Winter Warmers

Yes, I am still alive.

So much has happened since I have last written. I quit my job, completed a degree, started a new job and got promoted all in the last year! So I have been quite the busy bee.

We are fast approaching a very cold winter here in South Africa. Note, our winters are a high of 17°C, nothing quite like the bitingly ice cold 6 months of winter I suffered through in Boston. But hey, it’s all relative, right?

table mountain

So, just in case any of you are in search of some deliciously warming food on a chilly evening, that happens to be devoid of animal products, or if you just want to eat something delightfully comforting and equally nutritious, look no further.

In an effort to make up for lost time, I’ll be posting quite a few recipes over the course of the week, so keep your eyes peeled for something that tickles your taste buds!

So, of recent, my room mates kids have been living with us. The 2 boys are not fans of, let’s say, healthy food. They like creamy, meaty, curry-ish food. So, occasionally, I cook for the 4 of us. And of course, then, the pressure is on. Because kids can be brutally honest. They can’t hide their facial expressions and mask their disgust with a stiff smile and a “Mmm, it’s so good” and then quietly spit it out into their napkin.

I have a firm tried and tested family favourite that you simply have to try. It’s a tasty twist on a layered lasagna, but a secretly not so unhealthy version. I try to refrain from using the word healthy, or I may get the Jehovah’s witnesses of health knocking on my door.

You will need:

6 large sweet potatoes steamed and peeled
3-4 cups of liquidized tomatoes
1 pack of mushrooms, sliced
1 diced onion
4 tablespoons chickpea flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of spinach
Soy milk
Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Nutritional Yeast, Dried Chilli, Garlic

I am a pro a multi tasking in the kitchen. I can prepare 3 seperate components of a dish, and wash up by the time everything is done. This dish involves 4 different parts. I’ll just give them to you, and you can do them in which ever order suits you.

1) Steam and peel your sweet potatoes. They need to be soft enough to mash. Once they are, mash 3 of the sweet potatoes and layer them on the bottom of a baking dish.

2) Prepare your napoletana sauce, by bringing your pureed tomatoes to a boil, adding in some chopped up dried chilli, and oregano.

3) Prepare your middle layer, which is the veggie mix. All I had on hand was mushrooms and onions, so I lightly sauteed them with a touch of garlic and pepper. I tossed in the spinach as well for good measure.

4) Prepare your white sauce. I use chickpea flour and olive oil to make a rue, and then add in some boiling water, and stir. I top it off with soy milk, and of course, it contains salt, pepper, and nooch! (If you don’t know what nooch is, you are probably still a beginner vegan. It’s nutritional yeast)

So, next, you layer your napoletana sauce over the mashed sweet potato.
Then your veggie mix.
Then your white sauce.
And lastly, the last 3 sweet potatoes get mashed to hold everything together.

Serve this yummy concoction, hot, with a side salad, and high expectations!