I have been wanting to post about this meatless bolognese for ages now. What’s been stopping me? Well, when I used to make it all of the time in Montreal, I used to get this fake ground meat product that I used as the base. I have since learned that you could also use Textured Vegetable Protein for the mock meat flair, but after going to three grocery stores looking for it, and about to try a fourth, I realized: if it’s so hard for me to find the stuff, why would I send you on the same wild goose chase? There had to be a better way. So, I put my thinking cap on. The mock meat was really just used for the texture. It was always unseasoned, so all of the great flavor came from all of the vegetables and herbs that I used in the sauce. I never used to use mushrooms in the sauce, but that’s the place my mind goes when I want something chewy and ‘meaty’, so the new and improved (because we can all actually make it) vegan spaghetti bolognese was born.
Oh the mighty eggplant. Where do I begin? I actually don’t cook with eggplant very often, but it is always what I am drawn to on menus or when I am out. I think that this was especially true this past July. It was definitely the month of the eggplant for me. While I was in London, all market food that contained eggplant ended up in my mouth, and in Sicily, it was ubiquitous and delicious. I couldn’t resist. Unlike my love for how others prepare eggplant, I have never mastered cooking it and am exceedingly limited in my eggplant repertoire. Typically, my first thought is eggplant parmesan. I have a few asian-inspired recipes as well (this one most notably), but that’s really it. While both of these recipes are two of my favourite meals, I always forget about them and usually end up walking by my purple friend in the grocery store without a second glance.
One of the best things about living in London, has to be the endless possibility for cheap travel elsewhere. The flight deals that you can get to cities around Europe are absolutely unreal, especially coming from Canada where a 1 hour flight from Calgary to Vancouver costs hundreds of dollars. In our utter lack of organization, our plans to go to Scotland fell through the cracks and we were left, the day before we departed, to figure out where we should fly to. It wasn’t a very bad position to be in. There is always so much choice. It was a toss up between Sicily and Munich. We ended up going to Sicily, a place, in all honesty, that I had never considered going to before (not for any particular reason). What pushed us both over the edge as we looked into both destinations was the food.
As promised, here is some ravioli! While fresh pasta can be enjoyed in every shape and size, I think that stuffed pasta is where making your own pasta really pays off. Being able to customize your own filling and play around with different flavours is something you can’t do with store bought pasta (unless you can get your hands on fresh pasta sheets that you can then stuff and shape yourself). Personally, I love the idea of making my own stuffed pasta because, like homemade dumplings, the filling is always so much fresher and identifiable than a lot of the pasty fillings that characterize a lot of the store bought stuff.