Saturday, July 30, 2011

Raw vegan apple crumble squares

Breakfast: Raw vegan apple crumble squares

Lunch: Sweet chili soba noodle stir fry with some of Dan's shortbread

Dinner: Miso soup with noodles and the good bread!

Apple crumble was one of the first things I learned to make, both at home and in school cooking classes, and being a massive sweet tooth and a huge fan of getting the apples off the tree in the garden, it was one of my favourite experiences as a youngster.

I came up with this as an attempt to make an apple-crumble based thing that wasn't horribly bad for you, and it became raw as I realised it didn't need to be cooked! Another great breakfast treat that's full of energy and sugar-free!

You'll need:
(Makes 12)
5 apples, cubed
1 cup water
3 cups wholewheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla essence
300g pitted dates
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup ground almonds (I just use a blender on some almonds!)
2/3 macadamia / canola oil

Whizz the apples and 1 cup of water in a blender until you've got a thick apple sauce
Set this aside
Whizz the dates, vanilla essence and 3 tbsp water in a blender until you have a date paste - it should be lighter brown than the dates and quite smooth with a few lumps
Sieve the flour and cinnamon into a bowl
Stir in the oats
Add the date paste to the bowl and use the rubbing method to make the crumble: rub the date paste into the dry ingredients, letting it fall through your fingers as you rub, until it resembles a crumble topping. It will be quite dry at this point
Stir the ground almonds into the mixture
Add the macadamia / canola oil and rub again
Add more oil if necessary. The crumble should be moistened
Press half the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch tin and press down evenly
Top with the apple sauce
Top with the rest of the crumble mix, press down as much as possible and set in the fridge for at least an hour
Cut into squares and enjoy!

Warning: these are super super crumbly. This is a good thing. Press the crumble layers down as much as you can while it's in the tin and cut with a sharp knife to make it stay together as much as possible. More crumble = more fun!

You can also heat them up for warm treats or serve 2 squares as a dessert.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pesto pita pizzas

Breakfast: Almond milk oatmeal with apple and coconut

Lunch: Pesto pita pizza with rice and greek salad

Dinner: Potatoes a la putin with a vegetable omelette

Have you kept the rocket pesto you made yesterday? Good, then you're going to make today's dinner in 15 minutes and it will be incredibly delicious and easy as pie. I was tempted to call them "Hey Presto Pesto Pitta Pizzas" but I thought we'd be drowning in Ps.

This recipe started life as an awesome 3am snack after a drunken night out in uni. I was never a fan of super-greasy pizzas or late night kebabs, so when people used to pile back to my place after a few too many whiskey and cokes we'd throw together these pita pizzas and stick them under the grill. Perfection in a fuzzy mouth!

The recipe has been made somewhat classier now than the smear-of-tomato-paste-tabasco-sauce-and-loads-of-cheddar creations we used to make, and this is both filling and satisfying without being too overwhelming. And kids love making and eating them.

You'll need:
(Feeds 2)
4-6 tbsp rocket pesto
2 whole wheat pita breads (I used the large round pitta pockets)
1/2 a large zucchini
5 large mushrooms
2 tbsp caramelised onions (store bought or pre made as in this recipe)
1 tsp olive oil
As much feta as you like - Macedonian feta is especially good
Black pepper

Slice the mushroom and zucchini and saute in the oil on high heat for 5 minutes
While they're cooking, spread the pesto on one side of the pita breads
Layer the zucchini and mushrooms and top with the caramelised onions
Cover with crumbled feta and season with black pepper to taste
Stick them under the grill (or broiler, if you North American) for 5-7 minutes, or until the feta has melted a little and the sides of the pita have browned

I find this to be a particularly delicious combination of toppings (the onions especially bring a little hint of sweetness that plays off against the acidity of the pesto) but of course, feel free to use whatever you want to use, or whatever you have in the fridge that could be a topping. The whole point of this recipe is that it's easy!

You can also make these the night before, then either grill them at work, or grill them at home and stick them in the microwave for a minute in the office. They're even delicious cold.

If you want to make even less work for yourself, let your little minions put them together!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rocket (arugula) pesto

Breakfast: Scrambled tofu

Lunch: Seven grain and Tuscan bean salads with rocket pesto

Dinner: A delicious bean burrito from Quesada!

Today someone asked me where I get my inspiration for these recipes from, and I had to admit that one of the main sources of inspiration was whatever foods were going off in the fridge or which foods were on sale at the grocery store that week!

In that spirit, this pesto was knocked up because I'd bought some rocket (or arugula, if you're North American) on Sunday and it getting very close to being dead last night. I am always loathe to throw away food so a lot of meals get based around what's going off. Sometimes it works really well!

You'll need
(Makes a small tub)
4 handfuls rocket (arugula)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1 1/2 tbsp parmesan

Blend everything together, adding oil until it reaches your desired consistency

This is great as a pasta sauce or as a dip. In fact, keep hold of your pesto (if you can stop yourself from nomming it all at once) and tomorrow I'll post a wicked 15 minute dinner recipe to make with it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vegan sugar-free banana and pecan bread

Breakfast: Vegan sugar-free banana and pecan bread with yogurt

Lunch: Orzo salad and pumpkin-cranberry salad with a massive avocado

Dinner: Leftover pumpkin and feta tart - even better the day after!

I don't think I'd ever had banana bread before I moved to Australia, but that first slice of Sydney banana bread accompanied by a killer flat white changed my taste buds' opinion of all baked goods forever more. I had naively believed it to be somewhat good for you, so when I discovered that it was in fact banana cake cynically dressed up to appear healthier than it is, I was somewhat dismayed...but I still ate it.

I've been trying to formulate a healthier option that tasted just as hearty, and this recipe is actually good for you! With no sugar, no dairy, no honey and no eggs, the only thing remotely bad for you is the macadamia oil...and that's not really that bad for you either, compared to the lashing of butter you normally get. I also added some pecans, for protein and omega-6 content, plus that lovely crunch they give every bite. Walnuts work well too!

You'll need:
(Makes 1 loaf)
2 large over ripe bananas
2 cups wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup macadamia oil (or oil of your choice)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius and lightly oil your loaf tin
Put the vinegar and the almond milk in a bowl, stir once and set aside
Sift together the flour, soda and spices
After 5 minutes, mash the bananas and add them to the milk mix
Add the apple sauce and oil into the milk mix
Lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry until only just combined
Stir in the pecans gently
Pour the mix into the loaf pan, even out and cook for 1 hour

You can make your own apple sauce by just cooking 2 chopped up apples in a little water until they resemble sauce and then mushing them up. This only takes about 10 minutes.

If you find after an hour that your bread still isn't cooked through, don't worry - you might just have a little too much banana in there. Wrap some foil over the tin and leave it in the oven as long as it needs to be in there. It shouldn't burn.

This is absolutely amazing with yogurt in the mornings, and leaves you full of energy! It's also great with almond butter, or any other nut spread, but be sure to use the good versions that are 100% nuts (I love a good pun) rather than the Kraft-style crap versions filled with soy and the like.

I'll be working on a gluten-free version soon enough and now I've actually bought a loaf tin, expect me to go bread mad. Which is the best kind of mad, next to quinoa mad.

Astrid's pumpkin, feta and caramelised onion tart

Breakfast: Mango smoothie with date squares

Lunch: Kasha salad with vegetables

Dinner: Astrid's pumpkin, feta and caramelised onion tart with salad

This recipe might be the only one I ever get from the island of Reunion. When my favourite French friend Astrid told me she was from there I had to look it up, and ever since then I've been desperate to go. As it's a French colony I'm not sure whether this constitutes as French food or Reunion food, so I'm just going to class it as Astrid food. And it's delicious and decadent too!

You can either make your own crust or buy a shop bought crust. Of course, I think that making it is much more fun.

You'll need:
(Feeds 4)
250g wholewheat flour
90g melted butter
1 egg
A splash of milk
1/3 of a pumpkin, cubed
2 onions, sliced
2 egs
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup water
A splash of cream
A splash of milk
A spinch of ground nutmeg
Black pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius
Mix flour, butter and egg to form a dough, adding milk if necessary
Roll dough out into a 10 x 10 inch square and lay in a 8 x 8 inch pan, allowing some to form the sides
Cut off the excess
Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked a little then set aside
Reset the oven to 230 degrees Celcius
Boil the pumpkin in water until all pieces are soft
Drain and puree
Fry the onions in the oil until turning brown
Add the water and the sugar and continue to caramelise for 10-15 minutes
In a bowl, with the eggs, cream, milk and nutmeg
Take the crust and spread the pumpkin puree on top
Top this with the caramelised onions
Top this with the egg mix
Top this with as much crumbled feta as you can handle
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until firm on top

This was the first time I've ever made a tart, and it was as easy as pie, if you'll pardon the pun! It also saves very well overnight and makes for a great lunch the next day. With a basic spinach salad, it's perfection a la Francais.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Minted potato salad

Breakfast: Vegan sugar-free banana and pecan bread with yogurt

Lunch: Minted potato salad

Dinner: Astrid's pumpkin and caramelized onion tart

My very good friend Pode, who's been graciously putting up with my whims and ridiculous ramblings since I was a teeny 3 years old, is on a bit of a health kick at the moment and rediscovering that she can cook awesome foods! She requested a few good lunch recipes, so there'll be a few on Everyday Veggie this week.

I had this for lunch today and it's a nicely filling but still light lunch for when it's warm but you need a carb kick!

You'll need:
(Feeds 2)
2 large potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
1 carrot, grated
1 bell pepper, diced
1 handful cherry tomatoes
1 small handful spinach
1 small handful rocket (arugula)
3 tbsp almonds, chopped
3 tbsp plain, natural yogurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, or 1 tbsp rubbed mint
juice of 1 lime
black pepper

Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until cooked through
Stir the mint into the yogurt and stir the mixture into the potatoes
Toss together the carrot, rocket, spinach, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and almonds
Squeeze the lime juice in, add black pepper to taste and toss again
Either mix all together or serve together, depending on your preference

This can be made the night before and chilled to make a lovely fresh lunch, or it can be eaten just as it's made.

If you prefer, you can use feta cheese or parmesan instead of the yogurt, although I would recommend the yogurt as it's much creamier and lighter.

Potatoes get unfairly left behind when people talk about healthy foods, and there's no real reason why; potatoes, especially when cooked and cooled, as above, contain an amount of "resistant starch" which protects against colon cancer and improves glucose tolerance as well as insulin sensitivity. They also contain vitamins and minerals, and a good amount of fiber. What a great excuse to have mashed potato.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vegan green tea smoothie

Breakfast: A raw vegan date square and vegan green tea smoothie

Lunch: Jamaican spinach and zucchini puree with ginger (soup) plus salad, cornbread and juice from Fresh

Dinner: Minted potatoes with vegetable melee: sautéed onions and peppers with asparagus, grated carrot and chickpeas in lime

When you've had a night on the tiles there is literally no better place in the world than Fresh. They seem to know what I want before I get there and scribble in on the menu for me.

Having bought some matcha a few weeks ago I've gone mad with it; matcha mille-feuille, matcha marbe cake, matcha cupcakes, the whole lot. However, yesterday I was struck by two ideas: to make something resembling a matcha latte but cold, and to make something actually healthy with it. From these two thoughts came this.

You'll need:
(feeds 2)
2 cups coconut milk
2 frozen bananas
1 tsp matcha (green tea powder)
1 tsp agave nectar (optional)

Blend everything together with a couple of ice cubes if you wish

Coconut milk is naturally very sweet, so I don't find it necessary to use the agave nectar - but feel free to if you're a serious sweet tooth.

If you want to be super healthy, feel free to use coconut water instead of milk; this is the stuff that comes out of a coconut when you crack it open, and is thinner than the milk (which is made from the flesh of the coconut). Interestingly enough, it has also been used as an intravenous hydratant when saline solution has been unavailable in some parts of the world. I don't recommend trying this yourself though.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Share and share alike!

Lately we've had people from all over the world visiting The Everyday Veggie, which is very exciting! Speaking to a lovely girl in Denmark, however, I realised how little I knew about the vegetarian cuisine of some other countries.

With that in mind, do you have a great recipe from your country (or even just a recipe that you love) that you'd like to share on the blog? Please send it over to and we'll make it, take a photo and share your recipe with everyone!

I'm hoping over the next couple of days to post some more recipes from home - including easy scones!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vegan mango-chili sauce

Breakfast: Oats with coconut, pear and almond milk

Lunch: Fresh spring rolls with mango-chili sauce

Dinner: Sushi on Bloor! Always awesome

When it's anywhere beyond 35 degrees in your kitchen, to cook a hot meal is just madness. However, it's not as crazy as it seems to eat spicy food: it encourages you to sweat and therefore cools you down. I wasn't convinced until Putin made me a delicious veggie laksa and I felt cooler than I had all day!

With that in mind, here's a mango-chili sauce that goes really well with fresh spring rolls as well as brown rice burritos and fajitas and a whole host of other goodies!

You'll need:
(would feed 4-6 as dipping sauce)
2 overripe mangoes
1 small onion, diced finely
3 small red chilis / 1 habanero chili
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp oil
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Fry the onion, ground coriander and chilis in the oil until they're brown
Blend this mixture with the mangoes and the lime
Stir in the chopped coriander and serve

This can be as hot as you want it to be so if you're got a robust constitution or you just need to sweat like Rupert Murdoch on Newsnight then pile those chilis in there - but don't say I didn't warn you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mango lassi

Breakfast: Mango lassi

Lunch: Vegetables with lime and wholemeal couscous

Dinner: A quick soba noodle stir fry before the Jays game!

I love getting seasonal fruits and veggies, and when I saw a box of mangoes for $5 near our house I couldn't resist. The Queensland mangoes in Aus were phenomenal, but the ones in Canada are mad tasty and great to make a whole range of breakfast goodies when it's hot.

You might have had a mango lassi in an Indian restaurant before, and in Indian cuisine a lassi can be either sweet or savoury and made with a whole range of spices and fruits. This variation is a little lighter and doesn't use a sweetener, as the mangoes make it sweet enough.

You'll need
(Feeds 1)
1 mango, diced
1 1/2 tbsp natural plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
3-4 ice cubes

Blend everything together and serve immediately!

As well as being ridiculously amazing and tasting of pure summer, mangoes contain a shedload of vitamins and antioxidants, and even omega-3 and omega-6. For something so tasty to also be so healthy is just heaven, really.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vegan week day 7: Vegan lentil chili

Breakfast: Quinoa pilaf with blueberries, raspberries, pear, mango and almond milk

Lunch: Leftover spicy bean burgers with carrot and lime salad

Dinner: Vegan lentil chili with brown rice

So this was the last day of my first week totally vegan. I thought I'd tripped up at the BBQ by eating potatoes with butter on them, but it turned out it was soy butter! Hooray!

All week I've been feeling exceptionally clear-headed and full of energy, and for some reason I've been waking up early with no alarms. I've no idea why. Anyway, I've been trying to work out how better to incorporate veganism into my daily life - be a weekday vegan? A vegan 2 weeks out of every 4? It's a tough decision, especially when so many friends have expressed concerns about it. Has anyone else found this?

Anyway, one thing is for sure: there will be a lot more vegan cooking and baking happening in our house from now on. Even mainstays of our kitchen, like this vegan chili, will be making more appearances. Vive la vegan!

You'll need:
(Feeds 4-6)
175g red lentils
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 red pepper, chopped
400g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable puree
300ml veg stock
100g frozen peas
2 carrots, chopped
175g mushrooms, chopped
1 tin kidney beans, drained
2 tbsp oil

Soak lentils in boiling water for 30 minutes then drain and rinse
Fry onion, garlic, chili, paprika and cumin in oil
Add peppers, carrots and lentils and cook for 5 minutes
Add tomatoes, puree, stock and peas
Bring to the boil then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes
Add mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes
Add kidney beans and simmer for 5 minutes
When chili has reached your preferred consistency, serve with rice and a slice of lime

As ever, this can be kept in the fridge or freezer and is even better the day after you cook it! It's also great for a Canadian winter when you can't feel your lips.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vegan week day 6: Easy vegan cupcakes

Breakfast: Vegan apple-quinoa granola

Lunch: Grilled veggies sandwich at the Mad Dog Cafe 

Dinner: Family BBQ: Potatoes and salads and corn and spicy bean burgers followed by chocolate and vanilla easy vegan cupcakes

I was reminded this weekend why I love Toronto cafes. Hanging out and writing in my favourite Tequila Bookworm is always a joy, but having lunch at the local Mad Dog Cafe, for the first time I might add, I found I was short of cash and they didn't take debit. "Don't worry about it" said the owner, "You can just pay next time." I loved him (and I did pay...but they gave us coffee for free!).

So this was my first attempt at vegan cake baking, if you don't count the fateful day years ago when we ended up presenting my vegan friend Charley with a slab of vegan dough that wouldn't rise for her birthday. I researched a couple of methods and this one worked perfectly. If you don't believe me, I even took these along to a Ukrainian family BBQ (where cakes are usually filled with butter and cream, and delicious) and these were a success! They're crazy light and more moist than you would believe possible without eggs.

I am making them again this week, as they've all gone already.

You'll need:
(makes 10-12)
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup unbleached cane sugar*
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cocoa, if making chocolate cupcakes
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine
a splash of almond milk
1 tsp of cocoa, if making chocolate frosting

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F)
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda (and cocoa, if using) together in a bowl
Pour the vinegar into a bowl and gently pour the almond milk into it
Leave this mixture to curdle for about 5 minutes
Add the vanilla essence and the vegetable oil to the vinegar mix and stir until combined
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined
Divide batter into cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is a little spongey
Allow cakes to cool
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then frost the cupcakes

I made both vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, and the recipe is pretty much the same - just add the stated amounts of cocoa if you're making chocolate ones. Do be careful that your cocoa is vegan though, as some cheaper brands do contain milk extracts.

*Many vegans do not eat white sugar, as the bleaching process involves filtering it through ground up animal bones. For this reason, I used unbleached cane sugar. However, if you don't mind consuming white sugar, feel free to use it instead!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vegan week day 5: Savoury wholewheat vegan crepes with mushroom and tofu miso stew

Brunch: Savoury wholewheat vegan crepes with mushroom and tofu miso stew

Dinner: Brown rice and veggies salad with mango-lime-coriander dressing

Treats: Vanilla and chocolate vegan cupcakes. Recipe to come tomorrow!

As you may well have noticed already, I am quite into crepes. They're my favorite thing to make the morning after, when people have crashed at your place and are in various states of hungover. Although I'm usually a fan of the almond butter and fruit combination, I had a hankering for savoury crepes yesterday, but didn't want to renege on the vegan week, so I threw some things together for a vegan crepe recipe. And it worked!

The stew was also a complete gamble, but it was really good. The first time I had savoury crepes with the wonderful Liz in TO they contained mushroom stew, so to me, that's the ultimate savoury filling. The miso and ginger in this help to bring a depth of flavour.

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
For crepes
1 cup wholewheat flour
1 cup plain soy milk
1/2 cup water (or more as needed)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
For stew filling
250g mushrooms, sliced
150g tofu, diced
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp miso
1 cup hot water
1/2 tsp cumin
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 tbsp vegetable oil
black pepper
Fry the onions and the garlic in the oil
Fry the tofu separately in a little oil
Add miso paste to the hot (but not boiling) water, stir well and add to onions and garlic
Add black pepper, tofu, ginger and cumin
Allow to simmer until it has reduced almost to desired consistency. The water should have evaporated.
Combine all crepe ingredients in a blender and set aside
Add more water if needed to make a thin batter
Add the mushrooms to the stew and cook for 5 more minutes
While the stew is finishing, make the crepes as detailed here and lay on plates
Serve the stew inside the crepes, with a little spinach if you like, fold crepes over and serve!
You can double the amounts of everything in the stew to make it a main meal for 2, but just don't cook it for quite as long; you'll want a little more moisture in the recipe than I allowed for here. Be sure not to boil it though, as miso isn't meant to be boiled.

These don't hold together as well as normal crepes, so try to flip them only once. They're a bit more textured than the usual crepe, and take to savoury fillings like a dream. I'll definitely be making these again....tomorrow.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vegan week day 4: Soba stir fry with hoisin vegetables

Breakfast: Papaya smoothie with almond milk

Lunch: Soba stir fry with hoisin vegetables

Dinner: Quinoa salad with lime dressing

I've been in love with papayas ever since I worked on a farm in Malaysia and they were basically begging you to eat the things as they grew absolutely everywhere, and you couldn't kill the plants! Papaya has long been used in India and elsewhere as folk medicine, and half a papaya, half a frozen banana and a cup of almond milk makes a perfect breakfast smoothie for a summer day.

When cooking yesterday, I discovered yet more vegan things that I assumed weren't vegan, like hoisin sauce! It's actually a sweet potato and soy blend, and goes fantastically with these soba noodles.

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
2 portions soba noodles
1/2 cauliflower, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
200g mushrooms, chopped
1 small handful asparagus, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 small handful coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
splash of soy sauce
vegetable oil
Heat a little oil in a wok, then add the onion and garlic and fry til the onion is starting to brown
Add the cauliflower and carrots and fry for 5 mins
When there is no oil left, add a little soy sauce
In a seperate pan, boil the soba noodles for 5 minutes
Add the mushrooms and asparagus to the wok and keep stirring
Drain the soba noodles, rinse for a couple of seconds in cold water, allow to drain, then add to the wok
Add the hoisin sauce and stir thoroughly to mix
Take off the heat and add the coriander
I love soba noodles and hoisin sauce, so for me, this is a treat of a meal!

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, and they contain antioxidants as well as all eight essential amino acids. What makes these eight 'essential' is that our bodies can't make them from anything else, and with twelve other kinds of amino acid, the body needs these in order for the cells to properly make proteins. Fact of the day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vegan week day 3: Raw vegan date squares

Breakfast: Raw vegan (gluten-free and sugar-free) date squares with a glass of almond milk

Lunch: Lentil chili

Dinner: The vegetarian combination (which was also vegan) from an Ethiopian restaurant

If you're not heard of raw foodism before, it basically holds to the belief that food cooked above 40 degrees Celcius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) has lost all or most of its nutritional value, and so followers only eat food cooked under this temperature or not cooked at all - hence the name 'raw'.

I am not a raw foodie by any stretch of the imagination, but when I was trying to think of a great vegan treat to make I realised that date squares need not be cooked, and the resulting snack is raw, vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free - and who could knock that?

You wouldn't believe that something vegan and raw could be so moist and decadent. I am somewhat addicted already.

You'll need:
(Makes 16 small ones)
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (I ground some in the blender)
4 tbsp almond milk, unsweetened
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1 cup (175 grams) pitted dates
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup water

Blend the dates, vanilla essence and water together and set aside
Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl, adding more milk if you feel it necessary
Press half the mixture into an 8 inch x 8 inch tin
Spread the date mixture on top
Top with the rest of the mixture
Put in the fridge for 1 hr or overnight
Cut into squares and serve

These are great for breakfast, especially before or after (or before AND after) the bike ride to work! They're so full of natural energy and insanely tasty, plus they're so good for you that it's hard to keep your hands off them. Dates are full of antioxidants and fibre (which means they're great if you're struggling to be 'regular'), almonds are thought to improve your complexion and reduce your risk of cancer, and flax are full of omega-3s and lower your cholesterol. Basically, you'd be a fool not to eat at least a few of these.

Dates are also great to use instead of sugar as a natural sweetener in desserts and baking - so next time you're trying to avoid bouncing off the walls after eating too much cake, think of the humble date!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vegan week day 2: Squash, mushroom and spinach risotto with pine nuts

Breakfast: Quinoa pilaf with strawberries and raspberries

Lunch: Squash, mushroom and spinach risotto with pine nuts, with steamed asparagus on the side.

Dinner: Spaghetti with a delicious mushroom and tomato sauce. Thanks Putin!

It's crazy the amount of things that are vegan when you actually stop to think about it. At first I shunned the idea of risotto, but then I realised that the only thing that would make it non-vegan is the butter to saute the onions and garlic. Leave any parmesan out too and hey presto: awesome, hearty and filling vegan dinner that tastes phenomenal!

You'll need
(feeds 3)
1/3 of a large squash, diced
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
4 tbsp white wine
1 handful spinach, chopped roughly
2 cups arborio rice
6 cups veg stock
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 large onion, diced
veg oil
black pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil
Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes
Add the white wine and black pepper
Add the rice and coat in the liquid
When the liquid has been absorbed, add a cup of the veg stock and stir
When the stock has been absorbed, repeat 2 more times
Throw the mushroom into the mix and continue adding stock one cup at a time
When all the stock is absorbed, turn off the heat
Stir in the spinach and serve into dishes
Scatter pine nuts and black pepper over and serve!

If you don't want to use white wine, I find that rice vinegar works just as well as can give a more complex flavour.

As a vegan or vegetarian, spinach is a great thing to have regularly, as it is rich in vitamins, iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Steam it, wilt it or stir it into hot meals just before serving to keep its nutritional qualities in tact. Pine nuts also have lots of fibre and have the most protein of any seed. Plus they're so tasty and make your meals look that bit more fancy!

Also, interesting fact: squash is in fact a fruit!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

...and now on Twitter

I'm really getting a grip on this internet lark. So now I can see what celebrities drunkenly Tweet when they're at some premiere or another and their agent has no control over their iPhone? Excellent!

Anyway, follow the Everyday Veggie on Twitter and see what I drunkenly Tweet when I steal the phone of someone who has one of those clever phones with internet access.!/EverydayVeggie

Vegan week day 1: Wholemeal couscous salad with miso-ginger dressing

Breakfast: Papaya, pear and pomegranate smoothie

Lunch: Wholemeal couscous salad with miso-ginger dressing

Dinner: Squash, mushroom and spinach risotto with pine nuts

Having eaten far too much cream, cake, eggs and more cream this weekend, and spurred on by both a suggestion from Alison and the ridiculously gorgeous weather (read: inescapable humidity) we've been having here in Toronto, I decided to try going vegan for a week this week.

In theory, it shouldn't be too hard, although I have been falling back more and more on cheese as a filler for recipes lately, and eggs are becoming a bit of an Achilles heel! As a Brit though, the worst thing is not having real milk in tea. It's just not cricket.

I recently found out that you can buy wholemeal couscous! Along with the dressing, it helped make this salad both light and filling; a great lunch for a hot day.

You'll need
(feeds 2)
1 cup wholemeal couscous
2 mini cucumbers / 1 normal cucumber, sliced and then chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
1 large handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 handful almonds, roughly chopped
1 small handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 heaped tbsp light miso
1 chunk ginger (you choose how much!), grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy
1 tsp rice vinegar
Put the couscous in a bowl with 1 1/4 cups of boiling water, and cover with a tea towel
Leave for 5 minutes until cooked
When all the water is gone, fluff with a fork and toss in the rest of the ingredients
Mix together or blend the dressing ingredients with 1 tbsp of water or as much as is necessary to get the dressing to your desired consistency
Toss the dressing with the salad and enjoy!
The dressing is basically a quicker and simpler version of that awesome sushi salad dressing that everyone loves.

As well as being versatile and delicious, couscous is one of the healthiest grains you can eat - and this is even more true if you choose the wholemeal variety. It has more protein than pasta, hardly any fat and a whole load of vitamins. I can't get enough excuses to eat it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Matcha Mille-feuille

Breakfast: Granola with yogurt, just to be original

Lunch: Almond salad followed by lashings of matcha mille-feuille

Dinner: Vegan lentil chili

One of the great things about being in Toronto is that matcha, the powdered green tea, is readily available everywhere - and not just in powder form, but latte form, cookie form and cake form too.

I had missed matcha lattes a lot whilst living in Aus and on the weekend I decided that the time had come for me to experiment with some matcha baking. I first made a matcha marble cake with coconut buttercream, but felt more inspired to try something of my own: enter the matcha mille-feuille.

Mille-feuille translates to "a thousand layers" in French, but mille-feuille cakes can be known as Napoleon cakes or vanilla slices depending where you are. This is a bit of a variation, but isn't variety the spice of life?

You'll need
(Feeds 6-8)
100g plain flour
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbsp milk
100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp matcha
500ml whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp matcha

Put the whipping cream, whisk and a metal or ceramic bowl in the freezer
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
Cream together the butter and the caster sugar until very fluffy
Beat the egg into the mix
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks, and set aside
In another bowl, sift together the flour and 1 1/2 tsp of matcha
Fold this flour mixture into the egg mixture with the milk
Gently fold the egg white into this mixture
Grease an 11 x 17 inch baking tray and then flour it
Spread the batter evenly onto the tray, making it as flat as possible
Cook in the oven for 5 minutes, or until it is done. Watch out for burning!
Turn the cake onto a clean tea towel and cut into half, vertically
Cut each of these halves into 3 even pieces, horizontally. You should have 6 equal rectangular pieces
Save 5 of these and set one aside - don't throw away!
Mix 4 tbsps of icing sugar with 2 tbsp water to form icing, then split this in half
Mix 1/2 tsp matcha into half the icing, leaving one amount green and one amount white
Spread a thin layer of white icing onto one layer of cake and let it dry
Create any pattern of your choice by dripping / swirling the green icing on top of the white icing. Allow to dry
Take the cream, whisk and bowl from the freezer and whip the cream until it forms sort peaks
Sift in 2 tbsp of icing sugar and whip again until it forms stiff peaks. Separate into 4 equal amounts
Put one layer of cake onto your serving tray and layer one of the amounts of cream on top, keeping as even as possible
Layer another piece of cake and then another layer of cream and so on until all the cream is gone, then put the iced layer of cake on top
Serve immediately!

Because the whipped cream will start to break down quite quickly, and the cake will start to sag after a short while in any sort of heat, this must be served immediately after it's been constructed. Another option is to freeze it straight away - this gives a fantastic Viennetta-like ice cream cake if eaten straight from the freezer, or a slightly chilled version of its original self if left to thaw out for 5 minutes. Either way, it's a winner!

With the leftover cake slice and any leftover whipped cream, you can make a fantastic easy matcha ice cream: just crumble the cake into the cream, stir it around with a little of the green frosting for aesthetics, and freeze. A lovely additional treat for when the cake is all gone.

Cherry and ricotta crepes

Brunch: Cherry and ricotta crepes and ricotta and home-made blackberry jam crepes

Dinner: Soba noodle stir fry with hoisin vegetables

Snacks: Pomegranate, oranges and too much cake

After staying at Aktief in the Czech Republic, we decided to pop over into Poland for breakfast - an action that was deemed "very decadent" by our hosts. Having found a restaurant that would open for us to eat, attempted to communicate in about 4 different languages with the owner and quite frankly shocked the lovely man by demanding that 'nechni maso" (we don't want meat) we feasted on cheese perogies, ricotta crepes and apple crepes with the most wicked coffee. The owner was also keen to tell us that his daughter lived in England:


I spiced things up a little bit when I tried to remake his brunch banquet by adding cherries to the crepes and it was a great addition. For the batter, make sure it's very thin, and you'll want to use about a ladle-full for each crepe.

You'll need
(feeds 2)
300ml milk
1 large egg
100g plain flour
a big handful of cherries, sliced
1 tbsp butter, melted
about 100-150g light ricotta
Beat the egg in a jug
Whisk in the flour and milk a bit at a time, making sure there are no flour lumps
Add the melted butter and whisk thoroughly. It should be thin but still hold a little
Put the frying pan onto a medium heat for a few minutes
Add a knob of butter and keep it on about 3/4 full heat
With some kitchen towel, make sure the whole pan is coated in the melted butter
Take the pan off the heat and pour about a ladel full of batter into it. Swirl it around the pan so the batter coats the bottom
Put it back onto the heat and flip with it moves around freely and bubbles are forming
Cook for about the same amount of time on this side
Slide the crepe onto a plate and start again with the next crepe
While the next one is cooking, lay some slices cherries on half of the crepe, and then a layer of ricotta - as thick as you like!
Fold the other half over this layered part, and then fold the whole thing is half again. It should look like the photo above.
Keep the crepes going in the hot pan til all the batter is gone / your friends are full

These are quite filling so are great for a brunch, especially served with some fruit iced tea and some actual fruit.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Cupboard is Bare Omelette

(from an excellent day in the Czech Republic)

Breakfast: Yet more yogurt

Lunch: Manatee bread with a whole load of cheese and unclassified salads

Dinner: The absolute Cupboard is Bare Omelette (with sun-dried tomatoes and green olives) with some fantastic local beer.

Having visited the beautiful Teplice Rocks in East Bohemia, Claire, Zoe and I had driven north and were looking for a place to stay the night. We were underwhelmed with the choice of relatively expensive, musty hotels full of 70s decor and were incredibly lucky to stumble on Aktief, a campsite and converted barnhouse run by the lovely Albert and his wife - and Albert himself turned out to be the former flying instructor to the Dutch royal family!

Despite being bewildered as to how we'd found them (sitting, as they did, 400m from the Polish border and hidden apart from a small sign) Albert and Mrs Albert were incredibly nice to us, giving us a whole apartment to ourselves for hardly any money, and bringing us local beers for free. The only problem was that we'd got no food, and apparently in the Czech countryside everything closes at 5pm.

Using some eggs bought from Albert and the remnants of our lunch in the car, we threw together this surprisingly tasty omelette - which I hope goes to show that no matter how bare the cupboard is, there is always something to be made if you get inventive!

You'll need
(feeds 2)
4 eggs
as many sun-dried tomatoes as you can muster
as many green olives as you can muster
black pepper
Chop the olives and tomatoes roughly and throw them into a frying pan for a minute or so - with a little oil if you have any
Beat the eggs together
Pour the eggs into the frying pan
Keep the pan on a low heat until the top of the omelette is becoming firm
Cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes to cook the top
Serve folded with any extra olives on the side, and season with black pepper
Enjoy this with local, micro-brewed beer overlooking the sunset over the hills, and you'll feel like you just had a Roman banquet. We could not have been happier.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spätzle with avocado and feta

Breakfast: The classic home-made granola with yogurt

Lunch: Spätzle with avocado and feta, along with a mushroom, rocket and red pepper salad

Dinner: Lentil chili

Having spent a few gorgeous days traversing the unspeakably beautiful Czech areas of East and North Bohemia, Claire, Zoe and I found ourselves in Pilsner, home of the famous beer. We'd spent much of the day driving in every single wrong way possible, so I was more than ready to sample some of the local beverages, but I knew, with my non-tolerance to anything served in pint form, that we'd need some decent food first.

As one of only 2 vegetarian things on the menu at our chosen eatery, these were an obvious choice - and they turned out to be delicious. They're technically a form of egg noodle, but are much more like egg gnocchi, or perogies without the filling. The Germans / Hungarians have them with meat dishes or with a sauce / roasted veggies, but as this was brunch and it was hot I threw some freshness in instead.

If you don't have a "spätzle hex" to make these the restaurant way (and who does these days?) you can make them the surprisingly simple old school way as outlined below. It can all be done in under 15 minutes.

You'll need:
(feeds 2 with a side)
125g plain / all-purpose flour
100ml milk
1 egg
a pinch of salt
a little oil for the spoon
2 tbsp of feta
1 avocado
black pepper

Stir together the flour and the salt
In a different bowl, mix together the milk and egg, then combine everything
Heat a large pan full of water until it's boiling
Take a teaspoon, dip it in some oil (to stop the mixture sticking to the spoon) and get about 1/4 of a teaspoon of the mixture on the spoon
Drop the mixture from the spoon into the boiling water
Repeat until the bowl is full or the mixture is done
Make sure the spätzle aren't stuck to the bottom; when they float to the top, after about 3 minutes, they're done!
Use a slotted spoon to remove them and put them into a dry bowl
Cube the avocado and add it to the spätzle, and crumble feta on top
Add some black pepper and serve

These are a nice alternative to eggs for brunch, can be served with grated cheese and fried onions and would go beautifully with a veggie stew. You can also have them sweet with apples or any other fruit, but I have yet to try this!

Friday, July 8, 2011 on Facebook!

Yep, we're joining the 21st century and exploring everything that this information superhighway has to offer!

Please like us on Facebook and encourage your friends to do so! This will not only make you a more interesting and healthier person, but will also increase your attractiveness to the opposite sex.*

*There's no evidence for this, but it is scientific fact.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chickpea balls with yogurt and mint dip

(another day in good ol' Yorkshire)

Breakfast: A massive tub of greek yogurt

Lunch: A fantastic hummus and sundried tomato sandwich with a humongous pot of English Breakfast tea at the wonderful Hairy Fig in York - "purveyors of fine fodder"

Dinner: Chickpea balls with yogurt and mint dip, potatoes and other veggies, followed by home-made rice pudding - thanks Mum! (Truth be told, I did follow the family tradition of having 2 different desserts. Ahem.)

So you go out for the day and you tell your mum that you'll definitely be back for the big family goodbye meal she's got planned. You also tell her you'll sort out some veggie option for yourself.

You go off and have a fantastic day with your mate Sarah in York, find a great little cafe, do some shopping and turn up 10 minutes before dinner is served, having forgotten all about your promise. The household is not usually filled with vegetarian-friendly food stuffs but you've got to make something. What do you do?

Well, you come up with the recipe for these chickpea balls on the spot. They're not quite falafel as the consistency is much different and they don't contain garlic or flour. They're also a bit more plain but are ridiculously easy and quick to make.

You'll need:
(Feeds 2)
1 tin chickpeas, cooked
3 spring onions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 slices brown bread, in crumbs
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
handful fresh coriander, chopped

Blend everything together and shape into balls
Shallow fry in a pan with a bit of oil
Turn to ensure even cooking on all sides and throughout. This takes 10-15 minutes.
Serve with yogurt and mint dip

These also go really well with a tomato and red wine sauce with roasted vegetable couscous on the side. I made these to say thanks to the lovely Jo, Sam and David who put me up in Streatham and they were pretty were the chickpea balls (ha!).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grilled halloumi pitta pockets

(from a day in Yorkshire)

Breakfast: Wilton wholefoods orchard mueseli - bought from a market in Salisbury and enjoyed for weeks!

Lunch: A few awesome salads from Marks & Spencer

Dinner: Grilled halloumi pitta pockets with salad

I had the fabulous luck to go to the Glastonbury Festival for the first time this year, and though I could gush for days about how amazing it is, I'll restrain myself to saying this: go.

I will rave, however, about their food: best festival food ever, hands down. As a rough guess I'd say that half the food on sale is vegetarian, and in the Green Fields areas they only sell meat-free dishes. You could get full vegan breakfasts for 6 pounds and the best veggie burger I've tasted in a long time. You could also get these fantastic pitta pockets, which are great to eat while you're concentrating on pulling your wellies out of the mud with every step.

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
1 small packet of halloumi (see note below)
1 large red pepper
2 wholemeal pitta pockets
a handful of spinach
1/2 a red onion
balsamic vinegar
a handful of lettuce leaves
a handful of cherry tomatoes
a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Slice the red pepper and the red onions thinly
Thrown these into a frying pan with the oil and fry until soft
Add in a splash of balsamic vinegar and keep frying until browned around the edges and very soft
Add more balsamic vinegar to your taste!
Cut the halloumi into half-inch slices and place on a hot grill pan
Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side
Optional: Place the pitta breads in the microwave for 30 seconds each
Slice the pitta pockets along one of the long sides to make a pocket
Coat the insides with hummus
Stuff the spinach right into the pockets
Add the onions and peppers when they're done, being sure to push these veggies as far in as you can - we're looking for a fully stuffed pocket!
Top these pockets with the grilled halloumi
Toss the lettuce and tomatoes together with a little black pepper
Serve the pocket on top of the salad, as shown above
Cheeses such as halloumi are a good source of calcium, and halloumi isn't too heavy in fats and contains lots of protein. Plus it's super delicious.

If you don't have a grill pan you can do these under the grill for the same amount of time - but make sure the grill isn't turned up fully or the cheese will melt through the rack (as happened to me at Sarah's house!).

N.B. It's important to make sure that your halloumi is set with vegetable rennet rather than animal rennet. Rennet is a mix of enzymes taken from the stomach of a mammal and as such, isn't vegetarian. There are veggie alternatives though, such as thistle and fig enzymes. A hell of a lot of cheeses with contain rennet and may not obviously state this on the label so if you are a strict vegetarian, be very careful...or make your own!

...and she's back!

Well hello! It's been much too long. How have you been?

So yesterday I got back from my Europe trip and I have to make huge apologies for the lack of content while I've been away. I was much too busy enjoying curries on Brick Lane in London, fantastic veggie festival fare at Glastonbury and cheese-based goodies in Prague. And almost getting arrested in Litomerice, but that's another story altogether.

The good news is that I am back with a vengeance and in the next week or so will be featuring recipes inspired by these gastronomic adventures: expect grilled halloumi pitta pockets, ricotta pancakes and chickpea balls with dipping sauce among many others.

As ever, please comment with any requests and I'll do my best to give you something great in return.

Vive la veggie!