I went to hispanic festival at Johnston street a few weeks ago, and sampled this corn pancake for the first time. I took a photo of them with my phone, but for some reason, it didn’t saved, so I couldn’t blog about it, as photo says a thousand words. They seemed to be fairly simple to make, so I googled the recipe. The pupusa itself  only has a short list of ingredients, masa harina (cornmeal), warm water and fillings. I bought the cornmeal dough at Casa Iberica (25 Johnston street fitzroy) for $5, I got 1 kg of cornmeal flour. (I need to figure out what to do with the res of them!).I stuffed the pupusas with refried beans (old el paso refried beans), and some  grated mozzarela cheese. I served them with simple salsa-ish salad (tomato, cucumber, and capsicum) and guacamole (mashed up 1/2 avocado with 2 tbsp light sour cream, and lemon juice). The pupusas were chewy, tasted kinda like tortila, very filling, and when I fried them, my house suddenly smelled like trippy taco. 🙂  Contrary to my blog title, the dish doesn’t taste better the next day, they best served immediately, when the cheese still melting and oozing from the pupusas.

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (I used more than this amount-add water slowly, and adjust accordingly)
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 cup grated mozzarela cheese
  1. In a large bowl, mix  masa harina and water, knead well. Knead  to make a moist, yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) Cover and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. (I skipped this)
  2. Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Make a small bowl  shape from the balls, and put about 1 tablespoon of refried beans and cheese, and fold the dough over. Press the ball out with your palms to form a disc, taking care that that the filling doesn’t spill out.
  3. Coat a skillet with 1 tsp oil, heat on medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and blistered, or until the cheese melted.

I’m currently in love with these bombs, they go with everything! spaghetti, noodles, rice, couscous..you name it! All I need to do is make a little adjustments, If I want to eat them with pasta, I just use Italian herbs such as basil, or oregano. In this post, I have them with stir fried flat rice noodle and vegies, so I added chopped up coriander and rolled them in flour and sesame seeds before shallow frying them. We ended up eating the rest of the balls with sweet chilli sauce as a ‘dessert’.  Next time, I’m thinking to add some nori flakes, and have them with soba or udon noodles. 😉

 

I’ve been busy with exam this week, however, I still manage to bake these muffins. Yup, it’s called procrastibaking, I came across this word on a food blog, I couldn’t exactly remember  where, though. These muffins recipe was modified from And then I do the dishes, with a small modifications. The recipe calls for rinds from 2 lemons, this apparently enough to give a lemony taste and a lovely yellow colour. I glazed the top of the muffins with a thin icing sugar + lemon juice.

Ingredients :

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 egg
1/2 cup  sugar
zest from about two lemons
1/4 cup melted butter (I used less, because I was running out of butter, and add some veg oil to make 1/4 cup)
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese + 1 tbsp lemon juice, mix
1 tsp vanilla paste

  • mix dry ingredients in  a large bowl, except the sugar
  • rub sugar and lemon zest until the sugar moist and lemony, add wet ingredients
  • mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients
  • divide evenly into 12 greased muffins tin.
  • bake for 25 – 30 min in 160 – 180 C in the middle rack of the oven.

 

poached eggs on toast w/ mushroom ($6.90 + $2 or 3, I’m not sure)

Baked beans and feta ($9)

It was raining all day on Sunday, it was actually a nice change from very hot last few days. I was meant to go to Vic market, but with all the raining, I decided to go on Tuesday instead. However, lunch time came by, but we didn’t have anything to eat, or to cook. So we headed down to Small Block around 1 pm, I thought it wouldn’t be as packed due to the rainy day. But I was wrong, it was busy when we got there, but luckily we didn’t have to wait to get a table. The service can be quite slow on busy weekends, but it was worth the wait, it’s Sunday anyway, whats the rush? We didn’t wait too long for our soy lattes to arrive, they were good, not too strong (I’m not good at describing coffee, it’s either good, bad, strong, or weak). About 20 minutes later, our food arrived, I had poached eggs on toast with mushrooms on the side. The eggs were poached perfectly with oozing orange yolks, the mushrooms were generous serving of swiss browns. My hubby had baked beans with feta, served with toasted Turkish bread. The beans were rich and sweet, paired perfectly with the salty marinated feta. We share our meal, I gave him one of my egg, and 1 piece of mushroom, and I got to taste the beans and feta. It was really filling meal, and we left as soon as we finish our meal, due to the number of people waiting for a table. I’ve yet to try the french toast and ricotta hotcakes, but the hot cakes looks yummy on this post.

Small Block :   130 Lygon Street, Brunswick East  (9381 2244)

My husband has a tomato paste sensitivity, every time he eats something with tomato paste in it, he would have a sore and burning feeling on his tongue. Strangely, he’s not reacting to fresh tomato, tomato sauce, or sundried tomato.  Therefore, I tried to find a good lasagna recipe that has no tomato paste in the recipe. This tomato-less lasagna recipe is taken from vegie food cookbook, with a little changes. The original recipe was actually a free-form lasagna, meaning that you assemble the lasagna individually, I decided to bake it in the a baking dish, and I also add grated mozzarella cheese on top. Next time, I will mashed the pumpkin, and place it on the upper layer, cause what happened was, when I tried to slice and transfer a piece, it just disintegrate, which is not pretty, but still yummy though. I will not skimp on the mozzarella cheese either to glue the layers properly. I had the lasagna with some baked kipfler potato wedges, and broad beans salad with some ricotta, olive oil, and lemon juice dressing (oh my God,  peeling the broad beans shell was such a ‘fun’ chore!). The lasagna was alright, I will definitely perfecting it in the future. I’m still in search of a perfect vegie lasagna recipe, if anyone has one, please share.. ;). By the way, this is the recipe..

ingredients :

  • 4 fresh lasagna sheets
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach
  • 350 g pumpkin, diced
  • 500 g / 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

place pumpkin in baking dish, drizzle with olive oli and bake for 20 min in the oven or until tender

defrost the spinach in the microwave, and squeeze excess water

mix in ricotta and parmesan cheese to the spinach, season with salt and pepper

boil about 4 cups of water in a big pot

oil a baking dish

cook 1 lasagna sheets in boiling water for a few seconds until tender (don’t overcook, or the lasagna will rip, and that’s really annoying..!)

place in baking dish, spread with spinach mixture, sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese

cook another sheet of lasagna, and put no top of spinach

arrange the baked pumpkin on top of it, and add some more grated mozzarella

repeat with another sheet of lasagna, and top with the spinach mix, mozzarella, and the last sheet.

sprinkle with the remaining of grated cheese, or add some more mozzarella cheese to cover all surface.

bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and browning a little bit.

These soy bombs were awesomely delicious..! they were not bland at all, (which I thought thy would be), they surprisingly hold their shapes together while cooking, it is worth the effort. I’ve got the recipe from Cindy – where’s the beef? , and she got it from post punk kitchen, which they got it from..somewhere else.., well anyway, considering the long thread of comments, I decided to try this bombs. I actually made them twice this week.  My first attempt, some of them didn’t hold together, I think it was because I didn’t chop the onion properly.  We had them with spaghetti and tomato sauce. I changed the recipe a little bit, instead of peanut butter, I used free nut butter (sunflower seeds butter), I used 2 tbsp of soy sauce, and I leave out the basil leaves, just because I didn’t have any.

Two days later, I made the second batch. This time, I chopped the onion super finely, crumbled , and mix the tofu by hands, so the free nut butter mixed evenly. I served them with couscous, and grilled capsicum. I personally like them better with the couscous. Here’s the recipe for the smoked paprika couscous :

ingredients :

  • 1  1/2  cups couscous
  • 1  3/4 cup vegetable stock / water
  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped, very small
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 red capsicum, halved
  • 1 green capsicum, halved

spices : (mix in small bowl)

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste

preheat the oven griller, lined a baking tray with tin foil, put the capsicum, cut side down, and grill until they charred, placed in glass bowl, cover, and let cool.

meanwhile stir fry the onion, cauliflower, and carrots until the cauliflower bits caramelized, add the spices, stir until all the vegies well coated, and fragrant.

add couscous, mix with the vegies, and add the stock / water (be careful, the couscous might splatter), cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 3 minutes.

remove the skin from the capsicum under running water, and sliced the capsicum lengthways.

fluff the couscous, stir in the grilled capsicum, transfer to plate or bowl, serve with soy bombs.

 

 

banana and mixed berries smoothie(please ignore the mess and the overloaded book shelf behind them..)

I recently bought a tub of 500 g protein powder from the clinic, just to experiment with myself, and just to know how it tastes. Just in case, if i prescribed to my patients in the future, and they asked how does it tastes like, I can give them a real answer. Anyway, as soon as I got it, I mixed it with cold water, gave it a strong stir, they just DIDN’T mix evenly. I still found some lumps after stirring for a few minutes. So I thought, oh.., how bad could it be? and took a sip. mmmm….yuuu..ck..!!!! this is NOT the taste of “smooth vanilla” (as the label says), it was really thick, lumpy, and milky rich (not in a good way for me, cause I hate the taste of cow’s milk). So then I added some ice cubes, just to make it icy cold, and thus, numb my tastebuds.

The next day, I bought some bananas, frozen berries, and soy milk to turn the yuck powder into yum powder. I peeled and froze the bananas as well. Guess what, IT WAS AWESOME..!! yaay.. 🙂 the banana takes over the flavour,  and the berries give the smoothie it’s freshness.

ingredients : (2 tall glass)

  • 4 tbsp protein powder (I used whey, but soy, rice, or pea protein powder with neutral flavour will work as well, or, 1/2 block of silken tofu will give a boost of protein)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 handfull frozen mixed berries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3-4 small – ish  ice cubes

put all the ingredients in a blender, and blitz until smooth.

transfer into 2 tall glass.

 

vegie bar1Last week we celebrate our 9 years anniversary (we’ve only married for 2 yrs, but we’ve been together for 9 years), that means, a good reason to eat out! 🙂 we decided to eat at good old Vegie bar, because this place is never disappointed us. they serve reasonable price foods, with generous amounts of food, and yummy desserts. I had the special meal from the board, funghi pizza, the mushroom marinated in red wine, topped with feta cheese. My hubby had seitan burger with chips. The seitan was good, but a little too thin, the burger was slathered with the yummiest satay sauce, and a mountain of vegie.

vegie bar

and for dessert we had flourless chocolate cake with 2 large scoop of vanilla ice cream..! (yummmm…) the chocolate cake was really rich, after I ate it, I felt like I couldn’t eat any more chocolate for a month! (by a month, I actually mean 1 day). If you ever watch the movie called ‘Matilda’, there’s a scene where a student forced to eat a chocolate cake by his evil school principal, I imagine the cake would taste like vegie bar’s.

vegie bar 2

snake beans

very easy. very-very quick. The type of dish when you feel I-can’t-be-bothered-to cook-but -I don’t-want-to eat-crap-either-and-I’m-too-broke-to-eat-out. we ended up waiting for the rice to cook after I finished cooking it. Snake beans tastes pretty much like green beans, but less sweet, and without annoying strings that stuck in between your teeth after dinner. The Asian basil gives the whole dish a lift in flavour, so I recommend you to not skip it. I imagine a squeeze of lime juice would be great, but I didn’t have any at that time.

ingredients :

  • 1 bunch of snake beans, trim ends, cut 4 cm lengths
  • 1 bunch of asian basil, chopped
  • 200 g firm tofu or half a block, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek (you can add more or less, depends on your love-ness to spicy food)
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

heat 1 tsp veg oil in the frying pan, fry the tofu for a few minutes, transfer into a plate

heat another tsp of vegetable oil, add sambal oelek, and garlic, stir fry until fragrant

add snake beans, if too dry, add 1 tbsp of water, add the fried tofu to the frying pan, cook until the beans turned bright green but still crunchy (around 2 – 3 min)

drizzle with vegetarian oyster sauce, and sesame oil, add the asian basil leaves, cook for another 30 seconds

serve with rice

spanakopitaI called this my version of spanakopita, because it has broccoli in it (yes, I sneak broccoli in a lot of my cooking). I’m using frozen spinach because it cuts cooking time massively. I’ve tried  with fresh spinach in the past, I personally found it’s  too time consuming, and the result was a bit gritty, maybe i didn’t wash the spinach leaves properly. However, you can always replace it with fresh spinach if you prefer.

ingredients :

  • 1 package of filo pastry
  • 1 package frozen spinach thawed or microwaved 1.5 min, squeeze excess water (important!)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small – medium head of broccoli (chopped very finely)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (or 1 small tub)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter / oil spray
  • salt & pepper to taste

saute onion until just cooked, add garlic broccoli and spinach, cook until the spinach dries up a little bit, transfer to a bowl

mix ricotta cheese into the spinach, add feta cheese, salt and pepper,  you don’t have to add lots of salt, feta cheese it’s quite salty as it is

melt butter in a microwave (~seconds), add 1 tbsp olive oil

brush pastry with butter, or spray with oil, top with another pastry, repeat until you have 3 – 4 (or more) layers

do another  3 – 4of filo – butter layers

oh yeah, don’t forget to cover the rest of the pastry AND the buttered pastry with tea towel, otherwise they will dry up, and believe me..you don’t want to have flakes of filo pastry storm in your kitchen

transfer 1 set of  filo layers to baking dish, if its overhang, that’s fine, spoon the filling in, and top with anther set of layers

tuck the hanging pastry, you dont have to do it neatly, just make sure you cover all the edges

brush the top with butter / spray with oil

bake in the oven 180 C for 20 min until the pastry turns golden (it varies, depends on the oven, just make sure you check it every 10 min or so)

let it cool for 10 – 15 min (if you can)

serve with mountain of salad