Wholefood inspiration!

Aubergine with buttermilk sauce from Ottolenghi’s Plenty

In the last couple of weeks I have been cooking my way through two amazing vegetarian books! I am in no way a food critic, I just wanted to share these beautiful books with you and hope you find them as lovable as I did.

The first, Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson is such a wonderful book. 

I think I have literally cooked everything in it, except the sweet section which I will embark on soon… Notable favourites are Broccoli Gribiche, Little Quinoa Patties, Black Pepper Tempeh, Green Lentil Soup and Black Sesame Otsu.

The book is full of beautiful photography to illustrate each creation which the author has taken herself, and you can treat yourself  each week by following Heidi’s blog if you are not already!

I wish I had taken a photo of everything, but here is the farro soup and rye soda bread which were delicious! Everything recipe in her book (that I have tried) works first time, and is wholesome, sustaining and beautiful. What more could you ask for?!

Pumpkin before

The second book, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi is fabulous! The author runs four London based ‘take-away’ restaurants, making beautiful, unique dishes that are all made from fresh seasonal foods as close to their natural state as possible, and all made with love. The book has a mediterranean flavour, and is vegetarian with some suggestions of how you could include some meat if desired.

Pumpkin after

I made the Aubergine with buttermilk sauce as pictured above which is visually and taste bud-ly amazing! I also made these Crusted Pumpkin Wedges, little pac-man delights dressed in a mix of parmesan, fresh herbs, garlic and lemon. Yum! Others on my to do list are the Caramelised garlic tart, Stuffed portobello with melting taleggio and Halloween souffles – a pumpkin, nut and goat’s cheese creation!

This week I was also lucky enough to attend a cooking class with Jude Blereau at the Green Grocer in Melbourne. What a fabulous injection of inspiration and motivation it was!! Thanks Jude! We covered an amazing range of topics and foods, and I have some fabulous new recipes that I will share soon – including an excellent tempeh one! 

But for today, as the food matters project‘s recipe of the week was ‘Vegetables au Vin with Coq’, (original recipe here) I decided to use a bit of Jude inspiration to blend this with a version of her red wine braised lentils roast vegetables from her magnificent book Coming Home to Eat

You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil/coconut oil
1 tablespoon of butter or ghee
2 rosemary sprigs
4-5 small bay leaves
3-4 thyme sprigs
10-12 French shallots, peeled and left whole, or 2 onions peeled and quartered
5 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
250ml red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
150g blue-green lentils, rinsed and picked over for any stones
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tablespoon mirin
12 very small beetroot
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large/8 small parsnips
8 small carrots, washed and left whole
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius/400 degrees F. 

Lentils
Heat oil and butter in a large heavy based saucepan. Add rosemary sprigs, bay leaves, thyme, shallots, whole garlic and cook on med-high for about 10 minutes, just stirring every now and then.

While the shallots are caramelising, cut up the vegetables. Wash the beets, peel parsnips, trim the skinny tips and cut in half. Then cut the thick section into quarters, removing the woody core, and cut the thinner section in half or leave whole depending on the size of your parsnips.

Add the wine, tomato paste, lentils, stock, sea salt and a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper to the shallot mix and simmer for one hour. 

Get the root veg on to roast – beets in a baking dish with a drizzle of oil and about 125ml water, cover with foil and roast for 45min to one hour. Pop the parsnips and carrots on a baking tray and drizzle with oil, sea salt and black pepper, mix through and roast for 30-45 minutes. 

Stir the lentil deliciousness every now and then until the liquid becomes more of a sauce and the lentils are nice and tender. Add the mirin to taste.

Once the beetroot is cooked, let it cool a little and peel off the skins. 

Arrange the veg on a plate, top with the lentils and garnish with parsley and/or some wilted beetroot leaves and ENJOY!!

This was SO delicious! It has been a little wintery in Melbourne the last few days, so it was a perfect warming and nourishing and yummy meal. Check out the other food matters project members take on the dish too!