Today I decided to launch my Cookbook Project, so that I can start to cook the recipes from the many cookbooks that I have bought and collected. I have a bad habit of collecting cookbooks and then never cooking anything from them. Although I look at them often I just don’t get around to making anything from them. To start this project I have decide to begin with Energise Your Life: Release Your Natural Energy, by Nic Rowley, Kirsten Hartvig and Emma Mitchell.
This was actually my first plant based recipe book that I purchased about 6 years ago at a book sale. I didn’t realize until recently that all the recipes in this book are vegan. When I first got this book I tried two recipes. The first was the Hot Cinnamon drink. I really liked this drink and use to make it before bed. It was actually the first time I tried rice milk. I never consider back then why anyone would drink an alternative dairy milk. I quite liked it, but when I first made it for Marco he hated it. Funny thing is now rice milk is one of his favorite dairy free milks. The second recipe I tried was Sweet potato with hiziki. This recipe was a disaster. For a start I was missing most of the ingredients and also I tried to use nori instead of hiziki. The nori didn’t crisp up and just stuck to the sweet potato. I remember my family laughing at this strange thing that I had made that really didn’t taste good. I didn’t bother trying the other recipes, there were too many ingredients I had never heard of. So it stayed on my shelve until I rediscovered it recently.
The first recipe I have tried tonight is the Spinach Parcels with Onion Sauce. According to the cookbook this recipe benefits the Nervous system and is Anti stress. It contains the nutrients of Vitamin C, Niacin, Folate Et Pantothenate and Calcium. and is given 4/5 for Energy.
The recipe called for strudel dough sheets. I am really not sure what type of pastry this is, but I did have some special Eastern European pastry sheets from Pitstop Pastries & Pizza. Marco’s sister gave me some a couple of days ago. This dough is great for making their traditional pita pastries . Marco’s mother often uses this dough with feta and spinach or apples and makes these scrolls shape savory and sweet pastries. If you live in Brisbane and you want pastry sheets that are vegan and preservative free I recommend dropping by Pitstop Pastries & Pizza in West End to pick some up. It actually worked quite well with this recipe, as the sheets are thin, but not thin enough that the ingredients can seep out or escape. It also crisps up nicely in the oven.
For the filling I used the leaves from a large bunch of silverbeet. I think the recipe actually called for English or Baby Spinach, but when you need 450 g worth of leaves, its gets expensive when the spinach only comes in 100 g a packets. I also used bean curd (tofu), scallions, garlic, soy sauce, ground coriander and ground cumin for the filling. Although the tofu doesn’t resemble a feta cheese it does work really well in the pastry. The taste of the filling was really nice and the soy sauce gave it a salty flavor. The book wasn’t clear on how to wrap the ingredients in the pastry, so I just made it into a scroll.
The onion sauce was not necessary for the spinach parcels, but it was a nice touch. This was just as simple sauce of diced onion, soy sauce, flour, vegetable stock, and soy milk. We also enjoyed this sauce with the side vegetables, which were roasted potato and baby kale, and steamed peas and broccolini.
So, the first recipe in this challenge went down well with the family. Everyone loved the Spinach parcels and the Onion sauce. There was no comments from Marco, who has been brought up on this kinds of pastries, that they needed cheese or something else. So that was a good sign. I ended up making 8 parcels all together, so we now all have lunch for tomorrow now. I definitely would make these parcels again and I am looking forward to cooking my way through the rest of this book!