Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies and NYE Resolutions

Dear Readers,

I have some new for you. Some perhaps shocking or bad news for those of you who like my sugary unhealthy desserts because my new years resolution is to be healthier. To be more specific: to eat better and exercise more. I know new years resolutions are a bit lame but I kind of like the idea of wiping the slate clean.

Don't worry I'm going to be realistic about it. So I know there will be occasions like xmas, birthdays, potlucks and perhaps cheat days. But on the whole I want to eat a lot less sugar. This is big for me, because sugar is my drug. Also less deep fried foods and just less oil in general. 

But since this is new years eve I wanted to share with you one last sugary dessert I made today to take to a friend house tonight.

I made gingerbread cookies with my new cookie cutter I got for xmas. The cookies cutter set is so great because they come with letters so you decorate with whatever message you want, like this:


Because it's so hot I decided to make ice cream sandwiches with them. These cookies tasted great and had a great texture, but unfortunately I made them a bit thick and I don't recommend freezing them as they are a big too hard when frozen. I also made some vanilla ice cream to go with it. I don't recommend making vanilla ice cream. Its so boring, you might as well buy it, seriously don't bother!

Anyway here is the recipe from the allergen-free bakers handbook. She has a special flour mix in her cookbook but since she uses the same mix for most recipes I don't think it would be fair to post it here. I will tell you though that I subbed the brown rice flour for regular white flour as I couldn't get any from my health food store and it still worked fine.

Gingerbread cookies (makes 24 small cookies or in this case 18 larger ones)
2 3/4 cup gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup dairy free shortening (I used nuttelex)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup molasses (I used golden syrup)

In stand mixer fitted with paddle, combine dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for about a minute. Add shortening and apple sauce then mix until combined.

Add agave and molasses and again mix until combined.

Divide dough into two balls and roll in between two baking sheets until about 1/4 inch. Place in freezer until firm, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two sheets with baking paper.

Cut dough using cookie cutters. Place on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, Remove from the oven and let set for a few minutes and then cool for a few minutes before transferring them to cooling rack.




Happy New Year Everyone!

Anyone else making new years resolutions?

CT8N645GSWGQ

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pina Colada Ice Cream

I've been waiting for an excuse to bring out this pineapple bowl

We got a pineapple in our food co-op a few weeks ago and so after a little googling I come across this recipe on Jeroxie, I didn't have any limes or shredded coconut though so I ended up going with a recipe with only 3 ingredients.

Piña Colada Ice Cream from Elana's Pantry


  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup freshly chopped pineapple
  1. Place coconut milk, agave nectar and ½ cup pineapple in a food processor/blender.
  2. Blend thoroughly until smooth and well combined
  3. Briefly blend in remaining ½ cup pineapple, leave texture a little chunky
  4. Place in fridge until its cold.
  5. Process according to the directions of your ice cream maker.
  6. Place in fridge until desire texture
This was so sweet and refreshing, just like a real pina colada without the alcohol. So perfect for the hot weather but be warned it doesn't make much. Well in this household only enough for 2  serves!  I wasn't sure if it would thicken without the arrowroot but it was fine.

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gluten Free Anniversary

We have a few anniversaries to honour in December, first Toby moved here in December from Hong Kong 6 years ago and its also been 2 years of blogging at this address. Although I blogged for years at aprevious site. It also marks my first anniversary of being gluten free. I did go on and off a gluten free diet a few times last year but got my final coeliac biopsy results and committed to being gluten free in Dec last year.

I thought it might be helpful for those who have recently found out they are coeliac or gluten intolerant to talk about my experience. I was miserable when I got my first blood test results, friends and family tried to be supportive by saying focus on what you can eat, how lucky you are to know what was causing issues etc. In the beginning I couldn't be 100% positive about it, I was grieving all those foods I could never eat again like crumpets, amazing sourdough bread, and so much more. I'm happy to report that was a phase and I didn't stay being grumpy about it. It's so much easier now that I have a routine at home, recipes all sorted, friends who make amazing gluten free dishes and know half a dozen restaurants where I frequent. However, I do on rare occasions get cravings and miss the convenience of take away sandwiches but being gluten free just means being a bit more organised about meals.

I've strict about the gluten free diet. I've been glutened a couple of times this year with sometimes small amounts of gluten and its not pretty, my stomach bloats so much that I look pregnant,  I have horrible sharp pain on one side (generally left) and other bowel related issues that I'm sure you don't want to hear about on a food blog. It generally takes me about 24-48 hours of feeling horrible and up to a week til I feel back to normal. The longer I'm gluten free the worse the symptoms seem to get. Thankfully it has only happened a few times. I know some people cheat because they don't have many symptoms but its so not worth the possible long term health issues such as bowel cancer. I also find it easier, because I start to forget how amazing gluteny crumpets, pastry, bread etc can be. So don't do it guys!

I'm definitely felt healthier this year, not just stomach and bowel related but also with less colds and other viruses and my body seems to be able to fight viruses and infections better. I've also had more energy. My body is finally been able to absorb vitamins and minerals properly but with that have also come a small amount of weight gain. Although that might be a coincidence or my age as many people report weight loss after going gluten free.

I found the process of going gluten free so much easier thanks to a couple of coeliac friends who talked me through it, talked to me about good brands, answered so many questions about ingredients and just  agreed that it can be bit shit sometimes. So I'm more than happy to answer any gluten free/coeliac questions, not from a nutrition standpoint of course but in terms of the above. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Here is some advice which I found useful in the beginning and which people often get confused about:
  • There is wheat in regular soy sauce.
  • Spelt products are NOT gluten free.
  • Most buckwheat noodles contain regular wheat.
  • Most fresh rice noodles contain wheat, but dried varieties are generally fine.
  • Barley is part of the gluten family, everyone forgets about this one.
  • There is barley in some brands of soy milk and some miso paste.
  • Products can contain wheat and still be labelled gluten free as it depends on the way the wheat is processed. So the gluten free label overrides everything else.
  • In Australia, caramel and glucose syrup derived from wheat are gluten free as no gluten remains after processing it. Does this apply in other countries too?
  • Basically the only alcohol you need to avoid is beer, ale, lager, stout and Guinness. Although spirits may be derived from wheat, rye or barley they are distilled in such a way that there is generally no gluten remaining in the final products.
  • If any ingredient in a product is derived from wheat, rye, barley or oats, then this must be declared on the label in Australia. 
  • Watch out for for wheat in some corn starch and icing sugar varities.
  • Check out Coeliac Australia website for more details: http://www.coeliac.org.au/coeliac-disease/index.html 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gluten Free Xmas Pudding Ice Cream

The night before the potluck, I got the strongest urge to make ice cream, even though I had already started on the brownies. I decided to veganise xmas pudding ice cream, its strange because I don't even like xmas pudding, but everything tastes better in ice cream form!


Christmas Pudding Ice Cream inspired by bbc goodfoood recipe

 Fruit:
  • 200g dried cherries, chopped (or sub raisins etc)
  • 6 tbsp brandy
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Ice Cream:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 gingernut biscuits, broken into chunks (I used the leda gf ones)
  • zest ½ lemon and ½ an orange 
  •  2 teaspoons arrowroot
  1. Mix all of the boozy fruit ingredients together in a bowl, then microwave or cook on stovetop for 3 mins. Stir, then leave to cool completely, for a few hours to overnight.
  2. For the ice cream, put the spices in a saucepan and gently heat for 3 mins or so, stirring once or twice, until fragrant. Tip in the coconut milk (reserving 1/4 cup) and sugar and bring to the boil. Bring to boil. 
  3. Pass the mix through a sieve and add in the vanilla extra, arrowroot mixture and zest. Place in fridge for a few hours until completly cold. 
  4. Follow ice cream machine instructions. Place mix the cherries and ginger nut in last few minutes. 
  5. Freeze til desired texture.

I had this great plan to give everyone small little tubs of this for xmas gifts which they could take home. Unfortunately it doesn't make a lot so ended up just serving it at the potluck. If you plan on serving it to several people, I recommend doubling the recipe. Despite not being a fan of xmas pudding, I still enjoyed this recipe, I think it had a good combination of fruit, booze and spices. Although I have to admit that I am a huge fan of the ginger biscuits which do have a strong flavour. So ginger fans stay away. I certainly think it is a better alternative for those us who celebration xmas in the southern hemisphere. The best thing about ice cream is you can make this well in advance too!

The potluck was great and included amazing things like vegan and gluten free prawn toast, ferrero rochers and lots more.

For other xmas dessert ideas, check out previously made candy cane ice creamcandy cane fudge, and candy cane cookies (not gf) and xmas pudding bites.

Thinking I might try to fit in one more xmas ice cream flavour this year, any suggestions?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Hat Brownies

This is a first, i'm posted about a dessert that I am taking to a potluck prior to going. I am keen to post these recipes early though in case people are looking for xmas dessert inspirations right now for next week.

I'll post about my other dessert later today or tomorrow. First these santa hat brownies which were popular on pinterest and are orginally from Ericas sweet tooth,but I think this is the first vegan and gluten free version posted. The original recipe asked for white chocolate but a few people have made it with icing. I had planned to make brownies from scratch using the recipe from babycakes but was a bit low on a few flour types and also need to buy coconut oil, so in the end went with the cheaper and lasier option and bought this packet mixture.



It makes great tasty brownies particuarly when they are fresh from the oven they are quite fudgy but they do become a bit hard the next day.

I made this cream cheese frosting and ended up with a fair bit leftover:

Dairy Free Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from VCTOTW
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup tofutti cream cheese
1 cup of icing sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Beat margaine and cream cheese together. Add in vanilla. Slowly add in sugar about 1/4 cup at a time until all mixed in.


Santa Hat Brownies makes 14 (depending on how many strawberries in punnet)
1 punnet of strawberries (I recommend doubling next time as I had lots of brownies left)
1 packet of brownie mix (or make your own)
cream cheese frosting

Bake brownies in cupcake/muffin pan. I actually forgot this step and so had to try to cut them into circles using a glass. Once brownies are cool, pipe icing around base of strawberry. Put strawberry on top and pipe tiny spot on top of each strawberry.  I was piping with a plastic ziplock bag and my kills aren't the best but I still think they are cute.


I do have to admit these are the better looking ones, have some ugly square ones too but taste wise it doesn't matter. Transport is going to be an issue though, any ideas? Flavour wise they are great combination I mean how can chocolate brownies, cream cheese icing and strawberries not be a winner?

I might make these again on Sunday for my family.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thanh Nha Nine

Phone pics warning


This post has been sitting in drafts for months. I kind of put it on hold for vegan mofo and then I forgot. Yes bad blogger! Thankfully the post was mostly done so don't need to rely on my memory.

We had a work dinner at Thanh Nha Nine- a Vietnamese restuarant months ago. Although they had several options on their vegetarian menu I was a bit nervous about what they could offer me which was both vegan and gluten free so I called them up about a week before and confirmed that there would at least be a couple of options.

The staff member who I suspect to be one of the owners was knowledgeable about what was gluten free and suggested that I have vegetarian fish sauce in place of soy sauce which put me at ease straight away.

I started with some rice paper rolls, they were fresh and healthy with tofu and lemongrass but not quite as tasty as I wanted them to be so but were made better with some vegetarian fish sauce. I couldn't resist the three colour drink made from coconut milk, red beans and jelly.



The highlight of the night however were these mini savoury pancakes made from coconut milk and rice flour. The texture of the pancakes was like a crunchy pastry, they were topped with mock prawns and a tasty mung bean paste, it sounds weird but the texture and taste was kind of like mashed potato. They were served with more vegetarian fish sauce and coconut milk. They were outstanding but with the drink and rice paper rolls I unfortunately couldn't finish them.


You can read other vegetarian accounts from wheres the beef  x 2, green gourmet giraffe and vegematarian.

It was pretty busy even midweek so make sure you book ahead!


Thanh Nha Nine
160 Victoria Street
Richmond
9427 7068

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gluten Free Oreo Truffles

I was so excited when I saw Mandee tweet about gluten free and vegan version of oreos at the gluten free expo in Sydney, sadly they didn't have them at the Melbourne show, but I finally got my hands on some last week at the gluten free store in Keilor.


These come in handy this weekend when I woke up at 10am and remembered Emily's farewell picnic which was due to start at 12. I need to make something quic.

Remember the oreo truffle rage a few years ago? I made a few different varieties including white chocolate and peanut butter at one of my first potlucks. Anyway, here is the gluten free version, I think it could be tweaked further by adding more gluten free oreos or less tofutti cream cheese, so feel free to play around with it.

Gluten Free Oreo Truffles
makes approximately 20 truffles

1 packet of gluten free oreo type biscuits
half a pack of tofutti cream cheese
100 grams of chocolate chips


Crush biscuits in food processor. Add cream cheese, mix until well combined. Put mixture in freezer for 15 minutes (I skipped this step), then roll into balls. Melt dark chocolate in double boiler, dip balls in chocolate and place on lined tray. Put in fridge for 30 minutes.



I think the gluten free oreos have a slight after taste but when combined with cream cheese and chocolate you can't tell. I enjoyed these but unfortunately they melted quick quickly at the picnic and become gooey messy balls.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Arepas

'Easy' is probably one of the most common words used in this blog, along with noodles, ice cream and dessert because most of the dishes we make tend to be easy dishes which don't take hours and aren't fiddly to make. Except for maybe the few decorated cakes. This dish really surprised me because I didn't expect it to be easy.

I had areapas in san francisco once and enjoyed them and looked at the recipe in viva vegan but thought it sounded like too much word so avoided making them until a few weeks ago. I once tried to make pupusas but found them too be too fiddly but these are completely different. So easy and are quicker to make than corn tortillas.

But better yet they have act as a great glutenfree bun type alternative.  Ivan pointed out that they are almost like english muffins, slighty hard on the outside and soft iside. So I'm also considering making these again with tofu benedict.

I filled mine with our regular chilli, cheddar cheezly and quacamole. Not sharing the recipe, since I've already posted a few from viva vegan here and you should go get the book you cheap skate. I also tried the corn and cheese filled variety minus the cheese but found that the corn kept getting burnt so prefer the plain variety.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Westgarth Book and Cooks Cafe


Late last week a new vegan cafe opened called Westgarth Books and Cooks Cafe. It's a bookstore with a few small tables in the front and one slightly larger one in the backroom. I asked on facebook who wanted to check it out and a small group of us were keen to check it out on Sunday including Cindy and Michael, Troy, Bec x 2 and Craig.  We sat at the largest table which usually sits 6 but they grabbed a few extra chairs so we could fit. It was a bit of a tight fit though surrounded by books.

As it has just opened, there was a few issues such as the menu not being completely available and issues with the timing of dishes for such a large group. There was quite a large gap between the first person and the last person getting their dishes. Toby and I were among the last ones to get our dishes but I didn't mind as they were apologetic, they had only opened a few days before and gave us complimentary cookies but more importantly they had gluten free waffles:

The waffles were fantastic, you couldn't tell they were gluten free (no cardboardy texture or weird flavor) and the large section of fruit allowed me to feel better about having dessert for breakfast but the star of the dish was the ice cream. Made from cashews, it was smooth, sweet and amazing. I could eat a massive bowl of it.


Toby very kindly ordered the gluten free pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce so we could share. I really enjoyed this too, it really was creamy and was served with what I suspect to be cashew cream, pine nuts, parsley, onions and mushrooms. I look forward to trying more dishes when the menu is fully available.



Westgarth Books and Cooks Cafe
77 high street
Northcote
Monday-Sunday: 10-6.

Shawna has already blogged about it here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sticky Rice Pikelets

Hi I'm Troy, 
K suggested that I do a post as a guest (I don't usually blog) so I jumped at the chance to try Thai Sticky Rice Pikelets that I had seen in a friends "Thai Street Food" book by David Thompson and a slight variation over at Daily food adventure. I am not gluten free but am vegan and enjoy the challenge of g/f cooking and using different ingredients. Thanks to K for letting me invade for a day. 

(Thai) Sticky Rice Pikelets 
1/2 cup of mung bean starch
1/2 cup of glutinous rice flour 
(I used white sticky rice flour but black is suggested) 
Pinch of lime paste 
(I realised later that I used the wrong one, I used citrus but it called for Calcium Carbonate aka chalk!
which is used a lot in Thai Cooking I read) 
1/2 cup of water, halved into two 1/4 portions 
1/4 cup of white sugar
Pinch of salt 
1 cup of fresh grated coconut
(I just used shredded) 


Combine the flour/starches with 1/4 water, Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
I only set aside for a few hours as I didn't have the time. It makes for a quicksand like consistency. 


As I mentioned I added some lime juice to the remaining 1/4 cup of water, when it should of been the white stuff for the next step, ah well. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and return to room temperature. Mix in lime water, sugar and salt followed by the coconut. The mixture should have a thick pancake batter like consistency. 
Spoon the mixture onto an oiled pan about 60-75mm, roughly the size of a drinking glass opening. 
Cook for 2-5 minutes each side until golden brown. 
Toby was a bit enthusiastic and poured half of the mixture into the pan like a pancake. 

We topped them with maple syrup, bananas and some raspberry's currently growing crazy in my garden 



K and I quite liked them, Toby and Bec not so much. They really took on the coconut flavour and had a nice crispiness. I would try again but with white lime as I would dare say they would have a different texture, also with black sticky rice instead. 
K also mentioned they might work as a bread to dip in a curry if you omitted the sugar. 
Has anyone used white lime? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lucuma Choc Chip Ice Cream

 Lucuma is a tropical fruit from south america and lucuma powder seems to be a popular raw food product. I bought some to make the raw pops and then wondered what to do with the rest? Of course my first instict was to make ice cream, this blog really could be called in the mood for ice cream. I made up this recipe:

Lucuma Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
2 cans of coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon of arrowroot
1.5 Tablespoons of Lucuma Powder (taste accordingly)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl combine about 1/4 cup of coconut milk with arrowroot.

Combine remaining coconut milk, sugar and lucuma powder in saucepan and cook over low heat until begins to boil. Put aside and whisk in arrowroot mixture and extract and place in fridge too cool, approximately 3 hours.

Place in ice cream maker and freeze.



The flavour is quite hard to describe, its got a fruity but also caramel flavour. It goes really well with banana. I think I would omit the choc chips next time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shake and Bake Tofu

Sometimes the best ideas come out of failed recipes. I tried to follow recipe from don't feed the bears 2 as seen on  Cake Maker to the Stars a few weeks ago. Sadly my attempt at roux kind of sucked and I didn't know how to get the right seasoning but I come up with another idea for tofu. This recipe involves breading tofu. I followed the recipe but used a mix of cajun and nooch but after breading several thought this must be an quicker way. Putting them in a ziplock bag and shaking was actually fun. It's not a completely original idea as I saw another blog do the same thing about a week after I made it but I recommend giving it a go. Here is the loose recipe:

Shake and Bake Tofu
1 container of tofu, drained
About a tablespoon of soy sauce (gluten free of course)
Use a ratio of 3 tablespoons of nooch-1 tablespoon cajun spices until all tofu is covered


Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 F).

Brush baking sheet with oil.

Cut Tofu into cubes, then add soy sauce until all covered. Put a large handful of tofu, nooch and cajun spices into zip lock bag and shake til it is evenly covered. Then repeat, until all covered.

Place in tray and bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes, turning about half way through until quite crispy.




Here is it prebaked. 
 

I think it could work well in a range of dishes. We had similar noochy tofu in a stir fry in Portland. This didn't last long at our household with Toby and I served it with rice and dipped some in mayo and sweet chilli sauce, so damn additive.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kimchi Noodles

I'm sure this isn't authentic at all but it was a quick and tasty dish which was very loosely inspired from meet me at mikes kimchi salad.

Kimchi Noodles
serves 4-6 (4 for us because Toby is a massive eater)

1 package of sweet potato noodles
2 cups chopped kimchi
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 T soy sauce plus splash of soy
2 Packets of Fried Tofu, chopped
1/2 T vinegar
1/2 T sugar
handful of fried onions -the ones you get from asian supermarket in a packet (optional)

Boil water, cook noodles until tender about 8 minutes. Strain noodles.

Stir fry tofu with splash of soy sauce. Add in kimchi, vinegar and sugar and cook for a few more minutes. Mix in tofu/kimchi to noodles and add lime juice and soy sauce. Stir and serve with some fried onions sprinkled on top. I am addicted to fried onions at the moment!

Toby and I was quiet pleased with this dish, and will certainly be making it again. It's a great weeknight dinner and is slightly salty, sour and spicy.

Am still looking for Korean inspired dessert recipes, any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Australian cooking conversions- shocking revelations

I thought I had my head around most conversions particularly in regard to US versus Australian names for ingredients but have come across some new facts recently.

My friend Erin just shared a fact with me in regards to Australian standards which I find shocking, our tablespoons are bigger than the rest of the world. Yes according to wikipedia, most tablespoons are 15ml but in Australia out tablespoons are 20ml. Isn't that just crazy, particularly if most of your  recipes are outside of Australia! I just ran around and checked and all of mine measure 20ml but I think they are all made overseas. You might want to check though particularly before following US baking recipes.

And then I discovered that our measuring cup size varies too, here it is is 250ml, in the US it is 236.59ml and the UK it is: 284.1. Why are they all different?

Recently Matt posted about the differences in chili powder between Australia and America, basically their chili powder contains other things which means ours is much hotter and we are not all wusses.

Any other things I should be aware of?

Easy Gluten Free Kimchi Pancakes

The inspiration for this recipe come from your hairdresser and friend Jilly, while she was colouring my hair a few weeks ago we were discussing dinner options and she told me that she regularly makes kimchi pancakes and adds whatever vegies inside and they are super easy to make. Sometimes inspiration comes form unusual places and situations. This was made last night when we had run out of vegies so I kept it simple but it was still delicious.

I got some vegetarian kimchi from the korean supermarket opposite the victoria market on elizabeth street since my lost asian supermarket only stocked non veg kimchi. It's huge but I wanted to make a few things with it!



Kimchi Pancakes - Kimchijeon from maagnchi. She has a video too!


Directions:
1 cup of chopped kimchi
3 tbs of kimchi juice (I used about 1 and half)
2 tbs chopped onion ( I skipped this)
½ ts salt
½ ts sugar
½ cup flour (all purpose flour) (I used brown rice flour to make it gluten free)
¼ cup of water

  1. Mix all ingredients in bowl
  2. Heat up a non-stick pan over medium high heat and drizzle about 2 tbs oil.
  3. Place the mixture of kimchi pancake batter on the pan and spread it thinly and evenly with a spoon.
  4. Cook it for 1-1 ½ minutes until the bottom gets golden brown and crispy.
  5. Turn it over with a spatula or flip it.
  6. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 1½ minutes.
  7. Turn it over one more time and cook for 30 seconds before transfering it to a serving plate.

 

Mine kind of fell apart a little when I tried to flip it which just meant that I didn't need to cut it. I served it with mayo and fried onions. I would love some spring onions on it though like maanghci did. Next time I might also use a little less kimchi as it was slightly too spicy for Toby and more veggies, am thinking shredded carrots, zuhhini etc. I really can't believe how easy it is though!

My next post is korean inspired too, just need some korean desserts to keep with this weeks theme, any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yong's Green Food- New Menu

We went to Yong's on Sunday night with Bec and Troy and discovered that they have a new menu with plenty of gluten free options.

Phone picture warning


Toby and I decided to share the buckwheat crepes, the crepes were delicious and didn't have a strong buckwheat flavor, the filling felt quite healthy with wasabi mayo which not spicy at all and plenty of fresh vegies.



I also got the kimchi fried rice, this was delicious, the kimchi wasn't too spicy and just added a slight kick to the dish and I love the addition of the creamy cashew sauce. I wouldn't have thought of combining the two things but it worked!



I also couldn't resist getting a shake, have become obsessed with almond and cashew milk lately but don't currently have a blender. I chose the cacao shake with had a nice choc banana taste but did leave me filling super full. I sadly didn't take a pic of the shake but did get a picture of Troy's kombucha, he let me have a sip, it was my first time trying it and better than I thought, with a slight sour flavour.



Yong's Green Food
421 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy

The service was great and I do enoy going there, its got such cute surroundings. Although I wonder if they tense up when they see me coming due to our first review which was negative. I certainly don't have any ill feelings for them as the issue was well and truly resolved and I respect how seriously they took me and how quickly it was fixed up. In fact I probably feel safer going there now when it comes to gluten free food then other places as i'm sure they learnt from their mistake and I haven't had any other issues in the numerous times that I have gone back.

It has recently been blogged about by my mini manifesto, mariecitadelle and sneakylily.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

World Vegan day 2011

Phone pics warning

I think this year was my favourite, it was at the abbotsford convent again but they opened up a whole other section so you could sit and eat food and/or watch the live acts, as well as the two halls and normal middle section. It was excellent space wise and there was plenty of new stalls but it didn't feel crowded. The gf savoury options were a bit limited but I didn't mind because I ate plenty of desserts including a gluten  chocolate cherry cupcake from mr nice guy, you really couldn't tell it was gluten free:



raw cashew coconut soft serve from loving hut, this was great, I just wanted more:



Cookies including amazing mini gluten free oreos from saf patisserie, so sad though that I missed their rocky road though which appetite affliction raved about.

I had half of my friend Eve's raw mango cheesecake from las vegan bakery, they sold out before I could get mine but thanks for sharing with me Eve, it was tangy and sweet, perfect really. I also got some honeycomb raw chocolate from luna marie chocolates to take home (although it only made it to the car ) which I also raved about last year.

I watched a demonstration of how to make brazil nut milk and I found my fave chocolate bars from the US called eli's earth bars from the uproar store and I picked up a cat hammock. I come across lots of new stores including the artic vegan store selling vegan shoes and the vegan baby store. Well done organisers, was an excellent day!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream and eat.drink.picnic

There was a bloggers conference this weekend in Sydney called eat.drink.blog. Sadly one of the major sponsors was Meat and Livestock Australia with meat masterclass events which is disappointing on so many levels including health, environmental, corporation supporting independent bloggers etc and is really not inclusive for vegetarian bloggers. Thankfully Jill from confessions of a food nazi decided to organise an alternative event for those in Melbourne which she named eat.drink.picnic for those who couldn't attend the Sydney event with more of a focus on vegetables.

I've been to countless vegan potlucks but never been to an omni picnic potluck until yesterday. I have to admit I was a bit nervous, I mean not only am I vegan but also gluten free. I thought these people are really going to think I'm a freak and worst of all there will be nothing for me to eat. I also wasn't sure if I was going to get the barrage of annoying questions such as 'how do you get your protein?' etc or more aggressive attacks that I occasionally get. There is a misconception that vegans are argumentative but I often find it is the other way around. Thankfully none of that happened, I was pleasantly surprised with lots of food for me to eat and about an equal number of vegetarians including 2 other vegans and some friendly accepting omni bloggers.

I met western suburbs food blogger Kenny from consider the sauce and we both discussed the disappointing food scene in williamstown and Jill was super friendly and within minutes of me arriving allowed me to use her towel to clean my grease stained fingers from fixing my bike chain. I also learnt about the use of coconut powder in making ice cream from essjayeats and I had fun catching up with those already familar to me like Cindy and Michael from wheres the beef, Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe and Lisa Dempster. I didn't get a chance to have a proper chat with Ed from Tomato, Carla from Easy as Vegan Pie or Claire from Melbourne Gastronome but I did enjoy playing a few games with Claire's bocce set. These was so much yummy food, highlights included Jill's refreshing watermelon salad, Michael's caeser salad, Carla's risotto balls and both Johanna and Lisa's chocolate desserts. The picnic was lots of fun and left me filling super full and sluggish as all good potlucks show. It was also a great example of what a community building activity blogging can be and for once Melbourne behaved and gave us a nice summer day.

I took along some dips and this ice cream. Unfortunately I didn't have enough spoons or any bowls so resorted to serving ice cream on plates with plastic knifes. I really enjoyed the tanginess of the balsamic vinegar paired with the organic strawberries. I don't think many people sampled it or enjoyed it because it was the first time that one of my ice cream dishes wasn't completely finished at a potluck. Although Lisa gave it the thumbs up and Toby loved the leftovers.



Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream adapted from Spabettie

3 cups soy milk
3/4 cup sugar2 tablespoons of tapioca flour
1 punnet of strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon of vanilla essence

Mix 1/4 cup soy milk with tapioca flour, stir until blended and set aside. Combine remaining soy milk and sugar saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add tapioca mixture and vanilla essence. Place in fridge to cool completely- it takes a few hours.

Meanwhile, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan, watch closely and stir occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and continue to stir until it reaches desired thickness, about 8 minutes or so. Set aside to cool.

Pour ice cream base into maker and prepare according to manufacturer directions. Add strawberries in the last few minutes and then mix in balsamic glaze to give it a swirly effect. Transfer to freezer til firm.

Read about Kenny's account of the event here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Herb Roasted Chat Potatoes- Vegan Mofo Day 31

 
I had planned to go out with something amazing like vegan and gluten free macarons, but unfortunately we followed this recipe and it was a complete failure. So instead I'm going to write about a simple but great recipe. I can get all caught up in new ingredients, fancy recipes and different cuisines that I forget that sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. This side dish is a perfect example. Great comfort food that makes you want to ignore you main dish and just eat the whole lot yourself.

Herb Roasted Chat Potatoes inspired by Jamie Oliver's dish
1kg Chat Potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoon and chilli flakes
2 Teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and Pepper to Taste
 
Wash your potatoes and parboil until almost tender. When done, drain them, add olive oi, salt, pepper and herbs.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7. Put the potatoes in a roasting tray and cook in the oven for 25 minutes until golden.

I have managed to post every day for the whole month, with the help of Toby who posted 4 posts to my 29, but who is counting? We have made all sorts of new things like chamomile ice cream, sour cherry ripe bites, microwave mug cake, salted caramel truffles, tawainese marinated tofu  and home made soy yogurt.

I've come across so many new blogs and bookmarked so many recipes and just loved the whole sense of community with vegan mofo. I'm a tad exhausted though and I'm still a bit behind with reading some of the blogs, so will try to keep commenting afterwards but am now going to take at least a few days off blogging to rest and make some repeat classics.
   P.S: it says this post was by Toby, but it was by me, ohhps- K

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream with Spinach Food Colouring-Vegan Mofo Day 30

This photo is a bit crappola but I was in a rush, can you see the pale green colour?

I've had this recipe bookmarked since Feb 2010, some times it takes a while for me to get to my bookmarks, does anyone else have that problem? This is the other dessert I am taking a way with us. I had a few issues with this recipes because I tried to use the food processor to blend it together and of course it leaked, so make sure you use a blender!!!! Also I found the texture to be not quite the same as the regular ice creams I make due to the absence of arrowroot but taste wise it is great and the spinach really does make it look a pale green and you wouldn't guess it was in it.

Surprise Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from gluten free easily
2 3/4 cups full-fat coconut milk, chilled
1/3 cup to 2/3 cup agave (to taste)
1/8 cup fresh spinach (the surprise ingredient! I used baby spinach leaves and discarded the stems)
1 tbsp peppermint schnapps (or 2 tsp peppermint extract-also to taste)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (use only about 1/2 cup if using regular-sized chocolate chips)
Mix ingredients except for chocolate chips in blender until there are no visible particles from the spinach leaves. Pour into ice cream maker. Churn for 20 minutes. Add chocolate chips and churn another 2 minutes until chips are mixed in.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Raw Brownies With Avocado Icing- Vegan Mofo Day 29


We are going away this weekend and I just discovered that we won't have wifi so am posting this in advance, but guess I won't be able to catch up all of your lovely blogs until I get back. Anyway this is the one of the desserts I am taking. I chose this one because I could make it last weekend and keep it in the freezer which is perfect and because I had to blog in advance I had to have small taste test of course.

I did find the bottom of it it be a bit crumbling as shown in the picture but aside from that this recipe is great. I used a mixture of walnuts and macadamia nuts because I ran out. When I was making the icing I thought you could taste the avocado but once its together I don't think you would ever guess. It's quite rich, so you only need small squares!

Raw Brownies with Avocado Icing from Wayfaring Chocolate

Adapted from Motherhood, marriage and other rides. Makes 12.
  • 1 cup (110g) walnuts
  • 1 cup (150g) medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/3 cup (30g) cocoa powder (raw, if that’s how you roll)
  • 1 avocado
  • 40ml leatherwood honey or agave nectar
  • 30ml cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash salt
  • dash cinnamon (I sprinkled it on top)
1. Combine walnuts, dates, and the 1/3 cup of cocoa powder in a food processor and process until the mixture, according to the original recipe, “looks like potting soil” really doesn't look brownie type at all but don't worry! Pat this into an 20cm x 20cm (8inch x 8inch) pan.
2. With a blender or handmixer blend the avocado, honey or agave, second lot of cocoa, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon until smooth. Like Hannah I used a food processor too.
3. Spread the icing over the brownie base, then put in the freezer for about an hour to set. No matter how long the brownies stay in the freezer, they never become rock-hard.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simon's Vegan Laksa - Vegan MOFO Day 28

We came across this vegan Laksa recipe from the The Cook And The Chef  (You can see the youtube video of the episode here.) and I decided to take on the challenge of making my own Laksa paste! You know, making something form scratch is pretty satisfying sometimes.  

I substituted a few things on the recipe that I couldn't find (I also forgot to grab a lime form the shop and there were none at any supermarkets in Brunswick!!!!).  Instead of using Kaffir lime zest in the paste, I put Kaffir lime leaves in the soup.

Paste
2 teaspoon vegetarian blachan Mighty Mite
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 kaffir lime, zested (I use 3 kaffir lime leaves in the soup instead)
2 stalks lemongrass, finely sliced
1 tablespoon chopped galangal ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric, chopped turmeric powder
2 dried red chillies, deseeded and soaked 2 teaspoon red chillie flakes
30g macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 coriander roots
80ml peanut oil olive oil, 50ml for the paste, 30ml for frying

Soup
½ small bunch coriander leaves
1 packet Hokkien noodles, egg free rice noodles (500g)
1 bunch Vietnamese mint (rau raum)
300ml coconut milk (Chef's Choice)
600ml vegetable stock
2 limes, juiced 1/4 cup lime juice
1 bok choy, cut into ¼ lengthways
1 small  packet fried tofu (Yenson), cut into chunky slices
Thai seasoned soy sauce Chang's GF soy sauce to taste
2 teaspoons crispy shallot
Bean sprouts
3 red chillies, sliced red chillie flakes

Method

Blend all the paste ingredients in a blender until it becomes a smooth paste. This can be frozen, kept in a sealed jar or cooked for laksa soup.

Heat 30ml of oil in a saucepan and add about four tablespoons of the laksa paste. Fry until fragrant. Add coconut milk (and 3 Lime Leaves) and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Add bok choy and tofu and simmer for a few minutes. Season with Thai soy sauce GF soy sauce and lime juice.


Pour hot water over the hokkien noodles Cook rice noodle in a pot. Drain. Place heated noodles in serving bowls. Pour soup over noodles, making sure every bowl gets bok choy and tofu. Garnish with fresh chilli flakes, bean sprouts, coriander, crispy shallots and a little zested kaffir lime.

I reckon it tasted pretty damn good and authentic.  Not too hard to make too.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sweet Potato Ginger Soup - Vegan Mofo Day 27

Chinese deserts are highly influenced by Tradition Chinese Medicine.  

In Summer, we would eat sweet soup with mung bean and seaweed in Summer to "cool down".  In dry weather, we would eat  Silver Ear Mushroom and Papaya soup to "nourish" our throat and lungs.

It was pretty cold the other day, so I decide to some sweet potato ginger soup to warm us up.  I found a recipe online (In Chinese) and it is very easy to make. It's a very authentic recipe and very warming, K enjoyed it too because its quite sweet.


ingredients:  

1/2 big yellow sweet potato or a purple sweet potato, choped (I used 2 medium orange one from supermarket, not very authentic   
A few slices of "old" ginger
Chinese rock sugar (yellow), to taste

Instruction: 

- Bring 2 to 3L of water to boil in a pot
- Add sweet potato and ginger  
- When the sweet potato is soft, add rock sugar (I add it a little at a time until it is soft enough)
- Serve! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Raw Cherry Bombs- Vegan Mofo Day 26


 This week friends Lidia and Lachie had us over for dinner and I agreed to bring desserts. I know Lidia is into healthy food, so decided to make another raw dessert. This was perfect as we had everything already and it was pretty quick and easy. I was a bit disappointed initially that the filling wasn't sweet enough, so I rolled the balls in coconut sugar. I'm obsessed with that stuff and also don't know what else to do with it, any suggestions?

But after a few bites, I started to enjoy them, they have quite a strong coconut flavour from the oil and both Lachie and Lidia enjoyed them. Toby said he enjoyed them more than the cake pops but I'm not so sure. I wanted to make these into cake pops but it didn't work due to the cherry in the middle, also the mixture falls apart quite easily so stick to small bites.

Raw Cherry Bombs from Bakery Manis

1 cup Brazil nuts 1 cup cashews
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp non-alcohol vanilla extract
1 tsp + 2 tsp agave, divided
pinch sea salt
½ cup dried cherries
1/3 cup raw cacao butter, chopped
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  1. Grind the Brazil nuts cashews in the processor until sandy textured. Add in coconut oil, vanilla, 1 tsp agave, and salt.  Blend until smooth like a nut butter; add a few dashes of oil if it seems dry.
  2. Scrape from the bowl and shape into nickel-sized (1cm) balls. Squish a dried cherry into each ball.  Freeze for half hour.
  3. Chop the cacao butter carefully and add to a large glass bowl.
  4. Boil a saucepan of water, and place the bowl over the hot water until cacao butter melts completel.
  5. Gently stir in the cacao powder and 2 tsp agave and whisk until smooth. Let cool.
  6. Line a plate or baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Dip each nut-cherry ball gently into the chocolate, covering entirely.  Freeze to set the chocolate, about 20 minutes. Store in the fridge.
 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Notzarella-Vegan MOFO Day 25

5Just a super short post from me today. We have a new vegan cheese and its made in Australia, its called Notzarella and at the moment you can purchase some online here.  It's not cheap though, particularly if you have to pay for postage. To make it slightly cheaper we went half with our friends Bec and Troy.  We have tried some on pizza, the failed enchiladas and then grilled on toast. Texture wise it is great, I mean look at it:



I wouldn't recommend eating it raw, but cooked its great. I kind of wish it had a bit of a stronger flavour though as it's super mild. As a friend suggested I think eating it plain on toast doesn't work but with other things tomato, chives etc is great.