Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vegan White Christmas

I'd never actually had white christmas before I went vegan, so I have nothing to compare this too, but it was a pretty big hit at the work christmas morning tea. I think these tasted better after a day or two of refrigeration,  it really seemed to meld the flavours. You could use any fruit that you like, I just used what I had in the pantry.

What you'll need:

2 cups rice bubbles
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
Half a block of copha (melted)

1/2 cup glace cherries (chopped)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup shredded coconut
A handful of sultanas
1/3 cup of icing sugar
1/2 block vegan white chocolate (optional)

Patty pans in a mini muffin tray

Place 3/4 cup of desiccated coconut in a food processor and process until it becomes powdery and crumbly (2 minutes or so). Melt copha in a saucepan and then add processed coconut and mix well.
In a large mixing bowl mix rice bubbles, dried fruit and nuts and icing sugar, stir in copha mixture. Place a few spoonfuls into the patty pans until all the mixture is used.  Refrigerate until hard (at least an hour) and then serve, these will last for a few weeks in the fridge and like I said I think they're tastier after at least a day of refrigeration.
Once mine were hard I melted some white chocolate and piped it over the top and then refrigerated again until hard.
 Enjoy Xx

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tasty Home-made Hommus!

I don't care how you spell it, hommus/hummus/homous is delicious! Especially when you make it yourself, plusmit doesn't have all the nasty preservatives and additives that store bought hommus contains. It's really quick and easy to make and goes with everything! Trust me, once you start to make your own you will never buy it ever again.

You need a hand mixer or a food processor, I've made it in both and I think my hand mixer works better as you get a smoother consistency. If you have never bought tahini look in the health food aisle of your grocery store (I've bought it in both Coles and Woolies), and if it's not there you may need to find it at a health food store eg. Mrs. Flannerys.

What you'll need:

One tin chickpeas - drained
Juice of a large lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp of tahini
Large pinch sea salt crystals

Optional: Cumin, Smokey paprika, Olive oil

Place tahini, salt, garlic cloves and lemon juice into mixer bowl and blend for a few seconds until tahini turns a paler colour, add rinsed chick peas in a few batches blending as you go, I keep a cup of water beside me and just add a few splashes to keep my hommus at a consistency I like, blend until the mixture is a smooth paste (add more or less water to achieve a consistency you like, I prefer mine quite thick)

I also add on occasion a few tsp of cumin powder or smokey paprika, if I'm serving it as a dip I'll drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.

I love hommus because it's so versatile. I had it for lunch today on a wholemeal lavosh with baby spinach, tomato, avocado, fresh green chilli, mint and coriander. Very delicious! It last for about a week in the fridge in a a sealed container, and get's even tastier after a day so I recommend making it the day before for a party. Enjoy Xx

Vegan Degustation at Mondo Organics

I just want to share this because it was an AMAZING experience. For my birthday my partner Adrian took me to a 6 course vegan degustation at Mondo Organics in West End. I have to say it was one of the best meals of my life, and it's so hard to find vegan fine dining in Australia let alone a 6 course degustation with matching wines. They normally do a vegetarian degustation but they were more than happy to organise us a Vegan one with only 5 days notice, I really recommend that you guys check them out if you have the opportunity.

All these photos were taken with my phone in low lighting so they're not a great representation, and this happened back in August so my memory is a little fuzzy on exactly what was in each dish, but I think this gives you a good idea.

The first course was a field mushroom consomme accompanied with fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I don't have a photo but these are the drinks that accompanied it. We then had an apple salad that I don't have an image of, there was fresh apple, dried apple, little freeze dried coconut things, bulgur wheat and a few other things a can't remember, both of which were lovely.

We then had a salad of roasted beetroot, dehydrated beetroot, heirloom pickled onions and beetroot leaves, there was some other components that I can't quite remember but it was delicious.

This course was our absolute favourite, it was a roasted artichoke with a rhubarb sauce and toasted nuts (among other things) it was seriously amazing!

Then we had a beautiful dish of mandarin slices, wild rice, caramelised parsnips, nuts and coconut, the dressing and flavours were amazing. 

And then finally, as if we weren't full enough we had a lovely dessert that contained shortbread, macadamia's, fresh raspberries and a lemon granita.

Each course was accompanied by a beautiful  organic, vegan wine, it really was an amazing experience. It's not cheap but for a special occasion it was totally worth it. They already have vegan desserts permanently on their menu but I figure if enough people request a vegan degustation maybe it'll become a permanent fixture!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Super Delicious Scrambled Tofu

I've tried a lot of different scrambled tofu's in my time, and one of my favourite things about this dish is that you can put absolutely anything in it and it still tastes good. I have a complete inability to stick to a recipe so that fact that 'anything goes' with scrambled tofu, gives it extra points in my book. Whenever I make this I usually just throw in whatever ingredients I have on hand and then flavour it according to whatever I feel like eating. Which is exactly what I did this morning when I discovered a lonely packet of tofu sitting in the back of the fridge. I took the photos with my phone so don't judge.

I made this for one (it could have fed two), so I only used half a block of tofu, but just double everything if your feeding more people :)

What you'll need:

1/2 block firm tofu - crumbled (I used soyco Hi-protein firm tofu)
A few good sloshes of dark soy sauce
A splash of vegan Worcestershire (I used Newmans)
A good squirt of American-style Mustard
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
2 tsp of Keens Curry Powder
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1/8 cup Savoury Yeast flakes

Whatever vegies you like to beef out the mixure, I used;

1/4 small onion diced
1/4 large zucchini diced
6 mushrooms sliced thinly
1/6 red capsicum diced
1/4 tomato diced
A big handful of english spinach roughly chopped.

Chop  veggies of your choice and leave to one side.

Roughly crumble your tofu into a bowl, add soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, pepper, curry powder, garlic and, savoury yeast flakes and stir well to combine.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan, fry off your onion for a couple of minutes in some olive oil. Add the other veggies (except spinach) and fry for a couple more minutes until they begin to cook. Add your tofu mixture and cook for about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and delicious looking, if your mixture is too wet, turn up the heat and allow he excess moisture to evaporate, if your mix is too dry add water in small amounts. When your tofu looks ready throw in your spinach and stir for 30 seconds or until spinach is wilted.

I served mine on olive sourdough with slices of avocado.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Peanut butter choc-chip Xmas trees!

Let me just start by saying I'm not really that much of a peanut butter fan, but I saw these on another blog and had to try them. I altered the recipe slightly to what I had on hand, and they just look so cute.

What you'll need:

1.5 cups smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/4 block vegan dark chocolate finely chopped
2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tin coconut milk (chilled)
1 packet finely desiccated coconut
green food colouring
Rainbow choc chips (or other sweets to decorate)

Mix the first four ingredients together until well combined, if your using an electric mixer make sure you only mix for a very sort time or the oil will begin to separate from the peanut butter.

Mix desiccated coconut with a few drops of food colouring until it has reached a shade if green that you like, and then pour into a shallow dish. Pour coconut milk into a shallow dish also.

Shape your peanut butter mixture into small xmas tree shapes (I will describe mine as vaguely xmas tree shaped) once shaped roll each tree in coconut milk and then the green desiccated coconut (you may need to repeat this process to get a completely green tree, I dipped each tree twice). Once all your trees are nice and green press rainbow choc-chips into the sides (I found they would stay there with a little gentle coaxing), if you are using larger lollies to decorate you may need a chocolate or icing mixture to get them to stick.
I reshaped any that started sagging and a little refrigeration time will really help these tree's to stay nice, and firm, and upright.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vegan Reindeer (Rudolph) Cupcakes!

Ever since I discovered that Greens' moist vanilla cake mix is vegan (I confirmed this with the company) I have been finding it hard to bother making my own vanilla cake, they only cost $2 and all I do is add 2/3 cup of soy milk and as much melted nuttelex as I need to make it a cake batter consistency, you could put 'no egg' in but I just don't bother and they work out fine.

With us being only 11 days out from xmas I decided to do some pre-christmas baking, partly cause I was bored and partly cause I wanted to test run some recipes before my work secret santa afternoon tea on x-mas eve.

I used two packets of Greens' and made 16 quite large cup-cakes ( I added some cinnamon and ground ginger to the batter to make it seem more christmassy). Most people have a plain vanilla cake recipe so I'm not going to put one up, you can find a million on the internet, so just use what ever cake you like to make the cup cakes, and allow them to cool completely.

To decorate.

1 packet slivered almonds
1 packet red glace cherries
1 packet pretzels
1/4 block vegan dark chocolate melted
handful vegan choc chips (I used the brown ones out of a pack of rainbow choc chips)
a few tsp soy milk

To ice my cupcakes I used the icing packets that came with the cake mix and mixed through a few teaspoons of soymilk  and my melted chocolate until I got my icing to a good consistency. It came out really well and looks similar to a ganche (nice and shiny).

I cut 8 pretzels and  8 cherries in half  to give me enough noses and antlers for my reindeer and then iced my cupcakes with my chocolate icing.
 Push each pretzel half into the cupcake firmly until it stays upright (I just played around until I found a position I thought looked good).
Place two slivered almonds on for eyes and your half cherry for a nose.
I then dipped by choc chips in a little left over icing and used this to stick them to my slivered almonds to make little pupils.
They come out really cute, and although I am currently to full to eat them from licking about a kg of icing off my fingers I have been told they're delicious.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Mexican Breakfast Tagine

Ok, so it's been a while, but I've had a busy year and finally have six days off, so I decided it's time to start putting up the myriad of things I've been cooking and not posting.

This is actually what I had for breakfast this morning so why not start there ( I also had it for lunch, and then dinner, that is how good it is).


If you don't own a tagine i'm sure any ceramic baking dish (stove top safe) will work. If you don't know what a tagine is it's a north african ceramic cooking pot that looks like this.

My house mate owns an Emile Henry Tagine pretty much identical to the one above and I have to say it is amazing and I love it and if she ever moves out I'm stealing it. Also the cinnamon quill in the recipe is a must! It will not be the same without it, trust me it's worth putting one in!

What you'll need:

Two small brown onions - chopped
Two large cloved garlic
Two fresh green chillies
One bunch coriander
One large tin of 5 bean mix (drained)
One tin of cherry tomatoes (I used russo brand)
One cinnamon quill  
One tsp of cumin
One lime
One tsp of liquid smoke
Half a bag small mushrooms (stalks removed)
I also had some sundried tomato pasta sauce which I threw in about 300ml but a few teaspoons of tomato paste would probably suffice.

What to do:

Place your tagine on stovetop on a medium heat, add olive oil to coat and fry chopped onion for a few minutes until translucent. 
While the onion is frying chop your garlic, chillies and a handful of coriander leaves together. Add these to onion mixture along with your cumin and a cinnamon quill and fry for another few minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally. 
Once garlic is beginning to cook, add beans, tomatoes and pasta sauce (or tomato paste) and mix well. Add the juice of half a lime and the liquid smoke and mix through.
Once this mixture is bubbling add your mushrooms, place them evenly spaced around the dish, cup side up, and sprinkle with some more coriander.

This is actually a photo of a different tagine I cooked with large mushrooms but it's just to give you an idea of how to place them.
Place lid on tagine, turn heat to low and allow to simmer on the stovetop for atleast 45 minutes ( I think mine was more like an hour).
Stir and Serve!
I sprinkled mine with more coriander (I really like coriander) and some chopped shallots. I served it on toasted sourdough with lime wedges, coriander and more freshly chopped green chillies!