in the oven for 30 mins or until pumpkin is soft.

Roasted pumkin

4. Wait until pumpkin stops steaming (I put mine in the fridge for 10 mins) then put into the processor with 1 cup of flour and vegan butter. Blend until all the ingredients are combined into a dough.

Dough

5. On a floury board, add more flour to dough so that it is not too sticky. Then form small balls and place on baking paper. Press a fork on the top of the balls so that they form an oval.

Uncooked gnocchi

6. In boiling salted water cook gnocchi for 3 mins or until they are floating on the top of the water. Then strain and put to the side (rinse with cold water to stop them cooking).

7. In a large pan heat olive oil and add garlic, mushrooms and herbs. Cook until garlic is browned and herbs are crispy.

Cooked gnocchi

8. Add the gnocchi to the pan, add salt and cook till heated through, then serve.

* Serves 4-5. If you have extra gnocchi, don’t cook it. Just put it in a tray and place in the freezer for 10-15 mins. Then put gnocchi into a freezer bag.

Cinnamon & Cumin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

pumpkin seeds

olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Rinse and clean pumpkin seeds.

2. Take a tray with baking paper. Add pumpkin seeds, olive oil, cinnamon, cumin and sea salt.

3. Cook in oven at 200 degrees for 4-5mins or until golden brown. (Careful not to burn!)

Banana Gelato (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

3 frozen bananas

1 can coconut cream

3 tablespoons maple syrup

Method:

1. Roughly chop up the banana and place into the processor

2. Spoon out the cream from the coconut cream (discard the water) and place into the processor.

3. Turn on processor and while it is mixing add the maple syrup.

4. Serve once all the banana has been blended and eat immediately!

*Serves 4