Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Poor Man's Summery Salad (VeganMoFo #2)

I love mint. I love it lots. I did a search for "mint" on my food tracking app and the first, like 20 entries were all chocolate. While the mint-chocolate combination is godly, mint is just so damn underused in salads. It's all just toppings and garnishing. Fuck that.

We have a lot of mint in our garden; it's more "controlling the spread" more than growing,  so I thought I'd have a go at making it the base leafy green of a fresh summery salad. 

The results were good, but it could be better. If I was making this properly I'd have liked to make it sweeter, with much more tomato, some fennel/pomegranate/stone fruits and definitely more citrus (blood oranges would've been perfect). Red onions too. Also, it needed some textural variation, some toasted nuts wouldn't have gone astray. 

But this particular joint was just thrown together using what I had lying around before I shot off to work, so that is my excuse and YOU'RE NOT MY REAL DAD. And also no plated-up-all-pretty shots.

Poor Man's Summery Salad

Serves 2


150g mint leaves
150g white radish
200g zucchini
200g carrots
100g beetroot
1 pink lady apple
150g cauliflower
150g tomatoes

1 large navel orange or 1/2 cup (125mL) orange juice
1 medium lemon or 2 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste 

Shred all the salad ingredients except for the mint and cauliflower. To shred the mint, gather it up in a bunch and slice finely with a large knife. Break the cauliflower into tiny florets, and shred the remaining stalks (DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT THROWING THEM OUT, OK). 

For the vinaigrette, juice the orange and lemon. If you want, add the pulp of the orange and some its zest to the salad. Add all the ingredients together and whisk.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Chocolate Chantilly (And Hello VeganMoFo)

A wild, chocolatty Instagram appears!

So this blog was pretty much born because I wanted to do Vegan MoFo this year...and October is like crazy busy for me, so it wasn't my brightest moment? But anyway.

I've been getting into Heston Blumenthal this week, and his style of highly scientific cooking. As a (about to graduate) chemist, you guys can't appreciate how exciting this is to me. In one of the segments of his show Kitchen Chemistry he mentioned Hervé This and his method of making what he called 'chocolate chantilly', or VEGAN MOUSSE MADE FROM CHOCOLATE AND WATER IN 5 GODDAMN MINUTES!

I made this and let me tell you, this method works and is pretty much a miracle.

Chocolate Chantilly (adapted from Heston Blumenthal / Hervé This)

Serves 1

You'll need a mixing bowl set in a bowl of ice water ready, and also a whisk. 

50g dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa) -- I used Lindt 85% dark chocolate
3 tbsp (45mL) water

Break the chocolate into pieces and heat very slowly in a saucepan with the water. Stir, and once it's melted, pour into the cold mixing bowl. Now whisk furiously until it's fluffy, and be careful not to over do it. If you do go too far, you can just put it back into the pan and start again, though. God bless science!

Sighted: chocolate chantilly topped with cocoa nibs moments before it vanished down my gullet

Monday, 24 September 2012

Deconstructed Not-Baked Potato

Yeah, the focus is off but you get the idea.

Last Tuesday, I met some mates for lunch. We arranged to meet at Crêperie Le Triskel, and I was dying to try some vegan crepes. Being allergic to eggs, I've never actually tried a crepe, so imagine my disappointment when we arrived to a shut store with a sign on the door saying they'd be reopening for business THAT DAY. Just my luck! Anyway, we had some tea/coffee at The Hardware Sociéte then went in search of food. We found Spud Bar, a place which is kinda like if Subway was actually good and did baked potatoes instead of limp sandwiches? The idea is so simple-- potato as a base, topped with, like, anything you want. I got the red lentil dahl and beetroot and replaced the tzatziki with hummus, making a hearty vegan monster.

Spud Bar: sweet potato, red lentil dahl, rice, beetroot, spinach, hummus, peas. I died...and only $8.20!

I was super inspired by this, and decided to make a kinda fancy/wanky "deconstructed" version of it. And this makes a great post-workout meal, full of carbs, protein and as much or as little calories as you fancy. 

Deconstructed Not-Baked Potato

1 medium sweet potato

1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Water/stock to dilute

1/4 cup red lentils
3/4 cup + 1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp coconut oil (or any vegetable oil, I prefer coconut for frying)
1/2 small brown onion, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp mustard seeds, whole
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp chilli powder

Optional toppings/sides:
1/2 cup parboiled rice
fresh black fungus
1 medium tomato
1 tbsp sauerkraut
1 tsp deep-fried bitter gourd (you can find this at Indian grocery stores)
2 tsp pine nuts, toasted
green peas
coriander, finely chopped

In a wide based pot or saucepan, cover the sweet potato with water and bring to a boil. Cook until a fork can go through easily (around 20 minutes).

For the lentil curry:
In a small saucepan add the lentils and 3/4 cup water, bring the boil, then simmer uncovered til most of the liquid has gone and the lentils are tender. Should take 15-20 minutes. Whilst they're cooking, in a larger saucepan, heat the coconut oil and mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle, turn the heat down and add the garlic and onion. Sauté until the onion is browned and translucent. Add the spices and sauté for a few minutes more. At this point, add the lentils and 1/3 cup of water to this mix. Simmer and reduce until the mixture thickens. You can add more water and reduce for longer for a thicker consistency.

Mix together tahini and nutritional yeast, and add liquid to get it to your desired consistency. I like it thick (though it sticks to your mouth a bit), so I didn't add any extra liquid. Also, the consistency of tahini varies from brand to brand, so yeah.

Then it's just a matter of plating everything up.

Potato on, comrades!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Ye'miser W'et (Ethiopian spicy red lentil stew)

I remembered to use my "good camera"

After a really long week, I went for a run. During my runs I kinda go through recipes in my head, and was planning a delicate light dinner, but then I was like "no" and decided on something really hearty. In my language that means one thing - LENTILS!

I remembered the Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food zine I bought earlier this year, and decided to make something from that.

Note: you gotta have some niter kibbeh (spiced butter/ghee) and berbere (spiced chilli paste) ready to go. These can be made in big batches and kept in the fridge for ages. Recipes can be found around the web, but I used the one from the zine. Nuttelex or vegetable ghee can be used as a substitute to veganise the niter kibbeh-- I prefer Nutellex 'cause while vegetable ghee tastes amazing, it's also hydrogenated which for me is a no-go.

Ye'miser W'et (Ethiopian spicy red lentil stew) (adapted from Kittee Berns' Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food)

Serves 1 really hungry person or 2 normal people, probably

1/2 cup dried red lentils
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp niter kibbeh
1 tbsp berbere
1 medium red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 medium tomato
1/2 cup water or stock
salt to taste

1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp sweet paprika

In a small saucepan, add the lentils and 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid is gone. Should take around 15 minutes or so. Set them aside.

Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. In a separate saucepan, sauté the garlic and onion in the niter kibbeh and berbere over a slow to medium heat. Cook until the onions are clear and beginning to brown. Add the spices and continue to sauté for a few minutes. 

Finely dice the tomato and add it to the saucepan. Turn the heat up and sauté until the tomatoes release their liquid and break down. Add the water/stock and lower the heat to a simmer. 

Finally, add the lentils and keep simmering until the mixture thickens to your liking. Add salt to taste and serve! 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Vegan Lemon Pie

I promise I'll use my SLR next time...


So, this weekend my mum had some dinner guests over. She cooked up a ridiculous amount of delicious food for them, and I made this dessert. The recipes I used were originally for lemon slices, but I decided to make them into a pie, just because. 

Vegan Lemon Pie 

Makes one 9" pie, serves 6-8

For the base (adapted from Eat, Live, Run)

1 1/2 cups plain flour
150g non-dairy butter (I used Nuttelex)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling (adapted from No Meat Athlete)

1 1/3 cups water
2tsp agar powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/8tsp tumeric
2/3 cup lemon juice
3tbsp Orgran No Egg (or egg replacer of choice-- arrowroot flour/flax etc.)
1 1/2 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup light coconut milk

To serve (optional)

Icing sugar
Dessicated coconut
Candied orange peel (recipe here)

Preheat oven to 200˚C.

Sift flour into bowl, add sugar and salt. Slowly work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips, until it forms a nice crumby mixture. 

Press into a greased tray and poke some holes in the base with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Or, you could be an idiot like me and burn it!

Now for the filling.

Heat the water and agar in a saucepan until all the agar is dissolved. Then add the sugar and turmeric and boil until they've completely dissolved. 

Now, at this point I added the No Egg to the lemon juice, which proceeded to fizz up and create a horrible bubbly mixture. I think dissolving the No Egg in water then adding it in would work better. So in saying that...

Lower the heat and add the No Egg mixture, lemon juice, zest and coconut milk. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. Be sure to not have the heat on too high (it shouldn't be boiling). Pour the mixture into the pie crust and let it cool to room temperature before popping it in the fridge to set (minimum 3 hours-- I left it overnight). 

To serve, dust with icing sugar and coconut and top with candied orange peel. 

Then Instagram it.

Friday, 14 September 2012