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Vegetable spring rolls

Today I made Spring Rolls. First time ever.

I really like spring rolls, I often buy the boxes of mini ones from the frozen isle in my supermarket to heat up for a quick lunch or dinner. I had never considered making them myself until I looked at the price of them the other day and began mentally slapping myself for spending so much money just for a few quick meals, that and the amount of oil that flowed out of these little snacks while oven baking was crazy! Surely I could make them myself. So I went online and found out about spring roll wrappers, available near the frozen pastry and so much cheaper than the premade rolls. I looked over a few recipes and tried out a pork one first, hated it and realised that I was really after a vegetable spring roll, no meat. So I started to look for good vegetable spring roll recipe. I wasn’t highly enamoured with a lot of the recipes I found so I combined the best of each and then oven baked them, because I hate to deep fry, and came up with the perfect recipe (for me). Just what the doctor ordered. I also made them big, not like the tiny mini ones for cocktail parties, although (if you are patient enough) you could cut the wrappers in 4 and make teeny ones. I am not patient enough.

I put the cabbage and the carrots through the food processor to shred them and hand chopped everything else.

This recipe made 20 spring rolls with a few spoonfuls left over. It could have made 21 but I wasn’t thawing out a full pack for 1 more sheet. I ate the rest of the filling off of a spoon, it was really fresh and light.

Vegetable spring rolls

100g Asian vermicelli noodles
1 Tbls oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 spring onions, chopped finely
½ Chinese cabbage, sliced finely
1 tin bamboo shoots, chopped roughly
3 carrots, peeled and grated
1 tin water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 Tbls soy sauce
Black Pepper, to taste (about 1 tsp I think)
1 packet (20) frozen spring roll wrappers, thawed
Sweet chilli sauce to serve

Boil or soak your vermicelli noodles until soft.
Bring a wok or non-stick frying pan to a high heat, and add oil.
Add garlic, cabbage, bamboo shoots, carrot and onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
Stir through noodles, chopping them as you go, and then water chestnuts.
Add soy sauce to taste and a few good grinds of pepper.
Set aside to cool completely.

Lay a spring roll wrapper on the bench and turn it diagonally to make a diamond shape.
Fill with 1½ tablespoons filling slightly higher than the centre of the wrapper.
Roll the top of the wrapper over the mixture and tuck each side inward.
Roll the wrapper downwards and then dampen the end with water then roll the wrapper to close it.
Continue until you have used all the mixture.

Place completed spring rolls on oven trays with the seam side down.
If using immediately spray with spray oil and place in a 180C oven until lightly browned and crisp.
If storing for later use place trays in the freezer to snap freeze and then remove to bags for extended storage.


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Easy Meat and Vegetable Lasagna

Continuing to get our veggies in my daughter and I decided to throw together a lasagne and cram in as many veggies as we could. After a slice each, this was vacuum packed in portions and popped into the freezer for a later date.

I love having meals in the freezer, ready to go. They are great when you are just not feeling like cooking, or to give to people when they need a little help.

Easy Meat and Vegetable Lasagna

Instant lasagna noodles (the dry ones)
500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
1 zucchini, grated
2 carrots, grated
6 button mushrooms, sliced
400g tin crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
400ml jar of spaghetti sauce
500g ricotta cheese
grated cheese

Fry onion and garlic in a frypan. Add beef mince and fry off until brown.
Add vegetables and mushrooms and fry until tender.
Add tomatoes and spaghetti sauce and stir to combine. Turn flame to low and cook for 5mins with a lid on the pan.
Put a thin layer of the mince mixture on the base of lasagna pan and cover with sheets of noodles.
Cover noodles with a thicker layer using half of the meat sauce and then sprinkle over with half the ricotta and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
Cover with another layer of noodles.
Top with remaining mince, ricotta and finish with a layer of grated cheese.
Heat the oven to 200C and cook the lasagne for 30 mins, reduce heat to 150C and cook for a further 20 mins.

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Creamy Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Casserole

I was terribly lazy and not feeling like going outside in the rain so we had this sans the parsley which is shocking really because if I glance out of my kitchen window I look over 6 of the bushiest and most prolific parsley plants you ever did see.  So I am suffering a little guilt at not taking the trouble to dash out in the rain, but what is done is done and the dish was wonderful, saucy and delicious all the same so I’ll get over it I suspect.

I didn’t get much ‘Moroccan’ flavour out of this dish, it was somewhat overpowered by the mustard added at the end. It was a terrific dish though and well worth the time it took to prepare.

The original recipe (here) was actually a slow cooker recipe but I chose to change it up and do it in the oven.

Creamy Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Casserole
Serves: 6

7-8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
2 medium carrots, chopped on chunky angles
1 small brown onion, diced finely
8-10 small potatoes
300 g cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon Moroccan seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
60 g butter
4 garlic cloves, chopped thinly
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
¼ cup parsley
300 mL cream
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

Add Moroccan seasoning, salt and pepper to flour.
Coat chicken in flour mixture.
Heat oil and half the butter in pan, fry chicken in batches until browned.
Place chicken into a large casserole dish.
Meanwhile fry onion, garlic, carrot and baby potatoes until brown.
Add chicken stock and wine, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour vegetable mixture over chicken, add bay leaves.
Place in the oven at 150C for 1 1/2 hours.
Add cream, cherry tomatoes and mustard, cook for another half hour.
Garnish with parsley.
Serve with rice.