I have always been fascinated by the many claims that a vegan/ macrobiotic/ veg-aquarian lifestyle boast. Despite having grown up in a thoroughly meat-and-three-veg household, I try to give my body a break from meat and other hard-to-digest foods from time to time. Did you know that humans actually started out their existence as herbivores?
Cue ‘meaty veg’. Aubergine (eggplant), mushrooms, courgette (zucchini), pumpkin… all those deceptively nutritious vegetables that leave you as satisfied as a carnivore in a rib joint – minus the heart attack.
These colourful creations are a final hurrah to the last days of Summer here in Sydney, as well as my contribution to this fortnight’s Cookbook Challenge. The delicate, vegan terrines can easily be made ahead of time and would be perfect for a summery picnic or as a Sunday lunch entrée. More than just a pretty face, this individual terrine is incredibly satisfying. The recipe is from a dear friend of mine in London, Patzi.
Her book Food Combining (Eating for Health) is full of really vibrant recipes based around the Hay System, which promotes alkaline-forming foods (vegetables, fruits, herbs) and aids the digestion of protein and carbs.
However tasty this terrine, I have much more to thank Patzi for than just her wonderful recipe. When I moved to London, enthusiastic and fresh-faced, I hadn’t the slightest idea of what I was getting myself into. To cut a very long story short, four weeks after arriving I found myself bewildered and at the end of my tether – I felt a bit like Pinocchio as he finds out he’s going to be turned into a donkey on Pleasure Island.
With no one to turn to, someone upstairs must have taken pity on the panicky eighteen-year-old Katie. Patzi came to the rescue out of the blue and, much like the Blue Fairy, magicked away all my problems. She runs Patrizia Diemling Catering in London and has cooked for countless rock stars, politicians and celebrities. I learned so much from Patzi and her husband Jim, and will always remember them for the kindness they showed me.
Cheers Patzi and Jim, I hope you’re enjoying the first days of Spring in Britain.
individual aubergine, courgette and spinach terrines
- 45mL (1 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red pepper/ capsicum, stem cut off and seeds removed
- 16-20 small heirloom or cherry tomatoes
- 1 large aubergine/ eggplant
- 2 courgettes/ zucchini
- leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
for the filling
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 4 fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
for the spinach
- 15g (1/2 oz/ 1 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
- 275g (10 oz) baby spinach leaves
- 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 190C. Line the base and sides of four 6cm (2 1/2 “) muffin rings (or four cavities in a muffin tray) with cling film.
- Place the red pepper and small tomatoes in a tray and drizzle over 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Place into the preheated oven and roast for 25 minutes or until soft and slightly charred.
- Slice the aubergine into four equal-sized rounds. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the aubergines on both sides until brown. Place the aubergines on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Heat half of the remaining oil (1/2 tbsp) in the same frying pan and fry the courgettes for 2 minutes, then drain on kitchen paper. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the thyme leaves.
- Place the tomatoes and the rest of the oil in the same frying pan and cook over a medium-high heat until the juices have evaporated and the mix thickens (can take up to 20 minutes).
- Add the basil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the spinach and garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan, allowing all the water to evaporate.
- Drain, add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
- Line the base of the muffin rings with the spinach leaves (about 1cm thick), making sure the leaves overlap, leaving no gaps. To make the aubergine terrine pictured above, use an aubergine slice for the base as well as the top.
- Place the courgettes around the edges of each ring, overlapping slightly.
- Divide the tomato mixture equally among the ring, pressing down well.
- Place the aubergines on top, trimming the edges to fit.
- Seal the top with cling film and pierce the base to allow any liquid to escape. If you are using a muffin tin: pierce the top of your terrines and, holding a paper-towel-lined tray on top of the muffin tin, flip the tin upside down.
- Chill overnight.
- Remove the terrines carefully from the rings (or simply lift the muffin tin up) and serve with diced roasted pepper and the roasted tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.