February in the Garden February 16 2016

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m a fair weather kind of gardener. February is the month where I start getting inspired in the garden again. I love the crisp sunny days and the thought of Spring being just around the corner. Being a food blogger I’m a big fan of growing vegetables – they taste so good! This week I sowed some aubergine seeds and some radish seeds. For people that think aubergines are a waste of time to grow in the UK, I disagree! It’s unbelievably satisfying seeing aubergines grow and they’re actually not that hard to nurture.

 As well as sowing seeds I will be tidying up my garden (late I know) and planting the cherry tree I bought a few months ago. I’ve wanted a cherry tree for a long time and can’t wait for it to blossom!

The seeds I’ve used are from last years Secret seed Swap. See how to register here.

I’m hoping they will provide me with enough aubergines to cook a good few batches of my Parmigiana later this Summer. But if you can’t wait that long here is my recipe…

G x

Plant Based Parmigiana

Ingredients 

4          Large aubergines

Handful of Basil

Tomato Sauce (can be pre-made, recipe here)

For the Vegan Mozzarella 

250ml Hot water

40g     Cashews (soaked overnight or boiled for 10 minutes)

40g     Tapioca flour

1          Clove garlic (crushed)

1tbsp  Nutritional yeast

1tsp    Apple cider vinegar

½ tsp  Salt

Method – Serves 4 – Oven 180*c

  1. Make your tomato sauce using this recipe. You can pre-make this and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  2. Finely slice the aubergines lengthways. Place on a baking tray and brush them with olive oil. Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, Turning them over halfway through and brushing them with a little more oil. You may have to cook them in batches depending on the size of your oven.
  3. Make the mozzarella – If you forgot to soak your cashews you can boil them for 10 minutes until soft. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and stir on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and sticky. Set aside to cool. You can also pre-make this and keep in the fridge up to 5 days.
  4. In an ovenproof dish start to layer up the parmigiana. Firstly put a layer of baked aubergine slices into the bottom of the dish then spoon over some tomato sauce to cover them. Add some dollops of mozzarella and a few basil leaves. Then add your next layer of aubergines and repeat.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until mozzarella has slightly browned. Sprinkle with some fresh basil leaves. Serve with a nice big green salad and/or bread.