I’ve moved…

Hi there, its been a long time since I last posted a recipes and share my life with you all. I can’t believe its nearly been a year and a half. As you might remember I had a baby girl and then kind of disappeared. I have been really busy with her and exhausted as many of you can related. I found it hard to find inspiration for new recipes and difficult to find time to post on how my life was going. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be back online again to continue this blog.

Since my hiatus I have had lots of time to think about what I wanted to do, but I needed to wait until my daughter was old enough to give me a little free time to myself. After some needed sleep training I finally have the evenings to myself and feel like I can make a come back.

I have recently moved to a new blog location and I hope that you will follow me over there. Live Eat Colour is my new outlet to share with you all my love of travel and family, my own cooking, recipe creating and food finds and sharing my own art projects including colouring and cross stitching.You can read my first post here and stay tune for new content. Look forward to getting back to what I love and conversing with some old friends!

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Choc Chip Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

I have just finished eating my first batch of Choc Chip Oatmeal Lactation Cookies. I only made them a few days ago but they are all gone, as I’ve been madly trying to get my milk supply up. My breastfeeding has dramatically improved over the last week and now so has my supply. The secret to these cookies is the combination of oats, brewers yeast and flax seeds. All of which are meant to boost milk supply. I was nearly going to buy some lactation cookies but I’m so happy I made my own. Not only are they cheaper, but they are really easy to make. I have also been taking a breastfeeding supplement which combines fenegreek seeds and blessed thistle. I believe both the supplement and the cookies have really made a difference. This afternoon at my lactation coaching the milk was gushing out which usually only happens first thing in the morning.

This recipe is adapted from the blog Beyond Little Pink Lines. I just tweaked the recipe a little, adding cinnamon and chocolate chips instead of sultanas. I chose to use 4 tablespoons of brewers yeast, to get the full benefit of this ingredient. But be warned, it is quite a bitter flavour, so you really need the chocolate chips or some kind of sweet dried fruit to off set the taste.

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Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup panella sugar or raw sugar

1/2 cup apple sauce/puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

4 tablespoons water

2 cups white spelt flour

1.5 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons brewers yeast

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup of dairy free chocolate chips

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line two cookie sheets with baking paper

2. Take a large mixing bowl and add coconut oil, sugar, apple sauce and vanilla. Mix well.

3. Take another small bowl and combine the flaxseed meal with water. Leave to sit for 2 mins so that it becomes thick.

4. Add the flaxseed meal to the large bowl and stir through.

5. Sift the spelt flour and baking soda into the large mixing bowl and add the sea salt, cinnamon and brewers yeast. Mix well.

6. Lastly stir through the rolled oats and chocolate chips.

7. Use a ice cream scoop or damp hands to form a ball of the mixture, place on the cookie sheet and press down with your fingers. Continue forming more cookies on the sheet. You should get about 24 cookies.

8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. If they are still soft cook for a further 2 minutes or turn off the oven and let them rest in the oven with the door open for a couple of minutes. Transfer the cookies onto a drying rack until they are cool enough to eat. This will also firm the cookies.

*Makes 24 cookies

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Happy New Year!!!!

I wish you all a Happy New Year and belated Merry Christmas!

Time has just flew since we had a our party on the 20th. After that I had Christmas to organise and family spend time with in the days following. I’m now over six and half months pregnant and exhausted from the busy season and the heat. It’s any wonder that I fell asleep by 11pm last night. The holidays are not over yet though. I fly tomorrow to Melbourne for my cousins wedding and won’t be back till mid next week. Hopefully going to get some good eats in Melbourne, especially now my appetite has become monstrous.

Over the past few of days my little one must have grown a lot. I got a shock when I saw my tummy and how much it had grown all of a sudden and I am eating like a bottomless pit. Here’s a snap we took last night.

26 weeks and 5 days

26 weeks and 5 days

For new years Marco and I decided to have a quiet one. It was our last new years as a couple before we become a triple. But the last thing I wanted to do was be around more people or crowd at Southbank for fireworks. We ended up being spontaneous thought and booking dinner at an exciting new restaurant that just opened up in Westend.

Vegerama West End Restaurant has finally opened their doors recently. They offer 100% Vegetarian Breakfast, lunch and Dinner, as well as many vegan options and gluten free. I have been a long time customer of Vegerama since I discovered their vegetarian store in the Myer Centre and then their vegan store on Adelaide Street (Brisbane CBD). I also ordered their food for our big party recently. Everyone who came to my party loved their food. I was so happy to showcase some of the best vegan food in Brisbane for my carnivorous friends.

So last night we booked in for their New Years Dinner, which was a set menu of sharing dishes, pizzas and desserts. Sorry didn’t get some nice shots of the restaurant, but even Marco intends coming back again very soon.

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I was really hungry. Marco not so much. So we just ordered Veggie Burger Sliders with Rustic Mixed Fries & Chilli Mayo and Satay Pizza (satay sauce, roasted pineapple, crumbled tofu and hawaiian herb salad). They managed to make them both vegan for me as well.

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We were both really impressed by the flavours. The little patties in the veggie sliders tasted really good and almost meaty. The fries were also really well cooked and not oily at all. The pizza was also really nice and a great tropical take for such a hot night.

I managed to finish most of the food on my own. Marco did suggest something about taking some of the pizza to work, since he had an 8 hour shift at 1am. But I didn’t seem to hear that. I told you my appetite has become monstrous!

I know I have been really slack lately with posting recipes. I have been cooking, but I have just become overwhelmed with getting everything onto the table and haven’t had chance to take many photos.

For Christmas I was more relaxed this year. Since we had twenty family members I decided I could not cook all that food myself again this year. So I let them bring their own meat and dairy desserts.

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I still wanted to do a vegan main so I made this Lentil, Mushroom, Spinach Spicy Nut Roulade from Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes. Mine does not look anything like Miriam’s one. I ran out of baking trays so I had to try and fold it in a round dish, then it would roll so I had to add another piece of pastry. Despite all the issues everyone really liked it surprisingly. Well everyone except Marco. He really isn’t a fan of the silverbeet spinach that I used.

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I also made this delicious vegan Caesar salad which is a mash up between Alicia Silverstone’s and Angela Liddon’s (Oh She Glows) Caesar salads. I did forget the croutons but everyone really liked it and didn’t realise it was vegan. I will post this recipe soon when I get a chance to make it again. I also made a hell lot of roasted vegetables to complement the mains.

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For dessert I made Chef Chloe’s Lemon Squares from her cookbook Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. They were a big hit with everyone. Can’t wait to make them again or another flavour variant. Mum made this little fruit platter, similar to one a friend made for my party. I also made this Double Tiered Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting. This recipe is adapted from Chef Chloe’s Classic Coconut Layer Cake also from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. Sorry I don’t have a better photo. My mum already started hacking at the other side of  the cake before I got a chance to take a photo. I did include the recipe below since I don’t think I will be making this one for a while. My freezer is still full of desserts from the party. Poor Marco is going to get diabetes just trying to finish them.

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 Double Tier Coconut Cake with Vanilla Coconut Frosting (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached plain flour

2 cups pastry flour (or another cup of plain flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1.5 cups evaporated cane sugar (panela) or raw sugar

2 cups plant milk (soy, almond or coconut works best)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup coconut oil or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1.5 cups shredded coconut

Vanilla Frosting to garnish (recipe below)

2 cups shredded coconut to garnish

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Take two 9 inch round cake pans and grease with some vegan butter and then line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Take a medium bowl and combine the milk and apple cider vinegar to make a buttermilk. Leave for a couple of minutes so that it thickens.

3. Then add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Whisk or use a hand beater.

4. In a large bowl add the flour, baking soda and sea salt.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a hand beater to blend the batter till smooth.

6. Stir through the shredded coconut.

7. Place the batter in the cake pans. Make sure they are evenly distributed and smooth on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. While baking rotate the pans half way through.

8. Once the cakes are cooked, leave the pans to cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Then carefully take them out and leave to cool for 30-45 minutes.

9. Place one of the cakes on the cake stand and top with about 2/3 cup of the frosting. Then add the second cake and frost the cake from the outside in, until it is completely covered.

10. Sprinkle the frosted cake with shredded coconut and serve when ready.

*Serves 14-20

Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup vegan butter (I used nutlex)

pinch sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4-5 tablespoons of plant milk

Method:

1. Use a hand beater to blend all the ingredients until smooth and fluffy.

*Enough for 1 double layered cake.

Again I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

Wellness Warrior Tour in Brisbane

Hi all, hope life has been treating you well. I just wanted to share something that I had been looking forward for a little while. Last week I went to Jess Ainscough’s Wellness Warrior Tour in Brisbane. I booked the tickets for my mum and I when I first found out she was going on tour. I have been following Jess’s blog for a little while and recently enjoyed reading her new book, Make Peace With Your Plate. Her story is so inspiring, but definitely hearing it in person even more fantastic.TWW_Live-Poster_Insta-1024x1024

On her Brisbane tour she had a few special guests. They were singer Wes Carr, nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara and the filmmaker behind Food Matters and Hungry For Change, James Colquhoun. I had no idea that they where going to be there or what I was in for that night. In fact it was nothing like I expected. I thought it was going to be like David Wolfe’s tour. I was kicking myself that I forgot a pen and paper, so I could write down all the things I needed to add and subtract from my diet. Actually Jess’s show was not designed to telling you what you should and shouldn’t be eating, but rather to hearing different experiences and point of views of amazing people who are passionate about health and well being.

Before Jess came on stage, they showed her video. It was a little different to the video on her blog. It showed short clips of how she lives her life everyday as a wellness warrior. Besides being upbeat and inspiring, it was also very funny. There was a short clip from The End, with Seth Rogen discussing going on a cleanse. It had everyone in stitches. After that she came on stage and told her story of how she got to where she is today. From her former life as a Dolly Magazine journalist in Sydney, to her cancer diagnoses and the journey she made to healing her body the natural way. I won’t give anymore away, but I really recommend her book. Her former lifestyle is very similar to the way I use to live when I was in my early twenties. So it was definitely something I could relate to.

After Jess shared her amazing story, she introduced Wes Carr on stage. I don’t follow Australian Idol, so I wasn’t sure who he was. But I have to say second to Jess, his story touched me the most. He has been struggling with the same disorder that I have, Pyroluria. He just recently found out by chance by a Kinesiologist suggesting that he got tested. Pyroluria is not something that many people know about. It is a Blood disorder that depletes the brain of Vitamin B and Zinc. It inhibits the Anti Anxiety and Anti Depression hormones in the brain from activating. I found out a few years back when I visited a fantastic nutritionist. It was the same visit that I also found out about my intolerance and leaky gut. But this was the first time I have heard anyone speak out about it. Although I have not had the same experience as he did, it is something that does continue to impact my life even now. I never went on any medications to control my anxiety, I just learned to live with it. I suppose I am more lucky than others whose symptoms are much worse then mine. I still don’t drive and occasionally get anxiety attacks but now that I take vitamins to balance my levels I have really noticed the difference.

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Next on stage was Cyndi O’Meara. I was also not familiar with Cyndi before this evening. She has written two best selling books on nutrition and also speaks at many health seminars. Unlike others who found health and well being through bad health, Cyndi was brought up with the same ideology that she holds today. She believes in whole organic foods and a chemical free lifestyle and disagrees with fad diets and unnecessary medicating. I was intrigued by her point of view and was really excited to hear someone given an Australian perspective on health and wellbeing. Much of the information I read and watch is aimed at an American audience. So it was good to hear someone talk about issues about our health and farming system in Australia. I ended up buying her book after the show. Although she is not vegan and does believe in including animal products, I still believe she has a very powerful message.

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The last guest on stage was another Australian, James Colquhoun. I have never heard him talk either. I have seen his picture on the Food Matters website, but never realised he was Australian. He’s a really funny guy and really lives his own ideology. If you haven’t seen his documentaries I really recommend them both. They really did change my way of thinking about food and health and made me really concerned about how I was going to change my life. His story is also really amazing, on how he helped his own father’s quality of life through nutrition and love and then made a movie to share with the rest of the world what he had learned along the way. If you watch his documentaries you wouldn’t of known where he came from, but the fact that is how it originated makes me value his work even more.

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So that was my Thursday night. I’m so glad I went to this event and wish you could of all joined me too. All four of these guys are definitely leaders in this industry and their stories are not only inspiring, but also sincere. They may not all live on the same life style diet, but they all share the same ideology that living and eating the natural way is the best thing you can do for you and your families health.

Taking a break

Hi all, just letting you know I’m taking a short break from blogging. There has been a death in my family and another in ICU. So I will be travelling to Melbourne to be with my family. Within days of returning I will be going to Japan for a wedding. So I will have lots of delicious photos to share when I get back! 

Coconana-chia Cake

Apparently I don’t make sweets enough. Marco promised me he won’t have his nightly chocolate binge if I make home sweets. So I made an effort to make him a cake this afternoon. My cake is oil free and has no added sugar (except for the icing). This cake is sweet enough with out the icing. But I went all out tonight. Its sweet, moist and utterly delicious!

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Coconana-chia Cake (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup self raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup white chia seeds, ground into a flour

1/2 cup moist coconut flakes or desiccated coconut

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 overripe banana

1 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoon agave or other liquid sweetener

20g vegan butter

1 cup icing sugar

3 tablespoons coconut milk

2-3 tablespoons shredded coconut, toasted

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and grease a ring tin.???????????????????????????????

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift self raising flour and baking powder. Then add coconut sugar, ground chia seeds, coconut flakes and shredded coconut. Whisk well and break down any large balls that may of formed.???????????????????????????????

3. In a small mixing bowl mash the banana so its nice and creamy, then add coconut milk, vanilla extra and agave. Whisk so that its nice creamy and thickened.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.

5. Place the cake batter into the ring tin and make sure that it is level all the way round.???????????????????????????????

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Take the cake out of the oven and leave in tin for 10 minutes, so that it hardens a little.

8. Place the cake on a drying rack for 20 minutes or until the cake has cooled down.

9. Place butter and sugar in a small bowl and mash together with a fork. Then gradually add the coconut milk.???????????????????????????????

10. Whisk the icing well so that its nice and runny.

11. Drizzle the cake with the icing and top with some toasted shredded coconut.

Spring Cleaning

Hi all, hope you had a lovely weekend. I can’t believe its over again. My weekend has been very quiet. Plans with friends were cancelled twice, so I decided to stay home and get a few things done that I have been wanting to do. So I spent most of the weekend cleaning up my house while mum has been away.

Beside spending an exiting weekend doing housework, I got a chance to start reading my two new books that arrived this week! Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen and Crazy Sexy Diet!! I first saw Kris on the Hungry for Change documentary. If you haven’t heard of her before, she was an actress  and photographer in New York that got the wake up call of her life, when she was diagnosed with a rare cancer incurable cancer back in 2003. Since then she has become a survived cancer and a wellness activist.

I haven’t seen her original documentary, but I have been following her on her website for a while. I finally subscribed to her website last week and got a sample copy of both her books (below). I was so enthralled by them that I had to find out more. Luckily I only had to wait a few business days for their arrival. I haven’t been able to put Crazy Sexy Diet down. If you curious I recommend subscribing to get a sneak peak inside. You will also get to see inside her Crazy Sexy Kitchen recipe book as well and get a copy of a few of the recipes. The recipes are beautiful and really healthy, but at the same time something that I think omnivores would also find appealing.

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Other important development this weekend was that I finally tried out my Vegg. This is a vegan 100% plant based egg yolk replacer, which I bought ages ago and left it in the back of my pantry. When you scroll down later you will see how I could forget about it. I ended up making a vegan quiche with leeks, mushroom and roasted capsicum. It wasn’t exactly a successful quiche. My wholemeal spelt crust didn’t work out and the moisture from the roasted capsicum let out too much moisture, so not even my puff pastry would crisp up. With a splitting headache, it was just a bad night all round. I tried to salvage what I could and below is what we ended up with, which looks deceivingly good. But actually it was not set at all. It wasn’t the fault of the Vegg, it was mine for trying something new without consulting a recipe. Anyway back to the Vegg, I can’t believe how much it smelt like fresh egg yolk. Marco also was amazed by it. When I combined it with soft tofu and became like an omelette batter and heated it was like scrambled eggs. The only difference is that it wasn’t rubber like an egg, it was much softer. I really want to try making a traditional Spanish omelette when I get some more tofu. Fingers crossed I have better luck.

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I have been really trying to eat more sprouts. They are so healthy and nutritious that I don’t know how I lived so long without them. Marco wasn’t a fan, but slowly I have managed to increase his intake of spouts, that he now doesn’t mind them. I juice them, put them in smoothies and add them to salads and sandwiches. I have yet to try and spout anything yet. So when I saw this Seed Sprouter Kit at Aldi for $7 I had to get it! I assembled it this yesterday, so not sure how many days it will take, but don’t have to water it for another 2 more days. Do you know if you can sprout anything else in something like this? Next I think I will try sprouting chia seeds. I have never tried them but apparently it can be done.

Seed Sprouter Kit

So what I spend the bulk of my weekend doing was doing the washing, cleaning my computer room, tidying my bed room (a little) and arranging the pantry and other food storage areas. This is something I have been wanting to do a lot long then I like to admit. I think I must of been a horder in another life, because I get so overwhelmed with clutter and I don’t like to throw anything out. But after I chuck out the junk I actually feel really good.

As you can see from my pantry we have a little to much food. My mum likes to bulk up on anything from Aldi and stuff for the home stay students and I just keep buying new ingredients, use them once them chuck them at the back of the pantry. You have to be really careful when you open my pantry that something might jump out at you. Most of this stuff doesn’t include my secret stash of super foods and other vegan ingredients. I have been storing things in my desk and a travelling cardboard box, since there was just no more room in here.

So first things first I took everything out and started looking at the Expiry dates. To help me to figure out what needed to go and what could survive a bit longer I used this helpful website, Eat by Date. It really helps for ingredients that don’t have an expiry or its rubbed off. Then I cleaned out the shelves and started grouping things together. I even got Marco involved by cleaning off the stickers from empty flour containers, so I could store legumes. I would love to have one of those kitchens with large mason jars filled with all my beans and flours, but besides the fact that it would cost my a lot, it just wouldn’t fit. I managed to fit most of my open packets of legumes and grains in a container which can be easily taken out and looked through. The same was done with the nuts. Mum’s snacks are all on the top to keep her away from them, and her nuts are up front and center. All the flours and sugars have been  grouped together by type and put into tupperware containers, so its easier to know what’s inside them before opening. All the half open pastas and rices are also easy to access, so they can get used before full packets are opened. All the everyday ingredients are now more easier to access and keep track of. I hope my mum is happy when she sees this. I’m already pretty strict in the kitchen so now I will be more so. If anyone messes my new system up…

Pantry

Another problem area was this other small pantry. I can’t believe how much tea we have. I’m not a big tea drinker and neither is my mum, but we have just about any tea you can image in here. Herbal blends, Japanese, Chinese, British… I only usually come to this pantry for one thing, the can opener. I’m not very tall and its a real bitch trying to get that thing down. Even though I have a step ladder now, Its still very awkward getting it out. So that had to come down and empty containers went up. Notice the cookies have been put to the back. Mum is also dairy free, but she doesn’t keep to the strict diet rules I do, even though I’m always telling her off. Hopefully she won’t realise they are here.

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Lastly and the place I have been dreading the most, the Spice draw. I have at least two of everything in here, yet I can find nothing. I’m always rummaging through and trying to fit it all in so it will close. I have to admit, I think this draw is mostly my doing. The students do always dump their instant noodle sauces in here, but they don’t use anything else. Plus some of this stuff is from the 2000’s. A while ago I got rid of the stuff from the 1990s, so it wasn’t too bad at least.

When I started taking everything out I got a nasty little surprise. This tiny bit of vanilla extract that I have been saving had gone all through the draw. It was so sticky. Luckily I didn’t find any critters in here. I had to take out the draw apart and give it a good clean, as well as clean a lot of the containers and plastic bags. It was well worth it though. Look how great it looks now. These aren’t all my herbs and spices, but the stuff I don’t use as often. To get rid of the abundance of plastic little bags I emptied them into these old little spice jars I had, that were part of a set. I have been saving them for a while to do this. I just made little labels with pen, paper and sticky tape. Unfortunately I didn’t get rid of all the plastic bags, but most of them are gone.

Spice Draw

While cleaning out my spice draw. I decided to finally try making nut butter with almonds. It was so easy. Just a matter of roasting them for 6 minutes then letting the processor do all the work. It came out so beautiful and creamy. But I still decided to flavor it with some sea salt and maple syrup. I think I should of perhaps of mixed this in by hand after. As the nut butter dried out a little, a bit like when you buy it and its all oily at the top and the bottom is dry harder to spread.

Almond Nut Butter

So I ended up making cookies and bliss balls with the almond butter. Although I made them small they area really filling, since they are only really made of nuts. These are vegan, gluten free, soy free, sugar free and so easy to make.

Nut butter 3 ways

3 Ingredient Salty Maple Almond Butter: 3 ways (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1.5 cup whole almonds

2 pinches of sea salt

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

First make the Salty Maple Almond Butter:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Roast the  whole Almonds for 6 minutes.

3. Place the almonds in the food processor and process. I first used the larger bowl to break down the almonds into a mead, which should take a few minutes. Then I put them in the smaller bowl for the next 10 minutes to break down further into an almond butter.

4. Once you have the desired consistency of the almond butter, add a couple of pinches of sea salt and 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup. If it becomes too dry add a couple of tablespoons of water.

*Makes 3/4 cup of Almond butter

To make Salty Maple Almond Bliss Balls:

1. With clean damp hands roll the almond butter into small balls and place on a tray.

2. Place the try in the freezer for at 15 minutes, so that they firm up. Then serve.

*Makes 16 balls

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To make Salty Maple Almond Cookies:

1. If your oven isn’t still on, preheat again at 180 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. With clean damp hands roll the almond butter into small balls and place on a tray.

3. Press lightly on the balls with a teaspoon to flatten them a little.

4. Bake for 5-6 minutes.

5. Immediately place them on a drying rack. If the spaces are too big on the rack then place some baking paper on top of the rack.

6. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes so that they firm up a little, then serve.

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(Cookbook Project) Energise Your Life – Spinach Parcels with Onion Sauce

Today I decided to launch my Cookbook Project, so that I can start to cook the recipes from the many cookbooks that I have bought and collected. I have a bad habit of collecting cookbooks and then never cooking anything from them. Although I look at them often I just don’t get around to making anything from them. To start this project I have decide to begin with Energise Your Life: Release Your Natural Energy, by Nic Rowley, Kirsten Hartvig and Emma Mitchell.51X6WM0WSYL

This was actually my first plant based recipe book that I purchased about 6 years ago at a book sale. I didn’t realize until recently that all the recipes in this book are vegan. When I first got this book I tried two recipes. The first was the  Hot Cinnamon drink. I really liked this drink and use to make it before bed. It was actually the first time I tried rice milk. I never consider back then why anyone would drink an alternative dairy milk. I quite liked it, but when I first made it for Marco he hated it. Funny thing is now rice milk is one of his favorite dairy free milks. The second recipe I tried was Sweet potato with hiziki. This recipe was a disaster. For a start I was missing most of the ingredients and also I tried to use nori instead of hiziki. The nori didn’t crisp up and just stuck to the sweet potato. I remember my family laughing at this strange thing that I had made that really didn’t taste good. I didn’t bother trying the other recipes, there were too many ingredients I had never heard of. So it stayed on my shelve until I rediscovered it recently.

The first recipe I have tried tonight is the Spinach Parcels with Onion Sauce. According to the cookbook this recipe benefits the Nervous system and is Anti stress. It contains the nutrients of Vitamin CNiacinFolate Et Pantothenate and Calcium. and is given 4/5 for Energy.

The recipe called for strudel dough sheets. I am really not sure what type of pastry this is, but I did have some special Eastern European pastry sheets from Pitstop Pastries & Pizza. Marco’s sister gave me some a couple of days ago. This dough is great for making their traditional pita pastries . Marco’s mother often uses this dough with feta and spinach or apples and makes these scrolls shape savory and sweet pastries. If you live in Brisbane and you want pastry sheets that are vegan and preservative free I recommend dropping by Pitstop Pastries & Pizza in West End to pick some up. It actually worked quite well with this recipe, as the sheets are thin, but not thin enough that the ingredients can seep out or escape. It also crisps up nicely in the oven.

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For the filling I used  the leaves from a large bunch of silverbeet. I think the recipe actually called for English or Baby Spinach, but when you need 450 g worth of leaves, its gets expensive when the spinach only comes in 100 g a packets. I also used bean curd (tofu), scallions, garlic, soy sauce, ground coriander and ground cumin for the filling. Although the tofu doesn’t resemble a feta cheese it does work really well in the pastry. The taste of the filling was really nice and the soy sauce gave it a salty flavor. The book wasn’t clear on how to wrap the ingredients in the pastry, so I just made it into a scroll.

The onion sauce was not necessary for the spinach parcels, but it was a nice touch. This was just as simple sauce of diced onion, soy sauce, flour, vegetable stock, and soy milk. We also enjoyed this sauce with the side vegetables, which were roasted potato and baby kale, and steamed peas and broccolini.

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So, the first recipe in this challenge went down well with the family. Everyone loved the Spinach parcels and the Onion sauce. There was no comments from Marco, who has been brought up on this kinds of pastries, that they needed cheese or something else. So that was a good sign. I ended up making 8 parcels all together, so we now all have lunch for tomorrow now. I definitely would make these parcels again and I am looking forward to cooking my way through the rest of this book!

Warm Buckwheat and Lentil Salad with Pumpkin and Broccolini

Hi guys hope you all had a good weekend. I can’t believe how fast its gone. I’ve been juicing away every day with my favorite new addition. I just love watching it do its magic  Here is a couple of the juices I prepared recently. The first one is Beetroot, Pear, Kale and Cucumber. I also made some Sushi with honey soy tofu, avocado and cucumber. The next one is rockmelon, lemon and ginger. That one was a bit tangy, but still very good.

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Last night we popped into the vegan restaurant Banana Lounge for some dessert. I also got a sticky beak at their new menu, which is the same for lunch and dinner. I have heard mixed reviews about their food, but I would like to check it out soon. I have only been to the vegan buffet breakfast. On their new menu they have nachos, burritos, mexican rice bowl and raw pizza etc. I was the only one that order dessert. I got the Raw Choc, Date & Pistachio Brownies and the Mexican Chili Hot Chocolate. Both were really delicious! They really know how to make a good vegan dessert.

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Tonight I wanted to make something healthy, but hearty. Its so cold here at the moment, so we need something a bit heavier. This dish just keep evolving till I got hungry enough to stop adding things. I brought a whole lot of sprouts today so I am going to try add them to more of my meals for extra nutrients. I am trying to get Marco into sprouts. He didn’t mind a sprinkle of these snow pea sprouts, but they aren’t his favorite thing.

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Warm Buckwheat & Lentil Salad with Pumpkin & Broccolini, Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried brown lentils

1 cup raw buckwheat

900 g kent or butternut pumpkin

olive oil

2 bunches of broccolini

sea salt to taste

snow pea sprouts, washed, roughly chopped

Ingredients Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing:

1 whole garlic head

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch ground cayenne pepper

1/4 cup italian parsley

1 tablespoon tahini (unhulled)

sea salt to taste

Ingredients Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Place lentils in pot with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for 30-40 mins or until lentils are cooked. Then strain any water and leave to cool.

3. Place buckwheat in a pot with 3 cups of water and bring to the boi, then leave to simmer for 30 mins or until the buckwheat are cooked. Then leave to cool

4. In the meantime remove the seeds and skin from the pumpkin and slice into flat bite size pieces.

5. Place pumpkin pieces and a whole garlic in a bowl and toss through 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Then place all on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins or until the pumpkin is cooked, leave to cool.

6. Clean the pumpkin seeds then combine in a bowl with olive oil, cumin, cayenne and sea salt. Then place on a tray and roast for 5 mins or until cooked. Leave to the side for later.???????????????????????????????

7. Peel the whole roasted garlic and place in the processor.

8. Add olive oil, lemon juice, water, cumin and cayenne and whiz until combined.

9. Then add tahini, italian parsley and sea salt. Whiz until combined. Add more sea salt if you need.

10. Roughly chop the broccolini, then saute in a pan with olive oil until tender.

11. In the mean time, combine the lentils, buckwheat and pumpkin in a large bowl. Then top with the dress, stir through.

12. Add the broccolini to the salad and stir through.

13. Serve the warm salad, topped with snow pea sprouts and roasted spicy pumpkin seeds.

*Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side.

For dessert I made these Gluten free Yoga Chocolate Cupcakes from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. You can find the recipe here. Mum called them disgustingly delicious lol. She couldn’t believe how good this vegan cupcakes are. They are really crunchy on the top and soft and moist on the inside. Instead of making 34 mini cupcakes, I made 12. This also means I needed half the chocolate icing.

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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>