Winter Warm Risottos

Unless your living in Brisbane you probably don’t believe me that I am freezing right now. Winter in the sunshine state is has become bone chilling. To stay warm I’ve been drinking lots of herbal teas and warm meals of roasted vegetables, soups and risottos. These are a couple non traditional risotto’s that I have been enjoying over the past week.

I’ve never added quinoa to a risotto before. But I often cook a quinoa brown rice blend which is delicious and a pain to clean out of the rice cooker. Quinoa gives an extra protein kick to this risotto and doesn’t compromise the taste at all.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Risotto (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/4 kent or butternut pumpkin, sliced into thin pieces

1/2 large or 1 small head of garlic

olive oil

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup quinoa

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

2 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

sea salt and black pepper to taste

italian parsley to garnish (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven 200 degrees.

2. Place pumpkin and garlic head in an baking tray and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until both are soft.  Once both are cooked well place in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Keep it aside to add to the risotto.

3. Take a pot and fill with the vegetable stock and leave to boil, then place on a simmer.

4. In the meantime take another large pot and heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add the onion. Cook till it softens

5. Add aborbio rice and quinoa to pot and let it toast for a few minutes.

6. Add the wine to the pot and cook until its been absorbed.

7. By this time the liquid stock should have boiled. Begin by ladling a spoon full at a time of the hot liquid stock to the rice and constantly stir. Once one spoon full has been absorbed into the rice, add another spoon full. Continue for  cooking for 15 mins or until the rice and quinoa is cooked

8. Add the mashed pumpkin and garlic. Stir through and then add baby spinach. Continue to stir until the baby spinach has wilted.

9. Take off the heat, then add the nutritional yeast and season with extra seasalt and black pepper. Serve with some chopped parsley.

*Serves 4

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Cauliflower has historically been one of my most hated vegetables from birth. My mum use to steam or microwave it with cheese and bechamel. I never liked cheese and always found cauliflower to be strange in texture and bland in taste. But I have a new love for cauliflower now. I love using it in Italian pasta dishes to coat pasta. It also tastes amazing in soups, on pizza, roasted and in a pie.  Here are some of my favourite cauliflower dishes that get the Marco tick of approval.

Pasta al Cavolfiore

Penne al Cavolfiore

Cauliflower Red Onion and Garlic Pizza

Roasted Cauliflower, Beets, Capsicum and Chickpeas with Tahini Sumac Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Steak

Broccoli & Cauliflower Pakoras

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Corn Soup

Cauliflower Cheezy Thyme Pie

For this Cauliflower Risotto I used both the stalks and florets of the cauliflower.  I diced the stalks and sautéed them with the onions and added the florets to the vegetable stock which I ladled to cook the risotto. I stole this idea from Jamie Oliver’s Cauliflower risotto (Risotto ai cavalfiori). Its a great way not to waste any of that cauliflower goodness.

Oh and by the way in case you haven’t tried Kale with Pine nuts and Raisins put it on your to do list. The bitter, sweet and nutty flavors make it one of my favourite side dishes and goes great on top of this Cauliflower Risotto.

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Cauliflower Risotto topped with Sautéed Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts and Raisins 

Cauliflower Risotto (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups arborio rice

1 medium onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 medium cauliflower, dice stalks and chop the florets, keeping each separate

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

handful italian parsley leaves, diced

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

sea salt & black pepper

Method:

1.Take a pot and fill with the vegetable stock and cauliflower florets and leave to boil, then place on a simmer.

2. In the meantime take another large pot and heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add the onion, garlic and diced cauliflower stalk. Cook for a couple of mintues.

3. Add aborbio rice and let it toast for a few minutes.

4. Add the wine to the pot and cook until its been absorbed.

5. By this time the liquid stock should have boiled. Begin by ladling a spoon full at a time of the hot liquid stock with the cauliflower florets to the rice. Stir constantly and mash the cauliflower florets as it cooks. Once one spoon full has been absorbed into the rice, add another spoon full. Continue for  cooking for 15 mins or until the rice  is cooked

6. Take off the heat, then add the nutritional yeast and italian parsley. Season with extra sea salt and black pepper.

7. Serve with Sautéed Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts and Raisins (recipe below)

*Serves 4

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Sautéed Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts and Raisins (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 garlic cloves, diced

bunch tuscan kale, chopped into ribbons

1-2 tablespoons golden raisins

1-2 tablespoons pinenuts

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Then add the garlic cook for about a minute

2. Add the kale, raisins and pine nuts. Saute until the kale has wilted.

3. Serve on top of the Cauliflower Risotto or as a side dish.

*Serves 2-4 as a side

For more risotto recipes check these out:

Sweet Potato Sage Risotto with Hazelnut ‘Parmesan’

Green Spring Risotto

Risotto alla zucca (Pumpkin Risotto)

Risotto ai funghi porcini (Mushroom Risotto)

Red Wine Barley & Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms & Spinach

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Back for the new year

Hi all, I’m back!! Thanks for all the lovely messages that you left me while I was away. The past couple of months have been really hectic with family, travel and the big move into our new place, but everything has finally settled down.

The funeral of my uncle was very sad, but I am glad that I got to go down to say my goodbyes. It was the first funeral that I have attended of someone that I really knew my whole life. So it was really heart wrenching and a reminder that we can all go at any time. On the bright side, my grandfather who was also in the ICU, ended up being well enough to return home. However, it was also a reminder that my grandparents are getting older and won’t be around for much longer. Something I sometimes forget when I’m going about my life interstate.

Anyway, after that was my big trip to Japan for a wedding of two dear friends. I had so much fun and definitely got the travel bug again. Not such a great thing now we have a mortgage, but I can’t help it. I just love to experience different cultures, eat interesting food, photograph everything and of course the shopping! When we arrived back we moved straight into the new house and have been busy moving  in our stuff and renovating when we haven’t been at work. So its been pretty crazy, hence why I hadn’t been back to blogging till now. But now the New year has finally begun I am feeling more motivated to start cooking and writing again.

As promised I have much to share about Japan. If you were hoping for an inspirational vegan travel guide to Japan you will be very disappointed. I tried to stay true to my vegan journey, but it was difficult and I slipped a lot. Do I regret it? Not really. What I love about travel is experiencing the food. There is something about trying something that looks strange and taste different that I have always loved when I travel. I was probably the most food curious and adventurous person on the trip. I did stick to pescetarian/vegetarian diet though. I did not eat any meats or dairy. This was not always easy when you are travelling with 20 other people and meals where often preplanned by our hosts at carnivorous restaurants and can not speak Japanese. But I always managed to find something else where ever we went. Unless you eat in only vegan restaurants in Japan it is hard to stick to a strict vegan diet. Many Japanese snacks and dishes are flavoured with fish products, even simple things like miso soup and noodle soups. Rather then scrutinise everything  before I put in it my mouth, I just accepted the fact that the food wasn’t going to be all vegan. But since being back I’m striving get back to a vegan diet.

The wedding we attended was in Osaka, which is where we spent most of our time. After the wedding the bride and groom took us on a tour around Osaka and on day trips to Kyoto, Nara and Inari. After that Marco and I visited Tokyo and Hiroshima before heading home. We visited many temples, got to immerse ourselves into Japanese everyday life and experience all different types of Japanese foods . The highlights were: watching our friends get married  in a beautiful ceremony overlooking the Osaka city lights; eating the amazing food in Osaka; dressing as a Geisha in Kyoto; shopping was Harajuku, Tokyo and visiting the Hiroshima A-Bomb Museum.

Japan collage

Here are some of the vegetarian options that I found in Japan:

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One of my favourite discoveries in Japan was Mochi. I have heard a lot about it, but had never seen it in real life. I feel in love the first time I tried it. When we first arrived we went to a food department store in Osaka and were told by our friends to buy this Mochi with a fresh Strawberry inside. After the first bite I was kicking myself I didn’t by more since I had to share this one with Marco. The outside was soft like a mash mellow and the inside was so sweet. I couldn’t believe how fresh the strawberry was. After that day I was addicted to Mochi. I usually buy a strawberry Mochi fromt the convenience store in the morning or have it for dessert if it was available in the restaurant. Chocolate Mochi is also really amazing and the perfect end to a good meal.

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Another delicious discovery was Warabimochi, which is a jelly-like confection made from bracken starch and covered in sweet toasted soybean flour. I first tried this at a Sushi train. But I also found it available at markets and given a side dish in Japanese restaurants. It is sweet but not too sweet and is also a little spongy in texture. Have you tried it? What did you think? Marco wasn’t a huge fan, but I loved it.

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Another sweet discovery was Soy bean milk Soft serve and Tofu Donuts. I saw these at the Nishiki Market in Kyoto. I haven’t had a soft serve in years. I gave up the 50cent cone long before I went dairy free. Someone told me it was made out of pig fat, which turned my stomach. Soybean milk Soft serve tasted just as good as the regular one and had a really mild soy taste. The Tofu Donuts were great. They didn’t taste like tofu at all. Wish I bought two bags of this after sharing them with everyone.  Pretty sure these are vegan. After having to make mooing sounds to the guy selling them, he understood what I was asking and said no to cows milk products.

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Another thing that I finally got to try in Japan was Natto. I have heard that this fermented soy bean is really healthy and great for the stomach.  We were at the sushi train and one of the guys picked it off and put a whole Natto boat in his mouth. He said that it tasted disgusting and dried up all the saliva in his mouth. Everyone was confused what this strange ingredient was, but I recognised it straight away. I have been looking for Natto for so long, so I was very excited when he gave me the other Natto sushi. I decided to be safe I would just try a little bit of the Natto. It was so stringy like cheese. There was this clear like glue that stretched from the sushi to my mouth, which didn’t make it pretty to eat. The taste was horrible. It was nutty with a strong bitter taste. Everyone else took my word that it was horrible and were content not to try it. We at least I know now. Otherwise I may have surprised Marco with Natto for dinner.

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To celebrate moving into our new place, we decided to have Christmas at our house this/last year. I didn’t have very long to prepare and was lacking inspiration. So I researched recipes that I thought everyone would like while I was at work. I was going to make it a completely vegan Christmas, but in the end we decided to doing a couple seafood dishes. Here are some of the dishes that I made for my Christmas buffet. I doesn’t look like much, but there was so much food. I was up from 6.30 baking the breads, cooking the mains and sides and preparing the desserts. We ended up making it a Christmas dinner because we didn’t get to eat till after 5. It was so hot that we didn’t get to eat as much as I hope, but at least we had so many leftovers that I didn’t need to worry about cooking for everyone the days after. I was just so burnt out.

Some of the dishes include Rice pilaf with Almonds & Cranberries, Roasted Eggplant with Sumac Tahini Dressing, Traybaked Fish & Prawn Keralan Curry, my Eggplant Parmigiana, Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Pumpkin and Beetroot; Tahini Thyme Flat bread and Olive Rosemary Foccacia.

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These are Tahini Thyme Flat bread and Olive Rosemary Foccacia, as well as some Kiflice that Marco’s sister prepared. The Flat bread probably took the longest to prepare out of anything for Christmas. I should really read the recipes before taking them on. But it wasn’t until I made the dough and left it to rest that I realise it needed to rest 4 times in 45 min intervals before being baked. Luckily it was the first thing I prepared that morning, so I had plenty of time. The recipe for this Flat bread can be found here. It is from recipe book The Bourke Street Bakery’s Bread and Butter Project; by a Bakery in Sydney. Only thing I did different was use whole soy milk instead of cows milk and dry yeast instead of fresh. The bread was pretty good and it tasted just as good the next day and it didn’t go hard. However considering how long it took me I think I would prefer to just make the Foccacia next time, which was just as good. I got the recipe from here. I didn’t have any Saffron, but other then that I stuck to the recipe. It was probably the most successful Foccacia that I have ever made. I made it again for New years and it was still very popular with the family.

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This Rice pilaf with Almonds & Cranberries was probably one of the most popular dishes on the day. Everyone loved it. It was adapted from Jewelled wild rice with Almonds. So I decided to include the recipe for you. Its is full of flavor and a great crowd pleaser that that can be serve on the side with just about anything. For my version I only used white basmati, which was all I could get on short notice and I cooked mine in the pot instead of the oven. This was actually not the plan but it just happened to cook on its own and I forgot about it.

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Rice pilaf with Almonds & Cranberries (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

500g basmati rice

100g dried cranberries

1 litre vegetable stock

sea salt to taste

2 bay leaves

2 large thyme sprig

small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

50g toasted flaked almonds

finely grated zest ½ orange

serve with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to taste

Method:

1. Take a heavy based casserole pot and heat the olive oil. Then add the onion and cook on a medium to low heat for 15 minutes, until the onion starts to go golden.

2. Add the basmati rice and the cranberries and stir through until coated with the onions.

3. Then add the vegetable stock and sea salt to taste.

4. Place the bay leaves and thyme into the pot. Don’t stir them through, just leave float on the top.

5. Bring the pot to the boil, then down to a simmer with the lid on and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, until the rice is half cooked. There should still be plenty of liquid in the pot.

6. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on for 15-20 minutes. In this time the liquid will be absorbed and the rice will be cooked, light and fluffy.

7. Add the parsley, almonds and orange zest.

8. Serve warm or leave it to go cold cold. Top with some extra olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

*Serves 8

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Another big hit at Christmas with the guest was this delicious Roasted Eggplant with Sumac Tahini Dressing. I haven’t made this since Sally’s 60th. Its really easy to prepare and is so delicious. I ended up making a double portion for New years to feed the demand for eggplant. You can find the recipe here. I guarantee you guests will love it! The original recipe is from Honestly Healthy: Eat with your body in mind, the alkaline way, by Natasha Corrett andVicki Edgson.

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So for my Christmas dessert buffet I had plans to make more then this. But with time restrictions this is what I managed. Firstly I finally got around to making this Pumpkin Tiramisu from Chef Chloe’s website. I have been wanting to try this for so long. I learned my lesson a few years ago making a traditional Tiramisu for everyone for Christmas that I could not eat. Not only was it depressing, but my skin broke out after I had to try all the elements before putting it all together. So this recipe is completely vegan and seemed like a better option. I would love to say that I fell in love with this recipe, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed. I’m not sure if it was because I used fresh butter nut pumpkin purée instead of canned pumpkin or because I had to use a hazelnut syrup instead of alcohol. But I just found the color was off, there was far to much sugar, especially in the vanilla cake. Everyone who tried it said it was nice, but that I shouldn’t of ruined something that’s perfect already. I think the concept of the pumpkin creme was excellent though and very creamy and thick like mascapone and eggs. I think next time I would use some Savoiardi if I can find dairy free and definitely some alcohol.

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This dessert was actually more popular that I had to make it again for New years. It actually looked a lot more stunning with the fresh fruit on top, but I forgot to take photos just before serving.  It is slightly adapted from Vegan Two-Bite Blueberry Cheesecake by Cheeky Kitchen. I used vegan ginger snap biscuits for the base,  frozen mixed berries for the berry compote and fresh blueberries, strawberries and cherries for the topping. I also made 8 serves instead of 12-15. So they were more of a full dessert serving then a bite size. The recipe is really easy to prepare and very quick. So long as you remember to soak the cashews with coconut cream the night before. It actually turned out more like a pudding instead of a cheesecake.

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Mixed Berry Pudding with Ginger snap base (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 cups cashews

2 cans full-fat coconut cream

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup finely crushed ginger-snap biscuits (vegan gluten free)

3 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar or raw sugar

3 tablespoon vegan butter

2 cups frozen mixed berries

pinch ground cardamon

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup fresh mixed berries

Method:

1. The day before, place cashews and coconut cream into a bowl/container. Stir in the vanilla extract. Then cover and place in fridge overnight.

2. The next day place the cashew & coconut cream mixture into a Vitamix blender. Add 1/2 cup of maple syrup and blend until smooth.

3. In a small bowl, combine ground ginger-snap biscuits, sugar, and melted butter. Spoon mixture into the bottom of small serving bowls. Place a dollop of cashew-coconut milk mixture on top.

4. Take a small pot, heat together blueberries, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, cardamom, and lemon zest. Cook until the berries begin to bursting. Allow to cool.

5. Melt nutlex in a small pot, then add the biscuit crumbs on a low heat.

6. Spoon the biscuit crumbs into 8 dessert glasses. Then top with cashew coconut cream and berry compote. Place the glasses into the fridge until ready to serve.

7. Top the dessert with fresh berries and serve.

*Serves 8

Pumpkin Polenta with Caramelized Onion and Fennel with Cannellini Beans

I think I spoke to soon yesterday. The lovely humid weather I have described became cool and windy again today. At least I can still eat a cosy warm meal for dinner. This is the first time I have cooked with fennel. I was a little scared because it does have a really strong aniseed taste, but it becomes more muted the longer you cook it. I was going to add some fresh silver beet from my garden but it was all burned to a crisp from the sun. So I made some lightly steamed asparagus and broccolin instead.

Between making dinner tonight and juicing for tomorrow I think I used up all the vegetables in the fridge. Luckily its the Farmers Market in the city tomorrow. Past few of weeks I have been making a stop before or after work to pick up $2 bunches of kale, fresh ciabatta breads and all the fresh fruit and vege I can carry.

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Pumpkin Polenta (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 cups pumpkin (chopped)

1.5 cup filtered water (use steamer water)

2 tsp dry vegetable stock

2 cups oat/plant milk

1 cup polenta

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Steam the pumpkin till soft.

2. Place the pumpkin, steamer water and stock into a blender and blend till smooth.

3. In a large pot add the blended pumpkin and the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, then cook on a simmer until the polenta is cooked. This should take about 10 minutes.

*Serves 4

Caramelized Onion and Fennel with Cannellini Beans and Shiitake Mushrooms (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 small onions, sliced

1 fennel bulb, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 small red capsicum, chopped

1/2 cup dry shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup water

1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)

1 can cannellini beans

sea salt to taste

handful italian parsley (diced)

Method:

1. Melt coconut oil in a large pan, then add onion and fennel. Cook on a low heat for 5-7 minutes until it softens

2. Add the garlic and red capsicum and continue to cook  for another 5 minutes so that the onions and fennel begin to caramelize

3. Add the shiitake mushrooms, mushroom stock and sherry. Continue to cook till the water absorbs.

4. Add the cannellini beans and sea salt and heat through.

5. Stir through italian parsley and serve immediately with pumpkin polenta and some steamed greens.

*Serves 4

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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 ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

Sweet Veggie Dinner and a visit to KU-O

Hi all, tonight I experiment a bit and put some things together that I don’t usually do. Instead of making cashew cream like I have been doing a lot lately, I tried making almond butter cream. I made it to go with these delicious Japanese Sweet Potatoes that I got from the Rocklea market the other day. This variety is very sweet, but they taste a lot different to regular sweet potatoes. They have really deep purple skin, but the flesh is white inside. I really recommend them. On the side I made some roasted miso glaze vegetables and a quinoa salad. With the leftover almond butter I made a mousse with blueberries an chia seeds. Everything was naturally sweetened and entirely gluten free and full of nutrients.

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Whole Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Almond Cinnamon Butter (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 whole japanese sweet potatoes

grapeseed oil or canola oil

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup filtered water

1 teaspoon agave

pinch of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons 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.???????????????????????????????

3. In the meantime bring a small pot to the boil, then add the almonds and boil for 10 mins.

4. Strain the almonds and rinse with cold water to cool them down. Then remove the skins.

5. Then place almonds in the blender/processor. First grind till the almonds break up as much as they can. Then slowly add the water and process until it becomes a smooth cream.

6. Add agave, sea salt, cinnamon and coconut oil/butter. Mix until combined the n set to the side.

7. When sweet potatoes are soft, slice down the center and serve with the Almond Butter.

*Almond Butter makes about 1 cup. Cook more sweet potatoes if serving for more people.

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Miso Glaze Roasted Brussel Spouts, Lotus Root and Garlic (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon brown rice syrup

1 teaspoon white miso

8 brussels sprouts

6 slices lotus root

4 garlic cloves, peeled

sea salt to taste???????????????????????????????

Method:

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

2. If your coconut oil isn’t liquid then lightly heat to liquidize  I just used a small stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water. Then combine the liquid coconut oil with miso paste and brown rice syrup.

3. Coat the brussels sprouts, lotus root and garlic  cloves with the mixture. Cook for 30 mins or until brussels sprouts are cooked. Season with sea salt before serving.

*Serves 2

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Asparagus & Cherry Tomato Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus, remove ends and chop

1/2 cup quinoa

1 red onion, sliced

olive oil

handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1-2 tablespoons minced parsley

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil, then cook the asparagus they are tender. Rinse with cold water and place to the side.

2. In the same water cook the quinoa, according to packet directions. Then strain.

3. Heat a drop of olive oil in a nonstick pan, then cook red onion for 5-10 mins.

4. Combine the asparagus, quinoa, red onion, cherry tomatoes, parsley and sea salt, then serve.

*Serves 1 as a main or 2-3 as a side dish

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Almond Blueberry Chia Mousse (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

Almond Cinnamon Butter (from above)

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

agave to taste

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Method:

1. Add frozen blueberries to the Almond Cinnamon Butter in the processor. Process until blueberries have broken down.

2. Add agave to taste and whiz again to combine.

3. Turn of processor then add chia seeds.

4. Place in the fridge for at least 20 mins. Then enjoy. Its even better the next day!

*Serves 1-2

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I also wanted to share another food find. In Sunnybank at the famous Market Square, a new Japanese Restaurant has opened. Its called KU-O Japanese Restaurant. It appeared really small from the front. But once you walk in it is very pretty. I noticed there were many tofu options to replace meat or fish in the dishes. I ordered the Tofu Teriyaki Don. It was quite nice and filling. We really like this place and will defiantly return. It’s a nice improvement to Market Square.

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Whole Baked Sweet Potato with Mixed Bean Chili, Guacamole and Quinoa Salad

Believe it or not I have never baked a whole sweet potato before. When I was kid, mum use to make ‘potatoes in their jackets’ (baked spuds), but I haven’t had them in years. I think I am in love! They were so delicious and sweet. I can’t believe what I have been missing out on all this time. This is definitely going to have to be a part of our regular weeknight dinner rotation. It also went really well the the chili. The savory, spicy flavor toned down the sweetness of the sweet potato. The guacamole and salad really brought a fresh taste to the main event as well. Avocados are still expensive and very hard at the moment. We bought a whole heap of small ones the other day and they all went ripe at the same time. Can’t wait for the big soft ones to be back in season for breakfast.

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Whole Roasted Sweet Potato with Mixed Bean Chilli (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients for Sweet Potato:

4 medium size sweet potato, olive oil to coat

Ingredients for Chili:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon onion flake or onion powder

1 tablespoon ground sweet paprika

1/2 tablespoon chilli powder or ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

400g can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon agave or raw sugar

400g can mixed beans

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Clean and scrub sweet potatoes. Then 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.???????????????????????????????

2. Heat olive oil in a pan, then add onion and garlic and saute for 2 mins.???????????????????????????????

3. Add cumin, onion flakes, sweet paprika, chili powder and dried oregano. Continue to cook for 3 mins or until fragrant and onions are have softened. ???????????????????????????????

4. Add diced tomatoes, agave, sea salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then leave it to simmer for 20.

5. Add the beans then cook for another 5-10 mins. Adjust seasoning if you need to.

6. When sweet potatoes are ready slice long ways to open up the flesh.

*Serve with Chili on top of the Sweet Potato. Also serve with Guacamole or Vegan Sour Cream.

*Serves 4

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Creamy Guacamole (gf, nf)

Ingredients:

2 large avocados

1/2 lime

2-3 tablespoons tofutti ‘cream cheese’ (optional)

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mash avocado and ‘cream cheese’ until consistent.

*Serves 4 as a side

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Simply Zesty Quinoa Salad (gf, sf, nf)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup quinoa

1 small red onion, diced

2 large tomatoes, diced

1 stick of celery, diced

2-3 tablespoons diced fresh/frozen parsley/coriander

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon agave (optional)

Method:

1. Cook quinoa according to packet instructions.

2. Once ready and water has completely evaporated (otherwise strain), add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Season to taste.

*Serves 6 as a side dish.

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Cumin Cardamon Spiced Rice with Green Lentils and Roasted Brussels Spouts & Garlic

This is my last green lentil dish from the leftovers that I cooked a few days ago. I can’t believe how far 2 cups of lentils went. I served these dishes with some crunchy roasted kale, some twice roasted potatoes (also leftovers) and Fry’s Golden Crumbed Schnitzels.

I have been feeling really tired the last few days. I have been working and not eating fresh greens or much fruit. I also have been relying to much on coffee. After becoming really lethegic, I decided to be different today. For breakfast I had Organic Kamut Bread toasted with hummus and a Cherry Berry Oat Milk Smoothie. For lunch I had these dishes again. For dinner tonight I am  making some vegetarian salads for Marco’s mothers big 60th party. So I will post on what I come up with soon.

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Cumin Cardamon Spiced Rice with Green Lentils (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups brown jasmine rice

2 cups cooked green lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 red onions, sliced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cardamon

juice of 1 lemon

sea salt to taste???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. First cook rice in the rice cooker. ???????????????????????????????

2. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large pan. Then add red onions, cumin and cardamon. Cook for 8-10 mins or until the onions are soft and browned. Don’t let spices burn, if you need add more oil or water.

3. Add green lentils to the pan and heat through. Cook for 2-3 mins.

4. Add cooked rice to the pan, lemon juice and seas with salt. Cook until heated then serve.

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Roasted Brussels Spouts & Garlic (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

12-15 brussels sprouts

1 whole garlic head

olive oil

sea salt

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wash and remove any tarnished outer leaves of brussels sprouts.

2. In a small baking dish combine the brussels sprouts, the whole garlic (don’t remove outer skin), olive oil and sea salt.

3. Roast for 30 mins or until you can pierce the brussels sprouts with a fork.

4. Peel the roasted garlic and stir through in a bowl with brussels sprouts and adjust seasoning.

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Sweet Potato Croquettes with Spicy Pineapple & Black beans Rice

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

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

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

Ingredients:

2 small sweet potatoes

1/4 cup polenta

1 tablespoon water

1  tablespoon coriander leaves, minced

sea salt to taste

5 teaspoons Tofutti cream cheese

corn crumbles

canola oil, enough to shallow fryDSC01375

Method:

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

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

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

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

5. Rub the balls in corn crumbs.

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

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

*Makes 10 balls.

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

Ingredients:

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

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 large stalks of celery, diced

1 red chilli, diced

1/2 red capsicums, diced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

sea salt & black pepper to taste

1 small zucchini, chopped

1/2 cup cooked black beans

1/2 cup pineapple, diced

Method:

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

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

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

*Serves 4

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Frittelle croccanti di patate and Warm Buckwheat & Pumpkin Salad

Tonights dinner was nearly the dinner that never was. In Brisbane we had a huge storm. I think I even saw a  twister outside my window. It was so scary. For the five minutes before  it started, there was a sound like an airplane was going by, then the storm hit. It sounded like all the windows were being smash and in fact my window by my computer did get smashed. My poor dogs must of got pelted, they bed was covered in hail too, but luckily I found them around the side of the house. They are still traumatized though. It only lasted about 30mins so its all good now. When I was cooking this I also ran out of gas. Luckily after a few attempts Marco managed to get the new gas bottle up and running. Not the best thing when you in the middle of frying.

Tonight I cooked potato fritters from an Italian website. It’s really easy to make and vegan. I was surprised it didn’t say to squeeze the water out of the potatos, but I did anyway before I fried them. This can be made gluten free, by using gf flour or even tapioca flour. The rosemary taste amazing  with the potatoes and they don’t need any egg or cheese. The Warm Buckwheat & Pumpkin Salad was a mixture of ingredients I had on hand. The flavours all went really well together. I didn’t even feel envious that everyone else was having tempura chicken with their dinner. My dinner was satisfying enough 🙂

Frittelle croccanti di patate (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

5 medium brushed potatoes

2 tablespoons unbleached plain or gluten free flour

2 sprigs of rosemary leaves

sea salt & black pepper to taste

canola/olive oil to fry

Method:

1. Peel and grate the potatoes into a large bowl. (Squeeze out the water)

2. Add flour, rosemary, salt & pepper to potato & stir through.

3. Heat oil to shallow fry. Form balls with hands or with tbsp and place into the oil, then flatten with a spoon. Cook them on both sides till golden brown.

4. Place on paper towel to get out some of the oil, then serve.

(I got 13 out of this batch)

Warm Buckwheat & Pumpkin Salad (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 cup buckwheat

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 kent pumpkin, chopped in small slices

4 tomatoes, deseeded & chopped

2 handfuls of raisins

1 bunch of italian parsley, chopped

sea salt & black pepper to taste

2 handfuls of almonds (dry toasted)

Method:

1. Cook buckwheat according to instructions and once finished strain and leave the side.

2. In the meantime, heat a large pan with oil on medium heat, then add garlic & pumpkin. Cook for 5mins or until pumpkin is a little browned.

3. Add tomatoes and raisins and cook for further 3 minutes.

4. Then add italian parsley, buckwheat,  salt & pepper and heat through.

4. Lastly add dry toasted almonds (cooked in a dry pan) and serve.

*Serves 4 as a side dish.