Sunday, December 23

No-egg nog

I don't know about you, but I'm a big eggnog fan. Too bad about the egg. Luckily I found this little beauty to keep me going over the Christmas season! The recipe is from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, which I highly recommend you buy!

Makes six 1/2 cup servings

340g silken tofu
1 ripe banana
2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and serve chilled.

If you want to be naughty, you can also add 1/2-1 cup of rum, whiskey, cognac, or brandy - though I haven't tried that yet!

Happy drinking! :)

Gingerbread biscuit Recipe

This one comes from The Pooh Cookbook, a favourite from my childhood. Nothing Winnie the Pooh does can be wrong. Except selling himself to Disney. Aww... :(

Makes around 18 biscuits

8 rounded tbsp plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
60g Nuttelex
60g brown sugar
2 heaped tbsp golden syrup

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix to combine.

2. In a saucepan, melt together Nuttelex, brown sugar, and golden syrup, stirring continuously until the mixture is runny but not too hot.

3. Pour the syrup mixture into the dry mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed. It should be fairly soft and easy to mould. If it seems very soft, allow it to stand for a few moments.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll with a floured rolling pin to around 1/2cm thick. Cut into whatever shape you like, place on a baking tray, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and then scoff them all.

Happy eating! :)

What I'm eating: Two-bit Heroes

At a vintage expo some time ago, I discovered the fizzy delights of the sodas homemade by Two-bit Villains. I discovered that they were located upstairs in Adelaide Arcade. Then I went to their shop and discovered that it was awesome.

Doubling as an eatery and a rockabilly boutique, this place has definite charm and style. What's even better? Their menu is completely vegetarian and almost everything can be made vegan. Everything is also completely scrum-diddly-umtious!

Last time I went there I had a fries burger (lettuce, tomato, fries, and your choice of sauce) and a strawberry float. Oh god, the mouth-gasm.

Happy eating! (and shopping!) :)

What I'm eating: cream cheese and bagels

After being burnt so many times by vegan cheese varieties, I thought I'd give Kingland Soy Cream Cheese a try. It was quite nice! Very yummy on toasted bagels for breakfast!

Happy eating! :)

Vegan lasagna recipe

You know what I love? Lasagna. You know what I don't love? The dairy industry behind that oh-so-delicious white sauce and cheese. That's why I came up with this vegan version of the hearty Italian classic.

Serves 4

For white sauce:
400ml soy milk
2 tbsp corn flour
1 1/2 tbsp Nuttelex

For tomato sauce:
2 carrots, diced
2 zucchini, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2tbsp olive oil
400g tin diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
100ml red wine
200ml water

Instant lasagna sheets

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Then, in a large saucepan over medium heat, fry onion in oil until softened. Add garlic and fry for a further 30 seconds.

2. Add carrot, zucchini, and celery, and saute until softened.

2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, wine, and water. Mix well and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a jug, combine milk and corn flour using a whisk (add milk to corn flour, not the other way around or it will be lumpy!). Over medium-high heat, melt the Nuttelex in a saucepan. Add the milk mixture and heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens (usually around 3 minutes - when it begins to simmer). Remove from heat.

4. In an oven dish, place a lasagna sheet, followed by a layer of white sauce, then a layer of tomato sauce. Continue this until all of the sauce is gone (3-4 layers), finishing with the tomato sauce on the top.

5. Bake in oven according to instructions on the instant lasagna sheet box.

Happy eating! :)

What I'm eating: summer burgers

At this time of year, you really can't go past a burger! Not only are they delicious, one of the only ways I'll eat salad, and a great excuse to eat mustard, but making them also involves very little cooking - which is great during summer!

I like to use Fry's Traditional Burgers, which have a very meaty taste and a nice texture. I get them from my local Coles/Woolworths in the freezer section.

Happy eating! :)

Avocado Pasta Recipe

I absolutely love avocado and can't get enough of it lately. I invented this meal after intending to have avocado on toast for dinner, only to find that Jeff had eaten the last of the bread. This meal is so cheap and easy it's ridiculous. Perfect for those times when money's tight and the pantry's looking very bare, as was the case when I first made this!

Serves 2

1 ripe avocado
Olive oil
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Enough cooked pasta for 2 people

1. While the pasta is cooking, dice the avocado.

2. Drain pasta and return to saucepan. Mix in olive oil bit by bit until pasta is thoroughly coated but not too oily.

3. Mix in avocado and season with salt and cracked pepper to taste (I like to have lots of pepper).

Happy eating! :)

Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

A very quick, easy, and relatively healthy meal.

Serves 4

1 large head of broccoli or 2 smaller ones
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Enough cooked pasta for 4

1. Cut the broccoli into florets and steam until just tender (they will go bright green and a fork will go in with only a little push). Remove from heat.

2. Place cooked broccoli in a food processor and process until cut small (but not pureed!). Roughly combine in a large saucepan with drained pasta.

3. Add garlic, oil, and salt to pasta and mix everything together well.

Happy eating! :)

What I'm eating: on the deliciousness of lentil pies...

Something I absolutely love are the lentil pies from Mayfair Bakery. Unfortunately, I think this is something you can only enjoy if you live in South Australia as I don't believe that Mayfair operates anywhere else. Anyway, I'm sharing this anyway to tell you that a) if you live in South Australia, go get one! And b) if you don't, then drool and be jealous.

These lentil pies are everything a pie should be: crunchy on the outside, well balanced in the gravy department, and lacking in the dodgy low-grade meat. Containing good ol' legumes, soy protein, onion, and gravy, these pies are heaven on earth. And they are entirely vegan.

My mouth is watering.

I think I need a pie.

Happy eating! :)

What I'm eating: avocado on toast

Avocado on toast has got to be one of my favourite things to eat at the moment, I can't get enough of it! Perfect as a lunch, light dinner, or just as a snack. It's good for you too! There's so much great produce around at the moment, enjoy it!

I like to mash the avocado, spread it on toast (1/2 an avocado is the perfect amount for 2 pieces of toast), then sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper. Mmmm!!

Happy eating!

Chocolate Cake Recipe

I made this cake for Jeff's birthday this year and, as Portal so aptly put it, it was so delicious and moist. This recipe comes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's excellent recipe book, The Joy of Vegan Baking. Her recipe for the accompanying frosting can be found here.

Makes one 23cm cake or 8 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bi-carb
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and lightly oil cake tin.

2. Mix flour, sugar, salt, bi-carb, and cocoa in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

3. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the vanilla, oil, vinegar, and water. Mix until just combined.

4. Pour into cake tin and bake for 30 minutes (15 minutes for cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

5. Cool completely before frosting.

Happy eating! :)

Chocolate Frosting Recipe

I made this chocolate frosting for Jeff's birthday cake this year and it was amazing. The recipe comes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy of Vegan Baking, and says that it will make enough for a 23cm cake or 8 cupcakes. Well, Colleen must absolutely PILE on the frosting because I ended up with a hell of a lot! However, it does say that you can store the frosting in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, just re-whip it before using it. So if you have lots birthdays coming up, that could be very handy.

1/2 cup Nuttelex
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp soy milk, or more as needed

1. With an electric hand mixer (and trust me, you WILL need one!), cream the butter until smooth.

2. With the mixer on low speed, add the icing sugar and cream for about 2 minutes.

3. Add the cocoa, vanilla, and milk. Once the ingredients are all fairly well combined, turn the mixer to high speed. Beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1-2 tbsp milk if it's too dry.

Happy eating! :)

Strawberry breakfast smoothie

A nice quick breakfast for when you're just about to run out the door. It's tasty, filling, and has plenty of fibre ;) As with all smoothies, the amounts of ingredients really depend on your own tastes. I don't have a set recipe, I just add however much I want of everything. This recipe is a guide to be tweaked at your will!

1-2 handfuls of frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
Handful of rolled oats
Handful pitted prunes
Generous sprinkle of chia seeds
Agave syrup or golden syrup
Soy milk

1. Put banana in blender and blend until no big lumps remain. Add stawberries, prunes, oats, chia seeds, agave or golden syrup to taste, and enough soy milk to just cover the rest of the ingredients.

2. Blend until smooth with no lumps remaining. Adjust amount of milk to suit if the smoothie is a bit thick. If it's too thin, add some more oats and blend again.