Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Toastie toastie toastie!

A bad meal really ruins my day! Life is too short to eat bad food. And so it takes a lot for me to move on from a bad meal and not think about it and my regrets! hahaha, alas, there is always a silver lining. Tonight I made a simple stirfry with soy sauce for dinner and it was horrible. Really. It's so sad when something is so simple and perfect and delicious in your brain and then when you make it, it's just disgusting! So i composted it. I dislike waste.

That's when the silver lining comes into play. That's when you know it's only one time; TOASTIE TIME!

Who doesn't love a good toastie? Universal amazing delicious toastie. Also known as 'toastie toastie' (why?), jaffle or simply just toasted sandwich. Really, I looked it up.

Tonights toastie was made with tiger bread. Amazing delicious mind-blasting tiger bread. This bread brightens my day! So crispy on the outside - yet so soft on the inside! The best way to eat it is really just with butter. YUM.

My toastie was made with thick slices of bread with a nice slather of wholegrain mustard, grated cheddar & masdam cheeses, baby spinach and a little bit of grated carrot. YES. I said it, carrot. I put carrot in mine because it's a little bit sweet and nice. Muffin hates this. He yells at me for carrot in toasted sandwiches. He just doesn't get it. Calls himself a chef. hahaha. (he does actually work as a chef that's why this is a humourous and witty comment)

I fry mine in butter in a frying pan for about 5 minutes and it's amazing. Serve with tomato sauce and a pickle. 

voila. Dinner redeemed!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

with a ra-ta-tat-tat!

(Just a quick note that i think the word ratatouille is one of the most beautiful in the world and I whole-heartedly enjoy writing and typing it over and over again. Ratatouille - romantical.) 
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ red capsicum
1 large zucchini
1 large eggplant
3 tomatoes
7 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Olive oil

Chop all vegetables (and fruit!) into roughly 1cm pieces. In a heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a good glug of olive oil for a few minutes, then add all of the vegetables. After about 5 more minutes add in the tomatoes and herbs and transfer to a 200C oven and cook for about 20 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Eat and think to yourself "this is such a hearty yet simple and delicious meal! And so good for me too. Man oh man, I've really done it this time - haven't I?"

Tunisian carrot salad:
2 big carrots
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon harissa
5 black olives
1 glug olive oil

Simple! Slice carrot and cook until tender. Combine all ingredients in bowl and toss in carrots. Leave to cool then eat and think to yourself "how is this salad so tasty and yet so flavourful?! Such a small list of ingredients all in my pantry and it's like a party in my mouth."

Italian vinaigrette:
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil. Slowly add oil whilst whisking. Yum-o. Serve on your favourite salad whilst thinking to yourself "who knew I could come up with a dressing so amazing by accidentally combining ingredients from TWO recipes while not paying enough attention to realise I was looking at the wrong page continuously and wondering why it seemed like many things to add for just one dressing. Oh well, it must have been a calling from god or something. I mean... I must be some kind of culinary genius..."

Ratatouille, cous cous, salad; and with the addition of a pickle - the perfect plate! Voila. 

many loves.

Friday, June 25, 2010

vegetarian lasagne and salads galore!

Vegetarian Lasagne:
Tomato sauce:
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 tin tomatoes
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon bbq sauce
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 cup soy granules, cooked
½ cup black eyed peas, cooked
½ cup split orange lentils, cooked

Olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into rounds
2 zucchinis, cut into ribbons on a mandolin (don’t slice your thumb open like I did. YOUCH! ... lesson learned: use the guard.)
½ red capsicum, sliced
4 large swiss mushrooms, sliced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped

6 instant lasagne sheets (or enough to make 2 layers)

Tomato sauce:
Take a big sauce pan and add olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook until softened.
Add in tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, red wine vinegar, bbq sauce, oregano and basil. Stir until all combined. Reduce slightly.
Add in soy granules, black eyed peas, lentils and season to taste. (this makes it almost “meaty” and fills it out a lot)

At this point I end up adding in an array of ingredients and go with whatever I am feeling at the time. I added bbq sauce this time because I didn’t have vegetarian Worcestershire sauce and it was the closest thing to it that I could see!
Season with quite a lot of salt and pepper. This is going to be the flavour base for the entire lasagne so you want it to be almost over-seasoned.

For the vegetables:
Cut eggplant into thick rounds, lay flat on baking tray and salt. Leave for 20-30 mins to bring out bitterness. Thoroughly rinse eggplant and squeeze dry.
Lay eggplant, zucchini and capsicum on baking trays and top with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 200C for 20-30 mins  or until tender.
I like to fry the rest of the vegetables separately as they all cook at different times. Set up a little production line of bowls and individually fry the mushrooms, then remove. The leek, then remove. The spinach, then remove. This may seem like a lot of spinach but it makes up a big hefty layer on the top of the lasagne and is delicious and good for you!

I used approximately a 15x25cm baking dish. To form the lasagne, spread a thin base of the tomato sauce mixture, then lasagne sheets. Then add layers from the base up of eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, mushroom, leek and spinach. Add a little more of the tomato sauce, then lasagne sheets and finish with a thick layer of tomato sauce and grated cheese if you like. I usually add toasted sesame seeds too as it gives a yummy nutty yumminess on top!

Makes one large lasagne. Serve with salad.

½ cabbage, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 onion, grated
1 sweet apple, grated
½ red capsicum, finely sliced
½ cup parsley, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons dried tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
¼ cup oil

Combine all ingredients except oil in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil to incorporate. Mix everything together.
This is a very tasty coleslaw if i do say so myself! I wanted a non-mayo one but didn’t have enough ingredients/ideas to come up with one. This become quite light mixing in the extra oil instead of using an all mayo base.

4 bean salad:
1 can 3 bean mix
1 can soy beans
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove

Use any beans for this salad. I’ve always been a big fan of bean salads – something so bland in taste becomes so amazing in an instant! (or possibly an hour or two marinating) Whisk together all ingredients except beans and then add beans. EASY AS PIE. This salad definitely benefits from a couple of hours in the fridge to develop flavours.

Potato salad:
10 baby potatoes, just a minute before boiled perfectly!
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup sliced leek, finely sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, pulverised (fo serious, no one likes big twigs in their salad! I used a spice grinder to make it almost a powder)
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

This recipe is a WINNER! I took the concept of cooking these as if I were making roast potatoes but instead of eating them hot – i cooled them down and ate them as a salad. Super full of flavour.

In a pan fry garlic and leek in the olive oil. Use a good olive oil as it is basically the sauce for the spuddies. Add in the rosemary and almost cooked potatoes and toss. Fry for  few minutes and then transfer to a baking dish and grill for 10 minutes until the outside is a little crisp.
Remove from oven and while still hot add lemon juice, spring onion and salt and pepper. Leave to cool in the fridge and be amazed at the flavours that emerge!

nomnomnom then sleep.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Orange lentils = red soup.

I seem to have this problem with highly liking all that Steph cooks on Vegan About Town.... I'm trying to be healthy for a while and so her adaptation of coconut red lentil soup + my left over lentils was pretty much a match made in heaven! I altered it too as I didn't have any ginger or curry paste laying around. Sorry that I keep cooking all of your recipes, Steph. Indeed I will cook more of my own soon! That is, when my laziness dissipates. 

...couldn't wait.

coconut and split orange lentil soup.

1 cup split orange lentils, cooked.
2 carrots, diced
1 small potato, diced
1 cup diced pumpkin
1 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon butter
2 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon tandoori spice (it is bright red in colour)
a third of a cup of tomato paste
3 teaspoons sweet mango + ginger chutney
1 teaspoon zesty mango pickle
1 can coconut milk
2 Tablespoons greek yoghurt
1 tomato, diced

Boil carrots, potatoes and pumpkin until cooked through. Mash through a potato ricer. Set aside.
In a frying pan add oil and butter and when bubbling add in spring onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli and tandoori spice. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring continuously.
Add in the tomato paste, mango chutney and mango pickle. Make sure you break up the chutney and pickle with your spoon quite a bit. Fry for another minute – it should resemble a red hot delicious mass.
Add in the tomato, coconut milk, yoghurt and smooshed vegies.
Cook for another 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Blitz in a food processor or just eat as is. Yum yum yum nom nom nom.

see.... it is kinda different!

red red red!

^ this has been my inspiration level..... Yes, yes it is mashed potato, peas, gravy and a vegie burger. hahaha. 

Oh my.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oh hai!

oh hai there!
(argh, i love this guy)

It has been such a long time! I've been renovating a bathroom, trying to be healthy, not eating carbs, starting a new job and today feeling a little bit sick in the belly.. none of this encourages me to blog! 

Alas, here is a snippet of what I have been cooking. I'm not feeling too inspired lately. It's quite chilly and all I want to do is eat Lindt dark chocolate with salt (SO EFFING GOOD) and drink cups of vanilla t! Not the healthiest idea.

vegan laksa type thing.

simple roast vegetables.

mmm sweet, soy, smokey, honey baked tofu.

the beginnings of a vegan "quiche" made with tofu.

vegan quiche becoming vegetarian with the addition of cheese.

dear smileys - how so happy? always. so happy. even when baked.. Still smiling and enjoying life! An inspiration to us all. Hahaha.

Have a lovely week everybody.

Friday, June 11, 2010

TVP confusion.

is TVP the same as soy granules? I read this somewhere and now I am mighty confused. The only time I've ever used soy granules is when cooking curry - i use it as a meat substitute for things like korma.

I'm also having trouble locating TVP anywhere. How many names does this thing haaaaave and where can I buy it in Australia?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Welcome to brownie town.

This is my never fail brownie recipe. I know this because I've been using the same one since I was a little tacker. It's from Family Circle Kids' Cookbook and it is wiiiiicked.

I love these books (there are 2 versions) so much that I found them on ebay and bought myself copies too so my mumma doesn't have to part with hers! The recipes are super simple and laid out in a cute way and definitely not healthy!

The brownie recipe is especially easy as you do it all in one saucepan. As with most brownies, these little buggers taste way more chocolatey the next day. That is if they last that long. In my household they disappear within a matter of hours!

200g butter
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I never put these in)

Preheat oven to 180C.
Melt butter and cocoa in a big pot - melt gently - don't boil.
Add sugar and vanilla and stir in well.
Take off the  heat, sift in the flour and mix.
Add eggs and beat well.
Stir in walnuts.
Spread evenly in a 30x20cm tin.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Optionally ice with chocolate icing. Try without first as they are super sweet.

I'm sure you could make this vegan by using Orgran Egg replacer thing-o. I've never tried, but if you do then let me know!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chocolate Berry Muffins (and roast... again)

I think one day I will become a pastry chef extraordinaire because I always have the desire to bake! This time it came at 2am and I whipped up some of Nigella's choc chip muffins. I had a little bit of top deck chocolate and some dark chocolate left, so I just roughly chopped those up and threw them in instead of chocolate chips! I prefer melty chocolate to chocolate chips that hold their shape anyway.

mmm biscuit muffins.

look at my cute patty cases!

A long time ago I bought Orgran No Egg, Egg Replacer, tried it once - was disgusted and threw it away! Looking back on it this is not like me at all! I hate wastage! So. I bought it again, figured I might be able to mend our relationship - and I did! Nobody else even noticed that these muffins were eggless. I also used soy milk, so with the edition of dairy-free chocolate these muffins are easily adapted to vegan.

Something must surely be wrong with my oven because they took about 15 minutes longer than the recipe states. With that said, when they cooled the tops of them were a little like biscuits and the bottom like muffins... two desserts in one! Win.

berries mixed with sugar, water, vanilla and a little lemon.

Chocolate chocolate muffins:
1 3/4 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bi carb
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup vegie oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Orgran style egg

Mix all dry ingredients together in one bowl. Whip all wet ingredients together in another bowl. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Remember (as Nigella says) "a lumpy batter makes a luscious muffin" ... or something equally as food-porny!

Bake in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes.

My mumma came round for a roast dinner and so this was adapted to being a dessert! I served the muffin warm with a hot berry sauce and some cream. yum. yum. yum. Fatty - but yum.

muffin berry cream desserty thing!

This household has been obsessed with roast dinners lately. I think it has something to do with having big family get togethers on Sundays when we were little, and Grandad was always the one who sat at the head of the table to carve the meat. The meat aspect has gone for me - but I love roasts even more now.

It's funny because muffin is Canadian, so no matter how much I try to force him to love roast potatoes and yorkishire puddings - no dice (not as much as me anyway). When I had Christmas with his family it was the first time I ever considered that people would eat mashed potatoes and not ROASTED at Christmas. Still tasty, but wrong in my mind! Just like Christmas in the sunshine for him is lovely - but just plain wrong. Ah, the joys of cross-country relations :D

Anywho. Roast photos!

pumpkin - vegetable of the gods.

broccoli and cauliflower cheeeese

that is a BIG plate of food.

I've slowly adapted Mum's-creamy-mushroom-leek-thing-that-mum-always-makes-and-we-all-crave-but-can't-master to this:

5 swiss mushrooms finely sliced
2 leeks finely sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs rosemary
1 Tablespoon vegan butter 
2 Tablespoons flour

1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup "chicken" stock
1 Tablespoon soy milk

Fry mushroom, leek, garlic and rosemary in butter until browned and quite soft. Sprinkle over the flour and bring heat right up. Add in the white wine and the pot should fiercely bubble. Add in the chicken stock and stir until thickened. The addition of soy milk just makes it a little creamier. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a good 10 minutes so all the flavours can combine! I encourage you to try this because it is delicious!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Zippy veggie burgers.

Recipe ala bug.

1 onion, finely sliced
3 swiss mushrooms, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small zucchini, grated

¼ cup cashews
½ cup oats
1 block firm tofu
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
3 Tablespoons sriracha
1 Tablespoon smoky bbq sauce
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Quite a pinch of salt

Fry first three ingredients until soft and translucent.
Transfer to a large bowl.
When cooled – add grated zucchini.

In a food processor blitz the cashews until they are like fatty breadcrumbs – then add to bowl.
Blitz oats next, until they are almost a powder – add to bowl.
Blitz tofu next, until crumbly – add to bowl.
Add all other ingredients.
Test the seasoning by frying a tiny size burger and tasting it to adjust it to your liking.

Form the mix into four big burgers. The easiest way to do this is to roll them into big balls and pat them down when you put them in the pan.
Fry them for 5 minutes on each side and then transfer to a preheated 180C oven for 10 minutes to dry out a little.

This batch should make 4 quite hefty burgers. 

They appear dry on the outside but are quite moist in the middle. They’re probably not the best burger to eat in a burger bun as I think they would be too mooshy with the bread. We ate them with broccoli, peas, mashed potato and mushroom gravy and I pretended it was meatloaf - even though i always hated meat loaf hahaha. Yum yum yum!

bad photography - was too hungry!

Ps. this was the first veggie burger recipe that I made up from scratch myself! I am quite proud :D


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