As many of you know I have focused my time and attention this year on creating The Vegetarian Cooking School. Establishing a wonderful training for people wanting to become vegan chefs or those who want to adopt a more healthy lifestyle. As a result of juggling the new school and all the usual catering jobs I do something had to give. This time I was determined it wouldn’t be my nervous system, so it was writing regular blogs that went astray.
I have spent endless guilty thoughts on not writing regular blogs and when last week I finally had time to sit down and write I felt far from inspired and ready to stop blog writing altogether. Sharing my dilemma on an incredible facebook group I am part of, I received so much wonderful advice. I read all the advice and made a note of the things that jumped out at me. I have put them in point form for you below. Please share this blog with those you know who are struggling with writing blogs as it really did help me.
Tips on inspiration for writing blogs
~Don’t give up- people do read blogs even if they don’t comment and they will move on to other bloggers if you stop delivering.
~Write about what you enjoy writing about the most, what enthuses you.
~Write for the fun of writing rather than worrying if anyone is reading it.
~Write from your passion and that enough will be the reward. The idea of getting others approval for what you are writing is not what blog writing is about.
~Write to share the information and knowledge and ideas you want everyone in the world to know about. So at least it may help one person out in some way. Even if you inspire one person that is an amazing gift.
~Write about the last thing that got your blood boiling.
~Write about topics that are fun, that make you happy and laugh when writing them.
~Take time out to nurture yourself and watch the creativity flow.
~Watch the movie Julia and Julia
What I did
So that night I did the easiest thing I knew out of that list and sat down to watch Julia and Julia. The very next day I met with a friend for lunch and she said she didn’t read my blogs but watched my videos. After the lunch date I walked away knowing that I would write a blog and make a video on a topic people are so confused about and so eager to learn. A blog on how to cook legumes and beans for easy digestion. So next week watch your inbox for a step by step guide to fart free bean cooking!
Like the advice above once I stopped seeing blog writing as something I must do rather than something that I love to do I was hooked again. Since last Tuesday (when I sought help) I have a little book full of blog writing ideas.
I know it is very clichéd but I was so inspired by the movie Julia and Julia. I have a massive book shelf full of incredible vegetarian cook books that I have flicked through once and never opened again so I thought how amazing it would be, now I have a little spare time on my hands to go through at least one of them and cook from the recipes. Not all of the recipes like Julia did but the ones that stand out to me and rather than following them to the T, I would adapt them to what veggies I can source locally and to my particular taste buds and of course change the recipes so they become vegan and gluten free.
Recipe review here we go
In this blog post I am reviewing the recipes in a book that I bought just before heading off to the UK this year, the book I saw in every single book shop I went into in the UK. My New Roots by Sarah Britton. My New Roots is vegetarian but not gluten free and it has a very enticing name and front cover. I love that it doesn’t have a photo on every page so it is packed with recipes rather than glossy photos. It is divided up into seasons so I am only reviewing the recipes in the spring section this week and then next time I review the book I will do the early summer section (although I feel we are in early summer right now on the east coast of Australia). Apologies northern hemisphere readers you will have to revisit this blog when it is your spring- I will remind you about it. It is well worth buying this cook book as I will not make all the recipes so I can imagine some of the recipes I choose not to make will entice your palates.
spicy tahini dressing
1/3 cup tahini
1 small garlic clove boiled
2 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp warm water
1 ½ tsp of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
Mix all of the ingredients together.
Adaptions on ‘My New Roots’: Sarah Briton suggested only using 1 ½ tbsp of lemon juice. This was not lemony enough for my taste. Also 1 large clove of garlic was suggested. I actually think the dressing is flavoursome without the garlic but I added a boiled small garlic clove. By boiling the garlic it is more easily digestible for many. I added way more cayenne than Sarah suggested but then I have a high threshold for spicy food, so you decide how much you want to add. Also Sarah’s recipe has 1 tsp of maple syrup. I love the bitterness of tahini so no sweet flavour is ever needed for me but am thinking the addition of the maple syrup could work for those who struggle with tahini.
Rating: I love this new recipe- I have tried tahini with all sorts of things- turmeric, coconut yoghurt, coconut cream, miso and now this – right now this is my favourite tahini dressing version. It has a zing that has me going back to the dressing pot frequently, to spread on toast, add to steamed veggies and on salads. For after all tahini is a great source of Iron so a must have on a vegan diet.
fresh herb zaatar
2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh marjoram
1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
salt to taste
After toasting the sesame seeds let them cool then grind them to a powder and mix with the herbs.
Adaptions on My New Roots: Like all Zaatar (which is a Middle Eastern spice mix) Sarah says to make it with dried herbs and she only used thyme and oregano. I felt like fresh, as I had all the fresh herbs.
Rating: This mix is great to add to salads, soups on steamed veg and in stews. If you make a dry spice mix it will last a few months. Making it fresh will only last a week.
lettuce filled with millet and veg
1/2 cup cooked millet
4 large florets of cauliflower cut up into very small pieces
4 kale leaves shredded
small handful of kalamata olives
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to garnish
big leaves of lettuce that can act as cups for the filling
Use 1 tbsp of olive oil to sautee the cauliflower until it starts to brown. Remove from pan and place in a mixing bowl. Sautee the kale in the same pan and cook until wilted. Add this to the cauliflower and mix in all the other ingredients except the lettuce. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate and then spoon on the millet mix. Garnish with the parsley.
Adaptions from My New Roots: Sarah used cous cous which I can’t eat as it isn’t gluten free. She also used lovely fresh spring cabbage leaves instead of lettuce. I added the cauliflower and kale as I love them in any salad that has kalamata olives.
Rating: This salad is yum especially with the tahini sauce and zaatar.
turnip and raddish salad
6 large Radishes
3 spears of asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
1 ttbsp of lemon zest
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of fermented mustard
1 tsp coconut nectar
1 tbsp poppy seeds
kale sprouts for garnish
For the dressing place everything in a jar and shake vigorously. Cut the radish and turnips into very fine rounds. Cut each spear of asparagus into very finely julienne pieces. Place the cut veggies in a bowl and pour over the dressing. Let marinate for a good few hours.
Adaptions from My New Roots: I used kale sprouts for garnish instead of watercress and I cut the asparagus much smaller. Sarah used maple syrup instead of coconut nectar. I used fermented mustard instead of dijon.
Rating:The dressing Sarah made is so delicious- i don’t understand why the addition of poppy seeds makes it so special but it does. This salad is fabulous. I loved it and can’t wait to make it again.
Book reveiwed Britton, S. My (2015) My New Roots Pan Mac Millian, London, Uk.
For more information contact Veet at http://www.veetscuisine.com.au/the-vegetarian-cooking-school/