Friday, 30 May 2008


Dinner last night and lunch today came courtesy of one of the McDougall Books as inspiration, and I changed it up a bit. A nice Cauliflower and Potato Curry, not too spicy or hot, just flavoursome and delicious. Last night we had it over rice and then today I stuffed a PPK test "Omelet" with it. Good stuff all round.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

The days slip away on you sometimes

and then without even noticing, it is Thursday and you haven't done a blog post for a few days. Its not that I've been super busy, or that I've been eating super interesting food. Same old, same old really, but I do have a few photos for you, just to illustrate how uninteresting it all has been!

First up, Baked Potato filled with Quinoa mixed with the last of the Cauliflower Hummus, and baked Asparagus topped with the last of the Cilantro Chutney. I need to make me some more of that Cilantro Chutney!
Then I have baked Millet Slices, topped with a simple bean salsa. The millet is cooked, left for a few hours in the fridge to set, then baked until crisp. Nice.
Then we have twice baked potatoes, seasoned with cumin and paprika, plain rice and a Broccoli Bean Chili, artfully arranged. Tasty, simple and quick.
Told you it was nothing very interesting!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


A couple of muffins made over the past couple of days. They were both really tasty, and didn't last long!
Firstly, the Lower Fat Banana Bread from Veganomicon, halved and made into muffins for R, who loves muffins if they are banana flavoured, baked in cupcake liners so we can call them "Cupcake Muffins" (it makes them more palatable because of the "cupcake" in the name!)
Then we have a PPK tester recipe for Zucchini Spelt Muffins. H came back looking for more of these, which is a recommendation as he doesn't have much of a sweet tooth.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

What I ate today (and some of yesterday)

Lets see. There's this beauty, which tastes better than it looks and is ever so simple - Red Flannel Hash, a PPK tester which I had for lunch yesterday. Really good.
and for Dinner last night, a plate full of BBQ'd delights - Corn on the Cob (which R adores), marinated Portobellos, (soy sauce and balsamic vinegar mainly), salad and to go with them Cilantro Chutney (the green stuff) from a McDougall cookbook (I subbed agave for the honey) and the Low Fat Cauliflower Hummus from Veganomicon, which I accidentally made even more low fat as I forgot to put in the oil, and didn't have enough tahini - it tastes great anyway! I also had half a baked potato but they weren't ready until later.
Then for breakfast I made this lovely Black Rice Breakfast Pudding dish, cooked with a little coconut cream and mainly water, some agave and a few dried blueberries, which plump up ever so nicely. Really tasty, chewy and not too sweet.
Lunch today was reusing some of the things from dinner. I cooked brown basmati rice with some amaranth, tossed some of the cilantro chutney through it (I'll call it Cilantro Amaranth Rice shall I?) and served with salad dressed with the hummus, and some seasoned Nori sheets. I love to eat these with rice at the moment!

The only real recipes I used are not mine so I can't post them!

Friday, 23 May 2008

A couple from Veganomicon.

I have been browsing through this cookbook lately, and loads of stuff has caught my eye, so I may be making a few more things from this book soon. Is there such as thing as too much choice?

Yesterday R wanted to bake some cookies while her sister was at school, so we ground up some rolled oats and made a half batch of the Wheat Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. They went very quickly! Then for dinner I made the Samosa Baked Potatoes, which is a starter in the book, I just made larger portions and served with some broccoli and kale with similar spices. Very nice, hearty and filling.

If you don't have Veganomicon, I do recommend it - there's loads of options so sure to be something which takes your fancy, even if you have things you'd rather avoid.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Testing, testing, testing.

Is this thing even working? Sometimes I wonder.

Anyway, I have photos of 3 tester recipes to share - from the PPK test kitchen and Isa's new book. Firstly Potato and Spinach Wedges - a view of the whole pie, and the wedge
Then we have Toasted Coconut and Mango Muffins (really yummy) and to finish Mom's Morning Casserole with potatoes, tofu and tempeh, a little bit messy dishing up!

That's all for today!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

A trip to Eastern Europe

No, not in real life. Though I don't know how much a vegan would find to eat behind the old iron curtain. I'm sure it would be do-able but without language would be very tricky. Yay to anyone who has travelled to less than vegan friendly climes.

No, this is about food, and a mix and match type of creation that came about in our house last night. I love beets (beetroot as I grew up knowing it) and I love risotto. I have made something similar when I made a Roasted Root Vege Risotto, as one of my veggies were beets, but this time I thought to make a variation of my Buckwheat Risotto, with beets in it, and use some Eastern European type flavourings to round it all off. It worked quite well, a hearty, filling, heavy-ish peasant type dish. I liked it, but then as I said, I like beets and I like risotto.
Eastern European Risotto
Serves 4

3 Beets – peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
1 t crushed Fennel Seeds
1 T Olive Oil*
1 T Maple Syrup
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
6 cloves garlic – unpeeled, 1 end sliced off

½ C Red Wine
2 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
1 Onion – ½ finely chopped, ½ finely sliced
½ C raw Buckwheat
½ C Risotto Rice
1 t Tarragon
1 t dried Parsley
½ t crushed Fennel Seeds
2 ½ - 2 ¾ C Vegetable Stock

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss first 6 ingredients together and roast for about 60 minutes until well tender. (*You can omit the olive oil, but will need to add splashes of stock or water during cooking to ensure the beets don’t stick.)
Remove beets and garlic from roasting pan, finely chop the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the red wine.
In a large-ish pot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic (roasted and not) for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add the buckwheat, rice and herbs, stir to combine. Add in the red wine you used to deglaze the roasting pan and cook until absorbed.
At this point proceed with cooking risotto style. Add ½ C stock at a time and cook until absorbed before adding the next lot of stock. Stir well with each addition but not during absorption. With the last addition of stock add in the beets also.Cover and stand for 10 minutes prior to serving, perhaps with some dark crusty rye bread.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Barbecue time - at last

The weather has finally turned nice enough (for a few days at least) for us to barbecue. Marinated Portobello's with corn anyone? mmmm. Anyhow, its not a very exciting thing but the marinade you use - if at all - can change the whole feel of your meal, and if you use 2 different ones in a row it feels like 2 different meals even if you're eating the same things, as we did. The first one I don't have a shot of is my standard, a great all purpose BBQ Marinade and sauce. The second I don't have a shot of is a little Thai inspired one, so not traditional, but still good, great as an oil free dressing for corn on the cob!

BBQ Marinade and Sauce
Makes about ¾ Cup

2 T Maple Syrup
1 T Balsamic Vinegar (or Red Wine Vinegar)
2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
½ T Blackstrap Molasses
2 T Lime Juice
2 ½ T Tomato Paste
1 ½ t Liquid Smoke
2 T Soy Sauce
½ t Tabasco Sauce (to taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Good as a marinade / sauce for mushrooms, tofu, tempeh and seitan.

Thai BBQ Marinade / Dressing
Makes 1 Cup or so

3 T Cilantro Stalk / leaves – finely chopped
1 T fresh Ginger – grated
2 cloves Garlic – grated
1 T Lemongrass – finely chopped
2 T Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
1 T Rice Wine Vinegar
3 T Soy Sauce
2 T Agave
3 T Lime Juice

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Good with mushrooms, tofu, corn and on salad.

and because I've given you recipes with no photos I'm going to give you photos with no recipes. Back to front today. Neither have recipes, they're just stuff I threw together which tasted good!
This is potatoes mashed with sun dried tomatoes - and then we have a breakfast Tapioca with pineapple.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Its the end of the week...

The time when you either go shopping again or scrape the bottom of the fridge and throw something together. I couldn't be bothered going to the shops so we had a bottom scraper for dinner last night. Surprisingly tasty actually, super heavy when served with something (like baked potato as shown, or rice as I had for lunch today) so more suited to serving alone or with salad unless you're hungry (and I was today as I ran this morning).

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
Serves 4

½ Onion – finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic – grated
2 Celery stalks – finely chopped
½ C Cilantro stalk and leaf 0 finely chopped
1 (yellow fleshed) Sweet Potato – cut in 1 cm cubes
1 t Cumin
½ t Cajun Spice Mix or Chili Powder (I used YRR Cajun Spice) *
¾ t Mrs Dash Tomato / Basil / Garlic
1 ½ C Pasta Sauce (homemade or storebought)
1 C Water
1 C Vegetable Stock
1 C cooked Black Beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
1 C Sweetcorn Niblets
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot over medium heat sauté the onion, garlic, celery and cilantro for 5 minutes until aromatic.
Add in the spices and the sweet potato and stir for about 1 minute to combine.
Add in all three liquids, bring to a low boil and cook for 25 minutes.
After this time add in the beans and corn, stir well, and cook for a further 25 minutes until quite thick.
Season then roughly mash the sweet potato pieces so some are crushed and some retain their shape.

* Adjust heat to taste, obviously

The weather is finally nice here so we are BBQing tonight, and hopefully heading off to Stanley Park for a family day out tomorrow. I may not post.

Leftover Rice Breakfasts.

Three of them, but I only took photos of 2. I saw a Cinnamon / Raisin variation today in La Dolce Vegan as I was browsing for dinner inspiration, and I may make that tomorrow as I have some cooked rice waiting for me in the fridge. These 3 are all made up by yours truly.

The first 2 don't have any sweetener added - you decide. I thought they were sweet enough. The last 1 I added some agave to as the pineapple tends to get a bit sour when its cooked if you don't I find. Again, use your own sweetness discretion. I also like this sort of thing thick so I do use the starch thickener quite often, you may like a more soup-y texture. Whatever, its there if you need it, right?
I also think the basic idea would work for any leftover grain as long as it has only been cooked in water. You may need to adjust the liquid content but i haven't experimented with anything but rice, yet.
Brown Rice Breakfasts
Serves 1 - 2

1 C cooked Brown Rice
1/3 C Coconut Milk
1/3 C Water
1 T Crystallised Ginger – finely chopped
1 t Lemongrass – minced
¼ t ground Ginger
Agave to sweeten as desired

#2 1 C cooked Brown Rice
1/3 C plain Soy Milk
1/3 C Water
1 T dried Cranberries – finely chopped
½ t Orange Zest
¼ t Nutmeg
Agave to sweeten as desired

#31 C cooked Brown Rice
2/3 C pineapple bits in juice
1/3 C Water
1 T Agave
½ t Vanilla Essence
Extra Agave to sweeten as desired

Optional – 1 T Tapioca Starch (Arrowroot / Cornstarch) to thicken if desired

Combine all ingredients excepting extra agave and thickener in a small pan, then simmer over medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes until reduced.
If desired make a slurry with the starch thickener and add to pan, stir well to combine and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Barley is not just for beer.

Though in this house, I'm the only one who seems to think so. No one else likes it much. I find it a nice change to the usual grains, and it is a hearty, chewy, filling grain that lends itself to alot of dishes, both hot and cold, alot like rice does. Unfortunately it is a gluten containing grain so unsuitable for people who don't tolerate gluten, but if you're sensitive to it you'd know that.

This recipe was lunch just for me yesterday, and I was hungry so I think if you were using it as a side it would serve 2. Artwork courtesy of M.
Italian Barley
Serves 1 – 2

½ Onion – finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic – minced
1 t dried Basil
½ t dried Oregano
1 t Tomato Paste
½ C Barley – soaked overnight then drained / rinsed
½ C Pasta Sauce (homemade or storebought)
1 ¼ C Vegetable Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium pot over medium heat sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until translucent.
Add in the basil, oregano, tomato paste and barley. Saute 1 minute more.
Add the sauce and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and barley is tender. Stir every 10 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
Season as required, then stand, covered, for 5 – 10 minutes prior to serving.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The humble baked potato.

One of very few things which is a meal in itself. Add some salad, some chilli, some other type of sauce or topping and you can transform it. This too transforms the baked potato to a gastronomic delight. I do exaggerate, but it is good and adds a tenderness and hint of garlic to the humble spud. We usually cook them like this on the BBQ, but its not BBQ weather here yet and I wanted one today so I cooked this in the oven. Served with a side of Smoky Shiitakes (a PPK tester as made previously) and salad this was one Hot Potato!

Baked Garlic Potatoes
Per person

1 medium Baking Potato
2 cloves Garlic – sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 400F.
Scrub potatoes as required and cut horizontally slices along the potato, about 1 cm apart. Cut about ¾ of the way through, you want the slices all attached together. Push the slices of garlic into the slices on the potato.Wrap tightly in tin foil and bake for 1 ¼ - 1 ½ hours until potatoes are done.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

A new challenge.

As if I don't have enough going on, what with 2 children of my own, baby M during the week, trying to keep the blog updated with interesting foods; well, I've taken on another challenge for myself. I'm learning to run. Yes, I know how to run, I've been doing it almost all my life, it's learning how to run continuously for an extended period of time so I can do a 5k later in the summer / autumn and maybe a 10k next spring. That's a trick. As you can see I've given myself loads of time as I know I may not be able to get out as often as I like all the time. Wish me luck.
Good news on another front, H started his new job yesterday! He was made redundant just before Easter and it is great he's working again. The only downside is its going to be more nights as the restaurant isn't open for breakfast, so less time at home in the evening all together. We will cope I'm sure, and we'll have to make more of an effort to do stuff all together on his days off (which again will be random.)
and as this is a food blog - here's some food -
Enchiladas topped with avocado cubes, so very good, and filling too.Malva Pudding (a South African traditional old fashioned pud), which is super sweet along the lines of the Sticky Toffee / Date Pud.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Puddings - the winner as voted by you is....

Sticky Toffee Date Pudding.
So as promised, here is the recipe!

Sticky Toffee / Date Pudding
Serves at least 8

1 C seeded dried Dates
1 C Water
¼ C Soymilk
½ t Apple Cider Vinegar
½ C Margarine
1/3 C Brown Sugar
1 T Blackstrap Molasses
1 t Vanilla Essence
¼ C Soy Creamer
½ C Plain Flour
½ C Wholewheat Pastry Flour
¼ t Salt
1 t Baking Powder

¼ C margarine
¼ C Brown Sugar
¼ C Sugar
3 T Water

In a small pan soak dates in the water for 1 hour. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Stand off the heat a further 10 minutes. Process in blender or food processor to smooth liquid. Hold until required.
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 6” Bundt Pan (or loaf pan, or 8” round). You can use individual small pans but you’ll have to adjust cooking times.
Combine soymilk with ACV and stand 5 minutes.
In a large bowl cream the margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Add in the blackstrap and vanilla, mix well.
Add in order the soymilk mix, date mix and soy creamer, mixing well to combine between each addition.
Sift in the flours, salt and baking powder, stir to combine.
Pour mix into your prepared pan, and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until tests done.
While baking prepare your sauce – Boil all ingredients in a small pot for 10 – 12 minutes until reduced in half and thickened. Keep warm until required.
Once pudding is cooked remove from oven, keep in pan. Using a chopstick poke holes in the pudding about 1cm apart that go most of the way through – best not to go all the way through or the sauce doesn’t absorb as well. Spoon the hot sauce over the pudding, encouraging it to go down the holes you poked with the back of the spoon.
Stand in pan for 15 minutes so sauce can absorb. Turn out and serve warm.

If you have a really sweet tooth make double the sauce and use half to absorb and half as a sauce to serve.
I must say I am surprised no-one had any love at all for the Bread and Butter Pudding. This was really good!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Happy Mother's Day

That's all. Hope you all had a lovely day!

I'm not cooking today if I can help it. I am feeling more like myself again, which is great so I can get back to posting regularly again. Though, that said, H starts his new job tomorrow and will be working evenings a lot of the time. I find if I'm just cooking for the children and myself I tend to cook very plain simple meals, with not a lot of experimentation so this may not be such an interesting blog in the weeks to come! Just warning you is all.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Testing and an oldies with a twist!

A few things I've been making.
First up, a PPK tester recipe - Orange Pecan Crumb Cake. Not too sweet, but moist and lovely. Both girls really liked it but R most of all, she had about 3 pieces the first day and took some to preschool as her snack the next day.
She looks like she's enjoying it, doesn't she!

and the Spanikopita from VwaV, but made with a Thai flavour and baked in a store bought pie crust. I subbed and added, garlic, red onions, cashews, lemongrass, fresh ginger, red chard / kale mix, and it was really good! I've made this spanikopita the traditional VwaV way, with a Mexican flair and now Thai - how versatile with just a few adjustments!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

As requested!

I'll start by saying these are not super sticky-sweet ooey gooey caramel-y vegan cinnamon rolls. If that's what you want you'll have to google again. They're a little more refined, subtly sweeter, but very very more-ish. You don't feel that guilty when you eat 3 (or more) in a sitting because they are sugar free, and if you make them with 1/2 wholewheat flour you can almost say they are healthy.

I have the Tassajara Bread Book (thanks to my Mum and brother) and this recipe was inspired by one I saw in there.
Sugar Free Banana Walnut Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 24

1 frozen Banana
2 T Agave
½ C Soymilk
¾ c Boiling Water
1 ½ T dry Yeast
1 t Cinnamon
1 ½ C Flour (wholewheat or plain)
3 T Vital Wheat Gluten
1 t Salt
2 T Margarine – melted and cooled
½ C Walnut Crumbs
1 ½ C Plain Flour + ¾ C ish to knead
2 X ½ t Cinnamon
2 X 3 T Agave

- In your food processor blend together the banana, 2 T agave and soymilk until super smooth, creamy and frothy, with no lumps. Pour into a large bowl, add the boiling water and mix well so liquid is all lukewarm. Add yeast, stir to dissolve and stand 10 minutes.
- To the yeast mix add the first measures of cinnamon and flour, along with the gluten, salt and cooled melted margarine. Stir 100 times to really combine and then stand 30 – 40 minutes.
- Add the walnut crumbs, stir to combine, and then stir in the flour ½ C at a time. The dough will come together and soon be too hard to stir with anything but your hands. At this point use your hands, turn onto a lightly floured board and start to knead. Add flour as needed while kneading to stop everything from sticking. Knead for about 20 minutes (resting after every 5 if you need to) until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, coat the dough in the oil, cover, place in a warm spot (inside your microwave is good) and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough back onto your lightly floured board, knead gently for a minute to release any trapped gas, then divide in 2. In turn roll each half out into a long rectangle (about 10 by 30 cm) about ½ cm thick.
- After rolling brush the dough with 3 T agave, covering all of the rectangle, sprinkle with ½ t cinnamon (or just shake until you think there’s enough) and then roll from the long side into a log. Slice into 2 – 3 cm sections (12 per log) and stand cut side up on a greased baking sheet. Brush tops with a little soymilk, melted margarine or agave if desired. Leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375F during this second rise, and then bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown.

Hope you all like it after waiting so very patiently. I am starting to feel better.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


for not posting much the last week or so. I had a tummy bug last week, and this week I have a rotten head cold, so haven't been cooking much at all. Beans on toast for dinner anyone? I'm going to share a few pictures but no recipes today.
Tandoori Spiced Carrot and Cauliflower Dal.

BBQ Style Marinated Portobellos - baked in the oven with roasted potatoes, fennel and kale.

Sugar free Banana Walnut Cinnamon Rolls - sweetened with Agave.

Chocolate Chip Cookies for sharing with M's class at school.

I'm working on feeling better.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

I'm an old fashioned kind of girl sometimes.

When it comes to puddings, sure. I love an old fashioned pudding as much as anybody, especially when served warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream. We've had a few over the last week in preparation for this weeks poll - Choose your favourite veganised old fashioned pudding from the pictures and descriptions below, and vote in the poll to you left. I'll post the winning pud recipe next week!
Apple and Berry Crumble.
What a luscious combination, topped with a crunchy, crumbly oat filled top.

Sticky Toffee Pudding.
aka Sticky Date Pudding. If you have a sweet tooth, you'd be in love with this!

Lemon and Cranberry Bread and Butter Pudding.
Sans the butter obviously. A twist on the traditional, but still all creamy and good.

Cherry Baked Rice and Tapioca Pudding.
Another one of those combinations which worked surprisingly well. Dried cherries replace the more traditional raisins.

Rhubarb Bars.
Like Grandma's Rhubarb Pie but in a bar form, easier to pick up and eat.

and you never know, if you're lucky I'll post another recipe during the week for one that didn't make it on to the poll (only because I didn't make it yet!)

Friday, 2 May 2008

More Leeks - look away now if you're a hater.

This one is a PPK tester recipe - Mushroom, Leek, White Bean Quiche - which has all those things in it but becomes more than a sum of its parts. Tasty warm, and absolutely gorgeous cold, this one is a winner. Yay Isa! Here's a few pretty photos to keep you drooling until the book is available! Take a look at the inside!