Roast Cauliflower with Pea Mash and Cinnamon Pumpkin

Glamourising vegetarian food…one dish at a time… 

One of my pet hates when dining out is – poorly constructed, extremely repetitive, flavourless and lack lustre vegetarian meals. Once in a while I have no problem with the commonly available vegetarian meals in most restaurants such as pumpkin gnocchi or a vegetarian pizza (that seems to have every vegetable in the world on it). However each time my husband and I go out his meals are so fancy with different textures, colours, flavours and mine the same old boring pumpkin gnocchi.

I want to ask professional chefs out there – what have we vegetarians done to you? why can’t pumpkin gnocchi be as glamourous as confit duck. I mean if you can make something dead look that good on a plate, shouldn’t it be easier with a vegetable that doesn’t bleed? Ok! I should stop being such a meanie, but the whole point is – vegetarian food can be made equally glamorous if not more. Today’s recipe is just that – GLAMOUROUS!

In this recipe I have used vegetables that are available all year round, cooked them with some techniques and spices that orchestrate a symphony of flavours with each bite.  This dish is truly a vegetarian’s delight.

Ingredients:  16  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

  • One medium cauliflower
  • Two cups of peas (I used frozen)
  • One cup of pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • Four tablespoons of light Greek yogurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Eight to ten fresh mint leaves
  • Two to three pods of garlic, smashed
  • 1.5 teaspoons of smoked paprika powder
  • Two teaspoons of ground cumin powder
  • One teaspoon of ground cinnamon powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Six tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Salt to season
  • Fresh watercress to garnish (optional)

Begin by thoroughly washing the cauliflower and break it into large-sized florets. Steam the florets for five to seven minutes until slightly tender.

Prepare a marinade using four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, one and a half teaspoons of cumin powder,smoked paprika powder and smashed garlic. Marinate the cauliflower florets for 15 minutes prior to roasting, ensure each floret is thoroughly coated with the marinade (add more oil/powdered spices if necessary).

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and roast the marinated cauliflower for 20 minutes.

For the pea mash –  steam the peas for five to seven minutes. In a bowl add the steamed peas, fresh mint leaves, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive, juice of half a lemon and salt as per taste. Using a stick blender blend all the ingredients until smooth.

For the cinnamon pumpkin – melt one tablespoon of butter in a pan, once melted add the cinnamon powder and a pinch of brown sugar. Add the pumpkin cubes once you smell the cinnamon aroma. Season with salt as required and cook the pumpkin until tender.

The final component is the chilli oil yogurt – add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, half a teaspoon of chilli powder and cumin powder and juice of half a lemon. Mix all the ingredients well and add this dressing to the yogurt. Before serving air the yogurt by mixing it rapidly in a circular motion for one minute. My vegan readers feel free to omit this step.

To assemble – spoon the mash peas on the plate, place the roasted cauliflower on top of the pea mash, add the cinnamon pumpkin pieces around the pea mash and finally add a dollop or two of the chilli oil yogurt. If you love your greens like I do, garnish with fresh watercress leaves.

Get ready to scintillate your next dinner party with this quick, easy, lip smackingly delicious, glamorous meal.

Reshmi Dal (Creamy Lentil Curry)

It’s smooth like silk…

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Growing up in an Indian household, it will suffice to say I have had a very spoilt upbringing. Not spoilt by material things, but by unconditional love, limitless care and utterly delicious food. While at home I never spared a thought on ‘whats for dinner?’ because there one of my favourite dishes was always simmering away on the stove. Moving away from home has not only got me thinking about whats for dinner, but also cooking it! Cooking and eating Indian food is second nature to me, therefore most weeknights it is my preferred cuisine.

I do have some tried and tested recipes, but my inherent curiosity  always leads me to try new recipes and flavour combinations. There are two things I look for in a recipe – loads of flavour and ease of cooking. After all the last thing one wants to do following a long day at work is slave in the kitchen. Today’s recipe definitely has my two pre-requisites covered, but there is another added bonus – this dish is low in calories and high in nutrition.

I have called this recipe Reshmi Dal because it truly is smooth like silk and Reshm does actually mean silk in Hindi. I use canned brown lentils for this recipe, so you don’t need a pressure cooker – the dal can be made with great ease in a saucepan. This recipe in particular is an ode to all my Australian friends who love Indian food – give this recipe a go, I promise you will keep coming back for more.

Ingredients:  9    Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 400 gms of canned brown lentils (I use the Annalisa brand)
  • One brown onion, finely chopped
  • Two inch piece of ginger, smashed
  • One cup of coriander, finely chopped (leaves and stems)
  • Three to four green chillies, halved
  • Two teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 1.5 tablespoons of ghee
  • Salt to season
  • One tablespoon of light Greek natural yogurt to garnish

Heat ghee in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle. Then add the finely chopped onions and cook until translucent.

Now add the smashed ginger, coriander stems and green chillies. Cook the onion mixture on low heat for four to five minutes.

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Rinse the lentils thoroughly, add them to the onion mixture and give the ingredients a good stir. Now add about three cups of water, salt to season, cover the saucepan and let the dal simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

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Check the dal, as it cooks and the protein breakdowns the dal will transform into a creamy consistency. At this stage add half a cup of water, fresh coriander (spare some leaves for the garnish later), cover the saucepan and let the lentils simmer for another five to seven minutes.

Your dal is now ready to serve. Garnish with a dollop of natural Greek yogurt and coriader leaves, serve with steamed rice and simply dig in.

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Lemon Caper Spaghetti with Carrot Ribbons

Back with a bang and some lip smackingly delicious pasta…

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After a two month-long hiatus, LSD is back! Did you miss your daily dose of lip smackingly delicious food? Apologies to have kept you hanging. I was holidaying in India with my wonderful family, I was forbidden to enter the kitchen and was thoroughly spoilt with an assortment of my favourite dishes everyday. Knowing this, I am sure you can excuse my absence.

Now that I am back in Melbourne, where the weather is cold, dark and grey most days – I can’t help but rekindle my love affair with food, trying and testing recipes and bring them to you. In return I ask that you share your comments and feedback with me, because let’s be honest feedback is the motivation needed to keep LSD going.

Moving on today is monday and I am sure you’ve had enough of it already. To make your dinner woes easier today’s recipe is a quick, easy, flavour packed family meal that will keep you coming back for more. Perfect for summer or winter nights, this pasta recipe is tantalising for sure!

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Ingredients: 12      Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 500 gms of spaghetti
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • Six to seven pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • Two red chillies, chopped
  • Handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 teaspoons capers
  • Three carrots, peeled
  • Handful of toasted and chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
  • Five – six tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • One cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and cracked pepper to season

To start let me tell you how to make carrot ribbons. Trim the ends of a peeled carrot, use a vegetable peeler to carefully slice the vegetable lengthways into long, thin ribbons. Once your carrot ribbons are ready, drizzle them with one tablespoon of lemon juice to ensure they don’t change colour.

In a saucepan bring water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook it as per packet instructions. Make sure the pasta is al-dente (i.e. has a bit of a crunch).

To make the sauce – in another pan heat three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on a medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until translucent. Now add chopped garlic and chillies and cook until you can smell the delicious garlic aromas.

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Now add the chopped parsley, capers and lemon juice. Cook this mixture for about 2 – 3 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti and toss it so it is coated with all that delicious flavour.

Season with salt, add the remaining extra virgin olive oil and finally add the carrot ribbons. Toss the spaghetti one more time before serving.

To serve garnish the dish with cracked pepper, grated parmesan cheese and toasted macadamia nuts for that little extra crunch.

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