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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Red Lentil Patties with Kale Pesto

We just had the yummiest lunch! Marco had been badgering me to make something before he went to work, but I wasn’t in the mood to cook. Then  I got the inspiration to make these delicious patties and make use of my organic kale. I don’t usually bake patties, but I figured why not. I hate when they fall apart when I flip them. Flipping isn’t my strong suit in the kitchen. I am so happy I did bake them. They were crumbly on the outside and nice and soft and gooey on the inside. Well that’s how Marco described them. He loved these patties, he even loved this pesto. He’s not a big fan of kale, so this was a more exciting way for him to eat it. We ended up finishing off the rest of the patties, but still have some Kale Pesto to enjoy with another meal.

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Red Lentil Patties (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup red lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

1 small potato, grated

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

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

1/4 cup sesame seeds

6 tablespoons Kale Pesto (recipe below)

Method:

1. First cook the red lentils. Place 1 cup of water with the red lentils in a small pot and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 mins till cooked. Add more water if you need whiles its cooking.

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

3. All the  red lentils, red onion and potato to cool a little then add them into the processor. While it mixing add garlic powder, cumin, curry powder, cayenne and sea salt.

4. Once the mixture has combined well remove from the processor and place in a bowl. Add quinoa crumbs and stir through the mixture.

5. Form the mixture into 6 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.

7. Serve with a tablespoon of Kale Pesto on each pattie.

*Serves 2-3 people.

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Kale Pesto (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2.5-3 cups red russian kale leaves (stems removed)

1/3 cup pine nuts

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2-3  garlic cloves)

2 tablespoons lemon juice sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Place pine nuts in the processor and whiz till they are broken down and start to form a paste. If they are not braking down add a dash of olive oil.

2. Then add the kale leaves. Add a bit more olive oil to help break them down easier.

3. Once kale has broken down add the rest of the ingredients to the processor, until it is all combined and creamy.

*Makes about 3/4 cup

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BBQ Tofu Bagel and Linguine with Kale in a Pumpkin Cashew Sauce

I’ve still been quite busy with uni. Yesterday I had my Italian exam, which I hope will be the last exam I ever sit. Not sure it went too well, so I am praying for a pass. All that’s left to go now is to hand my last assignment for history. By friday or maybe sunday I should be finished for good and I can’t wait! Then I can put more effort into cooking. My mum has been cooking more for us lately or I whip up something quick and simple for us.

Yesterday I got a chance before my exam to go back down to Fundies Wholefood Market for their Friends day. Once a month they offer 15% off, so I thought it was worth buying up on organic fruit and veggies. I recently saw the EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Although this data is from the USA, in Australia we do use a lot of the same pesticides. In fact I did an assignment a while back and I found that we use a lot of pesticides that are illegal in other countries.

In the last couple of years since I have been buying and growing more organic produce I really notice the difference in the taste. I notice that particularly conventional apples, zucchini, green beans, rocket and other leafy greens have a really bitter taste. Marco can taste it as well now and enjoys the taste of organic vegetables much better. Before I went to Europe we were regularly going to the Organic Markets on Sundays, but I have gotten slack since I got back. But this latest shoppers guide has really reminded me why I want to buy organic. We can’t afford or find everything on this list of the Dirty Dozen, but I am going to make a conscious effort to try to buy organic or avoid these ones. So you can see what I bought below. I got most of this stuff for juicing since its something we do every day.

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We also bought these Bagel Boys Sesame Bagels from Fundies. They looked too good to pass up. Coles and Woolies have just recently got bagels, but they are full of preservatives. These ones have completely natural ingredients.521441_10151054742632292_1369225709_n

When we were living in Milan we use to often go to The Bagel Factory for breakfast or lunch, when we were sick of pizza or pasta. We would chose a whole wheat bagel and usually get the Bagel con uova all”occhio di bue  filling, that was full of egg, ham, capsicum and onion. When I wasn’t as hungry I would order the  hummus filling instead. They were both really delicious. In case you didn’t realize I wasn’t vegan this time last year. But now I look back and I can’t believe I use to eat this bagel with all that egg and ham. I remember how good it tastes but I think I ate enough of them to live without them. Marco still has fond memories of these bagels.

Marco really wanted to recreate this breakfast bagel, but instead I made some veganised versions. Yesterday  since we were in a hurry, we quickly cooked up some Fry’s Traditional Burgers, prepared some fresh salad items and stuffed them into our bagels. These were so good! The Bagels were not as good as the fresh ones in Milan, but toasted they still good.

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

Today I had a bit more time to think about lunch so I made us these BBQ Tofu Bagels. I still had heaps of homemade BBQ, that I used to make the Sweet and Sour Meatballs from Chloe’s Kitchen a while ago. You can find the recipe for both the sauce and the meat balls on Smith’s Vegan Kitchen blog. I marinated the tofu and the onions in this sauce then cooked them in a griddle pan. These bagels were even better then the day before. This tofu is also really good on its own.

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BBQ Tofu Bagel (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

200g organic firm tofu

1/2 homemade BBQ sauce (recipe above)

1 brown onion olive oil

3 bagels (wheat flour/gluten free)

1 tomato sliced

1 small carrot grated

1 small beetroot grated

1/2 cucumber sliced

3 lettuce leaves

1 handful of alfalfa???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Press the tofu, then slice it into 6 pieces.

2. Marinate the tofu and sliced onion in the BBQ sauce.

3. Heat a griddle pan with olive oil, then cook the tofu and onions for 7-10 mins. The onion should be softnened and the tofu should be heated through.

4.Slice the bagels so you have two halfs, then brush them with olive oil and toast them in the griddle pan.

5. Add some extra bbq sauce onto the bagels, then fill them with tofu, onion, sliced tomato, grated carrot, grated beetroot, sliced cucumber, alfalfa and lettuce.

*Serves 3

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Tonight Mum went out, I was nearly not going to cook, but I felt guilty having all this food in the fridge. I really wanted to try out this Red Russian Kale that I got from Fundies, so I came up with this. Marco loved this dish and was disappointed I didn’t make enough for seconds. Luckily I have some left over sauce so this will be lunch again tomorrow.

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Linguine with Kale in a Pumpkin Cashew Sauce (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients for Pumpkin Cashew Sauce: 

3 cups chopped butternut pumpkin (or 2 cups mashed pumpkin)

3/4 cup cashew (raw or presoaked)

1 cup almond or other plant milk

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional for cheezy flavour)

sea salt to taste,

Remaining Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch red russian kale (or other type kale/spinach), roughly chopped

4 serves linguine/other long pasta

2-3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)

italian parsley (optional)

Method:

First Prepare the Sauce:???????????????????????????????

1. Steam the pumpkin in a large pot of water until it is soft. This should take about 20 mins. Then remove the pumpkin and mash it.

2. In the meantime if you haven’t soaked the cashews already, boil them for 10 mins.

3. In a processor, add the cashews and blend them until they are mostly broken down.

4. Add the pumpkin and almond milk and continue to blend. The cashews should be braking down now. Keep scraping down the sides of the bowl so there are no pieces of cashew that aren’t being blended.

5. While the processor is on add the dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and sea salt.

Now prepare the rest:

6. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

7. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Then add the kale, sea salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes or until it begins to wilt.

8. Add the pumpkin cashew sauce to the pan and heat through.

9. Serve sauce ontop of hot pasta and garnish with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds and italian parsley.

*Serves 4