With it being Lent right now, a lot of Christians have given up something from their lifestyles. From experience I know it tends to be food related, be it fast food, fried food, chocolates, desserts, alcohol and a whole lot of other sins. One of my followers on Twitter, Deborah-Anne (@Deborah_Strydom) softened me up with a few flattering words to try and get me to post a few vegetarian and pescaterian recipes that are free of refined sugar and dairy products. Having been trained in the classic French way of cooking I grumbled and moaned to myself (as most chefs tend to do when cooking for people with selective eating habits) but I’ve given in. In classic French cooking the quality of the produce determines the quality of the dish so fresh veggies and fruit are VERY important, as is freshly caught seafood. The problem is classic French cooking happily and unashamedly uses butter, cream, wine, sugar whenever and wherever it can.
After sucking in my sulking bottom lip I’ve put together 4 of my favourite all-vegetarian dishes and 2 seafood dishes. I’ll post one or two a day as the week goes by. With complex flavours and fresh ingredients, each one makes you almost forget there is no red meat or chicken involved. Hope you enjoy!
Vegetable Dish 1: Gnocchi with in a Tomato Sauce
Gnocchi is a type of pasta that’s made with potatoes as an added ingredient. I personally love it, because of the added potatoes though it will be a bit heavy for summer but if you want a filling dish that different from the norm, try it. Its not as labour intensive as it may sound. if you have kids, get them involved in rolling the gnocchi. Check out Betta Living’s website (www.bettaliving.co.uk) for more cool vegetarian recipes this week! #BettaLiving
- 450g Potatoes
- 10g Butter
- 1 Large egg
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Ground nutmeg
- 150g Semolina Flour
- Extra butter for frying
- Scrub, peel and cut the potatoes into large pieces of similar size
- Bake the pieces until tender in an oven on medium temperature (do not boil, the goal is to keep the potatoes as dry as possible)
- Whilst the potatoes are still hot puree them in a blender or push them through a sieve with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the butter, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix well.
- Incorporate enough of the flour to make a stiff dough.
- Roll the dough out into a long cylinder tube. Cut the cylinder into 3cm long pieces.
- Flatten and roll each piece with a fork and your thumb. They should be round and barrel shaped.
- Simmer a pot of salted water and boil the gnocchi for about 3 minutes or until they rise to the surface.
- Lift the gnocchi out the water with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. in a separate pan melt some butter on medium to high heat.
- Add the gnocchi to the hot butter and saute and toss them.
Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
- 15ml olive oil
- 50g finely diced onions
- 50g finely chopped mushrooms
- 1,5kg deseeded and chopped plum tomatoes (or canned ones)
- 20g chopped basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- Heat the onions in the olive oil on medium heat until the onions become translucent and soft.
- Add the chopped mushrooms and saute further until soft
- Turn the heat up and add the chopped tomatoes and turn down to a low heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the basil and season the sauce. If the sauce is too thick you may puree it in a blender