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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 March 2016
12 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 MARCH 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Lenten recipes by a Melbourne-based foodie Lisa Stanton shares her expertise on meatless deliciousness NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Greek vegetarian food. Is it actually possible? Does such a phenomenon really exist in a cuisine that is mostly about meat? Well, the "mostly about meat" bit is mostly a misconception. The fact of the matter, insists the spoon and pen behind the Greek Vegetarian blog, is that almost half of what you'll find in any Greek cookbook, or even restaurant menu, is actually vegetarian. And anything that isn't vegetarian can be made meatless, which works to our benefit for the Lent period leading to Easter celebrations. Lisa Stanton is a Greek Australian vegetarian based in Melbourne who loves Greek food and decided to create a place where readers and vegetarians can discover the many facets of Greek vegetarian food. "The Greek Vegetarian blog was created in January of 2013, after my job as graphic designer and photographer at a university became redundant, leaving me at home to consider life as a freelancer," Lisa says. "I know, I know. It's such a cliche but despite the millions of bloggers out there, I still think there's a tiny spot left for a Vegetarian pastitsio Ingredients (serves 8-10): 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 large onions, finely chopped 3 cups of finely chopped broccoli (or any other vegetable/s) 1/4 cup dry white wine 2 bay leaves 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon of sugar 2 cans peeled, chopped tomatoes 2 tablespoons tomato paste salt and pepper to taste 1 packet (500g) Misko pastitsio pasta or bucatini pasta (thick spaghetti-like tube pasta) For the béchamel sauce: 60g margarine butter 60g plain flour 1 litre of soy milk 2 eggs (lightly beaten) - you can use flaxseed instead if you wish 1/2 cup grated soy cheese 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup sharp cheese to cover béchamel Method: 1. Heat oil and fry onions in a large pot over low heat for 15 minutes. Add broccoli and continue to fry for another 15 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned. 2. Add wine and turn heat up to medium. Cook, stirring for around a minute, until most of the wine has evaporated. 3. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, oregano, sugar, tomatoes, tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste and stir. Bring to the boil then turn heat down to low and allow to simmer, uncovered, for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5. Meanwhile, prepare the béchamel. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and mix well, stirring quickly. Cook while stirring for around 1 minute until the mixture is beginning to froth a little, then remove from heat. 6. Add around a quarter of a cup of milk, stirring quickly to incorporate. The mixture will thicken and lumpify a little but trust me, it will smooth out. Immediately add a little more milk, stirring quickly and constantly, ensuring the mixture is combined properly before adding more milk. Keep adding milk and stirring until all the milk is incorporated. 7. Put the saucepan back on medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens, around 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a whisk, quickly stir in the vegan cheese, flaxseed, nutmeg, salt and blog about Greek vegetarian food." The food blog not only provided a creative outlet for Lisa at the time, but has also become a source of inspiration to other vegetarians and part-time lovers of vegetarian food who want to explore the many possibilities of delicious Greek cuisine. "I also love turning Greek meat-based dishes into yummy vegetarian ones, as well as coming up with my own variations of existing Greek vegetarian recipes," she enthuses. "There are many reasons people choose to be vegetarian. My reason is simply because I love animals and I don't want to eat them. I don't give anyone who isn't a vegetarian a hard time, but one of the reasons I started this blog is to inspire those who are considering giving up meat to go all the way." Lisa's dietary choices have helped her re-create many traditional Hellenic dishes in a healthy, animal-loving and tasty way, proving that someone's Lenten abstinence shouldn't necessarily be about eating boring and flavourless food. Even though Lisa’s work as a graphic designer and photographer has recommenced, you can still find her vegetarian recipes at www.greekvegetarian.blogspot.com.au Lisa enjoying lunch at a taverna in Lemnos, Greece. Santorinian tomato fritters (tomatokeftethes) pepper. Cover until ready to use. 8. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add pasta. Cook for 10 minutes only - it should only be partially cooked. Drain and rinse under cold water so that the pasta is cool enough to handle. Lay half the cooked pasta in the bottom of a deep baking dish (around 35cm x 25cm and 6-7cm deep). If using pastitsio pasta, it is traditional to lay the noodles side by side so they are parallel to one another. This way when the pastitsio is cut, the pasta 'holes' are all facing the same way. 9. Spread a few tablespoons of béchamel sauce over the pasta then pour the tomato sauce evenly over the pasta. Lay the rest of the pasta over the tomato sauce, then the rest of the béchamel, and top with grated sharp cheese. 10. Bake in a preheated oven set to 180°C for around 45 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden. Ingredients (makes around 20 fritters): 400g cherry or mini roma tomatoes, finely chopped 1 small red onion, grated 2 teaspoons tomato paste 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped salt and pepper to taste 120g self raising flour flaxseed instead of one egg olive oil for flying Method: 1. In a medium saucepan, fry the onion in a little oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes. 2. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cover for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. Transfer the onion and tomato mixture to a large bowl, add tomato paste and herbs and season well with salt and pepper. 4. Add the flour and egg, mixing, until it forms a thick batter, adding more flour if necessary. 5. Over high heat, pour some olive oil into a large non-stick frying pan until it reaches a depth of around 1cm. Once the oil has heated, drop a small amount of the batter into the oil and if it sizzles, the oil is ready. 6. Turn the heat down to medium. 7. Drop heaped tablespoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry both sides until golden and crisp. 8. Drain over paper towels and serve immediately with fresh Greek yoghurt.
12 March 2016
26 March 2016