Pumpkin Polenta with Caramelized Onion and Fennel with Cannellini Beans

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

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

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

Ingredients:

4 cups pumpkin (chopped)

1.5 cup filtered water (use steamer water)

2 tsp dry vegetable stock

2 cups oat/plant milk

1 cup polenta

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Steam the pumpkin till soft.

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

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

*Serves 4

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

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 small onions, sliced

1 fennel bulb, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 small red capsicum, chopped

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

1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)

1 can cannellini beans

sea salt to taste

handful italian parsley (diced)

Method:

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

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

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

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

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

*Serves 4

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Pasta with Green Beans, Caramelized Onions, Capers and Pine nuts

Over the past week I have managed to get back on the juice train and juice everything in my fridge. This is how my latest favourite pasta dish was born. With only green beans and onions I tried to make something appetizing enough, that keep me away from my mums Rigatoni Bolognese. I ended up making this again for Marco and I. Even though he though he would hate it, he ended up liking it.

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Pasta with Green Beans, Caramelized Onions, Capers and Pine nuts (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 serves penne or other short pasta (use gluten free pasta if you prefer)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium brown onion, diced

2 garlic, diced

2 handfuls of green beans, topped,tail and cut into thirds

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1-2 teaspoons capers

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan or more to taste

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a non-stick pan, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 mins till they are slightly browned. Turn down the heat while cooking so it doesn’t burn.

2. Add the green beans and cook for a further couple of minutes.

3. Add the capers and pine nuts. Continue to cook until the green beans are tender.

4. Take off the heat then add the hot pasta, nutritional yeast, sea salt and black pepper.

*Serves 2

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Shiitake Mushrooms and Caramelized Onion with Creamy Polenta

Tonight I finally used the last of my home grown shiitake mushrooms. On their last couple of days I didn’t keep the log very hydrated so they went really dry like the ones you buy. Luckily with a bit of water they rehydrated and ready to use. I paired them with creamy polenta flavored with shiitake infused water, oregano and nutritional yeast. Surprisingly Marco really liked this meal. Slowly he has grown to like mushrooms after having years of intense hate for them. So mushrooms are now back on the menu!

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Shiitake Mushrooms and Caramelized Onion with Creamy Polenta (vegan, gluten free, soy free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

1.5 cups dried shiitake mushrooms

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small brown onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, diced

1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon mirin

sea salt to taste

1.5 cups water

1.5 cups unsweetened plant milk (oat or rice; soy or almond if you can tolerate)

1/2 cup instant polenta

1 tablespoon chopped oregano (more to garnish)

1 tablespoon vegan butter

4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Method:

1. Soak the shiitake mushroom in 1 cup of water. Let it soak for 10 mins. Then remove mushrooms and slice them. Keep the water that the mushrooms were soaked in.

2. Heat a pan with olive oil, then add onion and garlic. Saute until golden, then add shiitake mushrooms. Add balsamic vinegar, mirin and sea salt. Cook until both the mushrooms and onion are nicely caramelized.

3. In the meantime take a medium size pot, add the shiitake broth water, plus another half a cup of water and the soy milk. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer and add the polenta. Whisk the polenta while it cooks to remove the lumps.

4. Once the polenta has cooked, stir through the oregano, vegan butter, nutritional yeast and sea salt. Let it heat through then serve topped with the onion and mushrooms and garnish with oregano leaves.

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Pizza, Soup and a Chocolate Berry Breakfast Suprise

A  couple of nights ago we got invite out to dinner with some friends. But with the rainy weather and my cold feet about going somewhere that didn’t cater to me, we decided invited them over for homemade pizzas. We had some leftover pizza dough so last night I made the most delicious pizza with a few simple ingredients. This wasn’t the main event but to accompany this Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup.

For breakfast I prepared the most delicious overnight oats. I included a few extra healthy ingredients such as cacao, maca, chia seeds and goji berries.  I nice to be able to have guilt free chocolate oats for breakfast.

Just as I was writing this post, I got a call about a job. I’m going in for an interview tomorrow. I only send in an application yesterday to them for a different job, but they liked my previous work experience in mentoring and in a call centre. Fingers crossed they hire me!

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Browned Onion and Garlic Pizza (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

pizza dough for 1 pizza (wholemeal or gluten free)

1 large brown onion, thinly sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more to brush pizza)

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tablespoon fresh/dried rosemary

sea salt & black pepper to tasteDSC05454

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Heat a large pan with olive oil, then add the onion. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until onion has softened, but not browned (Its best to use a nonstick pan for this).

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3. In the meantime roll out pizza dough and place into a pizza pan/stone. Brush base with olive oil. (If you are using a pizza pan brush that with oil before placing the pizza ontop, so that the base will brown)

4. Take pan off the heat, then add garlic and stir though the onion.

5. Top pizza with the onion and garlic. Then sprinkle some rosemary, sea salt and black pepper.

6. Bake pizza for 15 mins or until the base is cooked and the onions are lightly browned.

*Makes 1 pizza

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Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 large brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 stalk of celery, diced

1 swede, diced

2 parsnips, diced

2 red skinned potatoes, diced

1 sweet potato, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cups vegetable/vegan chicken liquid stock

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

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot, then add the vegetables and spices. Saute for a couple of minutes.

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2. Add the liquid stock and bring to the boil, then cover and place on a simmer. Cook for 20 mins or until the vegetables begin to soften.???????????????????????????????

3. Add the red lentils and sea salt if you need. Continue to cook covered on a simmer, until both the lentils have cooked and the vegetable are completely cooked.

4. Take off the heat and puree the soup with a bar mix, until you have the desired consistency. If the soup is too thick add some filtered water to thin it out.

5. Reheat on the stove to you are ready to serve.

*Serves 6

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Chocolate Berry Overnight Oats (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup instant/rolled oats, preferably organic

3/4 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat;  almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1/2 cup mixed frozen berries

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1/2 tablespoon maca powder (optional)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1.5  tablespoon maple syrup (I used blueberry maple syrup)

1 teapsoon goji berries to serve

1 teaspoon cacao nibs to serve DSC05483

Method:

1. Combine the oats, milk, frozen berries, cacao, maca, chia seeds and maple syrup in an airtight container and stir to combine all.

2. Seal the container and place in the fridge over night.

3. In the morning serve with goji berries and cacao nibs. If you don’t have these any other dried fruit, nuts and/or dark chocolate chips would go nice. If the consistency of the oats is too thick add a dash of milk.

*Serves 1

(Cookbook Project) Energise Your Life – Spinach Parcels with Onion Sauce

Today I decided to launch my Cookbook Project, so that I can start to cook the recipes from the many cookbooks that I have bought and collected. I have a bad habit of collecting cookbooks and then never cooking anything from them. Although I look at them often I just don’t get around to making anything from them. To start this project I have decide to begin with Energise Your Life: Release Your Natural Energy, by Nic Rowley, Kirsten Hartvig and Emma Mitchell.51X6WM0WSYL

This was actually my first plant based recipe book that I purchased about 6 years ago at a book sale. I didn’t realize until recently that all the recipes in this book are vegan. When I first got this book I tried two recipes. The first was the  Hot Cinnamon drink. I really liked this drink and use to make it before bed. It was actually the first time I tried rice milk. I never consider back then why anyone would drink an alternative dairy milk. I quite liked it, but when I first made it for Marco he hated it. Funny thing is now rice milk is one of his favorite dairy free milks. The second recipe I tried was Sweet potato with hiziki. This recipe was a disaster. For a start I was missing most of the ingredients and also I tried to use nori instead of hiziki. The nori didn’t crisp up and just stuck to the sweet potato. I remember my family laughing at this strange thing that I had made that really didn’t taste good. I didn’t bother trying the other recipes, there were too many ingredients I had never heard of. So it stayed on my shelve until I rediscovered it recently.

The first recipe I have tried tonight is the Spinach Parcels with Onion Sauce. According to the cookbook this recipe benefits the Nervous system and is Anti stress. It contains the nutrients of Vitamin CNiacinFolate Et Pantothenate and Calcium. and is given 4/5 for Energy.

The recipe called for strudel dough sheets. I am really not sure what type of pastry this is, but I did have some special Eastern European pastry sheets from Pitstop Pastries & Pizza. Marco’s sister gave me some a couple of days ago. This dough is great for making their traditional pita pastries . Marco’s mother often uses this dough with feta and spinach or apples and makes these scrolls shape savory and sweet pastries. If you live in Brisbane and you want pastry sheets that are vegan and preservative free I recommend dropping by Pitstop Pastries & Pizza in West End to pick some up. It actually worked quite well with this recipe, as the sheets are thin, but not thin enough that the ingredients can seep out or escape. It also crisps up nicely in the oven.

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For the filling I used  the leaves from a large bunch of silverbeet. I think the recipe actually called for English or Baby Spinach, but when you need 450 g worth of leaves, its gets expensive when the spinach only comes in 100 g a packets. I also used bean curd (tofu), scallions, garlic, soy sauce, ground coriander and ground cumin for the filling. Although the tofu doesn’t resemble a feta cheese it does work really well in the pastry. The taste of the filling was really nice and the soy sauce gave it a salty flavor. The book wasn’t clear on how to wrap the ingredients in the pastry, so I just made it into a scroll.

The onion sauce was not necessary for the spinach parcels, but it was a nice touch. This was just as simple sauce of diced onion, soy sauce, flour, vegetable stock, and soy milk. We also enjoyed this sauce with the side vegetables, which were roasted potato and baby kale, and steamed peas and broccolini.

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So, the first recipe in this challenge went down well with the family. Everyone loved the Spinach parcels and the Onion sauce. There was no comments from Marco, who has been brought up on this kinds of pastries, that they needed cheese or something else. So that was a good sign. I ended up making 8 parcels all together, so we now all have lunch for tomorrow now. I definitely would make these parcels again and I am looking forward to cooking my way through the rest of this book!

Prebranac (Serbian Baked Beans)

As promised here is a typical Serbian dish from the kitchen of Marco’s family. Although I have enjoying this bean dish for many years, since Marco and I have been together, this is the first time I have learned to make it. Marco never wanted me to make it at home. Partly because he’s been eating it his whole life and perhaps partly because he didn’t think I could make it like his mum. However, since we went to Serbia last year he love of his home food has been reignited.

68Prebranac (пребранац/pre-BRAH-nats) is a Serbian baked bean dish, which is prepared with white or brown beans, such as lima beans and great northern beans; onions and sweet Hungarian paprika. It is also known as Pasulj (Пасуљ) and is a typical dish in Bosnia, Albania and other Balkan nations. Many recipes include bay leaves, carrots, leeks and other vegetables. It is often prepared with smoked meats, such as smoked bacon, smoked sausage and smoked joints. However, the  meat can be omitted. It doesn’t have milk, butter or eggs, so it ideal during fasting time.  This dish was originally eaten by farmers during the winter months, due to its high fat content. It can be cooked dry or in a thick sauce depending how much water you add. It can be served hot or room temperature, with crusty bread.

Before I made this dish I consulted both Marco’s mother and his sister. They both have different ways of making this dish and so do their other family members. You can use lima beans or greater northern beans. The beans can be soaked or un-soaked. You can use four onions or one kilo of onions. Some people use 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and others use lots of more colour. You cook the onions with leeks, carrot and/or capsicum or without. You can add the onion and vegetables with cooked beans or you can layer. You can finish off this dish in the oven to brown or on the stove with a bit of flour. You can have this dish dry or you can have it very moist. So many possibilities!

I ended up going with most of Marco’s mothers suggestions as she enthusiastically started the dish for me. The only thing I added, which perhaps isn’t tradition, is a teaspoon of liquid smoke for the smoky flavour. This is because usually Sally adds smoked ribs to the dish before she puts it in the oven. So I still wanted the same flavour, but made vegan. You can omit this though. Other the that this is a really easy dish to prepare, which doesn’t take much work, but it does take time.

So the verdict? It turned out quite well. The beans were nice and soft and the top browned very nicely. I didn’t put enough salt, so we had to add a lot more when it was ready. It wasn’t the same as Sally’s, but it was my first attempt, so I was happy. Mine was a bit dry as well. I thought that I had put enough water, but next time I will add a little more.

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Prebranac (Serbian Baked Beans) (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

500 lima beans (pre- soaked for 8 hours)

1/2 cup olive oil

4 onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 tablespoons Sweet Hungarian Paprika

1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, for smoking taste)

sea salt and black pepper to taste???????????????????????????????

Method:

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

2. Place lima beans  in the same pot and fill with water. Bring to the again boil, then strain beans and remove again water.

3. This time place beans back in pot with water to cover (about 1-2 finger tips). Slightly cover the pot and bring to the boil, then place on a simmer. Cook for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until beans are quite soft.DSC04943

4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

5. In a pan heat olive oil and add the onion, garlic, paprika, sea salt, black pepper and liquid smoke. Cook for 5 mins or until onions are translucent, but not browned.

6. Take a baking tray or casserole dish and first layer  half the lima beans on the bottom with a little bit of the cooking water. (The more water you add the more moist it will be).

7. Next add half the onion mixture on top of the beans.

8. Then another layer of beans with cooking water and lastly with the onion mixture.

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9. Bake for 30 mins or until browned on top.

*Serves 6-8

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

Prebranac <http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Prebranac>

Baked Beans Recipe – Serbian Prebranac <http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/serbianvegetables/r/prebanac.htm>

Prebranac (Serbian Baked Beans) <http://food52.com/recipes/19697-prebranac-serbian-baked-beans>

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

Curried Millet Cakes with Red Pepper Coriander Sauce & Mujadara

I finally received my copy Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook this week, but tonight was the first night I have had a chance to cook from it. If you have been living in a cave and haven’t heard of the documentary Forks Over Knives I really recommend that you check it out. I saw it last year and I was blown away. Its like the bible, once you have seen the light you just want to share it with everyone you know. I try to make everyone who will listen to me watch it. It has also had a great impact on lots of celebrities as well. I guess the great thing about this documentary is that the two main cast members are actually scientists, who were both brought up on dairy farms and have spent their lives researching health, food and cancers. To get the info straight from the people who are in the industry and know first hand the effects that food have on our bodies is amazing.

One of my inspirations to pursue a vegan lifestyle came from the knowledge I got from this film. However, since I watched it I was curious how I could make the kind of foods that they speak about. One of the hardest things for me to cut down on is my oil. I love extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil and avocado oil. Many nutritionist say we need these good oils, but that is one thing that is a big different in what these guys preach. So tonight I tried to cook for the first time without oil. Instead of oil to brown my onions I used water. I thought they would be really watery, but actually they still browned and became sweet. So really it was not a big problem. Maybe the taste would of been a bit different, but it wasn’t noticeable. Any reason to cut down my fat intake at dinner, so I can indulge for dessert sounds good to me.

Roasting capsicums on the stove

The millet cakes and sauce were not what I expected and look very different to the picture in the book. It was only my second time cooking with millet before. The last time I tried to make

After roasting capsicums

macrobiotic ‘mash potato’, using cauliflower instead of potato. It wasn’t bad for me, but wasn’t a hit with Marco. I think the millet cakes really need the sauce. Alone sauce is bland and the millet cakes are extreme, but together they really fit. Today was also the first time I’ve ever roasted my own capsicums on the gas stove. I know it not complicated, but cooking with fire has always freaked me out. It is also a lot quicker then roasting them for 40 mins. I think it only took me 10-15 mins to do them. It is really simple. Just place the capsicum on the flame and rotate them so all the skin becomes black, then peal the skin off once they have cooked down. My boyfriend’s Serbian mother, who has prepared many a paprika’s in her time, gave me some tips. She said its better to place the capsicums in a covered pot, so that the blacken skin will peel away easier. For the Mujadara, I used the rest of my French Lentils, even though the recipe called for green lentils. I also used some curry powder and a lot of extra salt as I found it a bit bland. I think its a great base recipe the could be improved with some more herbs and spices. I think it also needs more rice, as the recipe only called for 3/4 cup of rice. I found that there wasn’t enough rice to lentils, so next time I will add more. Mujadara is a popular recipe in the Middle East and different cultures use different ingredients to flavour it. Such as cumin, coriander or mint,  fried onions, melted butter, and served hot or cold, often with yogurt.

Curried Millet Cakes (gf, nf)

Ingredients: 3 cups vegetable stock, 1 cup millet, 1 yellow onion diced, 4 cloves garlic diced, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tbsp white miso dissolved in 1/4 cup water (i forgot the water), 2 tbsp tomato puree (I used paste), 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, salt to taste.

1.Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2. Bring vegetable stock to boil, then add the millet. Cook for 20 mins, so that it millet is tender.

3. Sauté onion in a large pan for 7-8 mins, adding water so it doesn’t stick.

4. Add garlic, curry powder, pepper flakes, and cook for 1 min.

5. Take off heat then add miso, tomato paste and nutritional yeast. Then mix in the millet.

6. Take 2 baking trays with baking paper and place millet mixture in the form of a pattie (about 12). Then bake in the oven for 15 mins

Red Pepper Coriander Sauce (gf, nf)

Ingredients- packet of extra firm silken tofu, 2 large roasted capsicums, 3 cloves garlic chopped, 1/4 cup coriander, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 1 lime juiced and zested.

1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor. (I used a bar mix, so I had to add a bit of water and it still wasn’t as runny).

2. Heat in a small pot before added to the millet cakes.

Mujadara (Lentils with Rice and Caramelized Onions) (gf, sf, nf)

Ingredients- 1 1/2 green lentils (I used French Lentils), 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground all spice, 3/4 brown basmati rice (I used white organic medium grain- but basmati would be better), 3 large yellow onions diced, salt and pepper, I added: 4 cloves of garlic diced, 1 tbsp curry powder.

1. Bring to the boil the lentils with 5 cups of water and then cook on a simmer for 30 mins.

2. Add cinnamon and all spice and continue to cook for 15-20 mins more.

3. Cook rice on the stove or in a rice cooker.

3. In a large fry pan, saute onions and garlic for 10mins on a high heat. Adding water so it doesn’t stick. Add curry powder, then cook for a further 10 mins on a medium heat.

4. Once onions are brown, add lentils and rice, salt and pepper.