Sunday, 30 August 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Big Vegan

Can you believe that VeganMoFo starts in 2 days? I will be blogging along with the daily challenges every day throughout September. I hope! I have a busy September, but I have been doing lots of fun preparations to get ready. For today though, it is blog business as usual.

Big Vegan is a book I bought awhile ago after seeing it appear on a few blogs. It looked good, though I haven't made much from it. There are a lot of things that look quite good, but a lot of the recipes seem a bit overly fussy and complicated for what they actually are. I need to explore it more when I have more time on my hands.

Saag Paneer with Cilantro-Mint Chutney: I poorly planned this recipe, not realising it had more steps than I was expecting! The tofu is marinated and baked, and makes a tasty snack on its own. The spinach sauce has several steps, leading to a fairly smooth sauce and a very saucy dish. The Cilantro-Mint Chutney (made with coconut milk) was a lovely accompaniment. Served over brown rice.
Rating: Saag :), Chutney :)

Saag 'Paneer'; Cilantro-Mint Chutney with Coconut Milk

Veggie Fried Rice with Black Soy and Szechuan Green Beans: This is a very tasty fried rice recipe, and includes peanut butter and black bean sauce in it's ingredients. I'd had a tin of black soy beans kicking around for ages, so this was the perfect place to use them up. The green beans were also really nice, not to spicy, and a great side for the rice.
Rating: Fried Rice :), Green Beans :)

Veggie Fried Rice with Black Soy; Szechuan Green Beans

Broccoli, Carrot, and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette: This salad comes together quickly, tastes good and is great for lunches.
Rating: :)

Broccoli, Carrot, and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Tempeh and Tomato Pasta Salad: This recipe has a bit of fiddling, but tastes really good. The tempeh is marinated and baked, and the freshness of the tomato and carrots is great. This recipe called for raw red onion, but I declined.
Rating: :)

Tempeh and Tomato Pasta Salad

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce: This was good, but the sauce, which was roux based, was a bit odd in that it almost reminded me of a slightly cheesy creamed corn flavour rather than a classic cheesy sauce. Still good, but would not be my go to cheese sauce.
Rating: :)

Broccoli with 'Cheese' Sauce

Kidney Bean, Avocado, and Green Salsa Wraps: This recipe claims to make four wraps and serve four people, but I made two wraps with it and ate it all! You make a simple refried bean recipe with the kidney beans.
Rating: :)

Kidney Bean, Avocado, and Green Salsa Wraps

Tofu Pad Thai: I enjoy Pad Thai a lot (not as much as Pad See Ew), but this one was fairly plain. It needed more vegetables and just a bit more flavour. Also very small serves! Rating :)

Tofu Pad Thai

Mediterranean-Style Kale, Carrot, and Edamame Saute: This sounds like it should be great but was actually pretty meh. Not really much flavour at all in it.
Rating: :|

Mediterranean-Style Kale, Carrot, and Edamame Saute

Mediterranean Tempeh and Broccoli Roast: This was much better than the above, with the tempeh taking on a lovely flavour and the roasted vegetables really complementing it. Served over brown rice.
Rating: :)

Mediterranean Tempeh and Broccoli Roast

Kerala Coconut Rice with Tofu, Carrots, and Cashews: This was yummy. I often have bad luck with baked rice recipes, so I soaked the brown rice first for about an hour and it cooked fine in the allotted time. I decreased the coconut milk from 1 1/3 cups to 3/4 cup and made the rest up with water, and I also added peas.
Rating: :)

Kerala Coconut Rice with Tofu, Carrots, and Cashews

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara on her 14th birthday

Sahara's birthday was on Friday. She turned 14!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Bake and Destroy

Bake and Destroy, by Natalie Slater, has been around for a while, I am just very slow in getting my round-ups blogged. I was pretty intrigued by this book, subtitled 'good food for bad vegans', when I first heard about it. It is a lot of fun. The first chapter is the desserts chapter! But there are also breakfasts, mains and a whole lot of inventive snacks. Plus lots of fun pro-wrestling references (I love WWE).

Mac & Cheez Balls with No-Honey Mustard: This was my first attempt at deep frying and it did not go well, but all through my own fault I have discovered. My pot was too small, so the first ball I put in just turned black immediately on the outside but was frozen in the middle. Apparently bigger pots of oil, while scarier, will cook evenly. Anyway, I persevered, but was a bit underwhelmed with the results. Too oily, again probably my fault. I did find the coating batter was too thick, I needed to thin it a little, and the frozen mac and cheeze balls defrost very quickly, but if you are better at deep frying than I am you should be fine. The no-honey mustard sauce was sweet, but nice to cut through the deep fried. Also served with steamed broccoli.
Rating: Balls :|, Sauce :)

Mac 'n' Cheez Ballz; No-Honey Mustard

Whole Wheat Choco-Coconut Donuts: These are from the breakfast chapter, and they are fantastic. Not too sweet but full of flavour. The tops of these are pretty rough when they bake in the pan, but then you flip them over, glaze them with melted chocolate and they look fancy. I made these for a bake sale.

Rating: :D

Whole Wheat Choco-Coconut Donuts

Breakfast Bites: These tasty little morsals have banana, apple sauce, oats, coconut, nuts and fruits in them, making them a handy little snack. Bonus is that they are not too sweet. This says it makes 30 using a heaping tablespoon. I used an Australian tablespoon and got 20 cookies, baked for 25 minutes.
Rating: :)

Breakfast Bites

The Non-Cop-Out Tofu Scramble: I love tofu scramble, I don't really consider it a cop out, however it does require a little bit of care. Too many restaurants don't seem to understand! This is full of Italian herbs, tomatoes, olives and spinach, and is a very yummy breakfast or brinner.
Rating: :)

The Non-Cop-Out Tofu Scramble

Mighty Migas: Migas is a dish I have only discovered in the last several years through my vegan cookbooks, funny considering traditionally it is an egg dish!. This is full of tofu, beans, veggies (no capsicum) and tortillas. I used the option she gave for pathetic people who don't have corn tortillas to hand and used some crushed up tortilla chips instead. I topped this bowl off with some green salsa and some nooch.
Rating: :)

Mighty Migas

Chai Berry Muffins: I love berry muffins, and I love chai, so this seemed like a good mix. I found the batter incredibly dry, and had to add splashes of oat milk to be able to incorporate things. Even then it was a pretty stiff and lumpy batter that went into the muffin cups. However it worked out just fine!
Rating: :)

Chai Berry Muffins

Cannibal Corpse Crock-Pot: Not the most enticing of names, but this is a recipe for BBQ slow cooker jackfruit. it was my first time using jackfruit! I found the sauce gave it quite a strong salty/vinegar flavour on its own. But I was impressed with how beautifully it cooked down.
Rating: :)

Cannibal Corpse Crock-Pot

Grilled Mac 'n' Cheese Sandwich: I think you can pretty much imagine that this is going to be good, and it was! You spread out and chill the mac and cheese, then slice the cold mac and cheese into bread-sized slices before grilling. I used my panini press for this.
Rating :)

Grilled Mac 'n' Cheez Sandwich

BBQ Salad: This salad makes use of the Cannibal Corpse Crock-Pot, which tops a mix of brown rice, kale and red beans, and is topped with ranch dressing. There is a ranch dressing recipe in the book, but I just mixed some jarred mayo and some dried herbs together.
Rating: :)

BBQ Salad

Totchos: This is in the snack section, but we had it for dinner one night. Frozen potato gems and shaken up with a taco seasoning, baked until crispy and then topped with refried beans and other nacho toppings, including a yummy Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce. Such a fun dinner!
Rating: :), Nacho Sauce :)


Mac 'n' Yeast: I made a half batch of this, which is plenty, and topped it with panko instead of regular breadcrumbs and smoked paprika instead of regular. It is a pretty nice mac and cheese. I then put it into tacos with BBQ strips, which was extra awesome!
Rating: :)

Mac 'n' Yeast

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

One lap-warming little Dim Sim, keeping my company while I watch TV.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Appetite for Reduction

I do love some delicious low-fat eats, and Isa knows how to do it!

Pineapple Kale, Broiled Blackened Tofu and Butternut Coconut Rice: My tofu never really got blackened,and I didn't want to burn it, but it still got a nice crust (though was a tad dry) and had good spices. I really liked the butternut rice, it was lovely big servings that were really creamy and sweet, and was super quick to make. The greens were meant to be collards, but we don't have them so I used kale instead. The pineapple gave lovely sweet bursts as you were eating.
Rating: Kale :), Tofu :), Rice :)

Pineapple 'Collard' (Kale); Broiled Blackened Tofu; Butternut Coconut Rice

Goddess Nicoise: I love how pretty salade nicoise looks, and it is fun to create your own beautiful plate. Then take a photo and pour the dressing over it and muss it all up.The topping is chickpeas mashed with some capers and a bit of the Green Goddess Garlic Dressing, which you also serve on the side. I didn't use the red onion here, because I am not a fan of raw onions in general.
Rating: Salad :), Dressing :)

Goddess Nicoise

Horseradish-Dill Hummus: There are several hummus variations in the book, but this is one of my favourites. Because I love horseradish (this uses prepared horseradish thankfully, because fresh is really hard for me to find) and dill is my favourite herb.
Rating: :)

Horseradish-Dill Hummus

Fusilli Roasted Veggie Primavera: This is a lovely fresh pasta dish, full of veggies. I left out the capsicum of course. I also added some roasted chickpeas to the mix to bulk it up a little, which was a perfect addition
Rating: :)

Fusilli Roasted Veggie Primavera

Tempeh Helper: I never had hamburger helper, so I am not sure what to compare this too, but it was nice whatever it is. Seasoned tempeh and pasta shells covered in a cheese sauce. The Easy Breezy Cheesy Sauce is made from spices and flour mixed into water rather than being cashew based, and needs to be watched carefully to make sure that it does not catch on the bottom of the pan.
Rating: Tempeh Helper :), Cheesy Sauce :)

Tempeh Helper

Spinach Linguine with Edamame Pesto: Technically this is fettuccine, but close enough. They was a little meh, it just needed more depth of flavour to it. The mushroom and onions helped, and the pest on its own was very nice, but all together it just fell a little flat.
Rating: :|, pesto :)

Spinach Linguine with Edamame Pesto

Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach: This cleverly uses roasted cauliflower and tofu to make a knock out ricotta that is seriously delicious. The flavour of it gets a little lost when cooked the the lasagna, but it was still a very happy dinner.
Rating: :), Ricotta itself :D

Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach

Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach

Pasta a Fagioli with Spinach: Simple pasta and beans is always one of my favourite classic combinations. This has a tasty sauce and uses white beans (the recipe calls for navy beans but I used cannellini), plu slots of spinach so you get your greens. This was yummy, though I didn't find it very filling even with the beans.
Rating: :)

Pasta e Fagioli with Spinach

Curry Laska: I used about 200g of quartered fried tofu puffs instead of the extra firm tofu because I love tofu puffs in laksa. This is a nice laksa, based on red curry paste, with bok choy joining the noodles in the broth.
Rating: :)

Curry Laksa

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Blurry Zeno nose

It's a blurry Zeno nose!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Recipe Round-Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

Back to some recipe round-ups before MoFo begins. I don't think I will ever run out of recipe round-up posts!

Can you believe that I have only made one new recipe from this book in the last year? I know! However as I still have a huge backlog of photos to share, I still have enough for many more posts before I run out. Still, I'd better get cracking on it again, percentage goals and all of that! I save photos according to their page number, so everything I have uploaded today comes from the salad chapter!

Retro Potato Salad Redux: This is a delicious, creamy potato salad, that is indeed very retro. Celery, pickle relish and a tangy mayo dressing combine with creamy cooked potatoes for something that will win over anyone missing the potato salad of their past.
Rating: :D

Retro Potato Salad Redux

Three-Alarm Potato Salad: As you may be aware, I don't have a strong chili tolerance these days, so I dialed the alarms way back on this. I used one small mild green chili instead of a hot one, and some mild salsa instead of hot salsa, and of course I left out the capsicum all together but replaced it with some grated carrot.
Rating: :)

Three-Alarm Potato Salad

Potato and White Bean Salad with 'Roasted Red Peppers': Of course there are no roasted red peppers in this photo. I used some rehydrated and rinsed sundried tomatoes here instead. The recipe calls for cooking the potatoes for half an hour, but mine were done after 20 minutes.
Rating: :)

Potato and White Bean Salad with 'Roasted Red Peppers'

Potato Salad with Seitan Strips and Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette: This salad is pretty awesome, with nice and chewy seitan strips in a tangy dressing. I served this over salad greens, and I got three yummy lunches out of it.
Rating: :)

Potato Salad with Seitan Strips and Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

White Bean Salad with Fennel and Avocado: This is a very refreshing salad, with creamy beans, crunchy fennel and soothing avocado in a pretty zesty dressing. I got 2-3 servings out of this.
Rating> :)

White Bean Salad with Fennel and Avocado

Warm Lentil Salad with Walnuts: This salad is as tasty as it is pretty. I used grated carrot instead of capsicum and a lightly sauteed the red onions because I don't really like raw onion. Serve over brown rice and salad leaves.
Rating: :)

Warm Lentil Salad with Walnuts

Southwestern Three Bean Salad: The tomato dressing on this salad is very fresh and makes for a great summery salad. I used greated carrot instead of capsicum, of course. It has a mix of three beans - pinto, kidney and black beans. The avocado is optional, but we all know that avocado is actually mandatory.
Rating: :)

Southwestern Three-Bean Salad

Black Bean and Corn Salad with Cilantro Dressing: I am a big fan of the black bean and corn combination. The recipe calls for a tin of mild green chiles, but we don't really have those easily available here (and I would have only used part of it anyway).
Rating: :)

Black Bean and Corn Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Curried Walnut 'Chicken' Salad: Seitan and walnuts give this salad a meaty but slightly crunchy texture. The dressing is a curried mix of soy yoghurt and mayo. Carrots, cekery, green onions and golden raisins are also part of this. Served over lots of soft lettuce.
Rating: :)

Curried Walnut "Chicken" Salad

Rice Salad with Cashews and Dried Papaya: This is a sweet salad that is great served over greens. Brown rice, cashews and dried papaya is coated in a sweet lime dressing.
Rating: :)

Rice Salad with Cashews and Dried Papaya

(% 1000 Vegan Recipes blogged: 26.1%)

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Of course I took more than two photos of Zeno when I was in Seattle, so I thought I would share them with you over my next few posts. Here he is looking handsome. He does that all the time.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

USA 2015 Part 15: Honolulu and Home

Heavy sigh. It was a sad, sad time when I woke up at stupid o'clock, after only a few hours sleep, and had to say goodbye to Seattle. I had a quick snack of some So Delicious yoghurt and leftover Field Roast maple breakfast links and said a sad farewell to Helen and Zeno. Then it was off to the airport for my flight from Seattle to Honolulu. I was pretty tired, so I fell asleep almost straight away for a bit, then woke up hungry to crack into my stash. I started with the Wayward Breakfast Sandwich, which even without being heated was extremely yummy. I also got some fruit from the airline, and had a snack bar as well.

Wayward Breakfast Sandwich

I napped a bit more, then had my Wayward TLT. This was OK, though seemed to be mostly wrap and almost no tomato.

Wayward TLT

I napped a bit more before we landed. I had to spend a night in Honolulu, so I caught a shuttle to my hotel (I was able to check in early, which was nice), and then hopped a bus straight to Downbeat Diner. If you are even in Honolulu this place is a must visit! Almost everything on the menu can be made vegan. I had the breakfast burger with curly fries, which was huge and delicious. I also had a banana milkshake. Unfortunately since I was here last year they must have changed their vegan ice cream to be a heavy coconut one, because I could tell from one sip that this had too much coconut fat for me. But I felt awkward about leaving it, so I drank most of it, and then felt kind of icky. I'm an idiot, but at least I was spared the awkwardness of leaving most of a milkshake... I guess? Next time I will skip the milkshake.

Banana Milkshake from Downbeat Diner

2015-06-16 15.30.37

From there it was a bus down to Down To Earth, a great organic/natural food shop that has a lot of vegan goodies. Their range has increased since last year as well! Normally I stock up on vegan meats and cheeses here, then freeze them at the hotel overnight, pack them in an insulated bag and fly them home with me. This visit I got some Daiya, Field Roast, Follow Your Heart, and some Gimme Lean sausage so I can make some recipes from Cookin' Crunk. They have Uptons, Treeline and Heidi Ho and more there as well! It is also just down the road from Peace Foods, where I picked up some sandwiches for plane lunch the next day.

I originally had big plans to go out in the evening for more delicious food, but in truth I was fading fast so I picked up a few things while I was shopping to have at the hotel. To be honest I was so sleepy I could barely make it through the Spongebob movie that I started watching at 6.30pm. My room had a microwave, so I picked up an Amy's frozen meal while I was at Down To Earth, I had the vegan Meatloaf Dinner. The meatloaf itself was meh (though I had a little bit left the next morning and it was much better as a leftover), but the mash was so creamy and tasty and oddly kind of solid. Unfortunately the gravy just kind of evaporated a bit with heating.

Amy's Frozen Meatloaf Dinner

I slept early and well, and woke up about 6am. Thankfully I was quite ravenous, as I wasn't able to eat as much as I had thought the night before and I was worried I was going to have to throw some food out. I started my day with the Soba Salad I had picked up from Peace Foods.

Soba Salad from Peace Foods

I had a couple of hours until I had to check out, so I took a walk down through a park and towards Waikiki. It is quite a beautiful setting, and there are also lots of beautiful birds.


Diamond Head


2015-06-17 07.52.57

Back at the hotel, I heated up a frozen grain and fruit breakfast bowl I had bought, which was really yummy, and ate my final So Delicious yoghurt of the trip (I love So Delicious yoghurt, but you cannot get it in Australia, vegan yoghurts in Australia suck).

Breakfast Bowl

Then it was off to the airport. During my brief stop over on the way to the US, I had grabbed a vegan pizza (no cheese) from the California Pizza Kitchen at the airport (if you remember that long ago), however I had noticed a couple of other options while I was there I was keen to explore. One of these was Umaizushi, a Japanese restaurant. If you are looking for it, it is kind of as you walk towards gates 11 to 6, just before you leave the main terminal and start walking down the side of the road (terrible instructions, sorry). It is NOT the Samurai sushi place in the middle of the airport, which seems to have nothing vegan. As far as I can tell, Umaizushi only has one vegan option (and I did check with the kitchen to make sure it was in fact vegan), but it is lovely (though pricey, airport food!). The Maui Veggie has cucumber, avocado, seaweed salad, pickled burdock, squash and asparagus and is wrapped in green soy paper. It was really nice.

Veggie Roll from Umaizushi at Honolulu Airport

Then it was on the plane for a 10 hour daytime journey home to Brisbane. It was hard to stay awake, because even though it was a day flight they turned off all the lights and made everyone shut their windows. Because of course if you are leaving at 1pm and getting into Brisbane at 7pm, a 10 hour sleep is just the right thing to not screw up your sleep cycles? Thankfully I was able to keep myself awake with free movies and lots of snacks. I had some McDougall Ginger Soy Noodles, BBQ texas primal strip and a couple of snack bars as my first meal. And then a bit later on I had the Hanoi Sandwich I had bought from Peace Foods - tofu, veggies, aioli and peanut sauce. Yum!

Hanoi Sandwich from Peace Foods

And then I was home, and then I was really home, and then I was hugging my kitties in my arms and everything was right with the world. I am happy to report that all my delicious goodies made it home with no issues (I didn't even have to declare anything). And that was the end of USA 2015. If you have read all of these, thank you for indulging me... I didn't realise it would turn into so many posts! I have really been making the effort to get them all up and published quickly, because VeganMoFo is just around the corner and it is time to get prepped for that. Are you doing it? It is going to be so much fun!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim and Sahara in the sunroom

Holidays are fun, and obviously being in Seattle is the most fun, but I always am kind of sad when I am away from my baby girls. Coming home to them makes my heart so happy! Even if the rest of me wishes I could still be in Seattle. Home is always where my cats are.