Sunday, 29 January 2012

Event: Tree Shepherd Fundrasier for Forest Rescue & Sea Shepherd

When: Friday, 10th February
Time: 8.30pm - 11.30pm
Where: Fly by Night Musicians Club, Fremantle
Cost: $25 presale and at the door (if available). Can book online or by phone with the venue at the above hyper link.

What: To help raise funds for Sea Shepherd and Forest Rescue. Event will the featuring  AppleBite,  The Beggars on Acid, Balayi, Matt Gresham, Matt Calpakdjian & The Black Heart Sun Band.

Recipe: Curried Rice Salad

Wow. Just tried out this super easy recipe last night and have to say that it will be a firm favourite in my household.
I lifted this one out of Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin.
What caught my eye about this recipe is 1. It includes rice - I love rice! 2. Gluten free. 3. Easy peasy to make  4. All of the above!
I have altered the recipe just a little but have not strayed too far from the original in the book.

What you will need:
2 cups of uncooked rice, either boiled or cooked in a rice cooker (I did the latter). You can use Basmati or Jasmine rice. Jasmine is my all time fave.
1 carrot, grated
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced cucumber
8 basil leaves, finely chopped (you can use a pinch of the dried stuff but the fresh leaves taste better)
half a cup of vegan mayonnaise. (I use Organic Safflower Oil Mayonnaise by Melrose which I found at a health food shop. There are other vegan mayos out there that you can use.)
1 tbsp agave nectar (again, found in health food shops)
1 tbsp tamari (available in supermarkets in the health food section)
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp olive oil

In a large bowl, combine cucumber, carrot, peas and basil. Add cooked rice and mix.
In another bowl, whisk together mayo, tamari, agave, vinegar, curry powder and oil. Add to the rice and vegetable mixture and toss.

I was a bit concerned that the peas would not thaw out properly but they did from the heat of the just cooked rice. The end result is a slightly sweet, delicious salad that is filling but not 'heavy'. Perfect for summer.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Quinoa via the rice cooker

I have been cooking with quinoa a lot lately and each time I have had to boil it up. It never occurred to me to cook it in a larger amount, in a rice cooker. But that is what I did the other day. Not only was it quick and easy, but also tasty.

I got the directions on how to do this via this fabulous website Low Fat Vegan Chef which I highly recommend you check out.

What you will need:

1 and a half cups dry quinoa (red, black or white)
1 and a half cups of water, veggie broth (I use Marigold Vegan Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder)

You can also add lemon juice (2-3 tbsp) or parsley flakes, etc. Whatever takes your fancy, really.

Soak the quinoa in cold water for about 15 mins.
Drain and rinse the quinoa using a fine mesh strainer until the water is clear and not foamy.
Place in the rice cooker along with the water/broth and seasonings.
Set to white rice setting a cook.
When cooking cycle is complete, let it steam for about 10 mins and then fluff with a fork and serve.

I had my quinoa with some steamed veggies and the following day, had the leftovers in a salad, which was delicious. Something about quinoa and fresh tomatoes in a salad with a little olive oil and herb salt .....mmmm! Hit the spot.

Oh, and if you don't have a rice cooker, seriously consider getting one. They are not all that pricey and you can pick one up at department stores such as K-mart. Unless I am adding it to a soup, I never boil rice now.

Product: Simply Wize Gluten Free Pizza Crusts

I have to admit that although finding ready-made gluten free pizza bases to be a bit on the tricky side, finding vegan gluten free ones, even harder.
But I did.
In Coles and Woolworth's supermarkets you can find this product (pictured) in the health food section. The crusts are quite small so you will most likely have to use all three crusts in the pack. If you are a big eater, 1 pack per person. If not, 1 pack for 2 people.
They are quick to cook in a hot oven. All you really need to do is add the toppings and put in the oven.
The crusts stay firm when cooked. No saggy bits here. Taste wise, probably not the best I have had pre gluten-free eating, but fine enough.
For more info on them and the company who makes them, visit their website. Some of their other products are vegan, some not. I was disappointed  to see that their 'specialty diets' tab did not include 'vegan' and nor do their packaging seem to label suitable products as being 'vegan'. So, it is once again, the usual habit of a vegan to peer at the ingredients list and get the 'food numbering decoder' out.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Event: An evening with Lyn White - Perth, 6 March

Animals Australia have organized this national event and it looks as if I shall be volunteering for the Perth one.
This event is currently at capacity but if you have missed out on a ticket, you can  call their office on 1800 888 584 to place your name on a reserve list and they will contact you immediately if seats become available or if an additional event is scheduled.

When and where: 7.30pm, 6 March
Perth Town Hall (Main Hall, First Floor)

What: This is an opportunity to meet the Animals Australia team and hear about Lyn White's brave efforts in animal protection. The event will include  a presentation by Lyn White, a question and answer session, and light refreshments (cruelty free, of course!).

For more information, check out the event website.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Recipe: Lentil and pumpkin loaf

I lifted this recipe out of Olivia Newton-John's cookbook "Livwise", which although is not a vegan or even vegetarian cookbook, does have some suitable recipes. With this recipe, I made it vegan by using soymilk instead of cow's milk and I made it gluten free by using dried gluten free breadcrumbs.

It is easy to make, with just a few ingredients. You can cheat a little by using tinned lentils instead of boiling up the dried ones.

What you will need:
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
300g butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1cm pieces
1 brown onion (optional)
2 cups gluten free breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
half tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh
half cup soymilk
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Spray with oil, a loaf tin approx 12x21x7 cm. Sprinkle tin with sesame seeds.
Place lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil over high heat. reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins. Rinse in cold water and place in large bowl.
Cook pumpkin in a large saucepan of boiling water for approx 10 mins. Drain and set aside.
Mash lentils and add pumpkin, onion (if using), breadcrumbs and herbs. Mix well to combine.
Gradually add soymilk and keep stirring.
Spoon mixture into the loaf tin and press it down firmly into the tin.
Bake in oven for 30 mins. Remove and allow to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before turning out and thickly slicing.
Serve immediately. Goes well with soups or salads and is quite filling.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Notzarella - THE vegan cheese for melting

I heard of Notzarella a while ago but only just recently purchased some to try out. Infact a group of vegan friends and I all chipped in together and ordered a whole heap to save on shipping. Then we organized a little gathering whereby we all brought along ingredients to make vegan pizzas. More about that later. First, more about this product.

Vegan cheeses are very hit and miss. Some taste better than others, some have a better texture, and very few of them actually melt all that well. Enter Notzarella! This stuff not only melts but also tastes good too! It is lactose free and dairy free, and is made mostly from organic ingredients such as soybeans and coconut oil.

At the moment, Perth folks can purchase this product online. The makers are working on getting nationwide distribution so fingers crossed a store like PAWS here in Perth will pick it up!  In the meantime, see the Notzarella website for details. There is also a Facebook page to check out. UPDATE: Notzarella is now available to purchase in Perth at PAWS and at Loving Hut! It has also been spotted for sale at Swan Valley Vegetarian Cafe in Milledon.

Now, back to my hungry vegan friends....we gathered together various ingredients - roasted pumpkin, mushrooms, spinach, jalapenos, mock meats, baby tomatoes, potatoes, various herbs - you name it! Each pizza and mini pizza was a work of art and had grated Notzarella on it. Each creation was savored and it was such a treat to eat a pizza with melty cheese that was delicious and cruelty free!
Next to try out is Notzarella on nachos and lasagna!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Quinoa on the go!

Last weekend, my partner and I stumbled across a new vegan, gluten free item - quick to cook quinoa meals. They are by an Australian company called Celebrate Health, and although they do have a website,  it seems to be under construction at the moment.

We found three varieties in the health food section of Coles supermarket - Moroccan, Thyme and Lemon, and Tomato and Basil. 

We decided to give the Tomato and Basil a go first.
The preparation is simple and takes  about 20 minutes. With the quinoa grains, are a mixture of herbs and spices that make the meal absolutely delicious. Very flavoursome and the aroma was divine!

Although the packet says 'serves two', we found that it was really only enough for one. However, there was a recipe idea on the packet, and if followed, could easily feed two people. (The recipe basically involved the inclusion of zucchini, olives, semi-dried tomatoes, capsicum and fetta cheese. I might try that out next time - excluding the fetta cheese of course!)

We look forward to trying out the Lemon and Thyme variety next.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Swan Valley Cafe - Millendon, Perth

Last weekend, a group of vegan friends and I went for breakfast at the Swan Valley Cafe, after we heard various good reports from other vegans and vegetarians.

The cafe is a vegetarian one but it does cater to vegans and we discovered the chef who was cooking for us that day was a vegan, herself. From the front, the venue isn't all that impressive but when you step inside, it is quite nice. There are blended teas for sale, raw desserts, plus vegan/gluten free/vegetarian books for sale, amongst a few other items. As you venture further in, there is a nice indoor dining area and beyond that, a large outdoor dining space. We opted to sit outside as it was such lovely weather. There is a plant nursery attached to the property on the side, so it made a lovely green environment to sit in.

We ordered some drinks first and I opted for the slushie which was a mixture of watermelon, banana and strawberries. It was delicious and very refreshing.

The breakfast menu has a few gluten free options which was great for me. I ordered the buckwheat pancakes with blueberries which are one of my favourite fruits. Normally, buckwheat does not agree with me (I have tried buckwheat pasta) but I had no problem with these pancakes. They were thick and tasty and came with delicious cashew cream and maple syrup.
Others at the table tried out a few of the other vegan breakfast options such as the Spicy Mexican Scrambled Tofu, Spicy Homemade Beans, and the Big Breakfast. 

After our meals, we had a look around in the plant nursery which had all sorts of plants from herbs, to shrubs, to vegetables. And the prices were very reasonable.

I would definitely like to go back to this cafe, perhaps for lunch or dinner next time.

For details of their address, opening hours and menus, check out their website.

Event: Keep Talking 2012 Event - the all vegan menu!

Recently I posted about this upcoming Perth event which will be held at the Hyatt. Well, organizers have now released information about the menu at this event. Check it out!


Carpaccio of Silken Tofu

Marinated asian mushrooms,heirloom tomatoes,fennel,rocket,toasted pinenut granola, pink 

grapefruit dressing.


Tagine of Butternut Squash and Autumn Vegetables

Truss tomato,chick peas,ginger,saffron,coriander,fresh date and almond cous-cous 

Black pepper roti,lemon oil and minced mint.


Chilled White Tea and Peach Chai.

Lychee,mango,sago pearls,almond gelee,coconut sorbet,salted caramel grissini.

Coffee or Tea

Cashew Brittle petit four

*Menu could be subject to change, we will let you know if that happens.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Curried Cauliflower Frittata

Another vegan cookbook revisit! This time it is the fabulous "Vegan Brunch".
I found this recipe very easy to follow and the results were pleasing. One point of advice, however, is make sure you cut cauliflower into very small pieces and squeeze as much moisture out of the the tofu as you can manage. This will result in a frittata that will stick together better.

What you will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups finely chopped cauliflower
4 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
500g firm tofu
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp curry powder
half tsp ground cumin
quarter cup nutritional yeast
1 small carrot, finely grated
quarter tsp salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Saute cauliflower in oil over med-high heat for about 10 mins. Add garlic (if using) and saute for another minute.
Squeeze firm tofu as best you can to remove liquid. Use your hands to squeeze and crumble tofu in a large bowl. This should take you about 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the tofu and mix well.
Lightly grease a baking dish and firmly press your frittata mixture into it. Bake for 20 minutes, until the frittata is firm and lightly browned on top. Let it cool for 5 minutes and then invert onto a plate.

Recipe: Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Recently, I posted about a recipe I tried out from the book "Quinoa 365" . I am revisiting this book, as there another recipe I road tested that turned out to be a winner. I picked up the red quinoa from a health food shop.

What you will need:
3 tbsp quinoa (use red or black if you can, as the colour contrast looks great)
6 tbsp water
20-25 white button mushrooms
1-2 tbsp olive oil
quarter cup minced onion (optional)
3 tbsp fresh finely chopped parsley
quarter tsp dried oregano

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Thoroughly rinse and bring quinoa and water to boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 mins. Turn off heat and leave on burner for another 4 mins. Fluff with fork and allow to cool.

Gently twist stems off mushrooms and finely dice. Saute stems in oil, with onion (if using) for about 3-4 mins. Allow to cool.

Stir quinoa, parsley and oregano into mushroom and onion mixture. Using a teaspoon, scoop the filling into the mushroom caps and place on baking tray. Bake for 12 minutes until mushrooms are tender.