Monday, 26 January 2015

Recipe Round-Up: The Garden of Vegan

It's been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently, as I have been stuck down by the plague (well, actually more a respiratory virus, but plague sounds more dramatic) and have not been up to much other than mainlining episodes of Veronica Mars.

The Garden of Vegan is a book that I haven't used much lately, but that I used to use all the time. It has some pretty solid recipes in there, though as always there are some misses as well.

Portobello Mushroom Bake with Swiss Chard and Garlic: The portobello mushroom bake is a very rich dish, with a sauce made of almonds, oil, Braggs, water, vinegar and spices. Onions are also roasted with the mushrooms, which give a sweet countpoint. Served over rice, and with lots of greens on the side. The swiss chard (or silverbeet in Australia) recipe is pretty simple. It calls for sauteeing garlic, then putting raw silverbeet on top and leaving covered for a couple of minutes. I prefer my silverbeet a little less raw, so I cooked it for a couple of minutes then let it sit
Rating: Bake :), Swiss Chard :)

Portobello Mushroom Bake; Swiss Chard and Garlic

Quick Museli: I love museli, and I love putting different things together to make new museli flavours. This has lots of oats, wheat bran and germ, plus fruit and nuts. Their recipe called for walnuts, but I am not a fan of them, so I used pistachios and pepitas instead.
Rating: :)

Quick Muesli

Wishful Thinking Mango Smoothie: Mango, yoghurt, water and some spices combine to make this drink. I used less water than the recipe calls for because otherwise it would be too watery and runny for my tastes. I made this with fresh mango, but these days I would use frozen because I prefer my smoothies to be icy and thick.
Rating: :)

Wishful Thinking Mango Smoothie

Hummus and Veggie Sandwich: This sandwich is pretty straightforward, though I skipped the red onion because I don't like raw onion breath. I used a bought hummus for this, but there is also a recipe in the book for hummus if you prefer. The sandwich has gomashio on it, which adds a nice salty crunch.
Rating: :)

Hummus and Veggie Sandwich

Delightful Rice Salad with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes: This is a flavourful salad with a blended tomato-vinegar-herb dressing. It keeps well for lunches.
Rating: :)


Sweet Pepper Balsamic Bean Salad: I don't know what I was thinking when I made this, because capsicum, that I made, and I ate. What? I don't know. Anyway, I roasted all the capsicum first (the yellow one is meant to be raw), which I guess made it a little better. I seemed to have liked this. I honestly don't know what was happening.
Rating: :) (though I may have been possessed at the time, because capsicum is gross)

Sweet Pepper Balsamic Bean Salad

Claire's Red and Racy Potato Salad: This salad is nice and creamy and quite sweet because of the grapes. It goes really well over some baby spinach.
Rating: :)

Claire's Red and Racy Potato Salad

Awesome Asian Noodle Salad: I used udon noodles for this (they are chewy and great) and upped the number of vegetables in proportion to the noodles. I also used zucchini and squash instead of capsicum.
Rating: :)

Awesome Asian Noodle Salad

Aunt Bonnie's Chickpea Salad: Aunt Bonnie seems to have contributed a lot of great recipes, she sounds like a cool aunt. This tasty salad is full of lots of fresh vegetables, as well as olives. It is yum. It says it makes 2-4 servings, I got four lunches from it.
Rating: :)

Aunt Bonnie's Chickpea Salad

Perfectly Amazing Pasta Salad: This salad includes tomatoes, olives, artichokes and parsley. Also capsicum, but I used peas instead. The dressing has lots of ingredients, and is quite tasty, though I prefer the fresher tasting Amazing Grace salad from this book to this recipe. I used grated cheezly on top.
Rating: :)

Perfectly Amazing Pasta Salad

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Racing Ears Kitty

This cute little girl was staying with us at the clinic, and here she is showing off her racing ears. Her ears don't actually look like that, but she was rubbing her head through Pip's hand and they both flipped back like this. She is streamlined and ready to race!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Recipe Round-Up: The Complete Vegan Cookbook

The Complete Vegan Cookbook was one of my earliest vegan cookbooks. I don't use it quite as much anymore, but I still dip in and out of it from time to time.

Zucchini Stuffed with Mushroom Quinoa in Tomato Coulis and Baked Tofu: Zucchini is stuffed with sherry-laced shiitake mushrooms, garlic, onions, button mushrooms and herbs. I left out the capsicum. The coulis was really nice and refreshing, but I really wanted to have more of it to cover the zucchini with! The baked tofu recipe in this book was one of the first baked tofu recipes I ever made, and remains one of my favourites to this day!
Rating: Zucchini :), Coulis :), Tofu :D

Zucchini Stuffed with Mushroom Quinoa in Tomato Coulis; Baked Tofu

Potato and Cucumber Salad with Chive Dressing: This is meant to have Red Pepper in the title as well, but we all know how I feel about that. This is a soy mayo based dressing, which is darn tasty. This is great for summer!
Rating: :)

Potato and Cucumber Salad with Chive Dressing

Macaroni Salad with Cucumbers and Dill Dressing: Another creamy salad, this is yummy and hits the spot. Though it says it makes 12 side dish servings, I got two lunch-sized servings out of it, so they must be super stingy with their side dish servings!
Rating: :)

Macaroni Salad with Cucumbers and Dill Dressing

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes: These are a great, comforting side dish, especially with strong asian flavours. The recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon of wasabi powder, which doesn't really give it much flavour, so you may want to add a bit more.
Rating: :)

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Pumpkin and Brussels with Garlic and Herbs: This is great for autumn, but really is great anytime. I only roasted for about an hour, not longer, or the vegetables started to dry out.
Rating: :)

Roasted Pumpkin and Brussels with Garlic and Herbs

Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes and Fennel Seeds of Soft Polenta: So this is meant to have red capscium, not tomatoes, but no times infinity. The tomatoes worked great. The soft polenta is lovely, I love polenta! Served over roasted zucchini.
Rating: :)

Cannellini Beans with 'Peppers' and Fennel Seeds over Soft Polenta

Tofu and Vegetables with Ginger and Coconut Milk: This isn't exactly packed with flavour, but it has that comforting kind of not really blandness to it. Green beans, yellow squash and tofu are cooked in a coconut milk sauce and served over brown rice.
Rating: :)

Tofu and Vegetables with Ginger and Coconut Milk

Spicy Chinese Eggplant with Tempeh and Baby Corn: This comes together super fast.I upscaled all the ingredients - doubled the eggplant, tempeh and baby corn - so that I didn't have leftover bits of open packets and tins left over.
Rating: :)

Spicy Chinese Eggplant with Tempeh and Baby Corn

Hummus Sandwich with Cucumber and Tomato Relish: I really enjoy this sandwich, it is so fresh and tasty. The relish is particularly refreshing. It said it makes 8 sandwiches, but I made a half batch which was enough for six sandwiches, though you may want to make extra relish as you will end up with more hummus. Leftovers would be great layered and served with veggie dippers.
Rating: :)

Hummus Sandwich with Cucumber and Tomato Relish

Tofu and Potato Hash: This is a fine scramble, though a little basic compared to some of the other recipes out there. But it has potatoes in it, so that is a total bonus!
Rating: :)

Tofu and Potato Hash

Chasing Away The Chill: Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potato and Mexican Seasonings, Mushroom and Soy Cheese Salad, leafy salad with vinaigrette: This is one of the spring menus. The first time I made this soup I didn't know about the differences between US and Australian chili powders (Australian is like a million times hotter) and I pretty much killed myself and couldn't eat it! I made it again with an appropriately adjusted amount and it was much better. This is served with some amazing quesadillas that I just LOVE! The book also has guidelines for mixing up pretty much any vinaigrette you could wish.
Rating: Soup :), Quesadillas :D

Spring - Chasing Away The Chill Menu

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


This morning Sahara was lying on the floor, and even though it was a hot day, my toes felt cold. So I just tucked my feet in either side of her, and she gave me this curious look. But she purred so it was all good.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Quick-Fix Vegan

Time for another round up from one of my favourites, Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson! Lots of pasta and soup in this post.

Linguine with Cannellini Pesto: This comes together very quickly, and makes a thick and tasty pesto coating for your pasta. White beans, basil, pasta water, garlic and your choice of miso or nooch (so hard to pick!) are the main parts of the pesto, which would be great off the pasta as well. It doesn't use a whole tin of cannellini beans, so I served some extra on the side.
Rating: :)

Linguine with Cannellini Pesto

Orecchiette with Puttanesca Pesto: This pesto has a good strong flavour, just like puttanesca should be! Served with baby spinach and baked tofu. Leftovers also make a great pasta salad with a few additions.
Rating: :)

Orecchiette with Puttanesca Pesto

Southwestern Pasta Toss: There is lots of fun stuff in this pasta, including avocado, scallions, chiles (I only used a single green one), corn and pinto beans. It is also very yummy with a bit of sour cream and a sprinkle of nooch on top.
Rating: :)

Southwestern Pasta Toss

Spicy Peanut-Hoisin Noodles with Tofu and Broccoli: Peanut sauce and noodles go together like two really good things that go together. Tofu, broccoli and carrots are mixed in, and I also added some zucchini and some peas. The spice comes from 1 tablespoon of sriracha, which added a nice heat.
Rating: :)

Spicy Peanut-Hoisin Noodles with Tofu and Broccoli

Quick Vegetable and Quinoa Soup: This soup is full of quinoa, tomatoes, kidney beans, zucchini, corn and carrots as well as lots of seasonings, for a super fast and tasty dinner, excellent if you are a bit under the weather. I love adding nooch to my soup before I eat it, and this was excellent with this.
Rating: :)

Quick Vegetable and Quinoa Soup

Sweet Potato-Spinach Soup: This soup is quite rich, but I lightened it up by adding some lime juice and also a swizzle of sriracha (I don't know why I did this, my notes just say that I did). It is good served over some rice as well.
Rating: :)

Sweet Potato-Spinach Soup

Creamy Green Soup: I was looking forward to making this soup for lunch when I suddenly realised that I didn't have any coconut milk. Luckily there is the option of using another nondairy milk instead, and I also used a handful of shredded coconut when I was simmering everything, as it was going to be blended up anyway. Served over rice.
Rating: :)

Creamy Greens Soup

Last-Minute Laksa: I do enjoy laksa, and this comes together very quickly - even with making your own laksa paste in a mini food processor! Tofu, scallions, peas and linguine swim in the soup, topped with bean sprouts and coriander. I added more lime.
Rating: :)

Last-Minute Laksa

Moroccan-Spiced Pumpkin Soup: About once a year I will buy a heap of tinned pumpkin from the online US food shop based in Melbourne, and I do enjoy looking for new ways to use them. This recipe used up a whole tine, and was nicely spiced. The pistachios on top were a nice addition. Served three people for dinner with some bread and salad on the side.

Moroccan-Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Miso Soup with Tofu and Dulse: Quick and simple, miso soup is one of my favourites. I found this one quite salty, so would probably use a diluted vegetable broth next time. It has firm tofu, rather than silken tofu like a lot of miso soups, but this worked very well. Serves 2 for lunch.
Rating: :)

Miso Soup with Tofu and Dulse

Chard and Red Lentil Soup: I love red lentil soups, red lentil sauces, red lentil anything. This is a simple, filling soup to make when you are wanting something wholesome fuss-free to get in your belly.
Rating: :)

Chard and Red Lentil Soup

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim sleeping on the PJs

I have quite a lot of pyjamas with black cats on them. However, sometimes an actual black cat likes to hop on my pyjamas! Dim Sim has claimed my PJ shorts for her own.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Second Christmas!

My little brother lives in the UK, but he has just come home for his first holiday here in two and a half years. He got in late on the 2nd, so on the 3rd we had second Christmas. Yay! This was a lighter affair than first Christmas, but was still very yummy.

Fiery Fruit and Quinoa Salad from Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero: This was the centerpiece of the meal, and I think you can see why. It is a stunning salad! Quinoa, black beans, lots of herbs, grilled onions, grilled peaches, roasted corn kernels (these were meant to be grilled but I was just using a little George Foreman grill, so I cut the kernels off and roasted them) and a great Chipotle Chia Dressing. I only used about half the amount of chipotle in the dressing as called for, which gave it a nice smokey mild heat without it being anything scary. This was so delicious!
Rating: Salad :D, Dressing :)

Fiery Fruit and Quinoa Salad

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Moroccan Spices from World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan: My brother mentioned he would like some sweet potatoes with lunch, and these sounded like they would go well. Whole cumin, coriander and mustard seeds are mixed with maple syrup and grated lemon peel. The seeds go wonderfully crunchy and sticky!
Rating: :)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Moroccan Spices

Just some sauteed kale seasoned with Braggs and some garlic powder.

Sauteed Kale

I also fried up some big mushrooms (just regular white field mushrooms, not portobellos) and then glazed them with some HP sauce. They were yummy! And of course some cranberry sauce. I was going to make some myself but we still had half of the jar left from Christmas day so I just used up the rest of that.

HP Glazed Mushrooms and Cranberry Sauce

Group shot!

Second Chrismtas lunch

On my plate, shortly before heading to my stomach.

Second Christmas Lunch

After lunch we played our traditional game of Trivial Pursuit - parents vs. kids. Sadly Greg and I lost this year, though we totally would have won if we hadn't talked ourselves out of so many right answers! Oh well.... To go with our trivial pursuit, I made some trifle.


The layers were (from the bottom up):

  1. Strawberry Cupcakes from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I had some leftover cupcakes in my freezer that I had been saving for this. I love these cupcakes!
    Rating: :D
  2. Strawberry jelly from a vegan packet mix
  3. Tinned peach slices
  4. Custard made with Orgran custard powder
  5. Tofu Whipped Topping from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: This was a lovely, sweet cream. It didn't thicken up that much with chilling, but it was still just right for this sort of thing.
    Rating: :)
  6. Sliced toasted almonds and chocolate sprinkles


No action shots, because trifle always looks good assembled and then turns into a pile of kind of gross looking slush in the bowl. But it was damn tasty!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo at Christmas

A special Christmas photo of my beautiful Gizmo on her last Christmas in 2011. I miss her so much.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

New Year shenanigans

Over the last several years, I have embraced life as a New Year Grinch. I like to stay in, watch TV, hug my cats and go to bed way before midnight. Last year I was working on NYE, but got home in time to make pizza. So this year I thought I might make pizza again.

However this year, something surprising happened. I was invited to a New Year's party and I actually went. Because it was with a small group of totally rad people, at someone's house, was going to have vegan hotdogs, and they were totally fine with me leaving early.

We had lots of snacks. Including a bag to Tings I had brought back from the US earlier this year and had been saving for a special occasion. There was also some super garlicky hummus and some tapenade with carrot sticks and breadsticks.

New Year's Eve Snacks

Marion, out hostess, turns out to be a hotdog ninja. Check out these beauties! They had Marion's super special 'slop' on the bottom (onions, mushrooms, BBQ sauce and some other stuff), then a hot dog, kraut and Daiya, melted under the grill, then drizzled all over with sauces. I also love her because when she was making them she said the best words: 'Everyone wants to start with two, right?'. None of this one piddly hot dog business!

New Year's Eve Hotdogs

Marion also made some awesome desserts. These are cute little caramel tarts - gingerbread cookies made into little shells, filled with caramel and a dollop of Soyatoo.

New Year's Eve Caramel Tarts

And she also made these super cute mini-cheesecakes. Peanut butter chocolate and mint and chocolate. Yum!

New Year's Eve Mini-Cheesecakes

I had a lovely time, and when I started getting too sleepy I headed home, later than I expected, but I was still home in time to begin the new year with my cats. In fact, this is the first time in many years I have been awake at midnight for new year!

My decision to party was a last minute, so I had already bought all the pizza stuff. I made these on New Year's Day instead.

Scalloped Potato Pizza from Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson: This pizza was amazing! First you layer on some easy to make smoky cheddar sauce, then some grated vegan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart mozzarella), then thinly sliced potatoes. It is pretty much like eating potato bake on a pizza. Just think about about.
Rating: :D

Scalloped Potato Pizza

Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad from Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero: Instead of making a second pizza, I made this pizza salad. Greens and stuff. This was very satisfying. It involved making a couple of other recipes first - some classic croutons (I used some leftover olive batard for these) and a hemp seed parmesan. Then pepperoni-seasoned tempeh cubes are tossed with greens, olives and a fire-roasted tomato dressing. Yum!
Rating: :)

Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad

Group shot!

New Year's Dinner - Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad and Scalloped Potato Pizza

I hope everyone had a good new year, however you celebrated or slept through it!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Hang on a minute, what is this? THIS IS NOT A CAT! This is Crumpet, Marion's totally sweetheart puppy. She is delightful, and I had some good puppy hug time.

Monster the fluffy

Back on schedule - Marion's kitty Monster is a total delight! So full of purrs and snuggles. He let me rub his tummy! I love him.