Lamb, pumpkin and eggplant curry

We’re already into our last month of winter but I’ve been warned that Melbourne doesn’t actually get warm until November. So that means more curries, soups and stews for me. Which isn’t a bad idea as I haven’t been well … Continue reading

Creamy cauliflower coconut pasta sauce

Another week has flown by in Melbourne and I am now getting into the rhythm of the city. I love the fact that practically everything is in walking distance and there is so much to see, do and eat, of course. My list of foodie places is growing everyday and am looking forward to trying them all out, eventually!

Adding to my healthy pantry! Emma Lauren Food.

Adding to my healthy pantry!

As well as dining out, I have been enjoying some delicious meals at home. I mentioned in my previous post that I will be adding to my healthy pantry each week to keep inspired to create healthy meals and treats. Yesterday I purchased chia seeds, unhulled tahini, coconut flakes and slivered almonds. Almond milk and coconut yoghurt are staples on my weekly shopping list, along with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Filled with Australian products

Not long before I moved to Melbourne, I was lucky enough to receive a Native Box from the lovely owners! As I’ve mentioned before, Native Box is packed with Australian eco-friendly products, sample and full-sized. Once again, I was amazed by the quality of the products and the size of them too! Included in this box was a full-sized packet of Orgran’s gluten free buckwheat pasta spirals which I used in my creamy pasta recipe featured in today’s post – that’s what I love about the Native Box, it allows you to try products you wouldn’t normally! I’ll definitely be purchasing this pasta again now that I know how delicious it is and will try out some more of the Orgrans product too!

Head over the to Native Box website to see how you can get your hands on one of these eco-friendly boxes and to learn more the company’s fantastic work!

Creamy cauliflower coconut pasta sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Orgran buckwheat pasta that arrived in my Native Box!

The Orgran buckwheat pasta has an earthy flavour to it which complements the shiitake mushrooms and asparagus in the creamy sauce.

Creamy cauliflower coconut pasta sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Cooked cauliflower

It’s important the cauliflower is completely cooked through so it can be blended easily. I love how the blended cauliflower takes on a cream-like texture; it is definitely going to become a substitute in many more of my recipes!

Creamy cauliflower coconut pasta sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Aromatic

When the leek and garlic are cooked they release an aromatic smell that fills the room. I like to use leeks in my cooking when I am short on time or only want a subtle onion flavour. Plus, they are a beautiful green colour.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Creamy sauce taking shape

By adding the blended cauliflower and coconut milk to the frypan, it allows the sauce to become fragrant due to the cooked leek and garlic.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Adding the remaining ingredients

I’ve added shiitake mushrooms and asparagus to this sauce to enhance the flavour and texture. The mushrooms lend a ‘meatiness’ and the asparagus provides a crunch. Nutritional yeast adds the cheesy flavour to the sauce and is packed with vitamin B. It can be purchased from most health food stores or from your local supermarket in the health food aisle.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Stirring through the cooked pasta

Once the pasta is al dente, add it to the creamy sauce and as the pasta is a spiral shape the sauce will cling to the ridges.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Ready to be devoured

There are so many vegetables in this pasta, some obvious and others hidden – the cauliflower! I’m sure if you served this with just the creamy sauce, your guests would think they are enjoying an Alfredo pasta dish made with cream, little would they know it has been made with cauliflower!

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Bowl of creamy pasta!

This pasta will keep in the fridge for up to two days in a sealed container.

Now, all I feel like is a big bowl of this healthy pasta for dinner!

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/2 leek, washed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, approx. 270mL
  • 3 TBSP nutritional yeast, extra for topping
  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed and chopped
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g buckwheat or gluten free pasta
  • 1 cup kale, washed and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Add cauliflower florets to a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until tender then drain and set aside.
  2. Add coconut oil in a large frypan over medium heat and add leek and garlic. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until softened.
  3. Add cooked cauliflower and coconut milk to a blender/Vitamix and blend until smooth.
  4. Add blended cauliflower and coconut to the cooked leek and garlic. Stir until well combined.
  5. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add the pasta and boil for time instructed on the packet.
  6. Stir in the nutritional yeast, asparagus and shiitake mushrooms to the sauce.
  7. Drain pasta in a colander, reserving 1 cup liquid in case sauce becomes too dry.
  8. Add pasta and kale to sauce in frypan and cook until sauce begins to cling to pasta, 1 – 2 minutes. If it’s too dry, add a little pasta liquid and stir it through.
  9. Divide among bowls or serve on a large plate, top with extra nutritional yeast and enjoy!
Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Dinner is served!

This pasta dish was served with a side of sweet potato and potato wedges, and hummus.

I hope you all enjoy this meal during the coming winter, it’s a quick yet comforting mid-week meal!

Green chickpea vegetable curry

I’m sure many of you who work full-time understand this already but after a busy day at work it’s difficult to find the motivation to cook a healthy meal.

Since starting my internship in Melbourne last week, I’ve realised the way to tackle this problem is to be organised. The more prepared I am at the start of the week, the easier it is to eat healthily during the week. As there are no excuses not to eat healthy when I have all the ingredients in the fridge!

Green curry paste

I bought this curry paste from Coles in the Asian section. It’s a healthy yet convenient way to add instant flavour to your meal.

Cooking away…

I understand traditional curries require hours of cooking however this is an easy recipe that requires limited cooking time and is full of flavour!

Full of greens

What is great about this curry is that you can use whatever vegetables you have – feel free to add some chicken if you want too!

Quick, healthy curry

This curry can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for two days – or great for lunch the next day!

Green chickpea vegetable curry

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP green curry paste
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 TBSP ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch shallots, washed and sliced
  • 1x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch pak choy, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup green beans, washed and sliced
  • 1x 400g can coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

Method:

  1. In a large frypan over medium heat melt coconut oil.
  2. Add green curry paste, garlic, ginger and shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.
  3. Add chickpeas and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add pak choy, green beans and coconut milk, then simmer for a further 5-7 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with cooked quinoa. Enjoy!

How do you add flavour to your meals?

Thai pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup is one of my all-time favourites. Eating it always brings back fond memories of cooler nights and crusty bread.

This aromatic, spice-infused version definitely takes your taste buds on a ride. The zesty lime against the heat from the chili just seems to work so well.

Soup base all processed

The fresh lemongrass makes this base quite stringy. If you do use fresh lemongrass make sure you pick out the excess pieces so your soup isn’t stringy – however I am not guaranteeing this will definitely work.

If this is too tedious or you don’t want stringy pieces in your soup, just use lemongrass paste which can usually be found in the Asian aisle at the supermarket.

Pumpkin coated in fragrant spices

By coating the pumpkin in the spices, this ensures that the flavours will be well and truly infused.

Creamy smooth soup

This soup tastes great either smooth or chunky, it is entirely up to personal preference.

Served with a slice of lime

It will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Alternatively you can freezer portions for up to 1 month. Make sure you defrost it in the fridge overnight.

Pumpkin laksa soup

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2kg pumpkin, peeled and cut into 5cm chunks
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 chili, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 sticks of lemongrass, remove outer leaves or use 1 TBSP lemongrass paste
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, washed and roughly chop stalks and keep leaves separate for later
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1.25L vegetable stock
  • 320mL coconut milk
  • 2 limes, freshly juiced
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a food processor/Vitamix, place lime leaves, chili, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks and cumin. Process for 2 minutes then remove any stringy bits that remain in the pulp. 
  2. In a large saucepan, place coconut oil, pulp and onion. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add the pumpkin and coat with the pulp. Then add stock to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.
  4. Place batches of soup in food processor and process until smooth. Return to pan and add coconut milk. Cook for a further 5 minutes.*
  5. Add lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir and decorate with coriander leaves. Enjoy!

Note: omit step 4 if you prefer your soup chunky and just add the coconut milk and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Don’t be alarmed by the number of ingredients – most of them are to make the soup base! Once this is done, it’s very straight forward. Honestly, it is so worth it!