Good evening guys, hope you had a good weekend. We just caught up with friends and finally celebrated our engagement with my parents. So didn’t do a lot of cooking. I have been feeling really tired lately. It’s not as hot as it was, but still a bit sticky. I have been finding myself craving meat, chicken mostly. Its strange because I really don’t want to eat it and it’s been the only thing I think I haven’t even tasted since I stopped eating it all together. I am still eating a bit of fish, but I know my body is craving whole grains and fresh greens. So I have been trying the past couple of days to get back on track.
I have also been trying to get back into exercising. Six months ago I was walking every where all day and all night. Now I have been barely walking, except for the occasional dog walk. It’s started to cool down as I said so there is no more excuses for not going for more walks and started back up with pilates. I went for a couple of walks today and it was really nice to get out by myself. The sun stays out till 6.30 and there are lots of people about walking. I won’t take the dogs by myself again, after what happened a couple of days ago. My dogs went crazy at a woman who walked too close to us, then they saw a cat, then a man walking a baby, then two people walking two boxes, then another couple walking a dog. They were out of control. I still have sore arms and blisters on my hands from them trying to pull away from me and attack all these ‘threats’. It was very embarrassing and scary situation. They were scared and they knew I didn’t have full control of them. But it is not their fault, so more walks are needed for them to get more social and for me to get back in shape.
Tonight I wanted to make something with a little bit of barley I had in the cupboard. I didn’t have enough so I also used brown rice to make a risotto. I adapted this recipe, Red Wine Barley Risotto with Silverbeet & Mushrooms, from Madison. I was a bit scared using merlot in the cooking, so I used a bit less then I could have, but it turned out lovely with a mild hint of the wine and gave the grains a beautiful color. Although not a traditional risotto, the vegan butter really brought a creaminess to it at the end.
Since I couldn’t use parmigiano, I looked for a vegan alternative. I found this lovely recipe for a Vegan Parmesan Cheese from Veggieful. It is made from cashew nuts and nutritional yeast and it tastes amazing. I actually never liked parmesan. Even my Nona knows not to put parmesan on my pasta from when I was a little girl. I always thought it smelt like throw up. But this parmesan is delicious! It is soft, with a creaminess to it and a bit of a cheesy salty taste. I really recommend it, even if you don’t like parmesan either.
Lastly, I put in a simple recipe from the night before. We weren’t going to have dinner, since we had such a late lunch. We made turkish burgers with Fry’s Traditional Burger patties (can’t get enough of these). But after a long walk with the dogs we got really peckish late that night. So this is what we came up with.
Red Wine Barley & Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms & Spinach (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)
4.5 cups (1 Litre) vegan chicken or vegetable liquid stock
1.5 cup filtered water
1.25 cup merlot
1 cup pearl barley (use another cup of brown rice instead to make gluten free)
1 cup brown rice
4 tablespoons olive oil
20g dried skiitake mushrooms, soaked & sliced if not already
5 white mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 red onion, diced
200-300 g baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, diced
50g vegan butter
sea salt & pepper to taste
vegan parmesan to serve (optional, recipe below)
2. Once pot comes to a boil, add the barley and rice and let that come to a boil. Then let it continue to boil uncovered for 30 mins. Most of the liquid should be absorbed during this time. Remove any excess material from the top of the liquid as it cooks. Once it is finished take off the heat and put the lid on it and leave it for at least 5 mins before adding the rest of the ingredients.
4. Add the baby spinach and parsley to the mushrooms and cook for 2 mins or until spinach has wilted.
5. Then add the barley, rice and any extra liquid from the pot to the large pan and stir through.
6. Add the vegan butter and season with sea salt & pepper. Heat through on a medium heat for 1-2 mins
* Serve with vegan parmesan
* Serves 5-6
Vegan Parmesan (from Veggieful) (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1. Whiz in the processor or grinder until it becomes a powder.
* Makes about 1 cup
* Store in the fridge in air tight container. Should last a few weeks.
Turkish Bread Pizzas (vegan, nut free)
1/2 whole turkish bread
marinated buffalo-style tofu mozzarella (or store-bought vegan mozzarella)
baby spinach, chopped
fresh basil or parsley
sea salt to taste
2. Slice the turkish bread in half, lengthwise.
3. Combine the tomato, garlic and olive oil in a small bowl. Then spread onto the turkish bread base. Then add roasted capsicum, tofu/vegan cheese, baby spinach, herbs and sea salt.
4. Grill in the oven for 5 mins or until the bread is toasted
* Serves 2