Roasted Sweet Potato Tasso Bisque

I had promised myself to not post anything with meat today, because I often post a list of vegetarian recipes and then load up some meat recipes besides; this is a typical post day for me. Today, I wanted to be different for the odd day on the calendar and not say anything. And let anyone notice. Then I realized it’s probably not worth anyone’s while that I do that. And continued to resolve that way. But when I saw this recipe and thought that it was also vegan, then noticed the Tasso (Ham) in it, replaceable with bacon, I remember a repetitive conversation I’ve had with vegans over the years about bacon and that bacon is a staple of vegan philosophy. I have had those problems and I always remember, that even in an off-record kind of way, I can’t believe we’d ever have that conversation. And what I mean by “those problems” is THE problem where, you’d like everything to be about bacon and to find that bacon is affordable and healthy and usable and never in contention, but contrarily to the evidence, for instance of love being everywhere, and there is a wall of conceit to the contrary, bacon is scarce and a problem on to many levels for some ordinary and independent people. So bacon being a standard of success and looking at pigs on a farm all the same and believing in them as God’s creatures (which I do, I do); and nevertheless, I claim to be okay with eating God’s creatures, some of them — plants are also God’s creation), the topic gets too big for me to follow.

I left veganism on the bacon accountability I think I remember. I have been a vegetarian in my life before. And I took no vows about it afterward and did not return to it, because I thought that it did not properly address either spiritual or temporal laws and limitations of mankind’s struggles with existence adequately. I also don’t believe in the community of mind that exists in vegetarianism; I think that is a misinterpretation of the central mind being reflected in individuals. We still need to work things out as individuals according to a full path of knowledge, not only what is edible and what is creation. But I understand that it is a fulfilling path for too many people. It wasn’t that for me. It simply added to the struggles, conflicts and drudgeries of life’s issues.

So I’m including this for all the bacon vegans I’ve known.

Chez Starz

I love Cajun and Creole food. I went to New Orleans for the second time and this time I had the opportunity to take my first cooking class. I took a hands-on class at the New Orleans School of Cooking and it was amazing. I really enjoyed learning about the cuisine of NOLA and meeting my 9 new friends. Chef Matt was an amazing teacher with a great personality. My favorite dish that we made was the bisque; so spicy, creamy and delicious. We used an immersion blender to puree. If you don’t have one of those you could use a food processor or blender in its place.


  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 TBS garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup tasso (if your grocer doesn’t…

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Four Ingredient Vegan Chili Recipe

And here is another good idea for the same theme today. I guess you could also use Beyond Meat for this.

the simple veg

It’s officially fall and Chili is a perfect dish to make for dinner. Since chili is warm, it’s a super cozy and filling food to eat when it starts to get colder outside. This vegan recipe is super simple and easy to make. The total time it takes to prepare and cook the dish is only about ten minutes. The ingredients you will need is a can of kidney beans and a can of black beans, salsa, and Gardein beefless ground beef (optional). You can also change up the recipe and add other things you may want like extra seasoning, corn, or peppers for more flavor. Overall, this vegan recipe is a good source of protein and is delicious and easy to make.


  1. Place all ingredients in a pot.
  2. Place pot on the stove, covered, on medium heat.
  3. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the chili is boiling…

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No Knead Pizza Dough

Another valuable have to have kitchen staple.

It's All Frosting...

I’ll admit, I usually buy my pizza dough in bags from the grocery store. It’s just so much easier than making it from scratch, and it’s immediately ready to use with no kneading or rising required. But sometimes the stars align and you have a bunch of pizza toppings wasting away in the refrigerator and no dough in sight, so it’s time to make your own.

I’m still lazy enough to want to avoid kneading, though, so I chose a no-knead recipe from Jim Lahey that develops gluten through a long rise instead. I mixed up my dough in the morning and left it on the counter all day– when I got back from work in the evening it hadn’t quite doubled (surprising since it was pretty warm in my house) but it was soft and silky, and easy to work with.

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Roast Leg of Lamb

I’m sure that, adding in fresh chopped spinach, red onion and cubed butternut squash counts the same if the bag ingredients can’t be found.

Jana Cooks

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a big hunk of meat sitting in my freezer — and no, it wasn’t Vincent 😉 It was a sultry leg of lamb just waiting for me to take it out on the town.

So yesterday afternoon it was decided that the time had come to make a belly-warming good ol’ roast leg of lamb and veggies for dinner.

Who’s hungry? Vincent, myself and our housemate, Roan. This meal serves 3 people.


Note: leg of lamb not pictured here as it was thawing outside in the sun at this point.

  • 2 kg leg of lamb
  • 700 g baby potatoes
  • 2 brown onions, quartered
  • 60 ml canola & olive oil blend
  • 1 handful course salt
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • Woolworths butternut, spinach & red onion bake
  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1 bouquet de garni

Let’s cook

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Pasta Carbonara and a Bacon Trick

pinion nuts = pine nuts = pinoli

Bacon. Onion. Garlic. Pinon nuts. Eggs. Pasta. Parmesan cheese. OMG, what a divine collection of wonderfulness! And they all combine together quickly and easily into my version of Pasta Carbonara which I’m going to share with you right now. And bonus, I’m passing on a great way to make bacon! I know, right? Let’s get started!

Pasta Carbonara made with bacon that was not a mess to make. Finished and delicious Pasta Carbonara.

Here’s a great bacon trick for cooking it with a minimum of shrinkage and grease splatter: 

I wish I could take credit for this but I heard about this method on America’s Test Kitchen and it’s brilliant –

  1. Put bacon in a cold skillet and add enough water to just cover the bacon.
  2. Turn the heat on to Medium-High and cook until the water has evaporated. This helps prevent the bacon from shrinking and has the majority of the cooking happening “under water,” with no splattering.

    Raw bacon being cooked in water to prevent shrinkage and splattering. Here, I’m making…

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