Prebranac (Serbian Baked Beans)

As promised here is a typical Serbian dish from the kitchen of Marco’s family. Although I have enjoying this bean dish for many years, since Marco and I have been together, this is the first time I have learned to make it. Marco never wanted me to make it at home. Partly because he’s been eating it his whole life and perhaps partly because he didn’t think I could make it like his mum. However, since we went to Serbia last year he love of his home food has been reignited.

68Prebranac (пребранац/pre-BRAH-nats) is a Serbian baked bean dish, which is prepared with white or brown beans, such as lima beans and great northern beans; onions and sweet Hungarian paprika. It is also known as Pasulj (Пасуљ) and is a typical dish in Bosnia, Albania and other Balkan nations. Many recipes include bay leaves, carrots, leeks and other vegetables. It is often prepared with smoked meats, such as smoked bacon, smoked sausage and smoked joints. However, the  meat can be omitted. It doesn’t have milk, butter or eggs, so it ideal during fasting time.  This dish was originally eaten by farmers during the winter months, due to its high fat content. It can be cooked dry or in a thick sauce depending how much water you add. It can be served hot or room temperature, with crusty bread.

Before I made this dish I consulted both Marco’s mother and his sister. They both have different ways of making this dish and so do their other family members. You can use lima beans or greater northern beans. The beans can be soaked or un-soaked. You can use four onions or one kilo of onions. Some people use 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and others use lots of more colour. You cook the onions with leeks, carrot and/or capsicum or without. You can add the onion and vegetables with cooked beans or you can layer. You can finish off this dish in the oven to brown or on the stove with a bit of flour. You can have this dish dry or you can have it very moist. So many possibilities!

I ended up going with most of Marco’s mothers suggestions as she enthusiastically started the dish for me. The only thing I added, which perhaps isn’t tradition, is a teaspoon of liquid smoke for the smoky flavour. This is because usually Sally adds smoked ribs to the dish before she puts it in the oven. So I still wanted the same flavour, but made vegan. You can omit this though. Other the that this is a really easy dish to prepare, which doesn’t take much work, but it does take time.

So the verdict? It turned out quite well. The beans were nice and soft and the top browned very nicely. I didn’t put enough salt, so we had to add a lot more when it was ready. It wasn’t the same as Sally’s, but it was my first attempt, so I was happy. Mine was a bit dry as well. I thought that I had put enough water, but next time I will add a little more.

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Prebranac (Serbian Baked Beans) (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

500 lima beans (pre- soaked for 8 hours)

1/2 cup olive oil

4 onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 tablespoons Sweet Hungarian Paprika

1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, for smoking taste)

sea salt and black pepper to taste???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Place lima beans in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to the boil, then strain beans and remove water.

2. Place lima beans  in the same pot and fill with water. Bring to the again boil, then strain beans and remove again water.

3. This time place beans back in pot with water to cover (about 1-2 finger tips). Slightly cover the pot and bring to the boil, then place on a simmer. Cook for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until beans are quite soft.DSC04943

4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

5. In a pan heat olive oil and add the onion, garlic, paprika, sea salt, black pepper and liquid smoke. Cook for 5 mins or until onions are translucent, but not browned.

6. Take a baking tray or casserole dish and first layer  half the lima beans on the bottom with a little bit of the cooking water. (The more water you add the more moist it will be).

7. Next add half the onion mixture on top of the beans.

8. Then another layer of beans with cooking water and lastly with the onion mixture.

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9. Bake for 30 mins or until browned on top.

*Serves 6-8

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Pasulj <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasulj>

Prebranac <http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Prebranac>

Baked Beans Recipe – Serbian Prebranac <http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/serbianvegetables/r/prebanac.htm>

Prebranac (Serbian Baked Beans) <http://food52.com/recipes/19697-prebranac-serbian-baked-beans>

Russian Mushroom Madness

Tonight I made some traditional wholesome Russian dishes for the family. I have never really made or eaten Russian food before, but I was inspired by this recipe Veg Russbiff from Veganwiz.com. I have been wanting to try these cutlets for ages and today was finally the night to do it. I am not sure of the origin of this dish or its name, as the boyfriend of the blogger  found this recipe somewhere. I slightly adapted this recipe and worked out the amounts for all the ingredients. Marco and I both really loved this recipe. These cutlets are made with primarily mushrooms, onion and rice. No it doesn’t taste like meat, but it does have a great taste and texture, that will not leave you feeling like you are missing out. I would love to make this again with a delicious sauce or gravy to make this even more spectacular.

The side dishes I made to go with the Veggie Cutlets are also typical Russian dishes, that complemented them well. The recipe Buckwheat Pilaf with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onion is by Bois de Jasmin. This traditionally dish is from Belarus and uses butter and is served with boiled eggs on top, but this was omitted to be vegan. Many recipes also use vegetable liquid stock to cook the buckwheat, or you can just use water as I did. This is a great nutritious dish that will leave your tummy very content on a warm winters night.

The last dish was adapted from Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage from Bon Appetit. This is a popular dish in Russian and throughout the Balkans. The sweet and sour flavours are strong, but they really complemented the rest of the meal.

The only other Russian dishes that I have attempted are Borscht & Pirozhki. I just love Slavic food and I can’t wait to bring you all some more dishes. Tomorrow I should hopefully be learning to make a Serbian bean dish… ??????????????????????????????? Russian Veggie Cutlets (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

200g mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup medium grain rice

2 teaspoons sweet hungarian paprika

2 tablespoons diced italian parsley

sea salt & black pepper to taste

3/4 cup oat milk (whole soy milk if you can tolerate)

1 cup unbleached plain flour

1 cup quinoa crumbs or other gluten free bread crumbs

olive oil or grapeseed oil to fry

Method:

1. Cook rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. Cook 1 cup of rice with 1 1/2 cups of water. Leave on warm until ready to use.???????????????????????????????

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan, then sauté mushrooms for 5 mins or until browned. Remove from pan and place in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add another tablespoon olive oil, then sauté onion for 5 mins or until browned. Remove from pan and combine with mushrooms in the mixing bowl.???????????????????????????????

4.  Add cooked rice, paprika, parsley, sea salt and black pepper.  Mix well and taste to make sure there is enough salt.

5. Place the mixture in a processor and add soy milk. Blend so the mixture is thick, but the contents have been broken down. Add more soy milk if you need. If its easier do in two batches.

6. Place mixture back into the mixing bowl and add flour and quinoa crumbs.

7. Make 10 – 12 large balls with the mixture.

8. Place them one at a time in a hot pan with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Press them down while they are in the pan with a spatula or with your fingers, so they are flat. Cook on each side for 2 mins. Repeat until you have cooked all the patties.

*Makes 10-12 Veggie Cutlets ??????????????????????????????? Buckwheat Pilaf with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups raw buckwheat

6 cups water

2 onions, sliced thinly

8 cups thinly sliced white or brown mushrooms (about 450 g)

5 tablespooons vegan butter

sea salt & black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons minced parsley

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. Place buckwheat in a bowl and stir through 3 tablespoons of vegan butter. Then place buckwheat on a tray and toast in the oven 20 min. During this time give them a stir, so they toast evenly. If you have pre-toasted buckwheat you only need to toast for 10 mins.???????????????????????????????

3. Bring a large put with 6 cups of water to the boil and add salt.

4. Add toasted buckwheat and stir through. Bring to the boil, then place on a low heat and cover. Cook for 20 mins or until the water has absorbed into the buckwheat.

5. Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the sliced onion for 10 mins or until browned. When finished remove from pan and set to the side.

6. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté mushrooms for 10 mins or until they have absorbed any water they have released and browned.

7. Add onions, mushrooms, sea salt, pepper, parsley and 2 tablespoons vegan butter (omit butter if you prefer) to pot with the buckwheat (water should of absorbed). 8. Fluff buckwheat with a fork, then cover pot and leave on the lowest flame for 15 mins. After this serve.

* Serves 4-8, depending if it is a main or side dish serving. ??????????????????????????????? Sweet-and-Sour Red Cabbage with Apple (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2.5 tablespoons vegan butter

1 onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup applesauce

2 tablespoon raw sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 whole cloves

1/2 head red cabbage , sliced into 1/2-inch-wide strips

1 large green apple, cut into thin slices

1/4 cup apple juice

Method:

1. Melt butter in a  heavy large pot, over medium-low heat.???????????????????????????????

2. Add sliced onions and sauté  for 10 mins or until they are translucent.???????????????????????????????

3. Add red wine vinegar, bay leaf, raw sugar, sea salt, black pepper and cloves.

4. Add red cabbage and cook for 5 mins or until it starts to wilt. Stir often.

5. Place on a simmer and cover pot for 15 mins or until cabbage is tender.

6. Remove lid and add apple sauce, apple juice and apple slices. Cook for 10 mins or until apple is tender.

*Serves 4-6 as a side dish ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale!

Hi all, happy Worldwide Vegan Bake Week! I have been looking forward to this day all week. Today we went to the new Green Edge store in Lutwyche, Brisbane, for their Bake Sale. I don’t eat baked sweets that often, so I was really looking forward to eating a whole lot of sweetness in the name of  our furry friends. I took along Marcos little nieces and ???????????????????????????????nephew and spent a small fortune on brownies, cupcakes and cookies. Here is just some of what we bought today, which included Berry Patch Brownies, Fairy Bread Cupcakes (GF, SF), Pecan Slices, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. We managed to eat it all between 4 1/2 of us and now I am feeling a little sick, but it was so worth it.

Was their a Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale in your city? What did you eat?

I can’t believe how many people showed up this year. Last year their weren’t as many people, at least when I was there. We??????????????????????????????? had a wait in line for a while and tried to keep those sticky little fingers away from the sweets which we hadn’t purchased yet. While I was there I bought a couple of dry goods that I haven’t tried before. I got a few organic spices for 50 cents each, The VEGG, All Natural Custard Powder, Texas BBQ Primal Strips (meat free jerky) and more Nutritional Yeast (can never have enough). I can’t wait to try out The VEGG, as I have heard its very good. Also I am looking forward to using the Custard Powder to make one of the only desserts I ate as a kid, custard with fresh fruit. I’ve never liked jerky, but it was at the counter so I thought I would try it out.

This dish below is something I made a couple of nights ago. I have been staying at Marco’s house, to keep the dogs away from my house and spend time with the kids, which has been great, but I didn’t bring much supplies with me. This was something I came up with, after it got to dark and cold to walk to the local supermarket. The sauce I made was more like of a soup consistency, as the bar mix I used didn’t blend very well and I ended up just placing half the gnocchi into the sauce. Marco didn’t like it when he first saw it, but it grew on him. He said it tasted more like a Serbian dish that his mother use to make, which was probably why his parents and niece loved it. I would have liked to use vegan chicken stock, but without any the nutritional yeast gave the sauce nice flavor.

With the leftover Gnocchi, I frozen them on trays and then used them the next day in a spicy tomato sauce with spinach. Marco much preferred this as it he loves tomato sauces better. I liked both ways. I did also find that after the gnocchi had been frozen they were more firm and cooked much better.

Another Gnocchi dish I made a while ago is Butternut Pumpkin Gnocchi, which was really delicious! The gnocchi from this batch was also really good, after it had been frozen and cooked. I hope to experiment with some more different recipes soon. I much prefer making my own gnocchi, as store bought have so many preservatives and ingredients that I really prefer not to eat.

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Gnocchi with Creamed Pea Sauce (vegan, gluten free option, soy free nut free)

Ingredients for Gnocchi:

6 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 cup unbleached plain flour, plus more for dusting (use gluten free flour if you prefer)

sea salt to taste

Ingredients for Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

500g frozen peas

2 cups unsweetened plant milk (oat or rice, soy or almond if you can tolerate)

8 tablespoons nutritional yeast or more to taste

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

To make Gnocchi:

1. First boil potatoes in a large pot of water for 20 minutes or until they are soft enough to mash.

2. Strain potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Make sure their are no lumps Season with plenty of sea salt.

3. Add 1 cup of flour and work into a dough on a floury board. If its easier split dough into 2 or 4 batches. Add more flour if the dough is too soft.

4. Roll  dough into logs about 2cm-diameter and 30cm long. Cut dough into pieces with a lightly floured knife. Then form small balls and place on a tray with baking paper. Press a fork on the top of the balls so that they form an oval.

5. Bring a pot of  salted water to the boil, then cook gnocchi for 3 mins or until they are floating on the top of the water. Strain and add to the sauce.

*If you are not using straight away place in the freeze on trays until they harden, then place into airtight bags until ready to use.

*Makes 8 Serves

To make Sauce:

1. In a large pot heat olive oil, then add onion and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes or until onion has soften, but not browned.

2. Add frozen peas and saute until the peas have lightly cooked.

3. Add milk, then blend with a bar mix or processor. Leave it a little bit chunky or puree.

4. Add nutritional yeast, sea salt and pepper  and bring to the boil. Then let it simmer for 5 to 10 mins.

5. Add cooked Gnocchi and serve.

*Sauce makes 6 serves with Gnocchi, or 8 if you want a bit thinner consistency.

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Coconut Pancakes with Pomegranate

After being so good for so long its ok to be a bit bad right? I have never been good at making pancakes, crepes, omelettes or anything you have to flip. So after making those perfect Tiramisu Pancakes,  a couple of days ago, I wanted to try again. So I tried to veganise another pancake recipe that I saw on Jamie Oliver’s website, Coconut pancakes with pomegranate jewels. If you aren’t a big fan of coconut cream on its own, try making a whipped coconut cream or using vegan coconut yogurt. I was in a hurry and wanted to make this sugar free so my coconut cream was a bit more runny. Marco liked it, but he also added some jam ontop for more sweet, I don’t think he needed it but he is a sweetaholic. The addition of pomegranate seeds and lime zest also bring a freshness as well, can be omitted if you don’t have any.

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Coconut Pancakes with Pomegranate and Coconut Cream (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat, plain or gluten free flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

8 tablespoons ground dedicated coconut (just grind shredded coconut in processor)

1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup brown rice syrup

3/4 cup water

canola spray oil /coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut cream (left in fridge overnight) or coconut yoghurt

agave to taste

seeds from 1/2 pomegranate

lime zest (optional)

Method:

1. Take a large bowl and add flour, baking powder, ground coconut, and salt. Whisk together.???????????????????????????????

2. In a smaller bowl add water, rice syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk together.

3. Add wet mixture into dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Don’t over mix, as there should be some lumps.???????????????????????????????

4. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, spray with oil. Pour 1/3 cup batter onto pan. When bubbles begin to appear in center, flip the pancake. Cook on the other side until it is lightly browned. Cook for another minute so it is cooked all the way through.  Continue with the rest of the batter.

5. In the meantime take the thick part of the coconut cream and add some agave to sweeten it.

6. Serve pancakes with a dollop of coconut cream/yogurt, lime zest and pomegranate seeds.

*Serves 2-3, makes 6 pancakes

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If breakfast wasn’t sweet enough I dropped into The Cupcake Parlour and had a Vegan Vanilla Cupcake with Fairy Floss Icing.

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Mushroom Risotto

I’ve been wanting to make this dish for a while, since I bought dried Porcini Mushrooms from Melbourne on my last visit. But I have been waiting for a night when Marco was out. He is not a fan of mushrooms at all. But last night I decided I couldn’t wait any long. As usually he begged me to reconsider, or to make something else on-the-side (which means something else), so I made a small salad. Luckily enough he actually liked this mushroom risotto. He has started to warm up to mushrooms more lately, but he didn’t consider the taste to over powering in this dish, which was strange considering it was all mushrooms. Its really true what they say, if you eat something enough times you start to like it.

This recipe is slightly adapted from The Food of Italy: A Journey for Food Lovers. Unlike most risotto recipe, there is no wine used. Instead the porcini mushrooms are left to brew in hot water, and this stock is used instead to absorb into the rice, before liquid stock is added. The porcini mushrooms add a more earthy flavor, which is not achieved with just fresh mushrooms. Instead of parmesan cheese, I used a fresh batch of Cashew Parmesan, which helped give that creamy salty flavor, but you can omit if you prefer.

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Risotto ai funghi porcini (Mushroom Risotto) (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

20g dried porcini mushrooms

4 cups vegetable or vegan chicken liquid stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used Nutlex)

1 small brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 3/4 cup risotto rice

200g fresh swiss brown mushrooms, sliced

pinch ground nutmeg

1/2 cup vegan parmesan (Cashew Parmesan)

3 tablespoons diced parsley

sea salt & black pepper to taste???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Soak porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of boiling water for 20-30 mins. (Remove and slice porcini mushrooms if they are too large, keep liquid).

2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy-based pot.???????????????????????????????

3. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 mins or until softened, but not browned.

4. Add risotto and reduce heat to low. Add sea salt and coat in the onions and garlic.???????????????????????????????

5. Add the fresh mushrooms and nutmeg. Saute for 1-2 mins and reseason if you need.

6. Add porcini mushrooms and there liquid. Place on a higher heat and let the stock absorb.

7. Once stock has absorbed now add boil vegetable stock, one ladle at a time, until it has absorbed into the rice, then add another ladle. This should take about 20 mins and then the risotto should be cooked.

8. Take of the heat, add vegan parmesan, parsley, sea salt and black pepper. Stir through then serve.

*Serves 4-5

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Doggy Days, Pancakes and Black beans

I haven’t posted in a few days, since I have been quite stressed out. I have still been cooking, but not anything too exciting. I have been stressed because a couple of days ago??????????????????????????????? I caught my crazy religious fanatic neighbor on my property trying to scare my dogs, by screaming and barking at them. I had a big argument with him and had to call the police. This is not the first time he has barked at the dogs. Both my dogs hate him and go crazy when ever they see him walk in the street. However, this is the first time I found him inside our front gates. After the police spoke to him they  realized he was crazy. They told him the next time he trespasses into my property or makes a public nuisance by barking at the dogs, then he will get charged. I know this isn’t over. He intend going to the council about my dogs barking and being ‘dangerous’. I’ve spoken to the council, so I just have to wait now and hope they side with me. Who could ever thing these two little guys are dangerous. I took them to the dog park today. They haven’t been in over 6 months, so I was a bit scared what would happen. But they were really good. Well Albie did have a tussle with the first dog that arrived. But then ten more arrived, so he realized he had to get along with them, because he was out numbered. I just can’t believe how big he has grown. He was the biggest dog there today. It was funny seeing a couple of the dogs run straight to him, since he was the biggest. Once they got the ok from him, they knew they wouldn’t have any trouble with the others. Little do they know how much of a baby he is.

A couple of days back when this all happened. I had plans of making Nachos with Black Bean Chili from scratch. However, it got to late and Marco thought it was better we bought the Nacho Topping and Corn Chips, since he was too hungry to wait. We used Old El Paso Nacho Topping, with Pinto beans and Mission Corn Chips. Both of these products weren’t too bad. I don’t usually buy Mexican products anymore, but I was happy with ingredients in these ones. For the cheese sauce I used Avocados and Ales recipe, Vegan Nacho Cheese. This is a really delicious nutritious alternative to using store bought melty cheese. I promise you won’t be able to tell the difference with the taste and texture. I will definitely make this vegan cheese alternative again. I served this with the leftover Cashew Sour Cream and Guacamole  So happy avocados are back in abundance at the moment.

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I have still been juicing everyday. Marco is also really been enjoying the juices and is getting use to eating raw vegetables for breakfast. Our favorite combination is Apple, Orange, Spinach, Celery, Carrot, Broccoli, Lime, Beetroot and Spiralina???????????????????????????????. I also love ginger, but Marco is not a fan. Other ingredients I have added include Plums, Zucchini, Parsley, Pumpkin, Cucumber, Mandarin and Lettuce. I really like the taste of lettuce and plums. But still not a fan of parsley.  So what have been the outcomes? In 7 days my skin cleared up and I can actually sleep at night and don’t wake up until 7 hours later, when I feel really refreshed. I also don’t feel like I need coffee. In past 20 days I have had one after having a terrible headache for a couple of days. I think I had coffee withdrawal, since the headache disappeared after I drank coffee. But I haven’t had another headache. Unfortunately, my skin is not as perfect as it was, since I gobbed up two jumbo Anzac Biscuits, that Marco’s boss made. I was told that it was dairy free, but turns out they weren’t and that the guy didn’t realise butter was dairy. So I will be juicing my way back to better skin again.

Yesterday, I took a break after 20 days of juicing and made Tiramisu Pancakes for breakfast, from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.  These were amazing and hands down the best pancakes I have ever made. You can find the recipe here. I used whole wheat flour and used vanilla extract instead of dark rum. Although this batter is not sweet, since it only calls for maple syrup, the chocolate chips sweetened it nicely.

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Tonight I made a Cuban classic, Black bean Soup or Sopa de frijoles negros. This rich, spicy soup is typically prepared in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil and other nations in Latin America. The ingredients usually present are black beans, salt, ham hocks, onions, garlic, tomatoes, chili peppers, powdered cumin seeds, oregano and vinegar. It is often pureed smooth or can be left more chunky and rustic.

I looked at numerous recipes to come up with the right ingredients. I am not sure how authentic mine is, but it tasted really, really good. It had almost a meaty texture and taste. It also got Marco’s seal of approval, he had two serves. I also made Homemade Nachos (baked corn chips) to go with it. I used suckitupnotin recipe, Homemade Nachos. Instead of Garam Marsala, I used Cumin. Other then that I followed the recipe. I recommend not cooking them any longer then 12 mins, as the longer they cook the harder they go.

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Cuban Black bean Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 serrano chilli, diced

1/2 green capsicum, diced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground cayenne or chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

450g cooked black beans

4 small tomatoes, diced

3 cups vegetable liquid stock

1 tablespoon lime juice (and more to garnish)

sea salt & black pepper to taste

2 shallots, diced to garnish

coriander leaves, diced to garnish

red capsicum, diced to garnish

vegan sour cream to garnish (Cashew Sour Cream)???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add red onion, garlic, serrano chili and green capsicum. Saute for 4-5 mins.

2. Add cumin, cayenne and dried oregano. Saute for 2 mins.???????????????????????????????

3. Add black beans, tomatoes and liquid stock. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer and cover for 30 mins.???????????????????????????????

4. Add lime juice, salt and pepper and cook for another 10-15 mins.

5. Puree half the soup with a bar mix or processor, then combine again and reheat.

6. Serve soup and garnish with shallots, coriander, red capsicum, vegan sour cream and fresh lime.

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Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Spinach, Tempeh ‘Bacon’ and Cashew Sour Cream

I am so obsessed with Roasted Whole Sweet Potatoes right now. They are so sweet and delicious and taste great with almost anything. I stuff them tonight with silverbeet and red onions and topped them with tempeh ‘bacon’. I am also in love with Tempeh. Its so delicious and really nutritious! This is the first time I tried to use it to make bacon. I really wanted to make it to substitute a piece of chicken or beef, but I didn’t have enough. I would definitely make this bacon again thought. It was really like bacon, but it did have a meat like taste.

By the way, I finished watching another documentary today called Vegucated. If I needed some more incentive to keep on going vegan this definitely gave it to me. It also had a great important message in the end that eating no meat or even less meat is helping the planet. Even Marco was really touched by this documentary.  Its about 3 people who love meat and aren’t vegan, who agree to try going vegan for 6 weeks. After learning about the food industry and trial out a vegan diet, they are all changed forever. There is a trailer on the website and also some great recipes. I was really shocked by some of the images I saw. It wasn’t just about the terrible conditions and death of the animals, but what you did see really makes you sick. Another video I watched which is a little closer to home was a 60 Minutes segment ‘Roam Free‘. I still can’t get the images out of my head of Steggles  live chickens eating other dead chickens in their pen and their terrible conditions. The Coles representative was really crafty as well and didn’t wanting to take ownership of those kinds of practices. Anyway I recommend viewing these if you want to know more about whats really going on behind the scenes.

For more whole roasted sweet potato recipes check out my Black bean & Corn Chili with Whole Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Broad bean GuacamoleWhole Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Almond Cinnamon Butter and Whole Roasted Sweet Potato with Mixed Bean Chili.

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Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Spinach and Tempeh ‘Bacon’ (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients for Sweet Potato & Spinach:

4 medium or 8 small sweet potatoes

canola oil

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 head of silverbeet, roughly chopped (leaves only)

Ingredients: Tempeh ‘Bacon’:

100 g tempeh

1 teaspoon agave/maple syrup

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon tamari/soy sauce

pinch of ground cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven. Clean and scrub sweet potatoes.???????????????????????????????

2. Coat in oil and place in a baking tray. Piece a few times with a fork along the sweet potato, then bake for 45 mins or until soft inside.

3. Chop tempeh into small pieces and place into a small bowl.

4. Add agave, liquid smoke, tamari and cayenne, to the tempeh. Stir through and leave to marinate for 5-10 mins.???????????????????????????????

5. Heat coconut oil in a pan then add tempeh. Cook on medium heat for 7-10 mins or until golden. Leave to the side.

6. In another pan heat coconut oil. Saute red onion and garlic on medium heat for 5 mins.

7. Add silverbeet to the onion and garlic. Saute for 5 mins or until silverbeet is wilted.

8. Once sweet potatoes are ready, slice them down the center and stuff with silverbeet and onions. Sprinkle with Tempeh ‘bacon’ and serve with Cashew Cream and Guacamole.

*Serves 4

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Cashew Sour Cream (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews (pre-soaked for 2 hours)

1/2 cup water

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

1. If you haven’t pre-soaked the cashews, then boil for 10 mins.

2. Place in a blender and grind until cashews break down.

3. Add water, lemon, apple cider and salt. Process until smooth.

*Makes about one cup.

Guacamole with Coriander & Lime (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 large avocado

juice from 1 lime

2 handfuls coriander, minced

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Mash avocodo flesh in a small bowl.

2. Add lemon juice, coriander, sea salt and black pepper.

*Serves 4

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Barley, Lentil and Butternut Pumpkin Stew

I really wanted to make risotto with pumpkin tonight. I had all the ingredients, except the rice. So I searched through the cupboard for something else to use and I came across this dry mixture of barley and lentils. Ages ago I tried to use one of these mixes, but only some parts were cooked and other parts were crunchy. But I thought I would give it another try. There was a note on the back of the packet to either pre-soak for 6-8 hours or cook for 30 mins. After cooking them, they only needed another 30 mins to simmer with the pumpkin and the spices, then dinner was served. I love one pot meals and so does the head dishwasher Marco!

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Barley, Lentil and Butternut Pumpkin Stew (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups mixture of barley, yellow split peas, red dahl (I used McKenzies Soup Mix)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 leek, sliced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablspoon ground cayenne pepper

800g butternut pumpkin, de-seeded, peeled & chopped in small pieces

1 litre vegan chicken or vegetable liquid stock

sea salt to taste

serve with fresh coriander & homemade or store bought chapati (optional)???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Take a large pot and bring 6 cups of water and the mixture of barley, split peas & lentils to the boil. Place on a simmer and cook for 30 mins. Skim foam from surface as necessary. Once finished strain and set to the side. Skip this step if you have already pre-soaked them. ???????????????????????????????

2. In a large pot, heat olive oil, then add garlic and leek. Saute for 2-3 mins.

3. Add cumin, turmeric, garlic powder, cayenne and saute for a further 2 mins.

4. Add butternut pumpkin and stir through with the spices.

5. Add liquid stock, mixture of barley and lentils and sea salt to the pot. Bring the boil, then place on a simmer and cover for 30 mins.

* Serve with fresh coriander leaves and chapati

*Serves 8

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Tempeh Pine nut ‘Meatballs’, Green beans and Potatoes

The weather has really cooled down at night here in Brisbane, so tonight we needed something warm and hearty. I tried to recreate an Italian meatball dish using tempeh. I have once tried using a mixture of  tempeh, lentils and walnuts to make Chef Chloe’s Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs. I was so impressed with the texture, that I thought it could be recreated in other ways. This is a much healthier alternative  if you don’t like using store bought mock meats and it is just as satisfying.

These ‘meatballs’ are very soft and delicate. I didn’t want to add flour or too much corn crumbs to them, in case it ruined the flavor  So be careful when flip them. I paired them with this rich red wine tomato sauce, instead of the usually napoletana sauce. I found my tinned tomatoes were a bit bitter and acidic, even though I added salt and sugar to balance them. So I added a bit of worcestershire sauce, which worked very well. It also worked well in the meatballs, to get a meat like flavor.

I also made Green beans with Tomatoes and Cashew Parmesan and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes. I actually adapted the recipe for the Green beans from the Leggo’s recipe book, Cook Italian. I’m not sure where I got this book, it just turned up one day in my recipe book collection. This recipe makes green beans a bit more exciting. I really loved the combination of tomatoes, lemon, pine nuts and cashew parmesan. Since I didn’t have pesto on hand, I just made a small amount with my mortar and pesto. It also gave a rich flavor to the sauce.

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Tempeh Pine nut ‘Meatballs’ with Red Wine Tomato Sauce (vegan, gluten free)

Ingredients:

225g tempeh

2 tins diced tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup water

sea salt & pepper to taste

raw sugar to taste

1 onion, diced

2/3 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 cup walnuts

1 tin brown lentils

1.5 cups fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)

3 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

zest from 1 lemon

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup corn crumbs (or other gluten free bread crumbs)

olive oil

Method:

1. Cut the tempeh in cubes then steam for 20 mins to get out the bitterness.???????????????????????????????

2. In the meantime make the sauce. Place diced tomatoes, red wine and water in a pot and bring to the boil. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.  Place on a simmer, until the rest is ready. If the sauce is too bitter or too acidic and you can’t balance with salt and sugar, then add 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce.

3. Take a pan and heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and pine nuts and cook for 4-5 mins or until onion is soft and pinenuts are golden brown. Remove from the pan and set to the side to cook.

4. In the same pan add more olive oil and saute diced garlic for 2 mins.

5. In the processor add tempeh, lentils, walnuts, garlic and fresh herbs. Process until combined well.???????????????????????????????

6. Place mixture into a large bowl then add onions and pine nuts, worcestershire sauce, fennel seeds, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, corn crumbs and sea salt to taste.

7. Form the mixture into large balls in your hands, then cook them in olive oil in a large pan in batches. You should be able to make 12 ‘meatballs’.

8. Serve ‘meatballs’ with sauce.

*Makes 12 large meatballs, Serves 4-6

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Green beans with Tomatoes and Cashew Parmesan (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic clove, sliced

1 large tomato, diced

3 tablespoons tomato sauce (from recipe above) or 1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon pesto (or grind 1 teaspoon pine nuts, 1 tablespoon basil and 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil)

500g green beans

1/4 cup vegetable liquid stock

1 tablespoon lemon juice

pine nuts and vegan parmesan to serve (Cashew Parmesan)

Method:

1. Wash, top and tail the green beans.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pan, then saute garlic for 1 minute.

3. Add diced tomato, tomato sauce/paste and pesto. Cook for 5 mins or until tomatoes are soft.

4. Add green beans, liquid stock and lemon juice. Cook for a further 4 mins or until green beans are tender.

5. Serve green beans with pine nuts and vegan parmesan.

*Serves 4

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Roasted Rosemary Potatoes (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 kg kifler potatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

3 springs of rosemary

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

2. Peel potates and cut them into cubes.

3. Place potatoes in a baking tray, add olive oil and sea salt. Then top with whole rosemary sprigs.

4. Roast for 30-40 mins. To make more crispy turn oven up to 200 degrees and cook for a further 5-10 mins.

5. Before serving remove rosemary leaves from stems and reseason with sea salt.

*Serves 4

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Roasted Capscium & Vegetable Lasagna

Yesterday I went food shopping and found out that my local Fruit and Vegetable shop at Mt Ommaney (Brisbane) is now selling Notzarella! I don’t buy it often since I don’t live near the only vegan grocery store that sells it. So more melty ‘cheese’ will be on the menu from now on. To celebrated I made lasagna. This is the first time I have made my own Roasted Capsicum in the oven. It is so easy and doesn’t take too long either.

For some strange reason my oven didn’t cook the lasagna on both sides, so the sweet potato on one entire side was uncooked. That was the side we ate last night. I added the extra step in the recipe to steam them first to be on the safe side.

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Roasted Capsicum & Vegetable Lasagna (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 red capsicum (or mixed with green)

500g sweet potato

2 large zucchini

2 cups baby spinach

1 handful basil

1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used Nutlex)

2 cups whole soy milk (thick)

1 tablespoon arrowroot flour (or unbleached plain flour)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 bay leaf

sea salt & black pepper to taste

2 cups grated vegan mozzarella (I used Notzarella)

250g  packet lasagna sheets (use gluten free lasagna sheets if you prefer)

2 x jars 500g pasta sauce

Method:DSC04576

1. Preheat oven to  200 degrees.

2. Remove stem and seeds from capsicums. Then bake for 20-30 mins or until skin starts to blister.DSC04575

3. In the mean time thinly slice the sweet potatoes and zucchini. Steam sweet potatoes until you can put a fork through them. Roughly chop the spinach and basil.

4. Once capsicums are cooked, turn the oven down to 180 degrees and remove the skin from the capsicums and roughly chop.???????????????????????????????

5. To make bechamel, heat butter in a pot, add soy milk,  flour,  garlic powder, nutmeg, bay leaf. Whisk until combined. Then heat until it thickens, season with sea salt and black pepper.

6. Take a baking tray and add pasta sauce on the bottom. Then add pasta sheets. On top add sweet potato and then zucchini, spinach, capsicum and basil. Then top with bechemel sauce and mozzarella. Next top with pasta sheets and pasta sauce then continue to layer  the vegetables. Once you have done a couple more layers,  lastly top pasta sheets with pasta sauce and mozzarella.

7. Bake for 40-45 mins then serve.

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