Skillet Italian Sausages (vegan) with Potatoes and Peppers

I’ve been on my vegan journey for nearly 2 years now, but I still occasionally get a meat cravings. It’s usually triggered by one of Marco’s BBQ’s, when I see my friends and family enjoying his gourmet sausages from the local organic butcher. I try to stay away from mock meat, since they usually contain soy protein and isolates. However, when I was browsing my local vegan supermarket I noticed these Tofurkey sausages that are made of Organic Tofu, so thought I would give them a chance. They were actually pretty good. They had the texture of a real sausage, which was surprising. Although they didn’t really have that meaty taste, they were still a good substitute. On the plus side it didn’t leave that strong meaty after taste and Marco didn’t mind them.

Have you tried Tofurky Sausages? What other brands vegan sausage brands do you recommend?

DSC02527Skillet Italian Sausages with Potatoes and Peppers (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon olive oilDSC02517

3 potatoes, wash and cubed (preferably yellow potatoes)

1/2 medium onion, sliced

1 medium red capsicum, sliced

1 cup vegetable liquid stock

1/2 teaspoon sea salt and more to season

black pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, diced

Tofurky Italian Sausage (4 in pack), sliced into rounds

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Heat a large skillet with olive oil and then add potatoes, onion, and capsicum. Saute for 10 minutes. When the  vegetables start to stick to the pan add 1/2 cup vegetable stock.

3. Add the garlic, rosemary and Tofurky Italian Sausages to the skillet and stir through. Saute for another couple of minutes, allowing the sausages to brown a little.

4. Add 1/2 cup vegetable stock to the skillet then place in the oven. Cook for 25-30, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

*Serves 4

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Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich/Sushi and Carrot Ginger Mojito

Canned tuna is one of those things that I have struggled with giving up since trying to make the change to vegan. It just has something about it that I crave. If you are one of my non vegan friends, you are probably thinking why would anyone want to give up tuna, its delicious? Well mercury toxicity and BPA toxicity are a couple of reasons that I really try to avoid any canned fish in general. Overfishing and unsustainable fishing methods is also another couple of reasons I discovered this when I blogged on this issue a while ago (The canned tuna debate).

I admit I have actually been better in recent times to avoid canned fish entirely and other seafood.  A big thing that has stopped me craving tuna is re-educating myself on the reality of the detriment it may have to my health and trying avoid toxins while I endeavour to start preparing myself to have a baby. By the way that’s still a secret! I am still in the stages of getting all my tests done and get any deficiencies sorted before we start trying. I am about to start another detox soon with guidance of my new naturopath, which I’m really excited about! Marco thinks I am the only person in the world excited about doing a detox, especially since my first detox a few years back was so difficult. However, over the last 3 and a half years I have learned a lot and my tastes have really changed. I feel more in control and equip to be able to enjoy the ride this time.

Anyway back to cooking… I tried to make a Mock Tuna Salad with tempeh a while ago. If found the texture was there, but not the fishy taste. So I tried again with chickpeas, umeboshi vinegar and nori. This time I managed to get the taste, but the texture was probably a little to fine. Besides that I much prefer this recipe and found it really versatile for making sandwiches and sushi and it passed the flavour test with Marco and Mum (who said I thought you don’t eat tuna any more).

Tuna Salad 2

Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tin chickpeas/ 1.25 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional, leave out for thicker consistency)

3 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar

3-4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon himalayan pink salt / sea salt

1 sheet nori (cut into 5 cm strips) or  3 tablespoons crispy seaweed

Method:

1. Place chickpeas, celery, onion and olive oil into the processor. Process until the chickpeas have broken down. You may have to keep wiping down the sides with a spatula.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the nori strips. Process until you are happy with the consistency

3. Add nori sheets and adjust seasoning if you need to. Then process for until the nori has been mixed through.

*Makes over 1 cup

DSC02227

Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sandwich (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

sliced bread ( I used  toasted multigrain vienna sourdough)

2-3 tablespoons vegan tuna per sandwich (recipe above)

sliced tomato

fancy lettuce or mixed lettuce

any other salad items

Method:

1. Spread vegan tuna on one side of the bread. Then top with salad items and other slice of bread and enjoy.

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 Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sushi (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 nori sheet

3 tablespoons cooked quinoa or sushi rice

2-3 tablespoons vegan tuna per sandwich (recipe above)

sliced tomato

fancy lettuce or mixed lettuce

any other salad items

Method:

1. Place quinoa in the middle of the nori sheet in a line down the middle.

2. Top quinoa with vegan tuna and salad items.

3. Roll the nori into a sushi roll. Slice in half and enjoy.

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For a mid-afternoon beverage to enjoy while I watching FMTV I made this delicious juicy mocktail. Perfect for this muggy weather and to get into the spirit of detoxing.

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Carrot Ginger Mojito (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 small carrots

2 apples

small knob ginger

3 cm wide round slice lemon (including skin)

mint leaves from 2 sprigs

cold sparkling water

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients except the sparkling water in a juicer.

2. Place the juice in a tall glass or large jar and top with some sparkling water and some mint leaves to serve.

*Serves 1

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Bucatini all’amatriciana and Verdure grigliate

The past couple of days Marco and I have been going into work really early. When I say early I meet leaving the house at 6 am. It wouldn’t be so bad if I went to bed a little early and didn’t get woken up by students showering at 3 am and getting up to turn off the fridge beeping twice around 4 am every night. Strangely enough once I get up I actually feel pretty good. Yesterday we decided to have an early breakfast at a local cafe near my work. While we were waiting for our meals I lrg_2400was flicking through an old addition of Jamie Olives Magazine from April/May 2010. Marco was looking over my shoulder and when I went past Jamie’s Bucatini all’amatriciana he snatched the magazine and said I am making this tonight!

Considering he only knows how to cook eggs and toast I was surprised about his enthusiasm. Then I realized that it was because he wanted this dish because it had meat. He knows there no chance I was going to make something with Pancetta. Besides the fact that I don’t eat meat anymore, I also remember the sweet delicious flavor of Italian pancetta and proscuitto and quite frankly its still too temping for me to prepare for someone else.

Later that afternoon we went to the supermarket on Marco’s mission to buy Pancetta. We went to two big supermarkets and once we finally found it I managed to talk him out of it. From a health persective I don’t understand why ingredients like gluten, soy, lactose, sodium nitrate, glucose, preservatives, etc, need to be included. Italian hams do not include any of this. So after scrutinizing the ingredients he agreed to go with my promise of making a vegan alternative.img30l

Bucatini all’amatricana is famous traditional dish from the region of Lazio in Italy. L’amatriciana (matriciana in Roman dialect) gets it’s name from the Italian town Amatrice, Lazio. The dish is made from the ingredients typical of Lazio, cured pork jaws (Guanciale di maiale), pecorino cheese, and tomatoes.

L’amatriciana is actually derived from another older dish, La gricia. This is also one of the most famous Italian dishes from the same region. This dish is considered its ancestor, as it predates the importation of tomatoes to Europe. La gricia is also made with cured pork jaws and pecorino cheese. It is  believed that it was named after the Grici, who use sell bread and groceries to the Romans. The were perhaps called Grici because they had emigrated from the Swiss canton of Grisons. Alternatively it is thought that the dish was named after the hamlet of Grisciano, which is in a comune of Accumoli, near Amatrice.Apicius_1709

Tomatoes were not introduced to Europe until the 18th century. In fact the first written record of tomatoes being used as a sauce with pasta was from the 1790 cookbook L’Apicio Moderno by Roman chef Francesco Leonardi. The L’amatriciana later became one of the most famous sauces during the 19th to early 20th century in Rome. This was perhaps because of its close proximity  between Rome and Amatrice. Thus, it became a classic dish of Roman Cuisine. Although La gricia is still prepared throughout central Italy, the L’amatriciana is more well known throughout and outside of Italy.

The recipe of the sauce does vary throughout Lazio. The main ingredients are pork jaws, tomato and pecorino and olive oil. are always used, Olive oil is generally used, but some recipes call for strutto (canned pork lard) instead. The cheese type of pecorino cheese used is Pecorino romano or Pecorino amatriciano. Other ingredients such as black pepper or chili pepper, onion (not used in Amatrice)  and garlic are also acceptable.bucatini

This dish is typically prepared with Bucatini pasta. This is a thick long pasta with a hole through the center. The name is derived from the Italian word ‘buco’ meaning ‘hole’. This type of pasta is very common throughout Rome and Lazio. It is made of hard durum wheat flour and water. It usually takes about nine mintues to cook and is often served with buttery sauces, pork jaws (guanciale), pancetta, vegetables, cheese, eggs, anchovies or sardines. This dish is also typically prepared with Rigatoni or other dry pastas, but never fresh pasta.

I remember that we did eat this pasta somewhere when we were in Italy, so I was going back through my photos and found these (below). This is in a restaurant in Trastevere, Rome. We ordered Bucatini all’amatriciana, Patate arroste and Polla alla Romana. The pasta was definitely the best part.

Rome

So how to make this vegan? I used tempeh as a meat substitute. This is my favorite thing to substitute bacon, meatballs and sausages. To give it the smokey taste I used liquid smoke. After marinating the tempeh and frying it it really did have that smoked meat flavour. Then with the wine and tomatoes and really helped it come together as a delicious sauce. Marco loved this dish and said he was happy to have this instead. He was a bit worried while I was cooking it but once he tried my sauce he was very pleased.

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Bucatini all’amatriciana (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, diced

150g Tempeh pancetta (ingredients below)

1 red chili, diced

6-7 small tomatoes, diced

1 can good quality Polpa (Italian diced tomato pulp)

sea salt and black pepper to taste

4 serves of Bucatini/gf long pasta (400 g)

Ingredients for Tempeh Pancetta (150 g):

2 tsp liquid smoke

1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp agave

sea salt to taste

Method:

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1. First make the Tempeh Pancetta. Slice the tempeh into thin strips, then slice it the other way so they you have small strips. Place the tempeh in a bowl and drizzle liquid smoke, soy sauce, agave and sea salt. Toss through so that it coats all the tempeh. Leave to marinate at least 10 minutes.

2. Bring a small pot to the boil, then drop in the whole tomatoes. Boil for 1 minute or until the skin slighly brakes. Then remove them from the water and plunge into ice water. Peep the tomatoes, remove the seeds then dice the flesh.

3. Heat a large pan or pot with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat, then add onion and garlic. Fry for 3 minutes or until translucent.???????????????????????????????

4. Then add Tempeh Pancetta and fry for another 5 minutes.???????????????????????????????

5. Add white wine and cook until it evaporates. Should take about 5 minutes.

6. Add the diced tomatoes, chili and can of polpa. Fill the half the can with water and add that to the pan as well.

7. Season generously with sea salt and bring to a light boil, then place on a simmer and leave to cook for 30 minutes.

8. Before the sauce is ready cook the pasta in boiling salty water, until al dente. Then move the pasta from the water straight into the hot sauce. Toss through and serve with cracked black pepper.

*Serves 4

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On the side I made grilled vegetables. This is also something we ate a lot in Italy as contorni (side dish). Although I was still eating meat back then, I still craved vegetables. So simple to prepare and really delicious!

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Verdure grigliate (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

olive oil

sea salt to taste

1 eggplant

2 bunches asparagus

2 zucchini (any other vegetables you like)

Method:???????????????????????????????

1. First slice the eggplant into thin strips and then halve again if you like. Add salt onto the eggplant and leave for at least 10 minutes to remove the bitterness. After wipe off the moisture and the salt from the eggplant.

2. In the meantime prepare the rest of the vegetables. Chop the zucchini in half, then slice into thin strips. Remove the woody end of the asparagus then chop in half and slice in half again, so they are thin and long.

3. Brush the griddle pan with olive oil and heat. Brush the vegetables with olive oil, then add in batches to the griddle pan. All the vegetables have difference cooking time, between 2-5 minutes. I cooked the eggplant first and brushed with extra oil while they cooked if there were dry parts. Then I cooked the zucchini and asparagus in batches.Season with sea salt while cooking or after the vegetables are cooked to serve

*Serves 4

Amatriciana, 2013 <http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amatriciana>

Bucatini, 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucatini>

Jamie Magazion 2010 April/May 2010, Amatriciana Pasta Sauce, 2010 <http://www.icanhascook.com/amatriciana-pasta-sauce/>

National Bacon Week – Bucatini Amatriciana, 2013 <http://www.loverofcreatingflavours.co.uk/category/features/food/vegetables-food/grow-your-own/herbs-grow-your-own/parsley/>

Sugo all’amatriciana, 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugo_all’amatriciana>

Sauteed Broccolini and ‘Chicken’ with Brown Rice and Corn topped with Avocado Mousse

Hi all, hope you had a good week. I’ve gotten over my cold and nearly finished university. Today was my last day with my little mentees, who I have been helping get through the perils of first semester of university. But I still have my last Italian exam next Tuesday and my last assignment, which I will hopefully hand in next week. My lecturer is pretty cruisey about due dates, but I just want this to be over. Its been 5 years, so I’ve had enough of studying. I need at least 6 months off, in case I decide to do honors, but at this point I’m just looking forward to freedom. I also want my freedom back to cook.

This is the first meal I have prepared worth documenting this past week. It was more out of necessity of cooking all the vegetables in our fridge. My mother and I have a bad habit of doing food shopping on the same day without realizing, then we end up with too much food. Me and Marco can only eat so much of it, since she has more of a social life then us these days. I don’t know why but it stresses me out knowing that the vegetables are running out of nutrients everyday that goes by. I’ve especially become crazy when it comes to juicing. If Marco and mum don’t finish their juice within the first 10 mins after I’ve made them, I start yelling about the nutrients dying lol. I really need a break…

This dish was inspired by Natalie the Naturopath’s Pan Fried Buckwheat & Silverbeet with Spiced Tempeh. Unfortunately I didn’t have any tempeh and Marco negotiated ???????????????????????????????brown rice instead of buckwheat. I didn’t add any spices like hers, instead I made an avocado mouse to give the rest of the dish a lift. It was very simple, but delicious. Marco is looking forward to taking the rest of the leftovers tomorrow.

By the way, this little pink piggy was a surprise that Marco brought for me after work from the Cupcake Parlour. Unfortunately part of the surprise was that I had to share it with him. I guess it’s the thought that counts.

Sauteed Broccolini and ‘Chicken’ with Brown Rice and Corn topped with Avocado Mousse (gfo, nf)

DSC05338

Sauteed Broccolini and ‘Chicken’ (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 brown onion

1 red capsicum

2 garlic cloves

2 bunches of broccolini

1 tablespoon coconut oil

200g Fry’s Chicken-style Strips/Tempeh, sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Slice onion and capsicum into thin strips and dice garlic cloves.DSC05323

2. Cut off ends of broccolini, then cut them in half.

3. In a large pan heat coconut oil, then add onion, capsicum and garlic. Cook for 4-5 mins, depending if you prefer them more crunchy.

4. Add broccolini and ‘chicken’ or tempeh. Saute for 7-8 mins, or until both are cooked. Season with sea salt, then serve.

Brown Rice and Corn

Ingredients:

1 cup short grain brown rice

2 ears of corn

1 tablespoon coconut oil

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Cook brown rice in a rice cooker or on the stove if you prefer.DSC05322

2. Meanwhile  cut the corn kernels from the corn cobs.

3. Once the rice is just about ready, heat coconut oil in a large pan, then add corn kernels. Cook for 5 mins or until corn kernels are cooked. Season with salt.

4. Combine brown rice with corn kernels. Add more sea salt if you need, then serve.

Avocado Mousse

Ingredients:

2 small avocados

1.5-2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 small lemon)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

3 tablespoons filtered water

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

Method:

1. Place avocado and coconut oil into a processor.

2. As its whizzing add the lemon, water and sea salt.

*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 ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients for Sweet Potato & Spinach:

4 medium or 8 small sweet potatoes

canola oil

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 head of silverbeet, roughly chopped (leaves only)

Ingredients: Tempeh ‘Bacon’:

100 g tempeh

1 teaspoon agave/maple syrup

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon tamari/soy sauce

pinch of ground cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Method:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Serves 4

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

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews (pre-soaked for 2 hours)

1/2 cup water

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

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

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

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

*Makes about one cup.

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

Ingredients:

2 large avocado

juice from 1 lime

2 handfuls coriander, minced

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Mash avocodo flesh in a small bowl.

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

*Serves 4

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Tempeh Pine nut ‘Meatballs’, Green beans and Potatoes

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

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

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

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

Ingredients:

225g tempeh

2 tins diced tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup water

sea salt & pepper to taste

raw sugar to taste

1 onion, diced

2/3 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 cup walnuts

1 tin brown lentils

1.5 cups fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)

3 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

zest from 1 lemon

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

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

olive oil

Method:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Serve ‘meatballs’ with sauce.

*Makes 12 large meatballs, Serves 4-6

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

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic clove, sliced

1 large tomato, diced

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

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

500g green beans

1/4 cup vegetable liquid stock

1 tablespoon lemon juice

pine nuts and vegan parmesan to serve (Cashew Parmesan)

Method:

1. Wash, top and tail the green beans.

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

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

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

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

*Serves 4

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

Ingredients:

1 kg kifler potatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

3 springs of rosemary

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

2. Peel potates and cut them into cubes.

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

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

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

*Serves 4

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Friendly Fish and Chips with Sweet Chimi Mayo (vegan)

As I have mentioned before, giving up seafood has been probably the hardest thing about going vegan for me. I often end up eating fish or seafood when we go out with friends, because I have no other option on the menu. I haven’t been eating it that much lately, with all the recent controversy surrounding our quality and health of the seafood we get in Australia. However, every so often when I don’t feel like cooking, Marco and I have been buying takeaway fish and chips. It always sounds like a good idea at the time, but I end up feeling really full and sickly after. Our local one doesn’t have the best quality chips and the oil that they promote that they fry the food in vegetable oil. If I wouldn’t use vegetable oil at home because its so unhealthy, why am I buying it from there?

We don’t eat fried food often, but when we do I prefer to make it at home. Occasionally Marco twists my arm, to have fried chips. In fact its one of the only things he can or will make is fried chips. I don’t even have to do anything, which is very convenient for him. So last night when he offered to go get fish and chips, we decided instead we would make our own.

Do you remember on Valentines Day I posted about Kuan Yin Tea House? I ordered Veggie Snow Fish Rice. I was blown away by how great the ‘fish’ was. The texture, the flavor was very fish like. Silly me thought this was something they made in store. I never seen or heard of veggie fish before. However, last week when I was buying up at Green Edge, I was looking in their freezer section and saw Lamyong Vegetarian Chunky Fish. It looked very similar to what I had at restaurant. So I got some to try and yes it was the same thing.

I decided to make my usually go-to battered fish recipe. I used to dip the fish in flour, then into beaten eggs with herbs, then finished off in corn crumbs. I really prefer corn crumbs, as I find bread crumbs are a bit plain in flavor. Instead of using eggs I used whole organic soy (from Aldi) and it works just as well as eggs. The Lamyong Veggie Fish cooked  just as well as my usually fried fish, so it makes a really great substitute. Marco also really liked it and was happy to have this instead of regular fish. The pieces were quite thick and it was very filling, so you don’t need to have too many pieces to be satisfied.

On the side we had the chips, which we have learned from our mothers, that you must soak the potatoes before frying. I never knew why I could never make fries. Now we have no problems and they are cooked all the way through and unbroken. I also made this quick dipping sauce with the left over Chimichurri. Obviously I won’t eat this kind of vegan product often, but it is a nice vegan treat that can be prepared at home.

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Friendly Fish and Chips with Sweet Chimi Mayo (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients for Vegan Fish & Chips:

Potato and/or Sweet Potato (enough for 2 serves)

Canola or Sunflower oil to fry

6 pieces Lamyong Vegetarian Chunky Fish/other vegan fish (defrosted)

unbleached plain flour

whole soy milk (thick)

fresh minced herb of choice (optional)

corn crumbs or other bread crumbs

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

Ingredients for Sweet Chimi Mayo:

2 tablespoons vegan mayo

2 teaspoons Chimichurri

agave to taste

Method:

1. Wash and chop the potatoes and sweet potatoes into batons. Then place them in cold water for 10-20 mins. If you haven’t defrosted the vegan fish, place it in water and set aside.DSC04258

2. In the mean time make the Sweet Chimi Mayo, by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Add more of each for taste.

3. If you fish is ready (completely defrosted on inside) then you can batter it now. Just dip it in flour (pat off excess), then dip in thick whole soy milk with herbs mixed through (optional), then dip in corn crumbs.

4. To fry the fish and chips just heat the oil in a wok/pan and cook the fish and chips until fish is golden brown and chips are cooked. Then place them on paper towels to drain any excess water, top with sea salt and serve.

*Serves 2

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Cowgirl Veggie Steaks with Chimichurri, Sesame Agave Carrot, Cauliflower Garlic Mash and Sweet Green Onions

Tonight we tried out a new vegan product we haven’t had before, Viana Cowgirl Veggie Steaks. This product is imported from Germany and is a high quality vegan product. The ingredients are all certified organic, GMO-free, high in protein, and  they are really easy to prepare. This is the only vegan steak currently available in Australia.???????????????????????????????

So first impressions, the ‘steaks’ look very much like a cooked meat steak. When I first took took them out of the pack I thought they were a bit small, however they are also quite thick as well. There was not really must instruction on the box. It just had a picture of a pan with ‘5 mins’. So I just cooked it in a non stick pan with a drop of oil for about 4 mins on each side. I served it topped with Chimichurri and some vegetable sides. Once it was cooked it looked very much like a nice steak.

The taste wasn’t too bad either, definitely doesn’t taste like a real steak, but the texture is very convincing. It wasn’t dry or??????????????????????????????? chewy like meat is when its cooked as much as the texture felt like when you ate it, so it was easy to eat. It was also really filling. Its been two hours and I can still feel it in my tummy.

I think this is probably the best vegan mock meat product in terms of quality and nutrition. It tasted pretty good too, but next time I will use a heavy sauce. It doesn’t taste that beefy, so its also good for those people who don’t like the flavor of meat. I would eat it again, well I will be eating it again, since I have another packet in my fridge. I recommend for people who are transitioning or like to still enjoy meat like dishes. Marco really liked it, even though he loves real steak, so you can also share it with your carnivore friends.

This is the first time I have made Chimichurri. It is actually an Argentinian sauce, however it is also used in Uruguay. It is used for grilled meats as a topping or as a marinate. It is traditionally made with  finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar. However, there are many variants using  coriander, paprika, cumin, thyme, lemon, bay leaf, tomato and red bell pepper. It was quite nice and fragrant sauce. It definitely needs to be used as a condiment. By itself its not that nice.

This is the second time I have made Cauliflower mash. The first time I made a macrobiotic recipe with millet. I told Marco it was mash potatoes. He hated it and made me promise to never make it again. He was very skeptical when I told him I was making cauliflower mash again, but he ended up loving it. It was very silky and delicious and all it needed was a bit of salt to bring it alive. It went really well with the Sweet Green Onions to give a sweet and savory taste. Even if you don’t like cauliflower, you still like this!

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Cowgirl Veggie Steaks with Chimichurri (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 Viana Cowgirl Veggie Steaks (or other vegan steak)

olive oil to cook

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon minced oregano

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon white or red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or red chilli flakes

sea salt or black pepper to taste???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients, except for cowgirl steaks, in a small bowl to make the Chimichurri. Then set to the side. If making the ahead of the time leave in the fridge to chill.

2. Cook Cowgirl Steaks in a pan with a drop of olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook for 5 mins on each side.

*Serve steaks with Chimichurri spoon on top.

*Serves 2

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Sesame Agave Carrots (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

3-4 carrots

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

agave to taste

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Cut the carrots into battons. Then steam until tender.???????????????????????????????

2. Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan till lightly browned.

3. Add carrots to the pan, drizzle agave and season with sea salt.

*Serves 4

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Cauliflower Garlic Mash (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower

6 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons vegan butter

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

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

Method:

1. Roughly chopp cauliflower into small pieces. Then steam with whole garlic cloves  until soft.

2. Place steamed garlic and cauliflower in the processor.

3. While processor is on add vegan butter, almond milk and sea salt.

*Serve on its own or with Sweet Green Onions.

*Serves 6

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Sweet Green Onions (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 bunch of green onions (shallots)

olive oil

1/2 tablespoon brown rice syrup

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

Method:

1. Roughly chop the green onions.

2. Cook green onions in a pan with olive oil and brown rice syrup for 10 mins. Season with sea salt.

*Serves 3-4

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Millet and Pumpkin, Fried Tofu ‘Chicken’ with a White Wine Mushroom Sauce and Garlic Brussel Sprouts

I usually eat quite late since I got back from Europe. It’s been over 6 months, but I just prefer to eat later now. I know people say the later the more weight you put on, but I walk the dogs after dinner usually. I try to only eat when I am hungry and listen to my body. Strangely this afternoon I got really, really hungry. I didn’t know whether I should cook for myself, since I was alone. So I thought I would make Millet and Pumpkin and then the rest kind of evolved to a  full on dinner. Luckily Marco finished early again and got to have a hot dinner.

The Millet and Pumpkin is adapted from Miglio con zucca al rosmarino by Due Bionde in Cucina. I added white wine, onion, more rosemary and cooked it a bit differently. It was really delicious and healthy. The White Wine Mushroom Sauce is a healthier version of my favorite Creamy Mushroom Sauce that we use to have with veal. This was Marco and mine favorite part of dinner. I definitely will be making this again. All of this is gluten free as well.

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Millet and Pumpkin (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

180g millet

1/4 cup white wine

250g kent pumpkin or butternut pumpkin. cut into cubes

2 sprigs of rosemary leaves

1 garlic clove. finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

3 cups vegan chicken or vegetable liquid stock

sea salt & black pepper to taste

vegan parmesan to serve

Method:

1. Rinse the millet in a mesh sieve. Then take a pot and dry toast the millet for 2 minutes.???????????????????????????????

2. Add white wine and cook until its absorbed, stirring often.???????????????????????????????

3. Then add 1.5 cup of liquid stock to the millet. Bring it to the boil, then place it on a simmer with a lid. ???????????????????????????????

4. In pan heat with oil then saute the onions, garlic and rosemary leaves for 2 mins. Then add pumpkin and cook for 5 mins.

5. Add the pumpkin, onion, garlic and rosemary to the pot with the millet. Let it cook for 30 mins or until millet is soft. Stirring often and adding more liquid stock and water as it needs.

6. Before serving season with salt and black pepper. Then serve with vegan parmesan.

*Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main

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Fried Tofu ‘Chicken’ (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

250g firm tofu

2-3 teaspoons vegan chicken liquid stock

corn flour

2-3 sprigs of rosemary leaves

4 tablespoons soy milk

1-2 teaspoons nutritional yeast

sea salt

corn crumbs

olive oil to fry

Method:

1. Press the water out of the block of tofu, then cut tofu into 3 slices. ???????????????????????????????

2. Sprinkle the liquid stock on all sides of the tofu. Then coat it in corn flour.???????????????????????????????

3. In a small bowl add the rosemary, soy milk, nutritional yeast and sea salt. Then dip one piece of tofu in this mixture and then coat it in corn crumbs. Continue till all slices of tofu have been dipped and coated.

4. Heat olive oil in a pan, then fry the tofu 2-3 minutes on both sides or until golden brown.

*Serves 2-3

*Serve with Whit Wine Mushroom Sauce or by itself.

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White Wine mushroom Sauce (vegan, gluten free)

Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely diced

4-6 white mushrooms

1/4 cup white wine

1 teaspoon vegan butter

1 cup soy milk (more if too thick)

1 teaspoon arrowroot flour

2 tablespoons vegan parmesan (or nutritional yeast)

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. In a pan heat olive oil, then add garlic and mushrooms, saute for 2 mins then add white wine and cook for 3 more minutes. Then take off the heat.DSC03205

2. In the mean time heat vegan butter in a small pot then add soy milk and arrowroot. Cook until it has thickened, stirring constantly.???????????????????????????????

3. Place mushrooms back on the heat and add the cream sauce. Add vegan parmesan and sea salt. Add more soy milk if it is too thick.  Cook until heated.

*Serves 2-3

*Serve with Fried Tofu ‘Chicken’, mock meat, tofu or potatoes.

Garlic Brussels Sprouts (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

12-16 brussels sprouts

3 garlic cloves, diced

3 shallots, diced

olive oil

sea salt???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Steam brussels sprouts for 15 mins, then set aside.

2. In the meantime finely chop the garlic and shallots.

3. After brussels sprouts have been cooked, then heat olive oil in a pan. Add garlic, shallots and brussel spouts. Cook until garlic and shallots have brown a little. Season with sea salt and serve.

*Serves 4

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