Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Pizza

Vegan Pizza is another great book from Julie Hasson. The first three chapters are full of easy doughs, tasty pizza sauces and meaty-style toppings, before moving on to the pizzas.

An important point to mention is that all these pizzas has stood up to my ultimate pizza test: they all taste great cold straight from the fridge the next day! (Actually, I almost like cold leftover pizza more than fresh hot pizza....).

Tomato-Basil Pizza: This is a simple classic pizza, which is sort of more of a snack pizza than a meal pizza. It is made up of pizza base, Tomato-Garlic Sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. I went for a side by side cheese comparison - Daiya on the left and Cheezly on the right.
Rating: :)

Tomato-Basil Pizza

Valentine's Pizza: Or not valentine, I made this to enjoy all on my own sometime far away from February. The layers are pizza base, sun-dried, tomato and arugula pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes. There was also meant to be red capsicum on it but no way would I ruin a perfectly good dinner with capsicum!
Rating: :)

Valentine's Pizza

Corn, Pesto, Zucchini and Tomato Pizza: A fun summer flavours pizza made up of dough, pesto (I cheated and used a bottled one), mozzarella, zucchini, tomato and corn.
Rating: :)

Corn, Pesto, Zucchini, and Tomato Pizza

Mushroom, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza: This is pretty self-explanatory, though it also has some tomato-garlic sauce, mozzarella and toasted pine nuts as well.
Rating: :)

Mushroom, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza

Pineapple and Jalapeno Pizza: I love pineapple on pizza, and I will not apologise! This is like a Hawaiian pizza, with some delicious sweet and smoky soy curls in place of ham. To be honest next time I would leave off the jalapenos and add sliced black olives, because I like my Hawaiian pizzas trashy.
Rating: :)

Pineapple and Jalapeno Pizza

Smoky Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza: This pizza has a great smoky white cheese sauce on the base, which I topped with the optional mozzarella for maximum cheese. Red potatoes and sliced shiitake mushrooms make up the rest. I skipped the truffle oil garnish.
Rating: :)

Smoky Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza

Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza: Some more smoky white cheese sauce in the mix here, along with baby kale leaves and sweet potatoes. Slice more sweet potatoes that you think you will need as it shrinks down quite a bit.
Rating: :)

Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza

Broccoli and Cheddar Pizza: Broccoli and cheese is a classic combination, but this time it is on a pizza. A combination of an amazing cashew cheddar cheese sauce and grated cheddar cheese make this super cheddary.
Rating: :)

Broccoli and Cheddar Pizza

Chili Mac Pizza: This says to use 10oz cooked macaroni so I started with 8oz uncooked, though I didn't use it all on the pizza. The macaroni is mixed with a cashew creamy cheese sauce. I used a tin of Amy chili here that I had kicking around in the cupboard.
Rating: :)

Chili Mac Pizza

Cowboy Pizza: BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, sweet and smoky soy curls, broccoli, jalapenos and coriander make for a pretty tasty pizza.
Rating: :)

Cowboy Pizza

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Basket full of kittens

What is better than a pizza party? A basket full of kittens! These are three girls available for adoption at the moment. Mia is the sassy tortie at the front, with Polly next to her, and sweet little Precious peeking over from behind. Love these girls!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Lunch Box

Several years ago, the blog Vegan Lunch Box was all the rage, and the book Vegan Lunch Box was released. It was full of cute lunchbox menus and spawned a wild craze for adorable bento-style lunch boxes. I don't really have such an adorable lunchbox system, but I make do with various containers around my house. I should note that these menus were designed for a school day, my work days are considerably longer, so I often had to add extra snacks.

Quick & Easy Menu Page 28
  • Nut Butter & Jelly Cut-Outs
  • Banana
  • Carrot and Celery Sticks
  • Easy Ranch Dip
  • Soy Smoothie

Nut butter and jelly sandwich; Easy Ranch Dip; carrot and celery sticks; bananas; mango smoothie

I skipped the fun-cut option for my PB&J (strawberry jam is always my choice) and took it as a regular sandwich. The ranch dip was a bit meh and runny if you use all the soy milk. And I took a mango smoothie that I made at home.
Rating: Overall :), Dip :|

Quick & Easy Menu Page 36
  • Bagel with Cream Cheese
  • Green Beans and Carrots in a Tarragon Vinaigrette
  • Red grapes
  • Animal crackers

Bages with cream cheese; Green Beans and Carrots in a Tarragon Vinaigrette; red grapes; animal crackers

This was meant to be mini-bagels, but again I went with a full sized bagel slathered with Tofutti cream cheese. The carrots and beans had a bright, tangy dressing which were nice with the bagel. The animal crackers were an accidentally vegan brand that I bought, but I can't remember what they were!
Rating: Overall :), Beans and Carrots :)

Quick & Easy Menu Page 46
  • Veggie Burger
  • Sweet Potato Oven Fries
  • Wheat-Free Apple Crisp
  • Extra snack: Carrot sticks and hummus

Veggie Burger; Sweet Potato Oven Fries; Wheat-Free Apple Crisp; carrot sticks; hummus

Veggie burger; Sweet Potato Fries; salad

Wheat-Free Apple Crisp

The veggie burger is a construct of pre-purchased goodies - a Fry's burger patty, Toffuti cheese slice, soy mayo and salad. I love the sweet potato fries on the side, they include garlic powder that gives a great flavour. The crisp was nice, but there are nicer topping recipes out there. I added an extra snack for this. It was also meant to have amazake as a beverage, but I couldn't find any.
Rating: Overall :), Burger :), Fries :D, Crisp :)

Ready & Waiting Menu Page 145
  • Veggie Tea Sandwiches
  • Blueberry Lemon Mini-Scones
  • Fresh strawberries and purple grapes
  • Kid's Iced Tea

Veggie Tea Sandwiches; Blueberry Lemon Mini-Scones; strawberries; grapes; iced tea

Veggie Tea Sandwiches

The book gives a range of filling choices for your dainty tea sandwiches - I used cucumber, cream cheese and dill and also Nuttelex, radish and salt. I love little tea sandwiches! The scones are super quick to make and super delicious to eat! The iced tea is a combination of apple juice (make sure to get cloudy!) and tea - I used the Red Green Dreamy mix from T2. I skipped the sugar.
Rating: Overall :D, Sandwiches :), Scones :D, Tea :)

Ready & Waiting Menu Page 151
  • Pizza Shop Breadsticks
  • Sneaky Momma's Tomato Sauce for Dipping
  • Frozen vegetable and bean medley
  • Fresh blueberries and plums

Pizza Shop Breadsticks; Sneaky Momma's Tomato Sauce; frozen beans and vegetables; blueberries; plums

The breadsticks are made from scratch, and they are twirled around a filling of nooch, sesame seeds, salt, garlic and granules. The sauce is nice, with basil, kale and carrots in it. It is meant to be blended until smooth, but as I don't need to hide my vegetables I left it chunky. The medley was literally some four bean mix and some frozen peas and corn (they thaw for a pretty delicious snacks).
Rating: Overall :), Breadsticks :), Sauce :)

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Abbey in her birthday hat

I know you want to see more of Abbey in her birthday hat!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Diner

Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson is a must have book for any kitchen. It contains within beautiful, glossy pages several of my 'best of' recipes, including mac and cheese, BBQ sauce, ribs, beer bread and chocolate chip cookies. If you don't have this book, you should go get is straight away! Let us now see some of the tasty treats I have made!

Cheezy Mac and Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts: I cannot say enough how amazing this mac and cheese is, it is perfect smoky, cheesy deliciousness. The variation of stirring through some grated cheese (I used cheezly) leads to an extra rich sauce, though even without it this is amazing. James recommended that I add a few drops of umeboshi plum vinegar, which makes it extra special. The Brussels sprouts have raw garlic sprinkled on at the end, but I prefer to add the garlic in the last five minutes of baking. (If you are wondering, they are some steak-sauce glazed sliced Sanitarium sausages on the side of the plate).
Rating: Mac :D, Brussels :)

Cheezy Mac; Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts; steak-sauce glazed sausages

Barbecued Ribz with Garlic-Dill Potato Salad: These ribs come together so effortlessly, plus they contain peanut butter! After baking, the ribs are brushed with Rough Rider Barbecue Sauce (aka the BEST BBQ sauce in the world). You are meant to finish the ribs off in a grill pan, which I don't have, but they are still amazing done in a frying pan. These are soooo good! The BBQ sauce takes a little bit of time to simmer on the stove, but it comes together super easily and is worth it. The garlic and dill potato salad is coated in a delicious, tofu-based Homemade Garlic Mayo (if you have a chance, let it sit for a bit, the flavours really mellow and mingle!). This salad is super garlicky and super dilly - yum!
Rating: Ribz :D, BBQ Sauce :D, Potato Salad :), Garlic Mayo :)

Barbecued Ribz, Garlic-Dill Potato Salad; herb-buttered roasted corn

Quick and Hearty Chili and Sweet Cornbread: This chili lives up to its name - it comes together very easily and the combination of TVP and red kidney beans makes it very hearty! It has a lovely savoury flavor, which includes cocoa powder. I took the option of reducing the sugar in the cornbread, and it was still pretty sweet, but went nicely with chili. It is a very simple recipe.
Rating: Chili :), Cornbread :)

Quick and Hearty Chili; Sweet Cornbread

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread: It is rare that bananas get a chance to get ripe in this household (my dad is a banana addict), but when they do I jump at the chance to make baked goods. This recipe smells great and tastes even better!
Rating: :D

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Biscuits and Creamy Sage Gravy: Biscuits and gravy are not something that is part of my Australian upbringing, so thanks America for introducing me to this! American gravy also tends to be a bit different, more creamy. This gravy is laced with nooch and ground sage. The Fluffy Biscuits come together easily and are super cute! I served these with the Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties from VWAV.
Rating: Gravy :) , Biscuits :)

Biscuits and Creamy Sage Gravy; Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Pattes (VWAV); roasted broccoli and cauliflower

Garlic Dill Bread: I have made this so many times, it is so good! It is a beer bread, and I normally use a Cooper's Pale Ale for this because it is nice and mild in flavour. Adorably, this recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of chipped dill, but I add in as much as I can!
Rating: :D

Garlic-Dill Bread

Home-Style Veggie Noodle Soup: This is simple and classic, carrts and celery in a noochy chicken-style broth with spaghetti. Great for a quick dinner on a cold night.
Rating; :)

Home-Style Veggie Noodle Soup

Smoky Spinach and Tomato Salad: This involves a few components, including Smoky Curls (see below) and a Creamy Tomato Dressing, but once you have these it comes together in a snap. It has such lovely flavours. The dressing is nice and thick, with an unexpected smoky flavour.
Rating: Salad :), Dressing :)

Smoky Spinach and Tomato Salad

Smoky Soy Curls: We don't have soy curls themselves here, but we have similar products. Though I made this with actual Soy Curls that I brought home from the USA. This recipe is easy and creates a delicious, snackable end product. They are are the star of the salad above, but can be used in so many other ways, such as this BLT-style sandwich!

Smoky Curls

Smoky Soy Curl BLAT

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara trying out biscuits and gravy

Sahara loves broccoli! Sadly she can't have it anymore because she has inflammatory bowel disease, which is managed with medication and a very strict, very non-vegan diet. But this photo was taken in other times, when she could sample the wares. The broccoli lured her up to the table, but she was also very interested in the gravy!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World

MOAR SUGAR! After a break from cookies, it is time for cupcakes! This time from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

A blanket announcement: Anytime a chocolate recipe calls for almond extract, I never add it (unless it is meant to be a chocolate almond flavour specifically). I don't know if almond extract in the US is different from almond extract here, but it just makes everything taste like marzipan. And I like marzipan, but not in everything! I normally just use more vanilla unless there is another flavour option listed in the recipe.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes: This is a variation of Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake. I used Oreos (Newman-O's don't exist here, and Oreos are vegan in Australia), which are added chopping into the batter, ground into the buttercream frosting on top and used as decoration.
Rating: :)

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Chocolate-Chocolate Gluten Freedom Cupcakes: Yay for gluten free cupcakes for all the lovely gleegans in my life! These cupcakes are quite a bit denser than non-gluten free cupcakes, but are still moist. Just don't be tempted to lick the beaters because raw gf batter is icky! But they bake up into tasty treats. Here they are topped with chocolate buttercream, shaved white chocolate and chocolate sprinkles.
Rating: :)
Chocolate-Chocolate Gluten Freedom Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Bombes: Any of the regular vanilla or chocolate cupcake variations can be adapted for the gluten free ones. Chocolate cupcakes are piled high Peanut Butter Frosting, drizzled with chocolate ganache and decorated with chopped peanuts.
Rating: :)

Peanut Butter Bombes (GF)

Chocolate Coconut Gluten Freedom Cupcakes: For this recipe I replaced the soy milk in the cupcake batter with coconut milk, as well as adding some coconut extract. They are topped with ganache, which was also made with coconut milk instead of soy milk, then I just sprinkled some sweetened shredded coconut on top.
Rating: :)
Chocolate Coconut Gluten Freedom Cupcakes

Chocolate-Orange Gluten Freedom Cupcakes: Yes, another chocolate cupcake variation. When I do bake sales, I tend to always try and take one sort of GF cupcake, so I have made a few variations over the months. In this case I added orange essence to the batter and to the ganache, then topped with orange rind right before serving.
Rating: :)

Chocolate-Orange GF Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting: I love carrot cake, and these are some cute little carroty cupcakes (despite the terrible photo). As well as carrots they have raisins and walnuts. I find the actual cream cheese frosting in this book insanely sweet and unpleasant, I much prefer the one from Joy Of Vegan Baking.
Rating: :) (see note re frosting)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemony Frosting: We don't have 'light' molasses here, so normally I use either treacle if I have it or a blend of blackstrap and golden syrup. For these I just used straight up blackstrap. It gave it a stronger taste and a darker colour, but I love blackstrap molasses! There is the option to top these with lemony cream cheese frosting or lemony butter cream. I used the cream cheese frosting (I made them with the carrot cake cupcakes above, so I flavoured half the frosting with lemon for these.
Rating: :) (see note re frosting in Carrot Cake Cupcakes)

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemony Frosting

Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes with Old-Fashioned Velvet Icing: Red Velvet isn't a thing in Australia, so I never really new what to expect. These have a hefty dose of red food colouring in them, so of course I made them to take to a two year old's birthday party! Artificial petrochemical colouring all the way, baby. ;) It was basically a really nice chocolate cupcake, enhanced by the chocolate extract I recently procured, it didn't taste particularly 'red'. The old fashioned icing is lovely, kind of custardy.
Rating: :)

Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes with Old-Fashioned Velvet Icing

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes: I normally don't like stout in things, I find the taste too overpowering, but in this recipe it is just enough to add a nice depth. I used muffin cups, which were a bit later than cupcake ones, and filled to 3/4 full I got eight and a half, but the rose a lot. You need to be careful with the crumb topping, it says to use 2 tablespoons of oil but it very quickly turns into sludge with this amount!
Rating: :)

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Possum in the garden

A year today since Possum passed away. We miss him.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Cooking for One

Vegan Cooking for One by Leah Leneman is a book I've had for a while, though I resisted buying it due to the title even when I was living on my own. It consists of weekly menus that make use of part tins or part blocks of ingredients for each recipe, so over the course of a week you use up everything and don't have bits and pieces going off in the fridge. It gives you a shopping list at the beginning of each week. The serving sizes tend to be quite generous.

Smoky Beans: The smoky in these comes from using smoked tofu, rather than using liquid smoke or smoked paprika. It is has apple juice in the recipe, which makes it fairly sweet. It is served over mashed potatoes, which is always good.
Rating: :)

Smoky Beans

Smoked Tofu a la Kind: Smoked tofu and mushrooms in a creamy sauce (based on a roux) and served on toast? Yes! I would consider this more a lunch dish than a dinner dish. I left out the capsicum.
Rating: :)

Smoked Tofu a la King

Creamy Curried Mushrooms with Bulgur Wheat: I scaled this a little by using less bulgur (1/4 cup rather than just over 1/3) and usingmore mushrooms and onions. This was back in a time when I couldn't get plain soy yoghurt at all, so I used sour cream instead. It is quite rich.
Rating: :)

Creamy Curried Mushrooms with Bulgur Wheat

Gooseberry Dessert: I found some gooseberries randomly, so seemed like a good time to try this dessert, also made with semolina. It is quite tart, it says to add sugar to taste and I added a tablespoon. The gooseberries cook quickly. It is nice with some sort of maple syrup or agave on top.
Rating: :)

Gooseberry Dessert

Lentil and Vegetable Pottage: This recipe makes a larger than usual amount for this book! It is a bit on the bland side, but is still nicely comforting. Lentils, onions, garlic, zucchini, carrot and mushrooms, served with some bread and Nuttelex.
Rating: :)

Lentil and Vegetable Pottage

Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes: This is kind of bland and a little dry, adding extra olives helped. It would be nice with some baked tofu added, and lots of salad.
Rating: :|

Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

'Chicken' Salad: This is a light lunch, combining peas, 'chicken' slices and celery in a mayo and sour cream dressing served over lettuce. I used Redwoods Cheatin' Chicken Slices.
Rating: :)

'Chicken' Salad

Millet and Vegetable Gratin: This made a huge amount! The recipe called for 1/2 cup of millet, I used 1/3 of a cup, but for one person probably just 1/4 cup would be fine once it is mixed up with al the vegetables and baked. I used some Cheezly on top for the cheese.
Rating: :)

Millet and Vegetable Gratin

Tofu with Cashews and Vegetables: Simple, fast and tasty, this has a teriyaki kind of sauce to it. Served over brown rice and topped with roasted cashews.
Rating: :)

Tofu with Cashews and Vegetables

Spaghetti with Olive Sauce: As always, more olives are needed! This didn't dry out like the other pasta dish above did, and the fresh tomatoes cooked down into quite a nice sauce.
Rating: :)

Spaghetti with Olive Sauce

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Abbey in her birthday hat

Speaking of kitty birthdays, our gorgeous clinic kitty Abbey turned 18 on Saturday (she's a Valentine's day baby). To celebrate, one of our nurses made this adorable 18th birthday hat for her. Isn't it fetching? You can't see it too well here, but the green matches her beautiful eyes!