Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Year

A new year happened a couple of days ago. To be honest, I am not big into the whole new year celebrations/resolutions/etc thing. Last year was the first time I had gone anywhere for new years in a long time, and even then I left before midnight. And this year I was definitely feeling the homebody and early to bed vibe.

Despite my bah-humbug attitude, the last couple of years a tradition of pizza on new year's eve has developed (except for last year when it was on new year's day on account of rare social engagement), and fun food is something that I can always look forward to. Because I was working on new year's eve until 5pm, I bought some random vegan-friendly pizza bases from the grocery store. Normally I make Julie Hasson's pizza dough, which can be made several days ahead of time and then shaped on the night. However, I just wanted to come home and put things on pizza without any additional steps, so I bought made ones. They were obviously not as good as homemade pizza bases, a bit too heavy and dense. But still nice.

The first pizza I made was the Indian Buffet Pizza from Bake and Destroy. This pizza has several steps for the toppings, but I made them all the day before on my day off so they were ready to slap on when I got home. The bottom layer is a lovely curried madras lentil layer, which I could just eat a bowl of on its own. The recipe calls for one cup (or 180g) of diced tomatoes, but 180g diced up to more than a cup. I had to add some extra water to the mix after adding the tomatoes, because it was a bit dry in the pan otherwise. The pizza is also topped with cauliflower (I roasted it rather than fried it) and peas (the recipe calls for capsicum, but no) before baking. The yoghurt and sour cream based cilantro mint chutney for serving is definitely something I recommend making probably two days before. When I tried it the day I made it it was so salty, I added more yoghurt and sour cream. The next day, serving day, it was a bit better. But the following day it was perfect! It makes heaps more than you will use on the pizza, but is lovely over salad vegetables, or for dipping celery sticks. My crust was only 10 inches rather than 12, but it still took all the toppings.
Rating: :)

Indian Buffet Pizza


Indian Buffet Pizza


The second pizza I made was all processed goodness. BBQ sauce from a squeezy bottle on the base, topped with Tofurky pepperoni slices and some Daiya mozzarella (stashed in the freezer since a previous US trip). And it was delightful!

BBQ Pepperoni Pizza


BBQ Pepperoni Pizza


And here is my pizza plate. With some baby spinach topped with extra chutney.

Pizza Plate


For dessert, I made the Banana Pudding Pie from Vegan Diner. I had brought home some Vanilla Creme Newman-Os from the US specifically for this recipe, so I decided it was high time I used them up! You will need a deepish pie plate for this. The crust is made from ground up cookies and margarine. Sliced banana is layered on the bottom of the baked crust, which is topped with vanilla pudding. The pudding goes very thick when it gets cool, so don't let it cool too much before spreading it over. I chilled mine overnight, and it cut up beautifully the next day. The only issue is that some of the base stuck on the bottom of the pie plate, but that may have been because I greased with margarine rather than shortening. This was a fun dessert, but super sweet because it turns out Newman-O Vanilla Creme biscuits are ridiculously sweet.
Rating: :)

Banana Pudding Pie


I started the new year with a green smoothie for breakfast and leftover pizza for lunch. I am happy to report that the pizzas also passed the most important test, leftover slices were even better cold the next day! I really think cold leftover pizza is the best pizza. Hoppin' John (black eyed peas and greens) is certainly not a traditional new year's day dish in Australia, but I had some black eyed peas in the freezer (you can't get them tinned here) and I have a lot of recipes for it, so I thought it would be fun. And honestly after eating pizza and pudding pie the night before, a bowl of beans and greens sounds pretty good!

I didn't make a traditional version, rather I made a Middle Eastern dish that also fits the bill: Lebanese Sleek from Quick-Fix Vegan. This has zataar spiced black eyed peas and silverbeet, as well as having bulgur cooked right into it as well. A great one pot dinner. I used some of the new coarse bulgur I had found (most of the time I can only find fine bulgur). The recipe calls for soaking for 15 minutes before adding it for a final 10 minute simmer. I was worried because the packet said to cook for 20 minutes, but after a 15 minute soak in hot water it was almost cooked anyway. I took the suggestion to serve with some Tzatziki Sauce, also from the book, which was very garlicky but a lovely addition. I got three servings from this, rather than four.
Rating: :)

Lebanese Sleek


I hope everyone did have a good new year, however you chose to celebrate or not. I am not one for new year resolutions, but I do have some fun things I am looking forward to this year. The exchange rate is not conducive to another US trip this year, sadly, so instead I will do some travel closer to home. I will be working at all five OzComicCon's this year, which will see me take my very first visits to Perth and Adelaide, as well as to Melbourne, Sydney and my hometown Brisbane. I am off to Sydney in a few weeks just to hang out and eat food, which will be nice.

I am also hoping to keep up my current trend of much more active blogging! I still have a million recipe round-ups to share with you, which will only keep growing as I keep cooking, and I have been eating out in Brisbane a lot more recently (you may have noticed in the blog posts!) so will continue to do this. I might throw in some product reviews, and I am keen to do some spotlights on organisations or blogs that I love as well. And of course, cute kitty photos will continue!

Thanks to everyone who does read this little blog!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Two kitties


I wish I could say this was a new year miracle that will set the tone for inter-cat relations for the next year, but this was taken a couple of weeks ago. Sahara on my lap, Dim Sim on her blankie next to me. They appear to be looking at each other, but there are no grumbles or fights. A true random day miracle!

14 comments:

  1. Happy New Year! New Year Pizza seems like a great tradition! I"m glad to hear your thoughts on that banana pie. It looks like it sliced so perfectly. I'm all about the new years resolutions, I made quite a few this year, actually. We'll see how it goes. We had a new year snuggle miracle this evening when Footie and Dottie laid down on the floor right next to each other (touching!!!!). May it continue! ps. thanks for asking about Snoopy, his back is so much better! And he lost some weight which is important for his back. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Glad to hear that Snoopy is getting better! :) And that snuggle miracle is miraculous indeed. I will keep hoping!

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  2. Happy New Year Susan. Your new year activities look great. I like to stay at home too.
    The vegan food situation has been steadily improving in Perth, and a new cafe, restaurant and grocery have all opened near me in the last few months. Hooray! Let me know if you need any suggestions (or company) when you are here.
    I am glad you are planning to continue blogging. Your blog is one of my favourites :)

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    1. I would love to catch up while I am there. :) The actual convention days are super long, but I am hoping to spend a couple of extra days there afterwards before going to Adelaide.

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    2. Great! Let me know when you are coming and I will send you my contact details :)

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    3. Great! Let me know when you are coming and I will send you my contact details :)

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  3. Happy New Year! I love your pizza tradition & the banana pie looks great, too! Cute photo of Sahara and Dim Sim; I'm always thrilled when Buttons and Leela rest near each other like that! :)

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    1. It is so exciting when kitties almost touch! Sahara and Gizmo used to snuggle, but Dim Sim is not in on any sort of contact with another cat unless it is her paw smacking them. ;)

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  4. Happy new year! New Year pizza sounds like a great tradition!

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    1. Thank you, you too! Pizza is always great. :)

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  5. Mmmmm. NYE Pizza sounds like a perfect tradition! That Indian one looks amazing and like something I'd never think to do on my own. Must try that. Glad you got your blackeyed peas & greens in on New Years Day. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks, you too. :) I await the good luck that my black eyed peas and greens will bring me. Any day now. ;)

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  6. "And this year I was definitely feeling the homebody and early to bed vibe."
    I feel this every year. I don't think it's a bad thing =)
    Sadly this year, I was so sick that I fell asleep at 7pm... although in all fairness, I don't remember the last time I stayed up to midnight ;p
    We like to eat pizza on New Year's Eve too! (and at least once a week anyway haha). I really admire your pizza adventurousness though! I always make the same boring, old pizza. I should switch it up. The Indian one sounds really good - I would have never though of trying that.
    I'm not sure where the black eyed pea thing comes from, I always forget about it as it's not something I grew up with. Ah well.
    Sad to hear you won't be making it to the US this year - I'm sad I missed meeting you at VVC. Hopefully our paths will cross someday =)
    Happy New Year Susan!

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    1. I love an early night on NYE, though not being sick. You poor thing!
      I wish I could come to the US this year, but I think it will be a little while. I don't see the exchange rate improving, so I guess I will need to save up some pennies before I get back. I hope we do get to meet one day. Australia is a great place to visit, and the exchange rate is in your favour. ;)

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