Aussie Beetie Burgers

Hi all, hope your having a great week. Mine has been quite busy so far. Last night I went to the Hungry for Change Film Night, held by Inspiring Living Events at Kangaroo Point. It was really great to be around people who share the same passion for healthy living and meet health experts living and working in my city. Even though I’d seen the film before it was more enjoyable to watch it with other people. They also had some delicious vegan finger foods. Unfortunately I left my camera sim card at home, so I can’t share the lovely food that was provided by a new organic cafe Bang Bang Lulu. I’m also really happy that I found a new Naturopath last night, that also supports my vegan journey. I haven’t been feeling the best recently, so I’ve been planning to organise an appointment with somebody, but I know my former nutritionist doesn’t share my passion for vegan food. I’ve already booked in to see this new Nathuropath for a couple of weeks time when I can finally take some toil time from work. I will let you all know how I go.

Below is a recipe I whipped up over the weekend. I really felt like a burger, but all I had was some old beets and mixed grains left in the fridge. I added some leftover home-made pesto, lentils and some Aussie BBQ seasoning. The seasoning and pesto really gave the burgers an amazing flavour. The Aussie BBQ seasoning I used contained pink rock salt, paprika, garlic, onion, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon, lack pepper, thyme, oregano, chilli, chives and basil. It has no extras ingredients, preservatives or artificial flavours. Believe it or not I got it from Aldi. It really helped give my burgers that Aussie flavour that you usually find in Aussie beef burger patties and rissoles. The leftover mixed grains that I used where from one of those new brown rice products, that have quinoa, black sesame seeds and red rice mixed through. All you do is steam the rice and serve like you would normally.

I cooked the first batch of burger patties  in the pan with olive oil. They were still moist after they were cooked, but they were very hard to flip.  I’m really bad a flipping anything in a pan and I didn’t have Marco here to do it for me. He may not be able to cook to save himself, but he has a talent for flipping pancakes, omelettes and burgers. So the next day I decided to baked the rest. They were a little drier but much easier to prepare and they kept their shape a lot better when I served them. I served them with balsamic red onion and tomato sauce. Delicious!

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Aussie Beetie Burger Patties (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil (more to cook burgers)

1 small red onion

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon apple cinder vinegar

1 cup grated beetroot

1 cup mixed cooked grains/brown rice

1 cup cooked brown lentils

1/2 cup homemade pesto

Aussie BBQ seasoning to taste (or other spice mix you prefer)

Method:

1. Heat coconut oil on medium heat, then add red onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until it starts to soften.

2. Add garlic to red onion and saute for 1 minute, then add apple cider vinegar. Saute for another couple of minutes till the onions brown a little and get a little sticky. Take the onions off the heat and allow to cool down.DSC02001

3. Combine the remaining ingredients the processor and blend until combined. Don’t over process as you want some texture to the burger.

4. With damp hands form burger patties and place on baking paper. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer, to allow the burgers to harden.DSC02006

5.If you are going to bake the burgers, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place on a tray with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes. If you are going to cook them on the stove, heat a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick pan on medium heat. Cook the burgers a few minutes or until it is cooked to your liking.

*Makes 8 burgers patties or 4 thicker burger  patties

Cooked in the pan

Cooked in the pan

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Zucchini Basil Fritters with Lemon Cumin Mayo

I have been in such a rut with cooking since I’ve been back from holidays. I have still been cooking everyday, but I have been lacking inspirations and finding it hard to get back into a healthy routine. I’m not sure if its me still being in holiday mode or because of my anger towards my electric stove (I miss mums gas stove!).  But today I’m back on the wagon.

Last night after work I went and did my shopping for the week. Normally when I shop when I’m hungry I’m DSC01738overflowing with ideas and can’t wait to get home to cook. But yesterday it wasn’t the same. So I thought I’d go back to the basics and just fill my fridge with healthy vegetables, fruit and spurge on some coconut yogurt. I came home and baked some petite potatoes, red onions and this beautiful little pumpkin that I found in my DSC01740garden. While  I was waiting for it to cook I finally got some inspiration. I made these little fritters with some leftover rice and some organic zucchini. They were very good!

This morning I pushed myself to drink a healthy smoothie.  I made delicious Mixed Berry Kale Smoothie with Coconut Yogurt and Almond Milk. Can’t believe I’ve been avoiding smoothies and juices. Now I remember how good good they are.

Do you ever get in a rut with cooking or eating healthy? What do you do to snap out of it?

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Zucchini Basil Fritters with Lemon Cumin Mayo (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

To make Zucchini Basil Fritters:

Ingredients:

1 cup leftover basmati rice

1 medium zucchini, grated

2 garlic cloves, diced

20 basil leaves, diced

2 teaspoons egg replacer, mixed 4 tablespoons water)

1/2 cup plain flour or gluten free flour

1 tablespoon lemon juice

sea salt and black pepper to taste

olive oil

Method:

1. Take a mixing bowl and combine the basmati rice, grated zucchini, garlic and basil.

2. Add egg replacer, flour, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste. Stir through well.

3. Heat a non stick pan with olive oil on medium heat. Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and make into a pattie with your hands, then drop into the pan. Cook fritters for a minute or two on both side.

4. Continue Step 3 until you have no more mixture yet. You should be able to make eight Fritters.

To Make Lemon Cumin Mayo:

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients and serve with the fritters.

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Back for the new year

Hi all, I’m back!! Thanks for all the lovely messages that you left me while I was away. The past couple of months have been really hectic with family, travel and the big move into our new place, but everything has finally settled down.

The funeral of my uncle was very sad, but I am glad that I got to go down to say my goodbyes. It was the first funeral that I have attended of someone that I really knew my whole life. So it was really heart wrenching and a reminder that we can all go at any time. On the bright side, my grandfather who was also in the ICU, ended up being well enough to return home. However, it was also a reminder that my grandparents are getting older and won’t be around for much longer. Something I sometimes forget when I’m going about my life interstate.

Anyway, after that was my big trip to Japan for a wedding of two dear friends. I had so much fun and definitely got the travel bug again. Not such a great thing now we have a mortgage, but I can’t help it. I just love to experience different cultures, eat interesting food, photograph everything and of course the shopping! When we arrived back we moved straight into the new house and have been busy moving  in our stuff and renovating when we haven’t been at work. So its been pretty crazy, hence why I hadn’t been back to blogging till now. But now the New year has finally begun I am feeling more motivated to start cooking and writing again.

As promised I have much to share about Japan. If you were hoping for an inspirational vegan travel guide to Japan you will be very disappointed. I tried to stay true to my vegan journey, but it was difficult and I slipped a lot. Do I regret it? Not really. What I love about travel is experiencing the food. There is something about trying something that looks strange and taste different that I have always loved when I travel. I was probably the most food curious and adventurous person on the trip. I did stick to pescetarian/vegetarian diet though. I did not eat any meats or dairy. This was not always easy when you are travelling with 20 other people and meals where often preplanned by our hosts at carnivorous restaurants and can not speak Japanese. But I always managed to find something else where ever we went. Unless you eat in only vegan restaurants in Japan it is hard to stick to a strict vegan diet. Many Japanese snacks and dishes are flavoured with fish products, even simple things like miso soup and noodle soups. Rather then scrutinise everything  before I put in it my mouth, I just accepted the fact that the food wasn’t going to be all vegan. But since being back I’m striving get back to a vegan diet.

The wedding we attended was in Osaka, which is where we spent most of our time. After the wedding the bride and groom took us on a tour around Osaka and on day trips to Kyoto, Nara and Inari. After that Marco and I visited Tokyo and Hiroshima before heading home. We visited many temples, got to immerse ourselves into Japanese everyday life and experience all different types of Japanese foods . The highlights were: watching our friends get married  in a beautiful ceremony overlooking the Osaka city lights; eating the amazing food in Osaka; dressing as a Geisha in Kyoto; shopping was Harajuku, Tokyo and visiting the Hiroshima A-Bomb Museum.

Japan collage

Here are some of the vegetarian options that I found in Japan:

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One of my favourite discoveries in Japan was Mochi. I have heard a lot about it, but had never seen it in real life. I feel in love the first time I tried it. When we first arrived we went to a food department store in Osaka and were told by our friends to buy this Mochi with a fresh Strawberry inside. After the first bite I was kicking myself I didn’t by more since I had to share this one with Marco. The outside was soft like a mash mellow and the inside was so sweet. I couldn’t believe how fresh the strawberry was. After that day I was addicted to Mochi. I usually buy a strawberry Mochi fromt the convenience store in the morning or have it for dessert if it was available in the restaurant. Chocolate Mochi is also really amazing and the perfect end to a good meal.

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Another delicious discovery was Warabimochi, which is a jelly-like confection made from bracken starch and covered in sweet toasted soybean flour. I first tried this at a Sushi train. But I also found it available at markets and given a side dish in Japanese restaurants. It is sweet but not too sweet and is also a little spongy in texture. Have you tried it? What did you think? Marco wasn’t a huge fan, but I loved it.

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Another sweet discovery was Soy bean milk Soft serve and Tofu Donuts. I saw these at the Nishiki Market in Kyoto. I haven’t had a soft serve in years. I gave up the 50cent cone long before I went dairy free. Someone told me it was made out of pig fat, which turned my stomach. Soybean milk Soft serve tasted just as good as the regular one and had a really mild soy taste. The Tofu Donuts were great. They didn’t taste like tofu at all. Wish I bought two bags of this after sharing them with everyone.  Pretty sure these are vegan. After having to make mooing sounds to the guy selling them, he understood what I was asking and said no to cows milk products.

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Another thing that I finally got to try in Japan was Natto. I have heard that this fermented soy bean is really healthy and great for the stomach.  We were at the sushi train and one of the guys picked it off and put a whole Natto boat in his mouth. He said that it tasted disgusting and dried up all the saliva in his mouth. Everyone was confused what this strange ingredient was, but I recognised it straight away. I have been looking for Natto for so long, so I was very excited when he gave me the other Natto sushi. I decided to be safe I would just try a little bit of the Natto. It was so stringy like cheese. There was this clear like glue that stretched from the sushi to my mouth, which didn’t make it pretty to eat. The taste was horrible. It was nutty with a strong bitter taste. Everyone else took my word that it was horrible and were content not to try it. We at least I know now. Otherwise I may have surprised Marco with Natto for dinner.

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To celebrate moving into our new place, we decided to have Christmas at our house this/last year. I didn’t have very long to prepare and was lacking inspiration. So I researched recipes that I thought everyone would like while I was at work. I was going to make it a completely vegan Christmas, but in the end we decided to doing a couple seafood dishes. Here are some of the dishes that I made for my Christmas buffet. I doesn’t look like much, but there was so much food. I was up from 6.30 baking the breads, cooking the mains and sides and preparing the desserts. We ended up making it a Christmas dinner because we didn’t get to eat till after 5. It was so hot that we didn’t get to eat as much as I hope, but at least we had so many leftovers that I didn’t need to worry about cooking for everyone the days after. I was just so burnt out.

Some of the dishes include Rice pilaf with Almonds & Cranberries, Roasted Eggplant with Sumac Tahini Dressing, Traybaked Fish & Prawn Keralan Curry, my Eggplant Parmigiana, Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Pumpkin and Beetroot; Tahini Thyme Flat bread and Olive Rosemary Foccacia.

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These are Tahini Thyme Flat bread and Olive Rosemary Foccacia, as well as some Kiflice that Marco’s sister prepared. The Flat bread probably took the longest to prepare out of anything for Christmas. I should really read the recipes before taking them on. But it wasn’t until I made the dough and left it to rest that I realise it needed to rest 4 times in 45 min intervals before being baked. Luckily it was the first thing I prepared that morning, so I had plenty of time. The recipe for this Flat bread can be found here. It is from recipe book The Bourke Street Bakery’s Bread and Butter Project; by a Bakery in Sydney. Only thing I did different was use whole soy milk instead of cows milk and dry yeast instead of fresh. The bread was pretty good and it tasted just as good the next day and it didn’t go hard. However considering how long it took me I think I would prefer to just make the Foccacia next time, which was just as good. I got the recipe from here. I didn’t have any Saffron, but other then that I stuck to the recipe. It was probably the most successful Foccacia that I have ever made. I made it again for New years and it was still very popular with the family.

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This Rice pilaf with Almonds & Cranberries was probably one of the most popular dishes on the day. Everyone loved it. It was adapted from Jewelled wild rice with Almonds. So I decided to include the recipe for you. Its is full of flavor and a great crowd pleaser that that can be serve on the side with just about anything. For my version I only used white basmati, which was all I could get on short notice and I cooked mine in the pot instead of the oven. This was actually not the plan but it just happened to cook on its own and I forgot about it.

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Rice pilaf with Almonds & Cranberries (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

500g basmati rice

100g dried cranberries

1 litre vegetable stock

sea salt to taste

2 bay leaves

2 large thyme sprig

small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

50g toasted flaked almonds

finely grated zest ½ orange

serve with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to taste

Method:

1. Take a heavy based casserole pot and heat the olive oil. Then add the onion and cook on a medium to low heat for 15 minutes, until the onion starts to go golden.

2. Add the basmati rice and the cranberries and stir through until coated with the onions.

3. Then add the vegetable stock and sea salt to taste.

4. Place the bay leaves and thyme into the pot. Don’t stir them through, just leave float on the top.

5. Bring the pot to the boil, then down to a simmer with the lid on and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, until the rice is half cooked. There should still be plenty of liquid in the pot.

6. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on for 15-20 minutes. In this time the liquid will be absorbed and the rice will be cooked, light and fluffy.

7. Add the parsley, almonds and orange zest.

8. Serve warm or leave it to go cold cold. Top with some extra olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

*Serves 8

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Another big hit at Christmas with the guest was this delicious Roasted Eggplant with Sumac Tahini Dressing. I haven’t made this since Sally’s 60th. Its really easy to prepare and is so delicious. I ended up making a double portion for New years to feed the demand for eggplant. You can find the recipe here. I guarantee you guests will love it! The original recipe is from Honestly Healthy: Eat with your body in mind, the alkaline way, by Natasha Corrett andVicki Edgson.

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So for my Christmas dessert buffet I had plans to make more then this. But with time restrictions this is what I managed. Firstly I finally got around to making this Pumpkin Tiramisu from Chef Chloe’s website. I have been wanting to try this for so long. I learned my lesson a few years ago making a traditional Tiramisu for everyone for Christmas that I could not eat. Not only was it depressing, but my skin broke out after I had to try all the elements before putting it all together. So this recipe is completely vegan and seemed like a better option. I would love to say that I fell in love with this recipe, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed. I’m not sure if it was because I used fresh butter nut pumpkin purée instead of canned pumpkin or because I had to use a hazelnut syrup instead of alcohol. But I just found the color was off, there was far to much sugar, especially in the vanilla cake. Everyone who tried it said it was nice, but that I shouldn’t of ruined something that’s perfect already. I think the concept of the pumpkin creme was excellent though and very creamy and thick like mascapone and eggs. I think next time I would use some Savoiardi if I can find dairy free and definitely some alcohol.

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This dessert was actually more popular that I had to make it again for New years. It actually looked a lot more stunning with the fresh fruit on top, but I forgot to take photos just before serving.  It is slightly adapted from Vegan Two-Bite Blueberry Cheesecake by Cheeky Kitchen. I used vegan ginger snap biscuits for the base,  frozen mixed berries for the berry compote and fresh blueberries, strawberries and cherries for the topping. I also made 8 serves instead of 12-15. So they were more of a full dessert serving then a bite size. The recipe is really easy to prepare and very quick. So long as you remember to soak the cashews with coconut cream the night before. It actually turned out more like a pudding instead of a cheesecake.

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Mixed Berry Pudding with Ginger snap base (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 cups cashews

2 cans full-fat coconut cream

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup finely crushed ginger-snap biscuits (vegan gluten free)

3 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar or raw sugar

3 tablespoon vegan butter

2 cups frozen mixed berries

pinch ground cardamon

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup fresh mixed berries

Method:

1. The day before, place cashews and coconut cream into a bowl/container. Stir in the vanilla extract. Then cover and place in fridge overnight.

2. The next day place the cashew & coconut cream mixture into a Vitamix blender. Add 1/2 cup of maple syrup and blend until smooth.

3. In a small bowl, combine ground ginger-snap biscuits, sugar, and melted butter. Spoon mixture into the bottom of small serving bowls. Place a dollop of cashew-coconut milk mixture on top.

4. Take a small pot, heat together blueberries, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, cardamom, and lemon zest. Cook until the berries begin to bursting. Allow to cool.

5. Melt nutlex in a small pot, then add the biscuit crumbs on a low heat.

6. Spoon the biscuit crumbs into 8 dessert glasses. Then top with cashew coconut cream and berry compote. Place the glasses into the fridge until ready to serve.

7. Top the dessert with fresh berries and serve.

*Serves 8

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

Cumin Cardamon Spiced Rice with Green Lentils and Roasted Brussels Spouts & Garlic

This is my last green lentil dish from the leftovers that I cooked a few days ago. I can’t believe how far 2 cups of lentils went. I served these dishes with some crunchy roasted kale, some twice roasted potatoes (also leftovers) and Fry’s Golden Crumbed Schnitzels.

I have been feeling really tired the last few days. I have been working and not eating fresh greens or much fruit. I also have been relying to much on coffee. After becoming really lethegic, I decided to be different today. For breakfast I had Organic Kamut Bread toasted with hummus and a Cherry Berry Oat Milk Smoothie. For lunch I had these dishes again. For dinner tonight I am  making some vegetarian salads for Marco’s mothers big 60th party. So I will post on what I come up with soon.

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Cumin Cardamon Spiced Rice with Green Lentils (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups brown jasmine rice

2 cups cooked green lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 red onions, sliced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cardamon

juice of 1 lemon

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

Method:

1. First cook rice in the rice cooker. ???????????????????????????????

2. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large pan. Then add red onions, cumin and cardamon. Cook for 8-10 mins or until the onions are soft and browned. Don’t let spices burn, if you need add more oil or water.

3. Add green lentils to the pan and heat through. Cook for 2-3 mins.

4. Add cooked rice to the pan, lemon juice and seas with salt. Cook until heated then serve.

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Roasted Brussels Spouts & Garlic (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

12-15 brussels sprouts

1 whole garlic head

olive oil

sea salt

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wash and remove any tarnished outer leaves of brussels sprouts.

2. In a small baking dish combine the brussels sprouts, the whole garlic (don’t remove outer skin), olive oil and sea salt.

3. Roast for 30 mins or until you can pierce the brussels sprouts with a fork.

4. Peel the roasted garlic and stir through in a bowl with brussels sprouts and adjust seasoning.

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Adzuki Chili Casserole with Cornbread Topping

Last nights dinner was my attempt at an American classic, chili and corn bread. In Australia, we don’t usually cook American dishes like this. We have a lot of influence from Asia, Europe and even the Middle East, but not a lot of American cuisine. I often cook  ‘mexican’ chili con carne. In recent years I have been making my own spice mix. I am not sure if I make it the right way, but it my best attempt at emulating the Mexican spice mix that you can buy in the packet. This is also my first attempt of making cornbread. I have tried corn bread a couple of times in the past in ribs restaurants They usually serve this as a entree, with lots of butter. I have always really liked the sweet and savory taste of it.

To put this dish together I used the left over rice and Eggplant & Capsicum Pasta Sauce from the day before. I also soaked some adzuki beans over night and cooked them up, so they were ready to add to any dishes. I used the rice to make a crispy base for the casserole. I was considering making a pie, but I didn’t really feel like making dough. I was also worried that if I used puff pastry, then it the sauce would go through it. I saw some recipes using rice with eggs to make pie or quiche bases, so I tried to do that. It turned out to be a really solid base and held the chili well. 

???????????????????????????????For the chili I made my usually spice mix and added the cook adzuki beans and the pasta sauce. The spices really helped give the sauce a more southern taste. It was really easy to prepare and quick.

Lastly, for the top of the casserole I decided to do cornbread, because I had seen it somewhere, but then I couldn’t remember where. So after doing a lot of research and trying to find a vegan version, I came across this recipe for Black Bean Chili Pot Pie with Cornbread Topping from Chipped Bowl. I decided to also add cinnamon to the batter, as I saw this in another recipe by Nigella Lawson. I had to make a double the portion for the size of my casserole, which I adapted below. This was my favorite part of the casserole. It was so sweet and fluffy. I could of just eaten this on its own.

My family were really blown away by this dish, as it was like nothing else they had tried before. I definitely want to make this a regular meal. I’m sure it would be great to serve for guests or family dinners. Let me know what your think of my attempt and how you make this American classic?

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Adzuki Chilli Casserole with Cornbread Topping  (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients for Rice Base:

2 cups of cooked rice

1/2 cup polenta or corn meal

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt to taste

Ingredients for Chili:

2 cups of cooked adzuki beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion flakes or onion powder

1 tablespoon ground sweet paprika

1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

3 cups tomato pasta sauce (I used leftover Eggplant & Capsicum Pasta Sauce)

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce

Ingredients for Cornbread Topping:

1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (use gluten free flour if you prefer)

1 cup polenta or corn meal

3 tablespoons raw sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1.5 cup water

4 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. First make the spice mix for the chili. Combine the cumin, garlic powder, onion flakes, sweet paprika, cayenne and oregano in a small bowl.???????????????????????????????

3. Heat 2 tablepsoons of olive oil in a large pot. Then add the all the spices. Cook for 3 mins on medium heat.

4. Add the cooked adzuki beans to the pot and coat in the spices.  Cook for another 3 mins.

5. Add the sauce, water and worcestershire sauce. Adjust seasoning and cook for 15-20 mins.???????????????????????????????

6. In the meantime, prepare the rice base. Place cooked rice and polenta in a large bowl. Combine the water with the nutritional yeast, then add to the bowl. Add salt to taste and stir it through.

7. Take large casserole dish and grease with some oil, then place the rice mixture and press down so it is equally distributed as a base. Bake for 10 mins, then remove from the oven.???????????????????????????????

8. In the meantime, prepare the cornbread topping. Take another large mixing bowl combine the flour, polenta, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir well.???????????????????????????????

9. Then make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the water and vegetable oil and stir till combined.

10. Take the Casserole dish and place the adzuki chili on top of the rice base.

11. Then add the cornbread topping on top of the chili. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins or until you can place a toothpick inside the topping and it comes out clean.

*Serves 8

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Sweet Potato Croquettes with Spicy Pineapple & Black beans Rice

You know how I was saying I was looking forward to using the leftovers. This is what inspired today’s lunch. I cooked the leftover the rice in a similar way to the Spicy Black bean and Rice stuffing, but I added some pineapple and a few more veggies. To go with it I made these croquettes. The polenta and corn crumbs really go well with the flavor of the sweet potato. Since I can’t use cheese, I used Tofutti instead to stuff it. This was nice and creamy inside. I also served it with last nights left over Coleslaw and a french stick that my mum turned up with, just in time for lunch. The dressing actually tasted better today and closer to the real thing.

I recently added a Recipe page, so you can all find the recipes easier. I also added a Eating out Vegan Page. These are some places that I have experienced. So far only places in Queensland, Australia and a couple in Milan. But I am hoping to add some more when I go to Melbourne next week. Now I’m off to do last minute Christmas shopping!

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Sweet Potato Croquettes (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 small sweet potatoes

1/4 cup polenta

1 tablespoon water

1  tablespoon coriander leaves, minced

sea salt to taste

5 teaspoons Tofutti cream cheese

corn crumbles

canola oil, enough to shallow fryDSC01375

Method:

1. Peel the sweet potatoes and steam them till they are really soft.DSC01376

2. Place sweet potato into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.DSC01377

3. Stir through the polenta, water, coriander leaves and season with salt.

4. Place 1 tablespoon of the sweet potato mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten it. Then add 1/2 tsp cream cheese in the centre and close it into a ball, so that the cream cheese is in the center.

5. Rub the balls in corn crumbs.

6. Heat canola oil in a pan. Then add the croquettes and turn them as they go golden brown.

7. Once they are completely golden brown on all sides, place them on a plate with a paper towel to drain the oil. Then serve.

*Makes 10 balls.

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Spicy Pineapple & Black beans Rice (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2.5 cup cooked basmati rice (cooked in vegetable liquid stock &  turmeric)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 large stalks of celery, diced

1 red chilli, diced

1/2 red capsicums, diced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

sea salt & black pepper to taste

1 small zucchini, chopped

1/2 cup cooked black beans

1/2 cup pineapple, diced

Method:

1. Take a pan and heat olive oil. Then add the onion, garlic, celery and chilli. Cook for 5 mins.DSC01378

2. Then add the zucchini, pineapple and all the spices (cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, paprika, salt, pepper). Cook for another 3 mins or until zucchini is tender.

3. Stir through the black beans and cooked rice. Cook until all is heated through, then serve.

*Serves 4

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Spicy Black bean and Rice Stuffed Capsicums, Spiced Roasted Vegetables and Southern Coleslaw

I had no idea what to cook tonight. All I knew was that I had vegetable stock in the fridge, but I didn’t want to have soup again. I decided to use it to flavor some rice and then the rest of the meal evolved from there.

The rice tasted so good with the spices and the black beans. I am already planning tomorrows lunch with the left overs. It did taste good in the capsicums,  but my capsicums were not as sweet as I would of liked. I think they must of been a more bitter variety. I decided to do the roasted vegetables and coleslaw since I thought they would fit the kind of southern theme, plus they are some of Marco’s favorite dishes. For the coleslaw,  I tried adapt from this recipe, Simple Creamy Southern Coleslaw with Mayonnaise. My dressing is a lot healthier and vegan friendly. I didn’t have any celery seeds, but I read that you can substitute them with celery leaves. Not sure if I got the correct flavor, but it tasted good.

Since I only cooked for two tonight I roughly doubled the measurements for the following recipes. Sorry about the photos, My kitchen is not well lit at night. Dam energy savers!

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Spicy Black bean and Rice Stuffed Capsicums (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup basmati rice

1 cup vegetable liquid stock

1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric

4 red capsciums

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 large stalks of celery, diced

1 red chili, diced

2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

sea salt & black pepper to taste

1 cup cooked black beans

2 tablespoon coriander leaves, diced

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.DSC01340

1. First you need to prepare the rice. Wash and place in the rice cooker. Add liquid stock to cover and tumeric to color the rice when its cooks. Let it cook till its tender and then set to the side. (If you make a cup you should have plenty left over for another meal).DSC01342

2. Carve out the top stump of the capsicums. Clean out the center, so that all the seeds are removed. Place in a baking dish.

3. Take a pan and heat olive oil. Then add the onion, garlic, celery and chili. Cook for 5 mins.DSC01347

4. Then add the cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and salt. Cook for another 2 mins.

5. Take off the heat and stir through the black beans, coriander and 1 cup of cooked rice.

6. Stuff the capsicums with the rice and beans. Then place in the oven and cook for 30 mins or until the skin of the capsicum goes very soft.

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Spiced Roasted Vegetables (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

8 chat potatoes

3 sweet potatoes

6-8 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

olive oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.DSC01344

2. Peel the sweet potatoes, wash the potatoes and remove the skin from the garlic.

3. Place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, cumin, cayenne, and sea salt.

4. Place in a baking tray and cook for 40 mins or until golden brown.

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Southern Coleslaw (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

250g coleslaw mix

1/2 red onion

1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon agave

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon minced celery leaves or celery seeds

sea salt & black pepper to tasteDSC01353

Method:

1. Wash the coleslaw and place in a large bowl.

2. Slice the red onion and add to the bowl.

3. Take a small bowl and combine the mayonnaise, agave, apple cider vinegar, celery leaves, sea salt & pepper.

4. Stir through the coleslaw and serve.

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Sweet Potato & Rice Veggie patties

Today is another lazy day of procrastination so far. I figure if I’m on my computer I am one step closer to doing some work. I didn’t plan on cooking some major for lunch, but then I got temped to make something with the leftover  basmati rice. I didn’t want to have fried rice again like I did last night, so I came up with this. I added the polenta, as I found when I made Chloe’s Mexicali Sliders, that it helps to bind patties like egg does. I think this would serve about 10 patties (size of mine) or perhaps 5 large one. I just made a simple sweet chilli mayo to go with it. This is just a ratio of 2 parts vegan mayo to 1 part sweet chili sauce and a pinch of ground cayenne.

Sweet Potato & Rice Veggie patties (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup leftover basmati/other rice

1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 2 small)

2 tablespoons polenta

1 onion diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

handful coriander leaves minced

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

sea salt to taste

Methods:

1. First steam sweet potato and once finish mash.

2. Take a large bowl and add sweet potato and rice.

3. Add 2 tbsp of polenta (better if sweet potato is warm, otherwise add 1 tbsp of hot water to polenta before adding).

4. In a non-stick pan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook onion on medium heat for 4 mins or until browned. Then add to bowl.

5. Add cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, sweet chili sauce, coriander leaves and salt to the bowl.

5. Make balls of the mixture in hands and place on baking paper (or straight into the pan)

6. Heat nonstick pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and place balls into the pan. Flatten balls with a flip, so it forms a pattie. Cook a few minutes on each side, then serve.

Marjoram & Coriander Spiced Rice with Lentil and Cumin & Coriander Fried Tofu

We were nearly not going to have dinner tonight, since we had the worlds biggest and most delicious vegan burger from World Vegan Day Fair at Green Edge. If you live or plan on visiting Brisbane, you have to check out this place. They also sell the most amazing brownies, cheese/chocolate cakes, which are all vegan and gluten free. I first discovered this place when I was looking for casin free cheese and gluten free products, because of my milk and gluten intolerance. I have been a regular every since. Today the store was so busy, so unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to buy anything from the fridge section, so I’ll be back next week for lunch and vegan cheese.

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a fellow blogger, Avocado and Ales. Her recipe for Salt & Pepper Tofu looked so good, so I had to try it. I just added cumin, chili and coriander to the tofu, before dipping it in cornflour. I paired it with a lentils and rice. I had a bunch of  fresh coriander and frozen marjoram. I’ve never used marjoram before. By the smell of it I thought it would go with well with coriander. I actually bought fresh poultry herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon  marjoram) on sale last week and froze it them. Since I don’t have my herb garden up and running yet, freezing fresh herbs means I have them when I need them. Aldi also has a new range of frozen herbs, which are really great and once you add them to the food you wouldn’t know they were frozen. I prefer fresh or frozen herbs better to dry herbs, which can be really bitter. Anyway I hope you like this recipe as much as my boyfriend and mum did. It’s easy and very quick to make.

Marjoram & Coriander Spiced Rice with Lentil (gf, sf, nf)

Ingredients- 3 cups of cooked basmati rice, 2 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion chopped, 2 large garlic cloves diced, 1 carrot chopped,1 red capsicum chopped, 1 zucchini chopped, 100 g mushrooms chopped, 2 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp chili powder, 4 sprigs of majoram, 2 tbsp coriander stems diced, 1 handful coriander leaves chopped, 1 can brown lentils, juice of 1/4 lemon (more to taste), herbamare/sea salt to taste

1. Put rice to cook in the rice cooker.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add red onion, garlic, carrot, capsicum, cumin, chili, cinnamon. Cook on medium heat for 5 mins or until onion is soft.

3. Add zucchini, mushrooms, coriander stems and marjoram Cook for a further 4 mins or until zucchini is soft.

4. Add coriander leaves, rice, lentils, lemon juice and salt. Cook for another few minutes and adjust seasoning before serving.

* Serves 5-6

Cumin & Coriander Fried Tofu (gf, nf)

Ingredients- Canola Oil, 190 g organic firm tofu (1/2 375 pack), 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tbsp coriander leaves diced, 1/2 cup corn flour,  sea salt to taste

1. Drain and press water out of the  tofu, then cut it into small cubes.

2. In a bowl add 2 tbsp canola oil, cumin, chili, coriander and sea salt. Then stir through tofu. Make sure all sides of tofu are covered in herb oil.

3. Cover the tofu in corn flour on each side.

4. Heat canola oil in a fry pan then fry the tofu till it is crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.

*Serves 4