Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a carrot cake a day keeps the blues away! (vegan!)

Guess what?


The sun is shining and there are cupcakes in my oven. 
(Boy, does that sound like some sort of creepy metaphor!)



This is what my happiness looks and smells like.
Sunshine,
cinnamon and love!

Why yes,
yes I am emotional maniac this weekend. Thank you for asking.

Yes, I did visit the rocky mountains and cry at how beautiful they were.
Yes, I did cry when I read the card my boyfriend gave me.
Yes, I did cry when listening to a sad song whilst doing the dishes.

And then I baked these delicious morsels of cupcakes. Ninja Vegan Carrot Cupcakes!


There is nothing more therapeutic for me than baking. 
Maybe running... but that's just a guess, because I'm not a runner.
But I'm sure I'd love it.
If I was fit.
And didn't have asthma.
And owned running shoes.
And tried running.
Yeah.
I bet I'd LOVE it. 
I can just tell.






LETS GET OUR BAKE ON.

Vegan carrot cake cupcakes.

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup apple sauce
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups self raising flour
2 cups grated carrot

Preheat oven to 180C (375F).
Beat together sugar and oil until combined and thick.
Add apple sauce, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda and mix.
Add flour and mix until all combined.
Stir through carrots.

Spoon in to muffin tray, 3/4 full (I put mine in cute patty cases... it's what we aussies call them!)
Bake for 15 minutes until light brown in colour, but still soft to the touch.
Leave for 10 minutes and take out of baking tray to cool.
Top with cream cheese icing or tofutti cream cheese icing.

Icing
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
zest 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
tiny dot yellow colouring (optional)

Whip butter and cream cheese until light and creamy.
Add sugar and lemon, colouring and mix until combined. Taste and adjust cream/sugar/lemony - ness!










Then convince your boyfriend to come with you whilst you take a big box of them and drive around to visit all of your friends and give them 1! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A breakfast monster.

Breakfast:

You gotta eat it. 
Some people don't. 
Those people are IDIOTS. (personal opinion of course)


When I wake up, my mind says ones thing:

"GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE! You've been not eating for 8 hours - GET ON THAT SHIT." 
Although, my mind is not usually that angry towards me.


For me, breakfast is the most fun meal of the day and I usually feel pretty excited to eat it!

I usually start the day with a glass of water and a big green t. 
Green t is where it's at - I am a firm believer in the goodness of green t - it makes me feel amazing!


Sometimes (usually on weekends) I'll do a big fry up as an ode to my British roots :p  Tomatoes grilled with thyme and olive oil, mushrooms fried in rosemary, grainy toast with hummus and baked beans. 
Nobody will ever understand my love of beans.

Very rarely I'll go a plate of french toast, this one was coated in crushed cereal for a crunch!

Sometimes... (actually just once) because I'm a pretty crazed gal, I'll have a big bowl of mac and cheese and half an avocado! But it's healthy because I wash it down with a glass of water..

An even healthier option is that of a coffee and a massive vanilla coconut cupcake - don't worry, this one took me 2 attempts to finish. 

An ode to my Australian bean love, goodness I miss them!

 Sometimes I'll pull out a miniature frying pan and get a little egg on vegie action going. 

Lately I have been ALL about the bagels. On the side is vegies, egg and sriracha! 

Sometimes I'll make the most colourful breakfast possible. 

Sometimes I top a bagel with ricotta cheese that I've spiced up with herbs and delicious goods (76382x healthier than cream chz) then I top it with mushroom and avocado and tomato and then I EAT IT!

Sometimes it ends up just a tad too big (that's what she said) and thus out of focus!  

Sometimes I am too hungry whilst cooking and think I can eat far more than I actually can. 

Sometimes I make smoovies
Actually, all the time I make smoovies. 

Sometimes I eat my home made cinnamon muesli with berries and dried fruit and yoghurt and grapes and almond milk!


What about choo? What's your favourite thing for breakfast? 

Are you as crazy about it as I am?!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The perfect vegetable pie.

It's pie time.

Delicious wintery goodness pie time.

I made this pie and then saw many many other bloggers make pies quite similar.. I guess this is just what the Northern Hemisphere's Winter does to us all! (makes us fat)

Sometimes you don't want to toot your own horn.. But seriously guys - this pie was amazing.



Do you know what happens when you make an amazing pie and then leave to go adopt 2 kittens from the animal welfare?

Well, you have to message your boyfriend and tell him to bake the pie himself. And then you get home and realise that he's not like you... and *GASP* he hasn't photographed it. 

And then you feel like a bit of a psycho as you say
"you didn't take any photos of the whole thing?" 
to which he says 
"no... sorry, I was hungry. I guess I should have known.." 
And then you say 
"no no no, it doesn't matter" whilst you consider making another pie just so you can photograph it in all its glory. 

THUS. No photos of the whole beautiful pie ;)



Springish Vegetable Pie:

shortcrust pastry:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold cubed butter
1/4 cup cold water

1 Tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 zucchini, roughly chopped
1 cup broccoli florets, roughly chopped
1/2 eggplant, roughly chopped
1 cup cooked spaghetti squash (or pumpkin)
1 cup peas

1/4 cup flour

2 big sprigs rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon capers
1 Tablespoon horseradish
1 Tablespoon herb and garlic cream cheese
2 cups stock
s+p

eggwash or oil
sesame seeds

Pastry:
Pulse all ingredients in a processor until they pull away from the sides. 
Pour out and form a disc.
Wrap in cling wrap and set in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Mixture:
Heat butter and fry all vegetables (except peas) with whole rosemary sprigs in a large pot until cooked. When browned, add flour and mix until combined.

Add bay, capers, horseradish, cream cheese, stock and season with salt and pepper. 

Cook until the desired consistency, you want it too be a little too runny as it will firm up once it cools.

Add peas at the last minute. Ideally leave mixture to cool, but if you must you can use it warm.

Preheat oven to 180°C

Remove pastry and cut in half. Using a rolling pin, roll in to two 10" circles, the dough will be quite thin. 

Line bottom of 8"springform pan with 1 circle of pastry. Remove rosemary from vegetable and add vegetable filling to the pie. Top with second circle and tuck in edges, forming a seal.

Eggwash or oil and top with a sprinkle of salt and sesame seeds.

Bake for 45 minutes until golden.


EAT IT!
(it's pretty good)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I made sushi and it was delicious!

Sushi! Sushi! Sushi! 

I scream, you scream, we all scream for sushi!
......That's the saying, right?



how about THAT photo editing?!
Yeahhhh.
I'm just a little excited for sushi.

Whenever I'm THIS excited, I take a lot of photos. Don't say you haven't been warned!


I've made sushi once before.
This time round I successfully managed to make sushi unhealthy... how did I do this?

TEMPURA IS HOW! 


Now I'm not saying that you also have to use tempura... it's just that tempura pumpkin is ALWAYS my favourite sushi filling. The crunchiness against the soft rice is divine!


Don't knock it til you try it, Bucko. 
I also did a little tempura mushroom - honestly, not so delicious. 


This time I did my rice in a rice cooker (click this link for how to cook rice on the stovetop).

2 cups of uncooked rice will make 4 large sushi rolls... withthatsaid.. Mine somehow made 6 rolls. YES - SIX.

That's a lot of sushi in a 2 person household. 

















Vegan Sushi:

500mL sushi rice (2 cups)
600mL water

75mL rice vinegar
10mL sugar
5mL salt

nori sheets

vegies for the filling, thinly sliced:
cucumber
avocado
mushroom
pumpkin (pre cooked)
sesame seeds

sushi mat (I used a place mat!)

sushi buddy


Entirely cover sushi rice with water and leave to soak for half an hour. Strain and add more water, this time moving the grains around slowly with a cupped hand. Rinse one more time and notice the rice is now very very white.

Place in rice cooker and turn on! Once cooked, leave on warm for 15 minutes.

Heat rice vinegar, sugar and salt together until all dissolved - then set aside to cool.

Empty rice in to a large bowl or tray; wooden is ultimately best, but I used glass (anything other than metal, as it will affect the taste). 

Using a rice paddle, sprinkle the vinegar mixture over all of the rice and slowly move rice around whilst your sushi buddy fans it for you. Be gentle as you don't want to break the grains.

Continue this until your rice is room temperature, sticky and tastes right. 


Tempura:
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1 cup cold cold cold water
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 ice cube

1 cup oil for frying

Use chopsticks to roughly combine all tempura ingredients. Drop in an ice cube to make sure the batter stays cool.

Heat oil in a pan, it is hot enough when a drop of tempura batter bubbles instantly. 

Add vegetables to tempura mix and drop in hot oil until crisp and browned. Drain on paper towel.


LET US FORM SUSHI:

Get your nori sheet and lay it shiny side down on your sushi mat, with the smaller side facing you. 

Using wet hands place 1/4 of the rice on your sheet and spread it out evenly, pressing it down hard and leaving 5cms at the top for rolling/sealing. 

Layer your vegies in the centre of the rice. 

Wet the opposite end of the nori a little to help it to stick to the roll. Using the sushi mat, roll the nori over the filling and pull back to form a tight circle. Proceed to roll the nori all the way to the end and squeeze to seal. 

Make sense?!

Leave in the fridge for half an hour before eating. Slice with a very sharp knife, or a bread knife.

Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.





and obviously be pretty impressed with yourself..

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