Thursday, 7 November 2013

It's Nice To Go Travelling

Six months between posts? What can I say except...

I was in Europe, baby!

What a place.
My adventures stretched from Clonakilty, Ireland in the west, to as far eat as Istanbul, Turkey, up to Berlin, Germany in the north and down to Malaga, Spain in the south.

I won't lie, eating like a vegan while travelling is hard; eating like a vegan while travelling through Europe, is even harder. But, along the way I was able to pick up a few ideas of traditional dishes that are animal-product free and jotted them down.

What we now have is a small, but tasty, list of ideas for the next six months...

What's after six months? Well, summer in Australia will be over and I fully intend to go back. ;)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

So I Eat Breakfast At 4pm. What Of It?

Back again!... forgot my own blog address - had to do a google search for it.
Who's enjoying summer? HOLLAA!! It's the best.
Now, I'm not much of a breakfast eater, but I've got a great recipe I've found that is a breakfast. I usually eat this after work, at about 4pm.
It's cool, it's colourful and it is pretty high in Omega-3 fatty acids*, which is what we like.

You'll need these...

A Granny Smith Apple (grated)
Chia seeds
Linseed seeds
Shredded coconut
Dried Cranberries
Crunchy nuts / seeds
(eg. almonds or cashews - roasted is best - or sunflower seeds)
A dash of soy milk.

Take ONE TABLESPOON of each dry ingredient,
chuck it in your breakfast bowl and give it a stir.

Shred your apple with a bit of good grating...

...add shredded apple to dry ingredients, along with a dash of milk and give it a stir, making sure all the little seeds are not left on the side of the bowl.

The liquid from the apple and the milk will be absorbed by the chia seeds and they'll swell up into a gel, don't freak out, that's what they are meant to do. By the end, there shouldn't be much liquid left at the bottom of the bowl, just a fresh mix of flavours.

By making up twice as much, you can store the dry ingredients ready to use quickly with just the grate of an apple.


Now you, go off, make some breakfast, eat some green apple.

 <<inspiration coming from here, go visit her!>>


*whaaaaaaaaat? there's more.


There are actually a few types of
Omega-3 fatty acids.
The 'Omega' refers to the methyl end of the carbon chain and the '3' indicates where the
 first double bond can be found
 (in reference to the methyl group).
 These acids are polyunsaturated,
which means they have
more than one double bond in their chain
- that's really good for reacting with the less wanted chemicals in your body and getting rid of them.
Man, how fun is Chemistry!

Here's a structure of ALA - alpha linolenic acid - in case you were interested.
 You were, weren't you? You love chemistry too, I know.


Monday, 31 December 2012

Save The Uni Students

I confess, I am one of those people who block your supermarket aisle because I'm checking out the ingredients list on the back of the packaging.

*raises hand* Yes, that's me.

So, in order to de-clutter the floors of our local IGAs everywhere, here's a recipe for a Spicy Peanut Sauce - no need to buy Kantong or Chicken Tonight, make your own and know what's in it.
And save those poor uni students from tripping over you as they reach for the Mi Goreng.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

(serves 8)

Prepare veggies and rice, as per a stir-fry.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 Glugful of Sesame Oil
1 brown onion
a couple of cloves of garlic
1 knob of ginger
(every time I write that, I think "you're a knob!")
1/3-1/2 cup of peanut butter
(I prefer 'no salt' and 'super crunchy'.
If they had 'ridiculously super crunchy', I'd be in that, too.)
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup or the juice of two limes
2 dessert spoons of brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or a chilli)
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
400mL coconut cream

What to do, what to do...

1. Fry up onions in the sesame oil until becoming translucent, add garlic and ginger.
2. Reduce heat, add peanut butter and stir it around as it melts.
3. Add soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, cayenne pepper and sesame seeds and stir throughly.
4. Stir in coconut cream. Allow to simmer until it reduces slightly.


Ideally, you should taste the flavours in this order: sweet peanut, salt, lime, spicy.
If one of these is missing or isn't strong enough for your liking, add more accordingly.
As I always say with cayenne pepper, add more carefully.
You can always add more, it's very hard to add less.
If you are skilled, all your stirfry ingredients will be ready at the same time and you can just serve it up and pour it over the top. Otherwise, leave it and reheat when needed.

Veggies, Rice and Sauce all ready for a grand feast!
The sauce freezes very well, although with all stirfry dishes, capsicum and snow peas don't reheat well.
Happy Vegan Eating and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

We Are Japanese, if you please...


One of the questions I often receive from people when I tell them I'm a vegan, is

 ...what, exactly, do you eat?

While internally, I want to burst into a musical number where the chorus follows along the lines of, 'what don't I eat!', jazz hands included, I try to refrain from the showtunes and just have a few good answers up my sleeve.

Sushi is a food most people are aware of, and can understand a vegetarian and vegan option fairly easily.

Now, I'm no Japanese, so my finickiness for the finer details of this process do not exist. I'll give it to your straight - what I write is how to make something that resembles what you buy in the shop, with some ideas about variations, and not something you'd expect in a gourmet Japanese restaurant.
But, you can still eat mine with chopsticks, if you like.


When you look at the quantities of the veggies in this recipe, you'll cleverly deduce that this is a good recipe for using up leftover veggies. Rice freezes well (and heaven knows I always make too much rice), so this recipe is easy to have on hand. Can be made the day before, open to many variations and is perfect to being to a picnic or potluck because of the variety and small portions!

(this makes enough for 3)
What you'll need...
1/2 a carrot
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 a capsicum
1/2 an avocado
2 cups cooked rice (add garlic and olive oil during the cooking process for lovely rice)
3 sheets of sushi seaweed paper (nori)

(Step One)
Cut all your veggies into thin strips, no longer than 8cm. The thinner the better. Trim the capsicums so that they are as straight as possible, and not curved at the end. Slice your avocado in long strips.

 (Step Two)
Place Nori shiny-side down, and place 3/4 cup of rice over, spreading evenly until 2cm from the far edge. The more even the rice, the better the sushi will be.


(Step Three)
Layer a few of each vegetable onto the near end of the rice, a few cms from the edge, and overlapping the ends of the vegetable. The reason for this is so that the middle of any piece of sushi isn't clumped. I had no avocado, so I've used sliced Snow Peas in this one.


 (Step Four)
Carefully holding the veggies inside, roll the sushi up until the rice finishes.

(Step Five)
Wet the remaining end with water and finish rolling,
holding the sushi down on the wet end for a few seconds. (see video above)

(Step Six)
Carefully cut off the messy ends with a serrated knife and then proceed along the sushi cutting at 2cm intervals.

Serve with soy sauce or tamari.

I have experimented a lot with different things to put in the sushi, mainly stemming from whatever needed to be used in the next days. Cranberries - I liked. Basil Pesto - not so great. Figs... well, they all create an interesting dining experience.
Why not try your own variations and let me know how they turned out...

...but for now, eat up, me hearties!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Oat & Seed Slice, Life is Nice.

ummm.. I'm back?
You know that it's been a long time between drinks (posts) when you need to reset your password in order to access your blog - because you've forgotten it.

What's been happening in the six(cough)ish months since I've been blog-less? A whole lot.
...Winter has come and gone, with me passing out my Nacho Beans Mix recipe by the hundreds.

Okay, so, well, one guy asked about it, in passing.

...I've become fixated with idea of growing my own vegetables, mainly from the wholistic idea that I'm cheap and don't want to pay for them...

...and our rabbits make poo for free.

...I feel great. Really great. I celebrated my first unofficial year of being a vegan earlier this month  - officially, on January 1st - and I am amazed at myself and what I've learnt. About food and about people, too.

(I always want to balance my exuding enthusiam at how great I feel
with how much work I've put into this,
and how much resistance you will get from the world around you
if you try this too.)

So, without further ado, here is the recipe for Oat & Seed slice, the snack I am currently waiting to cool whilst I write this.

This is a simple one, folks!

  • 200g of Rolled Oats (That's about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 90mL Maple Syrup, or Honey, or Agave Syrup
  • 75g of Nuttelex
  • A small handful each of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pepitas, chia seeds...

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 C (fan-forced)
  2. Mix ingredients together. Melting the Nuttelex a little in the microwave first does wonders for the sanity in this project.
  3. Spread mixture on a shallowish tray, lined with baking paper is best.
  4. Back for 30-35 minutes.

Coming out of the oven, the oats should be golden. Let it cool and harden before eating.

Some other notes - nuts work well in this recipe, berries DO NOT.
Don't try goji berries especially.
They don't work. RECIPE IDEA FAIL.

I add a Tablespoon of Black-strap molasses which tastes like sugar and salt and licorice melted together (do we know for sure that it's not???), but it's high in iron, so chuck a bit in, all you vegans.

Depending on how thinkly you spread it and how long you cook it, it might break nicely into muesli bar-type chunks. You may also be left with a whole heap of rolled oats covered in honey; this makes for a great breakfast cereal. The ratio isn't perfected, so I still usually only get a few large chunks and lots of crumbly. But, I can't get enough of this stuff, and every morning that I wake up and know that I don't have any cooked, I feel a little disappointed with life.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm here with my computer, my tall glass of cold soy milk and one very delicious slice. See y'all next time.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Butter Chicken - without the butter, without the chicken

The past short hiatus of posts has been exclusively due to the fact that I've been working, cooking and continuing in my quest to be the hippiest hipster of them all by trying to grow my own organic garlic.
But mostly I've been working all the time.

So the little patch of cultivated ground dedicated to said garlic forest remains upturned but unplanted.

(On a side note, when I dug up this little spot of land, which is not bigger than 2m2, to a depth of about 30 cm... I discovered 6 whole bricks and 10 half-bricks. It appears I had chosen the previous dumping ground for the entire block's building surplus. On the other hand, it's really sunny there.)

Nevertheless, I have managed to bring you a perfected recipe that is sure to please during these cooler Autumn months.

Introducing... Butter Chicken! - without the butter and without the chicken.
My meat loving friends very much hate this one and argue comprehensively that it definitely isn't butter and it definitely isn't chicken so therefore, it definitely isn't Vegan Butter Chicken.
I don't much mind however, because it tastes better than anything I've ever cooked from scratch and it's so much cheaper than a top-class indian restaurant.
So butter chicken defending champions of the meat, turn away now.

1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli paste
2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 small onion
6 tomatoes, diced
7 button mushrooms
2 cups of Kale, chopped roughly
1 T tomato paste

2 cups of protein*
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup cashews, chopped

3 Tbsp nuttelex/non-dairy margarine
400 mL coconut cream

*Tofu or chickpeas or a mixture of both or even kidney beans...
I haven't included cooking rice to accompany this dish, but it is assumed. I also wilt the kale using the steamer part of my rice cooker and then add it at the end.

1. In a fry pan on a medium-high heat, melt the margarine, adding the onion and cinnamon and stir around.

2. Lower the heat a little and add the garlic and ginger.

3. Add the remaining spices and cook for a couple of minutes.

4. Add all the remaining ingredients and let simmer for 15 minutes.
(mushrooms, tomatoes, paste, peanut butter, cashews, coconut cream)

5. Pinch of salt to taste.

With rice, makes a meal for 6.

Bon appetite, hipsters.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Chewing The Polyunsaturated Fat

This week's DBAVT (don't become a vegan to) thought...

The point of the DBAVT drawing is this: If you want a weight-loss diet, there are much, much simpler ones. For weight loss, I strongly advocate the use of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats and low fat dairy.
Pretty much, don't decide to go vegan to lose weight, then decide it's all too hard and give up on losing weight all together. If you've decided to lose weight, excellent!... but take baby steps.

Invest in good quality low-fat food choices. Sacrifice a small amount of flavour and extra money, and buy meat without the fat. (And preferably free-range)

Investigate portion control.
(How BIG should my serving size be?)

Exercise a bit more than you used to.

Identify the times and foods that are your weakness
and make a plan that lets you be strong
(ie. substitution or avoidance).

Learn about food and even aim for a few vegan meals a week... some are even listed on this blog to get you started.

This vegan blogger hasn't lost any weight since changing her diet - although there is a noticable change in fat and muscle distribution... that is, I now have more muscle and less fat!

There aren't too many vegan foods that are extremely high in fat content, but if you're worried that being a vegan will make you too skinny, then adding avocados, peanuts or unrefined oils to a dish is a great place to start.