Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Apple, Parsley & Walnut Salad

From the Jamie Oliver recipe "Apple and Walnut Croutes", this is a very refreshing salad for summer that incorporated both sweet and sour. (Pictured here with sunflower seeds because I was out of walnuts).

Apple, Parsley & Walnut Salad

1 clove of garlic
2 apples (I used one granny smith and one pink lady)
½ a bunch of fresh parsley
1 lemon
1 small handful of shelled walnuts


Coarsely grate or slice the apple into matchsticks and toss with the roughly chopped parsley, garlic, walnuts and a little lemon juice.

Mushroom Soup

This is based on a recipe from Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals.

Mushroom Soup


2 onions
2 Tbls olive oil
2 tsp vegetable stock (dry)
½ a bunch of fresh thyme
2 cloves of garlic
4 large portobello mushrooms
8 chestnut or swiss brown mushrooms
100g (3½oz) basmati rice
1 litre boiling water
1 tbsp vegan sour cream (for serving)
1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
Salt & Pepper


Peel, halve and finely slice the onions and put them into the large pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Crumble in the stock cube, add a pinch of salt and pepper, strip in the thyme leaves and squash in 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic through a garlic crusher.
Crumble in the chestnut mushroom and portobellos, add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes.
Pour in 1 litre of boiling water and boil with the lid on for 10 mins.
Use the stick blender to purée the soup to a consistency you like, then season to taste, if needed, and swirl in the cream and truffle oil.  

Spicy Plum Sauce

Plum sauce is easy to make and so yummy. This tangy sauce is great in stirfrys and as a dipping sauce for vegan meats and spring rolls.

Spicy Plum Sauce
(makes 4 cups)


1 1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
1 long red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped) or 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 cup vegan fish sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 1/2 kg plums (halved, desee


In a large saucepan heat sugar and water on a medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
Add chilli and simmer and only stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Add vegan fish sauce, plums and hoisin and cook for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until plums have broken down.
Store in fridge for up to two weeks.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Josophan's Drinking Chocolate

So I know I've gone a bit crazy over Josophan's chocolate but now I'm going crazy over their drinking chocolates (which are all vegan). Josophan's Fine Chocolates - drinking chocolate is handmade & fair trade and comes in Traditional, Mayan, Chilli, Orange & Orange Spiced flavours.

Here is Elvis and I enjoying our Chilli Drinking Chocolate...mmmmm

Josophan's Fine Chocolate

For anyone in Sydney or the Blue Mountains I have such exciting news. If you haven't been into Josophan's Fine Chocolates there is a store in York Street, Sydney and one in Leura Mall.
But never fear if you live nowhere near either of those places because you can buy online from their website! Finally a chocolatier that understands that real dark chocolate is dairy free. All the chocolate is made onsite.

"Josophan’s creates extraordinary fine chocolates, using Fair Trade certified chocolates and fresh flavour infusions. No preservatives, no artificial flavours, simply fresh, naturally flavoured, extraordinarily beautiful chocolates."

Hold up you say, what's so amazing about it? Well...all of their dark chocolate is amazing and VEGAN!! Finally a place to buy really good quality dark chocolate, even one of their truffles (the Cocoa Nib Praline Truffle) is vegan (sorry no photo cause I scoffed it down in store). If I had known about this place in advance I would have used the truffles as my bonbonnaire instead of killing myself making marmalade but we live and learn!

They have dark chocoalte bars, boxed chocolates, clusters, drinking chocolate and single origin samples. I didn't know this but apparently even though those little coloured ones in the photo are all dark chocolate, they all taste different because they are single origin and each origin has a unique flavoured cocoa bean because of the soil. Things you learn! My favourite in order was blue, green, pink then yellow. There was a subtle but noticable difference definitely. The chocolate hazelnut clusters were sooooo good.

Yes, I went back the next day and bought more (don't you judge me!)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Traditional Lemonade

Traditional Lemonade


3.5 cups white sugar
1 gallon (16 cups) water
3 cups lemon juice (around 15 lemons)


In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 2 cups water.
Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Remove seeds from lemon juice, but leave pulp.
In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 14 cups water.

* Dilute further with cold water if necessary

DIY Marmalade Wedding Favours

My wedding in December is a very DIY affair (code for budget). For the bonbonniere I decided jam would be a nice homemade touch. I may have underestimated how long 45 jars of marmalade would take but I now have enough...even though couples have to share :)

I just used jar collected from different preserved items. The cloth was cut with pinking shears, attached with an elastic band and finished off with twine. The labels were a design from Gerson Curse on Etsy which I printed onto label paper and cut out. Recipe for the marmalade is here.

Baby one for my flower girl :)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Choices Bakery Focaccia

I recently bought this gluten free and vegan foacaccia from Choices Gluten Free Bakery, it was soo good. I had it with tomato and Vegusto No-Moo cheese.

Dill Mustard Mayonnaise

This is a great sauce for tofu "fish" fingers or cakes. Obviously mix up amounts for your own taste.

Dill Mustard Mayonnaise


1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 Tbls English mustard (less if you want less heat)
2 Tbls chopped dill (or 1 Tbls dried)
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)


Whisk all ingredients well.

Wasabi Mash Potato

This is sooo good, it gives your mash potato a real kick.

Wasabi Mash Potato
Serves 2


2 large potatoes, chopped (skinned if desired)
2 Tbls vegan magarine
4 Tbls horse radish (if using wasabi just try 1 Tbls and then add based on your tolerance)
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan boil some water (enough to cover potatoes).
Once boiled add potatoes and boil until potatoes are soft.
Drain potatoes well and then transfer back to saucepan.
Mash potatoes and then stir in horse radish/wasabi and maragarine until mix well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Vegan Fish

I found these vegan fish "cod" fillets in the Asian supermarket and they are gluten free. They taste like fish fingers. I coated them with egg replacer then polenta and shallow fried. Goes well with Spicy Plum Sauce.
Served with Wasabi Mash Potato, Dill Mustard Mayonnaise and broccoli.

Spring Vegetable Soup

I wanted to make Potato & Leek soup but alas had no potatoes...I know, so sad. So I thought I'd use every vegetable I had left in the fridge and turned them into this hearty but light vegetable soup.

Spring Vegetable Soup
Serves  4-6


1 bunch dutch carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
1 cup peas (I used frozen)
2 handfuls button mushrooms, chopped
2 handfuls English spinach
1 tin brown lentils
1 tin white beans
2 litres vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbls olive oil


In a large pot heat the oil on a medium-high heat and add onion.
When onion starts to look clear add leeks and carrots and stir 2 mins.
Add the stock and turn heat up to boil.
Once soup is boiling add all other ingredients and turn heat down to a simmer.
Cover and simmer for 15mins.
Serve and enjoy.

Note: If you store this overnight the spinach will turn it very green. If this offends you I suggest omitting the spinach or blending the soup the next day.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Chatime Soy Smoothies & Teas

Very exciting news (for me at least) is that Chatime, our favourite Asian iced tea chain, is now doing soy smoothies and teas!
Even more exciting news (for me at least) is that the tea "pearls" are vegan and gluten free - YAY!

They have the ingredients listed on the back of the pearl/jelly packets so you can ask them to show you.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Chicken Nuggets

I found these soy protein based chicken nuggets at my local Asian grocer and they are so yummy! They are vegan and gluten free. I just popped them in a 180C oven for 10mins either side. So yummy with sweet & sour or Spicy Plum Sauce.

Dark Chocolate Mini Rice Cakes

I discovered these Dark Chocolate Mini Rice Cakes by Table of Plenty in the supermarket and they are soooo addictive! Australian owned company but made in the Netherlands these tasty treats are vegan and gluten free YAY!! (I may or may not have eaten the entire packet before I even got home from the shops...)

Mild Eggplant & Cauliflower Curry

I adapted this recipe from Mouthwatering Vegan's recipe "My Pumpkin, Ginger & Eggplant Curry".
It's a very mild and earthy curry and doesn't over power the natural flavour of the vegetables.

Mild Eggplant & Cauliflower Curry


1 large red onion, chopped finely
5 cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
1 fresh chilli, chopped finely
5 Tbsp (75 mL) olive oil
1 medium sized eggplant (aubergine), cut into medium squares
1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 tsp coriander seeds
1½  Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cardamom powder
1 tsp curry powder (or mild if you prefer it)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 large tomato, cut into wedges (I used 1/2 can diced tomatoes)
¼ cup  (60 mL) water
salt to taste


Heat up the oil in a large pot ot pan on Medium, and add the eggplant and cauliflower.
Stir for a couple of minutes, and then add the onion, garlic. chilli & ginger.
Continue to stir, from time to time, on a medium heat for around 10 minutes.
Next, add the coriander seeds and the tomato paste, and mix through.
Cover, and leave to seal for a further couple of minutes (stirring occasionally).
Add the remaining ingredients, except for the tomato wedges and the water, and cover. 
Leave to simmer on a low flame for around 40 minutes (stirring occasionally).
Add the tomato wedges. If you see it is looking a little dry, add as much of the water as you need and salt to taste.
Serve with Basmati rice and pappadums.
Serves 4

Dark Chocolate & Macadamia Brownies

These dark chocolate brownies are so fudgy and delicious. They make a great base if you want to add any other fruits, nuts or flavourings. Oringal recipe from Taste.com. I used Eskal Dairy Free Dark Chocolate but Lindt now makes a cooking dark chocolate now that is vegan.

Dark Chocolate & Macadamia Brownies


200g vegan margarine, at room temperature
200g vegan dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup brown sugar
3 egg replacers (mixed according to packet instructions)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup gluten-free plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup plain macadmia nuts


Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 5cm deep, 18cm (base) square cake pan with non-stick baking paper.
Heat margarine, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool slightly.
Add egg replacers and vanilla to chocolate mixture and mix well.
Sift flour and cocoa over chocolate mixture and mix well. I found whisking the mixture helped prevent lumps.
Stir through macadamia nuts.
Pour brownie mixture into pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until just set. Set aside to cool.
Once cooled, lift out. Wrap in plastic wrap. Place into an airtight container. Stand for 1 day. Cut into pieces. Serve.

Note: If you are in a hurry then place the cooled cake pan on a cooling rack in the fridge.
These brownies freeze really well too. (And taste sooo good straight from the freezer)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Vegan Wines

Ah vegan wine time, why so difficult!

Besides the vegan brands like Temple Bruer, we can just read the back of the label to find out if a wine sold in Australia is vegan.  Yay! However when you're just running into the bottle shop to grab one for dinner you don't want to spend ages there (my brother was ready to kill me the last time we went to choose wine for a dinner out). You also are limited so you're taking a risk on it even being good. I've been caught out many a time with a crappy wine just cause I picked the first vegan one I found.

So to avoid looking like a pain in the arse and in the interest of saving time I compiled a list in my phone of the ones I've enjoyed and now I'm sharing with you. You're welcome! If you're lucky I may even update it...
Here's my pick of the best (in the opinion of my uneducated palate);

  • Catalina Sounds Sauvignon Blanc (NZ) - $20
  • De Bortoli Windy Peak Pinot Grigio, (Vic, Aust) - $11
  • Brown Brothers Sauvignon Blanc 2010, (Vic, Aust) - $20
  • Mount Riley Pinot Gris, (NZ) - $20
  • Marlborough Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (NZ) - $14 
  • Yalumba Viognier Cullen, (SA, Aust) - $20
  • Dopff Au Moulin Riesling, (Alsace, France) - $14
  • Taylors Riesling 2011, (SA, Aust) - $15
  • Dante Gabriel Pinot Gris, (ACT, Aust) - $18
  • Sandalford Estate Reserve Verdehlo, (WA, Aust) - $19 
  • Loire Sauvignon Blanc 2012 La Promesse, (France) - $14
  • Monowai Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (NZ) - $10

My favourite...YUM

Note: I love Australia/New Zealand wines but you get a lot more vegan choice with the European wines. So if you're in a hurry check them first, the probabity of find a vegan one is greatly increased!