29 January 2011

Baby Octopus & Chickpea Salad

dairy free egg free nut free gluten free

"But where's the chorizo?" asked the husband.

Not the first time he's uttered these words, mind. (I once dared make a seafood-only paella - apparently one of the great culinary sins of our time, judging from the look on his face.)

Men and meat! They wish it could adorn every meal, don't they? And I think they particularly love Spanish food because it's the one cuisine that legitimises the use of seafood and meat in the same dish - a culturally acceptable version of 'surf 'n' turf'.

Feel free to enjoy this recipe with or without the chorizo. (Though I suggest adding it for the sake of domestic harmony - or just because it's also very tasty.)

1kg baby octopus, cleaned (ask your fishmonger)
1 can organic chickpeas
handful of rocket leaves
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 punnet of very sweet cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 red onion, very finely sliced
1 chorizo sausage, sliced and pan fried

Slice the chorizo and pan fry pieces in a dry pan (no need for oil). Set aside. Preheat bbq or griddle pan. Wash octopus and pat dry with paper towel. Slice each octopus in half lengthways and toss in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and the finely chopped garlic. Cook octopus on grill or bbq for a minute on each side (possibly even less - be mindful, overcooked octopus is inedible!)

Combine herbs, rocket, tomatoes, chorizo and chickpeas in a bowl and toss with some olive oil, salt, pepper and juice of half a lemon. Add cooked octopus and chorizo and mix together, drizzling with some more olive oil.

18 January 2011

Vegan Palak Paneer

dairy free egg free nut free gluten free vegan

I did promise a nut-free chicken korma recipe a while ago except I'm still experimenting (last attempt yielded an inexplicably fluorescent yellow hue!)

In the meantime, here's a vegetarian contribution - a classic Indian spinach curry. If you can eat dairy, go ahead and cube up some paneer. To keep it vegan, you can add some lightly fried tofu pieces. But if that's not your thing (and quite frankly, it wasn't ours - it makes the photo look more authentic but we enjoyed the curry far more without it), steamed/boiled waxy potatoes cut into cubes would also be delicious.

1 block of firm tofu, cubed and lightly pan-fried in oil OR 2 cups of steamed waxy potato, cut into cubes
1 large bunch of spinach, washed
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
piece of ginger, about 1/2 inch, grated
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
3/4 cup tomato puree
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water
salt to taste

Blanch spinach in a large pot of boiling water. Drain then blend in a food processor to a smooth paste.

Heat oil in pan and fry onions until translucent.

Add the garlic, ginger, green chillies and turmeric and fry for about a minute.

Add the tomato puree and fry for another minute.

Add spinach paste, tofu or potatoes, garam masala, salt and water then bring to the boil.

Serve hot with steamed basmati rice.

03 January 2011

Grilled Radicchio

dairy free egg free nut free gluten free vegan

I'm afraid my new year's resolution to eat more seasonally, and therefore sustainably, is off to a shaky start. Radicchio is normally harvested in winter, however given the unusually cool start to our Melbourne summer (it even snowed, you know!) I declared its discovery at the grocer this afternoon "unseasonably sustainable".

It was a head of very pretty radicchio and I immediately thought of grilling it on the bbq, something I have never tried. I think the Treviso variety is more suited to grilling, though it was delicious all the same - the bitterness mellowed by the chargrill and the final dressing.

But I promise to wait until winter before buying it again.

1 head of radicchio
2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
a few tablespoons of olive oil then more for drizzling
1/4 cup chopped parsley
lemon juice or some good quality balsamic vinegar to finish
salt & pepper to season

Cut the radicchio into quarters or wedges, depending on the size of the head.  For the Treviso variety (elongated), cut them lengthwise. Brush all over with a mixture of olive oil and finely chopped garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on a medium-hot grill or bbq.  Grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle parsley and finish with fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.