Purple bean Caponata

This dish was inspired by my lovely Italian neighbours who gave me some magic purple beans. I have no idea what type of beans they are, but apparently they grow all year round. They are large white and maroon beans that turn purple when you cook them. I think they may be butter beans, but if anyone knows what they are please let me know. Caponata is usually served as a vegetable side dish. I added beans and served it as a main. I also served it along side some sautéed green beans and Farinata. This was my first time cooking Farinata and along with my beans it was a big hit with the family. Its tastes like a big crunchy savoury pancake and is made of chickpea flour. Its a great gluten free alternative to bread. Its also a great lunch box filler for kids or work lunches.

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Purple bean Caponata (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

olive oil

1 medium eggplant, sliced in large rounds

1 medium brown onion, diced

2 celery sticks, leaves removed, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 large tomato, diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon baby capers

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tsp raw sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.5 cooked purple butter beans or other butter beans

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup fresh italian parsley, chopped

Method:

1. First you need to remove the bitterness from the eggplant, by sprinkling with salt (I just use table salt) and leaving to sit for 10 minutes. Moisture should come out of the eggplant flesh. Wipe the moisture and salt off the eggplant. Then cut into cubes.

2. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Then add onion and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

3. Stir through the eggplant and another tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté for 5 minutes and stir frequently.

4. Add garlic, zucchini and tomato. Stir through and cook for a further 5 minutes.

5. Stir through the tomato paste and capers. Cook for another minute.

6. Add 1/4 cup of water and once it absorbs a little add another 1/4 cup of water, so that the vegetables don’t stick to the skillet.

7. Add pine nuts, red wine vinegar, sugar, sea salt and black pepper. Leave to cook for 10 minutes.

8. Add the beans and another 1/4 cup of water and cook for a further 5 minutes so that the beans are heated through.

9. Take off the heat and stir through basil and parsley. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot or at room temperature.

*Serves 4-6

 

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Farinata

 

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

Pearl Couscous with Green Lentils, Kale and Caramelized Onions

After seeing my naturapath yesterday I realised I really have to amp up my bean intake and make more of an effort to combine plant-based proteins for the baby. As much as I love eating beans I always forget to put them to soak the night. Although I don’t enjoy lentils as much, they are really handy when you have limited time and are out of bpa free canned beans (which I have been relying on). I was also craving pearl couscous after that delicious dish I had from East Elevation a few days ago in Melbourne.

This dish was inspired by Mujaddara but with a few alterations. I used pearl couscous for a different texture and some kale and pepitas seeds for an extra nutritional boost. This dish usually calls for crispy fried onions on top, but I decided to not over cook the onions, to  leave as much nutrients as possible. It was a delicious combination. I hope my little one is enjoying some new flavours.

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 Pearl Couscous with Green Lentils, Kale and Caramelized Onions (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup green lentils (you only need 1 cup of cooked lentils, so cook 1 cup dry for leftovers)

2 cups diced brown onion (about 1.5 onions)

olive oil

3 garlic cloves, diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup pearl couscous

1.5 cup liquid vegetable stock (chicken or veg flavoured)

2 cups sliced kale, tightly packed (about 2 large kale leaves, large stems removed)

3 tablespoons pepitas seeds

Method:

1. Place the green lentils in a pot with enough water to cover and bring the boil. Then place on a simmer and cook until tender. Once cooked leave to the side.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and then add the onion. Cook on a low to medium heat until the onions have browned and caramelized. This should take about 20 minutes. Once they are browned remove from the skillet and place to the side.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the ground cumin, ground cinnamon, all spice and sea salt. Cook for a future 30 seconds or until fragrant.

4. Add the couscous and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the couscous is tender. Add more stock if it starts to stick to the pot.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and then add the kale. Lightly saute until the kale has wilted and is a vibrant green colour.

6. Toast the pepitas seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop a little then place to the side.

7. Make sure the couscous is off the heat and then add 1 cup of cooked green lentils, 2/3 of the caramelized brown onions and kale to the pot. Stir through.

8. Serve the couscous with extra carmelized onion and toasted pepitas seeds.

*Serve as a main for 3 or as a side for 4

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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

 

Adzuki Bean and Pumpkin Stew

One of the first macrobiotic dishes I ever tried was Adzuki beans with Squash. I remember the first time I made this dish my family and our international students really didn’t like the look of this dish. They thought I was a bit crazy to put these ingredients together and refused to try it. I guess back then I thought it was a bit weird too, but we have all come along way since then. This time I decided to spice this dish up a bit with some additional ground spices and more veggies. It is a very hearty nourishing dish, which pairs well with steamed brown rice.

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Adzuki Bean and Pumpkin Stew (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

filtered water

1 cup dry adzuki beans

1″ x 1″  dry kombu

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small brown onion, sliced thin

1 garlic, diced

1 medium carrot, sliced thin in half moons

1 leek, white parts only, sliced thin in half moons

1 celery, sliced thin

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon himalayan sea salt

4 cups pumpkin, remove skin (optional) and chopped into large chunks (I used kent, but you can use kabocha or butternut pumpkin if you prefer)

1 tablespoon tamari or shoyu

Method:

1. Soak the adzuki beans overnight with filtered water and kombu.

2. Drain the beans and place the adzuki beans and kombu in a pot with some fresh filtered water. Bring to the boil, then cover on a low heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until the beans are cooked. Then strain and leave to the side.

3. Heat olive oil in pot or large pan. Then add onion and garlic. Cook on a medium to low heat for 4-5 minutes until they have browned.

4. Add the carrot, leek and celery and cook for a further few minutes, until they begin to soften.

5. Add the ground cumin, ground sweet paprika, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and himalayan sea salt. Stir through the vegetables and cook for another minute or until the spices are fragrant.

6. Add pumpkin and a cup of water. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked.

7. Add the aduki beans and tamari. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then serve.

*Serves 4

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Lime spiked Black bean and Beetroot Dip

I am completely black beaned out for the week. I was so proud that I found time to cook a big pot of beans on monday after work. I forgot to mentioned that I also had a black bean burito earlier that day. So after boiling 2 cups of beans, Marco and I have had to eat them for just about every meal this week. I still had two cups left last night so this is what I came up with. The lime and coriander gave my old beans a new lively freshness and the beetroot gave the dip a very nice hue.

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Lime spiked Black bean and Beetroot Dip (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked black beans

1 large clove of garlic

1 cup grated beetroot

juice from 1.5 limes

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon onion flakes (or onion powder)

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

ground cayenne pepper to taste

sea salt to taste

1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves

Method:

1. Place black beans, garlic, beetroot and lime juice in a high speed blender or processor. Blend until smooth.

2. Add the spices and sea salt to taste and blend through.

3. Lastly add the coriander and pulse till it has broken down a little, but so you can still see specs of green through the dip.

*Makes 2 cups

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Spaghetti Squash with a delicious Sun dried Tomato, Olive, Red Wine Sauce and a Lemony Cannellini bean Salad

Sometimes I get so envious of other overseas cooking blogs, with their interesting ingredients that I can’t find in Australia. One of these ingredients is Spaghetti Squash. I couldn’t believe that you could make pasta from a pumpkin. However I finally found this Spaghetti Squash in a fancy grocery store on the north side of town.

Spaghetti Squash is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash. It is very nutritious and contains omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, vitamin C,  A and B; and is rich in beta carotene. It can be baked, boiled, steamed and microwaved. After cooking, you can run a folk through it and its flesh will separates into spaghetti-like strands.

I decided to roast my spaghetti squash, since everything tastes better roasted. It acutally turned out really well. I probably over cooked mine a little, so the strains were a little mashy. I served it with a delicious rich tomato sauce. Poor Marco missed out on this meal, but my lucky mum got to share it with me. She really enjoyed it, with a lovely glass of Lambrusco.

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Spaghetti Squash with a delicious Sun dried Tomato, Olive, Red Wine Sauce (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 Spaghetti Squash (90g -100g)

olive oil

sea salt to taste

black pepper to taste

1 small brown onion, diced

2 garlic, cloves diced

1 red chilli, diced

6 sun dried tomatoes, chopped

1 can good quality tomato pulp (I used Mutti)

1/2 can filtered water

sea salt and black pepper to taste

pinch raw sugar

2 tablespoons red wine (I used Lambrusco)

8-10 black olives

8 basil leaves, chopped

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.DSC01838

2. Cut off the stem of the squash, then cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds and remove some of the guts. Sprinkle some sea salt and black pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes or until cooked.

3. Heat a pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and add onion, garlic and chili. Saute for a few minutes until the onion starts to brown.

4. Then add sun dried tomato and saute for another couple of minutes. If you like add some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes or olive oil.

5. Add the tomato pulp, water,  sea salt, black pepper, raw sugar. Bring to a light boil, then leave to simmer.

6. Add the red wine and black olives. Leave to cook for 20 minutes or until the spaghetti squash is cooked. Add more sea salt and pepper if you need to the sauce.DSC01842

7. Once the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, run a fork through the flesh to produce small strains of spaghetti.

8. Before serving add the basil leaves to the sauce and stir it through the hot sauce and to let it wilt.

9. Top the Spaghetti Squash flesh with the sauce.

*Serves 2

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On the side I made a Lemony Cannellini bean Salad. There is something so special when these simple ingredients are combined. It is lovely served with a rich main or can be jazzed up for the main event.

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Zesty Cannellini bean Salad (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 can cannellini beans

1/2 small red onion, sliced

1/2 tablespoon lemon zest

small handful italian parsley, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir through. Can be made ahead of time.

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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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Warm Buckwheat and Lentil Salad with Pumpkin and Broccolini

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

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

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

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

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried brown lentils

1 cup raw buckwheat

900 g kent or butternut pumpkin

olive oil

2 bunches of broccolini

sea salt to taste

snow pea sprouts, washed, roughly chopped

Ingredients Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing:

1 whole garlic head

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch ground cayenne pepper

1/4 cup italian parsley

1 tablespoon tahini (unhulled)

sea salt to taste

Ingredients Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hurom Juicer and Pasulj (Serbian beans)

My Hurom Juicer finally arrived today! I have been madly checking the post tracking ever since I bought it for myself. It is my early graduation present. I bought HU500 ???????????????????????????????after I saw it advertised on the Food Matters website. The demonstration videos looked quite impressive and I really liked that it yields more juice with more nutrients.

The post man was so early this morning that he woke me up, but I couldn’t go back to bed I had to try it out my new baby. Albie took advantage of my sleepiness and impressed me with giving me each paw to shake and then sat with his adorable sad face. He is not well at the moment, he has injured himself so we are off to the chiropractor on the weekend. So while I was madly trying to figure out my juicer, he helped himself to my mum’s leather lounge and took a long nap.

After taking the juicer apart to see where it all goes I put it back together and started chopping fruit and veggies. I only had a pear, small beetroot, few sticks of celery and one large leaf of kale, so I wasn’t expecting a lot of juice. I just place a glass under the spout, like they do in the video and started to juice. Before I got near the pear I already had a full glass of green juice. I had to get another glass to catch the rest. I was really impressed with the dry pulp and I really love the little cap on the spout that the juice comes out of, which makes sure you don’t spill any.

The juice consistency was really nice. It wasn’t too watery or too pulpie. To clean the juicer you just have to rinse it with water and use the brush to get off any excess fruit, so easy. I ended up making juice again after dinner tonight to demonstrate it to Marco. He is in love with it too now. Unfortunately we had to go back to his tonight, so we won’t see the Hurom again till tomorrow.

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While I was enjoying my juice I was watching the Today Show and saw that David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe is here for his Australia Tour! He is  coming to my city in Brisbane next week. Unfortunately I couldn’t convince anyone today to go with me, so I will be going to his evening lecture and day conference by myself next weekend. It is a bit pricey but for the amount of hours it good value. To see a show or do a cooking lesson would cost just as much and thats only 2 hours. I first saw David on Hungry for Change documentary and he really influenced me to get back into juicing. So I can’t wait to see what he says and to learn more about raw food and nutrition.

With such a healthy start to the day I continued with a healthy Mushroom and Baba Ganoush Salad Wrap for lunch. I tried out the new Organic Mountain Bread that I got from Woolies yesterday. It doesn’t have any preservatives, which is great as its hard to find any wraps or lebanese breads that don’t. It also tastes really good and doesn’t have that strange wrap after taste.

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Mushroom and Baba Ganoush Salad Wrap (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large flat mushroom sliced

1 teaspoon diced basil/parsley

2 pieces of mountain bread/gf wrap

2 tablespoons baba ganoush (store bought/homemade)

1/2 small carrot grated

1/2 small lebanese cucumber thinly sliced

1 radish thinly sliced

1 small tomato sliced

small handful baby spinach

1 roasted capsicum

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a pan and add mushroom. Saute on each side, when it starts to brown add the basil/parsley and sea salt.

2. Place 1 piece of mountain bread on a plate, then spread baba ganosh and top with carrot, cucumber, radish, tomato, baby spinach, mushroom, roasted capsicum and sea salt.

3. Close the ends of the mountain bread then roll it closed. Wrap another mountain bread around the wrap.

4. Wrap the mountain bread with baking paper and twist the ends of the paper. Then slice in the middle and serve.

* Serves 1

After lunch I started on dinner. I always get so much done when I am procrastinating my uni work. I really wanted to try make another Serbian bean dish that I tried at ???????????????????????????????Marco’s sisters Slava.  It is prepared the same way as Prebranac, which I made with lima beans. However, is stove cooked instead of baked. To thicken the beans and water into a sauce you just add a mixture of flour and water. She also told me that leeks, carrots and capscium can also be added.

According to an article I read this stove cooked Serbian beans is called Pasulj (Пасуљ) and is more like a thick bean soup. It is traditional dish in Serbian, Bosnia, Albania and other parts of the Balkans. Like Prebranac it is made white or brown beans, onions and sweet Hungarian paprika as well as bay leaves, carrots, leeks and other vegetables. It is often prepared with smoked meats, such as smoked bacon, smoked sausage and smoked joints. But the meat is omitted during times of fasting.

Although this dish takes a long time to make its really easy and is a perfect comfort dish for cold weather. I had to add a bit of sugar to mine, as my sweet hungarian paprika was a bit bitter. We enjoyed this soup with some crusty sour dough and sauerkraut.

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Pasulj (Serbian Bean Soup) (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

500g great northern beans (soaked/un-soaked)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large leek, diced

3 onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 red capsicum, diced

2 tablespoons Sweet Hungarian Paprika

3 bay leaves, pinch of raw sugar (if too bitter)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)

sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons arrowroot flour (or other flour)???????????????????????????????

Method:

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

2. Place 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.???????????????????????????????

4. In a large pan heat olive oil and add the onion, garlic, leeks, carrots, red capsicum, paprika, bay leaves, sea salt, black pepper, sugar and liquid smoke. Cook for 1o mins or until onions are translucent and all the vegetables have softened???????????????????????????????

5. Add the vegetables to the beans and stir through.

6. Mix flour with 4 tablespoons water in a small bowl then add to the beans.

7. Cook beans for a further 30-1 hour, so that they break down a little more and become a thick soup. Season and serve.

*Serves 6-8

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

Cord Magazine <http://www.cordmagazine.com/images1/pdf/cord77.pdf>

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Here is an update on my garden. My herbs are looking a bit sad and my veggies are getting a few bites, but they are all growing nicely. I have started using the pak chop and lettuce. Any advice natural ways to stop bugs? I am using this natural chili garlic spray. Its only the broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts that are getting attacked.

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I’ve also started growing a pineapple plant with the top root. I will have to plant it soon.

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