Cookbook 142: Week Light

So… I hope isolation is treating you well, that you’ve survived CoVid successfully so far. It’s been a ride, and it isn’t even close to over yet. Please get vaccinated when a vaccine is found, it’s better to be inoculated than not (no, I will not be accepting arguments at this time).

Also, sorry for the very long hiatus on this blog. Life got in the way, including some family member ill health, work, other stress, and then the number of books I’d cooked from, but not written up kept growing, and I wasn’t cooking as much as I wanted to, and it got a bit overwhelming. I made a decision this morning to just write up the book I cooked from over the weekend, and to gradually go through all the other books as I have time, and you know, update as we go.

The fact that I am doing more cooking as I’m not going out, and I have money to spend on fancier ingredients does help too.

This cookbook is Week Light by Donna Hay, a gift I received for Christmas, and something that I wish listed after a colleague raved about how much she loved it. It’s full of vegetable heavy recipes, in fact most of the recipes are vegetarian, with options to add meat if desired, and those that have meat have options to make them vegetarian. Definitely a good book to consider cooking from if you are vegetarian or like cooking for vegetarians. I have some comments on the recipes I made (which will be following the recipes), and give this 3 out of 5 stars.

Udon miso soup with crispy glazed salmon (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 4 x 100g salmon fillets, skin on (or equivalent in chicken tenders)
  • 1 small eggplant (230g), sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot chilli sauce
  • 3 cups trimmed watercress springs (or baby spinach or another green you like in soups)
  • sliced nori sheets (about 5cm by 0.5cm)
  • sesame seeds

Miso noodle broth ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 220g dried udon noodles

Method:

  1. Make the miso noodle broth by placing the miso paste, soy sauce, mirin and ginger in a large saucepan. Add 1 cup of the ater to the pan and whisk until smooth and the miso is dissolved. Add the remaining 1.25 litres of water to the pan and bring to the boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook for as long as detailed on the packet.
  2. While the miso noodle broth is cooking, heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the salmon, skin-side down, and cook for 3 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Turn and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  3. Place the eggplant in the same frying pan and cook for 3 minutes each side or until golden. While the eggplant is cooking, place the mirin, soy and chilli sauce in a jug whisk to combine. Add the sauce mixture to the pan once the eggplants are cooked on both sides, and cook for a further 1 minute or until the sauce reduced to a syrupy glaze.
  4. Divide the noodles between serving bowls and ladle the miso broth over. Top with the salmon and eggplant and drizzle with the glaze. Serve with the watercress, nori and sesame seeds.

Notes on this recipe:

  • By far the tastiest thing I made out of this book. It was bursting with flavours… but that’s also because I changed up the recipe a tiny bit to meet the dietary requirements of the people who were at the table.
  • First I swapped out the salmon for chicken, and because chicken fried in no oil and no seasoning is incredibly boring, I marinated the chicken in teriyaki marinade for a while before I cooked it. Then I cooked the eggplant in the remainder of the marinade and with some oil (otherwise again, gross), before adding the glaze.
  • I served the soup by first putting the spinach leaves at the bottom of the bowls, putting the noodles and broth on top, then the chicken, eggplant and sprinkled the nori and sesame seeds over the top. It was delicious, and I’m already planning on making it again (more my version, and probably with tofu and mushrooms next time)

Charred roasted broccoli and haloumi (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 650g broccoli (about 2 heads), thickly sliced
  • 350g haloumi, thickly sliced

studio topping ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 long red chillies, seeds removed and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon rind
  • 8 small springs oregano
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • rocket leaves and lemon cheeks to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat oven grill to high. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. To make the studio topping, place the capers, onion, chilli, lemon rind, oregano and oil in a medium bowl and mix to combine
  3. Place the broccoli and haloumi on the tray and spoon the studio topping over to roughly coat. Placve the tray on a middle shelf in the over and grill for 20 – 25 minutes or until the broccoli, haloumi and onion are charred and golden.
  4. Serve with rocket leaves and top with a generous squeeze of lemon juice

Notes on this recipe:

  • TOO MUCH ONION! As you can see from the photo, it’s all onion and almost nothing else. The photo in the book has barely any onion, and i wonder if they used tiny tiny onions, instead of 2 regular sized onions. If you don’t like all the onion, just use one, or half. I’m not your mum, skip the onion if you don’t like it. Consider putting the onion on the sheet under the broccoli and haloumi.
  • The capers, for those who liked them, were lovely in this recipe. The broccoli and haloumi were great.

broccoli, pumpkin, sage and goat’s cheese tart (serves 6 – 8)

Ingredients:

Broccoli dough:

  • 600g broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 3 eggs (or 4 as I ended up using)
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Tart:

  • 800g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 6 eggs (or 8 as I ended up using)
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 16 – 20 sage leaves
  • 150g goat’s cheese, broken into large pieces

Method:

Broccoli dough

  1. In small batches, place the broccoli in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl
  2. Add the almond meal, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt and pepper to the broccoli, and mix well to combine

Tart:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line 2 x 18cm based 22cm wide, 3cm high pie tins with non-stick baking paper. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Divide the dough in half and press evening over the bases and sides of the pie tins (use the back of a spoon). Place the pumpkin on the baking tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the tart shells and pumpkin for 20 minutes or until golden. (or cook them in batches because your oven is small like mine)
  3. Place the eggs, ricotta, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place the sage and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Divide the roasted pumpkin between the tart shells. Top with egg mixture and sprinkle with the goat’s cheese and sage. Bake for a further 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and the egg is set.
  5. Allow tarts to cool slightly in the tins before lifting out and slicing into wedges to serve.

Notes on this recipe:

  • It was ok, just overshadowed by the miso soup which we had on the same night.
  • I’d suggest adding some more seasoning to the egg mixture, think nutmeg, chilli, mixed herbs, or a sharper cheese.
  • Some of the people at the table thought that the shell was too broccoli-ee and others thought it was fine.
  • I have the second tart sitting in the fridge waiting to be eaten

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