Meatless Monday – MasterChef meatless hacks

I’ve been watching a lot of MasterChef Australia these days as well as My Kitchen Rules New Zealand. There seems to be a recurring theme on these shows:

panna cotta, plate presentation, purée, crackling and crumb

The shows are heavily meat-centric and I wonder and wait for an all vegetarian/vegan MasterChef series. In the meantime I perform my recipe alchemy to make meatless variations of current food trends.

Almost every show there’s a panna cotta for dessert. This very simple dish is usually just milk with sugar, flavouring and gelatin. It is heated then poured into individual serving dishes and cooled. It should be removed from the container then served on a plate. The wobble is a sign that your panna cotta is successful. I replaced the gelatin with powdered agar agar and used coconut milk instead of cow’s milk (½ teaspoon to 1 cup) and it works. See my Instagram for a wobble video.

Plate presentation is often a judging criteria. A rainbow coloured mix of fruits and vegetables helps make a visually appealing plate. And you can’t go wrong with a small pile of grains topped with tofu or tempeh slices and kissed with some fresh herbs.

Vegetables often feature in some sort of purée smeared onto the plate. Try a pumpkin, pea or celeriac purée accompanied by a hearty serving of some plant protein.

Crackling is crack for pig meat lovers. It is the fat on pork belly crisped up. The generic tastes associated with it (salt, fat, crunch) have universal appeal though. Some oven-baked kale chips or fried plantain crisps can provide a salty, fatty, crunchy topping for a salad.

A crumb can be either sweet or savoury and resembles breadcrumbs in texture. It is often used as an accent to the main dish. Macadamia nut crumb with dessert or bacon crumb (more pig, sigh) for a savoury dish. With a food processor and some imagination you can create your own crumb accent for any meatless dish. Nuts, soaked then dried, make the ideal base for any meatless meal. Ideas: macadamia nut and ginger crumb with coconut panna cotta; pumpkin seed, maple flake and sage crumb with a three sisters (corn, squash, beans) and quinoa stuffed bell pepper.

Meatless Monday – “Yes we have no bananas”

Simply a recipe for this Meatless Monday 

Banana granola 

  • One banana, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons each coconut oil and maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or maple sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • extras: walnuts, chocolate chips, freeze-dried strawberries

Preheat oven to 250°C. Mix wet ingredients then combine with the dry ingredients. Lay out on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for one hour. Makes around 2 cups.

Eat as a cereal, mix with yoghurt or use as a base for trail mix.



Meatless Monday – And the reveal…🇨🇦

And some Canadian food combinations from last week’s mystery box challenge.

  • Maple syrup, red fife flour and pumpkins to make pumpkin pie
  • Lentils and hemp seed veggie burgers on red fife flour buns
  • Clean and steam fiddleheads then sautée in pan with some mustard seeds and cooked lentils.
  • Use pumpkin and some apple to make a soup. Use sage as the main flavouring and serve with red fife croutons.
  • Berries and maple syrup compote and some applesauce as accompaniments to cooked oatmeal
  • Potato and red fife flour gnocchi with a pumpkin marinara
  • Corn chowder using potatoes, dulse and corn. Sprinkle hemp seeds on top.

And how did you combine the ingredients?

Canadian cuisine, and one that is meatless, is more than just maple syrup. The spirit of Canadian cuisine, much like Canada’s cultural mosaic, uses ingredients that are indigenous and interweaves the tastes and spices of different cultures.