Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Sundried Tomatoes and Peas

A couple of days ago I finally received my copy of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. I didn’t even know Chloe Coscarelli had written another book, but as soon as I found out I added it to my Amazon order. I have a been a long time fan of Chloe and have previously bought and cooked recipes from her other books, Chloe’s Kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.

I am really excited about this new book because it combines my two favorite things, italian food and guilt free delicious vegan recipes. You probably noticed on my blog that I have many Italian inspired recipes that are recreations of the food I grew up with and other traditional dishes that I have eaten in Italy or always wanted to try. So I am so excited to get some ideas on how to better veganise my favourite recipes.

You can see a sneak peak of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen on Amazon and Google Books.

Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: My Vegan MoFo Cookbook of the Week

This recipe below was adapted from Chloe’s White Wine Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms and Peas from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. I used dried shiitake mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in mine. Both have really strong flavours that really shone through. Marco was a bit scared when he saw the shiitake mushrooms, but he ended up being really happy with the taste of this risotto and wanted to have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

DSC03179Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Peas (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)


6 cups vegetable liquid stock

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (soak for 10 minutes and slice in strips if large pieces)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

ground black pepper to taste


1. Take medium pot and heat the liquid stock.  Leave it on a simmer while you start cooking the rest of the recipe.

2. Take a large skillet and heat olive oil on medium to high heat. Then add the onion and shiitake mushrooms. Saute until the onions have softened and are translucent.

3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Saute for 1 minute so that the garlic is fragrant.

4. Add the rice and the white wine. Stir through and cook until the white wine has been absorb.

5. Begin to ladle about one cup at a time of liquid stock into the skillet. Stir frequently. Add another ladle of liquid stock once the first has been absorbed and continue until the rice is cooked and there is no more stock. This should take about 20-25 minutes.

6. Add the peas, italian parsley, sea salt and ground black pepper. Stir through until the peas are warmed through. Adjust seasoning if you need and then serve.

*Serves 4

DSC03183So far I have made a couple more dishes from my new favorite cook book. Last night I made Lemon Herb Cannellini Beans (Cannellini all erbe e limone) with Spinach and Mash Potatoes with Garlic and Sea Salt (Purè di patate con aglio e sale marino).  This was the most delicious creamy, cheezy bean dish I have ever had and was really simple and quick to make. The main ingredients are cannellini beans, garlic, nutritional yeast, plant milk and lemon juice. The Mash Potatoes were also really creamy and delicious thanks to the fresh garlic and plant milk.

For dessert I made Olive Oil Pancakes (Frittelle all’olio di oliva). I’ve never cooked pancakes with olive oil and I usually don’t use that much baking soda, but they came out so fluffy and delicious. For a recipe with only 5 ingredients I was really happy with the results and so was Marco. Usually he lathers his pancakes with nutella, but was content with natural maple syrup. Can’t wait to serve this the next time the mini-Marco’s come to visit.


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.


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


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


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)


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)


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


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!


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


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


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.


Tempeh Tempations

I can’t believe another week has gone by so quickly. I have been counting down the days to my graduation. On Tuesday night I will finally be graduation (after I don’t even want to think about how many years) from university. I will be finishing with a Dual degree in Business and Arts, majoring in Marketing, Italian Language and History & Cultural Heritage. I have also just received an award for Academic Excellence for 2012-13. I am sad that my university days are finally coming to an end, but its nice to get the awards to finally show something for all these years. Not sure how long I will be able to stay away from studying though. I have been spending all my free time at work looking up Honors courses I want to take in the ‘future’ and have been reading anything I can get my hands on.

Will all this free time you would think I would have time to be creative in the kitchen, but actually I am usually very tire after work and have been making a lot of meals that get eaten over days for dinners and lunches. Marco doesn’t like having the same thing more then twice, but the days of having a different meal every night are over. Well at least for the moment. I have been cooking a fair bit with tempeh lately. I really like the chewy texture and the trying different ways to use it. Something I didn’t post recently was a vegan massamam curry with tempeh and potatoes. I wasn’t so sure about that combination. But for making sausages, meatballs, steaks or just to add to a chew texture to a pasta sauce it works really well.

If you don’t know what tempeh is don’t feel silly, I only discovered it a couple of years back when I read about it in my first vegan cookbook. After I while I finally got the courage to use it and now I love it. “Tempeh is a traditional soy product that is originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty. It originated in Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor which becomes more pronounced as it ages. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine, where it is used as a meat analogue”. It tastes and looks completely different to tofu. There are also many differences, which you can see below (source).


My Shiitake mushrooms have been doing really well. I finally have a few that I could try out. I though they would have a really strong taste like the dried variety, but they are actually quite mellow. They are more flavorsome then the regular white mushrooms and have a kind of meaty chewy texture.



Last night we had the kids over. They all wanted to have pasta so I made them a delicious tomato sauce with red onion and capsicum. For Marco and I wanted to make something a little more interesting. So I decided to make a pasta dish with tempeh, shiitake mushrooms and french lentils. I thought that it would be like a vegetarian bolognese. It didn’t really turn out like I thought, but it was really tasty. I felt a bit bad that the kids was so simple, but that’s what they wanted and I was too scared they wouldn’t like ours. Marco was a bit envious of the kids, until he tried ours. On the side I made some Frys Meat Free Pops. Everyone loved them and they were a good incentive for everyone to finish their dinner. Not that they needed much, all the kids had seconds of the pasta.


The kids pasta dish

Frys Meat Free Pops

Frys Meat Free Pops


For this pasta I used an Italian brand of finely diced tomatoes, Mutti from Parma. I am pretty sure this is the same one that we were cooking with when we lived in Italy. I asked my Aunty in Milan what her secret was to her delicious pasta sauce and she told me it was the quality of the diced tomatoes. She showed me this brand that she used and I finally found it in Coles of all places.



Pasta Shells with Tempeh, Shiitake Mushrooms and French Lentil in a Tomato Sauce (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)


4 serves pasta shells (use gluten free pasta shells if you prefer)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 red capsicum, diced

3/4 cooked french lentils

100g tempeh

3-4 shiitake mushrooms

1 can good quality finely diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon raw sugar or more to taste

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

sea salt & black pepper to taste



1. Heat olive oil then saute red onion and garlic for 5 mins on medium heat. Then add capsicum and saute for another few minutes till all is caramelized.

2. Add tempeh and shiitake mushrooms and saute for a few more minutes.

3. Add the french lentils,  a can of finely diced tomatoes and oregano. Season with sugar, salt and pepper and cook for 30-40 mins (the longer the better).

4. Cook the pasta until al dente and then serve with the pasta sauce.

*Serves 4

After dinner we made New York-Style Crumb Cake from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. This was amazing! I will be definitely making this again. It tastes store bought but completely vegan. If you don’t have the book, you can see the recipe here.



During the week I made Baked Rigatoni with Tempeh Sausage. I made a similar combination to the Tempeh Sausages from Sweet Mixed Tomato and Tempeh Sausage Casserole. However I didn’t add any oil or flour to the sausages and just form the mixture into balls. The tempeh gave that meaty texture that I really miss from my mums baked pasta with sausage.


Baked Rigatoni with Tempeh Sausage (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients Italian Tempeh Sausages:

300g  tempeh

3 tablespoons Italian seasoning

1/4 cup tamari or light soy sauce (more to taste)

Ingredients for Italian seasoning (makes 1/2 cup):

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion flakes or powder

1 tablespoon ground fennel (grinded fennel seeds)

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper

Rest of Ingredients:

500g rigatoni (use gluten free rigatoni if you prefer)

1 tablespoon olive oil

700 ml passata sauce

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves

1 red capsicum

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

sea salt, black pepper and raw sugar to taste

vegan mozarella, grated (I used Notzarella)???????????????????????????????


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. To make the Tempeh Sausages, cut the tempeh into cubes and steam for 15 mins. Then allow it to cool or if your impatient rinse with cold water. Then break up into crumbs and place into a mixing bowl.DSC06246

3. Add the Italian Seasoning and tamari, add more to make more salty.

4. In the meantime, take a pot and saute red onion, garlic and capsicum with olive oil till caramelized.  Then add passata sauce, oregano leaves sea salt, black pepper and raw sugar. Bring to the boil then leave to simmer for 20-30 mins.

5. While the sauce is cooking bring a pot to the boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet.

6. Take a baking tray and put some sauce on the bottom. Then add the pasta and some more sauce and toss though, so the pasta is coated in sauce.

7. Form balls with the tempeh mixture and place them on top and between the pasta.

8. Lastly top with more pasta sauce and grated notzarella. Bake for 30-40 mins.

*Serves 8


For more Tempeh recipes check out my Sweet Mixed Tomato and Tempeh Sausage CasseroleLoaded Sweet Potatoes with Spinach and Tempeh ‘Bacon’, Tempeh Pine nut ‘Meatballs’ with Red Wine Tomato SauceFettuccine alla bolognese and Mock Tuna Salad.

Last thing I want to share is the amazing Cherry Pita that I had at Pitstop Pastries and Pizza over the weekend in West End. Best part was that it was completely vegan! I think I am going to have to order some more to keep for mid week morning teas.


Primal Pantry & the Regional Food Festival

Hi all, I’ve been a bit quieter the last couple of weeks. I have been away from my place and eating out a fair bit the last week. Yesterday I discovered a new food find that caters to vegans and vegetarians. Primal Pantry is Brisbane’s first paleo grocery store and cafe in Teneriffe. I was not very familiar with the paleo diet till recently through other blogs. Although I don’t agree with this lifestyle diet, I was interest to visiting them for their vegan options. They are also 100% gluten free and mostly dairy free (except for whey). Marco was also very excited when he saw all the meat options. He has come alone way to eat a mostly vegan/vegetarian diet, but he still gets his meat fix when he can.



We arrived around 1.30 to meet some friends. I was surprised how busy it was and we had to wait about 20 mins for a table. In the meantime I read some of their little pamphlets on what is paleo and why no legumes, dairy or gluten. I also had a look at their groceries, which included fresh fruit and vege, coconut flour, coconut sugar and almond nut butter. Once we got seated, I asked about the vegan options. The waitress told me that the chefs can make up special dish for me or I could modify one of their menu options. She said usually they have pre-made vegan salads, however today they had sold out. She also mentioned that most of the smoothies were vegan and a few of the desserts.


I decided to order one of the dishes on their menu, that could be modified, which was the Shaved Brussel Sprout and Endive Salad with walnuts and pear (and no bacon). I also ordered the Hulk Smoothie, which had the pear, spinach, mango, lime, coconut, water, ice. Marco ordered the BBQ ribs special. It also came with a small fennel salad, which was good to know that he can tolerate it. Last time I made something with fennel he wouldn’t touch it.



My juice and salad were nice. I never tried raw brussel sprouts or endives before and I felt lighter after eating it. Not sure I will be running back there for this salad. However, the breakfast options for vegans look a lot more tempting. Such as Potted Muesli with Orange Blossom Pears and Coconut Labna, Cacao Granola with Berry Compote and Coconut Cream or Cinnamon Pancakes with Grilled Figs, Pistachio Crumb and Maple. Marco was very happy with his meal. Not sure about my friends, they didn’t really comment. Perhaps I forgot to ask them.


No one wanted to stick around for dessert. They all preferred to go to The Shady Palm Cafe and Bar. So we went there. Unfortunately they don’t have vegan desserts. So before I left the Primal Pantry bought a Coconut Berry Slice takeaway, which I ended having at home later. I haven’t ever tried anything with Coconut flour before. It was quite nice, but not a full on dessert like Marco and my friends had.


The weekend before this I went to the Brisbane Regional Food Festival at Southbank. There were so many people and lots of samples or small dishes to purchase. Most of the samples were chutneys and dips and the small dishes were quite expensive so we didn’t eat to much. There were not many vegan options either. Many tents were dedicated different fine dining restaurants showing off their canapes (for a fee) and smaller gourmet brands getting exposure. Not sure where Marco got this Campari for me. Marco also had to buy a piece of that Rockie Road. He didn’t buy one as big as the one in the photo below. They were $100 each. Unfortunately it didn’t come in vegan variety. But I got some Noosa Chocolate  Factory Dark Chocolate with Valencia Orange to make up for it.







The most exciting thing for me was getting to watch Poh Ling Yeow make her signature dish, which got her through the first Master Chef auditions. She made Abacus Beads, which are a regional specialty from Malaysia. They are similar to a gnocchi, but made of taro root. I have been a big fan of her since I first saw her on Master Chef. In fact I boycotted the show after she didn’t win. I also bought her recipe book. Although there is a lot of meat dishes I still get inspiration from her book even though I am trying to follow a vegan diet. The only dishes that I have veganise so far are from her book are Borscht & Pirozhki. But I definitely would like to veganise her Abacus Beads dish. The actually beads are vegan, but she added minced pork and dried prawn, as well as coriander and fresh shiitake mushrooms. I got to try the Abacus beads and they were so delicious! They were bouncy and really to anything I’ve tried before.



At the food festival I bought this Shiitake Mushroom Log from My City Garden. I have been wanting to grow my own mushrooms for a while, so I jumped at the chance to buy this for $15. To grow the mushroom I had to soak the log for 18 hrs and then leave it to grow. Its only been a couple of days but they are gradually growing. I should be able to grow two more batches after this. I’ll keep you updated on how they look once grown. Can’t wait!




Marco also finally bought my 5 year anniversary present. Nearly 10 months late, but better late then never. He got me a lemon, lime and avocado trees. He also potted them for me. I’m hoping this inspires him to have some more interest in my veggie patch. Apparently that’s still my ‘problem’ lol.


Tonight I was inspired to make something with Shiitake mushrooms. These aren’t my fresh ones, just dried ones. I also used my garden pak choy and eggplant over brown rice. Marco didn’t really like this meal, but at least he ate it. For me it was nice to have a nice healthy wholesome meal.


Japanese Favourites

Good evening all! Tonight I tried to make two of my favourite dishes that I have never made before, Sushi and Japanese Curry.

I have always been a bit scared to make sushi. ???????????????????????????????Years ago my brother and I tried to make it, but we didn’t realise you need sushi rice and rice wine vinegar. Our tuna sushi with basmati rice tasted pretty bad, so I thought I would leave it up to the experts. Marco was also very scared about me making sushi when I suggested it a while ago. He was nervous I was going to ruin sushi for him. Well that was until our friends mentions that they made sushi at home. Then he had hope I could do it too.

Making sushi was much easier then I thought. I made 3 large rolls that I cut up into bite size pieces. Half were filled with avocado, for Marco and the rest was filled with avocado and shiitake mushrooms. Not very adventurous  but it was my first time so I thought I would keep it simple. I followed this recipe, Avocado Sushi with Cucumber, but this is also a great site for recipes and tips, Make my sushi. My sushi turned out quite good. The only thing I know for next time is to not putting so much rice, as it is much harder to roll if you have to much.



I was actually planing to fill one of the sushi rolls with Wakame. When I saw this Dried Seaweed salad in the packet at the Japanese Grocery store I thought it would taste like it. But no, this stuff is completely different. It is a mixture of different seaweeds that you soak and then dress, like a salad. It didn’t taste too bad on the side with tonight meal, but I think I will try to find a dressing to go with it as tastes like the sea.


For the main event tonight I finally got around to a recipe that I have had on my Pinterest for a while, Japanese Curry with Edamame. I slightly adapted the ingredients in the recipe to give it a more richer flavor. I couldn’t find any organic or non gmo edamame. In fact, I have never seen any before in Brisbane. There are only the frozen edamame from China available at Asian grocery stores. So I decided to use frozen broad beans instead.

This recipe doesn’t taste exactly like the packet Japanese Curry, but it does have a nice strong flavour.  I have been eating Japanese Curry since the first Japanese sushi train popped up in my local shopping centre when I was in primary school. However, as much as I love it I never order it any more  Since I became aware of all my intolerances I avoid anything that may have  milk products or flavour enhances. The only packet version available here, that I think most restaurants would also use, is S&B Golden Curry. This recipe is a great substitute though and you won’t be disappointed in the flavour department.

I got the idea to make Eggplant Katsu from when I fried eggplant for Eggplant Parmigiana. When I made that dish I used corn crumbs. This recipe uses panko crumbs, which makes it all the more taster on its own. It is a really great substitute for fried cutlets and goes well with the curry.


Japanese Curry with Broad beans and Eggplant Katsu (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients for Curry:

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

4 carrots, cut into ½-inch-thick half moons (about 2 cups)

2.5 tablespoons curry powder

2 teaspoons garam marsala

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups vegan beef liquid stock

4 creamy golden/yukon potatoes, peeled & cubed (about 2.5 cups)

1 small green apple, peeled & grated (about 1/2 cup)

3 tablespoon ketchup

1  tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon white miso paste

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup broad beans (fresh or frozen)

Ingredients for Eggplant Katsu:

1 medium eggplant, washed & peeled

table salt

tapicoa flour

sea salt

1/2 cup soy milk

panko crumbs

canola oil???????????????????????????????


1. In a large heavy based pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Then add onions and sauté for 7 to 9 minutes, or until ???????????????????????????????lightly to brown.

2. Add carrots, and sauté  for a further 5 minutes. Add a little big of water if the pot gets too dry.???????????????????????????????

3. Add curry powder, garam marsala and garlic. Cook for 1  minute. Add a little water if the spices stick to the bottom of the pot.

4. Add vegan beef stock, potatoes, apple, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and miso. Stir through.

5. Bring to the boil bring, then place on medium-low heat to simmer with the pot slightly covered.  Cook 30 minutes or up to an 1 hour if you have time. The potatoes need to be cooked through.???????????????????????????????

6. In the meantime, prepare the eggplant. Cut the top and bottom of the eggplant so that it can stand up. Then slice the eggplants into 6-8 fillets.???????????????????????????????

7. Sprinkle table salt on the eggplant, to allow the bitterness and moister to come out. Leave for 10 mins.

8. While you are waiting for the eggplant boil the broad beans then rinse with cold water, peel and set to the side.

9. Wipe the salt & moister from the eggplants fillets, then batter with tapioca flour, sprinkle with seasalt, dip in soy milk then batter in panko crumbs.???????????????????????????????

10. Fry the eggplant fillets in canola oil, then leave on a paper towel to drain the oil.

11. By now the curry should be ready, so add the broad beans and heated through.

12. Slice the eggplant fillets.

13. Serve Japanese Curry topped with the Eggplant Katsu and with Steamed Rice.

*Serves 6-8


Before I go, this a recipe I came up with this morning.  It is a nutritious breakfast that is gluten free, sugar free and goes nice with nut butter.


Apple Oat Rösti with Sunflower Seed Butter (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)


1 green apple

1/2 cup instant oats, preferably organic

1/2 teaspooon cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil plus more

sunflower seed butter (or other nut butter if you can tolerate)


1. First peel, slice and grate the apple.

2. Then grind the oats into a flour.

3. Combine both the grated apple and oat flour in a small bowl and add cinnamon. Stir through. If it is too dry add some of the leftover apple juice from grating or a little water. Divide into 3 balls

4. Heat coconut oil in a small pan and add a ball of the mixture. Press it down in the pan with a spatula or with your fingers. Cook for a couple of minutes on both sides on medium-low heat.

5. Serve rösti with nut butter or a sweetener.

*Makes 3 rösti


Red Wine Barley & Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Spinach, Vegan Parmesan and Turkish Bread Pizzas

Good evening guys, hope you had a good weekend. We just caught up with friends and finally celebrated our engagement with my parents. So didn’t do a lot of cooking. I have been feeling really tired lately. It’s not as hot as it was, but still a bit sticky. I have been finding myself craving meat, chicken mostly. Its strange because I really don’t want to eat it and it’s been the only thing I think I haven’t even tasted since I stopped eating it all together. I am still eating a bit of fish, but I know my body is craving whole grains and fresh greens. So I have been trying the past couple of days to get back on track.

I have also been trying to get back into exercising. Six months ago I was walking every where all day and all night. Now I have been barely walking, except for the occasional dog walk. It’s started to cool down as I said so there is no more excuses for not going for more walks and started back up with pilates. I went for a couple of walks today and it was really nice to get out by myself. The sun stays out till 6.30 and there are lots of people about walking. I won’t take the dogs by myself again, after what happened a couple of days ago. My dogs went crazy at a woman who walked too close to us, then they saw a cat, then a man walking a baby, then two people walking two boxes, then another couple walking a dog. They were out of control. I still have sore arms and blisters on my hands from them trying to pull away from me and attack all these ‘threats’. It was very embarrassing and scary situation. They were scared and they knew I didn’t have full control of them. But it is not their fault, so more walks are needed for them to get more social and for me to get back in shape.

Tonight I wanted to make something with a little bit of barley I had in the cupboard. I didn’t have enough so I also used brown rice to make a risotto. I adapted this recipe, Red Wine Barley Risotto with Silverbeet & Mushrooms, from Madison. I was a bit scared using merlot in the cooking, so I used a bit less then I could have, but it turned out lovely with a mild hint of the wine and gave the grains a beautiful color. Although not a traditional risotto, the vegan butter really brought a creaminess to it at the end.

Since I couldn’t use parmigiano, I looked for a vegan alternative. I found this lovely recipe for a Vegan Parmesan Cheese from Veggieful. It is made from cashew nuts and nutritional yeast and it tastes amazing. I actually never liked parmesan. Even my Nona knows not to put parmesan on my pasta from when I was a little girl. I always thought it smelt like throw up. But this parmesan is delicious! It is soft, with a creaminess to it and a bit of a cheesy salty taste. I really recommend it, even if you don’t like parmesan either.

Lastly, I put in a simple recipe from the night before. We weren’t going to have dinner, since we had such a late lunch. We made turkish burgers with Fry’s Traditional Burger patties (can’t get enough of these). But after a long walk with the dogs we got really peckish late that night. So this is what we came up with.


Red Wine Barley & Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms & Spinach (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)


4.5 cups (1 Litre) vegan chicken or vegetable liquid stock

1.5 cup filtered water

1.25 cup merlot

1 cup pearl barley (use another cup of brown rice instead to make gluten free)

1 cup brown rice

4 tablespoons olive oil

20g dried skiitake mushrooms, soaked & sliced if not already

5 white mushrooms, sliced

4 garlic cloves, diced

1 red onion, diced

200-300 g baby spinach, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons parsley, diced

50g vegan butter

sea salt & pepper to taste

vegan parmesan to serve (optional, recipe below)


1. Take a large pot and bring to the boil the liquid stock, water and wine. In the meantime rinse the barley and brown rice.P1000605

2. Once pot comes to a boil, add the barley and rice and let that come to a boil. Then let it continue to boil uncovered for 30 mins. Most of the liquid should be absorbed during this time. Remove any excess material from the top of the liquid as it cooks. Once it is finished take off the heat and put the lid on it and leave it for at least 5 mins before adding the rest of the ingredients.

3. Take large pan and heat the olive oil on medium heat. Then add the red onion, garlic and all the mushrooms. Cook for 10 mins. P1000606

4. Add the baby spinach and parsley to the mushrooms and cook for 2 mins or until spinach has wilted.

5. Then add the barley, rice and any extra liquid from the pot to the large pan and stir through.

6. Add the vegan butter  and season with sea salt & pepper. Heat through on a medium heat for 1-2 mins

* Serve with vegan parmesan

* Serves 5-6


Vegan Parmesan (from Veggieful) (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)


1 cup cashews

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp sea saltP1000604


1. Whiz in the processor or grinder until it becomes a powder.

* Makes about 1 cup

* Store in the fridge in air tight container. Should last a few weeks.

Turkish Bread Pizzas (vegan, nut free)


1/2 whole turkish bread

olive oil

cherry tomatoes

garlic, crushed

roasted capsicum

marinated buffalo-style tofu mozzarella (or store-bought vegan mozzarella)

baby spinach, chopped

fresh basil or parsley

sea salt to taste


1. Preheat the oven to grill.???????????????????????????????

2. Slice the turkish bread in half, lengthwise.

3. Combine the tomato, garlic and olive oil in a small bowl. Then spread onto the turkish bread base. Then add roasted capsicum, tofu/vegan cheese, baby spinach, herbs and sea salt.

4. Grill in the oven for 5 mins or until the bread is toasted

* Serves 2


San Choy Bow and Nectarine Galette

Now that I am back to reality, its back to the kitchen for me. Marco suggest San Choy Bow for dinner. He begged me to make his with beef mince, but of course that wasn’t going to happen. This is what I came up with and he was very happy with the result. I used Wombok instead of lettuce, but either will do. It is a Chinese cabbage that can be eaten like a lettuce or cooked like a cabbage. I find it really fresh and crisp and it is great for Asian salads.

For dessert I modeled my Nectarine Galette from Chef Chloe’s recipe for Rustic Peach Galette. I followed all the steps except putting the galette in the fridge before baking and topping with maple syrup and more sugar. Nevertheless it turned out really nice and I served it with a dollop of coconut cream. I peeled the nectarines which was a challenge, since they were so ripe. The dogs both enjoyed the nectarine skins. I was surprised how much they love fruit.


San Choy Bow (vegan, gluten free, nut free)


1/2 cup soy mince

20 g shiitake mushrooms

1 cup vegetable/other liquid stock

1 tablespoon tamari/soy sauce

2 garlic cloves

1 knob of ginger (same amount as garlic)

2 small red chili

1 carrot

1 small red or brown onion

100 g water chestnuts

2 leaves of silver beet spinach

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoon hoisin sauce

6 leaves of wombok/iceberg lettuce


1. Soak the soy mince and shiitake mushrooms in the vegetable stock and marinate with soy sauce. (If you want to cut the mushrooms then soak separately in 1/2 cup of stock each).

Soaked soy mince & mushrooms

Soaked soy mince & mushrooms

2. Finely dice the garlic, ginger, chili, carrot, onion, water chestnuts and spinach leaves (not stalks).

3. Wash the wombok/cabbage leaves and cut them into cups. If using a wombok, cut off the spine of the leave from the bottom.

4. Take the wok and heat the sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger, chili and onion. Cook for 2-3 mins or until onions begin to brown.

5. Add the carrot, soy mince, shiitake mushrooms and any stock that may not of been aborbed. Cook for 4 mins. Add more stock or water if it sticks.DSC01255

6. Add the hoisin sauce and the spinach leaves and cook for 2 mins or until the spinach has wilted.

7. Assemble the wombok leave on the plate and add the mixture to the center. To eat roll the leaves in so that it becomes like a pocket/package.

Nectarine Galette



‘Honey’ Soy Tofu and Vegetable Stir-fry

This afternoon we were debating whether to get takeaway noodles or make our own tonight. We decided we would eat more vegetables if we made our own, plus at least we would know what was in it. So we went to the local asian market at Darra and bought all the ingredients. I found heaps of vegan brands of Asian products that I would usually buy from the health food shop and they were much cheaper. The only thing is that I had to check the expiry date of everything very carefully. They just have so much stock, so I guess its hard to keep track of.

I’ve never tried mong toi before. It was the freshest asian green they had. It is also known as malabar spinach, Ceylon spinach, and climbing spinach. It has a nice flavor and has a bit of sap in the leaves, but you won’t notice it. I decided to use soba noodles, since I felt like something different. I’m not sure if the Soyco Honey Soy Tofu, that I got from Woolworths, was vegan. I made more sauce, so if you don’t get flavored tofu you could always make a double batch of that. I had some chicken stock left over, so I soaked the shiitake mushrooms in that. If you don’t have any at hand just soak in water, then add the water to the stir-fry. As for the vegetables anything goes. I always like to have onion, garlic and ginger to start with and add whatever I have in the fridge.


‘Honey’ Soy Tofu and Vegetable Soba Noodles (vegan, nut free)


2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 garlic cloves

1 nob of ginger

1 onion

1 carrot

10 snake beans

1 zucchini

handful of shiitake mushrooms

1/4 cup vegan chicken liquid stock (optional)

bunch of mong toi or asian greens

1x packet of honey soy flavored tofu

soba noodles or other noodlesP1000468

Ingredients for sauce:

2 tablespoons mushroom soy

1 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons agave

1 tablespoons lemon juice


1. First prepare all the vegetables and tofu. Dice the garlic and ginger. Slice the onion and cut the carrots julienne. Cut the zucchini and snack beans. P1000469Dice the stems of the mong toi and slice the leaves. Soak the skiitake mushrooms in stock or water (just enough to cover). Cut the tofu in cubes.

2. Boil water and cook the soba noodles and put to side.

3. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Just combine the ingredients in a small bowl.P1000471

4. Heat coconut oil in the wok. Then add the onion, garlic, ginger and carrot (I don’t like the carrot crunch). Cook for 3-4 mins or till onions are browned.

5. Then add the snake beans, zucchini, stems of mong toi, shiitake mushrooms, soaking stock/water and sauce. Cook for 3 mins or until tender.P1000472

6. Add tofu and mong toi leaves. Cook for 2-3 mins or until the leaves go limp.

7. Lastly, add the noodles and heat through before serving.

*Serves 3-4