Saturday, 8 November 2014

Kez's Free and Naked Choc Mud Bars

I came across these snack bars at my local Coles supermarket, in amongst the healthfoods products. I am familiar with this brand, as they do gluten free biscuits and other stuff, but I had not seen these bars before.

They come in a pack of 5 and although each bar is fairly small (25g), I find this to be just the right size, as they are a bit rich. They are gluten free and clearly labelled as being vegan. The bars contain 5 ingredients - dates, cashews, cocoa, sesame seeds and chia seeds. That's it. A simple but pleasing combination.

I keep a pack in my desk drawer at work, for when I am having a craving for something sweet.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Szechwan Eggplant

In my quest to shed some kilos, I have been making an effort to cut vegetable oils out of my cooking. Dr McDougall's site has heaps of recipes and I have been slowly working my way through the ones that have taken my fancy.
Now, eggplant is one of those vegetables (actually, it is a fruit!), that has a habit of soaking up LOTS of oil, when cooking it. So to be able to cook it oil free and still have it taste good, is a bit of good news for those of us packing a few extra kilos. 
This method is very easy and the results are pleasing. I like having this with steamed rice.

What you will need:
2 medium eggplants
1 ¾ cups water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 green onions, chopped (optional)
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  
Slice eggplant into 1cm slices.  Place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Reduce oven heat to 180 degrees.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and clears.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the eggplant in a 30cm long baking dish, overlapping slices as necessary.  Pour the sauce over the eggplant and bake for 20-30 minutes until eggplant is very tender.

Nature's Way Superfood Powders

I have really been getting into smoothies these days. I find they are great for breakfast. I can blend them up and take them with me to work. I recently purchased a copy of the book "365 Vegan Smoothies" by Kathy Patalsky and I love it! It was one of those books that I borrowed from my local library. I started noting which pages I wanted to photocopy, expecting there to be no more than maybe 5....but by the time I got to the end of the book, I had a huge list of pages. Well, I HAD to buy the book! I have been trying out at least 2 new recipes every week and all but one so far has been a winner with me, so far.

Quite a few smoothie recipes call for the use of kale. Now, I love kale but have to admit that it can be a pain to wash and cut up. Plus, my blender does not seem to cope with it very well, and I end up with chewy smoothies - an oxymoron!
So, I was rather pleased to find the Nature's Way  range pop up on the shelves at Woolworths supermarkets. There was quite a few varieties available, including powders of acai, spirulina, maca, super greens blends, etc. I spotted a kale powder and noticed it was vegan and gluten free, so bought it. The costs was around $10 for a 100g bag and it is suggested you pop 2 tsp into your smoothies. I have been using half of that so far.
It tastes fine and is very convenient to use. You can also use it in salads, soups and dips though I have not tried that yet.

Dr. McDougall's Right Foods

I have been trying out quite a few recipes from Dr McDougall's website lately, and have been reading his books (check out his book "The Starch Solution"). There are also quite a few of his food products on the shelves at Coles (in the health foods section) and in health food stores.
Although there is quite a range, I have only seen a handful available here, so I will cover those that I have tried. Note that all of the range is vegan though only some are also gluten free.
These are for light lunches and snacks. I tend to boost the noodle cups by adding some chopped up cooked veggies to them.

In the Noodle Cup range, my fave product, hands down, is the Miso Ramen Noodle Soup. So tasty! Not gluten free, though, so this is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I have found this one to be the easiest to find in Coles. The next more common one is the gluten free Pad Thai, which I also like though not as much as a the Miso Ramen. I have seen in some health food stores, the Tortilla Soup with Baked Chips which I wasn't all that keen on.

There is also an Asian Noodle Cup range. These are 'entree' size which means, even bolstered by cooked chopped vegetables, there really are only snack sized. My two favourites from this range are the Teriyaki Noodle and the Spicy Kung Pao Noodle. These tend to be a little harder to find, but have sometimes found them in Coles.

Apart from the noodle cups, I have also found the Ready To Serve Soups. Some of these come in Low Sodium varieties. I have also found these in Coles, in amongst the health food section. They are just the right amount for a lunch meal and are super tasty. I think my favourite is the Split Pea Soup. Again, there is quite a few varieties in this range but I have only seen a few in the shops - the Lentil Soup and the Minestrone Soup. Both are flavoursome.

It is good to know that a major supermarket stocks some vegan convenience food. Sure, nothing beats home cooked but when you are tired or lacking time, or even travelling, having these kind of products to hand is great!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Roasted potato chunks

I loooove potatoes! And roasted? OMG, hand them over! 
But lately, I have been packing on the kilos. Yes, even vegans can be chubby. We are not all super thin. Although we cut out a lot of bad fats (animal fats being the worst for your health), we still consume some fats in plant origin. This may not be a bad thing in moderation, from nuts, seeds and avocado, but oils (including olive) should be kept to a minimum. Hence my downfall.

So, I have been making an effort to cut back on cooking with oils. Now, in roasting, olive oil is what makes the veggies super delicious. I honestly did not think I was going to be able to enjoy them without it. But here is the trick - substitute the oil with other condiments and you will still end up with a tasty dish, such as this one I am about to share. 

This one is super easy. I found it on Dr. McDougall's site. If you have not heard of him, please check out his website, videos, books, etc.  

What you will need:
1 teaspoon oregano/marjoram
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 to1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1-2 cloves minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
8 to 9 medium potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
Mix the oregano/marjoram, rosemary, paprika, cayenne, mustards and garlic into a smooth paste in a bowl.

Add a few potato chunks at a time and coat with the mixture; keep adding a few chunks at a time until all potatoes are coated.  Spread out on two nonstick baking sheets and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.

Serve with a green salad or steam vegetables.

Loving Hut - revisited

It has been a while since I have blogged about Loving Hut, so I thought I might do a bit of an update.
Whilst the evening restaurant in East Victoria Park has closed its doors (so sad!!), their Victoria park cafe is still going, offering new item menus, and new vegan products to buy off their shelves. They are also making and selling their yummy pies through the cafe but also through IGA stores. And lets not forget they are also producing and selling their cheezy spread in the same manner, and Notzarella, too! Oh, and did I mention their amazing vegan croissants!? These come in plain and chocolate and you can even buy them frozen to take home for later. They are a generous and size and as you can see from the photo, they do not skimp on the chocolate!

These people are busy and yet every time we have gone in there, we are always greeted with a smile and kindness.

A friend and I recently went in one morning to try out their vegan breakfast. This included a plate full of toast, beans, asparagus, sausages, mushrooms, scrambled tofu, and tomatoes. Because I am sensitive to gluten, they were kind enough to substitute the sausage and the toast with gluten free alternatives, such as a tempeh mix and dehydrated gluten free wrap/base.  After eating this, I was stuffed! I think my favourite item on my plate was the scrambled tofu. It was so damn cheezy and tasty. I could have just eaten a bowl of that on its own and had been very happy.

Although their grocery shelves are never full to overflowing, they always seem to stock various vegan products that are either hard or near impossible to find elsewhere. On one trip, my partner was excited to find they stocked cans of vegan tuna! We have NEVER seen these in Perth before.

I never was much of a fan of tuna in my pre veg days, but my partner was, so he was keen to give this a go. I had a small taste just out of curiosity. I thought it tasted a LOT better than tuna, as it had a fishy taste to it but it was a lot subtler than actual tuna. I thought the texture was also a very close match, as it had that same flakiness to it.

Anyway, the partner made himself a vegan tuna (yes, I know the tin says 'vegetarian' but it is vegan) roll with vegan mayo, lettuce and tomato, which he enjoyed very much.

So maybe next time you are in Victoria Park, (366 Albany Hwy), pop into Loving Hut for breakfast or lunch and while you are there, stock up your freezer bag with vegan icecreams, cheezes, pies, and croissants; and check out their grocery shelves for some other yummy vegan products.

Harvest Box snack packs

I do enjoy poking around supermarkets, looking for new vegan appropriate products. My partner spotted these by Harvest Box, in amongst the other dried fruit and nut packs. They are handy to throw into your bag just in case you get an attack of the munchies while you are out of the house.

There are two varieties that are suitable for vegans.

The Raw Mix is a nice though I am not a fan of peanuts, so there is a bit of wastage with this one for me. This mix as a 'tart' quality to it, due to the dried apple and cranberries.

My partner prefers the Go Bananas mix, as it is sweeter with the dark chocolate bits and the dried banana.

Both varieties are gluten free.

The Bar Counter

I recently stumbled across these at my local Coles supermarket. There were a whole heap of varieties and as I fossicked through them, I was starting to lose hope that any would be vegan. My perseverance paid off, however, as I found their Raw Blueberry and Vanilla bar which is clearly labelled as being vegan on the front. (I LOVE that kinda of labeling. Makes shopping so much easier for us.) It contained dates, blueberry, almond, fig, vanilla and raw rice protein. I was a bit skeptical. I have tried these date based type of bars before and have always found them to be too sickly sweet. I need not have worried, as this bar was delicious. Sweet, but not overly, with a lovely vanilla flavour and a hint of blueberry and fig. I also loved the texture the almond supplied. Oh, and this bar is also gluten free!

The Bar Counter also make another vegan bar - the Raw Chocolate,Coconut and Lacuma bar, which is also gluten free. I will have to try this one next!

Tyrrell's English Chips

One of the most frustrating things about shopping as a vegan, is the way so many snack products have animal ingredients in them. And I am not talking about the obvious things, like cheese flavoured crackers or  whatever, but rather things like salt and vinegar chips that contain dairy! What the hell?
Before going vegan, S&V potato chips were my fave. But after going vegan, I was surprised and then pissed right off to see that they contained milk products. Since then, I have been on the look out for a vegan S&V chip.

One day, I was scanning the snack shelves of Coles and noticed a new brand. This one was called Tyrrell's and was from England. I  spotted their Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar variety, and picked it up, turned it over and read the ingredients list, fully expecting it to list 'milk solids' or some such useless crap. But no! Eyes dilated, hands trembling, I turned to my partner (who has a habit of exclaiming very loudly in supermarkets "Why does this have milk in it!?") and said "This looks like it is vegan!".
In disbelief, he snatched the bag out of my hands and had a look. Yep, vegan! Even says so on the pack! No palm oil either, and gluten free, to boot.

Well, once I got home and opened the pack up (yes, I waited that long), I stuck my nose into the bag and inhaled. Oh that vinegary aroma! The first chip - wow! Bursting with flavour but not overly done. I remember in the bad old days with the non-vegan potato chips, you eat a few and your tongue goes numb. Not with these ones! I savoured each and every chip in that pack and they have since become my firm favourite.

Since that first foray, I have also tried their other vegan varieties, such as the Lightly Sea Salted (nice), Sweet Chili and Red Pepper (tasted a bit too much like tomato to me), and the Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper (yummy - not too peppery).
There are other varieties, but they are not vegan, so give them a miss.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Portuguese Arroz

This is a herb filled and tomatoey rice dish that has just a bit of a spicy kick to it. It is super simple to make and has become one of my favourite ways to eat brown rice. I found it via the recipes page on the Dr. McDougall site. There is a plethora of low fat, easy to make recipes on that site, so do check it out. And yes, they are all vegan!

What you will need:

1 ½ cups yellow onion, finely chopped (optional)
4 teaspoons garlic, minced (optional)
½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups tomatoes, chopped 
2-¼ cups water
1-cup vegetable broth ( I use either bouillon powder or cubes by Marigold or Massel )
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 ½ cups long grain brown rice, uncooked ( I used a mix of short and long grain and it worked out fine.)


In a large non-stick pan, sauté the onions with ¼ cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic, crushed red pepper chili flakes and bay leaf and cook for 1 minute, stirring well. 
Add the tomatoes, mix well, and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes.  
Add the remaining water, vegetable broth, parsley and cilantro and stir.  Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Add rice and stir well.  
When the liquid returns to a boil, stir again and cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to low.  Cook the rice undisturbed for 35 minutes.  
Mix the rice well and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  Let the rice stand for 5 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork.  Serve with fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste, if desired.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Alpine Coconut Yoghurt

Well, here it is. A non-dairy, vegan yoghurt that you can buy in one of the biggest supermarket chains in Australia –namely Woolworths. And it is so smooth and creamy too. Granted, it is made from coconut and so has a coconut flavour to it but I find this product to be less coconut in taste than CoYo and much, much smoother – less of a ‘bite’. This product is cultured so does have a tang, but it is not overly sharp. And while it is still a bit pricey, it does cost less than CoYo.

Because of its richness, I tend to only eat, at most, 2 tablespoons at a time. There is suppose to be two varieties available – ‘Natural’ and ‘Passionfruit’ but I have only seen the former in Woolworths so far.

Maybe one day we will have a commercial non-coconut tasting vegan yoghurt available in Australia. Until then, I am happy to indulge in some of this product, from time to time.

Potato and Fennel Soup

This is a simple recipe that I found and adapted from the book “Party Vegan” by Robin Robertson.  If you are not overly keen on fennel or new to it, you will be pleased to know that the taste of it is not too overpowering in this soup.

What you will need:
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth ( I use either Massel stock cubes or Marigold Bouillon powder. Both are vegan and the former is available in supermarkets, whilst the latter is a health food/organics shop item)
Approx.. 400g potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
1 large fennel bulb, chopped
½ cup rice/soy milk (I use Bonsoy, as it does not have sweet flavour)
Dried or fresh tarragon

If using, cook shallot over medium heat, in half a cup of water until soft.
Add broth, potatoes and fennel and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are soft – about 20 minutes.

Puree until smooth. Mix in the rice/soy milk and sprinkle tarragon over the top. 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Beanfields Bean and Rice Chips

I found these savoury snacks in the health foods section of Woolworths. They are clearly marked as ‘Vegan’ on the front of the pack and after peering at the ingredients list, I found that they were, indeed, vegan.

So far, I have seen three of the varieties in Woolworths – Salsa, Sea salt, and Nacho. The Nacho is my favourite. Very tasty, very cheesy in its flavour. The Salsa has a smoky sort of flavour to it.

There are also 2 other varieties that I have yet to see them in the shops here in Perth. One is Salt N’ Pepper and the other Unsalted.

And new to the range is Barbecue and Ranch. My partner managed to find small packets of these two in the Loving Hut café in Victoria Park.  The Ranch variety tastes a lot like sour cream and chives to me.

All of these products are gluten free, veganand non-GMO. Hopefully, the other varieties will eventually be available in Woolworths. I have noticed that the current ones sell very well at my local supermarket. 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Cheeky Vegan

I have been going to the Stirling Farmers Markets on and off again for a while now. Plenty of fresh fruit and veggies to be had there, and some of them organic.Just  lately, though there has been a new stall that has become a firm favourite of mine. It is called “The Cheeky Vegan”. 

Unfortunately, the first time they set up a stall there, it PELTED down with rain and it looked like they were packing up early. I did manage to get some of their wares and have gone back there every Sunday since, and have tried more of their range.
What is on offer is mostly raw vegan dessert type fare, including gluten free items.

 So far, I have tried out their Muesli Bliss balls, the O-raw-eos, the Choc Pie, the Apple C-raw-mble, Choco Cookies, and the Lime and Coconut Tarts. All were delish but my faves would have to be the Apple C-raw-mble and the Lime and Coconut tarts!
Apart from the sweets, there were also raw kale chips on offer, which I tried and liked. These featured sweet potato, tahini and lemon dressing. I do hope there will be more savoury items on offer in the future.
The Stirling Markets are on every Sunday from 7.30am to 11.30am and are situated on Cedric Street, next to the Stirling Council Chambers.

Cheeky Vegan also do catering for functions. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Quinoa Salad with Fennel and White Beans in a Light Lemon Vinaigrette

I came across this recipe a while ago, whilst looking through “Spork-Fed : Super fun and Flavorful vegan recipes for the Sisters of Spork Foods” by Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg. I wanted to try in straight away but had two stumbling blocks. Firstly, I could not for the life of me find German mustard. I am not much of a mustard eater but remember years ago, having some by Masterfoods. I looked through two different supermarket chains and could not find it. After some online investigation, I found out that Masterfoods discontinued that variety. I found that quite astounding. Anyway, check out the international/import food stores and you should find some there.
My next challenge was the fennel. It was out of season and so was either hard to find or very small and very expensive. I decided that I would wait until winter when fennel is in season and easy to find. Oh, and the bulbs are big and lush.
I simplified and tweaked the original recipe to suit me.

What you will need:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and boiled in 2 cups water until the liquid is absorbed (You can use a mix of colours if you want – red, white, black – it doesn’t matter)
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 tbsp agave syrup
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp German mustard
1 tsp cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
5 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
A big bag of salad greens

This is really easy.
Throw all of the ingredients together and toss! You can season with salt and black pepper if you wish. Serve it warm.
I found this makes a meal size quantity for 2 people or as a side dish for 4 people.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Easy Spinach, Lime and Ginger Soup

This is so simple to make and tastes good too. I found it “Mouthwatering Vegan” by Miriam Sorrell.

What you will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp finely grated/minced fresh ginger
1 medium onion, chopped. Optional. I left it out and soup tasted fine.
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped. Optional. Again, I left it out and the soup was fine without it.
400g frozen spinach or 600 fresh
4 cups of vegetable stock (You can find the Massel range at supermarkets and yes, it is vegan.)
Juice of 1 lime
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add onions and ginger. Saute for a minute and then add garlic. Sauté for another minute.
Add spinach and cook, stirring got a minute or if using fresh, until wilted.
Add stock and cover. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove from heat and using a hand held immersion blender, blend the mixture.

Add the lime juice and spices. Process for 1 minute and then serve. Add salt and pepper if you wish.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Wild Basmati Pilaf

This is a very plain and simple recipe. I find that if I have days of eating rich foods, I crave a simple (but still tasty!) meal. I found it in “Food that Cause you to Lose Weight : the negative calorie effect” by Dr Neal Barnard.

What you will need:
¼ cup wild rice ( Available in supermarkets. A bit pricey, but you don’t need to buy much.)
2 cups vegetable stock (You can get Massel vegan stock at supermarkets.)
¾ cup basmati rice
1 onion, finely chopped (Optional.)
3 garlic cloves, minced (Optional.)
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp marjoram
1/3 cup chopped parsley
¼ tsp salt (Optional.)
¼ tsp black pepper (Optional.)

Rinse the wild rice and place it in a saucepan with the vegetable stock and ½ cup of water. Stir to mix and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the basmati rice and cover and cook for about 50 minutes. Both varieties should be tender.
Heat ½ cup of water in a large pot and add onion and garlic (if using) and cook until all the water has evaporated. Add another ¼ cup of water, scrap the pot and cook until onions begin to stick. Repeat the process of adding water and cooking until the onions are browned. This will take about 15 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms, celery and seasonings. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes and then add the cooked rice and parsley. Cook over low heat, turning gently until mixture is heated through.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

This is one the most gorgeously tasty soups I have had in a long time. I found it in “Veganissimo!” by Leigh Drew, who happens to be Australian. (Yay!)  I would recommend doubling the ingredients because you WILL want seconds or leftovers for the next day.  I decided to not blend the soup at the end, as I like chunky soups. If you do this, I suggest finely grating the ginger instead of chopping.  I omitted the onion and garlic (still tasted great without them) and used water instead of oil for the sauté step. I also omitted the tomato paste, as I felt it didn’t need it but feel free to use if you like.

What you will need:
½ cup water
1 small carrot (finely chopped)
1 celery rub (finely chopped)
1 small onion – optional (finely chopped)
1 garlic clove – optional (minced)
1 piece ginger (approx. 2.5 cm), peeled and finely chopped or grated
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ cups dried red lentils
½ tbsp tomato paste (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes
5 cups salt reduced vegetable stock (I use  Marigold vegan salt reduced )

Heat water in a large pot, over medium heat. Add carrot, onion (if using), celery, garlic (if using) and ginger for 15 minutes or until vegetables have softened.
Add the chili flakes, ground coriander seeds and ground cumin. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
Add red lentils and tomato paste (if using) and stir well to combine.
Pour in canned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Reduce heart to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lentils should have broken down and be soft. If not, cook for longer.

The next step is optional. Remove pot from heat and use a stick blender to bend the mixture until it is smooth.  Serve.

Curried Mushroom and Chickpeas

I was reading the book “Foods that cause you to lose weight” by NealBarnard M.D and found this recipe in there. It is simple but packed with flavour. The original recipe calls for two tins of diced/crushed tomatoes, but I used only one, as I felt it was enough. Note that oil has been left out. This cuts down on fat and calories but does not affect the flavour.

You can serve this on rice or couscous.

What you will need:
½ cup water
Onion, chopped (optional)
½ tsp cumin
700g mushrooms, sliced
1 can diced/crushed tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp chili flakes


Heat water in a large pot and then add the onions, if using. Cook until soft and then add mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms begin to soften and some of the water evaporates. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and spices. Cook on low heat for approximately 30 minutes. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Big Fat Taco Salad

This one is from "Appetite for reduction" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It is a big a salad. It is kind of fiddly, in that there are three components to it  - the salad, the tomato salsa dressing, and the Guacamame. If you are a bit of a lazy cook, at least try making the Guacamame - it is fantastic!

What you will need for the salad:
4 cups shredded cos lettuce
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 batch of Fresh Tomato Salsa Dressing (recipe follows)
Approx. 100g tortilla chips
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 cup of Guacamame (recipe follows)

Arrange the salad in 2 big bowls. (Original recipe states that this for 4 people but I think if you want to make a meal of it, it is good for 2. Otherwise double the ingredient amounts for 4 servings.)
Place the lettuce in the bowls, then layer on the beans and salsa. Crumble on the tortilla chips and top with cilantro. Serve with Guacamame on the side or a dollop on the top.

What you will need for the Tomato Salsa Dressing:
3 tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
salt to taste

Chop up the tomatoes fairly small and then add all the other ingredients. Use your hands to mush everything up really well and leave to sit for 10 minutes or so. You can make this in advance and place it on a tightly sealed container in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

What you will need for the Guacamame:
1 large avocado, sliced
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed (Woolworths sells cooked and frozen edamame but you can also find it in Asian food stores. For thawing, you can leave out for a few hours or you can microwave or run under hot water. It must be thawed well.)
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lime
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Pinch of cayenne

Place avocado and edamame in a blender or food processor and pulse until everything is well chopped. Add water, salt and lime juice. Puree until mostly smooth. Add tomato, cilantro and cayenne and pulse a few times.  Taste test for seasoning and then you are done.

Mexicali Roasted Vegetables

This easy to make recipe is adapted from the recipe found in the book “Skinny Bitch: Ultimate everyday cookbook” by  Kim Barnouin. The herbs and spices give the vegetables a nice kick to them, without being overpowering.  I was a bit skeptical about the inclusion of cinnamon but it really does work.

What you will need:
2 yellow button squash or one yellow zucchini – cut into 1 cm thick strips
1 green zucchini – cut into 1cm thick strips
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch chili powder
Pinch ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients, making sure all get coated well with oil, herbs and spices.
Spread vegetables out on a large baking tray and bake for approx. 40 minutes, checking in a fork for tenderness.

Tuck in! 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sushi Roll Edamame Salad

This salad is exactly how Isa Chandra Moskowitz describes it in her book "Appetite for Reduction" - a big, deconstructed sushi roll in a bowl. You can have it with wasabi and soy sauce on the side, to dip each mouthful, if you wish.
The recipe features edamame which are soy beans still in their pods. You can buy these frozen from supermarkets. I found some precooked and frozen ones in Woolworths. Their flavour and texture is exquisite so don't leave these out of the recipe.
As for the nori sheet, I found a pack of nori pre-cut into thin strips, at the supermarket (Coles or Woolworths - I can't remember which one now) in the Asian foods section.

What you will need:
1 cup shelled frozen edamame, thawed
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
8 cups cos lettuce, chopped
2 cups cooked and cooled short grain brown rice
1 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 medium sized carrot, cut into matchsticks
4 tsp sesame seeds
1 sheet nori, cut into thin strips
1 avocado, sliced

For the dressing, mix together the edamame, rice vinegar, and agave.
For the salad, place the lettuce in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top.
Add the rice over the lettuce. Top rice with cucumber, carrot and sesame seeds. Sprinkle with the nori and add avocado on top.
Dig in!

Monday, 17 February 2014


Many Perth vegans are reporting seeing more and more vegan products popping up in their local IGA stores. Previously, products that could only be found in health food stores, organics stores or other specialist stores, are now available in various IGAs. With this in mind, my partner and I decided to check out an IGA store near us - Gwelup SUPA IGA - and were pleasantly surprised.

We discovered that they had two long aisles of health food products, which included a lot of vegan suitable items, some which we have not seen elsewhere.
In the frozen and refrigerated section, we were excited to see pies from Loving Hut, Tofutti icecreams and cheeses, and Linda McCartney products. 

In the bread section, we found products by Bodhi's Bakery, which was pleasing, as they do some gluten and vegan loaves and rolls, plus the BEST gluten free and vegan pizza bases. 

There is also a good range of non-dairy milks (including my favourite Australia's Own Organic Rice Milk), and enough agave syrup to last you a year.

There was no sign of any Notzarella so we will be contacting them to suggest they stock it, and encourage everyone to do so as well.. Infact, you can lodge product suggestions via their website.

Gwelup SUPA IGA is situated on the corner of Wishart and North Beach Road in Gwelup.
Their opening hours are am to 9pm Mon-Fri, Sat - 8am-5pm, Sun 11am -5pm.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Blue Potato and Corn Salad

This dish is based on the recipe I found in the book "Appetite for reduction" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I changed a few things about it die to personal tastes, availability of some of the ingredients and time and effort involved. Basically, I made it a lot less spicy and took some shortcuts. The outcome was still very pleasing. Just be careful when cooking the potato, so they are not over done. I think I made mine a bit too soft.

What you will need:
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
900g blue (they look purple) potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp grapeseed oil (yes, you can get this at the supermarket)
1 tsp agave nectar (the light kind, not the dark)
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1 can beans, drained and rinsed. (I used black beans, but I think kidney beans or even a 5 bean mix would work.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
dash or two of paprika
1/4 cup roasted red capsicums, chopped
Mixed salad greens

Boil potatoes for 5-10 minutes, making sure they are cooked but still firm
Drain and place in a large bowl. Let cool.
Add capsicum, corn, and beans.
For the dressing, mix together in a small bowl, the vinegar, oil, agave, water and salt.
Add the dressing to the other ingredients and toss to coat. Add coriander and paprika and mix gently. Serve over mixed greens.

Herb Roasted Potato Slices

A friend passed this simple, fat free recipe to me. It comes from this website and as you can see, I have altered it a bit to suit me.

6 medium sized potatoes
2 tablespoon of mixed herbs such as marjoram, oregano, thyme, parsley. Cajun spice, basil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 olives, chopped fine

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Slice the potatoes lengthwise in slices about 1/4 of an inch thick.
Put in a medium sized bowl and toss with the herbs, vinegar, and olives.
Mix it for a few minutes so the potatoes slices get well coated with everything. Lay them on a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper.

Bake for 45 minutes. No need to flip them over mid-way.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Everyday Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

This recipe is from the legendary vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz's book "Appetite for Reduction : 125 fast and filling low fat vegan recipes". It is, infact, the very first recipe of the book. I thought I would do my best to try as many of the recipes in this book as I could, and this one is a good start.

What you will need for the salad:
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 small red onion, sliced thinly (optional)
4 cups chopped cos lettuce
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
a few leaves of fresh basil, chopped finely
handful of snow pea sprouts
1 carrot, grated

What you will need for the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup cashew pieces
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp agave nectar
3/4 tsp salt

Mix all the salad ingredients together. For the vinaigrette, place cashews in a blender and pulse to chop up. Add rest of the ingredients and blend for about 5 minutes, to get the mixture smooth and not grainy. Add to salad and toss to coat. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up 3 days if a tightly sealed container is used.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Stuffed Iceberg Parcels

This is a flavour packed recipe that was surprisingly filling. My only gripe was that it was a bit tricky wrapping and eating. If you are not keen on all that, I can’t see why you can’t just serve the filling on a bed of lettuce instead.  This recipe is from the cookbook  “Mouthwatering Vegan” by Miriam Sorrell.

What you will need:
Olive or sunflower oil
2 cups cooked short grain or white rice
2 tsp curry powder
Pinch ground cardamom
1 tsp paprika
20 walnuts, chopped roughly
2 small carrots grated
1 small red onion, finely chopped (optional)
8 leaves each fresh basil and mint leaves, finely chopped
4 tbsp sultanas/raisins
10 chopped black olives
Dash lemon juice
Pinch salt
Iceberg lettuce leaves

Drizzle oil in a pan and heat over medium temperature. Fry cooked rice and spices for a couple of minutes and then let cool.
Add rest of the ingredients except the lettuce and blend well.

Heap 2-3 large spoonfuls of filling in the centre of each lettuce leaf and roll up. Use toothpicks to hold together.  Serve.