Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Tamarind Vegetables

This tangy Indonesian dish is great as a side dish or a main served with rice.

Tamarind Vegetables


250g pumpkin, skinned and cut into chunks
200g potatoes, skinned and cut into chunks
100g string beans, topped and tailed
200g cabbage, sliced
100g English spinach
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 Asian shallots, chopped finely
2 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
200g baby corn


In a large pot heat stock  tamarind, cinnamon, bay leaves, garlic, shallots and ginger on a high heat until boiled.
Add pumpkin and potato and allow to simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the corn and beans and cook for a further 5 mins.
Add cabbage and spinach and turn heat down to a low-medium and cover for 15mins or until pumpkin and potato are tender.

Fried "Scallops" in Ginger Soy

I used Sophie's Kitchen vegan scallops but you can use king oyster mushroom stems.

Fried "Scallops" in Ginger Soy


12 "scallops" (mock scallops or mushroom stems)
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 Tbls soy sauce (I used Tamari)
2 Tbls dry sherry (I used Jim Beam - don't judge me!)
2 tsp agave syrup or sugar
3 inch ginger, grated (I used jar ginger)
2 Tbls frying oil
1 spring onion, sliced thinly


In a large frying pan heat oil on a medium heat.
Add scallops and sear on one side for around 4 mins or until browned.
turn and sear on the other side for 3 mins or until brown.
In a small saucepan whisk the soy sauce, sherry, ginger and agave/sugar together on a medium-high heat until the agave/sugar is melted in.
Take scallops off the heat and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Arrange on pate and pour over the sauce.
Garnish with green onions.

Bunting Birthday Cards

I like to get my homemade birthday cards on and thought it's something I should start to blog about.
I was making some bunting for an upcoming little girl's 5th birthday party and thought it might look cute on a birthday card so here's what happened...

I used my super awesome typewriter letter stamp set (which I'm totally obsessed with) to stamp the letters on coloured paper and then cut them out into little triangles. Then pasted them onto the card. EASY! You can draw the bunting lines in underneath if you like but it looks just as nice without.

Vegan Art & Craft

I'm recently discovering how difficult is is to get vegan art and craft supplies! You wouldn't think of art supplies as not being vegan but many paints, glues, lacquers, canvases, ink, water colour paper and photo paper contain animal ingredients. I miss painting so I had to do some serious research! Here's how to get your vegan arts and crafts on...

"Vivienne" 2008

Art supplies free from animal ingredients:

Graphite is a mineral. What surrounds it may not always be animal-free, but by itself, it is. As mentioned above, Derwent is usually a good choice for animal-free pencils.

Charcoal—not bone charcoal—comes from plants.

Conte Crayon is made from natural pigments (iron oxides, carbon black, titanium dioxide), clay (kaolin) and a plant-based binder (cellulose ether).

Walnut ink, made from walnuts of course, can be used in place of sepia ink and gives a tone from sepia to rich brown depending on how much water is mixed in with it.

Damar Varnish is made entirely from a plant source.

Fixative sprays by Krylon (many of them, at least) do not contain animal ingredients.

Yupo paper is made from 100% polypropylene and is suitable for all watercolour techniques. It’s good for drawing and fixatives stick to it as well.

Raw fabrics such as unsized organic hemp, bamboo, linen or cotton can all be used for supports and contain no animal products. Stretch the fabric on stretcher bars and apply Golden’s Absorbent Ground instead of gesso. Golden’s Absorbent Ground is 100% polymer and absorbent for watercolours.


Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper
Bockingford Watercolour Paper is made without animal derived external sizing, according to Winsor & Newton’s “vegan information sheet”
Epson Photo Papers: An e-mail response states: “We do not use any animal fats or squid inks in our products,” and a page for this information is currently being set up here regarding the use of animal by-products, although it is under construction. It may be worth confirming this one for yourself if you’re not sure.


Colors of Nature - 100% vegan paints

Jacquard: Paints, inks and powders. According to customer service, the only products that should not be free from animal products/by-products are their waxes, their inkjet sheets, certain brushes and their silks, so everything else is apparently vegan.

Holbein Artists’ Watercolor -”Without ox-gall, other animal by-products or other dispersing agents” according to the company website description – excepting the Ivory Black, which is made from charred bones

Golden Acrylic Paints - Except Bones Black, Jenkins Green, all Neutral Greys, Prussion Blue Hue, Terre Vert.

Brushes -  synthetic brushes are readily available

Winsor & Newton: artists materials such as paints, canvases and inks. They have a handy guide to which of their products contain animal by-products here.
Cotman Water Colour by Winsor & Newton – excepting Viridian Hue, Burnt Umber and Ivory Black, according to a comment posted here and according to a “vegan information sheet” provided by Winsor & Newton

Derwent: artists materials, including pastels and paints. The company will send a list of products containing animal by-products if asked, but lines which ARE free from animal products are: All Derwent Coloursoft pencils, Derwent Graphitint pencils, Derwent Aquatone, Derwent Metallics, Derwent graphitone, Derwent Pastel blocks.

Strathmore: Artist’s papers. They state on their website here that:
We do NOT use any animal products as part of our sizing process. We use plant-based and synthetic sizing.

Fabriano: Artists papers. A quotation from here states that Fabriano Artistico Traditional White Watercolor Paper is:
“synthetically sized both internally and externally so that no animal by-products are used.”

Holbein: Their watercolour paints are:
“Without ox-gall, other animal by-products or other dispersing agents…”

A recipe for kids paints;
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1 cup water
food colouring

Face Paint

Vegan Faces
Elegant Minerals



Weldbond - wood/craft glue
Gorilla Glue - super glue, wood glue & epoxy
Best Test Paper Cement
Elmers Glue- all vegan. They state on their website "Elmer's does not use animals or animal parts to make glue. Our products are made from synthetic materials and are not derived from processing horses, cows or any other animals."
Diamond Glaze: A clear adhesive used for many media. Their customer service states that Diamond Glaze is suitable for vegans, and not tested on animals.

Eberhard Faber: Makers of Fimo products. An e-mail from customer service states that these are vegan and not tested on animals; this apparently extends to all Fimo products including varnishes.

Polyform: Sculpey/Premo/SuperSculpey. This quote from their website says they’re free from animal products: “In addition, all of our products are free of wheat, gluten, sulfur, dairy, nuts, latex and animal by-products, and they are never tested on animals.”

Van Aken: Makers of Katoclay and paints. An e-mail response states that no animal products or by-products are used according to their raw material data sheets, and that to their knowledge, no animal testing is conducted in conjunction with their products.

Plaid Products: US makers of Modge Podge, among other things. They state that:
“None of Plaid products contain animal products or by products of animals. None of Plaid products contain food products or by products of food. None of Plaid products are animal tested.”

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Split Pea, Rice & Vegetable Pancakes

This is a Korean dish which is great for leftover rice! I served this with sweet chilli sauce and shredded jicama (yambeam).

Split Pea, Rice & Vegetable Pancakes 


200g dried split green peas
100g dried rice (1 cup cooked)
1/2 cup GF plain flour
2 egg replacers
1 cup water
1 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 green capsicum, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 red capsicum, sliced into matchsticks
6 spring onions, sliced into matchsticks
3cm ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp Tamari soy sauce
2 Tbls oil
1 Tbls sesame oil
Sliced green onions for garnish
Sweet chilli sauce for dipping


In a medium pot rinse split green peas & rice until water in clear then fill with water so that it is at least 2 inches above split peas & rice. If using cooked rice then just omit from boiling.
Boil, them simmer on medium for around 25 minutes until the green peas are tender.
In a food processor pulse the flour, egg replacer, split green peas, rice and 1 cup of the water until smooth.
Transfer mixture to bowl and stir in vegetables, soy sauce, ginger & garlic.
Mix the oils in a small bowl and brush a large frying pan with the mixture.
Heat on a medium heat and pour 2 Tbls of the batter at a time, cooking for 3-5 minutes then flipping on the other side and cooking for a further 3 minutes.
Serve with sweet chilli sauce and sides of your choice.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Vegetable Szechwan Soup

Vegetable Szechwan Soup


1 can Chinese mushrooms (drained)
45g dried rice noodles
4 cups vegan chicken stock
1 cup fried tofu
230g can bamboo shoots (drained)
1 can baby corn (drained)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbls cornflour/cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 tsp tomato paste/tomato puree
1 Tbls soy sauce (I used Tamari)
1 Tbls white vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, finely sliced


In a large pot heat stock until boiled.
Add mushrooms, noodles, tofu, corn, bamboo & ginger. 
Reduce heat and simmer gently.
Combine cornflour and water in a small mixing bowl and mix until it forms a paste.
Add paste to the soup and stir in until clear.
Remove from heat and add tomato paste, soy sauce, vinegar, oil and spring onions.
Season with chilli flakes if you like it hot!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Soy Milk Soap

Finally made a decent batch of soap again and I think the key is stirring time. You need to stir fast and long to get the soap creamy! I quad-rippled the original recipe amounts and still only made 7 bars of my normal 14 bar mold, so I would probably do double this below recipe next time. Buying a secondhand hand mixer from a thrift store was the best soap making decision I've made!
First time soap makers full instructions here.
Soap Making Tutorial video here.

Soy Milk Soap


169g olive oil
169g vegetable oil
145g coconut oil
181g distilled water
67g caustic soda/sodium hydroxide (dry)
1 cup soy milk powder


Prepare soap molds as usual.

Melt all oils together and keep temperature at 90-120F/32-49C in a stainless steel bowl.
Wearing protective gloves and eye wear, in a separate stainless steel bowl add water slowly to the caustic soda stirring slowly until melted.
Wait till the temperature of lye is at 90-120F/32-49C.
Both mixes need to be at the same temperature before adding lye carefully (using protective wear) to the oils and mixing.

Mix constantly for 20mins+ until you see trace (there the movement of stirring leaves a trace pattern before mixing back in).
I found that using a combination of hand mixing and electric mixing made this process so much easier and quicker.
Once soap mixture starts to trace stir in soy milk powder and mix in well.
Pour into your mold and cover as usual for 18-24 hours.
Uncover for a further 12-18 hours and then the soap is ready for you to cut up and cure for 2-3 weeks before use.

Cinnamon Doughnut Cookies

This recipe comes from Like a Vegan. They were supposed to be baked doughnuts but turned out more like cookies as my dough didn't rise...might be a gluten free issue :(
I might try deep frying them next time and seeing what happens!

Cinnamon Doughnut Cookies
Makes 12


1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
7 gram packet dry yeast
1/4 cup diry free margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 1/2 cups plain GF flour
Spray oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Warm your milk in in the microwave for a minute before whisking through the apple cider vinegar and setting aside for a few minutes.
Pop the mixture into a large bowl before adding the yeast and  1 tablespoon of melted Nuttelex. Allow to sit for a few moments before adding the vanilla and 1/4 cup of caster sugar.
Sift in the flour and combine well in the bowl before tipping out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead with your palms for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Spray a large bowl with spray oil and roll the dough around to coat it. Cover and allow to rise for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Punch down the dough and tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Give it another light knead for a couple of minutes before rolling the dough out to be about 2cm/1inch thick.
Now you need to cut out your doughnut shapes! If you’re going for your traditional doughnut shape, you can cut out using a large drinking glass and making the hole with a small lid (from an olive oil bottle for example). This will give you a regular sized doughnut. You may need to re-roll the dough to get the full dozen donuts but hang onto the holes and any excess dough.
Space your donuts out six to a tray, you can scatter the holes on the trays too. Cover each tray with a tea towel and allow the donuts to rise for another half an hour.
Pop the trays in the oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until they’re lightly golden.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. In the meantime you can combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
With a pastry brush, cover each doughnut with melted margarine before dunking in the cinnamon mixture. Make sure it’s evenly coated and gently shake of the excess.
Best served warm but will keep for a couple of days.

Fried Tofu

Fried tofu is something I used to buy in Australia quite easily from any Asian grocer, but in Utah it seems to be hard to come by. I made up this batch and then froze what I didn't need in small ziplock bags. They are great for adding to stir fries, curries and soups.

Fried Tofu
(makes enough for 4 dishes)


4x 400g/4oz packets firm/extra firm tofu
4-6 tsp corn flour
1/4 cup flour of choice (I used rice flour)
oil for frying


Press your tofu for 30 minutes or if you're lazy like me, just press out the liquid with your hands, being careful not to break the block.
Cut blocks into 1 inch cubes. I did two blocks at a time.
In a large ziplock bag add two blocks worth of cubes and 1/2 the flour ingredients.
Zip the bag and shake well until tofu is covered. Repeat for other blocks.

In large pot, add enough oil to deep fry (about 1/3 - 1/2 the pot).
Once oil is bubbling add tofu (I did two blocks at a time), stirring on occasion.

Once tofu has turned a golden colour remove onto paper towels to soak up any excess oil.
Repeat with remaining tofu.
Use straight away or once tofu squares have cooled down you can freeze them.
If you use them in a stir fry, defrost first. If using in soup or curry you can add frozen.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Banana Peach Smoothie

Easy, delicious and healthy! Is there nothing that doesn't go with bananas?

Banana Peach Smoothie


1 banana (I used frozen)
1 ripe peach (you can use frozen)
1 cup non dairy milk of choice


Blitz all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Daikon Steak (Japanese Radish)

Radishes are a nutrient rich root vegetable that is often overlooked because of it's bitter flavour. I love daikon radish but never really knew how to cook it. My friend Faith who lives in Japan gave me this wonderful recipe. I served with Japanese plum wine...yummy!

Daikon Steak


1 Daikon radish, peeled and sliced into 1.5cm rounds
Oil for frying
1 Tbls soy sauce (I used tamari)
1 Tbls mirin (or 1/2 Tbls rice vinegar + 1/2 Tbls agave)
Shiso leaf (Japanese basil) (optional for garnish)


Put daikon pieces in a bowl in the microwave with cling wrap to steam the daikon for about 3 minutes, or use a steamer for 10-15mins.
Then in a frying pan brown each side of steamed daikon in oil, when it is lightly brown on each side you remove daikon to plate.

Make a sauce with soy and mirin ( sweet Japanese cooking wine) and pour over daikon or keep in a bowl for dipping.
If you want more sauce just use equal amounts of ingredients.
Garnish with shiso leaf.

Daikon Radish

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Road Trippin' Down South

Just got back from two weeks road trippin' to Georgia and Florida visiting friends and relatives and thought I'd share some of the vegan culinary delights with you. You're welcome :)

Being on the road is hard and I ate mainly mixed vegetable hash browns from Denny's, Cracker Barrel & IHOP. I'd have to say my favourite hash browns were those from Waffle House...sooo good!


Dalton, GA had an amazing selection of vegan/gluten free foods in their huge Kroger store....

I made this Soy & Agave Stir Fry using Gardein's Vegan Chicken Strips 
(these are not gluten free but I put them in afterwards for the rest of the family)

Also found there a huge selection of vegan ice cream flavours. 
Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig Zag was AMAZING!!!

The Red Lobster have these vegetable skewers on their lunch menu and were happy to make them up at dinner also :)

Found Sophie's Kitchen crumbed faux fish at Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant & Store, Columbus GA...mmm

Zoe's Kitchen, Columbus GA had quite well marked vegan and gluten free options plus knowledgeable staff...nice!


Moving down into Jacksonville, Florida, we had a grilled vegetable fajita at La Nopalera Mexican Restaurant and they were very accommodating.

Aqua Grill Restaurant was on a waterway and was so pretty. They have a separate gluten free menu and at dinner they have a 4 course vegetarian menu which looked delicious! 

My BFF said she found a bunch of stuff at Costco including these delicious gluten free/vegan veggie patties by Don Lee Farms.

Found a vegan/gluten free frozen pizza by Bold Organics at Native Sun. Was delicious and already had all the toppings!

 Found some Sophie's Choice crumbed faux shrimp at Native Sun.
These were really good!

At Moe's Southwest Grill you can make up your own dish using all their fresh ingredients - including tofu!! Nachos MMMMM

Some delicious vegetable skewers we cooked on my friends hotplate...need to get one of those!
I just used the Soy & Agave sauce to marinade the tofu and then heat up to pour over.

Found a great selection of vegan/gluten free beers at PublixNative Sun that I'd never seen before.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Stuffed Vine Leaves

These stuffed vines leaves are a delicious snack, starter or picnic item. This authentic Turkish recipe was given to me by one of best friends. Thanks Ashley! She recommends the same exact mixture for stuffed capsicum/peppers as well!
Pickled vine leaves can be found in a Mediterranean grocer or international supermarket.I found them in the regular supermarket in the international section.
This was a huge batch we made so you could halve the ingredients and take less cooking time of you wanted a smaller batch. They last in the fridge for up to a week and are a very healthy and delicious snack.
Note: I've made these again with the same amount of vine leaves and only needed half the other other ingredients.

Stuffed Vine Leaves


2 x 1lb jar pickled vine leaves (you can use fresh if you have them)
8 cups uncooked white rice
450g red or yellow capsicum/peppers
1 white onion
4 large tomatoes (or 3x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes, liquid removed)
3 medium potatoes, sliced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1x 170g tin tomato paste
Juice of 6 lemons (reserve 1/2 cup)
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of mint


Remove vine leaves from jars and rinse well.
In a large pot boil enough water to cover vine leaves but do not place leaves in the water while boiling.
Once water has boiled remove from heat and place vine leaves in to soften while you prepare the other ingredients.

Finely chop the capsicum, onion, tomatoes, parsley and mint (we used a food processor) and mix well with rice.
Juice the lemons and add them to the mix, reserving 1/2 cup for later.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Taste the mixture and add any extra flavours you like if necessary.

Slice the potatoes and layer at the bottom of the large pot. These prevent the stuff vine leaves to stick to the bottom.
Drain vine leaves and find a large surface to work on. spread out a few vine leaves at a time, veins facing up.
Place a small amount (around 1-2tsp) of mixture to the centre of each vine leaf (remember the mixture will be larger when the rice cooks.
Fold up the bottom tightly, then the sides, then roll to the top firmly and place into the large pot on top of the potatoes.

Place them in opposite directions for each layer.
Repeat until you've used all the vine leaves (if you have any rice mixture left over you can cook it separately and use it for stuffed peppers!)

Mix the tomato paste, reserved lemon juice and approx. 2 1/4 litres water together.
Place pot on the stove and drizzle over some olive oil (it will sink to all layers).
Pour the tomato mixture over the vine leaves (it should cover the top layer) and place a plate that fits inside the pot on top of the vine leaves to prevent them from floating.

Bring pot to boil then turn down to a gentle simmer for approx. 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  Cooking time will differ for different amounts of vine leaves. Just test one from the middle to make sure the rice is cooked through.

Once cooked through place a large tray or plate on top of the pot and flip it over so that you have a pile of stuffed vine leaves with the potato on the top. They are ready to eat straight away but might be a bit hot. The potato tastes delicious too!