Potato and Green Lentil Curry

Tonight I have another curry for you. This is the first Indian curry that I have ever made that actually tasted Indian. I’m not sure why but whenever I try to cook something Indian, even if its from a cookbook, it never actually tastes that Indian. I have to admit though it did taste more authentic the next day, when we ate it again. I usually use pre-made spice pastes. But this time I blended onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and tomatoes into a liquid and then add it to some simmering ground spices. Perhaps that was the key or maybe it was a fluke.

What is your secret to making an authentic tasting Indian curry?

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Potato and Green Lentil Curry (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 onion, roughly chopped,

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2-3 small red chilli

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 small knob of ginger

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups vegetable stock

2 medium dutch potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes

1/2 red green capsicum, sliced

1.5 cups green lentils, cooked

steamed brown basmati rice, to serve

Method:

1. First place the onion, garlic, chilli, tomato and ginger in a blender. Blend ingredients so that they are mostly liquefied.

2. In a large pan heat coconut oil  on medium heat until it has melted. Then add all the spices. Cook for a minute or two until it is fragrant.

3. Add the blended ingredients to the spices in the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable stock and potatoes. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Add the capsicum and lentils and cook for a future 10 mintues, or until the capsicum has softened.

6. Serve the curry with steamed brown basmati rice

*Serves 4

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Korma Curry with Pumpkin and Peas

I miss ordering Korma Curry when I go out to Indian. I don’t order it any more as it is always made with cream. I usually opt for Vegetable Madras, that is made with coconut milk. This recipe uses coconut cream instead and ground cashews to give an extra rich flavour.  I used pumpkin and peas as they are quick to cook and give the curry a nice sweet taste.

What’s your favourite vegan Indian curry?

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Korma Curry with Pumpkin and Peas (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 small brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 teaspoon ginger, diced

3 tablespoons (or more) Korma Paste (I used Mudgeeraba South Indian Korma Paste)

1 tomato, diced

1 small green capsicum, sliced into thin strips

3 cups pumpkin cubed

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup cashews, ground into a powder

1 can coconut cream

sea salt to taste

brown basmati rice, steam to serve

Method:

1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot, then add the onions, garlic, ginger and korma paste. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions start to go translucent.

2. Add the tomatoes and green capsicum. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add some 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock if it starts to stick to the pot.

3. Add pumpkin and stir through. Then add 1 cup of water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then leave on a simmer for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin starts to soften.

4. Add the baby green peas, cashew powder, coconut cream and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Bring to a light boil, the leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Season again if you need and serve with steamed brown basmati rice.

*Serves 4

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Below are some dishes I made from my favourite Cookbooks.

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Baked Peaches with Gooey Nut Crumble, Kind Mama, by Alicia Silverstone

Since I bought Kind Mama I’ve been excited to try Alicia’s Baked Peaches with Gooey Nut Crumble. It contains peaches topped with rolled oats cooked in brown rice syrup and water, raisins, black sesame seeds, chopped walnuts and chopped almonds. Although the recipe didn’t call for it I added some panela (evaporated cane sugar) on top to bake. Marco found it wasn’t sweet enough for him so I added some extra agave syrup when I served it. It was quite delicious for a healthy clean dessert.

Fall Harvest Vegetable Chowder, Forks Over Knives

Fall Harvest Vegetable Chowder, Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook

I really haven’t cooked much from my Forks Over Knives cookbook. I am usually missing on main ingredient, or don’t have enough of the ingredients the recipe calls for. I ended up halving the serving so that I could make this dish. It contains yellow onion, celery, carrots and vegetable stock, zucchini, yam/sweet potato, bay leaves, thyme and corn which are cooked till vegetables are softened. Then blended and heated through with some extra corn and spinach. It was very easy to make and satisfying on a cold night.

Barley, Lentil and Butternut Pumpkin Stew

I really wanted to make risotto with pumpkin tonight. I had all the ingredients, except the rice. So I searched through the cupboard for something else to use and I came across this dry mixture of barley and lentils. Ages ago I tried to use one of these mixes, but only some parts were cooked and other parts were crunchy. But I thought I would give it another try. There was a note on the back of the packet to either pre-soak for 6-8 hours or cook for 30 mins. After cooking them, they only needed another 30 mins to simmer with the pumpkin and the spices, then dinner was served. I love one pot meals and so does the head dishwasher Marco!

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Barley, Lentil and Butternut Pumpkin Stew (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups mixture of barley, yellow split peas, red dahl (I used McKenzies Soup Mix)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 leek, sliced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablspoon ground cayenne pepper

800g butternut pumpkin, de-seeded, peeled & chopped in small pieces

1 litre vegan chicken or vegetable liquid stock

sea salt to taste

serve with fresh coriander & homemade or store bought chapati (optional)???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Take a large pot and bring 6 cups of water and the mixture of barley, split peas & lentils to the boil. Place on a simmer and cook for 30 mins. Skim foam from surface as necessary. Once finished strain and set to the side. Skip this step if you have already pre-soaked them. ???????????????????????????????

2. In a large pot, heat olive oil, then add garlic and leek. Saute for 2-3 mins.

3. Add cumin, turmeric, garlic powder, cayenne and saute for a further 2 mins.

4. Add butternut pumpkin and stir through with the spices.

5. Add liquid stock, mixture of barley and lentils and sea salt to the pot. Bring the boil, then place on a simmer and cover for 30 mins.

* Serve with fresh coriander leaves and chapati

*Serves 8

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In search of good Indian food and experimenting with Tofurky Smoky Maple ‘Bacon’

Hi all! I haven’t blogged in a few days. I have been busy with work and uni. Since making Indian food a few day back I have been craving more, so I have been out to eat to Indian a couple more times. I checked out Top in Town Pure Vegetarian at Mt Gravatt, but to be honest I wasn’t terribly impressed. It wasn’t that the food was bad, but it wasn’t great either. The service wasn’t very good and the food was just from a hot box and the samosa we ordered was microwaved. I guess it was very cheap, but not good enough to recommend.

We were still craving good Indian food, so last night we took Marco’s niece and nephew to A Night in India at Carindale. These kids have never tried Indian food before and ???????????????????????????????are usually a quite a bit picky with stuff they haven’t tried, like most kids. Recently we have taken them a couple of times to a Chinese restaurants and they love fried rice and bubble teas. The little boy loved it so much that China is now his favorite country. So we thought we would see how they would go with Indian food. First the papadums came out and I told them it tastes like a big potato chip. So they hesitantly tried them and before long they were all gone. Then the curries came out with the rice and the naan bread. They were a bit hesitant to try the curries as well, since they haven’t seen anything like that before. But they agreed to try a tiny bit. I was surprised how much they loved the curry. They ate what was on their plates and then went for more. They also loved the rice and naan. The rice they would eat with the curry, but dipping naan into the curry was a bit too strange for them. I was really proud of how grown up they were and happy that we have some new food buddies for when we need our Indian hit.

Last night I decided to try something I haven’t had before. Alu Dhall Palak is now my favorite curry. Its got dhall, potatoes and spinach in a fragrant spiced sauce. It was rich and saucy and was loved by the whole table.

Alu Dhall Palak

Alu Dhall Palak

Something else I wanted to share with you guys was my review of Tofurky Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh, that I bought last 00150-A Coconut Curryweek end from the Green Edge. I have never been a huge bacon eater, as I remember my mum telling me when I was little that bacon and butter is bad for your heart and the fat with suffocate it. She was saying that for my brothers benefit, who from a little boy would want to have a man size Sunday breakfast. But I was the only one that those kind of comments usually actually effected. So going without bacon (as great as it smells) hasn’t been too hard for me. The only vegan bacon I have tried previously is  Redwood’s DSC00408Cheatin’ Rashers, which I posted about a while ago (Fakin Bacon). That one didn’t have that strong taste or smell of bacon, but had a kind of rubbery texture liked overcooked bacon.

So what do I think about Tofurky Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh? I loved it. The texture is not bacon like at all, it is tempeh after all. But the flavor of it is amazing. It’s not as sweet as I thought it would be, rather it has a delicious smokey savory flavor. Although it doesn’t taste like bacon, the after taste does, which was a bit strange, but good. It feels like I just ate bacon, except without the guilt.

So far I have made tried it grilled in a skillet with olive oil and topped on a salad of mixed salad, tomato, red onion, cucumber, vegan mayo, vegan cashew parmesan and mango. This salad was so delicious on its own, but the ‘bacon’ took it to a whole new level and the protein from the tempeh kept me full for hours.

Mixed Salad, with Mango and Maple Smoky 'Bacon'

Mixed Salad, with Mango and Maple Smoky ‘Bacon’

For brunch today I made Banana Wholemeal Pancakes, topped with pan fried ‘bacon’, agave and strawberries. I have never had bacon with pancakes before. In fact I think its kind of weird, but I thought why not be different for once. It was deee-lusicous! I can see why this savory and sweet combination is so popular, except mine was guilt free.

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Banana Pancakes with Smokey Maple ‘Bacon’  (soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 overly ripe bananas

1.5 cups wholemeal, spelt or unbleached white flour

2 cups plant milk (coconut, rice or oat;  almond or soy if you can tolerate)

3 tablespoons brown rice syrup (or other natural sweetener)

canola spray oil

Tofurky Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh (or home-made)

agave or maple syrup

fresh fruit to serve (optional)

Method:

1. Peel the bananas, then place the flesh into a bowl and mash the banana with a fork. Continue to mash till most of the lumps are gone. If can want you can blend them to make them less lumpy.

2. Place the mashed banana in a mixing bowl then sift in the flour. Stir it through well. Then add the soy milk and brown rice syrup. Whisk until it is a consistent batter.

3. Heat a non-stick pan and add spray oil. Then ladle the batter into the pan and cook on both sides for 2-3 mins or until golden brown and cooked all the way through.

4. Heat the Smoky Maple Bacon in a not stick pan with spray oil. Cook on both sides for 1-2 mins.

5. To serve place pancakes on a plate, then add the Smoky Maple Bacon, top with agave and fresh fruit (optional).

* Makes 8-10 pancakes

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Pumpkin, Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Curry and Spinach Koftas with Yogurt Sauce

Tonight I wanted to make use of the Kingland Plain Soy Yogurt that I bought over the weekend. I wanted to use it to make something that I usually can’t have. So I found a recipe for these Spinach Koftas with Yogurt Sauce, from the recipe book The Food of India. This was quite easy recipe to make and was a crowd please. I had to guess how much of everything I had to use, as I didn’t have the correct amount of spinach and yogurt. My batter was very wet and I was unable to roll them, so I used an icecream scope and dropped them into the oil. So they didn’t turn out like balls, but still taste great.

I also used my yogurt to make Potato and Pea Curry with Yogurt, Cumin, and Ginger, from Serious Eats. I didn’t have cumin seeds, so I used ground cumin. I am not sure what I did wrong, but it didn’t turn out very ‘Indian’. It was nice but the of the cumin was not strong. I also ran out of cumin by this point so there was no saving it.

My favorite dish of the night was the the curry, which I adapted from North Indian chickpea, lentil and squash curry recipe, from Woman&Home. I really liked the combination of the spices. I had to tweak the ingredients, due to lack of some and not enough of others, but it came together really nicely. I forgot to add mint or coriander to the finished dish. I was just trying to get everything ready in a rush and then I got grated ginger in my eye, which didn’t feel so good. Luckily I got everything together before My Kitchen Rules and even got in a short walk before. I served these dishes with steamed basmati rice and wholemeal chapati (frozen).

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Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Curry (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

1 teaspoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon black pepper

470-500g pumpkin & sweet potato, cubed

3/4 cup red lentils

juice 1 lemon

700ml filtered water

2 teaspoon vegan chicken dry stock (optional)

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot, then add onion. Cook for couple of minutes until it has softened.???????????????????????????????

2. Add the ginger, all the spices and sea salt. Cook for a few minutes till fragrant.???????????????????????????????

3. Add lentils, pumpkin, sweet potato, water and dry stock. Bring to the boil. Then leave on a simmer for 20 mins or until lentils are mushy. (I cooked mine for nearly an our for more flavor).

4. Add lemon juice and adjust seasoning. Add coriander or mint leaves to serve (optional)

*Serves 6

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Spinach Koftas with Yogurt Sauce (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients for Sauce:

1 cup soy yogurt

3 tablespoons chickpea flour

1 tablespoon coconut/canola oil

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

1 teaspoons fenugreek seeds

6 curry leaves

1 small onion

1.5 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Ingredients for Koftas:

120 g baby spinach

1/2 cup + reserve 1.5 cups chickpea flour

1/2 small red onion, diced

1/2 cup tinned diced tomato or 1 tomato, diced

2 garlic clove, diced

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, diced

Method:

1. To make sauce, take a pot and whisk yogurt, chickpea flour and water (don’t cook).???????????????????????????????

2. In a wok heat oil and add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leave. Cover and cook for 1 minute.

3. Add onion, garlic, turmeric and chili powder. Saute uncovered for 5 mins.

4. Place the ingredient of the wok and place in the pot with the yoguart. Bring this pot to the boil then leave to simmer for 10 mins.???????????????????????????????

5. In the meantime, place spinach in boiling water, so that it wilts, then rinse with cold water and cut. ???????????????????????????????

6. Place the rest of the ingredients for the koftas in a mixing bowl (1/2 cup chickpea flour), then add the spinach. Add more chickpea flour if the mixture is too wet.

7. Heat the wok with oil to fry, then drop balls of the mixture into the hot oil and cook until golden. (I had to use an ice cream spoon to drop them in, as my mixture was too wet, but it still worked well). Place the koftas on a paper towel, to absorb the oil.

*Serve koftas with the yogurt sauce.

* I made about 22 koftas.

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There was heaps left so lucky Marco gets to take some for work tomorrow.

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Pomogranate and Avocado Quinoa Salad with Sweet Tahini Lime Dressing

I woke up really tired and late this morning, so I needed a power salad to prep me up. This salad is sweet, zesty, earthy and full of nutrients. Hope you guys like it!

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Pomogranate Quinoa Salad with Sweet Tahini Lime Dressing (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients for Salad:

1/2 cup quinoa

1 small stick of celery

1/2 carrot

1 small avocado

1 handful italian parsley

2 handfuls pomogranate seeds

1 handful almonds

extra lime and agave to garnish

Ingredients for Dressing

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon agave

1/2 tablespoon tahini

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Method:

1. Place quinoa in a small pot with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer and cook for 15 mins. Strain with cold water and place to the side.

2. In the meantime make the dressing. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing a small bowl and stir through.

3. Then prepare the ingredents for the salad. Slice the celery finely, grate the carrot, slice the avocado in cubes and roughly chop the italian parsley.

4. Roughly chop the almonds then dry toast in a pan till golden.

5. Combine the cooked quinoa, celery, carrot, avocado and italian parsley in a bowl and stir.

6. Then add the dressing to the bowl and stir through

7. Place the quinoa salad on a plate and top with pomogranate seeds, toasted almonds. Serve with extra agave and lime wedges.

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I also wanted to share with you guys another great food find in Carindale, Brisbane. Last night our friends took us to Grand Taj. It is a small Indian restaurant off the main road in a shopping complex. Before going their I checked out their website and they had plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Some of the dishes I haven’t seen before so I was very excited to try this place.

I ordered the Pumpkin and Eggplant Curry (diced butternut pumpkin and eggplant steamed with onions and flavored with white mustard), which came with Saffron Rice. On the side Marco I shared two Indian Breads, these were Onion Kulcha (bread stuffed with finely chopped seasoned onions and garlic) and Aloo (Potato) Paratha (wholemeal bread stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes). These were also both dairy free. Normally when I go to Indian these stuffed breads are’t dairy free or wholemeal, so this was a nice treat. I especially liked the Onion Kulcha. The onion was all the way through and nicely spiced.

I was really impressed with Grand Taj and I definitely hope to visit them again soon.

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Weekend of International cuisines: Part 2

So for tonight dinner I wanted to try out something I haven’t made before. I decided to make some Indian inspired dishes. These included Pumpkin and Lentil Coconut Curry, Yellow Split Pea  and Brown Rice, Coriander Mixed Mushrooms and  Savory Pineapple Spelt Muffins. It all turned out well, but for me it didn’t taste like the food from my local Indian.  Most importantly though my family loved it  and all had seconds. I have never cooked with fresh curry leaves before. The aroma was so delicious. It did give a more authentic fresh taste as well.

For the main dish, the Pumpkin and Lentil Coconut Curry, this was adapted from Jamie Oliver: Pumpkin, chickpea and coconut curry MFM recipe. I didn’t change that much, I just improvised for the ingredients I didn’t have and made a bigger portion. For the Yellow Split Pea and Brown Rice I used similar spices to the curry and seasoned it with lemon. The Coriander Mixed Mushrooms was a spare of the moment dish of ingredients that needed to be used. The Savory Pineapple Spelt Muffins were adapted from Savoury Chutney Muffins from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. I tried to make my own chutney and altered a couple of the ingredients.

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Pumpkin and Lentil Coconut Curry (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

5 cups kent pumpkin (cut into cubs)

1 teaspoon minced ginger

60g frozen minced coriander leaves

sunflower oil

4 garlic cloves, diced

2 small fresh red chilies, diced

4 shallots, diced

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

20 fresh curry leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tin diced tomatoes

400ml  coconut cream

1/2 cup water

1 tin brown lentils (400g)

Method:

1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium  heat. Then add ginger, garlic, red chili and shallots. Saute for 3 mins or until slightly browned.???????????????????????????????

2. Then add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and coriander. Cook until curry leaves go a bit crispy.

3. Then add turmeric, canned tomatoes, coconut cream and water. Bring to the boil.

4. Then add pumpkin and place on a simmer. Cook for 30 mins or until the pumpkin is soft enough to put a fork through. Add more water if dries out.

5. Add the lentils and cook for a further 10- 15 min, then serve.

*Serves 6

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Yellow Split Pea  and Brown Rice (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion flakes

12 whole curry leaves

4 whole dried red chilies

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 cups yellow split peas

4 cups filtered water

2 cups cooked brown rice

juice of 1 lemon

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Take large pot and heat oil on medium heat. Then add mustard seeds, cumin, garlic powder, onion flakes. Cook for 3 mins or until fragrant.

2. Add curry leaves, red chili, turmeric and yellow split peas. Coat split peas in spices and cook for  2 mins. ???????????????????????????????

3. Add water, bring to the boil, then place on a simmer. Cook for 20 mins or until split peas are cooked.

4. Add cooked brown rice, juice of 1 lemon and sea salt, then serve.

* Serves 8

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Coriander Mixed Mushrooms (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoons onion flakes

1 teaspoons garlic powder

1-2 cups mixed mushrooms sliced  (I used white & oyster mushrooms)

2 tablespoons frozen minced coriander leaves

Method:

1. Take a pan and heat oil on medium heat. Then add cumin, onion flakes and garlic powder. Cook for 2 mins or until fragrant.

2. Add mushrooms and coriander and saute for 5 mins or until cooked.

* Serves 4

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Savory Pineapple Spelt Muffins (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pineapple salsa

1/4 cup tahini

1 tabelespoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoons ground cayenne

1 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup unsweetened soy milk

1 cup spelt flour

3/4 cup plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients for 1 cup pineapple salsa:

400g pineapple (fresh or can)

10 sun dried tomates

2 garlic cloves

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease trays for 12 muffins

2. Take a mixing bowl and add pineapple salsa, tahini, sesame oil, coriander, cayenne and cumin. Stir all wet ingredients together.

3. Then sift spelt flour, plain flour and baking powder onto the wet ingredient, then add salt. Stir dry ingredients through wet ingredients. Add more soy milk if too dry.

4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray and bake for 20 mins.

* Makes 12 muffins.

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Finally hit 100th post

Hi all, it’s been a rainy, windy couple of days in Brisbane. Everyone’s on alert for flooding and cyclones. Everything should be fine for us for flooding, but it’s a bit scary knowing that the rain isn’t going to stop for another couple of days. Our house has a couple of leaks from some screw ups from tradies that were working on our roof recently. We also have few little waterfalls flooding into our property from our neighbors. At least the dogs got a shower and a blow dry so they could join us inside. They are very happy chappy.

On the brighter side this is my 100th post. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far already. A big thanks to all the people who follow, comment and visit on my blog. You have no idea how much of a difference it has made to my life. Although I have had some slips this is the longest I have stuck to any kind of lifestyle change, so I am really proud to share it with you guys. You visits, likes and comments really help to keep me going on my transition, even though I often feeling like giving up.

Since I started this blog back at the end of September I have received a lot of positive feedback from many people. I have received a lot of great advice and praise from many regulars bloggers, many of which have given me awards for my efforts. I’ve also had views from from 77 countries to date. I can’t believe people from all over the world have found my blog and taken the time to check out out. So thanks again for all your support!

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Tonight I cooked an African Stew. The recipe is adapted from Spicy Peanut Soup with Chicken from Bon appétit website. I adapted it to be vegan and gluten free. It was really nice comfort food for a cool, windy night and everyone loved it. I haven’t used peanut butter in a stew before, but it tasted really good. To go with it I made Spelt Buttery Biscuits. Marco, mum and Ted haven’t had these before. Last time I made them it was for the Marco’s niece and nephew, who also loved them. They all really like the buttery biscuits and they went really well with the warm stew.

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Spicy Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Eggplant (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

450 g sweet potato, cut into cubes

1 tablespoon hot sauce

sea salt & pepper to taste

4 cups vegan chicken/vegetable broth

1/3 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons tomato paste

5 tablespoons vegan butter

1.5 cups chopped onion

1 cup carrot, grated or diced

1 medium eggplant, cut into cubes

2 tablespoons arrowroot flour (tapioca)

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

Method:

1. Place the sweet potato in a large bowl and coat in the hot sauce, salt and pepper.P1000577

2. Take another large bowl or jug (big enough to hold 4 cups) and combine the stock, peanut butter, and tomato paste. Whisk it till it is all combined.

3. Take a large pot and melt the vegan butter on medium-high heat.P1000578

4. Then add the onions, carrot and eggplant.  Saute for about 8 min. Then add the sweet potato and saute for a further 3 min.

5. Add the stock, tomatoes and flour to the pot and stir it through.  Cook for 30 mins, or until the sweet potatoes are soft enough to put a fork through.

* Serves 8

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Yesterday I had another try at the Eggless Fritata. Last time I made it I used firm tofu instead of silken tofu. I also didn’t have a nonstick pan. So it didn’t turn out as smooth as I would of liked. Since then I tried to make it again, but unfortunately I dropped it when I flipped it. This time was a success! I had silken tofu and my new neoflam pan I got for Christmas. I found the silken tofu made the batter a lot smoother and cooked more like an fritata, instead of a scramble. The pan also kept it together and didn’t let it stick, so that I could easily slide it into a baking tray to grill before serving.

I adapted the recipe this time and used sweet potato, red onion and carrot. It was incredibly fluffy and according to both me and Marco (the egg lover) this tasted much better then an egg fritata. The potato really makes it creamy and less plasticy then egg. Although this breakfast took me a lot longer to prepare it was definitely worth the wait. It is also great to pack for morning teas or lunches, which is what I will be doing for Marco for work next time.

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Sweet potato & Carrot Eggless Fritata (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato

200g soft silken tofu

2 tablespoons vegan butter

3 tablespoons cornstarch/arrowroot

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon onion flakes (or onion powder)

½ teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small red onion diced

3 tablespoons grated carrot

Method:

1. Peel and cut the sweet potato in thin slices, then put it a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Then strain and leave cool. DSC02685

2. In the processor blend the silken tofu, vegan butter, cornstarch, baking powder, sea salt, black pepper, turmeric, onion flakes and garlic powder.DSC02686

3. Heat pan with olive oil, then add the red onion and cook for a couple of minutes.

4. Then add sweet potato and grated carrot and cook for another couple of minutes.

5. Add the tofu batter to the pan, coat the vegetables, then level the batter and let it cook for 15 mins on medium heat.DSC02687

6. Preheat grill in the oven.

7. Slide the frittata onto a circular baking tray with baking paper and place into the oven (grill). If you have the right pan you can put the entire pan into the oven. Grill for 3 mins or until slightly golden brown on top.

*Serves 2

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Last night we had Marco’s niece and nephew stay over, so I made them Black Bean Brownies. I got the recipe from Happy Herbivore, you can find it here. I used 1/4 cup of oats more then recipe said as the batter a bit too thin and added vegan chocolate chips. I also cooked for about 10 mins more and then had to let it set in the fridge, so that I could slice it. It was nice, but the texture of the black beans was a bit strange for me. Luckily the kids loved it. They had two slices and even took the rest home, so it was a success after all. This recipe is gluten free, so if you don’t mind beans in your brownie, this is a nice recipe.

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The only other exciting thing I have had to eat this week was on thursday night. Marco and I meet some friends at our favorite Indian Restaurant, A Night in India. I  have been visiting the Toowong location for ten years. Seems like just yesterday I was there with my newly legalized girlfriends, eating Indian and drinking wine, before hitting the clubs. I’ve change a lot since then, but the food hasn’t. It is still fantastic and fresh. Since then I have also discovered the Carindale location, which is owned by the other brother. Depending what side of town we are on, we visit both regularly. They both have many vegan, dairy free and gluten free options. So after I was forced to give up dairy and gluten a few years back and now eating vegan, this place was a god send to me. I don’t have to order the one boring vegan dish on the menu, because there are many exciting, delicious dishes to try, which are ‘Vanessa friendly’.

When we arrived the other night, our friends were running late and we were really hungry. So we ordered Vegetable Samosa. I asked if they were vegan and yes they are. The mint yogurt sauce that it came with was not, but I still ordered it for Marco. They were probably the best samosa I have every had. They weren’t greasy at all. We usually order Pakoras for entree, but I am happy I took a chance ordering this. For main I usually order the Vegetable Madras, as it is a creamy, dairy free dish, that has coconut milk. Tonight I decided to be different and order the Mushroom Sabji. It is a creamy curry with mushrooms, potato and peas. Although it isn’t vegan I asked the waiter if I could have it dairy free and the chef agreed to make it for me. On the side I ordered my usually Roti made of wholemeal flour and is dairy free. As much as I miss naan, when I eat the roti I forget about naan.

Vegetable Samosa

Vegetable Samosa

Mushroom Sabji

Mushroom Sabji

Roti

Roti

More Melbourne eats

Hi all, hope you are all having a good new year. I’m still here in Melbourne, but returning on Saturday  Still have a bit less then a week to catch up with family and hopefully do some shopping. Last week after new years I went out a little, but was mainly with family. Didn’t get to go to any vegan restaurants or cafes, but did find some fantastic eats.

Last Wednesday we visited a cousin that recently moved to Carlton, a trendy suburb known for its Italian food. For dinner we went to Cafe Notturno at Lygon Street. It is not the best place alone this strip, but probably one of the cheapest. It was extremely busy, but I wasn’t that impressed with my meal. We ordered Lambrusco to drink, which was nice cheap, sweet red and garlic pizza to start. That wasn’t to bad. Then for my main dish I had Vegetarian Risotto with mushroom, sun dried tomatoes and olives. It wasn’t a real risotto in the sense, as the normal rice was precooked with out liquid stock and then sauce was added. For a vegetarian dish it wasn’t as bland as usually served in this kind of place, but it was not real Italian food in my opinion.

Vegetarian Risotto with mushroom, sundried tomatoes and olives, Cafe Notturno, Lygon Street, Carlton

Vegetarian Risotto with mushroom, sundried tomatoes and olives, Cafe Notturno, Lygon Street, Carlton

For desert we had gelato from Gelatissimo. They have a few locations around Australia and most of their sorbets are dairy free. I had chocolate sorbet. This tasted amazing and was the closes gelato I have had since leaving Italy.

Gelatissimo, Lygon Street, Carlton

Gelatissimo, Lygon Street, Carlton

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Choc Sorbet, Gelatissimo

Lygon St, Carlton

Lygon St, Carlton

After staying at my cousins house we spent the day doing light shopping in the city. Light shopping because I didn’t come back with heavy bags. For lunch we went to Central Place in the CBD. This is a small alley way with cafes along the walls. It has always reminded me of Europe and I usually come here when I visit. We ended up not having anything fancy, just toasted focaccie from Cafe No. 5. Although none were vegan, I got them to removed the feta from the Roasted Pumpkin & Rocket Focaccia and had a Soy Flat White. For a pre-made focaccia it was good and cheap eat. I would of probably preferred something else, but I compromised with the others. This cafe is really funky place, staff were very nice and the coffee was good.

Bourke Street, CBD

Bourke Street, CBD

Central Place, CBD

Central Place, CBD

Cafe No. 5

Cafe No. 5

Roasted Pumpkin & Rocket Focaccia, Cafe No. 5

Roasted Pumpkin & Rocket Focaccia, Cafe No. 5

After that we went to the Suzuki Night Markets at the Queen Victoria Markets. I have been to the day market but never the night market. This market is completely different. Its all about the food, rather then the cheap Asian goods and leather jackets. They had fast foods from every country imaginable. Italy, France, Poland, South American, Nepal… I managed to find a few vegan eats. DSC01899

First I had a Chickpea Blaster from the Caribbean vendor. This was a soft herb pastry made with olive oil and served with chickpeas, island mango, cucumber salsa & pepper sauce. Although it doesn’t look like much it was really good and full of flavour. It didn’t taste like anything I have had before and I really liked it.

Chickpea Blaster

Chickpea Blaster

Next I visited an Indian vendor and had Spicy Aloo Chat, which was potato, coriander,  and spicy tamarind sauce. This was also really tasty and not very spicy. Apparently this is a popular Indian street snack. We also had with Homemade Lemonade.

Aloo Chat

Aloo Chat

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Lastly, I shared a Traditional Korean Twisted Potato. This was nice but very very greasy. Overall it was a great experience and gave me heaps of ideas. I was a bit jealous that none of my meals came with salad like meat dishes, but flavor wise they were really good. This is not a healthy market, its  a street food market, so expect to feel a bit greasy after.

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Since then I have only been out a couple more times. For brunch on Saturday we went to Jimmi Jamz at Lygon Street, East Brunswick. It was near my grandparents place and ended up being a good choice. I had Spicy House-baked Beans with Rocket on Toast, Soy Flat White and ordered Parsnip Chips for the table. I was really happy with everything I ordered. My uncle had paper pasta, which we didn’t realize was cooked on paper in the oven. Other then that this place is funky, tasty and really cheap. In my city I am use to paying $20-30 for breakfast to lunch, so for around $10-12 this was great.

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Soy Flat White

Soy Flat White

Spicy House-baked Beans with Rocket on Toast

Spicy House-baked Beans with Rocket on Toast

Parsnip Chips

Parsnip Chips

Hopefully will get a couple more posts in this week in my spare time. So hope you all enjoyed the photos.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Pakoras

Tonight I was emptying my fridge, so that I could bring our left over food to Marco’s and freeze whatever I could. I managed to freeze the nectarines, peaches, cherries and grapes. I only had a few vegetables left. I didn’t want to freeze them. I hate frozen cauliflower and broccoli. It fills up with water and tastes terrible. I was trying not to open anything new so I decided to finally try to make pakoras. Bad idea when you have been over eating for the past 3 days and wanted a healthy dinner. I think there is a reason they are served as an entree at Indian restaurants. I never really think about fatty they are when I usually order them. They did taste really good though. Just not the healthiest dinner choice. I served them with the Sweet-and-Sour Sauce that I had made to go with the Meatballs from Chef Chloe’s book. It is really sweet and has a similar taste to the sweet tamarind sauce. Otherwise you can use any kind of sweet dipping sauce you like. Since I made so much I freeze the rest. I read that if you fry them then freeze, you can just refry them when you want to eat them. Yes I know its not healthy, but a better alternative to something store bought fried foods.

This is my last cooking post for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I will find some great vegan eats in Melbourne!

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Broccoli & Cauliflower Pakoras (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups besan/chickpea flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garam marsala

1 teaspoon sea salt & more to taste

1.5 cups water

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 onion, sliced

1 small head broccoli, cut into florets

Method:

1. Sift the besan flour in a large bowl then add the bicarbonate soda and all the ground spices and salt. DSC01583

2. Stir through water slowly till it thickens in to a batter.DSC01584

3. Add the vegetables and cover in the batter.

4. Heat the oil in a wok and add the vegetables with the batter into the wok to fry. Do small batches and cook for 1-2 mins on each side. Drain oil from pakoras with paper toils, season with salt and serve with sweet dipping sauce.