Early birthday gift…

Hi all, hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Mine has been nice and relaxing. I got my early birthday present this week from Mum and Marco. They both put in to get me a Vitamix! So I finally got to try it out last night and have been blending ever since.

Last night I made some cashew cream, which was so lovely and silky. It was much nicer then what my Kenwood blender usually produces, plus it didn’t leak, which was a bonus. I showed my mum, who is also dairy free, but not as strict as me that cashew cream can be used just like cream for pasta. She was amazed. Sorry no photos of the actually pasta, we were so hungry by the time it was ready.

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I’ve only had a week of early mornings but my body clock has already changed which is great. This morning we got up early and went to the Northey Street Organic Markets at Windsor. We haven’t been here since before I went to Europe, which is over a year ago. I was really big on organics back then and am trying to get back into buying organic.

Before we left I made a special morning smoothie, with my garden Tuscan Kale. This is a Chocolate Peanut butter Kale Smoothie. I was delicious! Mum and Marco weren’t keen on the kale for breakfast, but they agreed it was a good way to get the kale in firs thing.

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Chocolate Peanut butter Kale Smoothie (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch tuscan kale

3 cups almond milk

2-3 tablespoon peanut butter

2 tablespoons cacao

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons agave or honey

Method:

1. Whiz all the ingredients in your blender until all the kale has broken down and the smoothie is nice and smooth. Then serve.

At the market I didn’t buy too much. Just two bunches of Red Russian Kale ($6 plus free bok choy), daikon, cherry tomatoes and sunflower sprouts. Unfortunately there was no more organic vegan brownies left, so we better be a bit earlier next time. I love these markets there are always so many interesting people and great food.

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I did get to see this in action and it looks like hard work to earn your smoothie.

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I have seen purple carrots but never these golden ones before. Regretting now that I didn’t get any.

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There are also a communal veggie patch here and the grounds are quite nice too.  This is mum and Marco as we are leaving.

For dinner I thought I would try out a few more meals with my new Vitamix. These patties are similar to my Red Lentil Patties with Kale Pesto, but I used cannellini beans and sweet potato puree. I also tried to make my delicious Kale Pesto. As beautiful as it looks, it came out really bitter. I think next time I won’t use the stems. On the side I made this a delicious mash to make use of my green cauliflower and a sunflower sprout salad. So in love with my new Vitamax! So expect to see it around a lot more.

Do any of you guys have one?

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Cannellini Bean & Sweet Potato Patties (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 tin cannellini beans

1 tablespoons grapeseed/olive oil

1 medium red onion

1 tablespoon cajun spices/other spices you prefer

sea salt to taste

1/2 cup quinoa crumbs (or other gluten free breadcrumbs)

1/2 cup sesame seeds

Method:

1. First cut and steam the sweet potato, until soft. Transfer into a bowl and place to the side.

2. Meanwhile,  preheat oven to 180 degrees  and heat a pan with olive oil. Saute the red onion and garlic for 5 mins or until the onion has softened.

3. All the  sweet potato, cannellini beans, red onion, garlic, cajun spices (or other spices)  and sea salt into the processor. Blend until smooth.

4. Place the mixture into a bowl then add quinoa crumbs and stir through the mixture.

5. Form the mixture into 10 patties. Place the sesame seeds in a small bowl and dust the patties in the sesame seeds.

6. Place patties on a nonstick cookie tray, then bake for 20-25 mins. Turn once while they are cooking so that the seasame seeds on both sides get a little browned.

*Makes 10 patties

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Green Cauliflower, Potato & Leek Mash (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 small green cauliflower

3 potatoes

1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 leek

Method:

1. Cut the cauliflower and potato into small pieces, then place them in a steamer until tender.

2. Dice the garlic and chop the leek.

3. Heat a pan with oil, then saute the garlic and leek for 5 mins or until lightly browned.

4. Place cauliflower, potato, leek and garlic in the processor and blend until smooth.

5. Transfer into a pot and add sea salt to taste (and water if too thick). Heat through then serve.

*Serves 5-6

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Sunflower Sprout Orange Salad (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of sunflower sprouts

1 handful snow pea sprouts

segments of 1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon agave

sea salt to taste

1-2 tablespoons pepitas seeds

Method:

1. Wash all sprouts and roughly chop the snow pea sprouts. Place all in a bowl.

2. Juice orange for the orange juice and cut the segments from 1 orange.

3. Add the orange segments to the spouts.

4. In a small bowl, add the orange juice, sesame oil, agave and sea salt.

5. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad.

6. Dry toast the pepitas seeds in a pan. Then top onto the salad and serve.

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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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