A Vegetarian Lunch for 4

10/14/2008 08:45:00 PM

A Vegetarian Lunch for 4
Baked Stuffed Eggplants
Chickpea, Coriander and Feta Salad
Rice and Lentils
White Mochaccino Cake

This was the menu for an ill-fated lunch party I had a couple of weeks back, where 2 of my guests did not rock up (including the vegetarian for whom the menu was designed!), and I sat in a huff for most of the afternoon. Ah well. The rest of us had a good time eating and catching up, although I must say the experience put me off entertaining, at least for a little while.

The stuffed eggplants (first photo), were an adaptation of a recipe in Tessa Kiros' Falling Cloudberries - her version is stuffed with minced beef, I substituted rice.

I'd never made stuffed eggplants before, so it was quite interesting for me to figure out how to do it. You start by disembowelling the eggplants (the recipe says to use a spoon, but I found a little utility knife much more effective), then boiling the shells for about 10 minutes until soft. In the meantime, you cook the eggplant flesh with some onions and rice, tomato passata and stock until the rice is cooked. Let it cool a little, add some parsley and feta. Then, you stuff the mixture into the eggplants, layer them in a lightly greased dish, pour over some tomato sauce, sprinkle with parmesan and bake! (I couldn't find animal-rennet free parmesan, but by the time I got around to baking, I realised our veggie guest wasn't going to show, so I sprinkled parmesan over the eggplants with gay abandon).

Side dish of choice was my absolute favourite chickpea salad - at the insistent request of 2 of my good friends (who did come!), who tried it at the Lunch for Leukaemia, and loved it! What can I say? They've got good taste.

I served the meal with rice and lentils - 1.5 cups of rice, half a cup of puy lentils, which I simply put in the rice cooker with 4 cups of water. Too easy.

Dessert - a must for my coffee-drinking government buddy was a grown-up version of the white mochaccino cupcakes I made for Fanny's Sugar High Friday: Cupcake event. Or more simply put, a blonde mocha layer cake from Nigella's Forever Summer. Going from previous experience, I halved the icing quantities so that I wouldn't have a huge amount leftover. The halved amount didn't make quite enough to cover the entire cake, but that's fine because it is verrry sweet.

I have to say I prefer this cake in delicate cupcake form, but I loved the way it looked sitting on the kitchen table, all majestic and swirly.

As far as the food was concerned, the lunch went quite well - the taste of each item was nice, and full of healthy legumey protein. However, in total the meal was a bit rice-heavy, and quite uniform in texture. My next challenge will be to get a bit more texture happening in my veggie meals.

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  1. Anonymous10:34 PM

    How rude. I would have gladly taken their spot!

  2. I would never cancel on a vegetarian feast that looked that good! I hope you and your other guests enjoyed it anyway. :-)

  3. Sounds delish & I do love Nigellas blonde cake. When I do a veggie lunch I tend to make tarts, they tend to be a bit lighter without all the rice even though pastry is a bit naughty

  4. Thanks guys!

    Cindy - omg the person in question didn't "cancel"... she just didn't rock up and didn't tell me or let me know until we called her an hour after lunch was supposed to start! This was despite the fact that her and I had chatted the week before via facebook and she had told me all her dietary requirements. Can you believe it! To be honest I was going to make your delish-looking soybombs too but now I'm glad I didn't waste the effort, hehe.

    Ange - mm... tarts would be a great idea! Crispy pastry against soft filling.

    xox Sarah

  5. Eek! That is really rude. I bet this person won't be receiving any more lunch invitations from you. :-/

  6. Well they sure missed out! Everything looks so good. That chickpea salad reminds me of one of my favourites from the expensive salad bar near my work...The Blonde Mocha cake is amazing but yeah, crazy amounts of icing. Which makes me wonder, since cookbooks are always tested rigorously, just how thickly does Nigella ice her cakes?!

  7. Anonymous9:29 PM

    Tessa's Chick Pea and Feta salad is one of my permanent standby recipes as it is so simple but delicious to make!

  8. Next time try bulgar in the stuffed eggplant!! Everything looks great. I hate when ppl dont show up. I hope they at least called. I must get myself a rice cooker.



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