Thursday, 12 November 2009

Yet another veggie-praising post (plus recipe)

Last night I made my easy-peasy fairly healthy vegetarian cannelloni baked pasta dish using fresh spinach from my garden. That pleases me on some deep level. I'm not quite sure why.

In fact, it's quite bizarre and even disturbing how much I love my veggie garden. I rush outside in the mornings before work to check on my seedlings and I want to cry when I see my baby Asian greens have been the victims of a seven-course snail supper.

When I get home, the first thing I do is kick off my shoes and do a garden walk-through to enjoy the green-ness of it all. It's actually a little embarrassing. But my garden just doesn't cease to amaze me. Seriously! Planting seeds and watching them grow into big, healthy plants that give me delicious food is an awesome process indeed.

We have been our house for almost a year now and in that short space of time, my veggie garden has given me the following:

  • Green beans

  • Tomatoes (cherry ones and the juicy big ones)

  • Spinach (two different varieties)

  • Peppadews (before Ches craps on me, the plant was there when I arrived. It was a present from the Peppadew folk. Apparently.)

  • Carrots

  • Mielies (or corn, for non-South Africans)

  • Kale

  • Peas

  • Celery

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Lettuce

  • Asian greens

  • Radishes

  • Assorted herbs (mint, thyme, lemon thyme, parsley, various types of basil, sage, bay leaf, chives, chamomile and fennel)

I have also recently planted baby marrows, asparagus, eggplant, strawberries, beetroot etc, along with lots of non-foodie but useful plants (like comfrey, catnip, artemisia and marigolds) and am waiting (not very patiently) for them to grow up ;-)

But I digress...

The point of this post was actually to write down that recipe for vegetarian cannelloni. So here it is (Tamara-style, which means there are no proper measurements. Sorry):

Forgot to take a picture, but it looks something like this. Pic from here.


  • Bunch of spinach, washed thoroughly (gritty spinach will ruin the nicest of meals) and cooked

  • Half a readymade box of cannelloni pasta (normally about 8 - 10 tubes)

  • 250 ml tub of fat-free smooth cottage cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • salt and pepper

  • 250 ml tomato pasta sauce (I make my own by cooking fresh skinned tomatoes with a little salt, pepper, spoon of sugar and Italian herbs like oregano, basil and thyme)

  • A little bit of grated cheese to top


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Mix cooked spinach with the cottage cheese, nutmeg and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Pop this mixture into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds (I prefer to just use a stick blender - less mess, IMO).

Now, the fun bit: Line up your pasta tubes in an ovenproof dish and fill each one with the spinach mixture (it will be messy, but I find that using my piping bag is the easiest way of doing the filling. Just make sure your spinach is finely blitzed, or it will end up on the ceiling when you squeeze the bag. Trust me on this).

Top the tubes with your tomato-based pasta sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover (either with a lid or tin foil) and pop in the oven. Bake for 35 min. Serve with a green salad and some nice wine ;-)



Ches said...

Ha ha, Tam.

If you could be a veggie, which one would you be?

momcat said...

Yum - I love veggies! I think I'd be a lettuce, so fresh and refined.. Hey, who said crunchy?

Tamara said...

Ches: Hmmm... I would have to say a decorative Spanish gourd. Why? Because of Mr Lunt and His Cheeseburger

Tamara said...

Momcat: Hehehe... fresh and refined. Never heard a lettuce described that that before ;-)

Ches said...

Spanish Gourd! HA HA HA....

That cannelloni looks delicious by the way.

thejacksonfiles said...

my goodness that looks delicious. i love my veggie garden too, my beetroot is my favourite right about now. YUMMY.

african down under said...

That Cannelloni looks wicked. My girlfriend made a pumpkin and ricotta one the other night which looked just like that pic...before it went gobble gobble down my gullet. Keep posting recipes!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome variety of stuff you grow! I wanna do that too!!!

Please post a pick of your garden :)

Being Brazen said...

yum...I am so hungry now

Tamara said...

Ches: Damn my useless html abilities. The link to His Cheeseburger is:

TJF: It was yummy. Just had the leftovers for lunch ;-) Beetroot is awesome.

ADU: pumpkin and ricotta sounds delish!

Anon: Will do ;-)

Tamara said...

Brazen: for veggies?

Damaria Senne said...

Now I feel better about my love for my garden. Spome evenings I just sit on my stoep and watch my garden. Makes me feel so good to see the lannd change from empty to green.
Recipe looks good, BTW.

po said...

Cool, an awesome veggie recipe thank you! The BFG is veggie so we are always junting for recipes, maybe we shall try this one soon.

P.S. my word verification is "lusiver". A little disturbing.

Tamara said...

Damaria: Yay - someone who understands (and doesn't think I'm mad)!

Po: I have loads! Mailed some to another blogger the other day. Can send them to you if you like? We eat vegetarian once or twice a week, so have built an arsenal of veggie recipes TSC will actually eat ;-)

And that is rather disturbing.

phillygirl said...

That pasta looks delish! Hmmm, an idea is brewing ... me thinks the next things we should do with the Usual Suspects is a bring-your-favourite-veggie-dish dinner :) I'd do my Spinach & Feta Free-form Pie!

Shayne said...

i can so identify with walking through your garden - it lifts my soul. Althou my veggie garden hasn't quite taken off yet, my rose one has and i love it.

am def going to give that canneloni a try. will get DH to make me some fresh pasta and form into tubes as finding canneloni in my small dorpie has proved to be a great challenge before.

Tamara said...

Philly: That would be a nice chance to try it, seeing TSC is not keen on me making it ;-)

Shayne: I imagine homemade cannelloni would be even better!

Helen said...

that looks delicious! I'll be trying it out when i get home (the gas oven here scares me so I don't use it...

I can't grow things, plants just look at me and seem to give up on life. I grew calendulas when I was little though and we made calendula cream with is the most incredible home remedy, I used it on absolutely everything for years!

Of course t always works better when you grew it and boiled it up yourself :)

Paula said...

So gonna make some for Kim (she's a vegetarian)! Sounds yummm I

Tamara said...

Helen: Calendula cream? Must add that to my list of things to try. Once you've grown the calendula, how do you make the cream?

Paula: Well, if you make it, let me know how it goes, k?

angel said...

Oh wow... it sounds positively mouthwatering!!!