Tag Archives: vegetarian

Perfectly Perfect Mushrooms

It took me 45 years to enjoy the taste of mushrooms. I remember clearly going out on an Autumn morning with Mum toting a bucket, out to the back paddocks of the farm searching for field mushrooms. She used to cook them in a roux and have the grey-brown creamy concoction on toast for her breakfast. I couldn’t stand the smell. So bad.  I remember sitting outside waiting for it to dissipate.

After many years attempting I’ve succeeded in falling in love with the taste of mushrooms. Cooking them quite differently to Mum and using plenty of garlic and seasoning is the key. The thing with garlic is that if you add it too soon and cook it too hot for too long it burns and tastes acrid – so  knowing when to add it is vital.


2 cups mushrooms sliced chunky. Field, button or brown mushrooms will do – the thick sturdy kind, not the papery feathery kind.

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil / avocado oil.

1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced thinly.

Salt and pepper

*Optional Squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic reduction


Place a heavy based frypan on a medium heat. Add oil and mushrooms and stir as they heat up. They will start to brown after two minutes, and will overcook really easily so take care at this stage. Stir while sizzling for a further minute until they start to shrink – only a little bit of shrinking, you want plump juicy mushrooms not shriveled ones. Add the garlic and stir quickly to combine for 10 seconds and then turn the heat off. Allow mushrooms to sit in the garlic for a further minute infusing their flavor then remove to a serving dish. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, squeeze lemon juice or drizzle balsamic and serve immediately.

Use as a side dish at breakfast with eggs / avocado / tomatoes, or rolled into a savory crepe with grated cheddar, serve with lunch or dinner, or sprinkle with crumbled feta and chopped parsley   as a light meal or use in a burrito or taco. Very versatile.

Bon appetit!


Caramelised Vegetable Lasagne

My bro in law Rik concocted a similar dish last time I stayed with them. I ate it for dinner and then again for breakfast, the texture and flavour…

was SO GOOD!!!

The sticky caramelised vegetables completely rocked. So last week I thought I’d give it a go. The result was better than expected,  both of the staunch meat eaters in our house went back for seconds.

It took me a couple of days to make this because of the cooling time (I didn’t start until late in the day) – so plan ahead if you can. It’s a show stopper of a shared meal and freezes well so if there’s any left stash a few servings in the freezer for easy meals during the week.



½ of a Pumpkin. Remove seeds, cut into pieces approx 2cm wide. Leave skin on.

5 Gold Kumara (aka Sweet Potato). Slice into rounds approx 2cm wide.

5 Red Onions. Slice into wide strips.

3 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar.

Fresh or Dried Lasagne Sheets. I used Delmaine Fine Foods Fresh Lasagne. Enough to cover the bottom of the baking dish twice.

6 large leaves Silverbeet (aka Swiss Chard). Sliced roughly.

2 Cups grated Tasty Cheese (add in some Parmesan if you like)

1 Tin Crushed Tomatoes

1 Tsp Raw Sugar

Dash of Balsamic Vinegar.

2 Cloves Garlic chopped finely.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Salt and Pepper


Turn oven on to a medium – med/ low heat. In a large baking dish layer the pumpkin and kumara, toss with a little EVOO, season with salt and pepper and place in the mid oven for about 90 minutes – until vegetables are starting to turn golden around the edges and are very soft and sticky. Set aside to cool. When the pumpkin is cool you can easily remove the skin – much easier than peeling while raw! At the same time place the onion in a separate baking dish, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and season. Cover with lid or tin foil and bake for 40 minutes until onion is soft. Remove and cool.

Take a deep baking dish (mine was approx 40 x 25cm) and smear a little EVOO on the bottom. Line with one layer of lasagne sheet. Distribute half of the pumpkin kumara mix and top that with half of the onion. Layer the silver beet on top and season with s & p, before placing another layer of lasagne sheet. You may have to press this down firmly as the raw silverbeet is a bit bouncy – but will flatten out nicely while cooking. Repeat the first two vegetable layers and then sprinkle grated cheese liberally over the top. Cover and bake in a medium oven for 45 minutes.

While it’s cooking take a frypan and place in the crushed tomatoes, garlic, a dash of balsamic vinegar and s & p. Bring to the boil while stirring and gently simmer for five minutes. Allow to stand.

After 45 minutes remove lasagne from the even and carefully remove lid – it will be steaming hot underneath so please be very careful. With a sharp knife cut the lasagne into 12 pieces. Take a ladle or large spoon and while drawing the cut edges back with the knife (or similar) spoon the freshly made tomato sauce into the cuts so that sauce goes to the bottom of the pan, and around the sides of the dish until it’s all used up. Place lasagne back in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.









Chilli Lime Jam

Our garden is a perpetual experiment and this year I decided to grow chillies.

John at Tumbleweeds Garden Centre advised me to wait until the end of October but Tabasco went into the ground at the end of September and it was lovingly tended every day and kept under a cloche (an upturned 4 litre plastic bottle) to stay cosy for the first month or so.

Eight weeks later it started looking lively upon which Serrano, Jalapeño, Asian Fire and Thai Hot were dug in to keep it company.

This recipe uses a mixture of Asian Fire, Jalapeño and Serrano. I didn’t weigh them but there were 55 chillies harvested. Tabasco and Thai Hot are still getting there.

Viewing cooking as an ongoing experiment also, I have adapted this recipe from Annabel Langbein’s Chilli Jam. The fish sauce was omitted to make it relevant for vegans and vegetarians, sugar was decreased by a fair bit because I didn’t have enough in the cupboard, the amount of chillies and the amount of lime upped, fresh ginger decreased (on advice from friend Sonya Blennerhassett) and there are couple of other added ingredients as well.

As I was in the process of prepping the chillies a pair of sales people knocked on the front door. One was a friendly Indian guy who said that his mother always puts a few grinds of cracked black pepper in her Chilli jam to add texture and depth of flavour.

That’s in there too.

It tastes fresh hot and sweet and the lime really shines through. The consistency is chunky and sticky like home made marmalade without the big bits of peel.

This recipe yielded 4 x 400g jars plus 2 x 250g jars of jam.

Divide it by the relevant amount of chillies you have on hand.


55 medium – long chillies – ripe red or green or a mix of both. Stalks removed and chopped roughly.
3 large heads of garlic, cloves peeled and chopped roughly.
3 x 5cm pieces of ginger, peeled and chopped roughly
10 cups of raw sugar
2.5 cups water
2.5 cups rice vinegar
12 limes, zest and juice.
3 tsp sea salt
Few grinds of fresh black pepper.

You will need: hygienic gloves made of latex or silicon to wear while prepping chillies. This is a must.


Place clean glass jars and lids into the oven on low to heat up and sterilise.

Place chillies, garlic and ginger into the food processor and blitz until mixture looks like a thick paste with little bits of chopped chilli visible.

Place this mixture and all other ingredients into a large saucepan and turn on to a medium heat stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.

Bring to the boil and lower heat to a simmer, stirring regularly to avoid it sticking on the bottom.

Cook in this way until the mixture has reduced by at least a third. This took nearly an hour of simmering for me – it may not take as long for you. Be really attentive so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom.

When it looks nearly done test consistency by putting a small teaspoonful onto a saucer and waiting for it to cool, taste to check if it needs more salt.

When the desired consistency has been reached turn off heat. Use a pyrex or heat proof jug to dip into the jam and pour into heated jars. Screw the lids on and leave to cool. Makes a nice gift and will keep for ages.

Black Rice Stir Fry with Tamari


We had this last night and it took precisely 10 minutes from lighting the gas hob to plating up.  The rice was pre cooked – add another 20 minutes if you are starting with uncooked rice.

The main difference between Tamari and Soy Sauce is that Tamari contains little or no wheat – good news if you are GF – check the label before buying.  Tamari and Soy Sauce are both made from fermented soy beans, Japanese Tamari tends to be thicker richer and more salty.


Serves 2


1C cooked black rice (can sub brown rice if you like)

2C roughly chopped mushrooms.  I used field mushrooms you can use whatever is fresh

1C cherry tomatoes halved

1 large shallot, sliced finely

1.5C cauliflower cut into smallish florets

1Tbs oil for sautéeing  (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil)

1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced

Tamari and fresh cracked black pepper for seasoning


Place a heavy based fry pan on to a medium heat and add oil.  Sauté shallot and cauliflower for three minutes stirring gently so that the shallot doesn’t brown.  Add mushrooms and rice and cook for a further two minutes stirring.  Add garlic and tomatoes and stir to combine gently. When mushrooms are looking ready (slightly wilted but not mushy) remove from heat and season liberally with the Tamari: stir through and taste after adding 1 tbs Tamari and then add more if you like (we had about 1.5tbs in ours).  Grind fresh cracked pepper over the top and serve immediately.

*This amount served myself as a main vegetarian meal and Paul as a side to his hunk of sirloin.

For the kids I sautéed the shallot, added the cauliflower and rice and then sliced up a rasher of bacon finely and stirred it all in until the bacon was cooked.


This is an adaptation from a recipe for Dahl Makhani in the Revive Cookbook which is a brilliant book full of great easy and healthy meals.  The lentils give you a hit of protein and the coconut cream and spices make the flavour warm and lingering.  The recipe book also uses red kidney beans and a stick blender to puree the dahl but I like it a bit chunkier – feel free to experiment with other spices and more chili if you like it spicy.

Makes 3 servings


1 large onion, diced

1 tbs rice bran oil (or other light tasteless oil)

4 cm ginger, peeled and grated

1 small chili, sliced finely or a few shakes of hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco

1 tsp garam masala

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 cup lentils – green / brown / yellow

3 cups water

1 400g can crushed tomatoes

1 tbs honey

200ml coconut cream

sea salt

1 lemon for juice

coriander leaves for garnish – optional


Put the water into a med / large saucepan and place on a high heat bringing to the boil.  Add lentils and simmer until they are soft – check the back of the packet for cooking times – I used Ceres organic brown lentils and they took about 20 minutes. Drain lentils with a sieve and set aside.

In a large deep frypan or saucepan saute the onions ginger and garlic in the oil over a low heat until soft and translucent.  Add the spices and chili / hot sauce and stir gently over low heat for one minute to release the flavours.  Add the lentils and tomatoes and simmer ten minutes.  Mix in the honey and coconut cream and season with salt to taste.  Continue to simmer gently until the mixture is nice and thick.  Remove from heat.

Serve in a bowl with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with coriander.  You could add a dollop of Greek yoghurt to increase the protein content of the dish.

The dahl can be served with roti alongside for dipping but I ate mine straight out of the bowl with a spoon.  Will keep in the fridge for a week.  The longer its in the fridge the more the flavour will develop.

Dahl TR90

Chickpea Asparagus and Beetroot Salad with Cumin and Orange

A simple lunch / dinner idea for the ageLOC TR90 program.

This covers the 2 x burning and 1 x coloured food choices but not the storing food.  You could add in a slice of grainy bread or some cooked brown rice if you like.

The cumin and orange combo is fantastic!!

If you don’t have almonds then use another type of nut.  If the amounts of chickpea / cottage cheese are not enough for you then add more.


1 cup cooked / tinned chickpeas, drained

1/2 cup cottage cheese plain or with herbs

1 tbs whole almonds

1 medium beetroot pickled (from a tin) or roasted chopped chunky

Zest and juice of 1 orange

2 tsp cumin seeds

4 asparagus spears, steamed until tender and drained

Sea salt and cracked black pepper


Combine / arrange chickpeas beetroot asparagus and cottage cheese on a plate.  Sprinkle zest and squeeze orange juice over the top and also scatter cumin seeds and almonds gently.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

Four Bean, Fig and Feta Salad

Today I’m starting a new eating plan in accordance with starting the all-new ageLOC TR90 system which is a 90 day body re-shaping / body re-composition product.  The advised eating plan that goes with the 90 days worth of supplements, powder and shakes is per meal: 2 x portions burning foods (protein) 1 x portion storing foods (carbs/grains/cereals) and 1 x portion protecting foods (fruit and veg).  I thought that it might be handy for my fellow TR90 community to have some easy recipes up their sleeve so here is a lunch / dinner idea.

This will take you five minutes to throw together.  Feel free to substitute almonds with any other kind of nuts or other crunchy veg for the celery.


1 large / 2 small dried fig chopped chunky

2 inch piece of feta crumbled

3 stalks of celery washed and sliced finely

8 almonds chopped roughly

200g mixed beans

6 pitted olives torn roughly

cracked black pepper and sea  salt


Throw all ingredients into a bowl and toss to mix.  Season to taste and serve immediately or store in the fridge.  Will keep in fridge (covered) for a couple of days.

* I used no dressing but you could squeeze a lemon over the salad or use your favourite vinaigrette.  If you are storing it in the fridge then definitely squeeze the lemon juice over prior to make sure that the celery stays nice and fresh.

The feta and the fig give this salad a beautiful sweet and salty burst of flavour and the celery and almond give it CRUNCH.Image