Saturday, February 9, 2008

Food from the Heart

Spring is almost on the verge of making an appearance. The sun is reaching higher and higher into the sky, with every day that passes, and mornings are no longer met with the dismal grey fog, but the sound of birds going about their daily business. Flowers are peeking their heads above the ground, starting to fill the air with their sweet scent.
Signs of Spring

I spent a good few hours photosynthesising in the park today. Sat on a park bench, absorbing all that the sun had to offer. I could've stayed there for hours, but alas there was work to do - it was time to focus all my sun-inspired energy into the kitchen.

I had decided to partake in Susan's Vegetable Love challenge. The rules were simple - come up with a recipe for a dish of seductive vegetables. A dish that says "I love you, but I don't want to see you keel over with a heart attack!". A quick bit of research on goggle had led me to a list of food related to valentine's, and so I started to design my dish.

One quick trip to the greengrocers later, and it was time to make Roasted Asparagus, with Fruity Rocket Salad

Quinoa with Asparagus

Quinoa and asparagus
I served up my vegetables with a healthy portion of quinoa.

Rocket and Fruit Salad

Roasted Vegetables with Rocket Salad

For the vegetables:-
10 spears of Asparagus
1 Courgette (Zucchini), sliced lengthways
1 Carrot, sliced lengthways
2 Portobello mushrooms (or field mushrooms), sliced 1cm thick
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Vegan Margarine
2 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp Dark Soya Sauce

Steam carrot for 5 mins, then add asparagus and steam for a further 3 minutes. Meanwhile, put the mushrooms, courgette and garlic into a large casserole dish, and add the olive oil. Add the steamed vegetables, and mix to make sure everything is covered in oil (add more if necessary), the put the dish into oven, and cook for 15 minutes at 200 C, stirring now and again.

Whilst the vegetables are roasting, make the dressing - simply melt the margarine in a pan, and then add the balsamic vinegar and soya sauce. When finished cooking, and the asparagus is tender and starting to brown, take the casserole dish out of the oven, and pour the dressing on. Return to the oven (now off) and leave until ready to serve.

Rocket and Fruit Salad

For the salad:-
3 cups of Rocket
1 cup of Spinach
1/2 cup Raspberries
1/2 cup Strawberries (halved and stem removed)
2 Fresh Figs
1 Avocado, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
Juice of an Orange

Wilt the spinach (in the casserole dish for five minutes should do the job). Prepare the avocado. After slicing, pour over the orange juice, so it doesn't start to brown. Once the avocado is coated in juice, drain and reserve the juice. We will use it in the dressing later. Add all the other fruit to the salad bowl. Add the rocket and wilted spinach. Transfer all the roasted vegetables to plates, reserving any liquid at the bottom of the casserole dish. Combine this liquid with the orange juice, then pour over the salad. Toss, and finally sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts.

Serve with love.