I’m getting excited about vegetables at the moment… getting ready for our new vegetarian cooking class series and reading some new cookbooks from Yotam Ottolenghi, Deborah Madison, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Richard Landau. But I’m not the only one…

barbecued vegetable ratatouille

Barbecued vegetable ratatouille on the Evo grill

Everywhere I turned in 2013 clients kept asking me more and more for vegetarian dishes – in our corporate cooking events, cooking parties, cooking classes, catering and tours. It seems the world has become obsessed with vegetables, non-meat proteins and grains. We are seeking out new ones, and new ways to cook with the ones we know.

We’ve come a long way from those days when our mums thought veggies weren’t cooked till they were soft and brown. Along with increasing familiarity with the basics of working with vegetables, diets keep changing due to more awareness of allergies and nutrition, plus people are trying to lose weight and eat fewer animal products for health, environmental and ethical reasons.

Australia is full of great vegetables. When you roam the markets here you just spin out. Now more than ever, knowledge of how to cook the amazing variety of vegetables we have in this world has become essential, if a bit overwhelming.

From the now famous kale chips to the ever popular cauliflower rice it’s hard to believe we haven’t been eating like this all our lives. We’ve moved beyond the “tofu stew” and “veggie bake”. Even the humble brussels sprout has taken on new dimension. Then there are all the ancient grains like quinoa, farro, and frikeh among others coming more into our homes and hearts.

So, with all this momentum building, we are introducing our new vegetarian cooking workshops starting 25 February 2014. Our first – Love Your Veggies is a series of 6 classes that will take you on a journey through cuisines and techniques. From “Asian Wow” to the “Fresh, Green and Flash” classes we showcase vegetarian dishes with lots of flavour and texture sensations.

Please join us for this amazing series that will set you apart for your next dinner party and give you amazing variety in your vegetarian cooking. Now everyone will love their veggies!

As a little teaser, I’m sharing my recipe for kale chips below. Make, enjoy and feel free to share this recipe, and please let everyone know about this course & Book Now! 🙂

Crispy Kale Chips with Lemon and Parmesan

Ingredients

500 gm curly kale
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line two baking sheets with aluminium foil.
  2. Cut out and discard the tough stems of the kale leaves. Tear the leaves into large pieces. Wash and spin dry.
  3. In a large bowl, using your hands, toss kale leaves with olive oil until evenly coated. Arrange the kale leaves in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10-15 minutes, lightly tossing now and then, until the leaves are completely crisped but not browned.
  4. While the leaves are still warm, sprinkle with parmesan, salt and a squeeze of lemon. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  5. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Note:  While cooking chips, check every 5 minutes or so for doneness, and toss them a bit so they crisp evenly. You can also do this with large spinach leaves. You can also add pine nuts or sliced almonds if you like.

Serves 2-4 as a snack