January 29, 2015 2

Watermelon Salad with Tofetta

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

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I had never tried a watermelon salad but had some lying around and threw caution to the wind. I made this salad half expecting that it would be friggin’ gross. It was not gross, in fact it was one of the dopest salads I’ve made. If you like not-gross things then try this salad, because it’s not gross.

Note: You’ve gotta make the tofetta at least 24 hours in advance, preferably longer.

Ingredients

Tofetta

  • 1 200 gram block of high protein firm tofu
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional)

Other Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a large watermelon
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Make the tofetta by cutting the tofu into 2cmx2cm cubes and putting them into a jar. Add the remaining ingredients and shake, allow to sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours, shaking occasionally.
  2. Cut the watermelon into 4cmx4cm pieces and add to a large bowl.
  3. Thinly slice the fresh basil and red onion and add to the bowl also.
  4. Add the olives and gently toss the salad until ingredients are evenly distributed.
  5. Pour onto your serving dish before crumbling your desired amount of tofetta on top.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper before serving.
January 22, 2015 0

Vegan Malteser Slice

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 12

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For a while now I’ve been craving Maltesers but short of a rumour I’ve heard about an elusive vegan version existing somewhere overseas (if you have access to them, please tell me!) I haven’t heard of anything remotely similar. I decided to combat my craving head on by creating this Vegan Malteser Slice; a thick crispy malt layer, topped with a thin layer of smooth chocolate. This sweet treat is easy to whip up in a jiffy and perfect for last minute parties or bake sales.

Ingredients

  • 150grams vegan white chocolate
  • 4 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup liquid malt extract (I used Saunders)
  • 200 grams vegan dark or milk chocolate

Method

  1. Line a 26x16cm baking dish with baking paper.
  2. Melt the white chocolate before pouring into a large bowl with the puffed rice cereal, followed by the liquid malt extract. Mix until well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture evenly into the baking dish and press down firmly.
  4. Melt the vegan dark or milk chocolate and pour on top of the rice cereal mixture. Spread evenly and pop in the fridge until the chocolate has set.
  5. Remove from the fridge, slice and serve.
January 18, 2015 0

Lemongrass Jackfruit Banh Mi

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

This summer, salad rolls have been my jam. Put a salad roll in front of me and I’ll be a happy girl but put banh mi in front of me and I’ll give you a bloody massive hug. I gave myself a big hug this week when I whipped up this delicious banh mi; stuffed full of lemongrass jackfruit, pickled carrot and herbs. this crusty Vietnamese bread roll is going to send your tastebuds into overdrive.

banhmi

Ingredients

  • 4 crusty Vietnamese long rolls (or one large baguette)
  • 1 large red chilli
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers

Pickled Carrots

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Lemongrass Jackfruit

  • 2 cans young green jackfruit in brine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Lemon Mayonnaise

  • 150 grams silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Method

  1. Start of making the pickled carrot by very thinly slicing the carrot into sticks and place into a jar.
  2. Over a medium heat, stir the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar dissolves before pouring into the jar.
  3. Shake and put aside in the fridge until needed.
  4. Next, make the lemongrass jackfruit by draining the jackfruit and pulling each chunk apart into stringy pieces.
  5. Prepare the lemongrass by removing the green leaves and very finely chopping the white inside.
  6. In a large frypan, heat the oil on high heat before adding the garlic, lemongrass and jackfruit.
  7. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the soy sauce. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes or until pieces of the jackfruit start to brown. Set aside and allow to cool.
  8. Blend together the tofu, olive oil, lemon juice, onion powder and vinegar to make the mayonnaise and set aside.
  9. Slice the chilli and spring onions. Also cut the cucumber into strips and slice a slit in each long roll, ready for filling.
  10. Spread each roll with mayonnaise before stuffing with jackfruit, carrot, chilli, spring onion, cucumber and coriander. Serve immediately.
January 16, 2015 0

Sephora is Here! Cover FX and OCC Review

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US beauty giant Sephora hit our shores in December, bringing a whole new dimension to the Australian cosmetic market. Brands we’ve had to buy from international sellers are now available from the Pitt Street store and a few vegan friendly brands came along for the ride. I was given the opportunity to try a few of these vegan friendly, cruelty free products from Cover FX and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC).

I had heard for quite a while that Cover FX was the brand to try when it came to vegan foundation but had never had the opportunity to take their stuff for a spin. I kicked things off with the Cover FX Anti-Aging Primer ($52 AUD). This feather-light gel glides onto your skin and is absorbed almost immediately, leaving a velvety smooth base to work from. I don’t often wear a primer except for the times I wear a heavier coverage of foundation however this stuff was so light you could wear it everyday and not notice it was there.

Next I tried the Cover FX BB Gel Anti-Blemish Treatment ($61 AUD) and while I was expecting a lighter texture, the product does feel invisible on the skin while giving a good amount of coverage for everyday use with a pretty solid amount of wear throughout the day.

The final product I tried from the Cover FX range was the Natural Finish Oil Free Foundation ($52). This was the stuff I was super excited to try because while I do like my regular foundation, I felt like it was time to branch out and try a product with a little more coverage for evening wear. Like the BB Gel, the foundation was thicker than I had anticipated but once on the skin feels quite light while providing great coverage that can be built up from sheer to full.

All Cover FX products are free of the Inflammatory Five: gluten, mineral oil, fragrance, talc and parabens and most products are suitable for vegans. I was so stoked with these three products that I went out and purchased more of the Cover FX range to try!

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic Lip Tars have been a staple in my beauty bag for years now and when I found out Sephora was on its way I just new OCC would be coming along too. Knowing that OCC is a 100% vegan brand means that you can pick up any of their products and know that you can wear them, woohoo! Over the years OCC have brought out a range of new and exciting products and I got to put a few to the test!

I kicked things off with the Lip Tar Primer ($25 AUD) and Anti-Feathered Cosmetic Colour Pencil ($22 AUD) which make the perfect based to any OCC lip look. The Primer is designed to keep your colour in place for longer while the Pencil prevents your colour from feathering outside of the lip line.

Choosing which colour to pop on top of your primer is always a struggle because OCC have what seems like one billion to choose from. Not only do you have to choose a colour, but you have to choose an effect! Do you want a matte, metallic or gloss finish? Each have their appeal and I gave them all a try to find out what I like best about them.

If you’re looking for a splash of colour with some shine, Lip Tar Stained Gloss ($25 AUD) is for you. Great for a casual day look, one of my favourite colours in this range is Aurora, a pretty pink coral. For a bolder look, Lip Tar Matte ($25 AUD) is the right up your alley. With over 40 shades to choose from, there will a colour to match any look. Pop-art pink, Nylon is perfect for making a statement, while the more subdued Hush is a fantastic neutral tone. For a dramatic evening look, Lip Tar Metallic ($25 AUD) is perfect for making heads turn. Black Metal Dahlia creates a glam, almost goth look which is perfect for a night out.

Each Lip Tar is highly pigmented, packed with vitamins and comes with a pocket-sized applicator brush.

While the US Sephora is packed full of vegan-friendly brands, the Australian store has some way to go to catch up however the addition of Cover FX and OCC to their shelves is a fantastic start. I’m looking forward to seeing more vegan cosmetics coming our way soon and will keep you in the loop when more brands head down under!

January 13, 2015 0

Baby Kale, Chickpea and Lemon Pasta

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 2

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For most of us the holiday season has now ended and it’s back to the daily grind, blergh! It also might be right about now that you’re looking back at your food choices over the Yuletide and thinking it may be time to simplify and make more wholesome meals to kick off 2015. This baby kale, chickpea and lemon number should be added to your meal roster for several reasons; it’s cheap, it’s tasty and it’s freakin’ easy to make in a flash. If that ain’t enough to impress you then don’t worry, 2015 is going to be a year of monster recipes at Like a Vegan!

Ingredients

  • 250 grams pasta
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (garlic infused works great for this dish)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 large handful baby kale leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions, drain and set aside.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and remove additional moisture by allowing to drain further on some paper towel.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frypan before adding the garlic and chickpeas. Cook for a few minutes and add the lemon juice and baby kale leaves.
  4. Throw in the drained pasta and mix well, adding the remainder of the olive oil.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
January 6, 2015 2

Miyoko’s Creamery Nut Cheeses

Where to Buy: Follow Miyoko’s Kitchen Australia for Australian stockists

Price: From $16AUD

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More and more vegan cheeses are hitting the shelves in Australia and the newest kid on the block is Miyoko’s Creamery! You may recognise the name, Miyoko Schinner is the genius behind Artisan Vegan Cheese, one of my favourite cookbooks EVER and now she has brought her cheeses to the masses with this new range.

There are about 10 drool-worthy cheeses in the Miyoko’s Creamery range including High Sierra Rustic Alpine and Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash however I’ve only been able to spot 3 of them in Australia so far and purchased 2 of them on a recent road trip to Cabramatta in Sydney, Classic Double Cream Chive and Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic (both pictured above).

Both flavours sit perfectly on a cheese board but have distinctly different flavours. In my dairy eating days, I always gravitated towards creamy chive cheeses and the Classic Double Cream Chive had me jumping for joy. It’s light, hella creamy and bursting with chivey goodness, while the Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic has a fuller, bolder flavour and starts a party in your mouth instantaneously. My recommendation with both of these cheeses is to keep them well chilled before serving as after they sit out for a while, they still taste bitchin’ but start to lose their firmness in the heat (which is kinda obvious but hey I’m gonna tell you anyway).

I’m sure you’ve already noticed, but how freaking cute is that packaging?! These guys were basically born to be given in a gift basket, amirite? Rock up to your next vegan birthday gathering with a basket of this stuff, breads, crackers, fruit pastes and wine and you’ve gone yourself a humdinger of a birthday gift. Hint: it’s my birthday tomorrow.

While it seems on the pricey side in comparison to other vegan cheeses on the market, the wheels are actually pretty damned big for vegan cheese so it really isn’t too bad at all. If you’re the only one eating it, it’s going to take you a few solo cheeseboards to work your way through it but let me tell you, once you give your pals a taste they’re gonna beg you for more!

I’m so stoked to have this cheese available in Australia and can’t wait to hopefully have the full range of Miyoko’s Creamery varieties on our shelves and in my stomach soon.

December 22, 2014 0

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Difficulty: Easy

Makes one large bowl

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There is no greater taste sensation than the combination of salty and sweet, these chocolate covered pretzels are proof of that. If you’re still pondering over what to take along to that Christmas event, these guys look perfect in a cute little bag or box with some twine  plus an edible gift is always a winner!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag pretzels
  • 1 block dark chocolate
  • 1 block white chocolate
  • Red and green sprinkles

Method

  1. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper
  2. Melt the dark and white chocolate in separate dishes.
  3. Dip a pretzel into the dark chocolate and carefully place onto the baking paper. Repeat with the remaining dark and white chocolate.
  4. Distribute the sprinkles liberally over the chocolate dipped portion of each pretzel and place the trays in the fridge to cool for about an hour.
  5. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
December 15, 2014 0

Pimms Popsicles

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 8


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If summertime equals Pimms and summertime also equals popsicles then what’s the perfect summertime treat? Pimms popsicles! Filled with fruit, cucumber and mint, and topped up with Pimms and ginger ale, you can’t go wrong with this recipe for your next summer gathering.

Ingredients

  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 1 small orange
  • 8 large mint leaves
  • 1 cup Pimms
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger ale

Method

  1. Peel the orange and finely chop, along with the strawberries and cucumber.
  2. Fill your popsicle mould with the chopped up fruit, cucumber and mint.
  3. In a jug, combine the Pimms and ginger ale.
  4. Fill the moulds to the top with the Pimms mixture, insert the sticks and freeze overnight.
  5. Gently remove from the moulds and serve immediately.
December 10, 2014 0

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

Difficulty: Medium

Serves 8-10

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Pumpkin stuff is all the rage this time of year in the US but in Australia we tend to miss out on all the goodness. I decided to rectify this problem by the adding of pumpkin to a no-bake cheesecake, it’s the best of both worlds! This is the perfect take-along to any Christmas event on your calendar and with some alterations to the base you can make it gluten-free too.

Ingredients

Base

  • 18 Digestive Biscuits
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine, melted

Filling

  • 1/2 of a kent pumpkin, peeled and chopped
  • 2 270ml cans full fat coconut cream (placed upside down in the fridge for at least 24 hours)
  • 1 tub vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup maple syrup (depending on your taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Extra pecans to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with paper. Bake the pumpkin for about 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow to cool in the fridge.
  2. Grease a 26cm springform baking tin and set aside.
  3. Make the base by blending together the digestive biscuits, pecans and caster sugar. Add the melted margarine and continue to mix until well distributed.
  4. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and set aside.
  5. Start to make the filling by opening up the cans of coconut and draining the clear liquid. Place the leftover cream in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer.
  6. Add the vegan cream cheese and pumpkin and continue to whip before adding the maple syrup, vanilla and spices.
  7. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth the top. Place pecans around the edges and allow to freeze overnight.
  8. Remove from the freezer half an hour before serving.
December 9, 2014 0

Sang Choy Bow

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 6

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Quick and easy dinners are what I’m all about these days, especially during the week. My sang choy bow is the king of easy dinners, perfect for these hot summer nights and next-day lunches. Use this base recipe and use it as an excuse to use up and spare veg you’ve got hanging out in the fridge, your vegetable crisper is the limit!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef-style or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (make sure it’s gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 6 iceberg lettuce leaves
  • Fresh chilli and spring onion to garnish

Method

  1. Add the boiling hot stock to the TVP. Stir through, cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain any excess liquid.
  2. Heat the peanut oil in a large wok before adding the onion, garlic, ginger and TVP. Cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring.
  3. Add the carrot, peas and corn before throwing in the soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar.
  4. Continue to stir constantly over a high heat until cooked through.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the lettuce leaves, garnish with chilli and spring onion and serve immediately.