Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Everyday Veggie has moved!

As of March 1st 2012, the Everyday Veggie can now be found at

10 months and almost 28,000 visitors means that this blog has outgrown its format - so come over and see us at the sexy new site and join the party!

Happy eating, foodies - and thanks for all the support :)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red lentil and roasted vegetable soup

Breakfast: An almond butter and banana smoothie

Lunch: Red lentil and roasted vegetable soup

Dinner: A char sui vegetable and soba noodle stir fry

When I was at Manchester Uni (a period I know affectionately think of as "the glory years", though my liver might not agree), one of the places I was most likely to be found eating was in the vegetarian cafe near the library. Claire and I used to go there often for their soups and their awesome cake - though if we're honest, it was more the latter than the former.

Their lentil soup was fantastic and brilliantly cheap, and kind to both a student budget and a hungover tummy (and the world). I hope that cafe is still there!

Yet still in my 3 years as a vegetarian I haven't really embraced the lentil soup family. I'm not sure why; perhaps it seemed more of a Manchester thing to me. Regardless, I stepped back onto the lentil bandwagon today as the lack of anything interesting in my fridge led me to make this red lentil and roasted veggie soup which was better than I ever expected.

A filling lunch choice with a lot of goodness inside, I'm having this again tomorrow!

You'll need:
(Feeds 2-4)
3 cups red lentils
3 red peppers
1 zucchini
1 large red onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
a little oil

Soak the lentils in water overnight, or for 1 hour before you begin
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Chop the zucchini roughly and quarter the red onion
Toss the onion, zucchini, garlic and peppers on a baking tray and drizzle with oil
Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning often
Allow to cool then chop all vegetables rougly
Place in a large pan with the stock and drained lentils, then add in the oregano, thyme and red wine vinegar
Cook for 20 minutes, then blend
Season to taste and enjoy!

Lentils have classically been the ultimate food for vegetarians; they're consistently rated as one of the top healthiest foods, and their high protein content means they've carved out a niche for themselves in a veggie diet. They also, however, have a reputation for being a little bland, but you won't believe it when you're enjoying this tasty soup!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vegan Valentine's Day; Vegan Irish "Moccachino" Chocolate Mousse

Breakfast: Spicy beans and brown rice

Lunch: Leek and potato soup

Dinner: Vegan chili with red wine followed by vegan Irish "moccachino" chocolate mousse

So Valentine's Day is here again.

I'm not going to pretend I'm a huge fan of this occasion - I  forbid Putin from buying me anything, taking me out, or acting in a way that is any different to any other day at all - but I do acknowledge that for many people, single and coupled, it is a day of much importance.

It's also a day where culinary decadence is all but demanded.

If you're planning to stay home and cook for your Valentine, you'll definitely need a great looking, great tasting, calorific treat that says "OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU SO HARD" so much more than a store-bought tiramisu.

This hits all of those criteria.

Now, I am really not a fan of using tofu in a lot of things, as it's hard to mask the taste, so I was surprised how much I enjoyed this; in fact, after an hour in the fridge, it's damned amazing! The coffee and whiskey flavours are not predominant; instead they bring a warmth to the chocolate flavour and help the finished dish to be utterly decadent and full of love. It's also ridiculously easy to make; it will take you one hour and five minutes, with one hour of that being fridge time. Simple.

You'll need:
(Feeds 2 as a small dessert)
1 cup silken tofu
2 tbsp strong coffee
2 tbsp whiskey
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa

Blend everything together
Divide between cups / small bowls
Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for a minimum of one hour
Serve up to your love and enjoy

If you've just served up a 12-course feast, you might want to serve this as shown in the picture, in a tall shot glass almost like an after-dinner liqueur. Like this, it will serve 4-5 people. If you prefer, though, a small cup or bowl with some raspberries in the bottom can be topped with this mousse for ultimate satisfaction.

Because nothing says "I love you" more than alcohol and chocolate!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vegan vanilla chai butterfly cupcakes with vanilla-cinnamon buttercream

Breakfast: A full vegan brunch from Fresh

Lunch: A veggie sandwich and coffee from Tequila Bookworm

Dinner: Leek and potato soup with crusty bread followed by two vegan vanilla chai butterfly cupcakes with vanilla-cinnamon buttercream

When I was living in Australia, one of my ultimate favourite things was the Tantric Turtle Chai tent at Playground Weekender festival. Run by what I believe was a cool hippy family, these guys went round festivals serving up their amazing nutmeg cake, putting on open-mic afternoons and generally being lovely. The only low point was when we saw a funnelweb spider in the area once, but that was sorted out pretty quickly.

The best thing about this tent though was their amazing, AMAZING soy chai. Made in giant vats, this stuff was absolutely phenomenal and always made my day. Since then, I've been hooked on chai.

This recipe is double chai-y; the milk is chai-infused, and the flour mix includes ground ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon too. My favourite part, though, is the vanilla-cinnamon buttercream. good.

You'll need:
(Makes 12)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 good quality chai tea bags
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Vanilla-cinnamon buttercream:
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup vegan margarine
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a cupcake tray with cupcake wrappers
Heat the milk in a pan until it's almost boiling, then take off the heat and throw in the 2 tea bags
Allow the tea bags to sit in the milk for 5-10 minutes while it cools
Remove the tea bags from the milk and stir in the vinegar
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, icing sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
Stir the oil and the vanilla essence into the milk mixture
Combine the milk mixture with the flour mixture and stir til just combined
Divide between the cupcake wrappers and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
Allow the cakes to cool
Whip the icing sugar, vegan margarine, vanilla essence and cinnamon together in a blender
With a sharp knife, cut the top off the cupcake, pointing the knife slightly downwards so you get a UFO-shaped piece of cake
Cut this in half into two "wings"
Fill the hole in the top of the cake with the buttercream then stick the two "wings" in, as shown in the photo
Repeat for each cake until you've got an army of vanilla-chai butterflies

The black tea in the chai tea bags gives this a slight bitter taste that contrasts delightfully with the sweetness of the buttercream. I love the spiciness of these and the smoothness of whipped buttercream; now, if only I can fly to Aus to have another of those amazing soy chais so with this cupcake...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Super simple pumpkin soup with cranberry sauce

Breakfast: Apple-soaked oatmeal with dates and blueberries

Lunch: Cous cous, spinach and black bean salad

Dinner: Vegan pate (thanks Hilary!), bhajis, super simple pumpkin soup with cranberry sauce and vegan cornbread with home made jam

We've has such a strange winter in Toronto; the other day it was +7, which is generally a temperature we don't see from December through to March. However, I woke up today to see a winter wonderland outside - real snow on the ground and a snap in the air. Now THIS is winter!

One of the best meals in any cold period is a simple vegetable soup. I'm all for curried parsnip and apple, and even the occasional daal, but a super simple soup lets the beautiful flavours of the food come through in full force and there's nothing better when you're cold, damp and sneezing all over the place.

This is cheap, easy and fun to make, and the cranberry sauce plays against the taste of the pumpkin gorgeously.

You'll need:
(Feeds 4)
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
8-10 cups pumpkin, chopped
6-7 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp cranberry sauce
olive oil

Heat the oil in a pan, and throw in the onion and the garlic
Cook until the onions turn translucent then throw in the pumpkin
Cook for 10 minutes then add in the veg stock
Put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes
Allow to cool, then blend to a smooth consistency
Serve with 1/2 tsp cranberry sauce and enjoy!

Pumpkin is a good choice for a winter soup as it contains Vitamins A and C which could help keep you from getting that dreaded lurgy, and potassium, magnesium, and fibre as well.

Plus, it tastes delicious!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Vegan garlic pitta breads

Breakfast: Wholewheat pancakes with sugar-free blueberry sauce

Lunch: "Cream of" leek and potato soup with garlic pitta breads

Dinner: Miso noodle soup with steamed veggies and quinoa

I've realised that when people come over to your house, the best things you can serve are a selection of tasty little foods that go well together rather than one giant meal. I realised this the other night, when my friend Hilary and I chomped down on pumpkin soup, chickpea bjahis, vegan pate, kale chips and wicked little tortilla chips then vegan gluten-free cornbread with home made quick jam, all while we were busy doing stuff and without my customary OHMYGODPEOPLEARECOMINGOVER 3-hour slog in the kitchen. It's perfect.

In order to arm you with the necessary tools to make this happen, then, I should give you some quick and easy recipes for tapas or side dishes that can be put together nicely.

These vegan garlic pittas are so easy to make that it amazes me that more people don't make them. My great friend Fatty (long story - but rest assured, she is in fact a gorgeously healthy person) used to make garlic bread and I learned from her while we were living together in uni. I started making it on the large pitta pockets they sell in Canada just because they look awesome when you cut them up into triangles - see above!

The key to a good garlic pitta is heaps of garlic and a good smattering of oregano, which in my experience brings all the flavours together in a delightful little way.

You'll need:
(Feeds 2-4 as a side)
2 large wholewheat / 7 grain pitta pockets
8 tbsps vegan margarine
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp oregano (more if you prefer)
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Add the garlic and oregano to the vegan margarine, mixing well, then add black pepper to taste
Cut each of the pitta breads in half to make two large half-circle pockets, then divide the garlic butter between them, using a knife to spread it all over the inside of the pocket
Throw in the oven for about ten minutes, until the butter has melted and the pittas are browning
Remove from the oven, cut each pitta half into 3 triangles, and serve!

I absolutely love serving these with patatas bravas or any sort of bolognese, although they go well together with almost any soup and a lot of salads too. A good way to feed many when you're short on time!

And let's not forget that good quality garlic is incredibly good for you - win!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Protein and Omega-3 nutty seed mix

Breakfast: Granola with blueberry sauce

Lunch: Sweet potato and cranberry salad with cous cous

Dinner: Toasted tortillas, spicy beans and rice followed by the protein and omega-3 nutty seed mix

We all get cravings for snacks, especially in the winter time, and though some of us might reach for the first sugary thing we can lay our hands on, some of us prefer salty snacks.

I'm definitely a sweet tooth, but sometimes you just know when you've had too much brownie mix and should have something healthier.

Nuts and seeds are a vegan's best friend. They provide much-needed omega-3s, iron and proteins, as well as antioxidants and other fantastic goodies. They can also stave off cravings and stop you eating buttery popcorns or heaps of chocolate when you go to a movie.

This is one of my favourite combinations, as the sweetness of the raisins just sets the edge against the savoury taste. A great snack for any time!

You'll need:
(Feeds 2 as snacks)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup pepitas (raw, unshelled pumpkin seeds)
1 cup raisins

There is no method. Mix together, eat.

This combination brings you omega-3 fatty acids from the walnuts, protein, iron, zinc and potassium from the pepitas, and antioxidants, protein and fibre from the raisins. It's a veritable powerhouse of awesome stuff!