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''There are so many possibilities in the vegetable world that we will forever be discovering new varieties and ways with them.''
Lim, who studied nutrition at the University of Otago and rose to fame through television cooking programme Masterchef, has showcased this versatility in her latest cookbook, Vegful, which is entirely vegetable-focused.
''I've created this book for vegetarians, vegans and omnivores alike. Whichever way we choose to eat, there's no doubt that eating more vegetables would do all of us good. So instead of a vegetarian/vegan cookbook, I'd more accurately describe it as a vegetable cookbook. Or, a very ''vegful'' cookbook! One to celebrate beautiful, colourful, bountiful vegetables,'' Nadia says.
Plant-based eating is rising in popularity, one in 10 Kiwis now identifying themselves as vegetarian or vegan.
''All around the world, people are looking to eat more vegetable-based meals, and I've had that feedback from A LOT of Kiwis, so I figured it was time to do a vegetable cookbook. I'm not vegetarian myself; however, my family and I do love our vegetarian and vegan meals.''
''There is no doubt about it that eating more vegetables would do all of us lots of good. It's the one food source of which we can't simply eat too much.''
While Kiwis' cooking culture has been largely based around meat - most of the time it's the starting point of a meal - and there are concerns vegetarian food might be somehow ''lacking''.
''Once you get used to thinking of vegetables as your starting point, and exploring new varieties, ways and techniques you'll wonder why vegetables weren't the star of your main meals all along.''
She has divided the book into chapters such feasts and sharing, leftovers, hearty salads and there is even a sweets section full of recipes that star vegetables - such as a parsnip, pear, ginger and walnut cake, carrot bliss balls, pumpkin and cinnamon donuts and sweet potato pie.
Nadia Lim, Vegful: at PaperPlus Cromwell (signing) and Wanaka November 4, Queenstown November 5, Winton and Invercargill November 11, Gore November 12, Mosgiel November 13 and Oamaru November 14.
This light, almost sponge-like cake is one that is great as a morning or afternoon tea-type cake by itself (as its not overly sweet or rich), or you can make it more decadent and special with the chocolate ganache and fresh berries. This recipe makes a smaller cake, enough to serve 8-10 nicely.
Ingredients350-400g beetroot, peeled and chopped¼ cup coconut oil or melted butter1 cup brown sugar1 tsp vanilla essence or extract1 cup (100g) ground almonds1¼ cup (100g) desiccated coconutfinely grated zest of 1 orange3½ Tbsp dark cocoa (I use Dutch cocoa) or cacao powder1 tsp baking powder5 medium free-range eggs
Chocolate ganache85g dark chocolate, chopped⅓ cup cream or coconut cream1 punnet fresh berries, to garnish
Method1. Preheat oven to 170degC. Lightly grease and line the base and sides of a 20-21cm cake tin with baking paper.
3. Drain beetroot well and place in a food processor or blender along with coconut oil/butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
4. If using the food processor, add ground almonds, coconut, orange zest, cocoa, baking powder and eggs, and continue blending until mixture is smooth and well combined. Otherwise, pour mixture into a large bowl, add other ingredients and whisk until smooth and well combined.
5. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until cake is just set. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from tin and transferring to a cake rack, then allow to cool completely before icing.
6. To make ganache, place chocolate and cream/coconut cream in a heatproof bowl and melt together in the microwave in 30-second bursts, then stir until smooth and glossy. Alternatively, place bowl above a small pot of barely simmering water and stir gently every now and again until melted. Allow ganache to cool slightly before using.
I reckon everyone needs to experience how satisfying it is to make your own focaccia bread. There's nothing quite like it fresh out of the oven, then plonked on the table to pull apart and generously dip into extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic or cut into thick slabs to have with salad or soup.
Ingredients300g kumara (red, orange or gold), peeled and chopped (or you can use potato)250ml warm (not hot) water1 tsp sugar1 Tbsp active dried yeast2 tsp salt6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil450g high-grade flour
2. While kumara is cooking, combine warm water and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and stir gently. Set aside for about 10 minutes until frothy.
3. Whisk in mashed kumara, salt, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sift in flour. Mix until ingredients are just combined.
4. Tip dough on to a clean, dry surface. Bring together with your hands and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding a little flour as needed. The dough should be soft; if it's really sticky, add a little more flour.
5. Drizzle the inside of the bowl the dough was in with olive oil. Fold edges of the dough underneath to create a smooth, rounded top, then place in the oiled bowl. Drizzle and rub dough with a little more olive oil to prevent a crust forming on top. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hour until it has doubled in size.
6. Drizzle a baking tray with olive oil. Slide dough on to oiled tray. Use your fingertips to make indentations in the dough while gently stretching and flattening it into an oval shape about 1.5cm thick. Drizzle with more olive oil, cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes to rise again.
7. Heat oven to 220degC. Once the dough has risen, press your fingertips into the dough to make more indentations. Dot with grapes and sprinkle with rosemary and sea/rock salt. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and puffed around the edges. Eat warm, fresh out of the oven.
Marinating the vegetables and haloumi makes these kebabs all the more succulent and delicious, and cooking them on the barbecue will add a subtle smokiness. You can't have a barbecue without these on the menu and, what's more, kids love them too!
Marinade and dressing¼ cup olive oilzest and juice of 1 lemon1 clove garlic1 tsp ground coriander¼ tsp ground cumin½ tsp sweet or smoked paprika½ tsp salt2 Tbsp pickled jalapenos (from a jar, optional)1 cup chopped parsley1 cup chopped coriander1 punnet cherry tomatoes2 capsicums (red, yellow or orange), cut into 2-3cm pieces1 red onion, cut into 2-3cm pieces1 eggplant, cut into 2-3cm pieces2 courgettes, sliced 1cm thick200-250g haloumi, cut into 16 cubes½ cup natural, unsweetened yoghurt, to serve
Method1. Soak bamboo skewers in a dish of water for at least 20 minutes while you prepare the marinade and vegetables.
2. Place all marinade ingredients, except parsley and coriander, in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add parsley and coriander and pulse a few times until the herbs are finely chopped. Reserve 2 tablespoons of marinade for the yoghurt dressing.
3. Place vegetables and haloumi in a large bowl or zip-lock bag and add marinade. Toss to combine and coat the vegetables. If you have time, leave to marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours.
4. Preheat barbecue or oven grill. Thread vegetables on to wet skewers, so that the vegetables are lightly touching each other. I like to place a piece of courgette on first, followed by capsicum, eggplant, haloumi, red onion, another piece of courgette, and finally a cherry tomato.
5. Brush skewered vegetables with oil. Grill kebabs for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice, until vegetables are soft and haloumi is golden.
6. Arrange kebabs on a platter. Mix reserved marinade with yoghurt and drizzle over kebabs just before serving.
The all-new Ask a Chef is available now! With fantastic recipes from the popular newspaper series, there is inspiration for everything from salads to chocolate cakes and quiches to sausage rolls - sure to impress at your next family or social gathering!
With a delicious mix of recipes from around the region including Riverstone Kitchen and Fleur's Place, there is something for everyone. Get your copy of Ask a Chef today !
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