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Saturday, 7 February 2009

Crusted Stuffed Carrot

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First of all I need to thank the sweet Shelly for all the nice words she said about me and for posting a Wipster interview about me! I love the idea to call the W.I.P participants Wipsters! And thank you for all your amazing comments about the W.I.P Wednesday logo! I wasn’t expecting such a big response! I’m really happy that you’ve liked the W.I.P logo! Hopefully, I’ll be able to get on some crafty creations to post on every W.I.P Wednesday!

Secondly, I’ve started a new job on Thursday (yay!) and I now have a new routine to adjust to. But I’m pretty excited as I have not worked for nearly four months.

Ok I think what you want now is the recipe for the Crusted Stuffed Carrot (that I featured the photo for in my previous post), right? I wanted to post before but have just not been able to find time.

It did not take that long to make, I don’t know how long exactly but it was under an hour including baking time, probably just 30 minutes preparation time. I made a creamy mushroom filling that was quite tasty. For me this was nice and so convenient as all the ingredients are just staples in my kitchen. So, all in all, this is something I’ll make again and I plan on taking it as lunch for work!

Crusted Stuffed Carrot

Ingredients (2 servings)

2 medium/large carrots

Crust:
1 ½ cup plain flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Water (about 7-8 tablespoons) to make the dough

Soymilk for glazing

Stuffing:
2-3 fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
Pieces of scooped carrots
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon minced/grated ginger
½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
Some finely chopped scallions / spring onions (optional)
¾ tablespoon plain flour
½ cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Place the carrots whole into a steamer and steam for 10 minutes when water starts to boil or until slightly tender. (Alternatively you can boil the carrots until slightly tender, about 12 minutes).
  • Remove and allow to cool before handling.
  • While carrots are steaming, prepare the crust.
  • Mix the oil with the flour. Work with the fingers until flour ressembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add water and knead to form a nice and smooth dough. (Adjust water if required, the dough should not be sticky.)
  • Divide into 2. Set aside.
  • Cut carrots into halves lengthwise. Slice out the middle portion of each carrot half, leaving enough shell so carrots won’t break. (I found this is best done with a small knife, you can cut a v-shape which is easier, but I tried to carve mine round and it wasn’t too bad). Scoop out carrot centers. Finely chop the carrot centers, set aside.
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  • In a fry pan or skillet, heat oil. Add onion, garlic, ginger and sauté for a 2 minutes.
  • Add chopped carrots, mushroom. Stir and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Then add flour. Mix well and don’t allow to burn. Almost immediately add soy milk and stir well so that lumps do not begin to form. You have to be very quick at this stage. (If you are unsure, you can also stir the flour into the milk first then pour this over into the pan).
  • Sprinkle with dried basil, add in the scallions, salt and pepper.
  • Allow to thicken into a creamy consistency.
  • Remove from heat and let cool before stuffing into carrots.
  • Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius.
  • Roll out dough to desired thickness and large enough to wrap the carrots with.
  • Place one carrot half onto the rolled dough.
  • Trim the sides. You can use these cut off pieces to make the braid decoration.
  • Add some stuffing, cover with the other half to enclose.
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  • Wrap dough around carrot and close properly.
  • You can place some braided dough decoration to hide the dough seam. (I made the braid by using 3 thin pieces of left over dough, you even just use 2 pieces and twist them around).
  • Place on a greased baking tray (I usually place some foil to avoid sticking).
  • Brush with some soymilk; avoid dripping it on the tray as it will glue the crust to the tray which will make it hard to remove from.
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until crust is a golden light brown colour.Let cool slightly before removing from tray.
  • Decorate with some scallions. Cut the scallion to desired length (about 10cm or 4 inches), then slice it into 4 – 5 sections lengthwise. Leave about 1 cm uncut at the base. Then curl it up by running the blunt side of a knife along the length on the outside, applying slight pressure (the same way you would curl paper ribbons with scissors, if you’ve ever done that).
  • Insert this at the top of the carrot into the filling.

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Enjoy with salad, fries, soup…or just on its own!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The story of the Goat that climbed on a Giant Tortoise

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Photo taken by Boodan Tek, initially posted on carrotmadman6's blog


It’s been a while since I posted something here! Well today I have something other than a recipe to share with you.

What is it? A story!

Do you want to hear it? Do you?!

Yes! Of course you do!

Well here goes:

On this small island (called Mauritius) in the heart of the Indian Ocean, there lies a valley of astounding beauty, vivid and green with plant life. It is called ‘La Vallée des Couleurs’ (translated as The Valley of Colours). Indeed colourful pastures and beds of exotic plants extend to a range of foothills that appear a bluish purple in the distance. A walkway with several stone steps winds around down to the heart of the valley. It almost feels like a sacred place, so peaceful, so quiet – a stillness that every being longs to experience. And yet from that stillness, vibrant animal life co-habit with the plants.

One day, while grazing around Hop-Ho-Neo, a young smart playful goat, noticed the exotic palm-like tree in the middle of the meadow. Hop-Ho-Neo is always hopping and merrily galloping around; he brings some animation to this ever so tranquil valley.

This tree had always been there but he never paid any attention to it until that day. He was struck by the most wonderful idea that soon became his next challenge! He did not exactly quite know what kind of tree it was, but who cares! Hop-Ho-Neo was bored with grazing the grass underneath him and was up for some more exotic flavours instead!

The question remained how to get to those leaves he saw?! They were too high on the tree for Hop-Ho-Neo. “Ah ha! Master Sanchee!” thought Hop-Ho-Neo. And off he went towards Master Sanchee.

Master Sanchee, a rare species of giant tortoise, is probably more than a century old and peacefully lives with his family and friends in the heart of ‘La Vallée des Couleurs’.

“Meehhh! Meehhhhh! Mehh!” Hop-Ho-Neo said to Master Sanchee. (Translation: Hey! Sanchee, can you see those leaves over there? Do you think you could help me gain some height? I’m bored with grazing this same grass everyday mate!)

Master Sanchee nonchalantly lifted an eyelid without moving any other body part. Like all giant tortoise of his kind, movements are minimal but not meaningless. With time Hop-Ho-Neo has learnt to understand ‘tortoise language’ and the slow casual eyelid lift meant:

“You want to use me as a step ladder? Dear me! That tree is much too far away! I’m a century old you know, I cannot reach there in three hops like you! Go graze your grass Hop-Ho!”

“Mehhh! Meeehhh! Mehhhhhhhhh!” replied Hop-Ho-Neo, not giving up. (Translation: Oh come on! Sanchee mate! Aren’t we buddies? I could even grab a few of those leaves for you too! Apparently they taste great, an exotic variety!”

A somewhat less slow eyelid reply from Master Sanchee meant:

“Hhhh! Very well, very well, you smart ass! You win! Let’s go!”

Master Sanchee meticulously turned around facing the tree and slowly and leisurely started walking towards it. Hop-Ho-Neo, galloped to the tree and came back two times in his excitement and Master Sanchee had still not reached a quarter of the distance.

“Meehh! Mehhh!” called out Hop-Ho-Neo (Translation: Come on Sanchee! At this pace, I’m gonna die of starvation!)

Master Sanchee blinked with the right eye:

“I’m doing you a favour here and that’s the fastest I can go! Maybe you could go and watch the scenery in the meantime! And stop fluttering around like you have a pin in your ass!”

Hop-Ho-Neo felt his stomach twist with hunger and was getting impatient to bite into those exotic leaves.So, he decided to climb on Master Sanchee’s back! And up he was! Hop-Ho-Neo gently scrubbed Master Sanchee’s shell. He knew this would give him the tickle and would hasten him! This is something that Hop-Ho-Neo had learnt from the elders in the group – gently scratching the tortoise shell makes them move faster!

Master Sanchee lifted his head and became frantic with the tickling sensation that travelled from his shell to all over his body! His pace began to increase much to the delight of Hop-Ho-Neo. Sanchee almost vigorously shook his head from side to side meaning:

“Hop-Ho you have to stop this! Stop! Get off me!”

But Hop-Ho-Neo had only the exotic leaves in mind and would not get off!

Left with no choice than to keep advancing, Master Sanchee soon reached the tree. Finally! He stopped, panting and out of breath.

Hop-Ho-Neo, on the other hand, was jolly excited! He could not wait to bite into the exquisite leaves and boy they were! A medley of flavours – fresh, sweet and juicy with a slight tartness. The invigorating taste reached throughout his whole body and he felt reborn! For a minute he was drowned into another world. It was nothing like he had ever tasted before.

Coming back to his senses, he thought about Master Sanchee and had a look to what he was up to. Sanchee did not look particularly happy and was still slowly catching his breath.

“Hey! Sanchee! Have a bite into these! They’re divine!” said Hop-Ho-Neo in his ‘mehh, mehh’ talk.

But Master Sanchee was not impressed and he lifted his head ordering Hop-Ho-Neo to get off his back.

Realising that his friend actually had become very grumpy about the situation, Hop-Ho-Neo got off.

“Hey Sanchee! Really you should try these leaves mate! They’re awesome! I’m sure they’ll knock some 10 years off you!” said Hop-Ho-Neo.

“I nearly had a stroke there! I could have died walking at this pace! Rrrr!” grumbled Master Sanchee.

“Sorry dude, I was so impatient to eat those leaves,” Hop-Ho-Neo apologized, lowering his head to the grass, scrapping it with his hoof in a saddened gesture.

“Alright! Alright! Hop-Ho! But don’t you ever do that to me again!” said Master Sanchee.

And Hop-Ho-Neo was happy again as he offered a few leaves to his friend.

“Hmm! These are actually quite good! Hmm! More please! Hmmm!” munched Master Sanchee as he chewed and scoffed on the delicious leaves!

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Photo taken by Boodan Tek, initially posted on carrotmadman6's blog


Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed the story! Makes you want to go to Mauritius? I’ve actually never been to La Vallée des Couleurs myself when I was in Mauritius. What a shame! But I have seen and ridden on a giant tortoise’s back when I was a child!

I got inspired to write this story when I saw the pictures that were posted on carrotmadman6’s post.

What I really wanted to point out here is that animals are intelligent creatures and certainly not dinner! Look how cute these creatures are and how they behave, respect and co-habit with one another!

You’ll find all the series of 5 photos of the goat that climbed on the giant tortoise’s shell to reach some leaves on carrotmadman6’s blog. The photos were actually taken by a friend of carrotmadman6.

As carrotmadman6 (who’s veggie, by the way) made my day, I got inspired to bake this Crusted Stuffed Carrot!

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Coming up soon is the recipe for the Crusted Stuffed Carrot! Check back soon! Update: Recipe posted

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