Sunday, 2 May 2021

Fermented Tofu

 Also known as Stinky Tofu this pungent condiment is used for many Asian recipes. It's an acquired taste but not similar to a pungent cheese. I love it as a base for sauces or on top of morning Congee! Original recipe from Full of Plants.

Fermented Tofu


1 pound firm tofu, cut in half

4 cups water

1 tbsp salt

optional: 1/4 cup chili flakes


1 and 1/2 cup water

3 tbsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup vodka (or 1/2 cup rice wine)


Before starting use gloves when handling the tofu to prevent bad bacteria and mold from growing.

Bring 4 cups of water with one tablespoon of salt to a boil in a medium size sauce pan. Once boiling, add the tofu and boil for 4 minutes.

Remove the tofu from the water and place it on a few sheets of kitchen paper towel. Top with more kitchen paper towel and place a heavy weight on it to press the tofu and remove excess water. I usually use an iron skillet. Let it drain for about 90 minutes, changing the paper towel as needed if it becomes too wet.

Line a large plate with two layers of kitchen paper towel, or a clean towel. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place the cubes on the plate, leaving about 1 inch between each cube, so they don't touch each other. Top with another sheet of kitchen paper towel and cover the whole plate with plastic film. The plastic film will prevent bad bacteria from reaching the tofu.

Place the plate in a dark place at 77-86°F (25-30°C) and let it ferment for 2 to 3 days. The tofu will have taken a light orange color and will have a stinky smell. You may also see some white mold as well, this is okay. If you see blue or dark mold, scrape it off.

Prepare the brine: combine 1 and 1/2 cup of water with the salt and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Once boiling, remove from heat and let it cool completely. Add the vodka and stir to combine.

Transfer the stinky tofu to clean glass jars. If you want to make it spicy, dip each tofu cube in chili flakes before putting it in the jars. Pour the brine into the jars to cover the tofu. Close the jars with a lid and place in a dark cool place (around 68°F - 20°C) for at least 3 weeks. The longer you let it ages, the stronger and softer your tofu will be.

For extra flavor, you can add about 1/2 tsp of sesame oil into each jar after the 3 weeks have passed.

Use this fermented tofu to make dipping sauces, to top rice, add to vegan cheeses, use in marinades, soups, etc.


For a quick dipping sauce, mash one cube of fermented tofu in a small bowl. Add about 1 tsp of lime juice, 1 tsp of sugar, and sliced chili to taste. Feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of water to taste if it's too salty. Use this sauce to dip steamed or roasted vegetables.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Congee (Savoury Rice Pudding)

Congee is known by other names and is a savoury rice pudding that is eaten in man Asian countries as any meal but particularly popular at breakfast. It's made bland and then you decide what to add to make it your own. Some popular toppings are green onions, fermented tofu, soy sauce, steamed vegetables, chilli paste, cilantro, sesame seeds, edamame, crispy tofu, natto, shitake mushrooms or anything you like. I tried different things (Thai Magic Sauce was pretty good) but I think I like it on it's own. I'm excited to try it with the Stinky Tofu! Original recipe from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken.

Congee (Savoury Rice Pudding)


For the congee:

1 cup rice white or brown rice (short grain)

2 inch fresh ginger, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

10 cups water


Add the rice along with the ginger, garlic, and 10 cups of water to a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and set a timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes..

Stir the pot every now and then as it simmers, especially as it gets closed to being finished so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. When the congee is done it will be a thick rice porridge. If you prefer a thinner congee, add water until desired consistency is reached.

Serve along with toppings of your choice.

Easy Feta Tomato Pasta

So you may have heard the hype behind the TikTok feta tomato pasta video but there’s a reason. It’s seriously delicious and incredibly simple. It’s a minimal effort and time saving dinner that everyone will love. I added olives to mine and I’m thinking next time baby spinach will work well too!

Easy Feta Tomato Pasta


Pasta for two (any shape you like but spirals work well)

Vegan feta block

Punnet of cherry tomatoes

1 Tbls Italian herbs

1 tsp chili flakes (more to taste)

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Start cooking pasta as per instructions on packaging.

In an oven proof dish drizzle some olive oil.

Place vegan feta block in the middle of tray and surround with the tomatoes.

Sprinkle seasoning and chili over the cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes have burst and feta is soft.

Remove from dish from oven when ready and mix in with drained pasta until incorporated well.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Tahini Dill Cauliflower

 This is a copycat recipe from a restaurant dish that I love. I can' say it's as fabulous as the original but still pretty amazing ;) Great starter or side dish. The original recipe calls for harissa tahini, if you want to use this or add in harissa spice I'm sure that would be amazing too!

Tahini Dill Cauliflower 


I head cauliflower

1/2 cup fresh dill

1/4 cup fresh mint

1/2 cup tahini

9 medjool dates (pitted) soaked in 1 cup hot water (keep the water!!!)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp salt (add more to taste)

pepper to taste

1/2 cup pistachios, crushed into small pieces


Set oven to 400F/200C. Wash and break up the cauliflower and spread on a baking tray, bake for 30-40 minutes, turning half way.

While the cauliflower is baking put all ingredients except pistachios into a food processor and blend until smooth and mixed well. Taste add more seasoning if needed. If the mixture is too thick add more water. It should be the consistency of sour cream. Spoon in your pistachios.

Once cauliflower is ready allow to cool slightly then add to a bowl. Pour over the sauce and gently stire to combine.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Christmas Lunch 2020

As depressing as 2020 was , prepping and eating Christmas lunch/dinner always makes me happy! My favourite part is the days of leftovers...yum! LOL Yes always thinking about my stomach ;)

I do a bit a prep work the day before so I don't have to do everything on Christmas morning and it's only a few hours of work the next morning so I'm ready by lunchtime and then can enjoy the rest of my food induced coma day! This is what was on 2020's holiday menu...

This delicious stuffed tofu log was actually care of the good people at Murray Hillbilly here in Jacksonville. It was so good!

Southern Collard Greens - one of my favourite things on the planet. I throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker and it's done by lunchtime ;)

Green Been Casserole - so I did it a little differently this year. I used the filling from the Mushroom & Leek Pithivier Pie (sans celeraic) and mixed in the green beans. 

Rosemary Roast Potatoes - staple in our home at the holidays...the one vegetable I can rely on being eaten LOL

Condiments...Golden Gravy and Christmas Jelly

Don't forget the sweets...

Pavlova - a classic meringue, cream and fresh fruit dessert very popular in Australia and New Zealand at Christmas time.

Hot Cocoa with peppermint essential oil, peppermint candy cane and vegan marshmallows 

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

 Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Given the sorry state of 2020 as a whole it's nice to take a minute to spend some time with friends or family and remember what we're all really thankful for. I thought I's share with you what we ate at my house. Delicious vegan gluten free food is definitely one thing to be thankful for ;)

Stuffing Tray (Used cranberries and chestnuts instead of almonds and cherries)

Also minty peas, roasted squash, roast rosemary potatoes, sweet carrots and Condiments; Golden Gravy and Cranberry Sauce

Mushroom and Leek Pithivier Pie

So this was delicious but it didn't exactly turn out the way it was supposed to. I adapted it as vegan and gluten free from Jamie Oliver's Pithiver Pie Recipe. He has quite a few vegan recipes on his website. Obviously Jamie makes it look easy (seriously check out the video on him making it-it's so pretty) but my mound didn't set properly (despite doing it a day in advance which he suggests) so it ended up being a deep dish pie. I think maybe I didn't layer the celeriac properly or I put in too much sauce. I guess I missed the part where you reserve some sauce for later. Still super delicious though! The only negative feedback from the family was that they didn't like the celeriac but I think I didn't bake it long enough! Really the most tedious part was the making of the puff pastry but if you have a vegan GF brand you can find please use that!

Mushroom and Leek Pithivier Pie


1 whole celeriac (1kg)

olive oil

2 large leeks

2 Tbls of unsalted vegan butter

2 cloves of garlic

400 g mixed mushrooms

75 g plain GF flour

2 teaspoons English mustard

800 ml non-dairy milk

1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (30g)

120 g vegan feta or blue cheese

2 x 320 g sheets of puff pastry (cold)

Vegan butter melted as wash


Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Scrub the celeriac, rub with 1 tablespoon of oil and wrap in tin foil. 

Roast for 1 hour 30 minutes, then finely slice and season with sea salt and black pepper. 

Meanwhile, halve, wash and finely slice the leeks, then place in a large casserole pan on a medium heat with the butter. 

Peel, finely slice and add the garlic and mushrooms, then cook for 15 minutes. 

Stir in the flour and mustard, followed slowly by the milk, then simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring regularly, and remove from the heat. 

Pick, finely chop and stir in the parsley, crumble in the cheese, then season to perfection.

Line a 20cm bowl (8cm deep) with clingfilm. 

Arrange slices of celeriac in and around the bowl until covered. 

Reserving half the sauce, layer up the rest with the remaining celeriac in the bowl, finishing with celeriac. 

Pull over the clingfilm, weigh it down with something heavy, and chill overnight with the remaining sauce.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. 

On greaseproof paper, roll both sheets of pastry out to around 30cm x 35cm. 

Unwrap the filling parcel and place in the middle of one sheet. Beat the egg and brush around the edge of the pastry and all over the celeriac, then carefully lay the second piece of pastry on top, smoothing around the shape of the filling. 

Trim the edges to 2.5cm, crimp to seal, then butter wash all over. 

Very lightly score the pastry (like in the picture), making a small hole in the top. 

Bake at the bottom of the oven for 2 hours, or until beautifully golden, brushing with more butter wash once or twice, then serve with the warmed-up creamy sauce.

Vegan Gluten Free Puff Pastry

This is definitely a recipe that takes effort and time but the result is pretty awesome. It involves making dough and then a slab of butter that is slowly folded in, set then folded again and so forth. The result is  Vegan Gluten Free Puff Pastry - at the least the best I've come across so far. You can make a bigger batch and then freeze what you don't need. Prep time is around 1 hour and it makes nearly 2lbs of dough. Original recipe courtesy of Gluten Free on a Shoestring. There is a video there that is helpful as well.

Vegan Gluten Free Puff Pastry


For the dough

2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour, plus more for sprinkling (my Better Than Cup4Cup Flour work best here)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted vegan butter, diced and kept cold

1/2 to 3/4 cup (4 to 6 fluid ounces) cold water, iced (ice doesn’t count in volume measurement), plus more as necessary

For the butter packet

4 tablespoons (35 g) all purpose gluten free flour

16 tablespoons (224 g) cold unsalted vegan butter


Dough: In a large bowl, place the 2 cups flour and salt, and mix or whisk to combine well. 

Add the chopped unsalted butter and toss to combine. 

Press each chunk of butter flat between your thumb and forefinger. 

Create a well in the dry ingredients, and add 1/2 cup of ice water to the center then stir the mixture to combine. 

Add more ice water by the tablespoon until the dough stays together when pressed. 

Press the dough into a ball, place it onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. 

Place in the refrigerator to chill until firm while you make the butter packet.

Butter Packet: Dust a sheet of parchment paper or bare flat surface with 2 tablespoons of flour. 

Place the two sticks of butter, side by side and touching one another, in the center of the flour. 

Sprinkle the butter with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. 

Cover with another sheet of parchment paper (or not), and pound the butter with the rolling pin to begin to flatten it and to press the two sticks of butter together. 

Remove the top sheet of parchment, fold the butter in half, and cover once more. 

Pound again until flat, and repeat the process until you have a butter packet that is about 4-inches square. 

Wrap the butter packet tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer to chill for about 5 minutes, or in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, or until beginning to firm.

Combine dough and butter packet: Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and place it on a lightly floured surface. 

Sprinkle lightly with more flour, and press and roll the dough until it is smooth, folding it over on itself as necessary. 

Press it into about a 6-inch round. 

Unwrap and place the chilled butter packet in the center of the round of dough. Lightly score the perimeter of the butter packet, and set the butter packet aside.

Dust the top of the dough once more with flour, and roll out the dough from the 4 scoring marks and out, away from the center of the dough, to create 4 flaps. 

Dust with more flour as necessary to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the dough and move the dough frequently. 

Place the butter packet back in the center of the dough, and fold the 4 flaps onto the butter like you would the bottom of a cardboard box. 

Press the dough around the butter packet to seal it in.

Complete the first fold: Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, and roll the dough away from you into a long rectangle that is about 1/2 inch thick and about 3 times as long as it is wide. 

Shift and turn the dough frequently to prevent sticking. 

Starting at a short side, fold the rectangle into thirds as you would a business letter. 

Beginning from a long side, roll the dough again, into another long rectangle, the same size and shape. Fold in the same manner, once again, starting at a short side and folding into thirds. 

You have just completed the first fold.

With a floured knuckle, make one single impression on the dough, to represent the completion of one turn. 

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes.

Once the dough is firm, remove it from the refrigerator, flour the outside and once again, with a long side of the folded dough facing you, roll away from you and into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. 

Fold once more, and mark the dough twice with your knuckle, to represent two completed turns. Refrigerate until firm, and repeat the process of rolling, folding, marking and chilling for at least 4, and up to 6, turns.

After the final fold,  fold the “business letter” of dough in half or thirds to create a smaller packet. Wrap tightly and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. If you freeze the puff pastry, defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Glazed Brussels Sprouts

This recipe comes from Once Upon a Chef and is the perfect side dish at any gathering! The sweetness of the agave and balsamic pairs beautifully with the bitterness of the Brussels sprouts.

Glazed Brussels Sprouts


1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved and stemmed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I use Mountain Town Olive Oil Co. 18 Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar)
1 teaspoon agave or vegan honey (I may have even used molasses, I don't remember honestly!)


Preheat oven to 425°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. 
Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Directly on the prepared baking sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons of the oil, the salt, and the pepper. 
Roast, stirring once halfway through, until tender and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil, the balsamic vinegar and the honey over the roasted Brussels sprouts, then toss to coat evenly. 
Season to taste.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Rosella Syrup (Hibiscus Syrup)

 I got my recipe from Paleo Princess. Hibiscus Syrup is a very popular treat in Australia (although you'll find it sold all over the world now), especially around Xmas time. We add it to the bottom of our champagne glasses, and as well as looking beautiful it will add a lovely flavor to even the cheapest of sparkling wines :) It's great as a cordial too to mix with seltzer water or used like Grenadine for cocktails. If you have your own plant there are some great YouTube videos on how to pick and prepare. I got mine delivered from a local farm and they were already picked, but I had to prep them.

Rosella Syrup (Hibiscus Syrup)


4 cups water
5 cups of rosella flowers prepared (see below)**
1 cup vegan sugar or vegan honey


Place three cups of the prepared rosella flowers in the water and bring to boil, then simmer for ten minutes.
Remove the flowers and discard.
Add sugar and reboil for five minutes, then simmer for ten minutes until syrup starts to thicken slightly.
Turn off heat and add reserved flowers. 
Allow to cool then transfer to a sterilised jar.

** To prepare your Rosella flowers you want to remove the seed. Slice around the bottom of the pod just below the "skirt" and then pull the bottom out, the seed should be attached and you're left with the pretty red shell. Keep the shells, throw out the seed.