Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich/Sushi and Carrot Ginger Mojito

Canned tuna is one of those things that I have struggled with giving up since trying to make the change to vegan. It just has something about it that I crave. If you are one of my non vegan friends, you are probably thinking why would anyone want to give up tuna, its delicious? Well mercury toxicity and BPA toxicity are a couple of reasons that I really try to avoid any canned fish in general. Overfishing and unsustainable fishing methods is also another couple of reasons I discovered this when I blogged on this issue a while ago (The canned tuna debate).

I admit I have actually been better in recent times to avoid canned fish entirely and other seafood.  A big thing that has stopped me craving tuna is re-educating myself on the reality of the detriment it may have to my health and trying avoid toxins while I endeavour to start preparing myself to have a baby. By the way that’s still a secret! I am still in the stages of getting all my tests done and get any deficiencies sorted before we start trying. I am about to start another detox soon with guidance of my new naturopath, which I’m really excited about! Marco thinks I am the only person in the world excited about doing a detox, especially since my first detox a few years back was so difficult. However, over the last 3 and a half years I have learned a lot and my tastes have really changed. I feel more in control and equip to be able to enjoy the ride this time.

Anyway back to cooking… I tried to make a Mock Tuna Salad with tempeh a while ago. If found the texture was there, but not the fishy taste. So I tried again with chickpeas, umeboshi vinegar and nori. This time I managed to get the taste, but the texture was probably a little to fine. Besides that I much prefer this recipe and found it really versatile for making sandwiches and sushi and it passed the flavour test with Marco and Mum (who said I thought you don’t eat tuna any more).

Tuna Salad 2

Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tin chickpeas/ 1.25 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional, leave out for thicker consistency)

3 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar

3-4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon himalayan pink salt / sea salt

1 sheet nori (cut into 5 cm strips) or  3 tablespoons crispy seaweed

Method:

1. Place chickpeas, celery, onion and olive oil into the processor. Process until the chickpeas have broken down. You may have to keep wiping down the sides with a spatula.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the nori strips. Process until you are happy with the consistency

3. Add nori sheets and adjust seasoning if you need to. Then process for until the nori has been mixed through.

*Makes over 1 cup

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Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sandwich (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

sliced bread ( I used  toasted multigrain vienna sourdough)

2-3 tablespoons vegan tuna per sandwich (recipe above)

sliced tomato

fancy lettuce or mixed lettuce

any other salad items

Method:

1. Spread vegan tuna on one side of the bread. Then top with salad items and other slice of bread and enjoy.

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 Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sushi (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 nori sheet

3 tablespoons cooked quinoa or sushi rice

2-3 tablespoons vegan tuna per sandwich (recipe above)

sliced tomato

fancy lettuce or mixed lettuce

any other salad items

Method:

1. Place quinoa in the middle of the nori sheet in a line down the middle.

2. Top quinoa with vegan tuna and salad items.

3. Roll the nori into a sushi roll. Slice in half and enjoy.

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For a mid-afternoon beverage to enjoy while I watching FMTV I made this delicious juicy mocktail. Perfect for this muggy weather and to get into the spirit of detoxing.

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Carrot Ginger Mojito (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 small carrots

2 apples

small knob ginger

3 cm wide round slice lemon (including skin)

mint leaves from 2 sprigs

cold sparkling water

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients except the sparkling water in a juicer.

2. Place the juice in a tall glass or large jar and top with some sparkling water and some mint leaves to serve.

*Serves 1

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High hopes…

Hi all, hope you all had a great weekend! We spent the weekend and most of last week organizing to go to auction for our dream house. Unfortunately although we won the auction we didn’t get the house. The owner had really unrealistic expectations of price that they only made clear the day of the auction and would not budge. It was a bit disappointing, but at least I can sleep again. Most of last week I spent tossing and turning and stressing. So its Monday morning and I’m feeling more refreshed for the week. Things could still turn around, but we will just have to wait and see.

Besides stressing about the house I spent most of last week stressing about something else. I admit since I have started my job I have put on a little weight. I spend most of the day sitting down and have found it difficult to exercise in the evenings. Beside that winter has continued into spring, I am just generally exhausted at night and have lacked motivation. However this week someone I won’t mention was not going to let me think my weight gain has gone unnoticed. I was just so embarrassed and upset that I spent the rest of the weekend trying to sustain a mostly liquid diet. All that I achieved was giving myself a migraine, being short tempered with even one and hating myself. It wasn’t until the end of the week that I realized that I don’t need to change myself for someone else. I am still a healthy size 10 and it is expected that a change in my lifestyle was going to impact my body. Which is something that I can bounce back from once I get use to my routine. People who make nasty comments only do it for their own satisfaction. It is not out of care, but to highlight imperfect in someone else to mask their own insecurities. Instead of being motivated by someone else’s jealousy, I rather be motivated by my own need to live the healthiest life I can. So I have been trying to make more of an effort to walk my dogs and be active. Looking forward to the sun staying out a little longer as we get further into spring.

Anyhow on a brighter subject, as I mentioned I tried to live on a most liquid diet. But I still had to eat some solid foods. I tried to keep it as light as possible, but I certainly wasn’t going to eat lettuce leaves. I am really not a fan of plain old lettuce tomato and cucumber as a main meal. So to sprice up my salad I added some roasted Japanese eggplant and sweet potato. This is now my favourite way to have Japanese eggplant. I just chopped them in half and lightly brush some oil roast for 20-30 mins. They taste great in a salad with Agave & Tahini Dressing. I also prepared them to accompany a Roasted Garlic, Cherry Tomato Coconut Oat soup. Marco wasn’t a big fan of oats in soup, but I just wanted to see what it would be like. It wasn’t bad, but still needs so fine tuning. A recipe I did include was Quinoa Sushi with Red Onion, Cucumber and Mayo. Marco was a bit freaked out about quinoa in sushi, but he ended up loving it. The combination was surprisingly really nice and didn’t feel like anything was really missing.

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Quinoa Sushi with Red Onion, Cucumber and Mayo (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

white quinoa

rice wine vinegar

mirin

sea salt

red onion diced

cucumber sliced

Soy Mayonnaise/vegan mayonnaise

nori sheets

Method:

1. Cook quinoa according to packet directions. Then let it cool down and add some rice wine vinegar, mirin and sea salt to taste.

2. In the meantime combine the diced red onion with mayonnaise.

3. Lay out the nori sheet then add a layer of quinoa. Then in the centre add red onion and 3 slices of cucumber.

4. Roll up the nori sheet then slice and serve.

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I have been a bit slack continuing my Cookbook Project for the recipe book Energise Your Life: Release Your Natural Energy. After the Aloo Gobi debacle, I was a bit hesitant to try something else.  I finally got all the ingredients together the Vegetable crumble, so here it is. My family really liked this recipe. I quite liked it too, but I did find the crumble a bit dry. I had a feeling when I was adding the crumble that it was a bit floury and thick, but I decided to trust in the recipe. Turns out my instincts were right and there wasn’t enough vegan butter to make the crumble that hard and crusty, so it was a bit on the floury side. But nevertheless I really liked this recipe.

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Vegetable Crumble (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

To make this recipe you will need:

1 onion sliced

2 medium carrots, sliced

2 sticks of celery, sliced

1/4 cabbage, shredded/sliced

125g vegan butter

200g organic flour

2 tablespoons flaked almonds, plus more to garnish

225g tomatoes (about 3 small)

125g hazel nuts, chopped

1 tablespoons yeast (I used 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast) mixed with 175 ml boiling water

sea salt & black pepper to taste

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First I preheated the oven to 180 degrees and slicing all the vegetables and nuts. Then I melted half the Nutlex in a large pan on medium to low heat. Then sautéed the vegetables till they were soft.

While they were cooking, I adding the flour (minus 1 tablespoon of flour), half the butter and 2 tablespoons of flaked almonds into the blender and blended it. I also dropped the tomatoes into boiled water for a minute, then peeled and chopped them.

When the vegetables were starting to soften I added the hazelnuts top heat through, then added1 tablespoon of flour.

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Next I added the nutritional yeast mixed with the water, chopped tomatoes sea salt and black pepper. I allowed it to thicken a little before taking it off the heat.

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I placed the vegetables into a greased casserole tray. Then topped it with the crumble mixture and some extra flaked almonds. I baked that for 1 hour. Since my crumble looked a bit floury I added a bit of spray oil on the top and cooked it for a further 5 minutes. I think it did help to get make the top a bit more crispy.

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This was the result. It does look a bit dry but actually the vegetables underneath were moist and caramelized nicely. It serves enough for 6.

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The cook book recommended servicing it with steamed green beans and corn, which actually really went well with the Vegetable Crumble. I just sliced the corn off the cob and chopped fresh green beans. Green beans and corn do taste a lot better fresh then frozen. Steamed they taste great, all they needed was a bit of sea salt.

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I really did like this recipe and I think its both Marco and kid friendly. It can easily be made gluten free, using gluten free flour. The only think I recommend is using less flour in the crumble.

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Tempura, Sushi and Miso Soup

Tonight Marco requested sushi and soup. For him I made his favorite tuna avocado sushi, but for me I made this shiitake vegetable sushi. As for the soup I tried to make my miso soup. I’m not sure how Japanese it was, but at least I got to try out this black fungus that’s been at the back of my cupboard for the past 6 months. I quite liked it, Marco wasn’t a fan, but he doesn’t usually like miso soup. I also tried for the first time making tempura vegetables and dipping sauce. I got this recipe from Chloe’s Kitchen. I had to reduce the ingredients by a quarter, as her recipe serves 10-12. I can’t believe how easy it was to make. Not exactly the healthiest way to enjoy vegetables, but a nice crunchy weekend treat. Marco really liked this and he comment that the dipping sauce taste just like from his favorite Japanese restaurant.

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Vegetable Tempura (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup ice cold water (add 1 ice cube cool down water)

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 cups vegetables (brocoli florets, aspargus, slices of sweet potato, sliced carrot, etc)

oil to fry

Method:

1. Place flour, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine.

2. Combine cold water and sesame oil and whisk.

3. Add the water to the flour mixture and whisk till a smooth batter. Don’t worry if its a bit lumpy. Place in the fridge till your ready to fry.

4. Heat oil in a wok. Once its hot enough dip the vegetables indivdually into the batter then drop into the water. Cook vegetables for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Then place fried tempura vegetables on a plate with paper towel to drain oil. Serve with the dipping sauce.

*Serves 2-3

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Dipping Sauce for Tempura (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1/2 teaspoon agave

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients into a small pot.

2. Bring the pot to the boil, then leave to simmer for 5 mins. Serve with Tempura Vegetables.

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Shiitake Vegetable Sushi (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup sushi rice

2 tablespoons sushi vinegar

5 nori sheets

3 carrots, cut julienne

1/2 cup shittake mushroom, sliced

1-2 avocados

toasted black sesame seeds

tamari/soy sauce to serve

Method:

1. Cook sushi rice in a rice cooker. Once rice has cooked place in another bowl and leave to cool.

2. Add sushi vinegar to the rice and stir through.

3. Take a sushi mat and place some glad wrap onto. Then place a nori sheet ontop and with rice, smooth out with wooden spoon.

4. In the center of the sheet add carrots, shiitake mushroom and avocado. Then roll the sheet into a roll.

5. Slice the sushi roll into desired size.

6. Top with black sesame seeds and serve with tamari.

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Miso Soup with Nori and Black Fungus (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1/2 nori sheet

1/4 cup shredded black fungus mushroom

1.5-2 tablespoons white miso paste

Method:

1. Soak the black fungus mushroom in water for 15 mins and cut nori sheet in strips.

2. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add nori and black fungus mushroom.

3. Once its boiled place on a simmer and take out a bit of water to combine with the miso paste. Once the paste has dissolved add this water back to the pot. Simmer for 5 mins then serve.

*Serves 3 small bowls

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Method:

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

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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.

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

Ingredients:

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)

Method:

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