Broccoli and Cauliflower Pakoras

Tonight I was emptying my fridge, so that I could bring our left over food to Marco’s and freeze whatever I could. I managed to freeze the nectarines, peaches, cherries and grapes. I only had a few vegetables left. I didn’t want to freeze them. I hate frozen cauliflower and broccoli. It fills up with water and tastes terrible. I was trying not to open anything new so I decided to finally try to make pakoras. Bad idea when you have been over eating for the past 3 days and wanted a healthy dinner. I think there is a reason they are served as an entree at Indian restaurants. I never really think about fatty they are when I usually order them. They did taste really good though. Just not the healthiest dinner choice. I served them with the Sweet-and-Sour Sauce that I had made to go with the Meatballs from Chef Chloe’s book. It is really sweet and has a similar taste to the sweet tamarind sauce. Otherwise you can use any kind of sweet dipping sauce you like. Since I made so much I freeze the rest. I read that if you fry them then freeze, you can just refry them when you want to eat them. Yes I know its not healthy, but a better alternative to something store bought fried foods.

This is my last cooking post for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I will find some great vegan eats in Melbourne!

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Broccoli & Cauliflower Pakoras (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups besan/chickpea flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garam marsala

1 teaspoon sea salt & more to taste

1.5 cups water

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 onion, sliced

1 small head broccoli, cut into florets

Method:

1. Sift the besan flour in a large bowl then add the bicarbonate soda and all the ground spices and salt. DSC01583

2. Stir through water slowly till it thickens in to a batter.DSC01584

3. Add the vegetables and cover in the batter.

4. Heat the oil in a wok and add the vegetables with the batter into the wok to fry. Do small batches and cook for 1-2 mins on each side. Drain oil from pakoras with paper toils, season with salt and serve with sweet dipping sauce.

Merry Christmas to all!

Hope everyone had a good Christmas  I spent the 24th-26th preparing food and eating it. We had Marco’s Birthday Lunch with his family, Christmas lunch and dinner with my family and Boxing day celebrating with his family again for lunch.

We are off to Melbourne tomorrow  I can’t wait! All my family are down there and I haven’t been for a few years. But I am also eager to discover some of the great vegan eats down there too. I have heard that Melbourne is the best state for vegans and vegetarians. I hope I have time. Its difficult to find time to do your own thing when visiting family. I feel guilty for ditching them or that I am not making the most of my time with them. I have a very big italian family. My mum is one of 10 and most of  her siblings live down there with their kids and my father is one of four and his parents and grandmother are still alive. There is always a bit of jealously when I go between one family to the other. I also don’t know how they are going to take my new diet. They love meat down there. I know people think well they others should respect their lifestyle choice as vegan/vegetarian, but I always feel like I should be as little trouble as possible when I stay like people. Thats just the way I have been brought up and if you go against the norm then you are a problem. I am hoping I am worrying about nothing and it will all turn out well!

Over the last few days I cooked for Christmas with my family and for Marco’s family. I made another Rosemary Galette with tomatoes and zucchini, Chat Potato Salad, Sweet Potato CroquettesStone Fruit Slice, and a Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake. I ended up making everything except the Cheesecake for Christmas with my family. Unfortunately none of them even tried or asked about what I cooked. I was a bit annoyed after going to all that effort. This part of my family is very pro meat and milk. They don’t believe that food is important to be healthy and it shows. I hope they don’t read this. Its their choice anyway. At least they didn’t put caesar dressing on the other salads, so I could eat them. It’s something I suppose. They did eat my fudge, which  also brought and Marco served out. Didn’t get any feedback, but considering the plates didn’t come back with any left over I guess they liked it.

I ended up taking the Sweet Pototo Croquettes and both cakes to Marco’s the next day for his family. Considering when I met this Serbian family they ate meat for nearly every meal, they have come a long way. Most of them don’t drink dairy and make a conscious effort to not eat so much meat. It isn’t just my influence, but also cancer, intolerance and a lot of reading that has really changed their eating habits over the past 5 years. So they were really happy with everything I brought and it cheered me up.

Their were also a lot of vegetarian options at their lunch. One of the ladies brought their traditional pita, but instead of putting cheese in them, she put some with semolina and some with grated potato. They were really really good. I couldn’t stop eating them. I wish I took a photo of them. The Serbian’s have traditional called Slava, where they don’t eat any meat or dairy products for a day. So they do have a few vegan friendly recipes. Hopefully I can learn a few.

Below are some of the foods I prepared for Christmas:

 

Rosemary Galette with Tomato & Zucchini (vegan, nut free)

Adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen???????????????????????????????

Ingredients:

1.25 cups plain flour

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves

1/2 cup nutlex (vegan butter)

5 tablespoons ice cold water

olive oil

2 truss tomatoes

1 small zucchini

Method:

1. Preheat the oven 180 degrees and start the dough. Take a large ???????????????????????????????bowl and combining flour, sugar, salt, rosemary in a bowl. Then adding nutlex in small chunks. Use your hands to combine so it becomes like bread crumbs, then add the water, so that it becomes like a dough. Place in the fridge for 10 mins.

2. Roll out the ???????????????????????????????dough with rolling pin on baking paper. Cut out a large circle about 20cm and place into a circle baking pan. Refrigerate for 10 mins.

3. Brush the dough with olive oil, fan sliced tomatoes in the center and add the thinly sliced zucchini around the edges. Then fold down the edges on top of the zucchini and season it all with salt. Refrigerate for 15 mins.

4. Bake for 30-35mins and serve.

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Chat Potatoes Salad (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

500g chat Potatoes

olive oil

sea salt

200g soft tofu

1/4 cup olive oil

1  garlic clove

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 shallots, chopped

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

vegan sour cream (I used Chef Chloe’s recipe)

1. Preheat oven 180 degrees. Coat the chat poatoes in olive oil and sea salt. Bake for 40 mins or until soft. ???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????2. In the meantime prepare the sour cream. Blend the tofu, oil, garlic, lemon, mustard and salt and place in the fridge till you need it. Should make 3/4 of a cup.

3. When potatoes have cooled down cut the potatoes in halfs or quarters. Add sliced shallots and sliced sun dried tomatoes.

4. When ready, coat in sour cream and sea salt.

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Mixed Fruit Slice

This is adapted for my Stone Fruit & Berry Slice. I used nectarines, peaches, kiwi fruit, pineapple, green grapes. One thing I really changed was adding a cup of soy milk to the base of the slice when I was making the dough. I also didn’t add maple to the fruit. I just squashed them on top and added a sprinkle of raw sugar.

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Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake

This recipe is from The Veggie Nook. Really easy to make. Next time I wouldn’t add so much banana and put a bit more maple syrup in the filling. It was sweet enough for me, but not for Marco.

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These are a couple of recipes I have made from leftovers this week, while I was cooking:

Tempeh ‘Tuna’ Salad (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

I have been hearing about this mock tuna for a while, but I never got around to trying to make it. I looked at a few recipes, but didn’t have all of the ingredients for them. It does have the texture of tuna but not quite the fishy taste. I will have to keep trying. But otherwise a good creamy salad filling for a sandwich.

Ingredients:

75g tempeh

2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons celery, finely diced

1 small dill pickle, finely diced

1.5 tablespoons vegan mayo

1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Steam tempeh in a steamer for 20 mins (to remove bitterness)

2. Combine all the ingredients and season to taste. Serve in a sandwich, on toast or with a salad.

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Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese (vegan, gluten free option)

Ingredients:

100-150 g Macraroni (or other short pasta, use gluten free pasta if you prefer)

1/4 cup mashed pumpkin

1/2 cup milk

2-3 tablespoons nutitional yeast

2-3 tablespoons vegan sour cream (I used Chef Chloe’s recipe)

sea salt to taste

corn crumbs

Method:

1. Boil Pasta according to instructions. Then strain and set aside.

2. Heat pumpkin with soy milk. Stir till it becomes a thick sauce, then add nutritional yeast and stir. Add pasta and take off the heat.

3. Add sour cream and season with salt, then place into a baking proof dish. Top with corn crumbs and cook in the oven for 10-15mins or till golden brown on top.

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Awards and many more thanks

Before the end of the year has finished I wanted to thank a few wonderful bloggers who gave me awards recently.  I can’t believe how many awards my blog has received from other bloggers, especially since I only started it at the end of September this year.

Writing about my experiences and getting feedback from others has really helped me stay on the healthy path. I have had a few slips, but for the most part have been able to be consistently eating a plant based diet. I have also got to discover more ingredients and cooking techniques and have been inspired by others to try them. Thanks to everyone else who follows this blog for your input!

The awards I recently received include:

Sandra from Quirky Books for Shine On Award.

Kz from The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic for Super Sweet Blogging Award.

Art and Kitchen for Blog of the Year 2012 Award.

Coop Poop for Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Teresa of Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen for Blog of the Year 2012 Award.

 

Shine On Award 

The Rules:shineon

1.) Show appreciation of the blogger who nominated you and link back to them in your post.

2.) Add the award logo to your blog.

3.) Share 7 things about yourself.

  1. I am completely visual. I don’t really remember what people say.
  2. I can’t whistle, but I can pop.
  3. I have been learning Italian for 3 years. Still not completely fluent though. One day…
  4. I live at home and I’m not ashamed. Its great!
  5. Sometimes I forget my age because I don’t want to believe I’m not 20 anymore.
  6. I don’t like white silver. It makes it really hard trying to pick out engagement rings.
  7. I am going to Melbourne on friday and I can’t wait! After 6 months of being overseas you would think I would be sick of traveling but I not.

4.) Nominate 5 – 10 or so bloggers you admire.

Art and Kitchen

a beautiful day

Uberdish

The Healthy Epicurean

The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic

Relaxing cooking

a better year to a better life

Offbeat Lounge

Coop Poop

Nourishing Chow

 

Super Sweet Blogging Award

The Rules:super-sweet-blogging-award21w6451

1. Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you.

2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.

3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen (13) blogs.

Super Sweet questions:

1. Cookies or Cake? Cake

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla

3. What is your favorite sweet treat? Any vegan chocolate macadamia brownies and vegan cheesecake.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? at 9pm every night.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Sugar Plum is what my boyfriend calls me. Coco Malu is my stripper name (pet + street) lol.

Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen:

Petit 4 Chocolatier

Kicking back the pebbles

Table of Colors

Liv Loves Life

Cooking up a Storm

Made of Stars

Miss Marzipan

Blissful Britt

Spontaneous Tomato

Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

Blog of the Year 2012 Award

The Rules:Blog of the Year Award 5 star jpeg

1. Select another blog or other blogs who deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award;

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award;

3. Include a link back to this page Blog of the Year 2012’ Award at the Thought Palette and provide these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Nominees:

I am nominating everyone in my community. I won’t send you a message about it because there is heaps of you, but you all deserve a star!

 

Inspiring Blogger Award

The Rules:very-inspiring-blogger-award

1. Thank the blogger who nominated me.

2. Place the award on my site.

3. Share 7 random things about myself. – As Above^

4. Nominate 15 blogs. I will leave out this one as I have nominated for others. 

 

 

 

Toasted Almond & Coconut Gelato

I can’t believe its Christmas in 2 days. I went Christmas shopping yesterday and I was meant to get the last minute presents for my family. But I ended up coming home with only a  pair of Guess Jeans for me. Have to do some last minute shopping tomorrow, as well as plan what I am going to cook for Christmas. Usually we do it here, but this year we are going to my cousins house. They are big meat and dairy eaters so I want to bring something I can eat and they can also enjoy. Not sure what I’ll make but I better think of something soon.

Last night I made this gelato. It didn’t stay in shape for too long since it is so hot here at the moment, but it was really good. It was also very sticky and got stuck in the the crevices of my processor. It got into places are really hard to clean and I don’t know how it happened. Luckily I already know what I am getting for Christmas from my mum. She is getting me an ice cream machine and a dehydrator. So I can start making real ice cream soon. I can’t wait to try out some new flavors and not rely on frozen bananas.

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Toasted Almond & Coconut Gelato (gf, sf)

Ingredients:

3 frozen bananas

1 can coconut cream

agave/maple syrup to taste

hand full of almonds

handful of dried shredded coconut

Method:

1. Cut the almonds roughly, then dry toast in a pan and then set to the side.

2. Dry toast the shredd coconut and set to the side.

3. Roughly chop up the banana and place into the processor

4. Spoon out the cream from the coconut cream (discard the water) and place into the processor.

5. Turn on processor and while it is mixing add the agave.

6. Once all the banana has been blended, add most of the almonds and coconut. Only pulse so it mixes through.

7. Serve with the toasted almonds & coconut on top.

Today was Marco’s birthday lunch with his family, so I prepared some dishes to take. I made a few things from Chloe’s Kitchen recipe book including Sweet-and-Sour Party Meatballs, Rosemary Tomato Galette with Pine Nut Ricotta and Chocolate Walnut Fudge. The meat balls were delicious and really easy to make. They were made of tempeh, walnuts and lentils. They tasted and smelled more like meat then other recipes I have tried, but texture in the center was a bit soft, more like a processed meat. The sweet and sour sauce was really easy to make and it was a bit like the McDonald’s nugget sauce. The galette turned out really well. It really paid off refrigerating the dough 3 times before baking it. The pastry was more like a short crust pastry and had a much better texture then the other galette I have made previously. The pine nut ricotta was really really good. I was more like a pesto. It had roasted garlic, soaked pinenuts, oil and lemon juice. I found I had to add a bit of water to make it really creamy, but definetely something I want to make again, even if its just to have on toast. The fudge was the most wicked I have ever made. It called for 3 cups of chocolate (I used Sweet William), 1 can of coconut milk, cocoa, 3 cups of powdered (icing) sugar and toasted walnuts. Unfortunately I didnt realised till I had made it, with only 30 mins till I had to be at the party, that I realized it was meant to set in the fridge for up to 8 hours. I don’t know how I forgot about that. So it wasn’t exactly set when it came time to eat it. We still tried to eat it though. It was so rich and decadent, the photos don’t do it justice. Not sure I will make this again. Too fattening! I am not sure if I will bring it to Christmas or I will freeze it and allow Marco a small piece once a month.

Marco’s sister made toasted pita bread with oregano with a chickpea and roasted capsicum dip, which was really good. They also had their traditional salads, of tomato and onion, and cabbage with vinegar and roasted chicken with mayo and gherkins. For main course they made roasted pork, chicken and vegetables. I managed to stay away from the meat and ate my meat balls. I love the way they do their vegetables though. I’m not sure how they get them to taste so good, but they are always perfect. For dessert there was also a serbian cake made of nuts, plasma biscuits and egg whites. It is a serbian cake they always make for celebrations. I did have a bit of that, since it was dairy free. They also had baklava. I am not a big fan of that, its too sweet for me. It was nice to bring somethings though. So I could have a proper meal and not have people worrying about that I’m not eating. I was really happy they they also had the food I made. I think some vegan foods freak some people out. But what I love about Chloe’s recipes is that they don’t look ‘vegan’, they just look and taste delicious.

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Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

Rosemary & Tomato Galettes

Rosemary & Tomato Galettes

Pine nut Ricotta

Pine nut Ricotta

Toasted Pita bread with Oregano

Toasted Pita bread with Oregano

Roasted Meats & Vegetables

Roasted Meats & Vegetables

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

Plasma Cake

Plasma Cake

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Baklava

Sweet Potato Croquettes with Spicy Pineapple & Black beans Rice

You know how I was saying I was looking forward to using the leftovers. This is what inspired today’s lunch. I cooked the leftover the rice in a similar way to the Spicy Black bean and Rice stuffing, but I added some pineapple and a few more veggies. To go with it I made these croquettes. The polenta and corn crumbs really go well with the flavor of the sweet potato. Since I can’t use cheese, I used Tofutti instead to stuff it. This was nice and creamy inside. I also served it with last nights left over Coleslaw and a french stick that my mum turned up with, just in time for lunch. The dressing actually tasted better today and closer to the real thing.

I recently added a Recipe page, so you can all find the recipes easier. I also added a Eating out Vegan Page. These are some places that I have experienced. So far only places in Queensland, Australia and a couple in Milan. But I am hoping to add some more when I go to Melbourne next week. Now I’m off to do last minute Christmas shopping!

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Sweet Potato Croquettes (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 small sweet potatoes

1/4 cup polenta

1 tablespoon water

1  tablespoon coriander leaves, minced

sea salt to taste

5 teaspoons Tofutti cream cheese

corn crumbles

canola oil, enough to shallow fryDSC01375

Method:

1. Peel the sweet potatoes and steam them till they are really soft.DSC01376

2. Place sweet potato into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.DSC01377

3. Stir through the polenta, water, coriander leaves and season with salt.

4. Place 1 tablespoon of the sweet potato mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten it. Then add 1/2 tsp cream cheese in the centre and close it into a ball, so that the cream cheese is in the center.

5. Rub the balls in corn crumbs.

6. Heat canola oil in a pan. Then add the croquettes and turn them as they go golden brown.

7. Once they are completely golden brown on all sides, place them on a plate with a paper towel to drain the oil. Then serve.

*Makes 10 balls.

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Spicy Pineapple & Black beans Rice (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2.5 cup cooked basmati rice (cooked in vegetable liquid stock &  turmeric)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 large stalks of celery, diced

1 red chilli, diced

1/2 red capsicums, diced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

sea salt & black pepper to taste

1 small zucchini, chopped

1/2 cup cooked black beans

1/2 cup pineapple, diced

Method:

1. Take a pan and heat olive oil. Then add the onion, garlic, celery and chilli. Cook for 5 mins.DSC01378

2. Then add the zucchini, pineapple and all the spices (cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, paprika, salt, pepper). Cook for another 3 mins or until zucchini is tender.

3. Stir through the black beans and cooked rice. Cook until all is heated through, then serve.

*Serves 4

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Spicy Black bean and Rice Stuffed Capsicums, Spiced Roasted Vegetables and Southern Coleslaw

I had no idea what to cook tonight. All I knew was that I had vegetable stock in the fridge, but I didn’t want to have soup again. I decided to use it to flavor some rice and then the rest of the meal evolved from there.

The rice tasted so good with the spices and the black beans. I am already planning tomorrows lunch with the left overs. It did taste good in the capsicums,  but my capsicums were not as sweet as I would of liked. I think they must of been a more bitter variety. I decided to do the roasted vegetables and coleslaw since I thought they would fit the kind of southern theme, plus they are some of Marco’s favorite dishes. For the coleslaw,  I tried adapt from this recipe, Simple Creamy Southern Coleslaw with Mayonnaise. My dressing is a lot healthier and vegan friendly. I didn’t have any celery seeds, but I read that you can substitute them with celery leaves. Not sure if I got the correct flavor, but it tasted good.

Since I only cooked for two tonight I roughly doubled the measurements for the following recipes. Sorry about the photos, My kitchen is not well lit at night. Dam energy savers!

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Spicy Black bean and Rice Stuffed Capsicums (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup basmati rice

1 cup vegetable liquid stock

1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric

4 red capsciums

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 large stalks of celery, diced

1 red chili, diced

2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

sea salt & black pepper to taste

1 cup cooked black beans

2 tablespoon coriander leaves, diced

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.DSC01340

1. First you need to prepare the rice. Wash and place in the rice cooker. Add liquid stock to cover and tumeric to color the rice when its cooks. Let it cook till its tender and then set to the side. (If you make a cup you should have plenty left over for another meal).DSC01342

2. Carve out the top stump of the capsicums. Clean out the center, so that all the seeds are removed. Place in a baking dish.

3. Take a pan and heat olive oil. Then add the onion, garlic, celery and chili. Cook for 5 mins.DSC01347

4. Then add the cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and salt. Cook for another 2 mins.

5. Take off the heat and stir through the black beans, coriander and 1 cup of cooked rice.

6. Stuff the capsicums with the rice and beans. Then place in the oven and cook for 30 mins or until the skin of the capsicum goes very soft.

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Spiced Roasted Vegetables (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

8 chat potatoes

3 sweet potatoes

6-8 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

olive oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.DSC01344

2. Peel the sweet potatoes, wash the potatoes and remove the skin from the garlic.

3. Place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, cumin, cayenne, and sea salt.

4. Place in a baking tray and cook for 40 mins or until golden brown.

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Southern Coleslaw (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

250g coleslaw mix

1/2 red onion

1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon agave

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon minced celery leaves or celery seeds

sea salt & black pepper to tasteDSC01353

Method:

1. Wash the coleslaw and place in a large bowl.

2. Slice the red onion and add to the bowl.

3. Take a small bowl and combine the mayonnaise, agave, apple cider vinegar, celery leaves, sea salt & pepper.

4. Stir through the coleslaw and serve.

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Broccoli and Hemp seed Soup

A couple of months back I went to a vegan fair at Enoggera for World Vegan day and got a couple of free sample packets of Organic Hulled Hemp Seeds. I have never tried hemp before, but I was very curious to see what it is like. I have read that is very healthy.

Hemp seeds contain 33% protein,  all the 10 Essential Amino Acids, Omega 3, 6, 9, and GLA  (Gamma-linolenic acid). It is easier to digest then soy & whey and is a good source of Chlorophyll, which helps keep breath free and cleans the blood. They are also vegan, gluten free and raw. They sounds fanatic!

I have only really heard using hemp seeds on American health sites and books. I have also never seen it for sale here. I just found out this is because Hemp products are illegal in Australia and New Zealand for human consumption. I didn’t realize till just now that the flyer on the sample said  ‘Best Food Grade, Not for Human Consumption in AU/NZ only’ . Opps!

Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that eating Hemp is illegal. There was a application passed by the Food Standards Australian and New Zealand (FSANZ) in 2002, which would make hemp foods available here. However, our ignorant former Prime Minister John Howard, had the ministerial council reject the application, as he thought he might send the wrong message about Hemp. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I won’t rant about all the reasons I can’t stand this man, but if Australian health isn’t bad enough, he had to stop something positive, based on his old stuffy conservative believes. Other misinformed or ignorant ministers have had similar beliefs. But Government Representative Cynthia Thielen does not. She stated that “Industrial hemp is not a drug and don’t try to porn it off as a drug and try to claim that we’re misleading the youth. The youth know better. It is you guys that don’t“.

Currently hemp seeds, hemp oil and hemp protein are legal for selling here for other uses, other then human consumption, such as rubbing on your skin, feeding your soil or your pets. The last update on this issue is that FSANZ has again approved a draft to allow hemp to be consumed as a food on the 31st October 2012. However,  we won’t find out until 60 days after that date whether it has been rejected, accepted or amended. So hopefully by new years we will know. If you are in Australian want to sign the petition, click the link below.

Hemp has a long tradition in human history. It has been used for over 10,000 years. It has been eaten in China for 8000 years and also has a long tradition as a food in both India and DSC01324Europe. There is evidence that hemp was also used by the ancient Mesopotamian,  since before 8000 BC. Hemp was also used from the 5th century up until the 1800’s to make ropes and sails for ships. In fact hemp came with the First Fleet to Australia for this purpose. So hopefully we will stop living in the dark ages soon and join the rest of the world.

Anyway enough ranting. I decided to use it to make a soup. The hemp seeds by themselves have a mild taste, which is slightly nutty and it is very soft to chew. Cooked, they gave the soup a nice nutty flavor and it was incredibly delicious. Unfortunately its quite expensive, so don’t think I’ll be buying it soon, unless the law brings down the price. 1 kg of Hemp Seeds is nearly $60 and as far as I know has to be ordered online. Are hemp products it expensive in your country?

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Broccoli and Hemp seed Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 small onion

1 garlic clove

1 small head of broccoli

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 teaspoons ground cumin

1.5 cups vegetable liquid stock

1/4 cup hemp seeds

Method:

1. Dice the onion and garlic. Roughly cut the broccoli, including the stem and any leaves.

2. Heat a small pot with olive oil then add the onion and garlic. Saute for 2 mins.

3. Add the cumin and broccoli and saute for another 2-3 mins.

4. Add the liquid stock and bring to the boil.

5. Add the hemp seeds and place on a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 mins.

6. Take off the heat, blend till smooth and then serve.

* 1 large serve or two small serves.

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To sign a Petitition Click >>> http://www.surveymonkey.com/Home_Landing.aspx?sm=oIxdS73n%2bOdG923DV5Up0PJ%2fqKvRswtIWT0OoYCA9So%3d

Cynthia Thielen, ‘Does hemp seed give a mixed message to the public?’ <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DatJgJvD6gY>

Green Pages, ‘Hemp Foods Legal in Australia’, <http://www.thegreenpages.com.au/projects/hemp-foods-legal-in-australia/>

Hemp Foods, ‘Hemp Legislation’ <http://www.hempfoods.com.au/legislation/>

Hemp Seeds Australia, <http://www.hempseedsaustralia.com.au>

Ashley Hall, ‘Hemp could get nutritional nod’, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-08/hemp-seeds-cannabis-food-standards/3719846>

Chocolate Orange Muffin with Coconut Orange Sauce

This experiment was dinner tonight. I’m alone and I wasn’t hungry enough to cook a meal. I wanted to make something sweet without sugar and to make use of the oranges that are going uneaten in my fridge. It is sugar free and oil free and can be made gluten free if you use gf flour & gf baking powder.

I used brown rice syrup instead of sugar, but after being cooked the muffins weren’t as sweet as the batter was . So I made a sauce that was originally meant to be a sugar free icing. It started with only coconut cream, brown rice syrup and orange juice. But then when it started to melt with the heat here, I thought I could add some coconut to thicken it up. It turned out to be a nice sweet sauce to go with the bitter chocolate orange flavor of the muffin.

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Chocolate Orange Muffin with Coconut Orange Sauce (gfo, sf, nf)

Ingredients:

1 cups unbleached white flour

1 cup wholemeal pastry flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon orange zest (2 oranges)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

3 oranges

Ingredients for Coconut Orange Sauce:

10 tbsp coconut cream (chilled in the fridge)

4 tsp brown rice syrup

1 tbsp orange juice

½ cup desiccated coconut (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Take a bowl and sift the flours, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. Add salt, desiccated coconut,  orange zest and vanilla extract.

4. Take the 3 oranges and cut off the skin and all the white parts under the skin. Then use  a blender or bar mix to puree the oranges. Leave a little chunky.

5. Combine the orange puree and brown rice syrup with the rest of the mix.

6. Place the mixture into a prepared muffin tray and cook for 15 mins or until cooked inside. DSC01293

7. Meanwhile take a small bowl and add the coconut cream and beat with a fork. Then add remaining ingredients and place the sauce  in the fridge.

8. Once muffins have been cooled on a rack, serve with a dollop of the sauce.

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Egg-free Frittata and Satay Tofu Panini

Today’s is Marco’s Birthday, so I had a special breakfast planned for him. This morning I made Chef Chloe’s End-of-Summer Frittata. I also got a Rustic Baguette from the bakery, fresh cherries, shaved chicken (his idea) and I made a fresh orange and mango juice to go with it. The frittata was great! He really loved it, which I am really pleased about, since he has a egg intolerance and I have been trying to find a breakfast egg alternative for a while.

The recipe did take me longer then I thought it would.  But was 36 degrees (96.8 fahrenheit) and I was trying to do so many things at once. But it is pretty straight forward. I used firm tofu by accident, since the packaging looks exactly the same as the silk tofu when I bought it. However, it blended fine in my processor and still had a rich flavor when mixed with the other ingredients.  It tasted very much like the yolk of a hard boiled egg. I think if I had used silky tofu, then it would of been less dense. After I made the tofu mixture, I added it to the vegetables and I let it cook for 15 mins as the recipe said  Then when it came time to put it in the oven to brown, I don’t have a boiler in my oven or oven safe pans. So I tried to stick my pan under the oven grill, with the handle sticking out of the oven. It didn’t brown the top of the frittata as well as I would liked. But it didn’t matter. The frittata was cooked inside enough and turned out really delicious.

Most importantly Marco loved it and didn’t even realize it didn’t have eggs in it. I really recommend this recipe if you miss egg frittata or want to just try something different. It wasn’t as rubbery as eggs would usually be so I think I prefer this to an egg fritata. The potatoes tasted really good in it and were nice and soft by the time it was finished. Definitely one of my favorite recipes to date.

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We weren’t planing on having lunch since its so hot here and breakfast was a bit late. But this afternoon after a swim in the pool we changed our mind. I didn’t have much in the fridge, so this is what I came up with. I recently bought Vessimix Satay Peanut Sauce from the Asian supermarket. It is also available at health food shops as it is vegan. Its made by Lamyong Vegetarian Health Food. I also recently had Satay Tofu burger from the Green Edge and it was amazing. So I decided to try and recreate it. This must be the same satay sauce they use, as it tasted exactly the same. I used the rest of the Rustic Baguette and added some salad. If you don’t love tofu, you won’t be able to tell when your eating this panini. This is a simple go-to recipe for a lazy summer day.

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Satay Tofu Panini (vegan, gluten free option)

Ingredients:

Baguette or other fresh bread (use gluten free bread if you prefer)

firm tofu

Vessimix Satay Peanut Sauce

grated carrot

sliced tomato

diced wombok/lettuce

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. First slice the block of firm tofu. About 2 slices per panini (depending on the size of it). Press the water out of it with a paper towel. Then place in a plate and cover with the satay sauce.

2. Heat a griddle pan with canola oil (brushed on/sprayed).

3. Add the tofu to the griddle pan and cook for both sides for a couple minutes each on medium heat. Then take off the heat.

4. Slice the bread, then add two slices of tofu and then top with rest of the ingredients and serve.

San Choy Bow and Nectarine Galette

Now that I am back to reality, its back to the kitchen for me. Marco suggest San Choy Bow for dinner. He begged me to make his with beef mince, but of course that wasn’t going to happen. This is what I came up with and he was very happy with the result. I used Wombok instead of lettuce, but either will do. It is a Chinese cabbage that can be eaten like a lettuce or cooked like a cabbage. I find it really fresh and crisp and it is great for Asian salads.

For dessert I modeled my Nectarine Galette from Chef Chloe’s recipe for Rustic Peach Galette. I followed all the steps except putting the galette in the fridge before baking and topping with maple syrup and more sugar. Nevertheless it turned out really nice and I served it with a dollop of coconut cream. I peeled the nectarines which was a challenge, since they were so ripe. The dogs both enjoyed the nectarine skins. I was surprised how much they love fruit.

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San Choy Bow (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

DSC01253Ingredients:

1/2 cup soy mince

20 g shiitake mushrooms

1 cup vegetable/other liquid stock

1 tablespoon tamari/soy sauce

2 garlic cloves

1 knob of ginger (same amount as garlic)

2 small red chili

1 carrot

1 small red or brown onion

100 g water chestnuts

2 leaves of silver beet spinach

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoon hoisin sauce

6 leaves of wombok/iceberg lettuce

Method:

1. Soak the soy mince and shiitake mushrooms in the vegetable stock and marinate with soy sauce. (If you want to cut the mushrooms then soak separately in 1/2 cup of stock each).

Soaked soy mince & mushrooms

Soaked soy mince & mushrooms

2. Finely dice the garlic, ginger, chili, carrot, onion, water chestnuts and spinach leaves (not stalks).

3. Wash the wombok/cabbage leaves and cut them into cups. If using a wombok, cut off the spine of the leave from the bottom.

4. Take the wok and heat the sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger, chili and onion. Cook for 2-3 mins or until onions begin to brown.

5. Add the carrot, soy mince, shiitake mushrooms and any stock that may not of been aborbed. Cook for 4 mins. Add more stock or water if it sticks.DSC01255

6. Add the hoisin sauce and the spinach leaves and cook for 2 mins or until the spinach has wilted.

7. Assemble the wombok leave on the plate and add the mixture to the center. To eat roll the leaves in so that it becomes like a pocket/package.

Nectarine Galette

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