Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blissful Bites

Things have been a bit hectic in our household, as we prepare for our trip whilst doing a large and much needed spring clean. Partially because we have house sitter and also because Toby starts studying full time when we return.

But I have to tell you about my new fave cookbook. I often get a new cookbook and made a few things and then leave it on the shelves for inspiration but don't actually make much out of it. There has been a few exceptions though like vegan cupcakes take over the world and vegan scoop. However, I'm obsessed with my new cookbook because its healthy, gf friendly, meals are generally pretty quick and don't require too many weird ingredients. I've been particuarly drawn to the recipes with seaweed in them. It's only been a few weeks since I received it and I've already made:

Land and Sea Soba Salad:

Fiesta quinoa salad:

Spring kale salad with sweet miso dressing, almost forgot to take a photo!

Tempeh 'fish' tacos with mango peach salsa:

And not your usual pad thai with an apricot almond sauce.

I can't decide which recipe to post. So let me know which one you are interested in and I'll blog about the one with the most votes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

G/F Hong Kong and Macau Tips?

Gung Hay Fat Choy or Happy Chinese New Year!

Toby and I are off to Hong Kong and Macau in Feb and while we are both kind of familar with the vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong. This will be my first time going to Hong Kong and eating gluten free.

I have to admit I'm a little nervous about my eating options since coeliac disease really is a foreign concept and wheat is in soy sauce and most Chinese sauces. 

Does anyone know of any gluten free friendly options in either place?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cashew Nectarine Popsicles

I do actually have lots of new savoury dishes to talk about, but can't be bothered talking about cookedmeals when I'm sooooooooo hot.

So this is  actually supposed to be cashew peach popsicles but apparently I don't know fruit at all because I accidentally grabbed nectarines and it wasn't until I went home that I realised. I went ahead with the recipe anyway and they were still delicious but I bet peaches would be much better.

Cashew Nectarine Popsicles adapted from Veggie Wedgie:

3-4 Nectarines
30gr raw cashews
2 tbsp agave syrup (adjust according to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Soak the cashew in some water for 1 hour to soften them. Roughly chop nectarines. Place all ingridents in blender. Blend on high until well combined.

Makes 3 small popsicles.

Pour the mix in ice pop molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

It still had some tiny cashew chunks which I liked, I like a bit of texture in icecream or popsicles. I enjoyed these but next time I will actually make these with peaches instead.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Raw Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This is so easy quick healthy and tasty. The chocolate is a little less intense than regular dark chocolate so it doesn't overpower the flavour of the strawberries. These lasted a few days in our fridge.

Dark chocolate covered strawberries from Better Raw (will try the white chocolate next time )

1 punnet of strawberries, washed and dried.

Dark Chocolate (we had a lot of chocolate left so feel free to halve this recipe)
1 Cup Cacao Butter, melted
1 Cup Cacao Power
1/3 Cup Agave
Pinch Salt

Add cacao powder to the melted cacao butter and stir until no more lumps remain. Add the agave and salt and stir well. Dip strawberries one at a time, holding onto tails and rotating your hand slightly to create even coverage

Place each strawberry on a non stick tray and place in the fridge until chocolate sets.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Massaged Kale Avocado Salad

I had felt inspired this week by meeting the charismatic, sweet and enthusiastic raw chef Lisa from Vegan Culinary Crusade. We had a few meals together and I watched her give a talk on the healing power of plant foods. While I knew a lot of the info and references such as the china study. I still learnt a lot about new research into the benefits of vegan diet, and the horrible health consequences of eating dairy and animal protein. Both the talk and general conversations with her had me reflecting on all sorts of things, like my current diet.

It's coming up to my 10 year anniversary of being vegan in a few months. I started out as a pretty healthy vegan but as more and more processed vegan foods become available, they started to become part of my regular diet. I really have become a bit of  junk food vegan. I get how it happens, I guess I want to show myself and others that you don't need to miss out on fried foods, creamy ice creams, decadent cakes etc. But we really are doing a bit of a disservice to ourselves. If we are eating large amounts of sugar, fat, oil etc we can still end up with some of the diseases of affluence. Not only can it make us unwell but also gives veganism a bad name since if a vegan gets sick, veganism always gets blamed.

I took Lisa to radical grocery and she got the last bunch of kale and told me about the salad she was going to make for dinner. I was intrigued about it as she explained that by massaging the kale with certain ingredients it becomes wilted almost like it has been cooked. With the hot heather returning to Melbourne today, I couldn't resist giving it a try. I know kale salads are big on overseas vegan blogs but kale is still a pretty rare ingredient here and I think in the past I overlooked these recipes as I wasn't interested in what I thought to be boring and bland salads.

I massaged the kale as I watched project runway and was so amazed at the change in texture and size, it decreased by almost half. If you are looking for kale in Melbourne you can sometimes find it at radical grocery, and fruit peddlers. I have also been told that it is available at  psarkos in Thornby and LaManna Direct in Essendon.

Anyway, the salad was great, the avocado adds a bit of creaminess, the massaging takes away the bitterness of the kale, the capsicum provides a tiny bit of sweetness. Its also quick and doesn't require turning on the oven/stove on hot days. I'm certainly going to make this again and am going to experiment with other massaged kale salads. Do you have any fav kale salad recipes?

Kale Avocado Salad  from Vegan Culinary Crusade

1 bunch of kale
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 (or 2) Avocado/s
1/2 red pepper (I used a whole one), juliened
2 spring onions, chopped

1. Tear up the leaves from a bunch of kale into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl
2. Add olive oil, sea salt and lemon.
3. Massage everything together for a couple of minutes (the kale should change texture to become almost wilted)
4. Peel and pit an avocado/s. Mash the avocado flesh into the kale, to coat the leaves.
5. Top with red pepper and spring onion.

Serves 4 (as side)

I'm labelling this as raw, as you just need to sub the olive oil.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pina Colada Popsicles

On the 42 degree day we retreated to a small shopping centre to see a movie and just hang out and escape from our very hot house. I had a mission to get some popsicles moulds so we could make popiscles or as we call it here icy poles. I wanted to get some cute shaped ones but the only ones I could find were these cheap ones from target. They aren't as cute as the others but do the job and have a small little end to sip the melted bits when you get to the end.

This is so similar to my pina colada ice cream that I hesitated about posting it but the texture is really different, much more icy and you don't need a ice cream maker!

Pina Colada Popsicles/Icy Poles from good bite

Makes 4
1 cup organic unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened, un-sulfured shredded coconut (I left this out)
1 cup fresh pineapple, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon Agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract (I left this out too)

Combine all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth and creamy. Divide mixture into four (4-ounce) Popsicle molds. Freeze for 4 hours and serve.

Heres rilakkuma (relax bear) posing with one:

They are sweet, creamy and quite refreshing!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Almost Raw Blueberry Cheesecake

I've been doing pretty well with the reduced sugar resolution by trying to focus more on fruit and occasionally eating desserts like this. But its only 10 days in, so will see how I go.

The original recipe was called bluberry cardamon cheesecake and asked for lots of cardamon but I was worried I was going to overdo it so the cardamon ended up being so subtle that you couldn't really notice it.

Bluberry Cheesecake by Sweetly Raw.

1 cup walnuts (I used almonds)
2/3 cup pitted, packed dates

Grind both ingredients together in a food processor.
Add 1 teaspoon of water if the mixture is too crumbly.
Press the crust into pan/s of choice. I used a pie plate but think mini ones would be cuter. Set aside.


3 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (can use much more for strong flavour)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons melted cacao butter

In a blender, combine all but the cacao butter, until completely smooth and creamy. 
Add the butter and blend again to incorporate. 
Pour the mixture over the crust(s)
Chill in the fridge or freezer until firm.

I loved this recipe, it makes such a rich dessert that you don't need to eat much. I love the colour too. It does make quite a lot so feel free to halve the recipe unless you are sharing. I think its pretty similar to yongs's blueberry cheesecake although perhaps not quite as solid in texture on top.
We shared some with our friend Eve while she taught us mahjong and still had lots leftover for the next 3 days. Mahjong is hard and I currently suck at it, although I did win one round with this hand with lots of help from Eve: