April 22, 2012

Teriyaki Tofu Stirfry

Serves 4 with rice.

There is nothing I love more than a delicious teriyaki sauce, yummy broccoli and fried tofu. This dish has the lot. I highly recommend that you try this... vegan or non-vegan, you will definitely love this. It really reminds me of a restaurant-quality dish... but healthier and cheaper! Jerome craves naughty food... so this is a dish that I make him that he really enjoys. But it is not naughty, it just tastes like it should be bad for you! When I make this for dinner, I always try and get out of bed a little earlier than him, so that I can eat the leftovers for breakfast before he can! Muahaha *strokes beard*


Tofu
    1 package (350g-ish) tofu, chopped into cubes
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar


Teriyaki Sauce

    1/3 cup soy sauce
    1/4 cup water
    3 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
    1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    1 teaspoon treacle
    5-6 medium garlic cloves, minced
    2 teaspoons ginger, grated
    1 teaspoon corn flour


Stir-Fry

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    5 cups broccoli florets, bite-sized pieces
    1 teaspoon water
    1 capscium, diced
    1/2 cup raw cashews
    1/2 cup spring onions, chopped


Rice (optional)



  1. In a shallow bowl, add tofu, soy sauce and vinegar and marinate for at least 10 minutes. Flip tofu once while marinating.
  2. In another bowl, whisk all teriyaki sauce ingredients until corn flour has dissolved.
  3. Meanwhile, cook rice to package instructions. (Rice is optional)
  4. In a fry-pan, add tofu and marinade and keep tossing until browned on each side.
  5. In another fry-pan or wok, heat the oil, broccoli and water. Toss, cover and cook for 4 - 5 minutes until the broccoli turns bright green. Then add capsicum and saute uncovered for another 1 - 2 minutes.
  6. Once the tofu has browned, add the broccoli and capsicum to the pan. Add teriyaki sauce and increase to high heat. Toss to coat and let sauce come to a slow boil.
  7. As soon as sauce is at a slow boil and has thickened, add cashews and green onions and toss to combine. 
  8. Remove from heat and serve over rice if you made some
Adapted from the book 'Eat, Drink and Be Vegan'.

April 19, 2012

Baby Spinach, Tomato and Garlic Pasta


 This was the first recipe that I EVER made. My mum would make it all the time when I was younger. It was my favourite pasta dish and is still my favourite recipe today. It seriously takes me about 10 minutes to make. You can prepare all of the ingredients while the angel hair is cooking. I have never really used a recipe as I normally just throw in as much as I can while the pasta is cooking. You don't need to follow the recipe religiously, just use it as a guide to your liking. But, make sure that you serve it with lemon wedges. The lemon and salt and pepper combination is AMAZING.  I have leftovers in the fridge right now... I am going to go and eat some. Weeeee! 
The chilli is optional... it is there if you want some heat! You can always substitute with red pepper flakes if you do not have any fresh red chillis. Note: Please beware, this is highly addictive. I ate three massive bowls last night and was still wanting more!

 serves 4

     300g angel hair pasta
     3 cloves garlic, minced
     1/2 cup basil, chopped
     3-4 cups baby spinach
     4 cups diced tomato
     1 red chilli, and minced
     Olive oil
     Salt and pepper
     Lemon wedges to serve
     Vegan parmesan to serve


  1. Cook angel hair pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Toss garlic, basil, baby spinach, tomato and chilli in a large bowl.
  3. Add a little drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Take pasta off heat and drain once ready.
  5. Add to the bowl with the fresh yum yums.
  6. Drizzle olive oil in to coat. Toss carefully to combine.
  7. Serve with salt and pepper and squeeze on the lemon wedges.

  • Don't forget that angel hair cooks very quickly.
  • You can substitute red chilli for dried red chilli flakes if needed.
  • De-seed the chilli for less heat.

April 15, 2012

Old Bay Seasoning Recipe


I have found that quite a few recipes ask for Old Bay seasoning and living in Australia, it is impossible to find! So here is a quick recipe to make your own if you too, cannot find it in your local supermarket. If you haven't heard of old bay seasoning, it is used in a variety of dishes, including; pizzas, roasted vegetables, mashed potato, popcorn, in soups and the list goes on! You can basically use it in anything you want to. So happy cooking!


makes approx 3/4 cup

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Store in an airtight container.

April 12, 2012

Penne with Caramelised Cauliflower



This is another one of my most favourite dishes. It is not only easy, but amazingly delicious in your mouth. I get a little TOO excited when I make this. I recommend that you use a spoon so that you can get heaps in your mouth at once. I panic with a fork because I cannot eat it quickly enough. I absolutely LOVE caramelised cauliflower. I make it by itself on a regular basis just for a snack when I am watching movies or on the computer etc... You will thank me after trying this recipe!


 serves 4 

 Sauce:
   2 tablespoons oil
   1 cup parsley leaves

   1 tablespoon capers

   1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
   2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
   2 garlic cloves


Caramelised Cauliflower:
   2 tablespoons oil
   1 cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
   Salt and pepper

The Rest:
   450g penne
   1/2 cup cooking water from penne
   1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
   Salt and pepper
   Lemon wedges


   
  1. Preheat oven to highest temperature. On a tray, toss cauliflower with oil and salt and pepper to coat. Place on highest rack in the oven in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes until pieces have browned. Set aside.
  2. Pulse all sauce ingredients until a chunky sauce forms. (The sauce will be thick enough to coat pasta. It is not a watery sauce)
  3. Cook penne in a large pot of boiling water according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.
  4. Toss pasta with cauliflower, red pepper flakes and sauce. Add reserved cooking water if the sauce seems too thick.
  5. Serve with a lemon wedge and extra lemon juice if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted from the 
Everything Vegan
 book.

April 11, 2012

Big Bitchin' Breakfast


 Serves 2

This is my favourite thing to make for breakfast. It is really easy and SO filling!

Tofu scramble recipe adapted from about.com

Ingredients
Toast
2 Slices of bread, toasted and buttered with a vegan spread

Scramble Tofu
350g of extra FIRM tofu, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of curry powder (I use Keens)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and Pepper

Sautéed Tomatoes

2 tomatoes, sliced 
Few basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
extra oil if needed

Onions
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mushrooms and Asparagus
Bunch of asparagus
Handful of mushrooms, stems chopped off
1 tablespoon oil

Extras

1 avocado
Baby spinach

Extra basil leaves to garnish
Salt and Pepper for extra seasoning

Steps

  1. Put onion into a pan on high heat with the oil and allow to caramelise and brown. Keep tossing if it is sticking to the bottom. (Cook for as long and dark as you want your onions... take off heat when they are done)
  2. In the meantime, in a large bowl, place the block of tofu and all of the other scramble ingredients besides the oil. Use a fork and crush the tofu into smaller bits while coating it with the spices. Put the oil and the coated tofu in a pan on medium heat. Using a spatula, keep tossing it around and breaking it up into smaller bits.
  3. While the onion and tofu are cooking, put the sliced tomatoes in the pan with the minced garlic, a few basil leaves and extra oil if needed. Flip them over after each side has browned. 
  4. Add the mushrooms and asparagus to the same pan or another pan with a tablespoon of oil. Cook mushrooms until they have shrunk. Cook the asparagus until browned - keep flipping to brown each side. 
  5. Toast bread and butter it. (vegan butter)
  6. Chop up an avocado into lengthwise slices and set aside.
  7. Take tofu, onions, asparagus and mushrooms off heat when done and distribute onto plates. Take tomatoes off heat and serve on a bed of fresh baby spinach. Put toast and sliced avocado onto the plates. Season with extra salt and pepper and garnish with a few basil leaves.

    Enjoy! This is SUCH a filling and yummy breakfast.

Elvis has left the building!

Here is a lovely feel-good story for you lovely peeps:
I have had a Rooster living in my garden for the last couple of weeks and we don't know where he had come from. We started seeing him every day so we began feeding him the grains that we give our Guinea pigs and vegetable scraps. We also gave him a bowl of water to make sure that he was drinking. Anywho, we became quite attached to him so we named him
Elvis.

Today I was on the phone to my friend and I could hear Elvis screeching with painful noises. I quickly went to the balcony to find the men next door throwing rocks at him and picking up car tyres to throw at him. From that point, all I remember is lots of adrenaline and my body shaking and I yelled from the balcony "Stop throwing things at him". I quickly got off the phone and ran down there and yelled at them. I was so angry that I can't even remember what I said. All I remember is "Throw one more of those and I will be throwing one at your head... and I will really enjoy it". (It makes me a bit embarrassed now >.<) After that, they walked upstairs but I could hear them plotting ideas about killing him. It made me even more angry.

I called heaps of places including the RSPCA and the council and no one would fetch him. I felt so annoyed because this poor rooster was lost from his home and was being tortured when I was not around. I ended up getting hold of the RSPCA emergency van and they said that they would come and get him. So, I set up camp next to Elvis' nest on a towel and read my Vegan Yum Yum book while eating fruit to protect him from being attacked. I kept an eye on him until they turned up .

 
The RSPCA only took 30 minutes before they arrived and less than 10 minutes to catch him.   I was so happy to know that he would be going to the rescue place. The lovely ladies told me that they would see if anyone had lost their rooster and if not, they would send him to a farm. I hope that he will go somewhere lovely... and not to the metaphorical "farm". 


The mean men saw them take him away... So I death-stared them and strutted off in a pride stride. I am so happy that Elvis has been saved. He is now in a chicken bed on the way to the rescue place where he will have fun with other Roosters and Chickens until he finds a nice home.

This is your feel-good story for the day :)

April 6, 2012

Egg Substitutes and Replacements



Decided to give up eggs? Well I congratulate you! The egg industry is such a horrific and cruel industry and can also be very confusing. We have cage eggs, barn-laid, free-range, organic and the list goes on. But do we know what really goes on in the factory to produce these eggs and their corresponding labels for our cakes and indulgence?


According to Animals Australia:
"Battery hens who lay ‘cage eggs’ are given a living space smaller than one A4 sheet of paper, while ‘meat’ chickens grow so unnaturally fast that many are crippled before they are sent to slaughter at just five weeks of age." 

The evidence of the cruelty towards chickens was shocking enough for me to stop purchasing eggs all together. But, if you still do consume eggs, please have a look at the image below and purchase wisely :) The following graph is a great distinction between the different egg production labels to helps demystify the various systems and assists us to make informed decisions and purchases.

An egg has many purposes in cooking. Firstly, an egg adds moisture, 'spring', colour, taste and assists with thickening and emulsification in your recipe. It also leavens or binds the ingredients of your dish. Binding helps the ingredients to stick together such as in a veggie burger patty. On the other hand, an egg can act as a leavening agent in baking by making it airy like in a cake or bread where a fluffy texture is needed.

I have researched and tested the best replacements for eggs. Have a look below and choose the best egg substitute to suit your dish. Also, check out the tips at the bottom of this page to help with choosing the best egg replacement. 


One egg is equivalent to:
  • commercial egg replacement - such as Orgran - Use packet instructions
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (50g) pureed silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup mashed potato
  • 1 tablespoon soy flour + 2 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

Egg replacement tips:
  • Use an egg replacement that suits the recipe!
  • With leavening agents, it is more difficult to replace. So if the recipe calls for more than 3 eggs, you may not be happy with the result.
  • Choose recipes that will be easy to replicate. You're can't replicate pavlovas and soufflés using mashed potato etc... Hehe
  • If using tofu as an egg substitute, be sure to purée it first to prevent thick and chunky parts.
  • Tofu is the best substitute to make a replica scrambled egg or omelette
  • According to Peta , "If you're looking for an egg replacer that binds, try adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of any of the following for each egg: tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, or 1/4 cup tofu puréed with 1 Tbsp. flour."
  • Flaxseed gives a nutty end taste to your product

I hope that this helped!

April 3, 2012

Thai Red Curried Pumpkin Soup

  
Serves 8 approx.

I absolutely LOVE this dish. This curried pumpkin soup is one of my all-time favourite quick and comfort-food recipes. It is a really healthy recipe so you can keep eating it without the guilt! Try this for yourself because I definitely give it a big 10/10. 
Note: This makes heaps of soup. Jerome and I always have leftovers for the following days lunch and sometimes dinner too. So you could freeze some or just eat it all like I do.

    1 tablespoons oil
    1 onion, diced
    2 shallots, thinly sliced
    3 medium garlic cloves, crushed
    1 - 2 tablespoons vegan red curry paste, to taste
    2kg pumpkin, chopped into 2-inch cubes
    4 cups veggie stock, enough to cover pumpkin
    Salt and pepper
    Coconut milk to garnish (optional)
    Coriander to garnish (optional)

  1. In large pot (I use a 5L pot) sauté oil, garlic, onion, shallots and red curry paste for a couple of minutes or until onion looks cooked.
  2. Add chopped pumpkin. Stir in the pot for a couple of minutes to soak up the flavours of the paste and onion.
  3. Add veggie stock to JUST cover the chopped pumpkin.
  4. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until pumpkin is really soft
  5. Blend in portions with a food processor/blender or in the pot with a handheld stick blender
  6. Serve in a bowl with salt and pepper, coconut milk drizzled on the top and chopped coriander to garnish.