Saturday, 25 April 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Veganomicon

All hail the mighty Vcon!

Beanball Sub and salad with Mediterranean Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette: This recipe is a conglomeration of a few others - beanballs (based on kidney beans), marinara sauce and pine nut cream. Unfortunately I could only get some standard soft white rolls, which ended up going a bit smooshy. But it was still pretty amazing! I just made a half quantity of the balls, sauce and cream which was enough for four rolls. The dressing for the salad has a very strong taste, and was a bit gritty due to the dried herbs.
Rating: Sub :), Dressing :)

Beanball Sub with salad with Mediterranean Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette

Beanball Sub

Blue Flannel Hash: a fun and simple brunch dish using blue potatoes (though mine were more purple), tempeh, onion and seasonings. It goes nicely with a salad for brinner! Served here with a Caesar from How It All Vegan.
Rating: :)

Blue Flannel Hash; Caesar Salad (HIAV)

Pumpkin Saag and Poppy-Seed Cornmeal Roti: This saag has a subtle flavour but it is really lovely. It makes fairly small serves, however it was a nicely rounded out meal with some carby sides. The poppy seed-cornmeal roti is a bit rough to look at, I haven't had much experience making them, but they were fun and yummy! Also served with some basmati rice and some homemade chutney (from Vegan Planet).
Rating: Saag :). Roti :)

Pumpkin Saag; Basmati Rice; Poppy-Seed Cornmeal Roti; Five-Spice Pear Chutney (VP)

Manzana Chili Verde and Jalapeno-Onion Skillet Corn Bread: This is a great tangy chili, filled with potatoes, tomatillos, beans and apple! I made it also be nice and mild by only using one jalapeno and no poblano. I also can't find fresh tomatillos here so I used tinned ones. The cornbread is great, I particularly love the way the onions and chiles on top go so sweet. I don't have a cast-iron skillet to bake in, so I just used a baking pan.
Rating: Chili :), Corn Bread :)

Manzana Chili Verde; Jalapeno-Onion Skillet Corn Bread

Grilled Yuca Tortillas, Guacamole and Tropical Avocado Salsa Fresca: This fun combination makes great party food or a first course. The yuca tortillas (I had to use frozen yuca as I can't find fresh) were a little bland on their own, but with the guac and salsa become amazing! The guacamole is a fairly basic recipe, with a series of optional add-ins. I liked to add chopped tomato. The tropical avocado salsa fresca is amazing! Tomato, paw paw (you can also use pineapple or mango), avocado and cilantro. Yum! My mum is avocado allergic (tragedy), so I made some for her with cucumber instead of the avocado.
Rating: Tortillas :), Guac :), Salsa :D

Grilled Yuca Tortillas; Guacamole; Tropical Avocado Salsa Fresca

Grilled Yuca Tortillas

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip: This dip is based on lots of sun-dried tomatoes, almonds and white beans. I found it a bit too strong in the sun-dried tomato flavour on it's own, but when served with some cream cheese or cheese I preferred it.
Rating: :|

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

A Hummus Recipe: Straight forward hummus, this is a good recipe with a lovely texture. The recipe calls for using a blender for a really creamy texture, but unless you have a super power blender I recommend just some extra time in the food processor as it is very thick.
Rating: :)

A Hummus Recipe

Snobby Joes: This sloppy recipe is lentil based, and makes four satisfying sandwiches. Skip the capsicum, add some chopped celery.
Rating: :)

Snobby Joes

Escarole with Capers and White Beans: This is a simple dinner served over brown rice. I used two heads of baby endive and a whole tin of white beans (rather than just one cup). It made two servings. And is excellent with nooch!
Rating: :)

Escarole with Capers and White Beans

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim is alert

Dim Sim is eyeing me off from the desk in my room. I was in bed and reading, she was PAYING ATTENTION and wondering if I might want to play with her ribbon. She got what she wanted.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Pride and Prejudice and Potbellies

Unfortunately I am referring to our potbellies, no cute little potbellied pigs will appear in this post.

A few weeks ago I have a Pride and Prejudice viewing day with some friends. Pete had never seen P&P, and we had to remedy this because it is awesome. If you are wondering 'which Pride and Prejudice did you watch?', then I need to remind you that there is only one Pride and Prejudice worth watching. There is only one Mr Darcy, and his name is Colin Firth. The end.

Of course, six hours of viewing requires sustenance! And we decided to have a 'high tea' for lunch and then a roast dinner for dinner because it seemed like the English thing to do. We are all vegan, but Sarah is also gluten free, so this was a completely gleegan spread!

Our high tea style lunch was all cuteness and charm. Also, can you believe how adorable Sarah's tabletop is? So perfect for the theme as well!

High tea

Sorry for this blurry pic! I love tiny sandwiches. I had planned on trying my hand at gf bread, but I just ran out of time. So I bought some Orgran crackers for these cute little bites. Plate one has cream cheese, cucumber and dill on it (my favourite!) and plate two has Tartex pate, tomato and chives.

High tea

Sarah made these amazing stuffed cherry tomatoes from Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats by Allyson Kramer. Oh my gosh these were so good. I couldn't stop eating them!

High tea

I provided the sweets. Fresh grapes, strawberry muffins, stuffed dates and Table Of Plenty dark chocolate coated mini rice cakes.

High tea

The muffins are the Strawberry Shortcake Muffins, also from Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats by Allyson Kramer. These are quite dense, in the way of gf goods, but were quite lovely. And very pretty!
Rating: :)

Strawberry Shortcake Muffins

I also made the Walnut Stuffed Dates from Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson, except I stuffed them with cashews instead. They are dipped in chocolate, making them a pretty indulgent little treat.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Cashew Dates

Several hours later we were ready for dinner!

Roast dinner

Roast dinner

Roast dinner

Pete made the lentil and walnut loaf from Oh She Glows, which was a big deal because Pete almost never cooks. But we were able to talk him into it. ;) Sarah made the vegetable sides - I believe the leeks, carrots and asparagus are from Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats, and there were also sauteed mushrooms and roasted potatoes and pumpkin. I also made a super fast gravy to bring it all together - some nuttelex and flour made into a roux with Massel beef-style stock and a splash of soy sauce. It was all so good!

Of course after all of this we were SO FULL! And Pride and Prejudice was wonderful, of course. It was an excellent day. :)

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sarah's kitties

Sarah is a huge cat lady, she has fostered kittens and more than one or two have become her permanent companions. This photo is pretty old, but check out these cuties playing in her kitchen. These kids are much, much, much bigger now!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Without Borders

I am not sure what happened yesterday, but for some reason Blogger re-posted an old post from my 2011 travels in Portland. Silly Blogger! So no, I haven't done any unexpected travels, and we haven't time traveled back four years. So back to the regular scheduled programming.

Vegan Without Borders is the newest offering from Robin Robertson. This beautiful book (which includes colour pictures of some of the recipes!) is clearly a labour of love for Robin, the joy and emotion in her writing is evident. The book doesn't cover region (she doesn't cover everywhere, I am still waiting for Robin to take on Australian cuisine, hee) and is a carefully selected collection of recipes Robin has chosen to highlight each area. So let's go travelling with our tummies!

Easy Boston Baked Beans and Three-Corn Cornbread (The United States): This is a sweet and saucy baked bean recipe that comes together super quickly before baking. The recipe calls for molasses, I used blackstrap because that is what we commonly have here, any lighter sort of molasses would have made it even sweeter. Next time I would probably just add a sprinkle of sugar rather than whole tablespoon. This says it serves four to six, but I would say more like three and a half! The cornbread is triple due to cornmeal, corn kernels and a can of creamed corn. It is a very thick batter, but bakes up well in the time. I used the 8 inch baking pan option. All served with some broccoli.
Rating: Baked beans :), Cornbread :)

Easy Boston Baked Beans; Three-Corn Cornbread

Fattoush Wraps and Baharat-Spiced Baba Ghanoush (Middle East) with Mojito Roasted Sweet Potatoes (The Caribbean): These are some super fresh wraps that are great for summer. A thick and (very) lemony chickpea and herb (including mint) spread is smeared onto 'flat breads' (OK, I just used large wholemeal wraps because that is what I had) and topped with fresh salad (I skipped the cucumber). The baba ghanoush was a little bit bitter, I suspect because the homemade baharat spice blend was a bit bitter. But it mellows with some time in the fridge and with the addition of more lemon (also because I only had half the amount of option yoghurt). Sometimes you just through borders to the wind and mix your cultural boundaries, otherwise known as 'I had a bunch of mint to use up'. The sweet potatoes have a sauce made of rum, agave, lime and mint, and are actually very saucy. I served leftovers with some brown rice, which soaked it up great!
Rating: Wraps :) , Ghanoush :), Sweet Potatoes :)

Fattoush Wraps; Mojito Roasted Sweet Potatoes; Baharat-Spiced Baba Ghanoush

Coconut Spinach and Lentil Dal (India): Dal and Saag blend together here for a tasty dinner. I used brown lentils (the recipe just calls for dry lentils), and I also only used a 270mL tin of light coconut milk made up to 400mL with stock (too much coconut oil makes me sick). I used the frozen spinach option here, and skipped the chile. It gives 4 good sized serves over brown rice.
Rating: :)

Coconut Spinach and Lentil Dal

Tamarind Chickpeas with Green Beans and Cauliflower (India): This had a good flavour, but I would have liked a fair bit more tamarind in it because I love tamarind. I got nearly 5 serves out of this one, and like many curries it gets even better as leftovers.
Rating: :)

Tamarind Chickpeas with Green Beans and Cauliflower

Tofu and Jackfruit Curry (India): Before making this recipe, you make a Sri Lankan Curry Powder (I totally cheated though and dry roasted pre-ground spices, and I also only used a fraction of the chili powder because I love things mild). I sauteed the tofu first rather than just adding raw for some extra texture. This is only the second time I used jackfruit, the first was slow cooking, and it added a nice extra texture and flavour. I also added frozen peas and left out the chile.
Rating: :)

Tofu and Jackfruit Curry

Kung Pao Seitan and Eggplant (China): This was the first recipe I made from this book. Seitan, eggplant, snow peas and carrot (instead of capsicum) with a delicious sauce. I served it over brown rice and baby spinach. I only got about three and a half servings from this.
Rating: :)

Kung Pao Seitan and Eggplant

Sesame Noodles with Tofu (China): I love tofu and noodles. In this recipe I used 8 ounces of pasta instead of 12 and an extra cup of cabbage. It made three big servings. This sauce uses black vinegar, which is my favourite vinegar of all, though it didn't come through very strong in the finished product.
Rating: :)

Sesame Noodles with Tofu

Pineapple Fried Rice with Edamame (Thailand): I like pineapple in savoury dishes, yes I do. I love pineapple in Thai-style fried rice! I skipped the grotty capsicum and used mint out of the options of the herbs. The recipe called for Thai chili sauce, I suddenly realised I only had sweet chili sauce but that all worked out fine. I got three big servings out of this.
Rating: :)

Pineapple Fried Rice with Edamame

Chilled Somen Salad (Japan): I LOVE chilled noodle salads, and somen is my favourite. My mum used to make very non-vegan chilled somen salads when we were growing up. This has a stack of colourful ingredients (tofu, cos, carrot, edamame) with a lovely dressing. I used Australian TBS to make the dressing because I knew I would want extra dressing to make sure it got everywhere. Such a pretty salad!
Rating: :)

Chilled Somen Salad

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Meowy kitty on the street

This sweet little face belongs to a friendly kitty I met on the street when I was walking from a health food shop back to the clinic. They wouldn't let me leave for a good few minutes of winding around my ankles! Look at that cutie!!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Menu Madness: Ashleigh's Birthday Edition

My friend Ashleigh's birthday is on New Year's Eve. For the last two years, in January, I have had her over for a birthday feast and we have watched Lost Girl on DVD. (Sometimes she comes over and we watch Lost Girl without it being her birthday, and of course I still make food, but let us focus on the menus I have made). This year I made the American Menu from Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson (this will be my next recipe round-up, I am loving this book!), and the year before I made the Kid's Birthday Party Menu from Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli.

All-American Supper from Vegan Without Borders

Mac and cheese, garlicky greens and chocolate cake makes for a super satisfying and delightful menu!

Butternut Mac and Cheese: The sauce for this is made up of steamed butternut (though I bet roasted would make it even better!), cashews, non-dairy milk (it says almond but I used oat) and nooch plus seasonings. It is SOOOOOO good!
Rating: :D

Butternut Mac and Cheese

Garlicky Greens and Beans: The greens called for in this recipe are collard greens, but as they don't exist here (that's right, no collard wraps for Australians), I just used trusty kale. Several years ago kale was super hard to find here, but now it is everywhere, so hopefully collars will follow. Instead of simmering the greens in boiling water, I just blanched by pouring a kettle-full of boiling water over them to wilt, then proceeded.
Rating: :)

Garlicky Greens and Beans

Group shot!

American Menu: Butternut Mac and Cheese; Garlicky Greens and Beans

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Layer Cake: This is a decadent cake that is very impressive. The frosting is a brilliant combination of melted chocolate, silken tofu (I used soft silken rather than firm silken as that was all I could find) and soaked cashews! The cake does call for some coffee, which I am generally not a fan of however I have found it to enhance the chocolate taste of other cakes in the past, however in this case I found it was a bit too coffee, so I would use something else instead. I made the cake the day before and it kept very well.
Rating: :)

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Layer Cake

All up a very simple to make menu. I had planed on making some other things from this book to add into, but I was feeling under the weather, and this was still lots of food!

Kid's Birthday Party Menu from Chloe's Kitchen

Kid's menus are often a lot of fun, as they should be! And this was certainly enjoyable.

Sweet and Sour Party Meatballs: These balls are amazing (hee hee). They are made from a great mix of tempeh, lentils, walnuts and flour (obviously with other things), and they came together fantastically,though they were a bit soft. I would recommend grinding the walnuts first. She uses a similar mix to make her big mac patties, which I am super keen to try soon! I got about 30 meatballs from this recipe, which was plenty for two hungry vegans. It is served with her sweet and sour sauce. Normally I am not a fan of the super-sweet, bright red sweet and sour sauces, however this recipe has a great tang to it. There are a few options for ingredients, and I used apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch.
Rating: :)

Sweet-and-Sour Party Meatballs

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad: Potato sauce? Yes please. This is a tangy, creamy sauce with steamed potatoes as the base! Chloe serves them over wagon wheel pasta, but as I have never found that, and in the spirit of the menu, I used Hello Kitty themed pasta. I only used 8 oz pasta (instead of 1 lb) and about three quarters of the sauce. I also mixed some nooch through because I am an addict.
Rating: :)

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad

Group shot!

Kid's Birthday Party: Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs; Easy Peasy Pasta Salad

Happy Birthday Cake: Vanilla cake with chocolate icing is fairly classic. This frosting has melted chocolate, shortening and lots of powdered sugar. It says you can make the frosting up to two weeks in advance and store it in fridge, however I made it the day before and it sets up HARD, I needed to leave it out for ages to be soft enough to spread. I added a layer of sliced strawberries in the middle to add some freshness, which was an excellent plan.

Happy Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday Cake

This menu also included some Chlostess Creme Filled Cupcakes, however for the two of us I deemed one large cake to be quite enough.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

A pretty black Dim Sim on her favourite pinkie.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan With A Vengeance

VWAV is another book that has a new edition coming out soon. My original edition is much loved, though there is still so much I need to make!

Tempeh Reuben with Baked Cajun French Fries: I have only had a few reubens in my life, all made by me (I'm coming for you in June, Chicago Diner!). I halved the recipe for the tempeh and marinade, which after 6 hour of marinating had sucked it all up and made enough four four sandwiches. Because I am not a raw onion fan, I used scallion for the dressing. I could not find pumpernickel bread anywhere, so I used sourdough. I also added a slice of Daiya swiss cheese, which is my favourite Daiya. The baked fries were delicious, crunchy and golden. A perfect side.
Rating: Reuben :), Fries :)

Tempeh Reuben; Baked Cajun French Fries

Scrambled Tofu: A quick and easy tofu scramble is always a welcome recipe. Onion, mushrooms and carrot are added to the tofu with Isa's special spice blend.
Rating: :)

Scrambled Tofu

Tempeh with White Beans Sausage Patties: These tender patties have a yummy and smoky taste, they are great on sandwiches or as a breakfast side. They also freeze and defrost well.
Rating: :)

Tempeh with White Bean Sausage Patties

Breakfast Veggie Chorizo: TVP-based chorizo is always satisfying. I used less chili powder, and next time would use a bit less sugar as it was a little sweet. I served it here as part of a burrito filling.
Rating: :)

Breakfast Veggie Chorizo

Beet, Barley and Black Soybean Soup with 'Pumpernickel' Croutons: I can't find pumpernickel that isn't those super thin things, so I used sour dough for the croutons instead. This is a very pretty and satisfying soup, just don't panic the next day! Remember the beets.
Rating: :)

Beet, Barley, and Blackbean Soybean Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup: I made a half serve of this very simple soup and got this lunch-sized mug bowl serving. It had a whole head of roasted garlic in it, which was awesome. I just used a stick blender to blend it all smooth rather than putting it in a food processor.
Rating: :)

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

Chickpea-Hijiki Salad Sammiches: I wasn't able to find hijiki for this, so I used arame which I snipped into little pieces once I had soaked it. The seaweed gives a great flavour as well as adding to the texture, making this a special sandwich filling. Here I made a chickpea-hijiki grilled cheese sandwich, which was awesome.
Rating: :)

Chickpea-Hijiki Salad Sammiches

Garlicky Kale with Tahini Dressing: Lots and lots of garlic with lots and lots of kale. Topped with a delicious tahini dressing. Without the water, the dressing is super thick.
Rating: :)

Garlicky Kale with Tahini Dressing

Fettuccini Alfreda with Italian Marinated Tofu: The fettuccine is coated in a rich sauce, made with pine nuts and nutritional yeast. I always like to use spinach fettuccini. The Italian tofu is a great side, and becomes wonderful and chewy with baking.
Rating: Fettuccine :), Tofu :)

Fettuccini Alfreda; Italian Marinated Tofu

BBQ Pomegranate Tofu and Coconut Rice: I found a little pot of pre-removed pomegranate seeds at the supermarket, so being lazy I thought I may as well try them out before committing to removing them from an actual pomegranate. This is a great, tangy BBQ sauce that would be great anywhere. The pomegranate seeds themselves were OK, but I wasn't overwhelmed with desire. I have made the coconut rice several times now, and it is so good.
Rating: Tofu :), Rice :)

BBQ Pomegranate Tofu

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Sahara is looking very pretty!