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That I don’t have a garden doesn’t mean I have to do without fresh herbs, fruit and veggies. Here’s a view of my balcony. ;)

Our Herb Garden

On the drainpipe are hanging baskets with oregano, sage, strawberries, thyme and rosemary. On the little tiled table you see lavender (not sure it’s an edible variety though, when it gets awfully quiet here you’ll know it wasn’t ;) and in the back are a 3-coloured raspberry plant and blackberries.

And that’s not even the end of it. Outside of the picture are cherry tomato plants, red hot & sweet chili peppers and a yellow bell pepper. The fruits are an experiment but we have successfully grown vegetables on our balcony before.

We also have some additional herb plants within reach in the kitchen: parsley, basil and cilantro. But these usually don’t survive for very long.

Let's Get Naked with Jamie Oliver Cooking ClubThanks to Carol of There’s Always Thyme to Cook who pointed me in the direction of Jamie Oliver’s Let’s Get Naked Cooking Club in her contribution to Weekend Cooking.

Now I can’t join the club today because I didn’t cook up a recipe of Jamie’s, but it inspired me to post about our own little herb garden anyway.

It seems appropriate to conclude by recommending a recipe by Andy McDonald, the ‘vegetarian Jamie’, that’s an all-time favourite at our place: Beetroot risotto with herb oil (in Dutch). We usually substitute some of the stock for wine and since turning vegan I just leave out the Parmesan cheese or throw in a little soy cream and nutritional yeast.

Red beet risotto with green herbs

I’m curious what Jamie’ll be cooking up tomorrow!
I hope it’s something vegan :)

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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

I had some leftover mushroom risotto and inspired by Uniflame’s recent risotto ball bentos I decided to make my own vegan version.

Risotto is sticky in itself so it doesn’t really need any egg or cheese. Still, since I have an open package of soy mozzarella — which tastes like nothing and I certainly won’t buy it again — I grated some and added it to the cold rice mixture along with a handful of bread-crumbs. I rolled 12 small balls, covered them with more bread-crumbs and put ‘em in the fridge to rest a little. Then I baked the round ‘croquettes’ in a skillet with sunflower oil.

Preparing the risotto balls didn’t take a lot of time, but the baking did! :( Next time I’ll try either frying or oven-baking.

Risotto ball Bento #133, 17-02-2011

Next to the risotto balls there’s radishes on a skewer, a basil flower and chilli bean-rice mix topped with parsley on a bed of red-leaf lettuce.

The other tier holds mustard dip for the risotto balls (a simple mixture of mustard & veganaise; recipe will be up on Saturday), small caper, leek sprouts, a few slices of shiitake mushroom, cherry tomatoes with fresh basil, salted pecans, dried apricots and… NO cookies! The small flowers are toasted tortillas to eat with the chilli, made according to the recipe I’ve posted in the summer, except that I used a cookie cutter for a nice spring-inspired shape. And I left them in the oven a bit too long…

A perfect bento to take along a hike on a perfect springtime day!

I walked the ANWB Aetsveld Route in Weesp polders. It was not as good as I had hoped; although it was supposed to run through diked marshes, most of the track went over asphalt. The view on the Vecht river was nice, but the traffic noise kept distracting me and made it hard to clear my head for the first 2/3 of the hike. But I’m not complaining! The weather was awesome, sunny all afternoon. And I saw a tiny, pure white baby goat, it must have been born just before! It still trembled on its little leggs and part of the navel cord was hanging from its belly. I stood and watched for ages — it felt like such a present to get! :))

We’re already two days into November and I haven’t even posted the last veggies of October yet. So let me present to you our wholesome winter food of this week.

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 43, 2010

  • Cox’s apples
  • mini pumpkins (great for Halloween!)
  • white cabbage
  • celeriac
  • small beets
  • curly red-leaf lettuce

Menu plan for October 28th – November 4th

  • Root night‘: French carrot soup, celery root au gratin, spicy beet salad with walnuts and fresh tomato salad [Thursday]
  • Cabbage quiche & lettuce with leftover eggplant-lentil salad [Friday]
  • Italian flag menu‘: Andy McDonald’s red beet risotto with Salade Caprese [Saturday]
  • Halloween dinner: Kookgrrl Ellen’s Indian vegetable curry with cashews served in pumpkin with basmati rice [Sunday]
  • Stir-fried cauliflower with Nigella’s ‘tomato & red onion couscous’, beet hummus and falafel
  • pitah bread with easy looking spinach balls from Louanne’s Kitchen, beet hummus, salad & sauce (balls possibly swapped for prefab falafel)
  • sambal goreng tofu, cabbage & bean sprout lalab (cucumber & steamed vegetables; carrot, cauliflower, cabbage, leek) with home-made sambal bawang (hot pepper sauce with shallots), rice/nasi goreng (fried rice)
    [Wednesday/Thursday; when mungo beans have sprouted]

Today I’ll be eating out with wlfr (a.k.a. @variomatic), who gets a small jar of the home-made sambal bawang. I hope he likes it! Mr Gnoe (a.k.a. @no1song) will have a dinner of leftovers or whatever else takes his fancy.

Since we’re already halfway the menu plan, I can show you some pictures of our food. Why wait till next blogpost, eh? ;)

Beetroot Risotto

Italian tricolore menu: salade Caprese & red beet risotto

Italian tricolore menu: Salade Caprese & red beet risotto

This beetroot risotto has become a returning guest at our dinner table. The colour is awesome and it tastes delish too ;)

Although we mainly follow the original recipe, we always swap a little of the vegetable broth for wine (red or white) and we normally skip the part where we’re supposed to make green herb oil from scratch: we just throw in some herbs and/or pick one of our bottles of infused oils. But since we have a lot of fresh herbs at the moment (basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, celery), it seemed silly not to use them this time around.

Indian veggie curry with cashews served in pumpkin

Indian vegetable curry with cashews served in pumpkin

Halloween night: Indian vegetable curry with cashews served in pumpkin

I only needed to buy a cauliflower to make this smooth curry recipe that seemed perfect for the two small pumpkins from our CSA batch. I had some coconut milk waiting to be used up and a piece of ageing zucchini; added carrots, frozen peas and a potato. Instead of roasting the squash in the oven, I nuked it in 1/3 of the time at 850 Watt. It was YUM!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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