Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Devilish Graham Cracker Sandwiches

Breakfast: Oatmeal with pecans, apple and honey

Lunch: Home-made mushroom soup with garlic bread

Dinner: Thai red curry with rice followed by too many devilish Graham Cracker sandwiches

I cannot take the credit for this recipe. Putin came up with this when the cupboard was vaguely bare and he'd ridden enough bike to send him into a feeding frenzy. "I'm going to melt this chocolate and put it on these Graham Crackers" he said. And the rest is history.

I don't even think I can call this a recipe. This is just pure, unadulterated decadence. I feel guilty even writing it.

You'll need
Graham Crackers*
Almond butter

Melt the chocolate in a microwave or on the hob
Take one Graham Cracker and cover one side in almond butter
Take another Graham Cracker and cover one side in melted chocolate
Sandwich these together, with the covered sides meeting
Continue until you have too many
Eat them all

These are seriously good if you eat them straight away but, as we found out, they are 100% more awesome if you freeze them for a couple of hours before eating them. Add a glass of warm milk into the mix and you've got some serious taste bud debauchery going on there.

These are every chubby kid's wet dream.

*For the Brits: Graham Crackers are like over-sugary and slightly more processed Digestive Biscuits that are square instead of round and not quite as good. North Americans love them. They also pronounce it "Gram" instead of "Graham", which I can only attribute to some continent-wide inability to see the letters H and A when placed together.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Garlic and soy greens

Breakfast: Toast and home-made jam with a rad cup of tea

Lunch: Kasha with garlic and soy greens

Dinner: Sushi, sushi and lots more sushi

I first had this when the lovely Hana made it as an accompaniment for a much-needed lunch up at the Perak Permaculture farm in Malaysia. Putin also made it last week, and I remembered how much I loved it.

This is a great side for any meal, and the simplicity of the flavours can spice up an otherwise bland dinner. It's a 5 minute process too. Who could say no?

You'll need:
(feeds 2 as a side)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 cup snowpeas, ripped
2 cups spinach, ripped
soy sauce
1 clove garlic
A little oil

Heat the oil in a wok on medium-high
Throw in the garlic and the broccoli
Stir fry for 3 minutes then add in the mushrooms and snow peas and a few splashes of soy sauce. There should be enough soy to pool slightly in the bottom of the wok
Stir fry for 2 minutes then add the spinach
Stir fry for 1 more minute and serve

This is unbelievably delicious for such a simple process. As the spinach is very briefly cooked, it retains the majority of its nutrients, and everything else is only cooked for slightly longer. If you don't care to steam your veggies, this might be the next healthiest way to cook them.

Vegan sugar-free sweet potato brownies

Breakfast: Fruit crepes with yogurt

Lunch: Grilled veggies sandwich with salad

Dinner: Lentil shepherd's pie followed by vegan sugar-free sweet potato brownies

Last week Louise sent me a link to Dan Lepard's sweet potato brownies. I liked the idea a lot, because I'm a massive sweet tooth and so am on a constant mission to create treats that I can eat all the time without feeling and looking like the Little Chef logo pre-slimming.

I'm also on a kick of making treats vegan where possible, so everyone can enjoy them (hi Charley!). With a little bit of trial and error, I managed to make a moist, decadent version of Dan's brownies that's not only vegan, but sugar-free too.

You'll need
(Makes 10-12)
1 cup baked sweet potato
1 cup plain flour
1 cup cashews, chopped
1 cup canola / macadamia oil
1 cup dates
2/3 cup cocoa (make sure it's vegan - no milk-based ingredients)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup water + 1 tbsp
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C
Line a square tin with foil
Mash the sweet potatoes when they've been baked
Blend the dates with 1 tbsp water to form a paste
Stir the potatoes and dates together with the vanilla extract
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda
Stir in the potato mix
Stir in the rest of the water and the oil
Fold in the chopped nuts
Spoon into the baking tin and smooth down
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is just hardening
Leave to cool totally before cutting, or the brownies will crumble

These aren't super sweet, but if you want them to be, add 2 tbsp honey or 1/2 cup sugar. I prefer them without, and the dates add some sweetness. Macadamia oil has been my oil of choice lately because it brings such a deliciousness to baking (plus it was unusually cheap in the store) but canola oil or even vegetable oil would do.

These are killer with a cup of tea or milk. Yes, I'm a little kid deep down.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The World's Best Potato Wedges

Breakfast: A purple smoothie

Lunch: A veggie Pad Thai

Dinner: Raw veggies with The World's Best Potato Wedges 

Potato wedges are fantastic, fact. They're healthier than chips, tastier than most things and go well with just about anything. However, it is a pain in the arse to get them full covered in the oil and spices that makes them just crispy and perfect.

Well, not any more!

I learned this little trick from Phil, who learned it from his mum (and don't we all learn the best cooking tricks there?). It's easy and it works, and you don't have to spend 20 minutes trying to wash the oil from your hands afterwards. Bonus!

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
4 large or 6 medium potatoes, skin on
black pepper
a Ziplock bag

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C
Wash the potatoes but leave the skin ON
Cut each potato in half along the longest edge so you get 2 big flat pieces
Cut each of these into 3 or 4 wedge-shaped pieces
Put a few of them into the Ziplock bag
Add some oil, black pepper and salt to the bag, close it, and rub everything around inside
Do this until the potatoes look evenly covered
Pour the wedges out onto a baking tray, then repeat for the rest of the potatoes
When they're all finished, put them baking tray in the oven
Cook for 45-60 minutes, shaking the tray and moving the wedges a few times

Your wedges will be perfectly crispy, and the skins will be gorgeously seasoned with a little kick from the paprika. Be careful when eating with sour cream and sweet chili sauce, because there's a real chance you might melt into a puddle of extreme happiness.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Breakfast burritos

Breakfast: Breakfast burritos

Lunch: Kasha salad with caramelised red peppers, almonds and spinach

Dinner: Massaman curry with rice

Ah, the lowly burrito. It's breakfast, it's dinner, and shove pieces of fruit inside with some maple syrup and I'm sure it could be dessert too (note to self: must try this).

This is a favourite of mine on the weekends, as it takes all the ingredients of a perfect veggie breakfast and piles them into a wrap - and it's universally known that putting anything inside a wrap increases its awesomeness by 100%. There's no evidence for this, but it is scientific fact.

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
2-3 large eggs
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 large handful spinach, torn
1 cup kidney beans
2 tbsp tomato puree + 1 tbsp for the wrap
2 tortilla wraps
a splash of milk
black pepper

Break the eggs into a bowl with a splash of milk and beat for a minute or so, then set aside
Heat the beans in a pan, and simmer for 5 minutes
Stir in the tomato puree and 2 tbsp paprika, and keep warmed
Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes, stirring often
While this is happening, heat a little oil in a frying pan - just enough oil to cover the bottom
When the pan is hot, pour in the eggs
Scramble the eggs however you like them - I like to allow them to cook in one place for 5-10 seconds at a time then move them gently around, creating something like waves of scrambled eggs
When the eggs are scrambled to your desired consistency, take them off the heat and season with pepper
Lay one tortilla wrap down on top of a piece of kitchen foil
Smear 1 tsp puree in the middle of the wrap
Put half the eggs on top of this
Lay half the mushrooms, beans and spinach on top
Use the foil to help you wrap this into a burrito
Do the same for the other tortilla then cut each in half and serve in the foil!

This is the perfect thing to make if some friends have crashed at your house after a raucous night out and everyone's feeling a little worse for wear in the morning.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Palak Paneer

Breakfast: A ridiculously good smoothie; soy milk, oats, banana, flax and papaya. Sound strange but it's great!

Lunch: Palak Paneer with rice

Dinner: Stir fried veggies over those awesome fat noodles

This recipe is for my friends Jameel and Tom, who both requested that it be featured on the blog. Tom apparently lived on this stuff when he was training in India, and gets the wild eyes of a madman whenever the suggestion of more palak paneer is bandied about. It's also the only way to appease him when he's been dragged around Auckland on a hot day with no apparent agenda.

I should say that palak paneer is not traditionally made with ricotta. In India it is made with the paneer of its name, which is a type of cottage cheese. However, if you're not lucky enough to be slurping up the curries in Indica, ricotta is a fine substitute - especially if you've made it yourself!

You'll need:
(Feeds 4)
1 1/2 - 2 cups ricotta cheese - home-made is best!
5-6 cups fresh spinach
2 tbsp sour cream
1 onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 small red chilis, diced
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
fresh coriander

Fry the onion, garlic, chilis, ginger, cumin, ground coriander and turmeric until the onion is browning
Add in the spinach and sour cream and stir
Cook for 5 minutes until the spinach is mostly wilted
Allow this mixture to cool, then put it all into a blender with the tomato and fresh coriander
Blend to a paste
Fry the ricotta with a little onion until it's starting to brown
Stir in the spinach paste and cook for ten minutes, stirring well
Serve with rice or naan bread!

This is a really creamy, satisfying curry with lots of iron from the spinach and calcium from the cheese. But who eats curry for the nutrition, really? It tastes amazing. Just don't eat too much!

Easy home-made ricotta

Breakfast: Creamy papaya smoothie

Lunch: Home-made ricotta with olive oil and dipping bread - and lots of it!

Dinner: Sushi!

Making cheese seems like something you'd do only when you've hit 50 and all the kids have left home. It seems somewhat unnecessary when you can go and buy some from the shop around the corner. However, I like a challenge, especially one that I've been told is ridiculously easy, so yesterday I made my own ricotta cheese for the first time.

It is so easy and tastes so good that I won't be buying it again.

You'll need:
2 litres whole milk
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
Rinse a heavy pan in cold water, then pour the milk into it
Put onto a medium-low heat until the milk is almost simmering - there should be a few bubbles and the milk should be starting to form curds
Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar
Leave to stand with a clean cloth over the pan for 2-3 hours
Line a sieve with cheesecloth and pour the milk into it
Leave to drain for 15 minutes - this removes the whey and leaves the cheese curds in the cloth
Take the cloth and tighten into a ball to squeeze out any extra moisture

You should be able to turn the ball out onto a plate and serve with olive oil and things to dip, or you can break it up and use it in amazing pancakes.

If you save your ricotta until tomorrow, I'll post a great palak paneer recipe that uses what you've just made.

To paraphrase the Life of Brian, blessed are the cheesemakers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vegan boob cupcakes

Breakfast: Porridge oats with almond milk

Lunch: Sweet potato salad, chickpea salad and a vegan boob cupcake

Dinner: Miso noodle soup with steamed veggies and rice

Now, there are many occasions in this world that require celebration, but there are also a few occasions that Hallmark has neglected. One of these is Getting Your Boobs Back from Breastfeeding. New mothers have slaved away feeding their young for a year or few (or 7, if you're one of those mothers), often having a difficult time of it, and when they're finally given their mammary freedom and can have a glass of wine at night without guilt, what thanks does society give them? None at all! It's the same for survivors of breast cancer, those who've just had implants / reductions / re-alignments or teenagers just sprouting: go to your local greetings card store and you will see not a female-oriented boob-related card in sight.

My friend Liz recently weaned her gorgeous son Braeden onto solid foods and to right this terrible card-free wrong, I made her these vegan boobcakes. Dairy-free and moist as anything, they're the perfect thing to celebrate re-emancipation with.

You'll need:
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup canola / macadamia oil
few drops pink food colouring - neon pink worked well for me
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C
Sift the flour, sugar and baking soda together in a bowl
Pour the vinegar into a bowl and gently pour the almond milk into it
Leave to curdle for 5 minutes
Add the vanilla essence and the oil to the milk mix and stir til combined
Pour this into the dry ingredients and fold until JUST combined
Divide the batter into a cupcake tins - each should be 2/3 full of mixture
Bake for 20 minutes or until they've risen into domes and a toothpick comes out clean
Leave to cool on a wire rack (pardon the pun)
Please note: the amounts for this are not exact. You basically want to start with the icing sugar and stop adding vegan margarine when you get the right consistency. Moisture can be added with a splash of milk
Cream the margarine and icing together until you get a fondant-like consistency
The frosting will look a little greasier than fondant, which is usually matte
Add a drop of pink food colouring and knead into the icing. Add more if necessary
Take 1/4 of the icing and separate it from the rest
Add more pink colouring to this until it is a few shades darker than the rest. This will form your nipples
Divide the lighter icing between the cupcakes
Put a dollop of the icing on top of each cake and smooth it over the dome. Depending on the heat and the margarine you're using, your method of smoothing can be different. Some will be able to get smooth coverage with a knife, but it was boiling hot when I made these, so I had to pat the icing down with saran-wrap covered fingers!
Take your darker icing and divide it into twice as many portions as you have boobs
Roll each portion into a ball
Squish half these balls
Place one squished ball on top of each boob and one rolled ball on top of that
Hey presto: boobs!

I made these pink because I did not have any other food colouring expect green and blue. Of course, all women should be able to celebrate, so please use whatever food colouring corresponds to the boobs being celebrated.

If you're lucky with these and put just enough mixture into each pan section, they'll even come out in the perfect boob-like dome.

Boobs: they're life-givers, heart-breakers and soul-shakers. Celebrate yours*!

*Or a close friend's.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vegan curried chickpeas

Breakfast: Croissants and coffee - road trip!

Lunch: A badsass hummus sandwich with alfalfa salad

Dinner: Vegan curried chickpeas with brown rice and chapatis

This recipe was very much inspired by the Kathmandu wrap at Fresh here in Toronto. Since they changed their menu last week this wrap seems to have been dropped, so what better excuse to make it in the comfort of your own kitchen?

Don't think that this is just a filling though; oh no. It's hearty enough to stand on its own, or be served with a pulse or grain of your choice. Seriously though, what vegetarian doesn't like chickpeas?

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 cup squash, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 inch piece ginger, grated
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 habanero chili, chopped (with gloves - and don't wipe your eyes!)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 handful spinach
1/2 can coconut milk
canola oil
Heat a little of the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid
Throw in the mustard seeds and put the lid on
Take off the heat when most of the seeds have popped (like popcorn) and hit the lid. Do not burn
Add in the onion, cumin, ground coriander, chili and ginger, and stir til aromatic and coated in oil
Throw in the squash and cook til soft
Add the chickpeas and a little of the coconut milk, stirring often
Cook for 15 minutes, adding more coconut milk if necessary
When the squash and chickpeas are soft and cooked through, add the fresh coriander and the spinach and stir for 2 minutes
Stir well and serve

This is fantastic as a filling for a wrap, and if you throw some alfalfa sprouts and green in there too it is perfection. It also goes well on top of rice, and if you make double the amounts it can serve as an easy and satisfying lunch the next day too: just keep it in the fridge overnight.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vegan nut butter smoothie

Breakfast: Vegan Nut butter smoothie

Lunch: Soba noodle stir fry with heaps and heaps of broccoli!

Dinner: Vegetable curry with brown rice followed by vegan cupcakes

I did not grow up in North America, and as such, I've never had much of a relationship with nut butters. I was pretty disappointed when I tried the shitty Kraft peanut butter when I moved to Canada, and my ire at this product did not disappear until I tried some organic 100% peanut butter 2 years ago. Since then, I've loved it.

Real peanut butter - the kind made by the Aztecs - contains only peanuts; it is simply the result of crushing dry roasted peanuts down into a butter-like state. In the last few years people have realised that this shouldn't just be done to peanuts, and so we've enjoyed the glorious tastes of cashew, hazlenut and almond butters too. Each one of these is mad healthy, containing protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B3 and good fats. Many people turn to nut butters after workouts for their qualities that help muscle repair. I hate the gym, so I just use that as an excuse to eat nut butters before I get on my bike.

This is a very simple, very tasty nut butter smoothie, and sometimes, less is more!

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
2 cups vanilla almond milk / rice milk
1 large banana
1 apple, cored
2 heaped tbsps organic 100% peanut butter
2 heaped tbsps organic 100% almond butter
Blend and enjoy....then have another

A quick wiki search had just told me that there is such as a thing as macadamia butter. I've no doubt it's crazy expensive (I recently bought macadamia oil for the first time, but only because the $10 off offer meant that it was only $7) but hey, who needs to pay rent?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Seared spicy tofu steaks

Breakfast: Cold porridge - don't knock it til you've tried it!

Lunch: Edamame salad with sushi

Dinner: Seared marinated spicy tofu steaks

The sounds and smells of a steak searing in a red-hot pan are a pure delight to any chef, and producing a steak that's cooked to perfection is a pure joy. So why should carnivores have all the fun?

The key to making these tofu 'steaks' is to cut the tofu into sections no less than 1 inch deep, and to marinade them all day before cooking.

You'll need:
(Feeds 2)
3 small red chilis
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
300g tofu cut into 4 inch-deep 'steaks'
Mix together the marinade ingredients and lay the tofu steaks in them for 8 hours or more at room temperature
Heat a little oil in a frying pan
Add the tofu steaks and the remaining marinade juices
Once the juices have reduced / sizzled off, press down on the tofu steaks as they cook for 2 minutes on each side
If neither side has that lovely chargrilled effect, cook a little more
Serve on a bed of salad with a pulse such as brown rice

Although searing meat involves ridding the food of all juice, adding the marinade to the pan here helps to seal the flavours - and that, after all, is what searing is all about.

Tofu has had a lot of bad publicity lately, due to the fact that is heavy in phytoestrogens, which are very similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. There have been a number of studies on the effect of phytoestrogens on the body, with some suggesting that they can have a negative effect and some suggesting that they can actually be beneficial to the body; as ever, these findings are more often than not affected by who funds the study.  However, tofu is fairly high in protein, and logic dictates that it is fine to eat on an irregular basis within a balanced diet. You can read more about this here.

Avoiding eating soy and tofu products on a daily basis is probably a good idea, and can be easy even if you're vegan when you bring things like almond, oat and rice milk into your diet. I myself do not drink soy milk and hardly eat tofu products, which just makes it even more of a treat when I have a nice tofu steak. Moderation in all things, including moderation!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vegan lentil quinoa supersalad

Breakfast: Raw vegan apple crumble slices with a nice big glass of almond milk

Lunch: Miso soup with noodles

Dinner: Vegan Lentil quinoa supersalad

The concept of a supersalad first encroached upon my life in 2009, when flatmates Tom, Louise and I started lazily throwing together a whole bunch of good stuff to create an easy but amazingly healthy salad a few times a week. Our original recipe (if you can call it that) was based around brown rice, and once we can remember what exactly was in it, I hope to post it here.

Recently, though, I've begun making a new supersalad - one that's even more super than the last, if you can believe it. With lentil and quinoa as the staples in this, and asparagus, almonds, mint, pepper and coriander, it's not only a taste sensation but a whole protein source too.

You'll need
(Feeds 2-4)
1/3 cup green lentils, soaked
1 cup quinoa
1 large red pepper, diced
1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
small handful coriander, chopped
fresh mint, chopped
juice of 2 limes
tiny splash of soy sauce
Put the quinoa in a pan with 2 cups water and simmer until the liquid is absorbed totally
Boil the lentils in water while this is happening
After around 30 mins, drain the lentils and take the quinoa off the heat. Leave both to cool
Place the asparagus in a steamer or sieve over a pan of boiling water to steam for 5 minutes
When the lentils and quinoa have cooled, toss them together in a bowl
Add the red pepper, asparagus, almonds, mint, coriander, beansprouts, soy sauce and lime juice
Stir thoroughly and serve

This salad is not only delicious (I love the combination of mint, coriander and lime juice) and light, it contains all 9 essential amino acids and therefore makes up a whole protein. It also contains a shedload of fiber, vitamins and iron, which is often a concern for vegetarians and vegans. Could you ask for more?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Scrambled eggs masala

Breakfast: An almond butter smoothie

Lunch: Scrambled eggs masala a la Michel Roux

Dinner: Curried chickpeas with missi roti

When I woke up, fully clothed and a little hungover, in my friend Elly's flat back in Manchester some weeks ago, I found that a book named Eggs was in my line of sight. I immediately laughed at the idea that an entire cookbook could be based around eggs, and started flicking through it. 20 minutes later, I had order it off Amazon and was laughing no more.

Michel Roux is one of the famous Roux brothers and owner of the much-lauded Waterside Inn in Bray. This book is absolutely fascinating, and covers every egg-based recipe you could hope to read, from scrambled eggs and hollandaise sause to custards and souffles.

I tried this recipe for the first time yesterday and was stoked at how it turned out. I had it with a beansprout  and chickpea salad with lime and it couldn't have been better. This is the slightly modified version that I made.

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
4 eegs
30 ml milk
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
30ml groundnut oil
1 tsp cumin
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 small red chili, deseeded and chopped
about 3 large tomatoes, chopped

Beat the eggs, milk and coriander together in a bowl
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion
Cook for 5 mins, then add the chili, cumin and tomatoes
After a few minutes, pour in the eggs and scramble for a couple more minutes
Serve when they reach your desired consistency

I couldn't recommend this book more; if you're a lacto-ovo vegetarian then it's a genuine treat.

Everyone has their own method of scrambling eggs, and mine depends on the day, but I find that allowing the eggs to form "skins" on the pan and scraping them off slowly gives a lovely consistency.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vegan avocado and mint smoothie

Breakfast: Vegan avocado and mint smoothie

Lunch: Rotini and sweet potato salads that were awesome

Dinner: Veggie stir fry with lime and soy sauce

I'll admit that I find avocado a bit overwhelming in smoothies, so I cut the amount by half this time and the result was perfect; light but with nutritional weight and sweet enough thanks to the apple juice. This is a new favourite.

You'll need:
(Feeds 1)
1/2 a ripe avocado
1 cup apple juice
1/2 an apple
1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped

Blend and enjoy!

There's seriously no need for sweeteners, and no need for banana. Honestly, this smoothie couldn't get much easier or much better if it tried. One gold star for you, smoothie.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

PB&J Smoothie

Breakfast: PB&J Smoothie

Lunch: Chickpea, avocado, spinach and almond salad

Dinner: Bruschetta with garden salad and lots of sangria

If you're North America, PB&J needs no introduction. To us Brits, though, the whole concept is a bit vague.

The PB&J (or peanut butter and jelly) sandwich is as integral to an American childhood as baseball practice and the Simpsons (ok, I'm not American). However, they're not exactly healthy, so if you can make a smoothie that tastes just like it but does you good, why the hell wouldn't you?

When Tom Anderson asked me to post some interesting smoothie ideas, this one jumped into my head right away. I used to work in a smoothie store and the fact that we put peanut butter in the smoothies gave me some sort of amazing revelation - peanut butter is actually good for you! The stuff made ONLY from peanuts (not that Kraft shit that's full of filler and soy) is full of good fats, fiber, vitamin b3 and protein, which leads to many people drinking peanut butter smoothies after workouts to help muscle repair. This recipe is a really great one for a breakfast smoothie, or an after-workout one.

Before anyone who knows me worries that I might have lapsed into some sort of coma, don't worry: by jelly they don't mean jello - they mean jam.

You'll need
(Feeds 1)
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp plain / vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp honey
4-6 large strawberries
1 small frozen banana
1 heaped tbsp 100% peanut butter (not that Kraft rubbish)
Some ice

Blend everything together

Once you've gone PB, you'll never go back.

Fun fact: Peanut butter can be used in mouse traps! But of course, the humane ones that cage them so you can set them free. Don't chop mice in half, please.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lemon and leek linguine

Breakfast: Oatmeal smoothie

Lunch: Kasha salad with red peppers, onions, spinach and almonds

Dinner: Lemon and leek linguine

I am very much guilty of falling into a bit of a rut when it comes to pasta. I hardly ever make it, and when I do, it's usually doused in a fairly standard (but equally delicious) tomato-based sauce.

I was overjoyed, then, when my sister-in-law Helen gave me this recipe, which I think she originally found in a British magazine. It's a very summery recipe, light with lingering flavours without being too in-your-face, and I've already had it a couple of times since I got back from the UK.

You'll need:
(Feeds 4)
1 tsp oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large leeks, chopped
150g broad beans
50ml dry white wine
juice and zest of 2 lemons
300ml creme fraiche
50g grated parmesan
150g peas
275g linguine
small handful of basil, ripped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
75g rocket (arugula)

Cook the linguine according to instructions (boil until cooked 'al dente')
While the pasta is cooking, saute the garlic and leeks in oil until soft
Stir in the beans, wine and lemon and simmer for 5 minutes
Add the creme fraiche, parmesan and peas and stir
When the linguine is cooked, drain and combine with the sauce
Add the mint, basil, rocket (arugula), stir well and serve

If you want the sauce to be even lighter, instead of the creme fraiche you can use natural plain yogurt, and instead of the wine, you can substitute rice vinegar. Either way is great.

This is another wicked recipe to make the night before and keep for lunch the next day, especially if you ride a bike to work as the energy and carbs help with the journey home!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vegan cornbread

Breakfast: Veganomicon vegan cornbread with home-made jam

Lunch: Yet more orzo salad with edamame salad from Sun Valley. I love that place!

Dinner: Veggie chow mein that was slightly disappointing

A month or so ago, on a friend's recommendation, I bought Veganomicon. This book is great for at least 2 reasons. 1) It is named after the Book of the Dead from Evil Dead (Necronomicon Ex-Mortis) 2) It's got over 200 vegan recipes that are absolutely fantastic.

I'd been waiting to make some cornbread for a long time, and was stoked to find this recipe in the book after I'd just bought a loaf tin and loads of cornmeal. In the book they use a skillet, but I made mine in the loaf pan because I am stubborn and do not have a skillet.

You'll need:
(makes 1 loaf)
2 cups plain soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius and oil the loaf pan
Combine the soy milk and apple vinegar in a bowl and set aside to curdle
Sift together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
Create a well in the centre and add the milk mixture
Stir until only just combined
Pour into the loaf pan
Keeping the oven door closed as much as possible, bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean

This is great with cherry jam, or the lovely Jessica suggested apple cinnamon butter, which sounds amazing!

Even if you're not vegan, or even vegetarian, I'd highly recommend this book. It's cute, it's funny, and the only bad thing about it is that it needs more photos for me to drool over. Buy it here!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Easy cherry jam

Breakfast: Wholemeal toast with home-made cherry jam

Lunch: Orzo salad and other salady goodness from Sun Valley

Dinner: Veggie pad Thai

The older I get, the more I am turning into a farmer's wife. This is quite worrying for a 24-year-old who lives right in a city, but is enjoyable nonetheless.

I learned how to make jam with the lovely Hana on her sustainable farm in the Malaysian mountains, when we had just picked a vast amount of rosellas and been bitten to death by fire ants* doing so.  Whenever I can get hold of a big stack of blackberries or blueberries I now make my own jam at home, and when we were given 3 bags of cherries last week I decided that now was the time for cherry jam. The only problem with jam is the mad amount of sugar that goes into it; by using dates too you can bring the amount of sugar down a little bit and feel slightly less guilty eating that scone with jam.

Wear something red or black that you don't mind sacrificing to the god of DIY jam before you make this. I will not be responsible for the throwing away of that favourite white shirt.

You'll need:
As many cherries as you like
1/2 that amount of sugar
1/8 of that amount of pitted dates
1 lemon
Pull the stalks off the cherries and remove the stone. I've tried every way to do this and the easiest is to just rip them open with your fingers. Slightly barbaric, but effective
Chop them roughly and throw them into a pan with the juice of 1 lemon
Cook them, stirring, over a medium heat until they're all soft and squidqy and all the juices have come out
Measure how much cherry pulp you have - let's say you have 4 cups
Add half that amount of sugar to the pan with the cherries - so 2 cups
Add and eighth of that amount of pitted dates, chopped, to the pan - so 1/2 cup
Crank the heat up to 3/4 full (high) and DO NOT STOP STIRRING
At some point, the jam will start to look like jam. This could take 20 minutes or 40 minutes
When it thickens, keep stirring until its almost at the right consistency
When it cools, it will solidify even more, so stop when you feel its almost jam-like and put it into jars

While all the above is happening, you should sterilize your jars by taking the lids off and placing them upside down in a large pan which is half full with water. Keep this boiling while you're making the jam, then, being very careful not to burn yourself, put the jam into the jars when it's finished. Any bacteria in the jars will ruin your jam, and as we're not using any artificial stabilisers, it's important to sterilize them properly.

Depending on the taste that you're going for, you can use more dates for this recipe. Just experiment every time you make it and see what suits you best.

Home-made jams also make really nice presents, although the transformation into farm housewife is 90% complete when you reach that stage.

*Fire ants are my nemeses. They don't let go!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quinoa-battered onion rings

Breakfast: Granola with yogurt

Lunch: More sushi than you can shake a chopstick at

Dinner: Quinoa-battered onion rings and mushroom soup

I have to admit, I totally stole this idea from the fantastic Fresh restaurant. Anyone who's been there and had these wil never forget them, and though I've got a long way to go before I make them as well as they do, they were definitely a treat.

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
1 medium onion
1/2 cup flour
1 cup flour
1 cup uncooked quinoa
vegetable oil

Put the 1/2 cup flour into one bowl and the quinoa into another
Put the 1 cup flour into another bowl and mix with enough water to make it a medium-thick batter
Chop the ends of the onion and then chop the whole thing into rings
Fill a small pan 1/4 full of vegetable oil and put it onto a high heat
For every onion ring, follow this sequence:
Dip in the flour
Dip in the batter
Dip in the quinoa
Toss into the oil
Remove from the oil when golden brown
When all the rings are cooked, serve and enjoy!

Be very careful when dealing with hot oil, because it burns like a devil.

I don't usually like to deep fry things, but these, I can make an exception for. Good on you, Fresh!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vegan nut roast

Breakfast: Granola with yogurt. Oh, how I've missed you, granola!

Lunch: Leftover vegan nut roast with a lime and beansprout salad

Dinner: Leftover pullao

Yesterday, in order to make Yorkshire puddings, I of course had to concoct some sort of roast dinner to have them with with. After researching a bit, I attempted to make my first nut roast.

I can't be doing with blandness so I threw a bit of everything in and magically it worked. Bang, done.

You'll need:
(Makes 1 loaf)
1 onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 grated carrot
6 large mushrooms, diced
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups cashews
1 cup almonds
3 cups brown breadcrumbs
1 tbsp flour
1 cup vegetable stock
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 small handful coriander (cilantro)
sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius and lightly oil a loaf tin
In a heavy pan, saute the onion and garlic in a little oil until the onions become translucent
Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes
Stir in the flour and add the stock
While this is simmering, put the oats, breadcrumbs, cashews and almonds into a blender
Blend until the ingredients are finely chopped
When the stock is reduced, take the pan from the heat and stir the dry ingredients into the wet
Add the soy sauce, herbs and lime juice and form into a dough
Form this into a loaf shape and place in the pan
Cook for 35-45 minutes, or until the edge is crispy

If you eat honey, this is absolutely splendiferous with a honey-lime glaze. Just mix 2 tbsp honey with the juice of 1 lime and glaze the roast repeatedly as it cooks. So good, so very good.

I only recently had my first ever nut roast at Little G's house (my friend Claire's awesome grandma) and I loved this one as much as the first. Where did nut roast get it's bad reputation from? Totally misplaced, I'm telling you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Easy Yorkshire Puddings

Breakfast: Banana, pear, apple, oat, almond milk, cinnamon and honey smoothie

Lunch: Vegetable pullao a la Madhur Jaffrey

Dinner: Real Yorkshire puddings with miso gravy and home-made nut roast

Eyup, and Happy Yorkshire Day!

If you're from North America, you might be unaware of Yorkshire, so let me give you the brief run down: Yorkshire is a county in the north of England that's famous for being the home of the Bronte Sisters, The Arctic Monkeys, and the eponymous pudding. As a proud Yorkshirewoman myself, I thought I should use today to showcase the staple of my county's cooking and every household's Sunday dinner. I did consider writing this whole post in the dialect, but you wouldn't have been able to read it.

Of course, Yorkshire puds are normally served with a roast dinner and proper gravy, but my meat-free substitute used a gorgeous miso gravy and my first ever nut roast, the recipe of which I'll be posting tomorrow.

Yorkshire puddings have something of a reputation for being difficult to get right, but this was my first attempt ever at making them and it went beautifully, so I think there's a bit of exaggeration there.

You'll need:
(Makes 9 mini puds or 4 large ones)
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk - I used soy milk but normal milk will do
oil of your choice

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius
Whisk together the eggs, flour and milk until a smooth batter is formed
The batter should have air bubbles sitting on top. Leave it to rest for 30 minutes
Take your muffin tin or cupcake tin (for mini puds) and pour a little oil into each hole
Put the tin into the oven, and remove when the oil is starting to steam but before it burns
Fill each hole half full of the batter, and return the pan to the oven for 20 minutes or so
Keep a sharp eye on the puddings; when they've risen enough and are golden brown, take them out
They'll deflate into the correct shape once you remove them from the oven. If they deflate too much, do put them back in for a few minutes until they're properly ready

These should be served with some sort of gravy, and they went beautifully with the hint-of-lime nut roast I made. Stay tuned for that recipe!

For those who really want to get into the Yorkshire spirit, here's a local man singing On Ikley Moor Baht 'At, the region's anthem, to a bewildered antipodean woman.

A quick thank you!

Hello there readers! How are you? It's been so long since we chatted. How's the cat?

I've been overwhelmed with positive feedback since starting this blog, and it's about time that I said thank you to everyone out there. I've been delighted to hear from people all over the world, from Mexico to Copenhagen and from Australia right across to the US. Your comments are greatly appreciated and your suggestions or requests are very much encouraged! These days you can get me as

Some of you might have had troubles posting comments; that has been fixed now (thank you, Blogger!) and commenting is now open to all, so please, comment away!

If you're a new reader, here's a bit of background: the Everyday Veggie began as a way to give encouragement and inspiration to anyone who's ever wanted to try a meat-free meal, whether that's a hardcore vegan or simply a veggie-curious carnivore. By posting my three meals a day and including the recipe for one of them, I'm hoping to answer that age-old question: "What the hell do vegetarians eat every day?"

In running this blog I've been expanding my own horizons too, and have incorporated a lot more vegan food into my diet. This might run into full-time veganism in the future, but we'll see. The support I've had from the vegan community has been fantastic, so thanks to all for that!

As ever, it's important to note that all the food made on this blog is made in a teeny little kitchen on a tight budget. I buy cherries that are going out of date and make cherry jam; I don't spend $20 on superfood chocolate bars for kicks (alright, just that one time). I've had no formal training beyond a day course in Bangkok, and I get in a mood when I get something wrong; in other words, I'm just the same as you guys, and if I can make these recipes, so can you!

Thanks once again and here's no many more delicious recipes to come. Vive la veggie!