Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dahl with Spinach and Celery Leaves

Dhal - a one-pot-always-appropriate staple. The use of fresh celery leaves adds a unique flavour to this one. This recipe serves 4, and you can eat it with rice if you want to make it more filling.

1 onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil or vegan margarine
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp asaofetida (leave out if you haven't got it)
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground corriander
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
2 cups red lentils
4 cups water
1 tin coconut milk (or cream, some people will tell you there is a difference but for practical purposes I think they are interchangeable)
1 tin diced tomatoes, in juice
3 leaves of spinach (silverbeet)
1 loosely packed cup of fresh celery leaves, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice

To Make
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until soft and translucent. Add the fennel seeds and fry for a further minute. Add the rest of the spices and stir well to coat the onions. Fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spices become very fragrant.
2. Add the dry lentils and cook, stirring constantly, for another 2-3 minutes (this makes the lentils hold their shape better when they are cooked).
3. Add the water (I find it is easiest to just add hot water straight out of the kettle), coconut milk and tinned tomatoes and bring to a boil. When boiling reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. 
4. Trim the spinach (remove the thick white stems) and chop up finely. Add the spinach and celery leaves to the dahl and simmer for a further 20 minutes (or until the lentils are cooked). Stir frequently and keep an eye on your water levels, if it starts to get too dry add more boiling water.
5. When lentils are cooked turn off the heat and stir through the lemon juice. Serve. 

Serves 4. 

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Homemade Vegan Rocket Pesto

This little jar of heaven is a must to keep in the fridge a) because you can smear it on your sandwiches and vegie burgers and b) if you stir it through some hot pasta it makes a seriously sensational and super quick dinner or lunch.

200g fresh rocket
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli (most seeds removed)
Juice of 1 lemon
70g pine nuts (1 pkt)

To Make: 
1. Put the rocket and olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth.
2. Add the garlic, chilli, pine nuts and lemon juice and process again until all ingredients are finely blended and it looks nice and pasty.
3. Use immediately or store for up to 2 weeks in a jar or sealed container in your fridge.

Makes 1-3 jars (depending on the size of your jars). Makes nice gifts too :)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Vegan Spinach, Walnut and Sumac "Sausage Rolls"

These are absurdly simply and make a tasty snack food or if you serve them with a nice salad on the side it's dinner for four. Although they are so damn tasty that you might just want to make that dinner for two so you get to have seconds :)

1 onion, finely diced
Olive oil, for frying
3 vegetarian sausages, chopped up
1 generous teaspoon sumac
7-8 big spinach (silverbeet) leaves
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/3 cup walnuts
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry, thawed
Soy milk, for brushing
Sesame seeds

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to a moderate 180 degrees C.
2. Add a splash of olive oil to a saucepan or frypan (preferably non stick because you'll need less oil) and heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until completely cooked.
3. Add the chopped vegie sausages and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Wash and remove the thick white stems from the spinach and chop finely. Add to a saucepan with 1/3 cup water and cook, covered, on a low heat until the spinach is completely wilted (takes 5-10mins). Drain spinach in a strainer (but don't squeeze as it will mush up your spinach).
5. Break the walnuts up with your hands. In a bowl combine the onion and sausage mix, spinach, sumac and salt and cracked pepper to taste. Mix well to combine.
6. Cut each of the pastry sheets in half. Add 1/4 of the mix to the centre of each pastry strip and fold the edges over the top of it to make a large sausage roll (will be bigger than the kind of sausage rolls you buy at bakeries!). Place each sausage roll with the fold side down on a tray lined with baking paper.
7. Brush the top of each roll with soy milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes, or until nice and golden on top (you will probably want to turn the tray around about 10-15mins in to make sure that all4 rolls cook evenly).
8. Devour!

Makes 4 sausage rolls.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Vegan Chocolate Coconut and Raspberry Slice

This is probably one of the tastiest snacks I have ever made and I just couldn't stop eating it!

3 weetbix/vitabrits/no name brand
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsps vegan margarine (ie Nuttelex)
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (over 70% is usually vegan, or it should be unless the company making it is being cheap)
3 tbsp water
1 cup raspberry jam
1 heaped tsp agar-agar flakes (if you don't have them/can't find them just leave out and it should work ok without)
More dessicated coconut, to garnish

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Crush the weetbix up and combine with the coconut, flour, baking powder, sugar and cocoa (sift the cocoa to make sure there are no lumps).
3. Melt the margarine (either over the stove or in a mug/bowl in the microwave). Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted margarine. Mix well until the mixture is sticky and there are no dry clumps left.
4. Melt the chocolate (either in a water bath or in the microwave) and add to the mix. Mix thoroughly.
5. Line a 20cm by 20cm baking dish with greaseproof paper. Spread the mixture evenly into the dish. Use a spoon or knife to compress the slice and make it nice and smooth on the top. Bake for 15 minutes.
6. In a saucepan head the water and agar flakes (if using) until all the flakes have dissolved. Add the jam and mix well until all the jam has melted. 
7. When the slice is done remove from the oven. Let stand for 10-15 minutes and then pour the jam topping evenly over the top. When cooled completely refrigerate for at least 3 hours (overnight is optimum).
8. Cut into slices and sprinkle with dessicated coconut just before serving.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Lentil, Pumpkin and Zucchini Lasagne with Creamy Tomato and Vodka Topping

This makes a big mutha of a lasagne so is great to take to family dinners or if you like the idea of cooking one night and having dinners sorted for three. This recipe is for a 25cm x34cm lasagne dish (7cm deep) but you can halve it to fit a smaller dish or just try and cram it all in.

3 cups red lentils
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 tsp dried mint
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 boxes dried lasagne sheets
7 zucchinis
Salt and pepper
400g pumpkin (approx.), trimmed (i.e. peeled and seeded)
2 tins whole tomatoes in juice
100g blanched almonds
1/3 cup vodka

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Boil the red lentils in plenty of water until completely cooked and then drain. Put the cooked lentils, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, mixed herbs and mint into a bowl and mix well to combine.
2. Line the bottom of your lasagne dish with pasta sheets (if you want to cut down in the wheat/pasta content then leave out this layer and just use the other three). Spread the lentil mix evenly over the layer of pasta and then top with more sheets to cover.
3. Grate the raw zucchini and spread evenly over the lasagne sheets. Add salt and pepper to taste and layer with more pasta sheets.
4. Grate the raw pumpkin and spread over the next layer of pasta sheets. Top with a fourth layer of pasta sheets.
5. In a blender or food processor combine the 2 tins of whole tomatoes in juice, blanched almonds and vodka and blend until creamy and smooth.
6. Spread the tomato topping evenly over the top of the lasagne, covering all the visible pasta sheets.
7. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Then take it out and cover it with foil (so the topping doesn't dry out too much) and bake for a further 15 minutes. Test that the pasta is cooked by inserting a  knife into it before removing. If not cooked enough, add another 10 mins to the cooking time.

Serves 6-8 (or 4 people for 2 dinners!)

We recommend serving with a salad on the side. My choice to go with this one would be our Tomato, Avocado and Artichoke Salad with Walnuts and Croutons - they're a match made in heaven.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Vegan Pumpkin, Maple and Walnut Scones

If only Autumn was edible...wait, it is edible! In the form of these delicious nutty, pumpkiny, maple syrupy scones. To make the most of these scones, serve them warm with vegan margarine and a generous drizzle of maple syrup. Better yet, mix it up a little and serve some with K-bobo’s homemade tangelo and goji berry jam (as in the picture above)!

Note: these scones don’t rise as much as others, so don’t worry if they aren’t as tall as usual.

1 1/3 cups of wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 cup of soy milk (or any milk you like!)
1/4 cup of ricebran oil
1/3 cup of grated pumpkin
2 Tbsp of maple syrup
1/3 cup of finely chopped walnut(or pecans)
Nuts for garnishing (we used almonds)

How to Make:
1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius.
2. In a large bowl, combine the milk, oil, maple syrup and pumpkin.
3. Add all dry ingredients (other than your garnishing nuts!) and mix with a butterknife until well combined.
4. Dust your scone making surface (e.g bench, chopping board, a large book you never really liked...) with a generous amount of flour.
5. Place the scone dough on the floured surface and knead gently for about a minute.
6. Flatten the dough and cut out circles (or any shape) with either a cutter or a glass, and adorn with nuts.
7. Place your freshly cut scones on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 15-17mins.
8. Serve warm with vegan margarine, jam and maple syrup.

Makes 10-12 scones.

Strawberry and Mulberry Daiquiri

My mulberry tree is just starting to show it's first fruit of the season, so you can expect quite a few more mulberry based recipes from me over the next month or so! If you don't have access to a mulberry tree you will find that you will be able to buy them from some fruit shops in a punnet during the warmer weather. If you can't get any though, blackberries are a good substitute as a general rule. This daiquiri can be made using any berries you like, so feel free to substitute with blackberries, raspberries or blueberries. Sadly, the amazing colour it turned out doesn't show up that well on the photos - so you will just have to make it yourself to see!

1 punnet fresh strawberries, green tops removed
1 cup mulberries, green stems removed
3 measures white rum (less if you want it weak, more if you want it strong)
1/2 cup apple juice
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 cup ice
Strawberries to garnish the glasses

To Make:
1. Put strawberries, mulberries, apple juice, lime juice and rum in a blender and blend well.
2. Add the ice and pulse on high to crush.
3. Serve immediately (before all the ice melts!) with a strawberry on the rim of the glass.

Serves 4 in Martini glasses, 3 in tumblers.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Glass Noodle Salad with Black Fungus and Green Beans

This one is a light and refreshing salad, however the noodles mean that it is a lovely and filling lunch or dinner for a warm evening. Black Fungus can be bought dried at Asian supermarkets either in whole dried pieced or pre-shredded.

50g glass noodles (mung bean noodles)
Black Fungus (also know as Cloud Ear Fungus) - If using whole use 8 pieces, if using shredded use 1 cup.
1 big handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 cucumber, cut into strips
1/4 Spanish onion, sliced into thin wedges
2 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
The juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil

To Make:
1. Soak the noodles and the black fungus in boiling water according to the directions on the back of the noodle packet. If using whole black fungus, remove once softened and cut into thin strips.
2. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain with the noodles and fungus in a strainer. Rinse with cold water until cool and leave to drain.
3. Mix the noodles, fungus, beans, cucumber and Spanish onion. Dress with the lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil and mix thoroughly. Place the sliced tomato on top and serve.

Serves 2 for lunch or light dinner.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Sausage, Potato and Cavolo Nero Casserole with Paprika and Red Wine

Cavolo Nero, a type of kale also known as Tuscan Cabbage or Dinosaur Kale, not only provides a great nutty flavour to this dish but it is also a great source of Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Silverbeet could be substituted, however, will go a lot mushier than the Cavolo Nero which should be available at most good greengrocers. A-dizzle and I made this fantastic casserole for dinner just the other night and we were so in love with it that there was none left when my partner got home from work :)

1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced roughly
Olive oil, for frying
4 vegetarian sausages (typically the cheaper kind will hold together better than the fancy 'gourmet' ones), sliced diagonally
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into big chunks
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
3 cups vegie stock
1/3 cup red wine
Cracked pepper, to taste
6-7 leaves of Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Cabbage), with the thick stalks removed and sliced finely

To Make:
1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a big saucepan or stockpot and sauté the onion and garlic until soft and transparent. Add the vegetarian sausages and continue to fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the potatoes, vegies stock, spices and red wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are completely cooked through.
3. Add the Cavolo Nero. Simmer, covered again, for another 10 minutes or so (during this time the potatoes will start to disintegrate into the broth making it amazingly rich).
4. Eat it all immediately. 

Serves 2 (or potentially 3 people who don't eat quite as much as we do) 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Spicy Rice with Pumpkin, Broccoli and Fresh Peas

The chilli in this might not be to the taste of everyone but if you like things milder just add less or no chilli and you'll find it is still very delicious.

1 onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
1.5 litres vegetable stock
250g pumpkin, cut into small cubes
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground Peri Peri (or if you don't have Peri Peri substitute Cayenne Pepper or chilli powder)
1 thing (someone tell me what the measure word for broccoli is??) broccoli, cut into florets
2 cups basmati rice, uncooked
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 cup fresh peas
1 tbsp soy sauce

To Make:
1. Heat a drizzle of oil or 2-3 tbsp water in a wok or large non-stick saucepan (I say nonstick because rice is VERY prone to stick to the bottom and if you don't use nonstick I predict you will be going at your saucepan with some serious steel wool at the end of this cooking process). Add the onion and garlic and sauté til transparent. 
2. Add 2 cups of the vegie stock and the pumpkin and simmer until the pumpkin is soft, about 15 minutes (you may need to cover it). 
3. Then add the rest of the stock, the spices, the tinned tomatoes, the broccoli and the rice. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
4. Simmer, mixing VERY often until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, probably about 15 mins again. At this point test the rice to see if it is cooked. If not, add a couple of more cups of water and simmer again until all the liquid is absorbed. Keep doing this until the rice is cooked.
5. About 5 minutes before the rice is finished cooking add the fresh peas.
6. Once you have got the rice cooked to the right consistency turn off the heat a stir through the soy sauce. Serve immediately (if you leave it for a while you'll end up with a large rice cake stuck in your saucepan, however, if you do this then just add another half a cup of hot stock just before serving and mix well to loosen it up a bit.).

Serves 4 easily.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Asparagus and Shitake Mushroom Noodles

This delicious stir fry is fried in stock rather than oil which makes it a super healthy and seriously tasty quick dinner. Add more soy sauce at the end according to your own taste. You can also substitute thick rice noodles in the place of udon noodles to make it gluten free or just less wheat-y, however, using other kinds of noodles will probably result in the noodles breaking up a lot more... unless you have some kind of wicked kitchen technique for making your noodles not break up and if you do then please share it!!

4 dried shitake mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, sliced
300g fresh shitake mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed* and sliced into 3rds
1 tin baby corn spears, drained
1 packet of fried tofu puffs, sliced in half
500g packet of udon noodles
1/3 cup strong stock (I used the Massel 'beef' stock because it has a strong flavour and no animal content)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
1-2 tbsp sesame oil

To Make:
1. Soak the dried shitake mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes, then remove and set liquid aside. Trim the stems off the mushrooms and slice.
2. Heat 1-2 tbsp of the mushroom liquid in a wok and fry the garlic until soft. Add the shitake mushrooms (both types) and fry, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes, adding more liquid if it begins to dry out. Add the asparagus and baby corn and stir fry until the asparagus is just cooked but crisp.
3. Stir in the tofu puffs and noodles. Add the mushroom liquid, stock and soy sauce and heat through (if you like it saucier you may want to add a bit more water or stock). 
4. Add the cornstarch to 1/3 cup of cold water and stir until it is all dissolved and there are no lumps, add the sesame oil to the cornstarch mixture.
5. Once the stuff in the wok starts to simmer, slowly add the cornstarch while stirring constantly. Once heated through turn off the heat and continue to stir, the sauce will thicken on standing for a few minutes. Serve.

Serves 3-4.