Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan MoFo - Z is for Zaalouk

I wanted to revisit an old recipe for my last alphabet post as it's one I have been meaning to make for a while. Zaalouk is a slow roasted eggplant and tomato combination finished off with harissa, cumin, caraway, fresh coriander and mint that can be served chunky or pureed. I chose to puree it and serve it as a dip with pita bread but when left chunky it can also pass for a salad. It's not a quick dish to make although there is plenty of downtime throughout the process and the end result makes your efforts worthwhile.

The original recipe sourced from a Sunday paper makes a huge quantity and as I only had one eggplant around, I made a third of it this time which resulted in about a cup of dip. It was just as delicious as I had remembered it and one I will definitely make again.

This is my last Vegan MoFo post for the A - Z of golden oldies and newbies. I managed to meet my original goal of posting at least 2 new recipes per week, 12 for the month and ended up posting 15 new recipes, so I'm pretty happy about that. The full list of alphabet posts can be found on this page.

I have had a lot of fun with the theme and ventured into cooking with new ingredients like jackfruit, daikon and fava beans. My favorite new recipes to come out of the month were Hot Potato Salad, Imam Bayildi, Pinwheels, Rendang Nangka, Seitan Gyros, Vanilla Slice and Yassa Tofu.

I hope to get one more post in quickly to share some of my bookmarks from the second half of MoFo.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vegan MoFo - Y is for Yassa Tofu

Yassa tofu has been one of our favourites to come out of recipe testing so far. It's a baked tofu dish cooked with carrots and onions in an African inspired marinade. Lemon and mustard are the dominant flavours and it also has a spicy kick from the chillies. This meal smelt absolutely gorgeous whilst baking in the oven.

Terry suggested serving this with rice or millet and I daringly picked a millet dish that I strongly suspected would not be popular. I had never eaten millet before and was keen to give it a try but the dish I selected contained mango and peanuts. Both the man and son aren't fond of sweet items in savoury meals so I knew they wouldn't like the mango, and the man doesn't like nuts in salads or stir-frys so it was a bold choice indeed.

We all adored the Yassa tofu and the boys begrudgingly ate their millet. There were some complaints at the end of the meal about how there was none of the delicious tofu left for seconds but heaps of the millet remaining. Yassa tofu will definitely be on the menu again!

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegan MoFo - X is for Xiang Luo Bu Si

X was always going to be the trickiest letter so I spent a bit of time hunting down recipes and came across this interesting Chinese side dish called Xiang Luo Bu Si which translates to Sounding Radish Slivers. The main ingredient of this recipe is daikon radish which is something I haven't cooked with before but I am always interested in experimenting with a new ingredient.

As this was only a side dish, I looked for a Chinese noodle recipe from the recipe testing pool to make it a full meal. The most challenging part was managing two woks and getting the timing right. Although I only have one wok burner, my other largest burner seemed to do a decent job of cooking the daikon side dish in my small wok. I didn't take a shot of the noodles but they were really nice and a little different to others I have made previously.

The daikon wasn't a hit with my son but he loved the noodles. The man loved the daikon and I thought it was alright but not fantastic. It wasn't until writing this post that I realised I had forgotten to finish it off with a drizzle of sesame oil. I had to go back and drizzle sesame oil on the leftovers which really did make a world of difference.    

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Xiang Luo Bu Si (Slightly adapted from a recipe on

400g daikon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 bird's eye chilli
2 spring onions, green part only
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
3/4 teaspoon rice flour
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Peel and cut the daikon into finger-sized thin slices, then cut each of these pieces into slivers. Combine in a bowl with some salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Finely chop the chilli and slice the spring onion into slivers of a similar size to the daikon. Mix the rice flour and water into a paste in a small bowl. Drain the moisture from the daikon and squeeze dry.

Heat the wok until smoking, then add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the sides of the wok with oil. Stir-fry the chilli for a few seconds then add the daikon and soy sauce and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the spring onions and vinegar and stir well, then add the rice flour paste and stir rapidly until it thickens and becomes glossy. Remove from the heat, drizzle with sesame oil and serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vegan MoFo - W is for White Rice & Black Beans

A few posts back I mentioned that I have just started some recipe testing for Terry Hope Romero's new cookbook. I don't think I conveyed how thrilled I am to have this opportunity as my stress levels were rather high at the time. When I initially checked out the recipe index for testing, I searched for a couple of things that would fit in with the remainder of my MoFo theme to ease my workload a little.

Last night I tested a recipe called White Rice & Black Beans which was nice enough but it hasn't been a standout meal from testing so far. I found myself comparing it to Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Refried Rice and Beans) from Viva Vegan but the flavours in this meal weren't as interesting. It was one of the simplest recipes I have tested, with minimal prep work and a fairly quick cooking time so from that perspective it was a win.

I served the rice and beans with guacamole, cashew crema and hot sauce although half-way through the meal I remembered there was some left-over sofrito in the fridge and we found that this was a really good addition.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegan MoFo - V is for Vanilla Slice

Several times on my blog I have mentioned that I don't have much of a sweet tooth, although if I see something smothered in passionfruit icing it's more likely to get my attention. A vanilla slice posted by Cindy from Where's the Beef and K from In the Mood for Noodles about a year ago was exactly this type of sweet.

Vanilla slice was always a favourite treat for the man and son. They would frequently be tempted by these sweets that commonly appear in bakeries. This recipe had been sitting in my bookmarks for way too long so I took the opportunity to try it out for the letter V.

It's quite easy to put together, the puff pastry sheets are lightly browned, a custard is made, the slice is assembled, refrigerated and topped with icing a few hours later. The only issue I ran into was running out of cornflour but I had some rice flour in the pantry to make up the difference.

It's quite surprising that I am the only one in the house to have sampled the slice so far but I know that my boys will adore it. I thought it tasted just like a vanilla slice should even though it has been such a long time since I have actually eaten one.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Vanilla Slice (Adapted from Where's the Beef and In the Mood for Noodles, originally sourced from IVU)

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted


1 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup cornflour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup custard powder
1 litre soy milk
3 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla essence


2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon dairy-free margarine
pulp from 2 passionfruits
2-3 teaspoons water

Heat an oven to 200C. Cook the puff pastry sheets on trays lined with baking paper for about 6 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornflour and custard powder. Add about a cup of soy milk and whisk thoroughly ensuring there are no lumps. Whisk in the rest of the soy milk and margarine. Heat the custard over medium, stirring all the time to ensure that there no lumps. The custard will eventually become very thick which is when you need to turn off the heat and add the vanilla.

Cut one of the pastry sheets to fit your baking dish and place gently in the bottom of the dish. Spread the custard evenly over the top. Cut the second pastry sheet to size and place on top of the custard, then press it down gently so it sticks to the custard. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours.

To make the icing, place the icing sugar in a bowl and add the passionfruit pulp and margarine. Mix together and add teaspoons of water slowly, stirring as you go, until a thick but spreadable paste results. If the icing ends up too runny, add some more icing sugar. Spread the icing over the top of the pastry evenly. Return the slice to the fridge in order for the icing to set.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegan MoFo - U is for Upside Down Blueberry Microwave Cake

A minor cooking mishap in an attempt to make a chocolate mug cake that K from In the Mood for Noodles posted about last week wasn't enough to deter me from trying again. The disaster was totally my fault, I should know by now that microwaves can vary when it comes to cooking times and I still don't understand how I managed to turn my back at that crucial moment. It was only a matter of seconds from when that delicious chocolate aroma turned into a horrible burnt smell and the microwave starting smoking!

I felt very stupid for failing at such a simple recipe so I had to give it another try. This time I made the berry almond variation and checked the Facebook page for further hints before getting started. I made the cake in a ramekin rather than a mug as the sizes are similar and initially set the microwave for 2 minutes (watching it like a hawk the entire time). The middle looked slightly underdone so I zapped it for another 20 seconds and the cake was done.

My son really enjoyed the cake and fruit isn't his favourite thing so I have promised to make good with a chocolate one for him soon! This is the type of dessert I would usually like but I was way too full from dinner tonight so I'll have to try one for myself soon.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Upside Down Blueberry Microwave Cake (Adapted from In the Mood for Noodles)

2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons self-raising flour
1 tablespoon almond meal
1 tablespoon applesauce
Handful of frozen blueberries
A drizzle of maple syrup

Cook the margarine in a bowl for about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir through the sugar, self-raising flour, almond meal and applesauce and mix until well combined.

Place the blueberries in a ramekin or large mug, drizzle with some maple syrup then cover with the cake mixture. Put the ramekin or mug on a plate and cook in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or until the cake has set in the middle.

Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, then invert onto a plate and enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegan MoFo - T is for Tortilla Chips and testing for Terry

I found it strangely coincidental after deciding to make tortillas for the letter T and a suite of accompanying Viva Vegan recipes that an email would land in my inbox notifying me that it was time to start testing recipes for Terry Hope Romero's new cookbook! It was so exciting but the timing a little frustrating as I have come so far with my MoFo theme and still want to see it through. My remaining MoFo posts will be briefer and slightly altered from my original plan to compensate and may also include a couple of photos from recipe testing.

On Friday night, I made blue corn tortillas, refried beans, sofrito, guacamole and cashew crema although due to a mishap with the hot sauce I decided not to post the photo. Instead I whipped up another batch of blue corn tortillas to be made into tortilla chips. I tried a oven-baked version of tortilla chips a while ago which turned out alright but ever since I have wanted to try them again, this time deep fried.

I used a wok with peanut oil to fry the tortillas wedges in and after they were cooked, seasoned one batch with nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, chilli and salt and the other batch simply with salt. The texture of the tortillas chips turned out to be inconsistent with some a bit too soft whilst others had the right amount of crunchiness. I was a bit concerned about burning the chips initially and definitely undercooked the first batch or two. The ones that turned out the best spent about a minute in the wok.  

Since Friday I have tested three of Terry's recipes which have all been really good but this has meant that I haven't had time to catch up on MoFo posts or reply to comments for a while.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vegan MoFo - S is for Seitan Gyros

When I spotted Rachel's post about Seitan Gyros a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to try it straight away! Unfortunately G had already been posted so there was an agonising wait until the letter S came around. The mixture of herbs and seasonings that Rachel used in her seitan sounded interesting and I loved how thinly her slices looked.

I made a few minor adjustments to the ingredients, by adding in some chickpea flour and slightly more salt and lemon zest. The method was also adjusted to allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes after an initial knead so that the gluten develops. This was inspired by the Viva Vegan seitan recipes which have been highly successful for me in the past. I always make seitan at least a day before I am planning to use it as the texture improves after an overnight chill in the fridge.

On the day I only had to make pita bread, garlic sauce, finely slice and fry the seitan, and chop the lettuce, tomato and onion. One thing I noticed with this garlic sauce as it was my second attempt making it, is that the garlic flavour develops a lot after the sauce is chilled for a while. I should cut back to 2 cloves next time and see how that fares as 4 makes it rather pungent.

The pitas were lined with lettuce, tomato, red onion, gyros seitan and topped with garlic sauce and sriracha. I don't think this would fool a hardcore omnivorous gyros lover but I really enjoyed the herbs and lemony flavour throughout the seitan. The man and son thought they tasted pretty good too and devoured them rapidly.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Seitan Gyros (Adapted from I Eat Grains!)

1 1/4 cups gluten flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Grated zest from one lemon
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons ketchup

Place the gluten flour, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic power, rosemary, oregano and lemon zest in a large bowl. Mix ingredients thoroughly then make a well in the centre.

Combine the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, liquid smoke and ketchup together in another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the well then mix with your hands. Tip the dough onto a clean bench and knead for a couple of minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then knead for another 30 seconds.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a loaf shape and wrap the loaves in separate pieces of aluminium foil. Ensure that there is a bit of room for the seitan to expand. Bake in the oven at 180C for 1 hour, alternatively the seitan loaves can be cooked for 35-40 minutes using a steamer. Allow to cool completely then store in the fridge until required.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegan MoFo - R is for Rendang Nangka

R was a difficult letter because I couldn't decide what to make. Rice paper rolls were my original idea as I have wanted to make them for a long time and then I thought about making a risotto but that seemed a little mundane. On the morning I was due to cook something for R, I read this interesting post on I Eat Grains! about how green jackfruit has a very meaty texture and neutral taste and decided to try it out in a Rendang curry. I even stumbled across a rendang recipe using jackfruit in my copy of World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown.

World Vegetarian Classics contains chapters of regions around the world and each chapter starts with a page about an expert in the regions cuisine. I was interested to find that the expert for South-East Asia was Sri Owen, a cookbook author that Cindy and Michael from Where's the Beef have been posting about in recent times. Cindy and Michael have posted a Sri Owen recipe for rendang using tempeh instead of beef which apart from being doubled in quantities looked very similar to the ingredients in my cookbook. The main difference between these recipes was the latter part of the method.

Cindy and Michael mentioned a few tweaks they would make next time around which was to increase the ingredients in the spice paste and/or reduce the amount of coconut so I took this on board and altered the World Vegetarian Classics recipe a bit. I used the stated amount of chilli but decided the leave the seeds in to make it spicier, increased the shallots, garlic, ginger and galangal and cut back on the coconut milk a little.

Reducing the coconut milk decreased the cooking time by about 30 minutes which was fantastic as the curry still took a good 2 hours to cook. The initial preparation doesn't take very long but once that is out of the way, it's just a matter of stirring every now and then. After about an hour, a crust develops on the bottom of your pot which you need to scrape off a few times and mix in with the sauce. These crusty bits were a highlight of the curry as they contained so much flavour.

The man and I were so impressed with the jackfruit in this rendang, my son was a little less enthused about the jackfruit but still liked the curry. The texture of the jackfruit was rather meaty and the pieces were mostly intact after 2 hours of cooking. I think jackfruit is a great mock meat alternative for gluten and/or soy free people and it's something I will use more often, perhaps in my "butter chicken" next time. You can find green jackfruit in tins at asian groceries but be aware that they also sell ripened jackfruit in syrup which is sweeter and softer and wouldn't produce the same result.

The rendang was served with basmati rice and choy sum steamed with minced garlic drizzled with a touch of sesame oil at the end.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Rendang Nangka (Adapted from World Vegetarian Classics with some tips taken from Where's the Beef)

4 shallots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
3 red chillies, roughly chopped
1cm piece galangal, roughly chopped
2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 stalk lemongrass, outer layer removed
1 teaspoon salt
2 x 540g tins green jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Place the shallots, garlic, ginger, chillies and galagal into a blender with about 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and process until smooth. Pour the blender mixture into a large pot along with the rest of the coconut milk, turmeric, bay leaf, lemongrass, salt and jackfruit and bring to the boil.

Lower the heat to medium and allow it to simmer, uncovered for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 60 minutes the gravy will become very thick and will require more frequent stirring. A crust will begin to form on the bottom of your pot which should be scraped with a metal spatula to allow a new one to form. After scraping the crust a few times, the gravy should be almost totally absorbed by the jackfruit. Add the chickpeas and cook for a further 30 minutes, scraping the crust a few more times. There should be no liquid remaining. Remove the lemongrass and bay leaf before serving.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vegan MoFo - Q is for Quinoa Stew (and an award)

This quinoa, lentil and vegetable stew has to be my favourite recipe from the Fat Free Vegan blog as it's the one I have repeated the most. It's from Susan's "Ridiculously Easy" category as she used frozen vegies and tinned lentils for convenience. I have blogged my adaptation of this recipe before which uses fresh vegetables and larger quantities of quinoa and smoked paprika.

It's a great recipe which is simple to prepare and you can throw in whatever vegetables you have around. This time I used pumpkin, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and added spinach right at the end. The flavours improve over time as it tastes even better the next day. I have also mixed a bit of harissa into the leftovers before and made quinoa stuffed peppers which were fantastic!

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

I was both thrilled and extremely honoured to receive the Liebster award (German for favourite, beloved or dearest) from Mandee at Cupcake Kitteh. Mandee's blog is full of beautiful photos of the many things she has made from Viva Vegan which is what initially attracted me. I also find it inspiring how she manages to cook such amazing food with ease that doesn't contain any soy or gluten. Head over and take a look if you haven't been there already!

My job now is to hand out the Liebster award to 5 bloggers that have less than 200 followers if this can be judged from the site. I decided to give the award to bloggers I have discovered throughout Vegan MoFo 2011 that haven't already received this award to the best of my knowledge.

The bloggers (listed in alphabetical order to keep in line with my MoFo theme) I am awarding are:

The winners can pass the award on if they feel inclined to by:

  • Showing your thanks by linking to the person that gave you the award
  • Choosing 5 bloggers to give the award to and leaving a comment on their blog to let them know 
  • Post the award on your blog 
  • Enjoy spreading the love around

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan MoFo - P is for Pinwheels

Pinwheels were one of the finger foods my mum used to serve at big parties throughout my childhood. I used to love helping out with making them as it meant that I would get to snack on the ones that had slight imperfections. Pinwheels are made from puff pastry sheets spread with finely diced toppings which are rolled up, sliced into bize-sized pieces and baked in the oven until flaky.

Mum's pinwheels always used to be made with tomato paste, onions, bacon and cheese. I wanted mine to taste fairly similar so I used tofu bacon and vegan cheese and mixed a bit of pesto with a store bought pizza sauce for an extra dimension of flavour. They are a little bit fiddly to make but once you get used to the process, it does becomes easier. The recipe includes some step by step photos to guide you through although the late afternoon light streaming into my kitchen interfered a little.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.


3 vegan puff pastry sheets
1/4 - 1/3 cup tomato paste/pizza sauce
3 teaspoons vegan basil pesto
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 batch tofu bacon, finely diced
3 large button mushrooms, finely diced
200g vegan cheese, grated
olive oil spray

Place a sheet of frozen puff pastry on a large chopping board and cover with approx 2 tablespoons of tomato paste/pizza sauce mixed with a teaspoon of pesto. Try to spread the mixture evenly and ensure that the left and right sides are covered as close as you can get to the edges. The sides closest and furtherest away from you can be left plain.

Sprinkle a 1/3 of each of the onion, mushrooms and tofu bacon on top followed by 1/3 of the vegan cheese. (The photo below was taken prior to cheese being added).

By this time the puff pastry sheet should have thawed out just enough for it to be rolled up. Starting at the end closest to you, roll the pastry over to 1/4 of the length of the sheet then continue rolling tightly until you get to the end. With a sharp knife cut sections of about 1cm width along the sheet.

Place the pinwheels onto a tray lined with baking paper and cook in the oven at 180C for about 15-20 minutes or until they are flaky. Repeat the process two more times and enjoy your pinwheels!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegan MoFo - O is for Olive Bread and Okonomiyaki

Oooohhh, it's a double post! Olive bread was my choice for this letter until the man asked me to make the Japanese pancake thing you used to make that starts with O - he meant Okonomiyaki of course.

I used to buy Olive bread from time to time but it wasn't terribly popular at home so I would end up devouring the majority of it. I love eating it fresh or toasted and we also discovered on the weekend that it gives an interesting twist to your standard garlic bread. I halved quantities and adapted a recipe from The Cook's Companion which made a french stick sized loaf. A mixture of black and green olives went into the mix as it was what I had on hand and I also used a different herb. It turned out to be a really nice light loaf of bread although I probably would use a few more olives next time.

The name Okonomiyaki translates to okonomi - "as you like it", yaki - "grilled". They are Japanese pancakes which are very tasty when made solely with vegetables as it's the topping sauces that really complete the dish. All of the okonomi sauces contained oyster sauce at my Asian grocer so I searched around and decided to give this simple one a try. I scaled the quantities of the recipe back to 1/4 and made a couple of vegan friendly substitutions. I found that the sauce was rather thin so it was thickened up with some cornflour.

The pancakes are very easy to put together especially if you have a food processor to shred up the cabbage, carrots and zucchini. This was the first time I have used capsicum or bean shoots but they needed using up so they went in.The hardest thing to judge is the consistency of the vegetable batter, if it's too runny they pancakes won't hold together very well but if it's too thick they can taste too floury. They are easy to make and fun to decorate and will fill you up a lot quicker than you think.      

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.


Olive bread (Adapted from The Cook's Companion)

300g bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon dried oregano
12 black and green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
150ml warm water

Place the flour, salt, yeast, oregano and olives in a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre, pour in the oil followed by the water and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a clean bench and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is springy and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size, approx 1 hour.

Tip the dough onto your bench but don't knock it back. Work the dough gently in a long loaf shape, then wrap in a floured tea towel and allow to rise to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 220C with a baking tray inside. Roll the loaf onto the tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.


1/2 small cabbage, shredded
2 small carrots, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped
1/2 cup bean sprouts, washed and trimmed
1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
pepper, to taste
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water
1 cup plain flour
olive oil spray
okonomi sauce (recipe below), for topping
vegan mayonnaise, for topping
spring onions, for garnish

Mix the cabbage, carrots, zucchini, red capsicum, bean shoots, stock powder and pepper together in a bowl. Add the water and flaxseed/water mixture and use your hands to combine thoroughly. Add the flour a little at time, mixing well with your hands.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and spray lightly with olive oil. Grab a large handful of the mixture, form it into a ball, flatten it slightly then add it to the frying pan. Press down gently on the pancake to flatten it further. After about 3-5 minutes, flip the cake over and cook for a further 3-5 minutes on the other side. Repeat until the mixture is used up.

Serve okonomiyaki topped with okonomi sauce and vegan mayonnaise, garnished with spring onions.

Okonomi sauce Adapted from Okonomiyaki recipe blog)

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vegan worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vegan oyster mushroom sauce
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons cornflour

Mix the ketchup, worchestershire sauce, oyster mushroom sauce and agave nectar together in a small saucepan. Stir cornflour with a small amount of water in a teacup to make a smooth past, then add it to the saucepan. Heat gently, stirring for a couple of minutes until thickened.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vegan MoFo - N is for Noodles

N is for noodles because they are such a wonderful versatile food. I often cook different types of noodle dishes on weeknights as they are generally quick meals to prepare. Char Kueh Teow is a delicious dish made with fresh flat rice noodles that has been on regular rotation since I tried Steph from vegan about town's version earlier this year.

The noodles are flavoured with garlic, chilli, light and dark soy sauce and stir-fried with a few vegetables and tofu. One thing I love about this recipe is that the tofu is crumbled rather than cut into cubes or strips. I usually break up the tofu in a bowl and marinate it with a dash of soy sauce for about 30 minutes to give it some extra flavour.

I have blogged about Char Keuh Teow previously but didn't post a recipe. Next post will feature two recipes for the letter O so I'll leave this post short for now and be back with more tomorrow.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vegan MoFo - Alphabet break to share some MoFo love

Vegan MoFo 2011 has been a fantastic experience so far. This time last year I didn't even have a blog and thought that trying to keep up with reading and bookmarking so many fantastic recipes was an exhausting task! In addition to reading, bookmarking and commenting on other blogs, I am trying to post daily and comment back to readers on my own posts! The latter is something I usually do but haven't been as timely with this month.

As mentioned in my last post, I have posted about golden oldies and newbies from A - M (listed here) which brings me half-way through the alphabet. So it's time for a quick break to share a few of the MoFo posts that have been inspiring me so far.

Simple staples

The Vegan Ronin posted homemade spicy mustard followed up by homemade spicy ketchup the next day. Both of these sound delicious, I have never thought to make my own mustard before but it doesn't sound too difficult and I'm sure it would be a lot tastier.

Dawn from Vegan Fazool posted about chard chips which was exciting to see. There have been countless posts about kale chips which seem to be a craze at the moment. I bought organic kale from the Vic Market once but it was quite limp and very expensive so I didn't feel it was worth bothering with. Now I have an alternative to try!

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe's post about how to make gravy appealed to me as I reach for a packet mix too often when I know I should be making my own. Some underwhelming gravy recipes have led me to this but it's time to get over it and start experimenting again. On the topic of gravy, Tofu Mom is posting about gravy for the whole month, for the second year in a row!

K from In the Mood for Noodles noocho cheese sauce sounds great because I love trying out nooch sauces and the combination of ingredients are a bit different from others that I have tried.

Burgers and sausages

Jeni Treehugger from Heathen Vegan's spicy cajun lentil patties are exactly my type of burger. As soon as I saw the name I was ready to bookmark this recipe.

Miranda Browning's quinoa and sun-dried tomato burgers sound fantastic and I have been meaning to try a quinoa based burger for a while.

Big Momma from Really Crabby Crafter's gluten-free sausages will be in my mind next time I run out of gluten flour and am wanting to make sausages.

Celeste from Growing up Veg's black bean juicy lucy burger just looks awesome. I had never heard of a juicy lucy before but seasoned black bean patties with vegan cheese is the middle sounds really good to me.

Sweet things

Lauren from Where the veggies are's strawberry lavender muffins sound so interesting as I have never played around with infusing flavours from flowers and have bucketloads of lavender growing in my garden.

La Vida Vegana posted some gorgeous looking chocolate peppermint patties which are exactly my type of sweet treat.


This is just a little sample of the many recipes I have bookmarked over the last 2 weeks! Some of the themes I have been enjoying are coldandsleepy cook's A - Z, Cupcake Kitteh's cookbook challenge (especially the Viva Vegan posts),'s football food sunday and cookbook challenge, Kittens Gone Lentil's cookbook reviews and veg-am's 1 food 5 ways.

Hope you are all enjoying MoFo as much as I am! I will be posting some more links after I have worked my way through the rest of the alphabet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vegan MoFo - M is for Mexe Wedges

Mexe Wedges is the name I created for my favourite spiced wedges some time ago. I played around with the quantities in this recipe for the first few attempts and this is how I make them every time now. They have become one of our favourite ways to eat potatoes and when my son told me that he preferred them over deep fried hot chips I was delighted. They are very simple to prepare and dangerously addictive but are cooked with little oil so you can indulge to your heart's content.

They are coated with a combination of salt, smoked paprika, olive oil and a chilli seasoning mix based on this recipe prior to baking. I like to keep a container of the chilli seasoning prepared as I know exactly what is in it as opposed to a packet mix full of additives. The main change I make is to omit the flour from the recipe.

On this occasion we enjoyed our wedges with Chipotle Lentil burgers from Appetite for Reduction, Mushroom Chicharrones from Viva Vegan and some asparagus. The burgers did not live up to our expectations, they were nice but not as wonderful as I was expecting them to be. I actually preferred the leftover burgers straight out of the fridge the next day. Mandee from Cupcake Kitteh inspired me to give the tasty chicharrone marinade another try using mushrooms instead of tofu and they were a highlight of the meal. The man adored them so much that I am planning to follow Mandee's lead more often and use mushrooms in place of tofu.

This post brings me halfway through my alphabet of golden oldies and newbies. So far I have posted 7 new recipes and revisited 6 oldies. It feels like a good time to take a bit of a breather, go through some of my MoFo bookmarks and post about some of the exciting recipes I can't wait to try!

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Mexe Wedges

1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chilli seasoning
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 200C.

Place the potato wedges in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt, smoked paprika and chilli seasoning over the top. Drizzle in the olive oil, then mix thoroughly with your hands until well combined.

Line a roasting tray with baking paper and spray lightly with olive oil. Spread the wedges in a single layer on the tray and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the bottoms have browned. Flip the wedges over and cook for a further 15 minutes or until nice and crunchy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vegan MoFo - L is for Lasagne

Lasagne is something I have struggled to enjoy as a vegetarian and vegan. Countless recipes have been attempted over the years but none of them have ever been repeated. I was so underwhelmed by these attempts that I put lasagne into the "too hard" basket until earlier this year.

A version made with nut roast leftovers and a cheezy sauce restored my faith in a tasty meatless lasagne. It had a great flavour and was very hearty and filling due to the nuts. The man and son were very keen on this lasagne but for some reason we didn't feel the same way when I made it next time. I pondered for a while about how it could be improved although I didn't get around to fiddling with this recipe again.

Since I have been using Ricki's ground "meat" recipe in so many different ways recently, I decided it was time to put it to the lasagne test. This lasagne was made in a similar fashion to how I used to make it in my omnivorous days, as I always used to add sliced carrots and mushrooms to the meat sauce and cheese to the bechamel sauce. The lasagne sheets were made with a pasta machine as the texture of home made pasta is so much nicer than the pre-made sheets.

I would love to tell you that this was the best lasagne to date but unfortunately something wasn't quite right about it which wasn't just my opinion. All three of us are quite particular when it comes to lasagne. It had some great flavours going on and the home-made pasta was as fantastic as usual but it still didn't give me the wow factor I was looking for. I will probably play around with this recipe a little in the future but will post it for now regardless.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Ground "meat" lasagne

Lasagne sheets (or skip this step and use pre-made sheets)

3/4 cup semolina
3/4 cup plain flour
pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 - 1/2 cup water

Mix the semolina, plain flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the olive oil and 1/3 cup water and work the flour into the water until a slightly wet dough has formed. If the mixture is too dry, add the extra water a little at a time, mixing it into the dough as you go. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

"Meat" sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium carrots, sliced
4 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/2 quantity ground "meat" recipe
1 x 800g tin of tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon flat parsley, chopped finely
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the carrots, mushrooms, ground "meat", tomatoes, basil and oregano, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Remove from the heat, stir through the fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Cheezy bechamel sauce

2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups soy milk
200g vegan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the margarine in a saucepan then stir the flour through. Cook, stirring for a few minutes until the flour browns a little. Add the soy milk slowly at first, whisking through the mixture to ensure that no lumps remain. When all of the soy milk has been added, stir constantly until the mixture starts to bubble. Stir through the vegan cheese until it has melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Lasagne assembly

Use a pasta machine or rolling pin to roll out thin sheets of pasta. Cut the pasta to measure the width of your baking tray.

Spread about 1/4 of the cheezy bechamel sauce over the bottom of your baking dish. Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then spread a 1/3 of the "meat" sauce followed by enough bechamel to cover the sauce. Repeat the layering 3 times, adding a bit of extra grated vegan cheese on top if there isn't enough bechamel remaining. Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 180C for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vegan MoFo - K is for Kheema Matar

Kheema Matar is an Indian dish traditionally made with ground lamb mince, green peas and spices. It's a recipe I wanted to revisit after enjoying Ricki's ground meat in spaghetti bolognese, chilli non carne, pot pies and chow mein. My previous attempt with Kheema Matar used TVP as the mince replacement which I wasn't very keen on so I had high hopes to restore this dish to it's former glory this time around.

Ricki's faux meat recipe is simply made of processed cauliflower and nuts with seasonings mixed through and baked in the oven until it has totally dried out. When added to sauces it absorbs a lot of liquid so it's a good idea to increase the quantity of the sauce from your standard recipe. I'm not going to tell you that this tastes exactly like meat but it certainly has the appearance of ground meat and imparts a nice subtle nutty flavour.

Even though I didn't have a couple of the recipe ingredients like green chillies and fresh coriander it was still a pretty tasty meal and won hands down as the best veg attempt to date. It's doesn't take too much time to prepare, especially if your ground "meat" is already on hand. Kheema Matar pairs well with bread and pappadums which is exactly how we enjoyed it.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Kheema Matar (Adapted from The Food of India)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least an hour
1 large onion, chopped roughly
2 green chillies, seeded and chopped (I didn't have any this time)
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 quantity ground "meat" (recipe below)
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 heaped teaspoons ground coriander
2 heaped teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (I didn't have any this time)

Drain and rinse the cashews, then process in a blender with about 1/3 cup water until it becomes a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and rinse out the blender. Place the onions, chillies, garlic and ginger in the blender with 1/4 cup water and process until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion mixture and bay leaves and fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the ground meat and tomato puree and mix thoroughly. Stir through the turmeric, chilli powder, coriander and cumin and cook for a minute. Add the blended cashew cream, salt and pepper and continue frying for another 5 minutes. The mixture may become too dry so add a small amount of water if necessary.

Stir through the frozen peas and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garam masala and fresh coriander. Serve with flatbread or pappadums.

Ground "meat" recipe (Adapted from Diet, Dessert & Dogs)

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans
2 tablespoons olive oil (I forgot to add it this time)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (I spilled in extra by accident)
1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the cauliflower florets and nuts in a food processor bowl and pulse until finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Add the olive oil, garlic powder, soy sauce, salt, smoked paprika, liquid smoke and herbs and mix thoroughly with your hands until the ingredients are well combined.

Spread the mixture out evenly into a large oven tray lined with baking paper. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, then stir the mixture around. Cook for another 15 minutes and stir again. Keep cooking the mixture until the mixture is dry and brown, stirring every 15 minutes. It usually takes an hour or a little longer for mine to be ready.

Use the ground "meat" straight away or store in the fridge or freezer for later use.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vegan MoFo - J is for Jaffa Balls

Jaffa balls are more like chocolate-orange flavoured truffles than the lollies I used to eat called jaffas. Jaffas are a chocolate-orange centred sweet with a crunchy shell rather than a coconut coating but it was the flavours in my balls that reminded me of jaffas so that's what I named them.

My venture into making vegan chocolate balls began when looking up an old rum ball recipe for my husband and son. The recipe only required one substitution, soy condensed milk for the regular condensed milk. After churning out a few batches, I decided to replace the rum and vanilla essense with some peppermint essense which resulted in delicious choc-mint balls. And after that jaffa balls followed...

The mixture is a cinch to put together with the help of a food processor to pulverise the biscuits. The biscuits in my recipes are a brand that is available in Australia which doesn't contain any animal products. Any type of plain sweet vegan biscuit could be used in their place. After combining the ingredients, it's worthwhile to put the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This firms up the mixture which makes rolling the balls a smoother process with not as much ending up on your hands.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vegan MoFo - I is for Imam Bayildi

I went searching through my cookbooks for inspiration for the letter I and stumbled across a recipe I had been meaning to try - a Turkish stuffed eggplant recipe called Imam Bayildi. This recipe appealed to me due to the name which translates to "The Priest Fainted" even more so than the ingredients. There are two stories behind the name; the first is that the priest fainted with pleasure when he tasted this delicious dish and the second is that he keeled over when he saw how much precious olive oil his wife had used to make it.

There were recipes in two of my cookbooks, World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown and The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander. I chose to follow the latter as it is a treasured cookbook but one I have neglected in recent times. It was still useful to cross reference both recipes as Celia Brooks Brown's recipe stated a much longer cooking time of one and a half hours as opposed to 30 - 45 minutes. I ended up cooking the eggplant for close to an hour and a half which resulted in a smooth silky texture.

This meal turned out surprisingly flavoursome considering it only contained onion, garlic, tomato, eggplant, olive, lemon juice and parsley. The recipe was scaled down to feed two as I wasn't sure how great the meal would be or if I would want any leftovers. I was kicking myself that I hadn't made more as this was the most delicious eggplant I have eaten in a while and it's made me realise that the way to succeed with eggplant is to use heaps of oil and a long time in the oven!

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Imam Bayildi (Adapted from The Cook's Companion)

1 medium eggplant
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 bay leaf
pinch of cinnamon
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon

Slice the eggplant down the centre then scoop out the flesh leaving a small rim in the eggplant shells. Chop the eggplant flesh, salt and set aside. Salt the eggplant shells and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry.

Preheat oven to 180C. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan, then cook the shallots on a low flame until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then stir through the tomato, bay leaf, cinnamon and parsley and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and remove the bay leaf.

Rinse the eggplant flesh and dry with paper towel. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the saucepan and fry the eggplant for about 5 minutes until soft and golden. Mix the contents of the bowl through the eggplant.

Spoon the filling into the eggplant shells and place onto an oiled baking tray. Cover with a mixture of juice from half a lemon and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes spooning the liquid over the top of the eggplants a couple of times during baking.

Vegan MoFo - H is for Hot Potato Salad

Hot potato salad has been on my list of things to veganise for a while as it is a family favourite that has been around at BBQs for years. The original recipe uses a lot of sour cream and cottage cheese as well as a dried packet of french onion soup. I had been thinking about how to make a good vegan version of this for some time and when I found some tofutti french onion flavoured cream cheese last week it seemed like the perfect thing to try.

The man and son were particularly interested when they saw what I was attempting to make as they are huge fans of this potato salad. Using cashews, nutritional yeast, tofutti, soy milk and seasonings it turned out tasting quite close to the original so I was pleased with the result for a first attempt. I'm certain that I will be requested to make this again as the boys loved it so much that they went back for seconds.  

I also made some Hot Wings from Vegan Dad's blog but found the texture to be mushier than how I'm used to eating seitan. The are two recipes for hot wings on his blog and I tried his one that contains mushrooms. Other people had commented about the texture of these wings so perhaps I'll try the recipe without the mushrooms another time.  

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Hot Potato Salad

1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
1 cup unsalted cashews, soaked for about 4 hours
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup french onion flavoured tofutti cream cheese
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1-2 teaspoons dried onion flakes (I used 2 which gave it a fairly strong taste)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
4 spring onions, chopped
cornflake crumbs or breadcrumbs for toppping

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the cashews in a colander and rinse well with fresh water. Place the cashews, water, soy milk, cream cheese, nutritional yeast, onion flakes, dried parsley and salt into a blender and process until smooth and creamy.

Drain the potatoes in a colander then spread evenly in a baking dish. Sprinkle the spring onions on the potatoes then pour the blender mixture over the top. Stir gently with a spoon until combined. Top with crumbs of choice and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.