I just love autumn. The colours that fall to the ground are stunning and romantic. I've been lucky enough to shoot a client this week in the Adelaide Hills at a fig orchard called Glen Ewin Estate. Before you freak out, I'm a photographer. The view was just so beautiful, with deep hues of burgundy, gold and olive along with bright reds and lime greens. This time of the year always makes me reminiscent and I find reminiscing to be somewhat romantic if not melancholy.
I have had a real hankering for braised cabbage lately. I really can't tell you where that has come from being that I am no longer pregnant. The more I thought about this, the more I could imagine the slices of cabbage melting away in my mouth. I pondered. Why stop at cabbage? Why not get into some braised classic vegetables and lentils? That sounds like a meal to fit an autumn day.
Good food is important. It nourishes the mind, the body and the soul as we all know. I've often said that the way to my heart is through my stomach. Good kitchenware is important when it comes to cooking good food. Why spend time and money making a dish only to have what you cook it in change the outcome? A good set of saucepans and a good frypan is imperative to any kitchen. We've all had those experiences where we have started cooking in a frypan only to have the dish ruined by it sticking to the bottom or the pan not heating evenly. Sucks. So when I came across Jamie Oliver's professional series of saucepans and frypans I was quite intrigued. They are really sturdy, anodised and have Tefal's non-stick capabilities.
Sure. Jamie Oliver isn't vegan however I really appreciate what he's doing for communities across the world. He's helped homeless young people gain employment through his restaurants and he's re-educated countless people on the way that food impacts their health and the health of those around them. We all have to start somewhere, right? I trust that Mr Oliver would only endorse products that he believes in. These products can be a little pricy but it's worth it for something that will last. Heavily discounted Jamie Oliver Cookware can found at Kitchenwaredirect.com.au, often at 25% off the recommended retail price. Cook good food with good cookware.
Braised Classic Vegetables with Lentils and White Wine.
Time: About an hour and 20 minutes.
Serves: 2 as a main. 4 as a side.
- 2 Potatoes, washed, skinned and cut into wedges.
- 2 Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks.
- 1 Leek, cut into quarters lengthwise, so that it resembles ribbons.
- 6 Brussel Sprouts, cut in half (I decided to use these tasty babies instead of cabbage.)
- 1 Zucchini, cut into chunks.
- 2 Cloves of garlic, squashed.
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
- Half a cup of vegetable stock.
- Half a cup of white wine.
- One stick of sage.
- Salt and pepper, to taste.
Heat the oil in a large, sturdy saucepan. If you have a casserole dish or stewpot that can be used on both the oven top and inside the oven, choose this option.
Place the potatoes in the dish and then layer with the other vegetables. Do not stir just yet. You want these little babies to crisp up.
After the potatoes start to brown, stir the veggies gently, letting sit until all of the veg start to look a little golden on the edges.
Now, add the lentils, stock, wine and stick of sage. Give it a good stir and if you need to, transfer the mixture to an oven safe bowl or casserole dish- preferably one with a lid. The idea of braising is that some of the vegetables will be part boiled and part steamed ensuring that there is still a lot of colour and nutrients in the final product. Absorbing the stock and wine adds to the richness.
Put the lid on (or alternatively, you could use aluminium foil) and place the dish in the oven at 180 degrees C or 360F. Check after 40 minutes to see how soft the vegetables are. Some ovens run hotter than others, so if you feel that 40 minutes is all your veggies need, take them out. It's really up to you. Some ovens may need an hour or so.
Once out of the oven, remove the lid and add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the sprig of sage and plate up.
This pairs well with some crusty bread and a nice glass of wine, with a warm conversation over the dinner table.