Monday, 25 April 2011

Cooking for a Cure 2010

Since I have been working at the clinic, every year I host a Girls Day In for The Cancer Council to raise money for women's cancer. I invite all the girls from work over for an afternoon of eating, chatting and donating. In 2010, the day happened to fall on the 31st of October. Halloween isn't really a big thing here in Australia, which is fine by me, but I thought it would be fun to have a Halloween costume theme for the afternoon.

This is the table all set with the various noms. Rules are I make all the food. Cruelty free FTW. :)

Cupcakes are probably the highlight of the day. I make different things every year, so if you miss out then that is it! I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing,and also some Coconut Lime Cupcakes, both from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. The coconut Lime cupcake itself is delicious, but the frosting makes a ridiculous amount, there is almost more frosting than cupcake! There was no way I could make it through that amount of sugar. A couple of people agreed with me, and there was some leftover icing. Others, however, ate the whole lot! The pumpkin cupcakes seemed like a cute fit with the Halloween theme. I dry roasted about 750g of butternut pumpkin to get the 1 cup of puree I needed. The cupcakes were great, the icing was nice too but a bit runny. We tried making cute patterns on the top but it kind of just ran everywhere.

I made a Sache Torte from 500 Vegan Recipes. This is a variation of the Chocolate Cake recipe - make two chocolate cakes, layer with raspberry jam in the middle and cover with a double recipe of Chocolate Ganache. This was delicious! You can totally make this the night before, because the flavours just meld with a bit of sitting and it still stays rich and moist. I wish I had an inside shot!

Maple Pecan Sticky Blondies from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan were very nice too. The crunchy pecan topping is just delicious! It gives you the option of dark or white chocolate chips for garnish, and I chose dark chocolate because I don't like white chocolate. These were very well received.

It can't all be sweets. Butternut Squash Rice Paper Rolls were served with Cranberry-Chili Dipping Sauce, both from Veganomicon. I had made these rolls before, and this time I left out the salted pumpkin seeds because I wasn't sure they would be to everyone's taste. While they lacked the salty, crunchy contrast they were still very nice. I also used mint, because not everyone is a coriander freak like me.

Snow peas Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus was a cute offering from 1000 Vegan Recipes. I didn't blanch the snow peas, we just had them raw, crunchy and delicious! The hummus made about three times the amount needed to 'stuff' the snowpeas, so I served the extra with carrot sticks.

On the subject of dips, here are a couple more. Veganomicon's Mediterranean-Style Cashew-Cucumber Dip was the star here. I've made this before and it is just amazing. In a last minute panic of thinking there wouldn't be enough food I also made Sesame Bean Spread from 500 Vegan Recipes, but sadly I found this was a bit dry and didn't have much flavour.

This is just a pretty photo of the blondies on my awesome pastel-coloured three-tier stand, sharing it with some red grapes and strawberries. Delicious!

A halloween-themed party means costumes! Not everyone dressed up, but here are those that did - you can see we have a few cats (of course), some angels, some devils and Siti, who made the most awesome costume ever. I am not sure if you can see it, but she is wearing an empty bag of Breeder's Choice cat litter, and in her hair has fashioned a headpiece that looks remarkably, like, well... kitty.... you know. ;)

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

The day was on a Sunday afternoon, and I had arrived back home from a trip to Tasmania on Thursday, been to a friend's art show, had to catch up with my masters, went to a Halloween murder mystery party the night before that went super late and then cook all these recipes. Even though I made several in the day before, I was TIRED. Thankfully, the lovely Shelley offered to come and be my kitchen wench, though you can see she was actually a kitchen angel! And here is she with our other guests for the day, a teeny kitten. The nurses often have kittens for hand rearing, and here is one of them. How cute and little is she. :)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Recipe Round-Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

Yes, more of the same. I did mention that I have a massive photo backlog, right? Today a bit of a combination of some more pasta (baked and asian-style) and some grain main dishes.

Baked Pasta Shells and Broccoli (pg 224)
Broccoli and pasta both go great with cheezy sauce, so combining the two is guaranteed to be awesome. The recipe calls for the florets of one medium bunch of broccoli, but I would double or maybe even triple that (and then steam the left over stems for snacking on the next day at work). The recipe also uses Mornay-Style Cheeze Sauce (pg 552) - it calls for three cups, so you need to double the sauce recipe (as it is only for 2 cups). I had read that this tended to come out of the oven a little dry, so I used an extra half-cup of sauce and it was great. Leftovers of this with some sauteed vegan sausage and some ketchup mixed in will blow your mind!

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Green Beans (pg 240)
Soba noodles with lots of vegetables in a tahini-based sauce. I upped the vegetables by using extra green beans, some carrots in the place of red capsicum, and some broccoli just because I could. Served with the delicious Soy-Glazed Tofu (pg 283), that I have used a zillion times before.

Singapore Noodles with Tempeh (pg 241)
This recipe called for 8 ounces of rice vermicelli, I used 200g and as you can see - it made a LOT! There are a lot of yummy vegetables - carrot (in place of capsicum), cabbage, peas and green onions, but next time I would decrease the amount of noodles.

Italian Truck-Stop Artichoke Risotto (pg 274)
I love getting my zen on stirring up some risotto. This was a delicious, creamy risotto that is very simple ingredients-wise. I served it with some of Isa's Italian Marinated Tofu. Risotto leftovers are also delicious with some nooch on top or mixed through.

Pad Thai (pg 236)
I love pad thai, so I had some pretty high expectations for this. It definitely delivered. While it didn't knock VWAV's Brooklyn Pad Thai of its throne of best home-made pad thai, it certainly hit all the right notes. The recipe called for 12 ounces of dried rice noodles, I used 200g of Pad Thai noodles and again, you can see that this made a great heaping mound of Pad Thai goodness.

Green Tea Rice with Lemon Snow Peas and Tofu (pg 269)
This has a great flavour! The rice is cooked in green tea instead of water, so you know that is going to be some tasty stuff. I cooked the green tea rice in the rice cooker with no problems. I found this made a bit too much rice overall for my tastes. Next time I would decrease the rice to 1 cup (and the green tea accordingly) and increase the amount of tofu and snow peas (I already had extra snow peas). I served it with some gai lan sauteed in some mushroom oyster sauce.

Caribbean Rice, Squash and Peas (pg 268)
I made this recipe to use up the last of my frozen stash of black eyed peas. Again, this cooked up a lot of rice for me. My personal preference is less rice and pasta (as much as I love them) and more vegetable and protein, it just makes me feel more balanced. This meal is kind of bland, but in a really good way, if that makes sense. I served it with some roasted green beans.

Mac and Chard (pg 223)
This recipe uses pretty rainbow chard, which I can only ever find when I go to the markets, which is not very often. This recipe evokes strong emotions in me - I made it during Sahara's stay in hospital last August. For those not in the know, Sahara became incredibly sick all of a sudden, and then two days later was miraculously fixed. I still have no idea what was going on, but it was 48 distressing hours of her being sick and in pain and in hospital at work. :( I needed something comforting, and this really did fill that need. I used 250g of macaroni, instead of 12 ounces, and I baked it in a 9 inch square casserole, instead of a 9 x 13 inch. Served with some Sanitarium gourmet sausages that I picked up on the way home from visiting my sick kitteh.

Kasha with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Peas (pg 280)
The main flavour here comes from the sweet potatoes and peas, which are great against the earthy backdrop of the kasha. I love kasha, it just makes me feel so... you know... homey.

Cheezy Tomato Macaroni (pg 225)
Love at first bite. What is it about cheezy pasta and tomatoes that just go so well together? This also makes use of the Mornay-Style Cheeze Sauce (pg 552). There are crushed tomatoes in the bake itself, and then you make it pretty with a ring of tomatoes on top.

Pastitsio (pg 226)
I first made pastitsio several years ago for a dinner party, from a book called Easy Vegan Cooking, and it was love. That recipe used lentils, this recipe uses chickpeas for equally yummy results. This recipe calls for 2 cups of Vegan White Sauce (pg 551), so you will have some white sauce left over (great over steamed broccoli).

Brown Rice with Artichokes, Chickpeas, and Tomatoes (pg 273)
This is pretty much a meal in a bowl (I say pretty much, because of course I had some green leaves on the side). It is easy and comforting, and is taken to new levels with generous sprinklings of nooch. Yes, I have a nooch addiction, but no, I don't think I need help for it. Now, hand me that bag of nooch, and a spoon!

Spanish Rice and Beans (pg 272)
I had to cook the rice for a little bit extra to get it soft all the way through, but other than that this was a nice little dinner. I used zucchini instead of green capsicum.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

The final photo of Sahara in the wheelbarrow. Check out her adorable little feet! (Her tail is curled up, but you can still see it River... not quite as funny as the last one where it was sticking out straight though). Oh, I heart my wheelbarrow kitty!

Next post I promise a change up - something other than a 1000 Vegan Recipes round-up, and Dim Sim and Gizmo are getting a bit miffed at the three days in a row of Sahara photos, so one of them will get their turn tomorrow!

(% 1000 Vegan Recipes Blogged: 15.5%)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Recipe Round Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

So, I have decided that I am pretty much just going to power through my 1000 Vegan Recipe backlog, then I can move onto current stuff (well, aside from all the other backlogs from other books I have...). Today's post looks at some of the beany mains that I have made.

Chinese Black Bean Chili (pg 250)
This is a really great flavour and a very different chili. In addition to the standard tinned tomatoes, the chili also calls for black bean sauce, which gives it a whole different dimension. Great served with basmati rice.

Red Bean Jambalaya (pg 252)
Beans, rice, tomatoes. This is a stove-top jambalaya. I have not noted down any difficulties with cooking the rice (always my concern in such dishes), which is great... nothing worse than undercooked rice or an extra long cooking time!

African Inspired Red Bean Stew (pg 254)
This is a very rich stew, with delicious peanut butter as the not-so-secret ingredient. The recipe calls for three cups of fresh baby spinach, but you can add more! I added a whole bags worth, and there was still room for more greens.

Jamaican Red Bean Stew (pg 252)
This is another rich stew, again using kidney beans. In this case, coconut milk provides the richness. Although not in the recipe, I also added some baby spinach to this during the last five minutes of simmering to get some greens into it. Served over cous cous, this is great. (See how Becky made this a low fat version here.)

Argentinian Bean and Vegetable Stew (pg 254)
A trilogy of kidney bean stews from across the globe! This one is made special due to chopped orange being included in the ingredients, which makes for a great contrast of flavours. Serve over quinoa.

Pomegranate-Infused Lentil and Chickpea Stew (pg 260)
Hmmm... this sounds amazing, but I found it a bit meh. It was my first time using pomegranate molasses, and I think the flavour was not quite what I was expecting, which was a bit jarring. I also found that the brown rice did not cook all the way through, I don't know if soaking it with the lentils would help with this? I served over baby spinach, but would totally also add some peas to the mix next time for extra vegetable content.

Tuscan White Beans and Broccoli Rabe (pg 256)
This is super fast and super quick, saute white beans and broccoli rabe (I used broccolini, not the same, I know, but good enough and delicious in its own right) and there you have it! As you can see, I made it in to dinner by tossing it with some wholemeal spiral pasta and giving it a good sprinkling of nooch! This is also a very easy recipe to downsize for those of us dining alone.

Chickpea and Vegetable Curry (pg 258)
This is an easy and classic combination of protein, vegetables, coconut milk and raisins. Serve with brown basmati rice.

Tamarind Chickpea Stew (pg 260)
I love tamarind, everything it touches turns to delicious gold. Or in this case, delicious stew.

Three-Bean Chili (pg 249)
The three beans are black, white and red. To get a spicy heat I used 1 chipotle in adobe and 2 teaspoons of hot chili powder. The recipe calls for three tablespoons of chili powder, but I suspect US and Australian chili powder is different. Our chili powder just tends to be ground hot chilies, and three tablespoons of that stuff would be more than a jar and would blow your head off.

Chickpea, Tomato, and Eggplant Stew (pg 258)
Delicious on a cold winter night.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

As promised, here is more Sahara in her wheelbarrow. This is the full body shot. How comfy and dozy does she look?

Stay tuned for more food photos and the final installment of Sahara in the wheelbarrow!

(% 1000 Vegan Recipes Blogged: 14%)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Recipe Round-Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

Another 1000 Vegan Recipes post, I know. But I would like to point out that there are *1000* vegan recipes in the book, so it's going to take some time. Plus I have been inspired by reading Becky's blog My Adventures Testing 1000 Vegan Recipes to start clearing out the backlog of photos I have. It's also come to my attention the last few posts I've done with this book I have forgotten to put my percentage blogged at the bottom, I have gone back and edited the posts to include this, and have added to current grand total at the end of this post - progress is being made kids!

Today's theme is pasta. Yes, I am clearing out the pasta section of my backlog, and this is the first half of that. We've already covered some of the salads and soups in previous posts.

Persian Noodles and Lentils (pg 214).
This is an interesting pasta dish, combining brown lentils, tinned tomatoes and walnuts with sweet dates. I know some people are on the fence or downright hate fruit in savoury dishes, but if you aren't one of those you will enjoy this a lot.

Penne with Chickpeas and Rosemary (pg 210).
Simple, very fast and pretty self-explanatory, really. In retrospect I should have made it with fresh rosemary from the garden. I think it was pelting down rain or something so I didn't want to go out. Or not. I cooked this ages ago, so I could be making that part up. I do always try and use fresh rosemary from the garden where I can though.

Penne with Vodka-Spiked Tomato Sauce (pg 198).
I have been in love with vodka sauce ever since that recipe from Veganomicon blew my mind. This recipe uses pureed beans and soy milk for the creamy component. It was good, but not as good as the Vcon one (which uses ground almonds). I served it with a Fry's schnitzel and some salad.

Penne with Peanut Pesto (pg 203).
This is fantastic. The pesto is thick and yummy, and leftovers also make a really good spread for sandwiches. I served it with some pan-fried Asian marinated tofu (from a packet) and some roasted asparagus.

Linguine Puttanesca (pg 196).
I love puttanesca sauce, and this one was no exception. So many wonderful, juicy olives! I added a tin of kidney beans for protein.

Tricolour Rotini with Pesto Bianco (pg 202).
The white pesto is made from pine nuts, cashews and artichoke hearts for a unique flavour. I used a 375g bag of pasta, rather than 1 pound, which made enough for three to four servings. I found I had too much pesto for the pasta, but it made an excellent sandwich spread. I served it with my much loved Soy-Glazed Tofu with some steamed broccoli. The leftovers also made an exceptional pasta salad, I stirred through a few spoons of vegan mayo and added chopped up left-over tofu and broccoli, quartered cherry tomatoes, sliced olives and peas.

Fettuccine with Chard and Red Lentil Tomato Sauce (pg 199).
I love lentil-based pasta sauces, and adding some silverbeet (chard) makes for pretty much a complete meal. The recipe calls for cooking the lentils for thirty minutes, and this makes them very mushy, so if you would prefer a bit more texture from your lentils then cook them for less.

Rotini and Almond-Mint Pesto with Orange Zest (pg 203).
Another pesto with a difference, almond, mint and orange combine to make a refreshing and slightly tangy pasta dish. Served with some Soy-Glazed Tofu and some salad greens for a complete meal. I also made a pasta salad out of these leftovers, chopping up the remaining tofu and mixing it all together with some peas, corn and sliced cherry tomatoes.

Pasta Primavera (pg 206).
Another recipe calling for the pretty three-coloured pasta spirals, I again used a 350g bag (that's what these come in). This was a quick, nice recipe, but next time I would double or even triple the amount of vegetables in the pasta, because I like a high vegetable to pasta ratio. The vegetables are zucchini, asparagus and green onions, and I added a carrot in place of the red capsicum.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Check out this cutie. Sahara does not go outside except to go out into our CatMax cat enclosure. We have an old wheelbarrow in there that is filled with old towels and jumpers and pillows, and she loves to sleep in it. I took a few photos of her this day, because she was striking the cutest pose in it, I will share the other photos in future posts. I want to snorgle that face right now... oh wait, I can!

(% 1000 Vegan Recipes Blogged: 12.9%)(We are over 1/8th of the way through the book on this blog!)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Recipe Round Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

It's cold and raining today. Sure, by cold I mean 23 degrees Celcius, but it is all relative to where you live and what your cold tolerance is. I am also getting over some sort of icky virus that has left me achy and tired for the last four days. In honour of this, I present soup. Some of this soup I made to take to work for lunches on cold days, some of these soups I made for lunches on nippy days at home, and others were some dinner soups. Let's out on our comfy pants and cardigans, snuggle up, and take a peep.

Summer Vegetable Soup (pg 149).
Leeks, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, corn, spinach and basil. Quick, easy and fresh.

Lemony Lentil and Rice Soup (pg 164).
I love lentil soups, and this was a good wintery soup to warm your soul. Or your tummy on a cold day. It isn't really all that lemony though, I was looking forward to the lemon flavour, so next time I would add more lemon juice.

Black Bean and Corn Soup (pg 160).
Three tins of black beans go into this baby. It was a good soup, though nothing really pushes it above the other black bean soups out there. But it is pretty easy to make, and will certainly give you a pleasant lunch to look forward to.

Mulligatawny Soup (pg 155).
This soup was a bit sweet for my tastes. It has coconut milk and green apple in it, as well as lentils and curry flavours, of course. I would have this soup in small doses as a starter rather than a large bowl for a main meal.

Corn and Potato Chowder (pg 165).
Can I just say, black pepper and lots of it, will make this already delightful soup into something amazing.

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup with Baby Spinach (pg 158).
This is a sweet and peanutty soup, delicious. It is too rich and not filling enough for a main meal, but for a small bowl to kick off the meal it is amazing. Or serve small amounts over hot white rice... too good.

Versatile Vegetable Soup (pg 148).
This is a pretty solid soup - vegetables and chickpeas - you just need to be careful not to over cook it, or everything gets a little... cabbagy. It is versatile because you can change up the vegetables and beans depending on what you have around.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


(%1000 Vegan Recipes Blogged: 12%)