Sunday, 22 July 2012

Loving Earth Chocolate

Loving Earth is an Australian brand of products that are all organic, dairy, gluten and sugar free. I tried the Raw Organic Crunchy Mint Dark Chocolate and at 72% cocoa it was too strong for me but I found the Raw Organic Lucuma & Maca Chocolate with 60% cocoa to be much milder. I've seen them sold at Thomas Dux Grocer and Taste Organic, Crows Nest.


CocoLuscious Ice-Cream

I have discovered a new vegan ice-cream at Taste Organic, Crows Nest. CocoLuscious ice-cream is made in Australia from coconut cream. I do love SoGood's Vanilla ice-cream but you do miss flavours and CocoLuscious has a range of flavours including Chai, Chocolate, Mint, Rasberry, Coffee, Vanilla, Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough, Mexican Chocolate, Mango just to name a few. I picked Mint with Chocolate Chips because that was always my favourite flavour. It was pretty good. The peppermint flavour was subtle because the flavours are create with natural and organic ingredients and the coconut flavour was quite strong but still a lovely ice-cream. It's not the cheapest ice-cream but certainly worth it for a treat!

Lush Aromaco Deodorant

I recently bought the Aromaco deodorant stick from Lush and I have to say I'm pretty impressed so far. You can smell the patchouli a little bit but mainly it's scent free and certainly did keep me fresh smelling all day long (and I walk an hour to work everyday). The other deodorants they have are powders which I don't like but I certainly will be buying this one again!

Mustang Nepalese Restaurant

Mustang Nepalese Restaurant, which I frequent, is amazing. It's very reasonably priced and has a lot of vegetarian options that they can easily make vegan, which most are already. I went there for my brother's birthday and he was very impressed. They use chickpea flour to batter so it's mainly gluten free also - yay!

We had;

Entree

Spinach Chaat  - Crispy baby spinach leaves
Poleko Bhanta - Char-grilled eggplant, stuffed with spicy onions, served with mint sauce.
Aloo Chop - shallow fried golden potato cakes, coated with chickpea flour, served with mint sauce and green salad.

Mains

Daal - Assorted lentils cooked in a slow flame with mild spices, tempered with cumin seed. This dish is perfect with basmati rice.
Mushroom Ra Hariyo Saag - Sautéed mushroom and spinach with delegates Nepali spices.

(the Pumpkin Kwaa - Spiced pumpkin and chana daal cooked with onion and tomatoes & Zeera Aloo - Delicious potatoes tempered with cumin seeds and mustard oil are very good too)

Spinach Chaat, Poleko Bhanta & Aloo Chop


Daal


Mushroom Ra Hariyo Saag

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Antica Gelateria‎ Crows Nest, Sydney

I recently discovered Antica Gelateria‎ at 3/29 Holtermann Street Crows Nest, Sydney. Apparently they have some special machine that makes extra churns or something. They had a couple of flavours of sorbet that were dairy and gelatine free and is was SO creamy. It was honestly hard to tell that there was not dairy. YUM!

I had the rasberry & rhubarb...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Vegan Hair Removal Wax

Over the weekend I road tested two vegan waxes I bought. Moom & Parissa, both I bought online, have many different hair removal products for men and women.


Parissa is a professional wax, worked perfectly, especially with shorter hairs on your legs. The strips they have in the packet to use work much better with their wax than the cotton strips I normally use. The only problem I had with Parissa is that it's a professional wax meaning you can't reuse the strips and the wax is a nightmare to get off your skin and your bathroom. You have to use oil to get it off which is messy in itself. The warm wax is completely vegan - their' other products contain beeswax.




Moom was definitely the one I will use again. It is all natural so washes off easily but still works great - similar to Nads which was my product of choice before I went vegan. I like that I can just use my cotton strips and wash the wax out. Much easier to clean the bathroom afterwards as well. This wax works a treat for bikini areas.



Next I am going to brave an attempt at sugaring...

Friday, 13 July 2012

Cinnamon Choc Chip Muffins

This is a slight variation on a recipe from vegan.sheknows.com.




Cinnamon Choc Chip Muffins
Makes 12

Ingredients

3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup GF plain flour
1 Tbls ground cinnamon (halved)
6 Tbls vegan margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup rice milk
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese/sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup besan flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 300g packet of vegan chocolate, crushed into pieces


Method

Preheat oven to 180C and place muffin liners in tray. (I didn't have a muffin tray - hence square muffins).
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and butter. 
Use your fingers to rub ingredients together until it resembles coarse meal. Place bowl in the refrigerator.
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, applesauce, rice milk, sour cream, and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, stir together besan flour, millet flour, brown rice flour baking powder, baking soda, remaining cinnamon, and salt.
Add flour mixture to the oil mixture and stir until moistened. 
Stir in refrigerated mix.
Stir in chocolate pieces.
Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. 
Bake for 25 minutes or until muffins are golden and spring back when pressed lightly.
Cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes then carefully invert and serve warm.



Hot Cocoa

The vegan version of hot chocolate is of course the traditional way! I have substituted sugar for agave syrup.


Hot Cocoa
Serves 2

Ingredients

2 Tbls Cocoa powder
2 Tbls agave syrup (or sugar)
2 cups (250ml) rice milk (or any non-dairy milk)
1/8 cup water
Vegan marshmallows (optional)


Method

In a small saucepan heat water, cocoa powder and agave syrup on a medium-high heat and whisk until melted.
Add milk, whisk through and heat on medium until mixture is hot but not boiling.
Serve with vegan marshmallows!




Y2 Izakaya Restaurant

My little brother took me out for dinner last week to Y2 Izakaya in Neutral Bay. It was the cutest little place and he had told them in advance that I was gluten free and vegan so they had already made me a special dish. They made chargrilled asparagus and cherry tomatoes, followed  by avocado sushi, with white pickled ginger and gluten free soy sauce followed by teriyaki fried tofu. Washed down with hot saki and plum wine. The staff were super attentive too.



Plum Wine



Hot Sake



Avocado Rolls with White Ginger and gluten free soy sauce

Miso Eggplant


Teriyaki Tofu and Shitake Mushrooms





No Potato Lentil Shepherd's Pie

This is a variation on Michelle Bridges recipe I got from the SMH the other day. It was used a few pots but beside that was fairly simply, tasty and extremely healthy (as you would expect from a personal trainer).



No Potato Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 cup brown lentils
1 onions, 1 chopped
1 bay leaf
500g cauliflower, broken into florets
1/3 cup vegan ricotta or cream cheese
1 large carrot, diced
150g mixed mushrooms, halved if large
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g can diced tomatoes
Handful of english spinach leaves
salt
freshly ground pepper
Vegan parmesan
1 Tbls olive oil


Method

Place lentils, and bay leaf in a saucepan.
Cover with 2 cups water, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. (If using cooked lentils 10-20mins if enough)
Drain; discard bay leaf.
Boil cauliflower for 15 minutes or until very soft.
Transfer to a bowl and mash with ricotta to make a coarse purée.
In a frying pan on medium heat fry chopped onion, carrot, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil for 8 minutes, stirring, until softened and golden.
Stir in tomatoes, lentils and spinach and heat through.
Season with pepper, then spoon mixture into an ovenproof dish.
Top with cauliflower mash and parmesan.
Bake for 30 minutes on 180C until the cheese is golden.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Gluten Free Oats

As much as I love a smoothie for breakfast it's been a little bit cold this Winter for a cold breakfast. I discovered Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods Wheat Free Oats. They are wheat, dairy, rye and barley free. Here is how I've been eating them...kind of a spin on a Dr Fuhrman recipe. The banana goes all caramelly...sooo good!



Gluten Free Oats
(serves 1)

Ingredients

1/4 cup wheat free oats
2 Tbls currents
Handful of crushed walnuts
2 Tbls sunflower kernals
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
I banana, choppped.


Method

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and heat in Microwave on high for 3 mins. Done.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Caramel Sauce

Ah my old friend caramel sauce. Simple to make, even simpler to eat.



Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

1 x 350g can vegan condensed milk
100g vegan margarine
1½ tbsp golden syrup


Method

In a small to medium saucepan put all ingredients and heat on high, continuously stirring.
Once bubbling turn the heat to low and simmer for a moment and take off heat.
Wait till sauces has cooled a bit before use. (It will thicken as it cools)

Simple Banana Split

I had a hankering for caramel so what else besides a banana split?
It's SO good with crushed salted peanuts on top but alas I didn'd have any :(



Simple Banana Split

Ingredients

1 banana, sliced down the centre, lengthways
3 scoops vegan vanilla ice-cream (I used So Good Soy Ice-Cream)
Caramel sauce
Crushed salted peanuts


Method

In a bowl place your banana followed by your ice-cream then drizzle with caramel sauce and top with salt peanuts. YUM




Monday, 9 July 2012

Abdul's Lebanese Restaurant

I went to Abdul's Lebanese Restaurant in Surry Hills the other day and was suprised by their large vegetarian selection. What I really liked about this restaurant (besides the food being good, simple and cheap) is that all the dishes on the menu are available in different sizes. They do eat in and take-away. Simple place but good cheap vegan options!

Note: the small dishes were quite large!

I had the Baba Ganouge Dip, Coriander Potatoes & Fried Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce (so good)...





Saturday, 7 July 2012

Lentils with Tamarind Sauce

This recipe I got from the newspaper but I've changed it a little. It was so yummy, very Indian flavours. The tang of the tamarind complimented so beautifully with the heady spices.



Lentils with Tamarind Sauce


Ingredients

1/4 cup frying oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 can crushed tomatoes (400g)
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 cup tamarind water*
2-3 cups cooked lentils (I soaked brown lentils for 24 hours then cooked them in advance or you can use canned)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 handful English spinach


Method

Heat oil in large frying pan on medium. Fry onion and carrot until soft and slightly browned.
Add garlic and cook for two minutes.
Add tumeric and paprika and cook for a moment.
Add the tomatoes and ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add  tamarind water and water and simmer on a low heat for 15-20mins.
Add lentils, garam masala and cumin and cook for about 3minutes.
Add spinach and cook until wilted.
Serve with basmati rice.




*Tamarind water is made by a ratio of whisking 1 Tbls tamarind paste to 1/4 cup of warm water

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Vegetable Patties with Caper Aioli

Last time I did a juice fast I saved some of the pulp from my vegetables and froze it. They make a great base for Vegetable Patties. This is a variation on Ani Phyo's "Save the Salmon Patties".



Vegetable Patties

Ingredients

2-3 cups of vegetable pulp (I had mainly carrot with a bit of zucchini, spinach and apple)
1 cup GF bread crumbs
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbls Dulse Flakes (these are made from seaweed and add a slight fishy taste)
2 egg replacers
2 Tbls olive oil
oil for frying


Method

In a large frying pan heat oil on medium and saute onion until clear.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Clear the frying pan and add a layer of frying oil and heat on medium/high.
In a large mixing bowl add vegetable pulp, breadcrumbs, onion, dulse flakes, egg replacers and olive oil and worth through with hands.
Take a chuck of the mixture in your hands and roll into a ball (smaller is less likely to fall apart when frying) and gently place in hot oil. Squash ball down with spatula.
Repeat to fill the frying pan, allowing a bit of space between each pattie.
Fry for a minute or two and then gently turn over. They should be golden and crispy on the outside.
Fry the other side then place on some paper towel to soak p excess oil.
Repeat steps until mixture is finished.
Serve with Caper Aioli.


Caper Aioli
(one serving)

Ingredients

2 Tbls vegan mayonaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbls capers, chopped


Method

In a small bowl whisk all ingredients together and serve.



Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sweet & Sara Marshmallows

There is a new vegan marshmallow on the market - Sweet & Sara Marshmellows. Their marshmellows come in Vanilla, Toasted Coconut & Strawberry, available from the Cruelty Free Shop & Uproar.
I had the vanilla ones and they were very yummy. Only a very slight soy milk taste, otherwise as good as the real thing! I think I feel a recipe for hot chocolate coming on...


I promise next time to take pictures BEFORE eating half the packet...

Tomato, Olive & Vegan Sausage Risotto

Risotto is so simple and you can just add whatever ingredients you have in the house.



Tomato, Olive & Vegan Sausage Risotto

Ingredients

2 cups aborio rice
2 litres vege stock
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 onion, choppped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbls mix herbs
1 cup black olives, chopped
4 vegan sausages, chopped
1 cup vegan cheese, chopped (I used Sheese Gouda)
3 Tbls olive oil


Method

In a large pot heat the olive oil on medium and saute onions until clear.
Add rice and garlic, stirring for 2 mins making sure the oil coats the grains.
Add 1 cup of stock and continue to stir occasionally until liquid has simmered off.
Add tomatoes, olives, herbs and vegan sausages and stir through.
Add another cup off water and stir, repeating this step as water boils off.
You may not need all your stock, just cook until rice is tender but still firm.
Your risotto should be not too liquidy or too dry. It will become firmer as it cools down as well.
Once heat is turned off stir through cheese and serve.