Kitteh-heavy Vegan MoFo 2013 Wrap-Up

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I fell behind in MoFo-ing a little. This has been my busiest month of the year since driving halfway across the continent for 4 long damn days. So, in an effort to redeem myself, I give you: my (short-ish) answers to all of the 30 writing prompts… almost.

Your Origin Story (what led you to become vegan?)
I wanted to go vegetarian since I was about 10 because I loved animals and thought raw meat was a pretty gross and obviously cruel. I tried going veg at 19 when I went off to university, and a doctor told me I had a cold and would stay sickly because I was lacto-ova vegetarian, so I quit. (This is also why I don’t pay a lot of heed to doctors in-general these days! With very few exceptions.) At around 23-24, I woke up after a dream (I can’t remember now) and hopped straight on the internet to order go vegetarian starter kits and google all the things. I also had a vegan pal on Livejournal inspiring me. A year later, after Vipassana meditation and reading Animal Liberation while travelling around Asia (and missing the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Phuket/Phang Gna by mere hours), both myself and my boyfriend (now husband) went vegan: for the animals, although we were incredibly impressed with the fitness improvements as rockclimbers, and the significant impact that ditching animal products – especially dairy – had.

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Share your first experience cooking with tofu.
I remember my 1st experience eating tofu! I was about 10-12 years old, and we had a Buddha’s hotpot at my grandpa’s favourite Vietnamese-Chinese restaurant. It was really spongy tofu, and people were complaining about how weird it was, but I thought the texture was freakin’ cool… But also, the earliest cooking experience I can think of: tofu scramble from Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking For Everyone.

A food / ingredient you didn’t used to like but now you do, how did the transition happen? (Mine is pickles, Isa’s is Celery!)
I never ate avocado before I was vegan. I thought it was slimy. When I went vegan it started turning up in dips and burgers and on toast, and it just wasn’t slimy at all. Who the heck gave me slimy avocado when I was a kid is what I want to know?! All those years without avocado in my life: sad.

Five vegan foods you cannot live without.
Mushrooms, bananas, kale, coconut, avocado.

Five kitchen utensils or gadgets you cannot live without.
High-speed blender, food processor, bigass sharp knife, grater, and my twirly whirly spiral slicer/spiralizer – I don’t use it often enough, but it’s oodles of noodles of FUN.

What was your first vegan cookbook?
Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking For Everyone – I found it in a bookshop and was totally STOKED and had to buy it. This was probably in 2005, right before the great vegan cookbook explosion. Pre-Isa, even!

Pick a historical figure and discuss what you might cook for them.
Leonardo da Vinci. Scrambled tofu, with many awesome brunchy sides. Because vegan breakfasts are the best, and a good scramble with Italian herbs, MMMMMMM. Also because I am a tad obsessed with how cool his brain must’ve been. Rumour has it he was a veghead, and I want to know.

Tell us about a herb you use in a unique way.
Toast with vegemite/marmite (that tar-like salty yeast extract only Australians seem to love), slices of tomato, and fresh thyme or mixed dry herbs on top. That’s a little odd, I think. But I’m always trying to shove green things onto everything. Greens greens greens.

Take us on a (pictoral or video) tour of your kitchen.
I’ll do this in an upcoming post… In the meantime, here’s a Fuji pic:

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What’s your newest foodie discovery and how did you discover it?
Dulse seaweed in place of salt/soy sauce on all sorts of things: a winner. Also, I’m still pretty hung up on the rosewater-ish taste of a papaya + strawberry smoothie.

Your vegan heroines / heroes.
Joaquin Phoenix. He amuses me no end.

Is there something you do in the kitchen that you know you’re not supposed to (knives in the dishwasher, soap on cast iron etc)
Knives in the dishwasher. Yep, that’s me. Oops. I know, I know. Bad lady.

Hidden vegan gems in your town, city or village.
Did you see my From Earth And Water pics? Whoa mama.

Veganise a local speciality / food that’s popular in your area.
Coming up in a post soon… In the meantime, KITTEH:

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Veganise a family recipe.
We’ve done rather good vegan croissants, and they’re coming up very soon on this blog! Method, recipes, the whole process.

What’s the best vegan meal you’ve ever eaten?
Possibly in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, before I was vegan. There was a restaurant who had a huge menu, and you could order anything with dead meat or faux-meat. ANYTHING. That was a big unreal meal.

Describe your fantasy meal, money and time are not an issue!
An awful lot of vegan crème brûlée that doesn’t fill me up so I can eat more without feeling too stuffed/ill.

What’s your favourite accidentally vegan product?
I don’t really have one… I’m not very impressed with processed food, I tend to do 99% of meals from scratch, so hmm. Once upon a time it might have been Tofutti Cream Cheese (not all Tofutti products are vegan)… wait, wait. Any dark chocolate that’s vegan!… which really isn’t an accident, it’s just properly-made chocolate, isn’t it?

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How do you feel about leftovers?
Fuck yeah, easy meal time.

Your top five vegan products (including clothing, cleaning supplies, make up, shoes, soap, whatever)
Ok, in the non-food department – Alba cocoa butter moisturiser: smells like vanilla marshmallow. Everyday Minerals make up. I love my old blue Montrails I bought from Vegan Essentials several years ago, but they’re starting to fall apart! (Like a filthy hipster, I might have to invest in some Vibrams.) No Miss nail polish in silly colours. Lush Demon in the Dark soap.

Your five favourite cookbooks.
This changes a lot. So currently: Thrive, A Vegan Taste of France, Appetite For Reduction, Ani’s Raw Food Desserts, Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional.

Your top five store cupboard essentials?
Apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sprouting seeds (alfalfa, lentils, fenugreek, beans), red lentils, buckwheat (for sprouting and grinding into flour)

Post a picture of a cat!
I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

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What’s the first vegan meal you ever cooked from scratch?
It was probably either a vegan Thai curry night we did once for our vegan friend and a bunch of other non-vegan friends before we were vegan, or it might have been a homemade pasta with marinara sauce night for friends… It was over 8 years ago, guys! Memory fail! *pops some B-12* We’ve always been from-scratch sorts of people, a tad more difficult to pinpoint. I cooked vegan pasta and homemade sauce for years before I went vegan, so. Shrug?

When is the last time someone cooked for you and what did they make?
My housemate and Notzarella-maker, Angela! She made stirfry with potatoes, eggplant, greens, small capsicum peppers, crumbled tofu, in a great sauce. You know that sort of flavour that tastes like the best Chinese take-out you’ve ever had? Like that, but with extra homemade tastiness. Angela lived near Beijing growing up. She knows her stuff… It was a really good lunch, damn it.

888824149 3d5d60e867 m Kitteh heavy Vegan MoFo 2013 Wrap UpDo a cookbook challenge!
I’m about to do Thrive for a change of pace! The cover says it contains 100 recipes. It has heaps of mad combos like popped amaranth and rooibos tea in pizza bases… Let’s do this thing.

Throw cookbook names into a hat, use a random number generator to pick a page and make whatever comes up.
I shut my eyes and picked a book off my messy shelf: classic! How It All Vegan! by Sarah Kramer.
Random page: p130! Applesauce Muffins. I can do that. I’ll Hipstagram pics tomorrow.

Your favourite vegan food pairings (Yes, we kinda pinched this one from Vegetarian Times!)
Some basic wholefood stuff: avocado and thyme, tomato and rosemary, pineapple and ginger, bananas and carob/cacao, oranges and pecans, watermelon and mint, papaya and strawberry, sautéed mushrooms and silverbeet, pineapple and kale… All pretty simple, I know. Have you looked up Food Pairing on Wikipedia? Intimidating and/or cray cray… Don’t get me started on molecular gastronomy. Can’t even.

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Talk about your favourite place to buy vegetables.
My fave in the Northern Territory: Rapid Creek Markets: so much super-fresh tropical and Asian food! But here? There’s a bulk produce outlet a town over. There’s a nice market at Byron/Bangalow but that’s a 90 minute drive. Nothing as spectacular as what we had in the tropical end of the Outback… but I don’t miss bitter melons – aren’t they just the most disgusting thing ever? Horrific. No, just no.

Your ultimate cooking playlist.
Late 90s/early 00s indie and various fun poppish junk, baby… Actually I usually listen to swing jazz (Ella!) or Jean Sibelius.

What’s your killer dish when you’re cooking for non-vegans?
Curry, curry, curry. Pretty much Thai food. That’s what happens when Ye Olde Husbandie went to cooking school in Chiang Mai.

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Goodbye, MoFo 2013. Meow.

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Potato waffles are a thing? Vegan finds, compulsive purchasing…

So apparently savoury potato mini-waffles are a thing now, at least according to a nearby European-owned stupormarket… They’re new to me, anyway!

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Have you seen these things before?

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They’re almost ok with dahl and stuff… almost.

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But they’re not super.
Aren’t waffles supposed to have indents,
not holes punched right through them?

I found these on a quick jaunt through an Aldi store, and was all, “Potato what-now?” I checked the ingredients, then was all, “OMG VEGAN MUST BUY BECAUSE VEGAN.” Normally this is not something I would buy. These mini-waffle things were a bit greasy, like oven-bake fries. The directions say to oven-bake or deep-fry(!) so I baked. Not potatoey enough for my taste, too fluffy, oily, processed-tasting, etc.

Do you ever buy daft food products just because they’re vegan? Found any gems? Or anything absolutely appalling?

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They weren’t a total waste.
They provided fuel for some ballet!

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10 Refreshing Spring Breakfasts!

Welcome the warmer months with FRUIT YOU GUYS ALL THE FRUIT… Okay, yes. After the winter, the best fruits start to emerge. First papayas, then mangoes, mulberries on our tree, and early summer stone fruit.

My Top 10 Favorite Spring Breakfasts!

1. Watermelon! Watermelon! I love, you love, watermelon! Blended up with some mint. Yummy.

2. Papaya and strawberry smoothie: end-of-season strawberries meet start-of-season papayas for a rosewater flavour straight from Eden.

9684216032 ab9d283e14 n 10 Refreshing Spring Breakfasts!3. Kiwi feast: stuff in as many soft, ripe kiwis are possible. About a dozen should do it!

4. Citrus-herb water to start: slice up a lemon or limes, maybe an orange, too, stuff all the slices into a big jug or jar along with some leafy pungent herbs like basil or mint, and fill with water. Leave overnight in the fridge, and drink first thing in the morning to add a fresh zing to your day! Then on to a super-thick banana cinnamon smoothie/custard poured over a bowl of chopped fruit, probably.

5. Arugula/rocket is really nice at this time of the year: whip up a savoury breakfast, like a tofu scramble or a nut scramble or marinated/sautéd mushrooms, and serve it on a big olde bed of arugula, preferably from your own garden! Homegrown arugula has a wonderful pepper to it.

6. Mulberries, blueberries, raspberries: whatever berries you can get your hands on: tossed in a bowl with ground flaxseed, chopped dark chocolate or cacao nibs, a pinch of maca and cinnamon. Oh yeah.

7. Choc-cherry coconut smoothie with flaxseed towards the end of spring: just like a cherry ripe, only good for you, the animals, and the planet!

8. End-of-season navel oranges + frozen pineapples: nice and sunshiney, to welcome the brighter days. Throw in some kale for a green kick! Throw in some dates and pecans and vanilla for a yummy milky-praline taste.

9534581041 86578baa37 n 10 Refreshing Spring Breakfasts!9. Mangoes? But hold on, guys. Have you waited long enough? Do they smell sugary, pungent, and ripe enough? Then grab yourself some! Make sure you wait because the early ones can be a bit weak… But now that you’ve been a bit patient and you’ve got your hands on some of the first good ones of the season: roughly chop some dates and nuts up in the food processor to make a chunky sticky crust, stir in some vanilla and coconut flakes, and toss that sticky chunks with some diced up mango: voilà! Easy mango crumble!

10. New potatoes are on the way in! Leave on the paper-thin skins and boil them up, cool them off and drizzle with zesty-lemony cashew cream whizzed up in the blender… Potato salad for breakfast? Am I crazy? Toss some shallots/spring onions and dill on top and find out! I dare ya. This would probably go nicely with the citrus-herb water I mentioned earlier. icon smile 10 Refreshing Spring Breakfasts!

Springtime is zingtime.

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Don’t sleep in every day and miss out on morning noms!

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Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcakes

Some Breaking Bad love for VeganMofo‘s TV Tuesday!

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I admit, this isn’t my usual fare, but I made these to celebrate that Breaking Bad has reminded us all what the medium of television is capable of: awesomeness at around 99% purity. Maybe even a touch beyond that. White gold.

Someone else is going to have to eat these monstrosities because I don’t do drugs or junk food as a general rule… but these are vegan AND oil-free AND gluten-free! Way more pure than regular old street cupcakes, obvs. So I might have to try one. Just this once. I give unto thee, for great dramatic television celebratory purposes only:

Blue Meth Cupcakes

Blue Meth Crystals (Blue Toffee/Hard Candy)

9910145663 db6c6b50bb n Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcakes500g (Walter) white sugar
3/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon of pulp-free lemon juice or (Walter) white vinegar
a few drops of blue food colour

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar completely dissolves, like a body in a… never mind.

Bring to the boil, without stirring, and cook until syrup goes clear then begins to change colour – don’t brown too much/overcook or your crystal won’t be blue (… I’m serious, you guys). Remove from heat and cool until bubbles settle.

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Pour into cookie sheet lined with aluminium foil (or greased). Set aside to set. But you’ll need to use it soon, don’t bury it out in the desert or anything. Try not to spill any blue meth on the floor while cracking it. I have blue meth between my toes right now. Weird feeling, dudes.

Another handy tip: if you haven’t made hard candy or toffee before, check out this how-to. If you’re not confident, you might want to go the sugar thermometer route. Also, this recipe makes A LOT of meth but it has a long shelf life and it’s fun for Halloween -coming up soon!

Altered vanilla cupcake recipe from PPK:

9910157544 fc03c007c3 n Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcakes1 cup homemade almond milk/other plant-based milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose (gluten-free) flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or canola oil)
3/4 cup sugar (doesn’t have to be (Walter) white)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1-2 drops vanilla liquid stevia

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Whisk the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.

Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl and mix. Beat together the milk mixture, applesauce (or oil), sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Combine all ingredients in one bowl, stirring until no large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20-22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Frosting/Icing

2 cups powdered confectioners/icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract/1 drop vanilla liquid stevia
a little plant-based milk

Mix until smooth. I am the one who knocks.

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Final Cook

When the meth has set, hit it with a mortar/rolling pin/hammer-like device (like it owes you something and won’t pay the bill) until it breaks into shards. You might want to pick out some choice larger shards because they’re pretty, before knocking out some dustier small bits.

9909817534 f59c05f12e n Breaking Bad Blue Meth CupcakesWhen the cupcakes are cool, spread the frosting/icing on top. Sprinkle with blue crystals. Voilà! Go offend some people who’ve never seen the show by offering them a blue meth cupcake or surf the sugar rush with another Breaking Bad buddy. These might be good for Halloween… Having a party? Don’t forget to give out baggies of meth for the adult-kids to take home afterwards.

Storage: Refrigerate. I wanted to leave them on the counter. Bitch! Oh, I’m sorry, oh, the “work station.” Jesus.

(Sorry.)

Inspired by this random forum post that popped up in my Twitter feed, but no recipe there and not vegan.


A Happy Ending/Together At Last…

I think Breaking Bad has pointedly shown us the drug industry is incredibly uncool to humans while being an enormously cool piece of television suitable for human consumption. And vegans have shown the world that animal exploitation is nasty and vegan cupcakes are awesome… How deep do you think it is? Pretty deep.

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Have a relaxing cuppa after a hard day at work
with a side of blue meth cupcake, before getting
down and dirty and digging up the yard, yes?

Alterations

Swirling blue dye through the cupcake batter is the first thing that comes to mind… but food dye icks me out a bit! So. Blueberries? Otherwise…

If you want to try to healthify these up a bit (difficult), you might try subbing a mix of brown rice flour, quinoa flour, and starch for store-bought all-purpose gluten-free flour. Switching white/other sugar for coconut sugar might be another nice idea. But darker sugar in the blue meth portion of the recipe will increase the risk of getting a green-ish final product. That simply won’t do, especially if you’re thinking of exporting to Europe.

Or, you know what, guys? These are meth cupcakes. The whole premise doesn’t scream healthy, now, does it? Take a night off, won’t you? Just this once. Sure, they’re a bit processed but they’re cholesterol-free and virtually fat-free. Even if you use the oil, it’s probably not going to do any damage to your fine-ass vegan self. Jesus Christ, Marie, they’re minerals: you drink plenty of those for breakfast right? Yo, green smoothie me, bitch.

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Sepia tones! We must be in Mexico!

Halloween candy cupcakes not enough? Want a bigger Breaking Bad hit? Try building your very own Breaking Bad meth lab… in Lego for Christmas. Heck yes.

Vegan cupcakes, bitch.

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Vegan Pizza Favourites

Every pizza enthusiast has their own way of throwing together pizzas, their own topping preferences. My basic method: I like a good marinara sauce on the bottom with some onion and garlic, a HUGE amount of chopped greens on top of that (makes the pizza taste “fresher”!), a light sprinkle of cheese to hold those together, and a thick covering of my favourite seasonal and perennial fruit and veg on top, followed by another sprinkling of cheese.

9867374253 8829c9811a n Vegan Pizza FavouritesOther people go lighter on toppings, some people like diced toppings and others like big old chunky chunks. Some folks like thick bases, some like thin, some like mini-pizzas some like a pizza that wouldn’t fit in most standard ovens! Some people like making wholemeal or spelt bases, others gluten-free, and some go for a dehydrated raw zucchini-flaxseed base with fresh raw toppings on top!

Whatever your preference, the end product is always fairly darn delicious. In fact, if you’re like me, you change your pizza preferences fairly often. One month you’re making a crunchy raw pizza on a lettuce leaf in the tropics, and the next you’re baking it up and melting cheese all over the oven in a southern hemisphere winter! Right now, it’s Spring in the southern hemisphere, and I’m just coming out of a baked pizza phase, and I’m starting to get a hankering for some sacralicious salady raw pizza… but before I head off in that healthy-monkey direction, I thought I’d tell you about my recent favourite pizzas! I might have to do a monthly update on how I’m progressing with this artform, yes?

Top 5 Toppings
    Mushrooms
    Tomatoes
    Spinach/Silverbeet
    Marinated tempeh
    Olives

9867288813 30a489ddf6 n Vegan Pizza FavouritesSome Seasonal Favourites
    Fresh pineapple
    Basil and cherry tomatoes
    Arugula
    Eggplant (slices as bases for mini-pizzas)

Herbs & Spices
    Thyme
    Rosemary (with sweet potato!)
    Oregano
    Marjoram
    Garlic
    Sriracha drizzled all over that thing, baby

Cheesy Favourites
    Notzarella: it melts, you guys, and it’s cheese designed for pizzas.
    Vegan parmesan: for a piquant bite, a mix of ground sesame, almonds, and miso paste
    Cashew cream cheese: as a second layer of sauce!

Other-Than-Fruit-&-Veg Favourites
    Tempeh seasoned with soy and garlic
    Tofu seasoned with nooch, sea salt, and black pepper
    Refried bean paste as the pizza sauce, with minced up tofu or crumbled tempeh or whole beans on top, along with capsicum and cashew sour cream

Fave Combos
    The interesting one: arugula, cashew cream cheese, pear, pinenuts, marinara sauce, red onions
    The wholesome starchy one: roasted sweet potato and potatoes, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sea salt
    The big olde fruity one: pineapple, tofu jerky, mushrooms, tomato, olives, basil, garlic, Notza, BBQ sauce

Did I miss anything?! What does your favourite vegan pizza look like?

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New Books! New Books! V Is for Vegan and Thrive

New books and tomorrow’s watermelony breakfast!

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The kid’s are excited about V Is for Vegan – Ruby Roth’s books have such stunning illustrations, and this one is particularly cute as it’s designed for younger readers, aged 3-7. Check out WeDontEatAnimals.com for more info…

… and I’m excited about Thrive! Recommended for athletes during my Plant-Based Nutrition course via Cornell/T Colin Campbell Foundation, Brendan Brazier’s book is sure to help me cope better with Insanity workouts and recovery and create some more zing. The forward in this edition is by Hugh Jackman as well: “I have noticed increased energy and more restful sleep. My desire for sugar and salt is waning, and what’s more, I am following these recipes, and loving them.” I’m going to turn into lady-Wolverine any day now. Yep! Sure thing, bro.

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Oil-Free Maple Banana Bread Muffins and Tofu Jerky, What Oil-Free Really Means, and Vegan Food Gifts!

We went for a playdate at Sarah’s place and there was some lovely vegan food on-the-go.

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Oil-free Maple Banana Bread Muffins – from The Everyday Veganrecipe on Dreena Burton’s website.

I think it’s worth pointing out – while I’m feeling pedantic! – that there’s oil in most shop-bought plant-based milks. Certainly shop-bought plant-based milks are healthier than the (cruelty-based) animal-alternatives, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol: oil is one of the only things than will raise your cholesterol on a vegan plant-based diet, particularly the tropic oils: coconut and palm – these don’t contain cholesterol but your body will make cholesterol after you consume them. If you make soy milk or nut milk at home, you can leave the oil out. If you have low cholesterol – like most long-term vegans – a tiny bit of oil here and there won’t have much effect, so it’s not a concern. It’s generally not something to worry about at all, unless you have pre-existing health problems… A pedantic side-note, as I said! “Oil-free” doesn’t necessarily mean oil-free! Just as “fat-free” means minimal fat or no overtly fatty ingredients. Check the ingredient list if you use choc-chips in banana bread, too: there’s oil and overt fats in a lot of packaged food, if not for flavour then as a thickener or filler. [Plenty more about cholesterol and oils on NutritionFacts.org]

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Tofu jerky – from Vegan Food Gifts.

vegan food gifts Oil Free Maple Banana Bread Muffins and Tofu Jerky, What Oil Free Really Means, and Vegan Food Gifts!Vegan Food Gifts is a GREAT book, worthy of capslock. I have it myself, can’t recommend it enough. Lots of fun ideas for easy and affordable personalised gifts in it. You could make a seriously shiny vegan Christmas hamper for family and friends with this book!

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Choc Green Power Smoothie

One of my favourite breakfasts, guys. It doesn’t look super-pretty because I can’t be stuffed chucking a garnish on top, but hey: tasty and healthy and BIG! Excellent breakfasting… But I can be stuffed chucking it through a filter on my smartphone in an attempt to pretty it up for this blog… Sorry about that. HEARTS.

Choc Green Power Smoothie

9779002603 ec72c69406 n Choc Green Power Smoothie

4 cups water
6 bananas
handful pitted dates
tablespoon flaxseed
3 tablespoons soaked/sprouted buckwheat
dash vanilla (extract or liquid stevia)
stalk off a bunch of broccoli
2 big handfuls of kale
4-6 tablespoons carob or cacao (or a mix of the two)
2 tsp maca powder
half tsp ground cinnamon

Blend, adding more water or ice as necessary. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, blend the water, dates, flaxseed, buckwheat, broccoli, and kale before adding the other ingredients. Makes 1-2 large servings.

You might want to use frozen bananas to keep it cool, or toss in a handful of frozen berries, or add more buckwheat for an extra protein boost if you’re into that sort of thing.


I typically use 3 parts carob to one part cacao in smoothies. The longer the tails on the buckwheat sprouts, the grassier the taste; if they’re just soaked overnight and rinsed, a high-speed blender obliterates them! But if you don’t have a monster blender, buckwheat might give a slight grit to a smoothie, like protein powder. If you are new to using greens in smoothies, use less and work your way up to using more. If greens in smoothies is old hat to you, add moar!

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Baked Broc Mac & Cheese: Macaroni Monday!

You know what’s awesome about vegan mac and cheese, besides it being vegan as well as tasty mac and cheese? It’s cholesterol-free! Bam. A significant improvement on the original. This one also only has less than 8g of fat per serve. Bam bam. And don’t cashews make just the greatest cheesy taste of all time? Bam bam bam.

I’m on a casserole jag at the moment. Spying a bag of gluten-free macaroni (at a certain German-owned stupormarket) while Vegan MoFo is doing Macaroni Mondays was rather timely… This is a lighter, lemony-fresh recipe compared to traditional or fast-foodie mac & cheeses. A generous amount of lemon juice combined with nooch and miso is halfway between a cheese tang and citrus tang – I love that. If you’re in the mood for saucier food, increase the sauce by half… or double it!

Baked Broc Mac & Cheese

Serves 8

1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cups dry macaroni or penne/ziti (I used gluten-free)
1 head broccoli florets
4 tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Sauce
9778590182 ec25ea3f8c n Baked Broc Mac & Cheese: Macaroni Monday!2 cups water
half cup raw cashews
half cup lemon juice
half cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 clove garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp light miso paste
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp corn or tapioca starch

Optional topping
1-2 cup breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free bread)
a sprinkle of grated vegan cheese (Notzarella)
1 tsp mixed dry herbs

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Mist a 3L/3-quart shallow rectangular casserole (lasagne) dish with cooking oil or use a non-stick.

Cook the macaroni according to packet directions. Add broccoli for the last few minutes of cooking. While the pasta is cooking, heat a non-stick saucepan (or mist the pan with oil), add the onion, and water sauté the onion on medium-low heat until lightly browned. While all that’s happening, blend all the sauce ingredients together as well!

Drain the pasta and broccoli. Put the pasta and broccoli, blended sauce in the casserole dish with the chopped tomato, stir gently until the sauce is evenly distributed. Add salt and pepper to taste, if necessary (I didn’t use any, our miso is salty enough, and the generous amount of lemon reduces the need for salt).

Add the optional topping, if using (breadcrumbs mixed with herbs scattered and pressed lightly on top, and some grated vegan cheese scattered on top of that). Bake uncovered for around 30 minutes, or until nicely toasted on top. Serve with mixed vegetables on the side.

Delish. Thank you and goodnight.

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Veganising French food en Australie, trying new vegan cheeses

All this talk of croissants has me thinking about French food. Additionally I picked up a teeny tiny 200g block of Vegusto (piquant) from a health food shop to try, with a massive $14 pricetag. Whaaaat. Admittedly I’m not used to forking enormous amounts of cash for vegan cheese, as I’m currently hosting a Notzarella maker and I make my own nut cheese – both of which are very fresh compared to something imported from Switzerland… But! I finally tried it. Piquant cheese that smells of sweaty gym socks was never my thing, but it’s ok. It’s a little bit like smokey gruyère cheese, something for putting on platters and crackers.

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veganfrance Veganising French food en Australie, trying new vegan cheeses But what to use it for besides the obvious? I thought I’d find a recipe that used stinky cheese, and I found one for vegan parmesan – a courgette (zucchini), mushroom, brown rice tian from A Vegan Taste of France – so I added double what the recipe called for, using leftover brown rice instead of long-grain white, and it turned out pretty well. (Can I ever make someone else’s recipe without making substitutions? Nope! Not very often, at least.) And the recipe said to serve the rice tian with vegetables and bread, so I made watercress soup and we had leftover homemade bread on the side. Lovely, European rustic-style stuff.

The only other vegan cheese I’m interested to try is Daiya – I’ve heard good things from my north American comrades.

I’m still planning to post our vegan croissant recipe before the end of September! Stay tuned. Will probably make them from brunch next weekend. Yum. And, speaking of animal-friendly vegan French food… I’ve formulated several theories over several years about what would make an excellent vegan crème brûlée, and I’ve even been gifted a tiny culinary blowtorch. I should get on that, too… Whether it’s the French genes in our pool or just a general I-like-messing-with-recipes (and-possibly-offending-conservative-foodies-in-the-process) kinda thing, the idea of tweaking these sorts of recipes really appeals to me.

400x84 g3 Veganising French food en Australie, trying new vegan cheeses

Bonus: Vegan parenting video with French subtitles!

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