Wednesday, 31 December 2008


I had loads of good intentions to post our Christmas dinner, and cookie recipes I have been testing for Isa and Terry's upcoming book, but have been super slack, and half the time haven't even taken photos. I tend not to make New Year resolutions, but maybe that should be one - Not to be so slack about blogging and photo taking.
I have been busy with the children being home, and not being able to get out much due to the weather so we haven't been eating much that is blog worthy anyhow. Excuses is all.
Tomorrow the girls and I will be off to visit my sister, Sonia, who is going to be in Vancouver for one day (she was skiing in Whistler for the holidays and is off home to NZ) to have lunch and hang out. I'll do my best for photos but I'm not going to promise anything! Will be great to see her.
Have a happy and safe New Year everyone and I'll see you (hopefully with me being a lot less of a slack blogger) in 2009!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas Eve!

Just popping in to say have a good holiday, if you celebrate it, as I doubt I'll get to the computer tomorrow.

I promise to try and take lots of pictures of the food we'll be having and of the girls and their new stuff. I said try, take note!

Right now I'm completely exhausted having just spent 5 hours in the kitchen making stuff in advance. We are meant to be going to my in-laws, hence all the preparation, but its not looking likely as we are in the middle of another snow storm, 30 cm expected today and more tomorrow. Be a white Christmas at least!

I'll be back after the excitement!

Monday, 22 December 2008

It must be the cold

that has me dreaming of Africa these days. In last nights dinner I used a combination of flavours and ingredients from the continent and combined them into another warming, satisfying and totally delicious stew.

It started as a West African Sweet Potato Stew, but I used Ethiopian spices (and some more of the Niter Kebbeh I have left), added Lentils and Chickpeas (North African staples), some coconut milk from tropical East Africa, and finished it back in West Africa with some peanut (ground nut) butter.

It looks a little like slop, stews do often tend to don't they, but let me assure you that H and I both found it super delicious. The recipe makes enough for 4 if served with sides but we didn't have anything but rice and demolished the lot! I still have a little Niter Kebbeh left so I may continue this African kick a little longer. I'm thinking maybe stir fried Millet? Anyhow, here's the stew recipe...

African Sweet Potato Stew
Serves 4

2 T Niter Kebbeh
3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
2 Shallot – finely chopped
1 T fresh Ginger – grated
1 stalk Celery – finely chopped
1 Sweet Potato (2½ C) – chopped into 1 cm cubes
1 C Red Lentils
1 C cooked Chickpeas
1 t Cumin
½ t Fenugreek
½ t Paprika
½ t Cardamom
¼ t Turmeric
¼ t Allspice
¼ t Nutmeg
¼ t Cinnamon
1 C Coconut Milk
2 C Vegetable Stock
1 C Water
1 T Peanut Butter
1 T Tapioca Flour
3 T Water

In a large soup pot, heat the Niter Kebbeh. Add the garlic, shallots, ginger and celery and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add in the sweet potato, lentils, chickpeas, herbs and spices then sauté for 1 minute more to combine.
Add in the coconut milk, stock and cup of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a brisk simmer and cook, partially covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, tapioca flour and small amount of water to make a smooth paste. Scoop a little, about ¼ cup, of the cooking liquid from the pot and add to the bowl. Combine well so paste stays smooth. Add paste to pot and stir well to combine with the stew.
Turn off the heat and stand, covered, for 10 minutes prior to serving.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Warm, inside and out.

When the snow just keeps on coming down, and the wind chill drops your temperature a further 20 degrees you want something warm and comforting in your tummy. AM I right? Absolutely!

I made this concoction for dinner last night and it was ever so good. We (some of us less than others) aren't really big hot spicy eaters, and this recipe is spicy with spices but without a lot of heat. If you like it hot, add more cayenne!
Ethiopian Spiced Lentils and Spinach
Serves 4

2 T Less Spicy Niter Kebbeh (as follows)
1 Onion – finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
1 T fresh Ginger – grated
1 Celery Stalk – finely chopped
½ C Red Lentils
½ C Green Lentils
½ t Cumin
½ t Cardamom
¼ t Paprika
¼ t Black pepper
⅛ t Fenugreek
⅛ t Allspice
⅛ t Cloves
⅛ t Nutmeg
⅛ t Turmeric
Pinch Cayenne Pepper (to taste really)
4 ½ C Vegetable Stock
1 C thawed and squeezed frozen Spinach
1 C frozen Green Peas

In a large soup pot heat the Niter Kebbeh then sauté the onion for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add in the garlic, ginger and celery and sauté a further 5 minutes to soften.
Add in the lentils and all the spices, sauté a further minute prior to adding the stock. Stir well.
Bring the mix to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes until very soft and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add the spinach and peas to the pot and simmer a further 10 minutes.
Turn heat off, cover, and stand for 10 minutes prior to serving.

Less Spicy Niter Kebbeh
Loosely based on the
original from which I find far too spicy for us. I love this website, and Kittee's blog, so check them both out if they are new to you.
Makes 1 C

1 C Canola Oil
2 T finely chopped Onion
2 cloves Garlic – minced
½ T fresh Ginger – grated
½ t Cardamom
¼ t Cinnamon
¼ t Turmeric
¼ t Cloves
1/8 t Nutmeg
Pinch Cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve (or doubled cheesecloth) to remove the spices.
Store in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge until required.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Another non food post.

It is really cold right here at the moment - we're getting a daytime high of -6 today! I know that's nothing compared to the Prairies and other parts of the world, but for us in usually soggy, wet and mild Vancouver its a big deal!
I saw on the news that they are expecting us to have 2 more snow dumps before Christmas (Sunday and Tuesday) and for the temperature to stay below freezing until in the New Year. Cold and Clear.
I'm just hoping all this cold weather is killing those pesky pine beetles which have decimated the pine forests in northern BC!
On a positive note, the girls are not yet sick of the snow and are still having fun wrapped up in their snow suits - I really should take a photo of them and post it!

Friday, 19 December 2008

R's Christmas Performance

R's preschool (the same one M went to) has a Christmas Party each year and the children do a lovely little selection of songs they've been practising, we all have a snack together and that's it for the break.
It was this morning and it was fun - R's been practising her songs at home for the last month or so so we knew what to expect, and they weren't in time but what do you expect from 3 and 4 year olds!

I made some mini cupcakes (Vegan Cupcakes take over the World) but neglected to take a photo. I do however have this lovely one of R with H at the party!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

A Christmas Playdate.

I foolishly agreed to let M and Big A have a Christmas Play date before the end of school for the holidays. Foolishly in that they don't forget and once you say it you have to do it!

I let them invite 2 friends each to come to our house after school, have a snack, do a craft, play a game or 2, then clean up and go home. 2 friends each you gasp! That's SIX 6 year olds! "Are you mad?" I hear you ask - the answer - not as mad as you'd think. and it was made a little easier by 1 being sick on the day!

School lets out at 3pm, by the time I shepherded the 5 of them home it was nearly 3.30pm, then even with snack on the table and ready to go it was after 3.45pm by the time the juice was drunk, the popcorn and cupcakes eaten. Then off they all went for a very noisy M led tour of the house while I got the craft ready. The craft took until after 4.30 for them to complete, and as they were all being collected at 5pm it left very little time for cleanup!

The afternoon surely flew by anyway! and to be truthful they were pretty well behaved over all - over excited and very silly but not as bad as it could have been. I will say however that I was completely knackered at the end of it!

Here's a photo of M and her friends - there's one other M and the other 3 are A's.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas Muffins.

As promised, and requested by Megan, way back at the beginning of November (in this post) Christmas Muffins - just in time for the big day itself!

Xmas Fruit Muffins
Makes 12

1 ½ C + 2T Soymilk
2 t Apple Cider Vinegar
1 ¼ C Plain Flour
1 C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 ½ t Baking Powder
½ t Baking Soda
½ t Salt
1 ¼ t Cinnamon
¼ t Ground Ginger
¼ t Allspice
1/8 t Cloves
3 T Oil
1 T Brandy
½ C Brown Sugar
1 C Xmas Fruit Mince – recipe as follows

Preheat oven to 375F and prepare muffin tins.
In a small bowl combine the soymilk and vinegar and stand 5 minutes to curdle.
In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients – flours through cloves.
Add the oil, brandy, sugar and fruit mince to the soymilk and mix to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to just combine.
Spoon mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until tests done.
Cool 5 minutes in tins before turning onto the cooling rack.

I used this fruit mince recipe - but sub in one you like, or buy from the store if you want.
Xmas Fruit Mince
Makes 1 Cup

¼ C Orange Juice
2 T Brandy
½ T Grated Orange Zest

2 T Currants
2 T Raisins
2 T Golden Raisins (Sultanas)
2 T finely chopped Dates
1 T finely chopped Crystalised Ginger
1 T Mixed Peel
1 T finely chopped dried Apricots
1 T Slivered Almonds
1 T dried Cranberries
1 T dried Blueberries

In a medium pan, bring the juice, brandy and zest to the boil. Once boiling remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Stir well.
Cover and leave to soak at room temperature for 24 hours. Refrigerate a minimum of a further 12 hours prior to using.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Butterfly Cake.

As I said the other day my younger daughter, R, is turning 4 and we had her birthday party yesterday. She had requested a "Butterfly" party, with butterfly themed Goodie bags, and we went together to choose a butterfly cake pan for the butterfly cake.

Here is the naked butterfly - just baked. She wanted both vanilla and chocolate cake so I made both in the same cake. 1 batch of each basic vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. All I can take credit for today is the decorating!
Here's the butterfly with her basic icing cover on - her underwear if you like.
And here she is fully dressed and ready to go to the party. Isn't she beautiful?
R sure thought so, and here is R (and Little A) eating some of her Butterfly Cake!
I am pleased to report that a very good time was had by all.
I must point out that no actual butterflies were harmed during the making of this cake, the birthday party itself or this blog post about it!

Friday, 12 December 2008


What have I been eating lately?
Well, my teeth have stopped being agony so I have eaten a bit more solidly the last few days. Next week I have to have some more work done so it may be back to soups for a few days - bear with me. In the meantime here's a few dinners -

Portobello Mushrooms with BBQ Sauce, Mustard Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli.

Mini "Meat" Loaves, Gravy, Roasted Potatoes, Kale and Peas in a Tahini Sauce.

Homemade Bread to go with.
What's coming up?
Well, I should have birthday cake and birthday girl pictures after the weekend - R is turning 4. Can't believe it.
Also I am going to make the Christmas Muffins I mentioned before and will blog about them next week.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

and another great giveaway!

Quick - go add your name to the list before it hits 500! The wonderful Susan V at Fat Free Vegan is, in this post, giving away a copy of this book by Erik Marcus (from and you want to be in on that!!

Look at this!

Follow the link to enter the most fantastic Internet giveaway I've ever seen. These babies are completely over my budget at cut price stores! Vita mix blender like this, in a giveaway at the link above!
Have I entered? Have I what!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

It didn't go according to plan.

Still tasted good, but unfortunately didn't turn out as I had envisaged. On the way home from preschool I had the idea of making potato pancakes, with bits of potato and sweet potato in them. Just like pancakes, only savoury not sweet. So off I went into creating mode (which will all my teeth drama has been understandably switched off a lot lately) and made these suckers. They were potato-y all right, but more like soggy latkes than actual pancakes that I wanted. Back to the drawing board on this one. I think the concept will work quite nicely once I get it sorted. Perhaps once I have I'll be up to sharing the recipe, I know none of you wants a recipe for soggy latkes!
I have another tooth causing me problems which is why I am being a real slacker with posting. Its been sensitive to hot and cold for a while but its been agony the past wee while. I have a dentist appointment tomorrow so hopefully he can sort it. Anyone want to swap teeth?

Friday, 5 December 2008

Dinner last night

I'm still on soft food. No more needing to be liquid just not hard, so last nights dinner was soft all round.

I overcooked some rice (purposefully) and had it with well sauteed Kale, and baked Lemon Pepper Tofu (a tester recipe for Isa's brunch book, "Vegan Brunch", which I have made before). Very nice.

I'm not 100% and very tired this week, so its nothing interesting. We've started wrapping Christmas presents, and have found that while we have loads for M, we have less for R. That's what happens when you have to buy for a birthday (R's is the 16th) and Christmas at the same time. We need to back to the shops for R's Christmas to even it up a bit!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A link -

Have you been here yet?

Looks pretty interesting. Maybe they can set up some of my recipes as the recipe of the day. What do you think?

I will have food stuff again soon, I promise. Not just this filler stuff!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Congratulations Auntie Fiona!

Auntie Fiona (my sister that is) on the very left of this picture holding 2 sunflowers has just got engaged to her boyfriend Steve, standing behind her with the blue shirt and tie with no jacket.
Hooray, and congratulations!

This photo is from Auntie Linda's (another sister) wedding from this February in New Zealand. Not very flattering one of either of my daughters - they both look grumpy!

3 days of Liquids...

After having those 2 teeth out last Thursday I've been on liquids. I go onto soft foods today - YAY, but have been getting by on soups, smoothies and juices for 3 days. While I love soups and smoothies, I'm ready to move on! Just for your entertainment here are 3 of the soups I've been eating. No recipes for any of them, but I've written a few notes about what I did for each so you could probably make up something similar if the desire struck you, or you find yourself missing 2 teeth all of a sudden.

Spinach, Parsley and Cilantro
Sauteed onion and shallots, added in a packet of frozen spinach, a chopped up potato and cooked in veggie stock until the potato was done. Added a bunch of parsley and a bunch of cilantro, cooked a few minutes and blended until smooth. Tastes much better than you'd think.

Thai Curried Pumpkin, Carrot and Potato
Grated carrot and potato cooked in coconut milk and veggie broth, with a little red Thai curry paste and some sauteed red onion and garlic, to which I added the left overs from a tin of pumpkin, then blended until smooth. Better the second time after it had sat in the fridge for a day.

Mexi Roast Pepper, Garlic and Tomato with Guacamole
I roasted a red pepper, a head of garlic and then added those to a soup I had going using red onion, shallots, sun dried tomatoes, veggie broth and a tin of roasted tomatoes. I added in 1/2 tin of leftover beans, blended until smooth and topped with a rough guacamole made from avocado, Vegenaise and lime juice.

Gotta love some soup!