Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tempeh Bacon Experiment-That Recipe Looks Familar

We went over our download limit this week so have not been able to blog about last weeks potluck til now. I'm not too sad about it though because I need to reserve my efforts for vegan mofo, where we (mostly I) will try to blog every day. In reality I will try to stick to 5 posts a week but will see how I go.  Anyway, back to the potluck and the that recipe seems familar blog event.  Both the event and the potluck was to celebrate  Planet VegMel's 2nd birthday.  Planet VegMel is a wonderful site where you can view all the Melbourne veg blogs in one spot. You can read about the first round of posts for the blog event here. There was also a cute zine created at the last minute.

The potluck was great, there was so much amazing food which resulted in me feeling super full and exhausted. You can read about some of the dishes online including Steph's caramel slice, Mel's tofu quiches and apricot delights, Emily's eggplant salad, Michael's enchiladas, Vicki's peanut butter balls, Johannas cake pops, Cindy's cookie sandwiches, Carla's mock crab cakes, Dannis' muffins and bread, Emily's gado gado and turkish truffles. There was more dishes too and thankfully most of the dishes were gluten free so I didn't have to miss out on much. Thanks everyone, it really means a lot! It was great to meet a few new people and to make friends with Johannas cute daughter Sylvia.

Toby wasn't feeling well and so wasn't planning on going til the last minute so he needed some quick to make. He decided on the tempeh not bacon from wheres the beef:

Tempeh, not bacon
(based on recipe at Get Sconed!)

300g tempeh
4 tablespoons soy sauce
~1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons tomato paste
vegetable oil, for frying

Slice the tempeh into the thinnest sheets you can.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) together in a bowl.

Spread some of the marinade on the base of a shallow tray, lay out the tempeh, and spread over more marinade. Let the tempeh soak up the yum for at least a couple of hours; pop it in the fridge and it'll last for days.

When the tempeh's ready, pour a little oil in a fry pan a heat it to medium/high. Fry the tempeh strips until they darken and crisp up a little.

He put it on top of some tofu 'egg'  and hollandaise sauce from vegan brunch. The tofu egg wasn't particuarly eggy because we didn't have black salt but I enjoyed the hollaindaise sauce:

 Despite being not the biggest fan of tempeh, I loved it so I decided to also try the tempeh bacon from easy as vegan pie:

Tempeh Bacon originally from Veg News TV
1 packet of tempeh, pat dry and slice thinly
1/4 cup of soy sauce/tamari
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 tbsp of liquid smoke

1. Steam the tempeh slices for 8-10 minutes in vegie steamer. The tempeh will go a whiteish colour.

2. Mix up the marinade and soak the tempeh strips for an hour or over night if possible.

3. Line up the tempeh strips on a wire rack and drain the marinade off then line the little soldiers up on a baking sheet and grill them at 200 degrees (or high). I just fried mine for about 10 minutes on each side.

I served it for over brown rice, with roasted pumpkin, greens and the wonderful chickpea gravy from appetite for reduction which all made one super yummy and almost healthy dinner.

The main difference with this recipe was the steaming, which does result in a slightly superior flavour and texture. We will certainly stick to steaming from now on.

I do have one more post for the recipe looks familar blog event, but might save it for vegan mofo. See you in a weeks time!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vegan and Gluten Free Tiramisu

It was Toby's birthday last week so I made tiramisu because he is coffee crazy as you all know. I found this recipe on Green Vegan Living which was actually good timing because I had just received some Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour in the mail. This was my first time attempting tiramisu but I think it was pretty good. Toby certainly enjoyed it and that's the important part.

Vegan and Gluten Free Tiramisu from Green Vegan Living

Lady Fingers

2 cups Bob's Red Mill all-purpose baking flour
1 T. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c. agave
1/2 c. maple syrup
2 T. canola oil
1/3 c. apple sauce
1 T. vanilla
3/4 milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
  2. Measure out all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Create a small hallowed “bowl” in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients from around the outside of this hollowed bowl, until everything is evenly mixed in. 
  3. Using a rubber spatula, transfer into a greased glass baking dish (9" x 13") and place in the middle of the oven on the center rack. 
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. After baking, place on a cooling rack and loosen the edges. 
  5. After it has cooled for about 15 minutes flip the cake over onto a cutting board and cut into 1" x 3" pieces. 

"Cream" Geanna's recipe asked for yogurt but I borrowed the idea from insomanic chef and used vegan sour cream instead.

8 oz. vegan cream cheese 
1/4 c. vegan sour cream (instead of yogurt)
1/4 c. vegan cream
2 T. liquor/liqueur of choice (I copied her and Frangelico)
1/3 c. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. cornstarch 
1/2 t. xanthan gum

  1. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small sauce pan and then dissolve the xanthan gum and cornstarch into it. Allow it to cool to room temperature. 
  2. Combine the thick cream mixture with all the other ingredients above and beat well. 
  3. Put the mix in the fridge to set for several hours.


1 c. strong coffee
3 T. liquor/liqueur of choice  (I used kirsch)
3 T. agave nectar
Combine these ingredients and put in the fridge to cool.


  1. Dip the lady fingers into the coffee sauce and let it soak up the moisture for a couple of seconds. 
  2. Layer these in the bottom of a glass trifle or baking dish until the entire base is covered. 
  3. Using a spatula, spread the "cream" evenly over the lady finger base. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 at least once more, depending on how big your dish is.
  5. Sprinkle unsweetened cocoa powder over the top, completely covering the top. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors meld together.
It is quite time consuming to make, so I spread it out over two days by making the lady fingers on one weeknight  and the rest on a saturday. Next time I would spread it out even more as I didn't allow enough time for the lady fingers to soften and absorb the coffee before serving.  So instead of making it in advance Toby thought the coffee flavour was too subtle initially so we added more of the leftover coffee sauce to it which I think resulted in a slightly bitter flavour which I wasn't a big fan of but then I dislike coffee. We did have one tiny peice left on the sunday and it was defintely superior: softer cake and with a stronger flavour.

 I made a basic T stencil to decorate it.

Excuse this photo, I used a phone camera in a dark pub:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna-That Recipe Looks Familar

My last post for that recipe looks familiar involves lasagna, but not the regular kind. This uses zucchini instead of pasta and has a quinoa filling. Although the recipe is originally from another overseas blog, I only come across it when Vicki posted it for vegan mofo last year. I doubled this to make enough for dinner and leftovers for tomorrow and added more cheezly on top.

Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna from Peas and Thank You  as seen on Vicki Vegan
Serves 4-6

  • 2 large zucchini, cut into 12 thin, 1/4 in. thick slices
  • salt
  • 1 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. minced onion
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T. organic or non-dairy cream cheese (optional) tofutti sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jar  marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c.  non-dairy cheese

Preheat oven to 400.
To prepare zucchini, cut a strip off of one side to make a flat base.

Then, thinly slice zucchini into “noodles.”  You’ll want 12 noodles in total.

Place noodles in a colander and sprinkle with salt, layering between paper towels.

Let this sit and absorb moisture while preparing the quinoa.

Combine quinoa, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, onion and oregano in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

Cover and lower heat, simmering for 20 minutes.
When quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, fold in cream cheese and herbs.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and try not to eat the whole pot.

Believe it or not, it gets better.
Pour enough of marinara in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish to cover the bottom.  Using a clean dry towel, blot remaining moisture and salt from zucchini and layer 4 noodles across the sauce.

Put a layer of quinoa across the zucchini,

and cover with another 1/3 c. of marinara sauce.
Repeat with another layer of quinoa, sauce and zucchini.
Top the final layer of zucchini with remaining sauce and 1/2 c. of cheese, if using.

Bake lasagna for 30 minutes, until heated through and zucchini is tender.

Toby and I both enjoyed this and found it to be a great way to use up quinoa but probably prefer my mothers tofu lasagna if we had to choose, but then you always prefer you mothers cooking, right? Overall though the quinoa worked really well as a filling, it held together well and was quite feeling, I wonder how it would go if I combined the two recipes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Apricot Delight

Another entry for that recipe looks familiar event, this one uses a recipe from Green Gourmet Giraffe. I used to love apricot delights but all the preservatives and other ingredients would upset my stomach so I was excited to see Johanna make them at home. To completely avoid preservatives, I got some organic sulphur free dried apricots and dessicated coconut from wholefoods. I didn't read the recipe right the first time, so ended up adding all of the apricots to the pan rather than leaving some whole. I don't think it make a big difference though. I also accidentally added a little bit too much water to mine, which made my a little softer but did mean that I had no issues getting the coconut on the sides.


Apricot Delight
makes 36
adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly as found on Green Gourmet Giraffe
250g dried apricots, chopped
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups dessicated coconut
2 tbsp honey agave
extra coconut, for coating

Place half  the apricots and the boiling water in a small saucepan.  Soak for about an hour.  Bring to the boil and gently simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.  The apricots should be quite jammy.

Puree apricots in a blender.   Add the rest of the apricots and the coconut.  You will have a stiff paste.  Spread into a lined 15cm square cake tin and leave overnight in the fridge. 

The next day, take slab out of the cake tin and chop into about 36 squares (or any size you want).  Toss each piece in coconut.  I found that the top of my slab had dried out a bit and was harder to get the coconut to stick to it - so I wiped it with a damp wad of kitchen paper. 

Keep in an airtight container. 

They are just as tasty as the store bought ones, although a little darker in colour without the preservatives. But more importantly easy to make and pretty healthy. Will certainly make them again!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

OMG Mini Vegan and Gluten Free Wagon Wheels


This recipe almost fits into that recipe looks familar blog event as is a recipe from fellow vegans in Melbourne but doesn't quite fit as they don't have a blog but this recipe convinces me that should start one. Jamie and Elias decided to veganise vegan wagon wheels and thankfully shared the recipe, for which I will always be grateful.  Their recipe included arnotts nice biscuits which are vegan but I can't eat them and couldn't think of a similar biscuit which is both gluten free and vegan and the same size So I decided to make mini versions using the orgran outback animal biscuits. These are so unbelievably good, I can't tell you how similar they are to real wagon wheels as it has been almost a decade since I had them but they are outstanding taste wise and you only need 4 ingredients. Seriously go and make them now, you won't be sorry!

1 packet of vegan marshmallows
4 tablespoons of strawberry jam
2 blocks of lindt dark chocolate (you may need a little more-see comment below)
almost whole packet of orgran outback animal biscuits (had about 6 left over)

  1. Spread jam on crackers
  2. put marshmallows on crackers

  1. Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave
  2. Pour melted chocolate over marshmallows with spoon
Makes approximately 25.
Their original recipe asks for another step: putting them in the oven for 10-15 minutes before putting the chocolate on top. But I had some issues with this because the gf crackers disintegrated and I think I cooked them for too long or at too high heat so they ended up spreading and being a big mess:

I think it worked out well without the step anyway as the marhsmallows were already quite gooey. We made some which completely covered the biscuits and then some rustic ones with just a bit of chocolate on top. I think the rustic ones actually looks better but I prefer the taste of the ones completely covered in chocolate.

 Thank you Jamie and Elias, you guys rock!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mee Goreng- That Recipe Seems Familar

This is my second post for that recipe seems familar blog event. This dish was a perfect weeknight dinner and it does features noodles! However, I did make lots of changes to make it gluten free, to add protein and to use what we had in the food co-op. Hope it still qualifies!

Mee Goreng
I kind of combined elements from vegan about town's two posts on mee goreng, both here and here. I've noted the changes below.

500g Hokkien noodles  1 packet of 454 grams (16oz) rice noodles (Kong Moon rice sticks)
2 clove garlic (crushed or minced) (we increased this)
3 tomatoes (cut into small wedges) (we increased this)
2 bulbs bok choy (leaves cut in half or thirds, stalks sliced length-ways) 1 bunch of silverbeet
half a cup of bean shoots (tails off)
1 carrot (julienned)
1 potato (steamed and julienned) 2 packets of fried tofu
1 or 2 red chillis (sliced into rounds) 3 tablespoons of dried chillies

Sauce: ( I think I ended up timing this recipe below by about 6)
4 or five shakes of vegetarian oyster sauce tiny bit of hoisin sauce
5 shakes dark soy sauce (used regular gf soy sauce)
a little bit of kejap manis
1 tspish tomato sauce
some chilli sauce
1 tsp sugar

Combine together the hoisin, soy sauce, sugar, kejap manis, and tomato sauce, and add a few shakes of chilli sauce.

Soak the noodles in hot water for until soft with rice noodles this took about 15-20 minutes (with hokkien its is much much quicker) then drain and set aside

Heat up the wok, and coat the insides with a thin layer of oil. Throw in the garlic and chilli, and fry for a minute or two. Add the tofu and fry for a few minutes then remove tofu and set aside. Add a teaspoon or three of water to the wok,  throw in the tomatoes and silverbeet and replace the lid. There should not be a lot of water, only enough to keep it steaming!

After a minute or three, throw in the noodles, tofu and the sauce. Put the lid on for a minute and leave to make lots of noises. When you next take off the lid, and try to toss the noodles, they should have started sticking to the wok, because all the liquid has dried up. This is good, but don't get too complacent! Alternate between tearing the noodles up off the wok, and leaving to burn, for about another two or three minutes.

Serve hot.

Excuse the ugly photo, I was starving and just wanted to eat it immediately:

We eat a lot of noodles in this house but this was the first time that we fried them with the lid on. I loved this but I really think that rice noodles doesn't work as well so I recommend going with the hokkien if you can eat wheat instead. I'm not sure which variation in this recipe meant that we needed a lot more sauce, so taste accordingly.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Salted Caramel Ice Cream- That Recipe Seems Familar

Planet VeGMeL is a a collection of Melbourne veg blogs, so you can read all of the blog posts in one place. To celebrate planet vegmel's 2nd birthday there is a blog event called that recipe seems very similar where we you try a recipe from one of the melbourne veg blogs and blog about it. There will also be a celebratory potluck held.

I'm hoping to do a couple of these posts, but given that it also coincides with Toby's birthday this week I'm not sure how we will go time wise. For my first attempt, it's probably no surprise that I went with a dessert- a ice cream dessert because I am just a tad obsessed with making dairy free ice cream. I chose cindy's salted caramel ice cream which I had the pleasure of trying at her ice cream potluck last year.

 Vegan salted caramel icecream
(adapted from David Lebovitz's salted butter caramel icecream from wheres the beef

mix-in toffee
spray oil
100g castor sugar
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, ideally some fancy fleur de sel

300g castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (again, fleur de sel preferable)
60g Nuttelex or other vegan margarine
2 x 400mL cans coconut milk
1 generous tablespoon arrowroot
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a baking tray with paper and spray it lightly with oil.  To make the toffee, place the sugar in a saucepan and melt it over moderate, even heat.  Don't stir it too often or vigorously, but go ahead and shift the liquid bits out of the way to encourage the solid bits to melt quicker.  Continue cooking the sugar until it is all liquid and brown, until it just starts smoking.

As efficiently as you can, sprinkle the salt over the caramel and pour it all onto the baking tray.  Lift and tilt the tray to get the thinnest layer of toffee you can - it doesn't have to be a pretty shape or single sheet.  Set it aside to set completely.

Now for the custard!  Repeat exactly the same caramel-making process with the sugar in a medium-large saucepan.  Take it off the heat when it's time to add the salt, and whisk in the margarine too.  Next, gradually whisk in the coconut milk.  Return the saucepan to a moderate heat to help evenly melt the coconut fat through the mix.  The caramel may harden again but be patient, it will re-melt over the heat.  Sift in a generous tablespoon of arrowroot and bring the mixture to the boil. Take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Cool the mixture, refrigerating it overnight so that it's completely chilled.

When the custard is ready, churn it in an icecream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Crumble the toffee into little pieces (DL suggests 1cm in size) and stir it into the finished frozen custard.  Transfer it all to a container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

I followed the recipe exactly except I couldn't find fleur de sel in Brunswick so used maldon salt flakes instead but I don't think it made a huge difference. It is so so so so amazing, definitely up there with my favourite ice creams of all time. However, be warned it is super sweet so avoid if you a wuss when it comes to sweet things. The ice cream base has a lovely caramel flavour but I particularly loved the salted toffee, am thinking about doubling the toffee and adding it to vanilla ice cream next time so that it can be an even bigger star. I had planned to bring this to the potluck but who was I kidding? I can't share this,  IT'S ALL MINE!!!! (said in evil character voice followed by evil laugh).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Toby's Singapore Noodles

Singapore style noodles are not from Singapore but are actually from Hong Kong. Toby has been playing around with this recipe for a while and this is our favourite version so far and is my latest savoury obsession. I would have it every night if I could but Toby is being the voice of reason and reminded me that with all of the frying it is isn't the healthiest. I love that it's mild enough that we can eat it but spicy enough to have just a little bit of kick. I always add more soy sauce to mine because I love salty food so feel free to play around with it to suit your tastes. We use whatever veggies we have in the food co- op box and generally use greens but didn't have any today.

1.5 tablespoon of sesame seeds, toasted
1 packet of 454 grams (16oz) rice noodles (we use Kong Moon rice sticks)
2 packets of 300 grams fried firm tofu, sliced into strips (we use yensons)
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 
1  medium capscisum, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2-3 tablespoons of curry powder
a pinch to 1/2 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes (start with less)
1/4 cup of vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
a splash of sesame oil
a splash of G/F soy sauce
tumeric powder (optional for colour)
salt and white pepper to taste
  1. Soak rice noodles in enough hot water to cover until they are soft, roughly 20 minutes. 
  2. Marinate tofu, carrots and capsicum in splash of sesame oil and soy sauce and with the chilli flakes for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Toast sesame seeds in dry pan and put to side.
  4. Fry onion until soft in vegetable oil, add curry powder and fry until it is combined and fragrant.
  5. Add tofu and vegies to fry pan and fry until vegetables are soft.
  6. Drain rice noodles, rinse with cold water and add to pan.
  7. Mix well and add stock.Stir and fry until stock is absorbed.
  8. Add salt (or soy sauce) and white pepper to taste. Serve with sesame seeds and sesame oil.
Ideally you should cook everything on high in a wok, if you have a small frypan or wok you might want to half this recipe. We have a gigantic frypan but look at how full it is without the noodles:

Serves 4-6. Toby is a big eater so it only serves 4 in our household but could serve 6 regular eaters. We always make enough for 4 so we can have leftovers for lunch the following day.

Chef suggestion: enjoy with pu-erh tea or cola


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chat for Tea Vegetarian Tea Garden

Dan and I embarked on an op shopping tour of Ballarat a few weeks ago and Toby tagged along just so that he could go to Chat for Tea, because we have been talking about checking it out for a few years now. Chat for Tea is as the name suggests a vegetarian cafe which sells lots of tea, just without a garden part. Most of the menu items can be made vegan and they were quite gluten free friendly which is kind of rare for asian vegetarian places. Toby and I shared the laksa which was very mild which suited us fine, however Dan wanted more chilli in hers. To make it gluten free they left out the mock meat, I enjoyed this but there was only a small amount of tofu-perhaps 3 small squares for this large bowl which was a tad disappointing.

We also got the nutty rice and tofu, I was expecting a satay dish so was surprised by this coconuty almost sweet sauce with very little peanut flavour. However, we still enjoyed it, Toby said it reminded him of  'Portuguese sauce' dishes he would get in Hong Kong.

And of course we had to sample tea, I got some mango sencha which had a mild mango flavour but a lovely scent and Toby got some oolong tea which he enjoyed.  They had plenty of flavours to choose from, next time I am going to try the peach sencha as I love sencha!

Overall, it's a cute little place and definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, the food was good but not amazing. I do wonder if the gluteny dishes are a tad more exciting. Ballarat had some great op shops, however be warned that they most of them close super early on Saturdays like 12-1!


Chat for Tea Vegetarian Tea Garden
25 Armstrong Street

Read other reviews by vegan about town , bites and travels and Jess cookbook.