Baked Butter beans and Zucchini

A few of days ago I heard some really sad news that Jessica Ainscough passed away after losing her battle with cancer. I didn’t know her personally but I did follow blog and go to her Wellness Warrior Live Australian Tour about a year ago (post). She also wrote a great book, Make Peace with Your Plate: Change Your Life One Meal at a Time, which spoke of her own struggles with her health and how she changed her life by focusing  on nourishing her body with healthy food and living. She was a great inspiration of mine and I really value what I learned from her. There has been a lot of negative things written about her, which I don’t think is fair. Unless your are in someone else shoes I don’t think you have the right to judge what kind of treatment someone chooses when they are faced with a life threatening illness. I hope never to have to face such a difficult situation and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. There are no guarantees in life and I believe she thrived in a terrible situation. Normally I’m never usually that sad when a well known person passes, but I feel differently this time. I guess because after hearing her story and meeting her at the book signing, she seemed really real, kind and relatable.

Over the past few days I have been making more recipes from my favourite recipe book of the moment, The Oh She Glows Cookbook. If you haven’t seen the book or Angela’s blog, Oh She Glows, I really recommend both. I am determined to cook as many recipes as I can. They are always delicious and easy to make. She also has recently had a baby and I have been enjoying reading all her posts and has been very eye opening to me for what to expect. I might start a new cookbook project with her book. My last one was not very successful. I have had more fun cooking Angela’s recipes. So this is some more recipes that I made over the last few days.

Since I’ve been pregnant I’ve often have cravings for granola. I have bought a few different brands but end up devouring the whole box with in a few days. I was flipping through Angela’s book and found this easy recipe for Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters. I absolutely love this recipe. It tastes so much better then storebought. I had everything already on hand so it was really easy to make. For the dried fruit I used dried figs and raisins. The recipe makes a fair bit and can last a couple of weeks in the fridge. Mine didn’t last that long. I had it with coconut yoghurt, over overnight oats and raw buckwheat porridge or simply with some almond milk. Marco also got very excited about it as well and enjoyed it for afternoon tea at work or a late night dessert snack.

In fact, something else that really paired well with this granola was Angela’s Creamy Vanilla Almond Milk. I did make it a few weeks back and used cheese cloth and made such a mess. Never again. I bought my own nut bag from a health food shop and it was so much easier, quicker and zero mess. Homemade almond milk taste so much better then store bought, that can have a bit of a strange taste. Plus this recipe uses 1 whole cups of almonds, which is way more than store bought, that usually only contain 6 almonds if your lucky. So it is way more nutrious and extremely creamy. Marco even used some to make a cappuccino and it creamed up really well. As you can see below I finished most of my granola by the time I took this picture. 

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Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters, The Oh She Glows Cookbook

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Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters with Creamy Vanilla Almond Milk, The Oh She Glows Cookbook

Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters with Raw Buckwheat Poridge, Oh She Glows Cookbook

Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters with Raw Buckwheat Porridge, The Oh She Glows Cookbook

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On the mend Spiced Red Lentil-Kale Soup, The Oh She Glows Cookbook

Another recipe I made was the On the mend Spiced Red Lentil-Kale Soup. It doesn’t look like much but it is packed full of flavour. Marco wasn’t so excited about this soup until he tried it and he was blown away. Usually he doesn’t want to eat the same thing twice but he was happy to have it three times till it was gone. This recipe is something I came up with when I ran out of green veggies and was left with a zucchini and a can of butter beans. It’s very easy to make and makes a great main meal and leftovers can be eaten for breakfast on toast. I enjoyed mine with mashed potatoes and white wine mushrooms. I didn’t think Marco would like this one but I snuck it in his work lunch anyway and he really enjoyed it. DSC03851

Baked Butter beans and Zucchini (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 brown onion, quartered, sliced thinly

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium zucchini, chopped into cubes

1 cup good quality tomato pasta sauce (about 250 grams)

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

pinch of raw sugar

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 can butter beans

4 tablespoons good quality bread crumbs

4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

4 small roma tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, sliced

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in an oven proof skillet on medium heat, then add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes or until soft and browned.

3. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.

4. Add the zucchini and sauté for another minute

5. Add the tomato sauce, water, italian seasoning, liquid smoke, red wine vinegar, sugar. Bring to a light boil, then place on a simmer for 10 minutes.

6. In the meantime combine the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in a small bowl.

7. Add the butter beans to the skillet and season with salt and black pepper. Then take of the heat.

8. Top the skillet with the bread crumb mixture and some sliced tomatoes.

9. Bake for 20 minutes and then serve.

*Serves 4-6 DSC03846

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Great Northern Bean Casserole with Sliced Potato Topping

Last night I really felt like a flavoursome, creamy beany casserole with potatoes. I knew exactly what I wanted but couldn’t find a similar recipe to get some ideas. I also needed to use the opened unsweetened soy milk that was on its last legs and some great northern beans I had cooked up that afternoon. So this is what I came up with. I probably shouldn’t of started cooking at 7pm but it was worth the wait. Marco loved this dish so much. He was even happy to eat it again for his next two home-made work lunches.

What’s your favourite vegan bean casserole?

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Great Northern Bean Casserole with Sliced Potato Topping (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients for Casserole:

1 cup great northern beans, soak for 8 hours or overnight or 2.5-3 cups cooked beans

1 medium brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup white wine

1 teaspoon sweet hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

sea salt

2 cups vegan chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup unsweetened soy milk

3 tablespoons arrowroot flour

Ingredients for Potato Topping:

4 medium potatoes, peeled

sea salt

olive oil

black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

Method:

1. First place the soaked beans in 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer and cook for 40-60 minutes or until tender. While the beans are cooking skim the foam of the top of the water. Once the beans are cooked drain the water and leave to the side to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

3. Place the potatoes in a medium pot with water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring the water to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Afterwards drain the potatoes and leave to cool down.

4. Take a large oven safe skillet and heat the olive oil on medium heat. Then add onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

5. Add the carrots and celery. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

6. Add the white wine, tomatoes, hungarian paprika, mixed herbs and half teaspoon of sea salt. Stir through and allow the wine to absorb into the vegetables. This should take about 5 minutes.

7. Add vegan chicken stock, soy milk and great northern beans. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 20 minutes. While its cooking add the arrowroot flour and stir frequently while it thickens up.

8. In the meantime slice the potatoes into rounds and leave to the side.

9. Take the skillet off the heat and top with the sliced potatoes. Start from the outside and then work your way in.

10. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and season with sea salt, black pepper and thyme leaves.

11. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then if place the oven on grill and brown the tops of the potatoes for 5 minutes before serving.

*Serves 6 as a main

*I recommend serving this casserole with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad

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Delicious leftovers for a hungry pregnant woman…

DSC03155Like this recipe? Then you might also like my…

Cottage pie with  Borlotti beans and Porcini mushrooms

Cottage pie with Borlotti beans and Porcini mushrooms

Kidney Bean and Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Dumplings Topping

Kidney Bean and Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Dumplings Topping

 

Happy Blogiversary!

Today is Live Blissful’s 1 year Anniversary! I can’t believe my vegan journey has made it this far. A year ago I really didn’t know if I this was something that I could actually do. Although I’m not completely perfect, I have managed for the most part to completely change my diet as well as my reluctant fiance’s.  Now that I have made it a year I know that this is something that I can live by long term. I really want to thank all my fellow bloggers and readers for your encouragement that has kept me going.

Over the past year making the change to vegan has not been completely smooth. Although I have achieved more then I thought I would. I have discover new ingredients and different ways to cook without needing animal products. I have made a conscious effort to buy animal free products. I have also found and sampled many vegan/vegan friendly cafes and restaurants around Brisbane and other Australian cities.

The biggest challenges I  have faced over the past year seem a lot less insignificant now, then when I first began this journey. Unkind comments and awkwardness from family and friends were probably the hardest thing to swallow. But I learned to stop apologizing, because choosing to live a healthy life is not something to be ashamed of. The second biggest challenge was the feeling of despair every time I could not find something to eat in a restaurant. Now I try to make more informed choices when choosing a restaurant. When I have been invited out I try to organize something special with the chef and usually leave feeling happy and satisfied. As for cravings, these have been probably the easiest thing to over come. My tastes have really changed and I don’t really crave the same textures and flavors that I use to.

Another anniversary that I almost forgot about was Marco and my 6 year Anniversary. It actually fell on the 19th, but we both forgot. Now  we are engaged I’m not sure which anniversary we are meant to celebrate. Maybe we will just celebrate all of them. We had a pretty quite weekend. Poor Marco has had work at 4 am. So I wanted to make him some home cooked meals that I know he would like. I was going to also make a cake, but after he found a mysteries  jumbo muffin in my fridge (not sure where that came from), I thought we could both do without.

This breakfast was inspired  by the loads of apples in my fridge crisper. I only usually use green apples for juicing. But my mum keeps buying all these red apples that no one eats. This was surprisingly filling and very creamy. In fact I’m about to have it again for morning tea now.

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Raw Apple Breakfast Pudding (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon agave (or other natural sweetener)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 apples

1-2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons flax seeds

2 teaspoons chia seeds

fresh fruit to garnish

Method:

1. In a high speed blender add the cashews. Once they are starting to break down, then add the water, agave and vanilla extract. Don’t worry if its not really smooth.

2. Roughly grate the apples with the skin on.

3. Add some lemon juice to the grated apples so they don’t go brown and taste fragrant.

4. Combine the apple with the cashew cream. Stir through some flax seeds and chia seeds

5. Serve raw apple pudding with fresh fruit to garnish

*Serves 2

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This stew was inspired by all the leftovers veggies that needed to be used. I cooked up so many organic split kidney beans a few days back and then nobody was there to eat them with me.

I have never done a dumpling topping before. I was just flicking through a Jamie Oliver cook book and saw different stew toppings. I added Cheezly White Cheddar Style, which gave it a really nice savoury flavor. This is something else that I needed to use up. One bad thing about vegan cheeses is that they don’t last many days after opening.

I really loved the dumpling topping. This is definitely something I will make again for my next stew. It tastes so lovely and savory and just as nice as having fresh bread with an oven hot stew.

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Kidney Bean and Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Dumplings Topping (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients for Kidney Bean and Vegetable Stew:

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 large brown onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 bunch shallots, diced

2 sticks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

4 baby or 1 red capsicum, diced

1/2 cup white wine

1 teaspoon sweet hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

1 teaspoon lemon thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 can good quality tomato pulp

2 zucchini (diced)

2 cups cooked kidney beans

2 cups vegan chicken liquid stock

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Ingredients for Dumplings:

200 g self raising flour

100 g grated Cheezly White Cheddar Style/vegan cheddar

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

6-7 tablespoons ice cold water

5 tablespoons Nutellex Lite/vegan butter)

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Method:

1. Heat a large oven proof pot with olive oil. Then add onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes and as it starts to brown, add celery and shallots and cook for a further 5 minutes.???????????????????????????????

2. Add carrots, capsicum and white wine. Continue to cook until the wine is absorbed.???????????????????????????????

3. Add the paprika, liquid smoke, lemon thyme, bay leaves and parsley.

4. Saute the vegetables for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato pulp. Continue to cook until the carrots start to soften

5. Add the zucchini, kidney beans, liquid stock, sea salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 30 minutes. ???????????????????????????????

6. In the meantime preheat the oven to 180 degrees. ???????????????????????????????

7. Before placing the stew in the oven, prepare the dumplings. In a large mixing bowl add flour, cheddar and parsley. Then add the nutlex and mix it through with your hands. Then add cold water one tablespoon at a time, until it forms a dough.

8. Roll the dough into about 12 balls.

9. Top the stew with the dumplings on the outer edge.

10. Bake for 30 minutes, then serve.

*Serves 6

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Best Baked Cheezy Butternut Pumpkin Pasta

Hi all, over the weekend I had one of the mini Marco’s come stay with me. On Saturday I took him to the city and we got to see the Scottish march for Tartan Day. Apparently we have had the Tartan Day celebration for the last 17 years. This was news to me. Although I do remember a few years back when I was living in Spring Hill and a parade of drums and bagpipes marched past my bedroom window. I thought my housemate had gone mad and was trying to torture me by turning up the music louder and louder. Marco’s nephew was really excited to see the bagpipes the Scottish dogs marching too.

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After that we went to the Modern Art Gallery and got to make Kangaroo masks, hop around the enclosure and make posters. Not sure who was having more fun.

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For dinner I wanted to make something that was kid friendly. I have tried out vegan cheesy nutritional yeast sauces before with Marco’s niece and nephew, but this mini Marco really didn’t like it. But I am persistent and I figure eventually he would get a taste for it. I have trialed this approach with big Marco and usually by the 6th try he will eat it happily.  Well I was in luck because tonight he really liked it.

I think I have finally perfected this recipe too. My vitamix also really helped to get the cashews and pumpkin really creamy and the panko crumbs gave it a nice crunchy top. The only thing he didn’t like was the crunchy top, but this was big Marco’s favorite part.

This recipe can easily be made gluten free with gluten free pasta and gluten free panko crumbs (or no crumbs). I always thicken vegan cheesy sauces and other sauces with Arrowroot flour (tapioca flour), because I prefer it. It is also gluten free. You can find this in any Coles or Woolworths in the baking section. You can also buy Nutritional yeast at any health food store. I love this stuff and really recommend it to anyone who wants to try out dairy free cooking. It also has lots Vit B, so its good for you and won’t stick to your pots.

Although this was the best Baked Cheezy Butternut Pumpkin Pasta, these are not the best photos ever. But trust me this tastes a lot better and looked alot better then what my photos portray.

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Best Baked Cheezy Butternut Pumpkin Pasta (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews

4 cups chopped butternut pumpkin (peeled)

2 tablespoons vegan butter

2 cups almond milk

2 tablespoons tapicoa flour

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

sea salt to taste

500g penne or macaroni (use gluten free pasta if you prefer)

3 tablespoons panko crumbs

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. If you haven’t soaked cashews, then boil them for 10 mins. Then place in the blender with 1/4 cup of water and blend to make cashew cream. Add another 1/4 cup of water if you need to help break down the cashews to make them more creamy.???????????????????????????????

3. In the meantime, steam the pumpkin until its soft. Then add the steamed pumpkin to the cashew cream and blend till smooth.

4. Cook the penne according to packet directions.

5. In the meantime prepare the cheesy sauce. Melt the nutlex in a large pan on low heat. While it is melting combine the almond milk and arrowroot flour and whisk. Then add the almond milk to the pan with the melted butter.

6. While the sauce is heating add the dijon mustard, garlic powder, tumeric and whisk until it thickens.

7. Then add the nutitional yeast and whisk.

8. Take the sauce off the heat. Then add the pumpkin and cashew cream to the sauce and whisk through.???????????????????????????????

9. Place a couple ladles of the sauce on the bottom of a large caserol dish. Then add the pasta and add the rest of the sauce. Stir it through, so that all the sauce is coating the pasta.

10. Top the pasta with a panko crumbs, then bake for 30 mins.

*Serves 6

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For more similar recipes check out my: Baked ‘Cheesy’ Fusilli Bolognese (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free), Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Spring Vegetable (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

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>

Eggplant Parmigiana

It’s been so long since I have had Eggplant Parmigiana. I’ve been dairy free for nearly 4 years, so it was before that that I last had it at my Nona’s house. It has always been one of my favorite dishes. So I’m not sure why it has taken me this long to make it. I did make Eggplant Rolls stuffed with Quinoa and ‘Mince’ a while ago, which believe me doesn’t look as good as it tasted.

Eggplant Parmigiana or Melanzana alla parmigiana or Parmigiana di melanzane,  is a stew made of eggplant, that can be eaten freshly baked out of the oven or cold. It is a southern slide-450Italian dish, that is similarly prepared throughout the south.

The name and the origin of this dish is often debated. Some believed that its name is from the city of Parma or Parmigano cheese. However, this dish is not found in Parma cuisine. Rather the word parmigiana actually refers to the method in which the vegetable is sliced and arranged in alternating layers. Some believe it is from the Sicilian word parmiciana, which means overlapping wood strips on the shutters. Others believe it refers to the way that Parmigiani (people from Parma) cook their vegetables in layers. alimenti_e_ricette_da_duchi_1

It is also often argued that this dish is from Naples, which was the capital city of a large kingdom that included Sicily and Southern Italy, some centuries ago. This recipe is for Parmigiana was first documented in the treatise Il Cuoco Galante by Vincenzo Corrado. It was a dish served to the most prestigious families in Naples during the 18th and 19th century. However, it was not eggplant that was used but rather zucchini, pumpkins, parsnips and tomatoes. It wasn’t until 1837 that Eggplant Parmigiana was first documented by Ippolito Cavalcanti, the Duke of Buonvicino, in his most important work, Kitchen theoretical practice.

This dish is made by first shallow frying sliced eggplant, then layering with cheese (mozzarella/Parmesan/both) and tomato sauce and then baking it. Some recipes use flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs before frying the eggplant.258454-chicken-parmigiana

There are many variations of this dish using breaded meats (veal/chicken), which have also become popular outside of Italy by Italians migrates. The Chicken Parma or Parmy  is a very popular pub dish in Australia and is served with a side of chips and salad. It is often topped with sliced ham or fried eggplant, tomato sauce and cheese. In Argentina, it is called Milanesa (beef/veal) or de Pollo (chicken) or de Berenjena (eggplant) or de Cerdo (pork) and is topped with a slice of ham, melted cheese, tomato sauce and a slice of tomato and served with chips or salad. In America and Canada, both the Veal Parmigiana and Chicken Parmigiana are often used as fillings in Sub Sandwiches or served with with pasta. In England they even have their Parmo, which is made of either pork or chicken.

The recipe I made is how I remember my mother and Nona cooking it. The eggplant is dusted in flour, dipped into soy milk instead of eggs and then dipped in corn crumbs instead of bread crumbs. I then layered it with vegan mozzarella and fresh oregano from my garden. It did take me a long time to prepare it all, since there was a lot of eggplant. But it paid off. It was absolutely delicious. Even though its dairy free and gluten free version, it tastes just like I remember it. This is definitely a dish for those who want to indulge and is also great to share with friends. Me and Marco are the only ones that got to share this dish tonight. He really, really liked it. I fear we might be a few kilos heavier in a few days, once we have finished devouring it.

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Eggplant Parmigiana (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, thinly sliced into circles or half-moons

1/2 cup arrowroot flour or gluten plain free flour

3/4 cup whole soy milk

1 cup corn crumbs or other gluten free bread crumbs

olive oil or canola oil to fry

1.5 jars x 500g tomato pasta sauce

2 cups vegan mozzarella (I used Notzarella)

1/3 cup oregano leaves

salt & pepper to taste???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Preheat oven 200 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. Sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices and wait 10 mins to get the bitterness out. Then wipe off the salt and moister that comes out. ???????????????????????????????

3. Coat the slices of eggplant in flour and shake of any extra flour. Then dip into soy milk, shake of the excess. Then dip into corn crumbs. Continue until all the eggplant is coated.???????????????????????????????

4. Heat a large pan (I prefer to use a wok) and heat oil. Then shallow fry eggplants pieces, until golden brown. Leave them on paper towel to draw out any excess oil.

5. Take an oven prove dish, then place some pasta sauce on the bottom. Then add a layer of eggplant, sprinkle sea salt & black pepper, then a layer of Notzarella and some oregano leaves. Continue to do another 3-4 layers, until all the ingredients have been use.

6. Cook in the oven covered with aluminum foil for 20 mins.

7. Uncover and cook for a further 10mins or until the vegan mozzarella has browned a little. I had to cook mine for a further 10 mins as the Notzarella took time to melt.

*Serves 8-10

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Parmigiana di melanzane <http://ricette.giallozafferano.it/Parmigiana-di-melanzane.html>

Libro di cucina/Ricette/Parmigiana di melanzane <http://it.wikibooks.org/wiki/Libro_di_cucina/Ricette/Parmigiana_di_melanzane>

Parmigiana di melanzane <http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parmigiana_di_melanzane>

Spiced Vegetable and Lentil Loaf

Its been pouring all day here and the air is a little cooler. So tonight I felt like some comfort food. This recipe is adapted from Lentil Loaf by The Vegan Stoner. I recently came across their recipes and I really like them. They are simple to follow and the drawings are really cool.

I changed the recipe by using oats instead of crackers and added some extra spices. Mine was not as firm as I would of liked, but that was probably because I didn’t mash the lentils.  It tasted delicious and I got to make use of my dried organic green lentils and organic frozen vegetables from Woolworths, which have been waiting to be used for a while. I just served it with some simple roasted vegetables and added a little bit extra ketchup to serve.

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Spiced Vegetable and Lentil Loaf (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked green lentils

1 red or brown onion

1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/4 cup organic instant oats

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, roughly chopped

4 tablespoons apple sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup sauce

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and prepare a loaf tin with baking paper.???????????????????????????????

2. In a mixing bowl combine green lentils, onion, walnuts and oats and stir through. Mash the lentils, if you want a more firmer consistency. ???????????????????????????????

3. Then add sea salt, black pepper, cardamon, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, garlic powder and cayenne, stir through.

4. Lastly add the frozen vegetables, apple sauce and ketchup, stir through.

5. Press the mixture into a loaf pan and cook for 40-50 mins, or till golden brown on top.

* Serves 6

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My highlight of today was receiving my long awaited Chloe’s Vegan Desserts recipe book, that I purchased as soon as I found out it was coming out. To celebrate I made Chef Chloe’s Peanut Butter Cookies. I burned mine a little because silly me though I should put two trays of cookies on the same rack. Nevertheless they were so delicious. I used coconut sugar, so I didn’t feel so guilty eating them too. They really tasted like professorially baked cookies as well. I can’t wait to try so more of her recipes!

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Peanut Butter & Raspberry Jam Overnight Oats, Cannellini Cutlets and Creamy Baked Zucchini

Today I started the day off well with some overnights oats. I was thinking of flavor combinations the night before. I often see recipes with PB & J, so I thought I’d see how they worked with oats. It was sooo delicious and very decadent. I found it was extremely thick this morning, so I added a bit more milk to break it up a bit and topped it with fresh blueberries. After that I was so full I couldn’t imagine ever eating again.  Marco hates it when I do this because then I get hungry all of a sudden and then I have to eat straight away. Sure enough by 3ish I got a bit peckish and bought some sushi and Soy Caramel Cappuccino (which I probably didn’t need).

So again I was so full I was convinced I would never eat again. But after much persuading by Marco I ended up preparing some dinner. By the time it was done it smelt quite good that I had to have some too.  I made Roasted Chat Potatoes, Sweet Potato, Carrots & Garlic; Creamy Baked Zucchini, Peas and at the last minute I prepared Cannellini Cutlets.

I got the recipe for the cutlets from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutes. It is meant to be like fish fillets. I used cannellini beans and corn crumbs, rather then white beans and panko crumbs. I didn’t find that it was flaky like fish, which was probably because I didn’t use the panko crumbs. The texture was similar to an mochi, but less sticky. It was still quite good, but it need a bit of sauce. Luckily I had plenty of sauce from the Creamy Baked Zucchini to go with it. It was really easy to prepare and a great gluten free and soy free meat substitute.

For the Creamy Baked Zucchini, I made a vegan cheesy sauce to go between the layers and on top. I also put some rice crumbs on top, so that it would go crunchy. Only thing is that I put far too much and it didn’t really need it. Nevertheless, everyone commented how delicious it was, even Marco who usually hates zucchini. The rest was my standard crispy roasted vegetables and peas heated in vegetable stock and vegan butter. Now I have that feeling in my tummy that I can’t eat ever again, but I am sure it will pass by tomorrow.

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Peanut Butter & Raspberry Jam Overnight Oats (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

???????????????????????????????Ingredients:

1/2 cup instant or rolled organic oats

1/2 cup plant milk, plus extra (coconut, rice or oat;  almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

2 tablespoons raspberry jam

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir it all through.

2. Place in the fridge overnight to enjoy the next day. Stir and add some extra milk if it is too thick. Top with some fresh berries.

*Serves 1

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Cannellini Cutlets (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tin of cannellini beans

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspon ground black pepper

1/4 cup grapeseed oil  (plus more for frying)

1 cup corn crumbs (or other gluten free crumbs)???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients except the corn crumbs in a bowl. Mash the beans with your fingers so they are not whole.

2. Add the corn crumbs and mix well. Leave for 20 mins.???????????????????????????????

3. Divide into 4 portions then shape the portions into cutlets.

4. Heat oil in a pan and cook on both sides for for 3-5 minutes.

*Serves 4

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Creamy Baked Zucchini (gf, nf)

Ingredients:

3 zucchini, cut in half then sliced in thin strips

1 tablespoon vegan butter (more to grease)

1.25 cup soy milk

1 tablespoon arrowroot flour

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

6 tablepsoons nutritional yeast

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and grease a small baking dish or loaf pan.

2. Take a small mix bowling and combine soy milk and arrowroot flour. Whisk the flour in the milk.

3. Melt the vegan butter in a small pot. Then add the soy milk and whisk.

4. Add dijon mustard and garlic powder and whisk on medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened.

5. Add the nutritional yeast and whisk till it is combined then take off the heat.

6. Take baking tray and layer strips of zucchini then add a bit of the sauce and continue till all the zucchini has been used and the sauce has been layered on the top. Bake for 20 mins or until zucchini is soft.

*Serves 4-5

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‘Chicken’ Enchiladas

I was nearly not going to make dinner tonight. I have eaten far to much today. First I had left over curry and rice from last night. Then I had Govinda’s vegan buffet for lunch, since we had to use our coupon this week. Then I made a Hazelnut Mocha with Oats milk and had the lasted of the Salted Caramel Nuts for afternoon tea. So I wasn’t hungry, but by 8ish I was getting a bit peckish.

Vegan Buffet at Govinda's

Vegan Buffet at Govinda’s

I had made the Vegan Sour Cream this afternoon with the extra silken tofu that the students left the other night. I had so much I even made a double batch of Marinated Buffalo Style Tofu Mozzarella. I knew I also had to use the packet of wholemeal wraps. Unfortunately then need to be used in 3 days after opening. So I came up with Enchiladas. I have never made them before, but then turned out pretty good.

I adapted the recipe for Homemade Enchilada Sauce from Recipe Girl. I added some cocoa powder, as  I saw another recipe that said it was more authentic with that. For the Enchiladas I noted that many recipes used either a tomato based sauce inside with meat or beans; or just sour cream and cheese with meat. So I did both and made a creamy tomato sauce. I topped it with Tofutti Cheddar Slices, that I diced. I would of preferred to use a better quality grated vegan cheese, but I didn’t have any. I served it with last nights leftover Yellow Split Peas and Brown Rice and just added vegan butter and lime juice.

All the ingredients are gluten free, except for the wraps I used. But you can definitely use gluten free wraps. If you don’t want to or don’t have any vegan chicken strips then use another can of kidney beans.

Sorry about the photos. My camera ran out of batteries before I got a chance to take a picture after it cooked. I used my mothers camera and I was also very sloppy when I served it. I promise you that it did taste really good, even though it doesn’t look that appealing.

P1000598

‘Chicken’ Enchiladas (vegan, jut free)

Ingredients  for Enchilada Sauce:

1/4 cup sunflower oil

2 tablespoons arrowroot flour

2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper

1 can diced tomatoes

2 cups vegan chicken liquid stock

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion flakes

sea salt to taste

Ingredients for Vegan Sour Cream: (makes 1.5 cups, only need 1 cup)

240g silken tofu

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients for Enchilades: 

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 onion, diced

1 small red capsicum, chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground sweet paprika

1 cup passata sauce

2 tablespoons chili sauce

1 can kidney beans

380 g Fry’s Chicken-Style Strips or other vegan chicken strips (or another can of beans)

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt to taste, 6-8 wholemeal wraps or enchilada wraps

vegan cheese (optional, I diced up vegan cheddar slices)

Ingredients for Rice:

leftover rice

1-2  tablespoons vegan butter

2-4 tablespoons lime juice

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Make the Vegan Sour Cream. Blend all the ingredients in a processor. Leave in the fridge till ready to use.

Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada Sauce

3. Next make the Enchilada Sauce. First take a large pot and heat oil on medium heat. Then add the arrowroot flour and cayenne and whisk it. Cook for 1 minute or until lightly browned.

4.Then slowly add the rest of the ingredients and whisk it all so it is consistent. Cook for 10 mins or until it has thickened, while stirring often. Turn of the heat and leave to the side.

5. Meanwhile make the Enchilada filling. Heat another large pot with oil on medium heat. Then add onion, garlic, capsicum, cumin and paprika. Saute for 4 minutes. Add a bit of water if its too dry.???????????????????????????????

6. Then add the passata sauce, chili sauce and kidney beans. Cook for another 5 mins and adjust seasoning.

7. Then add vegan chicken strips. Cook for 6-8 mins or until the packet says they should cook for.???????????????????????????????

8. Take of the heat and add the 1 cup of Vegan Sour Cream, nutritional yeast and lime juice. Stir through so it is consistently creamy.

9. Take a large baking dish and spoon 1/4 of the Enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.???????????????????????????????

10. Lay the first wrap on the chopping board. Fill the Enchilada filling in the center then roll an place in the baking dish. Continue till all 6 -8 wraps are placed in the dish.

11. Top the wraps with the rest of the Enchilada Sauce and vegan cheese. Bake for 25 mins or until cheese has melted.???????????????????????????????

12. Just before serving, prepare the rice. Take a pan and melt the vegan butter then add the rice and lime juice. Saute till heated through.

*I made 6, but there should be enough filling to make 8 Enchiladas

*The Ingredients for the Sour Cream makes 1.5 cups however this recipe only calls for 1 cup

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Adzuki Chili Casserole with Cornbread Topping

Last nights dinner was my attempt at an American classic, chili and corn bread. In Australia, we don’t usually cook American dishes like this. We have a lot of influence from Asia, Europe and even the Middle East, but not a lot of American cuisine. I often cook  ‘mexican’ chili con carne. In recent years I have been making my own spice mix. I am not sure if I make it the right way, but it my best attempt at emulating the Mexican spice mix that you can buy in the packet. This is also my first attempt of making cornbread. I have tried corn bread a couple of times in the past in ribs restaurants They usually serve this as a entree, with lots of butter. I have always really liked the sweet and savory taste of it.

To put this dish together I used the left over rice and Eggplant & Capsicum Pasta Sauce from the day before. I also soaked some adzuki beans over night and cooked them up, so they were ready to add to any dishes. I used the rice to make a crispy base for the casserole. I was considering making a pie, but I didn’t really feel like making dough. I was also worried that if I used puff pastry, then it the sauce would go through it. I saw some recipes using rice with eggs to make pie or quiche bases, so I tried to do that. It turned out to be a really solid base and held the chili well. 

???????????????????????????????For the chili I made my usually spice mix and added the cook adzuki beans and the pasta sauce. The spices really helped give the sauce a more southern taste. It was really easy to prepare and quick.

Lastly, for the top of the casserole I decided to do cornbread, because I had seen it somewhere, but then I couldn’t remember where. So after doing a lot of research and trying to find a vegan version, I came across this recipe for Black Bean Chili Pot Pie with Cornbread Topping from Chipped Bowl. I decided to also add cinnamon to the batter, as I saw this in another recipe by Nigella Lawson. I had to make a double the portion for the size of my casserole, which I adapted below. This was my favorite part of the casserole. It was so sweet and fluffy. I could of just eaten this on its own.

My family were really blown away by this dish, as it was like nothing else they had tried before. I definitely want to make this a regular meal. I’m sure it would be great to serve for guests or family dinners. Let me know what your think of my attempt and how you make this American classic?

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Adzuki Chilli Casserole with Cornbread Topping  (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients for Rice Base:

2 cups of cooked rice

1/2 cup polenta or corn meal

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt to taste

Ingredients for Chili:

2 cups of cooked adzuki beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion flakes or onion powder

1 tablespoon ground sweet paprika

1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

3 cups tomato pasta sauce (I used leftover Eggplant & Capsicum Pasta Sauce)

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce

Ingredients for Cornbread Topping:

1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (use gluten free flour if you prefer)

1 cup polenta or corn meal

3 tablespoons raw sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1.5 cup water

4 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. First make the spice mix for the chili. Combine the cumin, garlic powder, onion flakes, sweet paprika, cayenne and oregano in a small bowl.???????????????????????????????

3. Heat 2 tablepsoons of olive oil in a large pot. Then add the all the spices. Cook for 3 mins on medium heat.

4. Add the cooked adzuki beans to the pot and coat in the spices.  Cook for another 3 mins.

5. Add the sauce, water and worcestershire sauce. Adjust seasoning and cook for 15-20 mins.???????????????????????????????

6. In the meantime, prepare the rice base. Place cooked rice and polenta in a large bowl. Combine the water with the nutritional yeast, then add to the bowl. Add salt to taste and stir it through.

7. Take large casserole dish and grease with some oil, then place the rice mixture and press down so it is equally distributed as a base. Bake for 10 mins, then remove from the oven.???????????????????????????????

8. In the meantime, prepare the cornbread topping. Take another large mixing bowl combine the flour, polenta, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir well.???????????????????????????????

9. Then make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the water and vegetable oil and stir till combined.

10. Take the Casserole dish and place the adzuki chili on top of the rice base.

11. Then add the cornbread topping on top of the chili. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins or until you can place a toothpick inside the topping and it comes out clean.

*Serves 8

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