Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Bellissima Cibo Vegan

Two of the vegan cookery books I treated myself to recently were Italian.  Italian cuisine has to be my favorite so naturally they are the first books I have started to trawl through in great detail.  Both now have many of their page corners turned over in anticipation of many kitchen sessions over the next few weeks.  In fact we have already started.

Our first Italian session was a multi-dish affair with a view to not only producing a dinner for later that evening but also to provide some tasty work lunches for the following days.   This was a joint effort with Phil concentrating on the two lunch morsels whilst I got going with the dinner.  

I chose, from ‘A Vegan Taste of Italy’ a Spinach and Pistachio Cannelloni but actually used chard from the garden in place of the spinach in the recipe.  This gave the dish a rather more earthy flavour which cut nicely through the creamy cheesy filling and sauce.  The pistachios, of which only 75g/3oz are needed in total, added a beautiful nutty edge to the filling and particularly so to the breadcrumb and nut topping.  All in all it was a winner and has got a definite tick to make again after I have tried the Aubergine and Hazelnut Cannelloni which follows on the next page of the book.

Phil meanwhile was cooking the Pizza Calzone recipe from the same book (we had some page shuffling as a result). He had got the pizza dough going earlier in the day and was now getting the filling together. This was a tasty combo of mixed peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, vegan mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomato paste, oregano (fresh from our garden) and black pepper.  Wrestling the filling into the delicate pizza dough didn't look terribly easy but then again I was struggling with stuffing my cannelloni tubes with the chard filling at the time so wasn't of much help.  Swearing a little seemed to help but would have perhaps been more authentic in Italian.  I have to say it was all worth it as the results were beautiful and an impressive and tasty alternative to a Cornish pasty for lunch.

Next up for Phil was Farinata (Chickpea 'Pancake') from 'Nonna's Italian Kitchen'.  This is a simple combination of gram flour, oil, water, salt and pepper to make the actual pancake but then topped with whatever takes your fancy before it is popped in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.  In this particular case Phil chose roasted red peppers and oregano. Again, what a lovely lunch treat it proved to be. 

Our first 'Italian session' cooking from these two books has certainly given us the taste to work our way through those turned over page corners!! 

Bellissima cibo vegan!!

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