Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sunflower Lentil Pie

Another recipe from Vive Le Vegan! Another fantastic recipe I might add! I think I am just going to work my way through this entire book trying everything! It’s like a loaf made with sunflower seeds and lentils combined with onion, oats, celery and flavoured with ketchup, tamari and Worcestershire sauce. I served it with Sesame Mustard Tahini Sauce (also from Vive), garlicky greens and mashed potatoes. I don’t really like tahini a great deal and even though I love pretty much everything with chickpeas I don’t eat too much hummus because I find that the tahini is often overpowering in it. But...the Sesame Mustard Tahini Sauce is helping to convert me!
It also makes a good sandwich (or pita!) filling the next day when mixed with some Vegenaise.

I bought vegan Worcestershire sauce for the first time so that I could try this recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever had Worcestershire sauce before. I knew it had anchovies in it so I always avoided it. I don’t know what I expected it to taste like but to me it’s just like a spicier and runnier version of HP Sauce. A bit disappointing really...I was hoping for some never-before-tasted kind of flavour...ah well. I’ve just realised now that I’ve eaten Worcestershire sauce flavour crisps before so I have tasted it...kind of! And I just went to the Walkers web site to see if their Worcestershire sauce crisps are vegan and they’re not even listed as one of their flavours. You will be happy to know that their BBQ Rib and Prawn Cocktail flavour crisps are vegan though...hmmmm.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Zucchini Pesto

I saw this on Fueled By Popcorn’s blog a while ago and thought it looked yummy, so when I saw it again on Harmonia’s blog and I had a whole lot of zucchini in the fridge I knew I had to make it. It’s also kind of similar to something I made a while ago that I really liked so I knew I was going to love it. I didn’t have any sun-dried tomatoes so I just chopped up a few regular ones.

Unfortunately Wee G does not share my love for zucchini so while we both had baked potatoes I had mine smothered in zucchini loveliness and he just had boring old baked beans. His loss, I say! It was gorgeous! He did comment that it smelled really good, but still wasn’t tempted to try it. I will definitely be making it again and will probably have it over pasta next time.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vive Le Vegan! Everything I’ve made from Vive so far has turned out so good. Wee G was eyeing up some cookies when we were out and I remembered that I had read on Dreena’s blog about these so I thought I would try them out. They are simple to whip up and can be made in less than half an hour. They have no refined sugar and I used half whole wheat pastry flour so they are verging on being healthy :)

Wee G’s verdict was that they were “really nice” as he gobbled down two in a row. I am not the greatest cookie fan, but I did think they were good although I am happy sticking with fudgy brownies from Vive…they are fantastic!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tofu and Pineapple Stir Fry

I bought a fresh pineapple and wanted to do something other than eat it “as is” because that’s what we usually do. I found this recipe in Carol Vorderman’s Detox For Life. In the book the recipe actually uses tinned pineapple, but Wee G and I agreed that the best part of it was definitely the fresh pineapple. It’s a very basic recipe and garlic and ginger are the only added flavours. I was concerned that it may be bland so I marinated the tofu for a little while in some tamari and apple cider vinegar (as per the stir fry in Vive Le Vegan!) before frying it and then added the tamari/vinegar to the stir fry at the end. It was nice, but still not the most flavoursome meal. I would only make it again if I had some fresh pineapple going spare.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

McPukkolla

This is my version of Pukkolla from Jamie Oliver’s The Return Of The Naked Chef. I know Jamie Oliver really irritates the life out of some people, but I like him. I love his enthusiasm for food, even if I don’t agree with him what exactly constitutes food. I have most of his cookbooks and there are a surprisingly high number of vegetarian recipes in them. If you have a wee look at the index they are all marked with a ‘v”. A lot of them can be veganised easily and some are already vegan.Pukkolla is basically muesli that’s soaked in milk overnight and then has fresh fruit added. Normally the idea of eating cereal that has been sitting in milk for hours would gross me out, but it does taste great...honestly! The oats absorb the milk and they’re all creamy and the fruit is juicy and plump. Yum! The recipe can be adjusted to suit your taste. You can really use any dired fruit, nuts, seeds etc you have kicking around.

McPukkolla Recipe (serves 8)

1 cup oats
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup raisins
2 tbsps flax seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ pumpkin seeds
4 brazil nuts, chopped

The first part is to make the “muesli”. In a big plastic container (with a lid) mix all the above ingredients. You can keep this for ages in the tub until you plan to eat it. The day before you plan to eat it you will need the following for 2 servings:
¾ cup “muesli” mix

1 – 1½ cups soy (or other non dairy) milk
1 apple, chopped or grated
1 banana
Any other fresh fruit of your choosing

In a small plastic container mix “muesli” and 1 cup of soy milk and the apple. Cover and place in fridge until ready to eat.

When you are ready to eat remove from fridge and add as much as you like of the remainder of the milk. This will loosen the pukkolla. Depending on your ingredients it can turn out a bit squidgy or almost solid, so use the remaining milk to get it to the consistency you want. Top with chopped banana and any other fresh fruit. Jamie also suggests adding yogurt and honey. Not for me, thanks. But you can add vegan alternatives if you wish.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mini Pizza Party

The pizzas were dinky and the guest list small (me and Wee G) so it was about the most mini pizza party you could have! This one had mushroom, onion and pineapple.
This was tomato and basil.
And this is more of a garlic bread than a pizza. I just squished a couple of cloves of garlic and mixed them with a bit of chopped parsley and basil and a sprinkling of dried oregano. Then I mixed in some olive oil and spread it over the dough.

The pizza dough and sauce were from Vegan With A Vengeance. I did change the pizza dough recipe a little by using half whole wheat pastry flour and half white flour. The crust turned out nice, but it did have a bit of a flaky pastry texture to it. I guess that was the whole wheat pastry flour! Next time I will just stick with the white flour. If you are going to eat pizza I guess you just have to admit that it’s not the healthiest thing in the world and not bother trying to make it healthier or you will sacrifice some of the taste. At least it didn’t have fatty cheese all over it!
I think the garlic bread was my favourite, followed by the tomato/basil. The mushroom onion and pineapple one just needed a bit more topping, but I hadn’t wanted to overload it.
And we did have some salad with the pizzas...

In case you are wondering we ate all three pizzas and all the salad. It’s definitely the year of the pig in this house :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chinese New Year and Pancake Day

I am little late posting these pics we took on Sunday at Chinese New Year. We went to a vegetarian Chinese restaurant called Garden Wok in Tarzana that we found out about on the internet a while ago and just got round to trying out. Almost everything on the menu was vegan. The three or so things that weren’t were clearly marked. We decided to order the Complete Dinner which included an appetizer sampler, soup, entrĂ©e and ice cream to finish. Needless to say it was far too much! It was really scrummy and we will definitely be back. The photos were all taken on my phone so they are not the greatest...
Spring roll, crispy wonton and chicken drumstick (the drumstick wasn’t actually vegan...I probably should have asked them to miss it out or substitute it, but I forgot when ordering).
My Corn Tofu soup. I realised when eating this that it has been years since I have eaten any kind of soup in a Chinese restaurant. I am never quite convinced that it will be vegetarian, but in this case I was pretty sure!
Wee G had Wonton soup. He also tried mine and said mine was better...ha ha!!

“Chicken” curry. This was Wee G’s main course. He really enjoyed it as he always loves getting curry at the Chinese places at home. This was a little spicier than most at home, but he still loved it!
For my main, I got Asian Flavoured Tofu. It came with a choice of sauce and I chose home style. It was so nice...a little sweet and a little spicy and a whole lot yummy! I really love fried tofu from the Chinese, but I prefer a little less tofu and a little more veggies on my plate, so I will have to find something more veggielicous next time...any excuse to go back!!

I never got a photo of the ice cream...we were too busy eating it!! I had cherry soy ice cream and Wee G had blueberry...yum!


And today is Pancake Day which is traditionally the day to use up all the stuff you’re supposed to give up for lent. I think it’s generally called Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) here in the U.S. We are not religious, but always happy to eat pancakes!! We had these yesterday for brunch as Wee G had the day off work. I always use this recipe (halved, and omitting the oil) for our pancakes and I usually use about half whole wheat flour and half white flour. Yesterday I made them with all whole wheat pastry flour and they were so good!! I only recently discovered whole wheat pastry flour and now I am using it for everything! For about the first six mouthfuls all I could get out of Wee G was “Mmmmmmmmmmmm”, so I think he liked them!


We had these with some apple, mango and kiwi fruit, a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Spreads and Sandwiches

I like margarine a lot, but let’s face it, it’s just a tub of fat destined to make your bum bigger. So, when I found a recipe for Easy Veggie Butter in How It All Vegan using tofu I had to try it. It’s basically tofu and oil blended together with a little salt for flavour and a little turmeric for colour. I usually use Earth Balance Whipped which has about 144g fat per cup, whereas this has about 33g fat per cup. That’s about 78% less fat! It whips up in a flash and you can slather it on your toast for 78% less guilt!
Once you have made your Easy Veggie Butter you can then progress to adding other stuff in to it and transforming it in to a spectacular sandwich spread. Next recipe along from the butter in the book is Stephanie’s Nummy Yummy Veggie Spread. Let’s just call it Nummy Spread for short. This adds herbs, garlic, tomato, peppers and onion.
And if you feel you haven’t added enough yet, you can do what I did and mash up some chickpeas and mix them in to the nummy spread to make a super spectacular sandwich spread.
This is the final sandwich with some lettuce, tomato and guacamole added. I also attempted to make a cute little radish rosette like Jennifer’s at Vegan Lunch Box. I didn’t bother to go back and look at Jennifer’s photo before making my radish rosette, if I had it might have turned out a little better...or perhaps not! This is another sandwich using the same sandwich spread. No chickpeas this time, but I have added lettuce, yellow pepper, tomato and cucumber.

So, the Easy Veggie Spread is great on toast. It doesn’t taste much like margarine before you put it on something else though... On it’s own it does just kind of taste like tofu and oil. The nummy spread is a nice change for eating on a sandwich. I did find the onion and garlic a little strong, so I’d probably cut down on them next time and maybe add some different veggies.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Chocolate Mousse

I was inspired to make this when I saw it on Lucy’s blog. It looked so yummy and her little heart pots were so nice that I practically ran in to my kitchen to make it! To try and kid myself that it was sort of healthy I added some bananas and kiwi fruit to the glass before adding the chocolate mousse. Lucy doesn’t give an exact recipe on her web site, but here’s what I did.

Chocolate Mousse (serves 2)

2/3 (about 10oz) block silken tofu
½ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 Blend tofu, icing sugar and vanilla extract in food processor until smooth.
2 Melt chocolate chips for about a minute in microwave.
3 Add chocolate chips to tofu mixture and blend again until smooth.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lemon Herb Tofu

This is Lemon Herb Tofu from Vive Le Vegan! It’s really simple to make and doesn’t involve many ingredients. We had this with some Green Goddess Potatoes and Sesame Broccoli. I know the flavours don’t really go, but these are the things I felt like eating at the time!

I really liked the Lemon Herb Tofu, but Wee G didn’t. He did eat it, but he wasn’t keen on having it again. I think the texture was too soft for him, he prefers his tofu fried and crispy. The next day I made the leftover tofu in to a sandwich filling as suggested in the book and also on Dreena’s web site. I added some celery, tomato, grated carrot and Vegenaise. I gave it to Wee G and when he was on his final bite of the sandwich I asked him what he thought of the filling. “It’s reeeaaally nice” he replied. Ha...sucker!!

Valentine Veggie Fajitas

For our Valentine’s meal last night I made some veggie fajitas with some Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik'n Strips. The only vegan tortillas I could find in the store were low carb ones which I didn’t realise are pretty horrible. They were chewy and dry. So I decided to make my own, using this recipe, but using 1/3 whole wheat pastry flour. My tortillas turned out soft and tasty, but I found it very hard to get them thin enough as they puffed up a bit when cooking. I think you really need to have a tortilla press to get them right. I forgot to take a photo of them so you don’t get to see how un-round they were!!

We had them with some homemade guacamole and some Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream ...and, of course, a few Margaritas!



For dessert we had some Mucho Margarita Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Although I thought the sugar around the edges looked really cute, I think it made the cakes too sweet. Or that might just be because I managed to get a ton of sugar on each cake :) I was a little disappointed that these cakes did not taste more limey but they were still nice.

Wee G got me these...he's a sweetie :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Another Kitchen Tragedy

First the bottom fell out of my garlic press, then my heart got broken, this week it was the turn of my pestle. I was cleaning the kitchen and I moved my pestle and mortar from one counter to another, when the pestle slipped out my hand and clattered on to the kitchen tiles... In the split second before it hit the floor I thought to myself “It won’t break...it’s made of marble/concrete/something else very hard...” But before I had came to a conclusion about what it’s actually made of it was on the floor in two pieces. Damn my stupid butter...er...margarine fingers!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ginger Miso Soup

This is one of my favourite things to make for lunch when it’s just for me. It’s really fast and tasty. It was inspired by a recipe for Gingery Miso-Spinach Soup from Vegetarian Soups For All Seasons. Ginger partners well with miso and give the soup a
Miso is thought to help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. However you have to eat 3 bowls of soup a day to reap the benefits. Every 2 tsps of my miso paste contains 340mg sodium, so if you were to eat 3 bowls of miso soup a day then you would be consuming 1020mg of sodium from miso soup alone. This is almost half of the recommended daily intake (2400mg). High sodium intake may lead to high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart attack and stroke. You can’t win, can you?!

Ginger Miso Soup Recipe (serves 1)

1½ cups water
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ carrot, diced
2oz firm tofu, cubed
2 tsps miso
1 cup spinach

Directions

1 Place water in small pan over high heat. Add ginger, garlic and carrot. Bring to boil, then lower and simmer for about 5 minutes until carrot is soft.
2 Place a couple of tablespoons of hot water from soup pot in to a bowl and dissolve miso paste in it. Add back in to soup.
3 Add tofu and spinach and keep over a low heat for a couple of minutes until tofu is warmed through and spinach is wilted.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Quinoa Whole Wheat Bread

Quinoa is something that I always mean to eat more of, but I never manage to do anything creative with it usually having it alongside a stir fry. So I found this recipe for a whole wheat bread including quinoa and thought I would try it. I modified it slightly and it turned out really well. I haven’t ever added vital wheat gluten to my bread before and I think this made a difference...I definitely think it was less “stodgy” than any other whole wheat bread I have made. It was a bit crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and a little bit of a bite all the way through it from the quinoa. I made 3 small loaves (one in a tin, and 2 not in tins)

And, have you ever seen a field of quinoa growing? Isn’t it pretty?
Photo Source

Here’s the recipe:

Quinoa Whole Wheat Bread Recipe (makes 3 small loaves)

1 cup, whole uncooked quinoa
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
1½ cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten flour
1 tsp salt

Directions

1 Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a sieve under a running tap.
2 In a small bowl combine half the water, the yeast and the sugar. Leave for 10 minutes until frothy on top.
3 In a large bowl combine flours, quinoa and salt. Make a well in the centre of the flours and pour in water/yeast.
4 Mix well with your hand until water is soaked up. Gradually add remaining water as needed, until a soft, moist dough is formed.
5 Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
6 Place dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover with a dish towel. Leave to prove in a warm, draught-free place for about 1½ hours, until doubled in size.
7 Knock air out of dough by kneading for another minute or so. Now make it in to the desired shape. I made 3 small loaves, but next time I think I will do one large one. Score across top of loaves with a knife if desired. Place on oiled baking tray or tin and leave to prove for another 1½ hours.
8 Preheat oven to 400F (200c). Bake loaves for around 30 minutes, until brown and sound hollow when tapped.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Vegetable Love

Lime and Coriander Rice with Tofu Hearts
Susan at FatFreeVegan.com has set a challenge to come up with a Valentine’s Day meal using vegetables as opposed to lots of chocolate and fatty things. My meal is something that I make fairly frequently and I love it because the flavours are so fresh and vibrant. The only added fat is 2 teaspoons of olive oil in the salad dressing and spray cooking oil for frying. Usually I just cut the tofu into cubes and stir them through the rice, but nothing says I love you more than a heart shaped piece of tofu! And I heart tofu, so I knew I would heart tofu hearts..!!
I served it alongside a salad of tomatoes and peppers with a little cayenne pepper kick!
This is a great meal for Valentine’s Day because most of it can be prepared in advance, giving you more time to spend with your loved one.
To make this you will need a cutesy little heart shaped cookie cutter like the one pictured. I got mine in Target. Tofu is really easy to cut with the cookie cutter; peppers and other crunchy things are a little harder.
After “heartifying” the tofu and peppers I was eager to “heartify” all food in the house! How can anything taste bad if it’s cut into a heart shape? So I cast my eye around the kitchen for other things I could transform in to little hearts, and well... it worked pretty good with mangoes, not so well with papayas (too squidgy) and not too bad with apples...

...until I heard a crack! And that was the end of my little cookie cutter. The fun was over...
My heart was broken... boohoo :(

The fruit hearts can be served with ice cream or other dessert, but we just ate them on their own. I was so keen to eat them, I didn’t take a good photo before we served them! And I know they don’t really qualify for the challenge, but I had to post about them anyway!

Here’s the recipes:

Lime and Coriander Rice (2 servings)

Ingredients
½ cup brown rice
1 cup vegetable stock
8 oz tofu
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 cup chopped, cooked, broccoli
2 limes, 1 cut into wedges, the other 1 juiced and zested
2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
spray vegetable oil

Directions

1 Cut the tofu into four even slices. Then cut out 8 hearts (two from each slice) using the heart cookie cutter.
2 Mix together soy sauce/tamari and apple cider vinegar in bowl. Pour mixture over tofu hearts in a shallow dish and let marinade for at least one hour.
3 Put rice and vegetable stock in to a pot. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 35 minutes, until cooked.
4 Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and cover with spray oil. Cook tofu hearts until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.
5 Heat a large pan over medium heat and cover with spray oil. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook a further minute.
6 Add cooked rice, broccoli and peas to onions and stir until heated through. You may want to add a little water to the pan to stop rice sticking.
7 Add coriander, lime juice and zest to pan and stir through.
8 Serve immediately decorated with tofu hearts, lime wedges and a sprinkling of coriander.
Note – I used to just use soy sauce/tamari on the tofu before cooking, but after making a stir fry from Vive Le Vegan! that used tamari and apple cider vinegar I always use them both as it tastes so good!


Tomato and Pepper Salad (2 servings)

Ingredients

2 peppers
12 cherry tomatoes
2 tsps lime juice
2 tsps olive oil
½ tsp lime zest
2 tbsps chopped coriander
Pinch cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp red onion, diced
Pinch salt

Directions

1 Remove stalk and seeds from peppers. Cut a small strip from the top and bottom to allow you to flatten the pepper out against the chopping board a little easier. Cut out hearts using cookie cutter. You need to press down pretty hard to cut through the skin. I got 6 or 7 hearts from each pepper.
2 Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
3 Place all ingredients except peppers and tomatoes in medium bowl and mix well. Add peppers and tomatoes to bowl and mix through. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Bring back to room temperature before serving.

Fruit Hearts (2 servings)

Ingredients
1 mango
1 papaya
1 apple
2 tsps lime juice
1 tsp sugar
2 tsps water

Directions

1 Slice mangos, papayas and apples and cut in to heart shapes using cookie cutter.
2 Combine everything in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Bring back to room temperature before serving.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Earthy Lentil Soup


This is Earthy Lentil Soup from Vive Le Vegan! I made it with black lentils that I bought in Trader Joe’s. That’s why it looks so dark. It also has molasses in it which makes it even darker. The molasses adds a nice sweetness to the soup, and the lemon added at the end makes sure it isn’t too sweet. After I took this photo I blended about half the soup to make it smoother and I think I prefer it that way. This would be a great soup for a chilly winter’s day. I’m not sure I will buy black lentils again, but I will definitely make this soup again! On the side is some Quinoa Whole Wheat Bread that I made and will blog about later.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Ghoulish Goulash and Green Goddess Potatoes

I made goulash the other day with seitan. It was very blah and not really worth blogging about, but what I do really want to blog about is the potatoes that we had with it. They are called Green Goddess Potatoes and I got the recipe from. Don’t Get Mad, Get Vegan’s blog . And they are sooooo good! Honestly, you have to try them. They are a mix of red potatoes and sweet potatoes, mashed together with some kale and garlic to create a creamy, garlicky, sweet and scrummy masterpiece.
The name makes me chuckle cos it makes me think of The Green Goddess of 80’s fitness and green leotard fame. Fortunately you don’t need to don an electric green leotard and break in to a sweat to make these.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

BBQ Pomegranate Tofu (Crunchy Style)

I am not the biggest fan of BBQ sauce, but I wanted to try BBQ Pomegranate Tofu from Vegan With A Vengeance for Wee G because he’s into that kind of thing. Plus I saw this pomegranate glaze in Trader Joe’s and figured it must be pretty much the same thing as the pomegranate molasses called for in the recipe. It looks like molasses...all thick and syrupy. This is actually the second time I have made this tofu. The first time I made it I found it a bit sickly sweet so this time I cut down on the maple syrup, but I have to say it was still too sweet for me. Wee G agreed that it was too sweet as well, so unfortunately that is the end of BBQ Pomegranate Tofu in our house. The thing is, the pomegranate glaze is yummy on it’s own, so I will need to find some other ways of using it up. I think maybe it would be nice in salad dressing. In the photo we had some stir fried baby bok choy and some Thai Coconut Rice (not the recipe for Coconut Rice from VWaV, but similar). The sauce looks kind of lumpy cos I used crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth.

And a bit of peanut butter trivia: According to ilovepeanutbutter.com 60% of consumers prefer smooth over crunchy peanut butter. Pah! In the minority again! But at least I can be thankful I don’t suffer from Arachibutyrophobia which is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. If you do suffer from this rare condition then you will be glad to know that for $147 you can find help here . My advice to sufferers is don’t eat peanut butter...and there’s no charge for that :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Fattoush

I got the recipe for this from a newspaper years ago. I made it several times, but haven’t made it for years and had forgotten all about it. I was wondering what I could make with some of my beloved chickpeas when I suddenly remembered this. I had a wee look on the internet at a few other fattoush recipes and few authentic recipes actually include chickpeas. Also, a lot of recipes I read online recommended adding the pita bread at the very end so that it doesn’t go soggy, but to me the best part of this salad is the pita bread that has soaked up the juices and flavour. So, in my opinion leaving the salad for at least ten minutes before eating is highly recommended. If you are really, really hungry you can always nibble on the chickpeas, tomatoes, etc while waiting...although obviously I wouldn’t do that cos I’m just not that impatient...yeah right! I have never been able to find the sumac called for in the recipe, but as the author suggests I add more lemon. I am glad I remembered about this salad cos it’s really tasty and the fresh mint and lemon make it smell fabulous!

Fattoush Recipe (serves 2)


2 pitta
A handful of cherry tomatoes
A handful of radishes
1 small cucumber
2 spring onions
1 small bunch of mint
1 tin chickpeas
1 small bunch sorrel or baby spinach
A pinch sumac
1 lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven or grill to high. Cut the pittas into small triangles, brush them with a little olive oil and bake/grill for 1 min. Now assemble the salad: Wash and half the tomatoes and radishes, cut the cucumber into chunks and slice the spring onions. Pluck the leaves from the mint stalks and chop them roughly. Wash and drain the chickpeas. Toss everything together in a large bowl with the sumac, lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle more sumac over the top. Leave to stand for 10 min, then eat.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Follow Your Heart

Yesterday we ate lunch at the Follow Your Heart cafĂ© in Canoga Park. Even though we only live a short distance away I have only eaten here once before, and this was Wee G’s first time. Almost everything on the menu is vegan or can be veganised. We both took forever to decide what to order as there was so much choice! Wee G decided on the Grilled Vegetable Quesedilla that he enjoyed immensely, declaring that he “will definitely be back to eat here!” I got the Multigrain Mushroom burger and while it was nice, I wasn’t crazy about it and would definitely order something different next time. I got mine with some oven fries which we both said looked like the chips our Mums used to make cos they were crinkle cut!! We sat out at the patio which was surprisingly quiet considering it is on the pavement in the street. The staff were really friendly and the service was good. The photo above is my burger. I’m looking forward to going back and trying something else... :)

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Broccoli, Tomato and Olive Pasta & Spice It Up Seasoning

This pasta is way yummier than it looks in this photo. This is such a quick and easy dinner to make and involves hardly any dishes and barely any cooking. Basically you just cook the pasta and then throw the other stuff in the pot and mix round. Not really a recipe, but here it is anyway...

Broccoli, Tomato and Olive Pasta (serves 2)
1 ½ cups dry whole wheat pasta
1 ½ cups broccoli
1 tbsp oil (I used ½ hemp seed oil, ½ olive oil)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
5 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
15 green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook pasta in boiling water as per packet instructions. About 3 minutes from end of cooking time add broccoli to pot. When pasta is done, drain and return pot to stove over very low heat. Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover and heat through for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are warmed through.
I have also used spinach in place of broccoli. You could substitute any green vegetable you like.
If you have bought olives with pits in, the easiest (and most fun!) way to pit them is to lay the blade of a large knife over the olive on a flat, solid surface and give it a good thump with your fist. The olive probably won’t look too pretty, but for a dish likes this it doesn’t matter. And it’s a good way to get out your frustrations...take that little olive!!

This is Fiddes Payne Spice It Up All Purpose Seasoning...I love this stuff on pretty much any pasta dish. My friend introduced me to it when I went to hers for dinner one day years ago and now Wee G and I both love it. I have only seen it in the stores in the UK, but I see you can buy it online in the U.S. here. Just a little amount livens up any dish. I have tried buying the individual spices and making my own, but for some reason it just doesn’t come out the same. If you are going to use this seasoning, then don’t add any salt to the pasta as the main ingredient of this is salt.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Spicy Peanut Stir Fry

We have stir fries pretty often...and why not? They’re healthy, quick and tasty and they can be so varied. This one has red onion, green pepper, broccoli, brown mushrooms, baby bok choy and tofu. The sauce is Spicy Peanut Sauce from Vive Le Vegan!. The original recipe is actually for Spicy Almond Sauce which calls for almond butter which I didn’t have, so I used peanut butter instead. It’s such a nice sauce and really easy to make as everything is just mixed together in the food processor and then thrown over the veggies at the end of cooking. We had this along with some quinoa.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Curried Red Lentil Soup

I love soup. I eat it pretty much every day for lunch. Lentil is my favourite and I generally make the same old recipe all the time, but I think it’s time for something new. So, this is Curried Red Lentil Soup from Vegetarian Soups For All Seasons. It’s a mildly spiced soup, using curry powder, fresh ginger, ground coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg. The book suggests letting the soup stand for an hour or two before eating and it’s worth it because the flavour definitely improves with time. I like the addition of spinach for some colour and I adore spinach so I am happy to add it to almost anything.
Pictured alongside are chapatis which are also from Vegetarian Soups For All Seasons. They are basically just flour, water and salt and really simple to make. The most time consuming part of making them is leaving the dough to rest for 30 minutes, but that can be done while the soup is cooking. I think next time I make them I will add some garlic or cumin or something to add a little extra flavour.