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

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.

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Bonus: Vegan parenting video with French subtitles!

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Strawberry & Papaya Spring Smoothie

End-of-season strawberries are on-sale here, and the papayas on our trees are beginning to ripen, so I give you our…

Strawberry & Papaya Spring Smoothie

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1 medium-large ripe papaya, deseeded & peeled
500g/1lb strawberries
1-2 big ole handfuls of pitted dates (several medjool or a dozen dried Iranian)
4 frozen bananas (or more), chopped
generous dash of vanilla (extract or liquid stevia drops)
lime juice (optional)
2+ cups of water

Blend dates and papaya and strawberries in water. Add chopped frozen banana, blend until smooth, adding more water as necessary. If your papaya isn’t very flavourful (early season) or if you like extra zing, add some lime juice. If you want a thickshake, add more frozen bananas!

Makes 1 mega-serving or 2 large servings, includes approx. 405mg Vitamin C (540%), Calcium 150mg (15-25%), Iron 3mg (17%), Copper 0.5mg (53%), Manganese 1.8mg (98%), Potassium 2168mg (46%), B6 1.1mg (87%), Folate 252mcg (63%), and plenty of other stuff. Macros: 146g carbs (25g fibre), 7g protein, 2.5g fat (0.4g omega 3).

The papaya and strawberry combo gives a nice rosewater-ish flavour. Super yummy!

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Lunch at From Earth And Water

I’ve been eating out a little more frequently the last couple of weeks. We used to eat out quite a lot before we had kids… Those were the spendy vegan days! Anywho, since those relatively quiet, non-busy, carefree days have passed into lively, exciting familydom, the first raw food restaurants in Australia opened – among them fRom eArth and Water – and it’s one of our favourite vegan places to eat out now. Pretty darn impressive! Our friend Angela took us out for lunch and I took a few photos of the fancy noms…

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In the middle: a green smoothie and strawberry ginger smoothie.

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From left, clockwise: soft corn tortillas with almond feta & salsa & lime aioli,
courgette/zucchini and aged cashew cheese ravioli,
shaved fennel & almond cheese & leek & lentil salad,
mini tacos with avo salsa & mango salsa & cashew sour cream

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From top, clockwise: Raw snickers, Banana cream pie, Lime cream mango tart

The “snickers bar” cake is the greatest cake OF ALL TIME. Well, it’s certainly up there, and served with pretty darn decent raw ice-cream. Definitely worth the expense. We always come away happy with the experience, and that can’t be said of too many food joints. It is a strictly vegan place, which also can’t be said of every raw joint. It’s actually not strictly raw, as there is a slow-cooked dish on the menu. The mains on the menu are different every time we go – very seasonal eating. Good stuff!

My only criticism is that a few of the dishes are swimming in extra virgin olive oil, it interferes with the fresh flavours a tad… I should have asked for the dressing on the side, perhaps. There’s already plenty of (very nice) nut/seed-based cheese in the dishes, so this stuff is incredibly high in fat. That aside, the flavours are rather excellent, the fruit and veg is incredibly crisp and there’s not an over-reliance on oddball dehydrated foods.

From their Facebook page:

Our creative menu is inspired by the beautiful bounty of seasonal food consciously sourced from local farms free from pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. We believe in keeping food in its natural state. No pasteurised or processed ingredients, no animal products, no dairy, no wheat or gluten are ever used… Our earth-friendly philosophy extends throughout the restaurant space, using as many recycled or sustainable products as possible.

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Review & Giveaway: The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free

covergfbread Review & Giveaway: The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

Quite a few people stumble into veganism by way of researching their food because of allergies, and if you’re one of those vegans The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free will dazzle you with its crazy-huge collection of baked delights including sweet breads, muffins, cinnamon rolls, donuts, savoury crackers, biscuits, scones, tortillas, yeast breads, rolls, pitas, bagels, and pizza crusts.

Blogger and author Laurie Sadowski delivers an amazing number of recipes free from gluten, wheat, dairy, and eggs, as well free from soy, yeast, corn, tree nuts, peanut, and citrus. This book is the most comprehensive allergy/gluten-free bread baking collection I’ve seen to-date.

The array of ingredients used is incredible: this way of gluten-free eating is a way to vary your diet significantly, not restrict it! There are so many flours mixed and matched throughout this book that ye olde world wheat flours start to look pretty darn dull by comparison. With 7,000 edible plants in the world, cutting out a traditional staple can actually introduce you to a much wider of possibilities, and this book will help you explore that brave, new, healthful – and occasionally indulgent – world.

Several other allergy-free cookbooks replace gluten stretch and pliability with a huge increase in fat, occasionally sugar, too. I had to work at adapting less-processed, less-fatty pizza dough and bread recipes years ago – but with this book, the hard yards have been done. While my gluten-free recipes are simple and keep me amused, there’s a whole world of gluten-free breads I haven’t touched on, and they’re pretty much all in this book!

covercakescookies Review & Giveaway: The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

The introduction also features incredibly comprehensive information on how to interpret ingredient labels, how keep food allergens out of your environment, and get all the nutrients you need on a restricted different diet along with essential information on gluten-free flours, stocking a gluten-free pantry, and how to make substitutions for non-vegan and other problem ingredients. Additionally, Laurie also has another book out: The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes & Cookies! I bet that one is equally as shiny.


I’m not much of a baker besides the absolute basics these days, so I’m giving this book away! If you want to snare yourself a copy of The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, drop me a comment and tell me what wheaty food you’d most like to see a gluten-free adaptation of… (Croissants? Yeah, I’ve never seen that one, either!) I’ll pick a commenter at random in a week to send the book to – and I’ll ship it to any country, guys! Nom nom nom.

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Visitors from Sydney! What We Ate: Weekend Edition

Took a long weekend. Ate a lot of food. Kept rather busy. I photographed but a mere fraction of it.

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My friends from Sydney introduced us to their super-happy 7-month-old vegan baby. Extra cute-splosions all weekend. Also, Fuji the 7kg cat.

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Our housemate Angela made her amazing dumplings (from scratch! pastry and all!) and a salad from greens and herbs from our garden, my husband made Burmese-style mixed potato curry.

We went to Kuan Yin Teahouse and ate ALL THE THINGS. These were a few of our favourites (not including the tofu salad, which always gets eaten before it can be photographed in my experience).

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Taro soymilk bubble tea, bento box salt & pepper faux-fish meal, noodles, purple yam spring rolls, sweet potato wedges in fluffy cinnamon batter that tasted exactly, freakishly like cinnamon donuts!

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Mr Chuckles atop a rather excellent gecko statue pile.

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Ms Moppet and a new friend playing on a rather cool jumping castle in a sandpit.

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Some excessively-wordy low-image posts will be coming up shortly…!

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What to do with a fridge full of leftovers? Something pastalicious?

A lot – perhaps even several – of we crazed Australians, girt by sea, have been filling up the interwebs with yammer about the impending doom that may befall our fair land following our federal election that was all the haps today. Apologies. What do you get when you vote with love, a Lizard Man with a pin to bust your bubble, that’s what you get for all your trouble, so for at least until tomorrow, I’ll never vote again… However it might not be as bad as all that, if decent third party, minors, and independents grab enough Senate seats…

And I made pasta! Well, not really. I heated it up. Sort of.

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By all your fridge bowls combined, I am Captain Pastalicious!

Things that I had that needed to be used up

a bowl of cooked gluten-free pasta, half dried out, rehydrating in cold water
a bag of mushrooms, a bit dried out, sliced
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
some dry basil leaves from the garden, chopped
quarter block hard tofu, diced
about half a cup of cooked mixed beans with a splat of tomato sauce on them
half an avocado, diced

Ingredients I added to those

2 tsp vegetable stock powder (Massel)
1-2 cups water
big-ass clove of garlic (2 regular cloves)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
black pepper
sprinkle of nutritional yeast (nooch!)
dash of cooking oil

Hey, there’s a wok on the stove already! Let’s use that. Heat a small dash of cooking oil, add garlic, sauté on medium heat for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms, sauté gently for a minute or five, adding some of the water to avoid sticking/deglaze the pan as you go.

Add the stock powder, a cup of water, dried herbs, pepper, tofu, and the mixed beans with sauce. Simmer gently until the water reduces a bit and the broth thickens a tad – a few minutes. (Add more water if it gets too dry.)

Add tomatoes, cook for a few minutes more. Drain pasta. Add the basil and pasta and gently stir until well-combined, and remove from heat. Serve topped with avocado and nooch.

Perfectly serviceable, quick, tasty meal made up of ingredients that might have otherwise been composted. I’ve had far less interesting fare in a popular Italian restaurant in Brisbane that shall go unnamed… unless you email me and ask. Actually, I was going to toss a bit of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice through this and totes forgot. Never mind, it was fine as it was! Better than fine, even. Mushroom juices and stock is always a grand combo. A bit of white wine might’ve been nice, too… but random simple meals are sometimes the best! Especially when the internet is ablaze with incoherent political mumbojumbo… sorry about that, again. icon smile What to do with a fridge full of leftovers? Something pastalicious?

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Pineapple Orange Kale Smoothie

A smoothie so tasty, it beats avocado toast: the proof is in the toddler leftovers!


9689983830 9860d8d53e n Pineapple Orange Kale Smoothie

half a pineapple
4 oranges, peeled and deseeded
two handfuls of kale
a sprinkle of chia seeds – a couple of teaspoons
a few drips of liquid stevia Sweet Drops Vanilla Crème*
a couple of cups of water, as needed, until desired smoothie thickness reached

Bleeeeennnnd and serve! Damn, smoothies are such a great, lazy, healthy food!

*Alternatively: some vanilla extract or a vanilla bean, plus a medjool date or two… or several! But, guys: that Sweet Drops stuff is so niiiiice. I got mine from iHerb – btw my discount code is BAQ387 if you want $5-$10 off!

And a cup of chai in my favourite teacup…

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This duck cup belonged to my grandpa, made in Korea. It belongs to a set of mugs with different birds on each – I’ve not seen too many like it. There’s one birdy mug missing from the set. Anyone else come across these mugs? A long shot, but hello, internet? icon smile Pineapple Orange Kale Smoothie

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Why do birds suddenly appear…

… when I’m trying to photograph my food, totally distracting me from photographing my food?

Because they’re awesome and want to show off their amazing perching skills. Humans are such big, daft, clumsy animals next to this birdy. I caught this cool crow delicately hanging out, admiring the view from atop my neighbour’s overgrown conifer.

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Quoth the raven: Eat my shorts.

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Hit The Road, Jackfruit Green Smoothie – What I Ate Wednesday!

Caught a minor lurgy from Huz’s rage-infected office drone colleagues and/or the rampaging childerbeasts at the park (why won’t people quarantine their sick kids/let them rest at home a little? blah!), so haven’t updated for a couple of MoFoing days because I’ve been busy behaving like a big cranky obnoxious frustrated toddler.

My sincere apologies to planet Earth and all its inhabitants. I’m not a good patient because I’ve become rather unfamiliar with illness even if it’s a minor cold that only lasts a few days instead of the few weeks that I used to endure pregan: MAGIC POWERS! But even vegan superheroines aren’t entirely impervious to Coronavirus.

So. What have I been eating? Or, rather: what have I remembered to photograph while I’m eating? That won’t tax me too much, let’s go with some Hipstergrams.

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Left: cacao-carob banana/dates/nuts smoothie; moong dahl; let’s get ready to peach crummmmble.
Right: Smoothie! Recipe below.

Hit The Road, Jackfruit Green Smoothie

3-4 large fresh jackfruit bulbs, deseeded
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 stalk off a bunch of broccoli
2 large kale leaves
handful of dried dates or 1-2 medjool dates, pitted
1 inch piece ginger
squeeze of lime, (quarter-half a big juicy lime)
2 cups cooled chamomile tea or water, or more as desired

Blend that crazy concoction until it’s smooth. Makes 2 large serves.

Bam! Take that, Coronavirus.

Quite frankly this smoothie tasted a little odd, but my sense of taste is a bit off right now. Huz said it was good. In my mind anything jackfruity is fan-bloody-tastic, so if you like living dangerously try it and tell me what you think!

You don’t know jackfruit?

Artocarpus heterophyllus fruits at tree Hit The Road, Jackfruit Green Smoothie   What I Ate Wednesday!Jackfruit isn’t available everywhere, so try an Asian grocery store if you’ve never seen it in your regular stupormarket – sometimes they even sell frozen packaged jackfruit bulbs (arils) if it’s not in-season, plus the big spiky whole fruits can be kind of tricky to cut up with all the latex-like ribbons and seeds inside. Jackfruits look a bit like durian but are nose-friendlier, less spiky, sweeter, and the fruit smells pleasantly like bubblegum instead of… well, whatever half-decomposed sulphurous thing that durian smells like. Legend has it that jackfruit is where Hubba Bubba originally got its bubblegum flavour from! They taste roughly like a mix of mango, pineapple, apple… a sweet fruit salad.

Jackfruit are ripe when the outer shell starts to soften and break open – they shouldn’t be super hard to crack open, and it smells like slightly-funky bubblegum – only slightly! It’s a fresh smell instead of the synthetic scent most of us know. Unripe green jackfruit can be cooked in curries alongside potato – many people say it has a pork-like flavour and texture – it’s salted and canned for this purpose. Sweet ripe fruit canned in syrup is also available… Ripe, ripe, ripe: it’s an important thing with fruit! In fact, one of my MoFo posts may be about how to correctly assess the ripeness of popular fruits, because a lot of people are eating underripe fruit thus not enjoying fruit nearly enough and it’s making me sad. icon wink Hit The Road, Jackfruit Green Smoothie   What I Ate Wednesday!

400x84 g3 Hit The Road, Jackfruit Green Smoothie   What I Ate Wednesday!

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