July 21, 2014 10

Bean Balls in Marinara Sauce

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Makes 24

beanballs

Cold winter nights call for hot, tasty meals and these bean balls certainly fit the bill. Especially great for fussy ones, you can fill these guys with a bunch of secret veggies to pack some extra punch. Smother them in my fragrant marinara sauce and serve ‘em up on top of spaghetti, with salad or vegetables. They’re also soy and gluten free so they’re the perfect meal for just about anybody!

Ingredients

Bean Balls

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (make sure it’s vegan and gluten/soy free)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Drain and rince the beans, set aside.
  3. In a food processor, combine the carrot, onion and garlic until finely chopped.
  4. Add the beans, herbs, nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Process until smooth (some chunks are ok).
  5. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and stir through the almond meal, quinoa flakes, salt and pepper until combined.
  6. Using heaped tablespoons, measure out the mixture and roll into neat little balls, placing them on the oven tray.
  7. Bake until golden brown (about 25-30 minutes), turning half way through.
  8. While the balls are baking, make your marinara sauce by heating some oil in a saucepan.
  9. Add the garlic and onion to sauté before adding the diced tomatoes and brown sugar.
  10. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes before adding the herbs, salt and pepper.
  11. Allow to simmer until the bean balls are ready.
  12. Add the cooked bean balls to the marinara sauce and serve immediately.
July 17, 2014 0

Apple Pie

Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

Serves 8-10

applepie copy

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 3 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Filling

  • 8 large granny smith apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Coconut Cream

  • 1 270mL can coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Pop the can of coconut cream in the fridge over night, upside down.
  2. Start with the pastry. In a food processor, process the flour, sugar, salt and vegan margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the almond milk and process until a dough is formed.
  4. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Roll into a ball, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. While the pastry is in the fridge make your filling.
  6. Peel and chop the apples into bite-sized chunks. As you go, squeeze the lemon juice on the apple so it doesn’t brown.
  7. In a large saucepan, melt the vegan margarine and sugar on medium heat.
  8. Once the margarine has melted, add the apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  9. Coat the apples with the margarine and sugar mixture and allow to cook until the apples have softened, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  10. Grease a 24cm pie dish.
  11. Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut 2/3 off. Roll the bigger chunk into a ball and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a circle, about .5cm thick.
  12. Gently transfer the pastry to the pie dish, cut off any overhanging pastry with a sharp knife and add it to the remaining pastry.
  13. Add the filling with a slotted spoon, leaving the liquid behind.
  14. Roll the remaining pastry into a circle about .5cm thick.
  15. At this stage you can either lay the the pastry on top and crimp or cut into 3cm strips and make a lattice pattern on top of the pie.
  16. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and place in the fridge to chill for half an hour.
  17. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  18. Once preheated, pop the pie in the oven for 45 minutes or until the pastry has browned.
  19. In the meantime, make your coconut cream by opening the can and tipping out the clear liquid that has risen to the top.
  20. Place the remaining cream in a bowl, sift in the icing sugar and vanilla. Whip in an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until whipped.
  21. Remove the pie from the oven. You can serve warm or allow the filling to thicken as it cools (this makes it easier to serve).
July 14, 2014 0

Zucchini, Pea and Lemon Spaghetti

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 4 Generous Serves

peaspaghetti

Pasta doesn’t always have to be smothered in sauce; sometimes simple, fresh flavours are all you need to create a bitchin’ meal that’s filling, simple and tasty. This little number has plenty of greenery due to the zucchini, pea and mint but also the fresh tang of fresh lemon to give this dish some extra zest.

Ingredients

  • 1 500gram packet spaghetti
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 small lemon, juice and  grated rind
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegan Parmesan to serve

Method

  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan, heat some oil before adding the onion and garlic.
  3. After a minute, add the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the peas, lemon juice, rind and mint and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Drizzle the olive oil over the pasta and mix.
  6. Put the spaghetti into bowls and top with the vegetable mixture.
  7. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and vegan parmesan.
July 10, 2014 0

Chorizo Soft Tacos with Lime Mayo

Difficulty: Medium

Makes 8

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If we’re talkin’ tacos, I much prefer soft shell over hard shell because they’re easier to eat and don’t leave a big mess behind when they fall apart mid-bite. And if we’re still talkin’ tacos (and I usually am), these chorizo numbers are some of the best I’ve ever had. I like to keep it simple with some baby kale, avocado and a drizzle of lime mayo for good measure.

Note: If you’re after a soy-free option make sure your tortillas and mayo are free from soy.

Ingredients

  • Smokey Vegan Chorizo (you’ll need all of it)
  • 8 mini tortillas (store-bought or make your own using this recipe)
  • 3 handfuls baby kale
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1 lime

Method

  1. Chop the chorizo into bite-sized chunks and lightly fry in olive oil until it darkens and the edges are crispy.
  2. After warming your tortillas, start to assemble your tacos with some baby kale, chorizo and avocado.
  3. Make the lime mayonnaise by whisking together the mayo and lime juice, drizzle over the top of the taco.
  4. Serve immediately.
July 7, 2014 2

Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Makes 12

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Picking a sweet treat can be tough work; do you want something with a bit of crunch, like a cookie or do you want something with frosting, like a cupcake? My Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches are the obvious choice here because you get the best of both worlds! These chocolate cookies are fantastic on their own but are taken into another world of deliciousness when filled with vanilla cream and rolled in nuts or sprinkles. Stay tuned for more variations on this recipe, it’s a keeper!

Note: If you want this recipe to be soy free, make sure your vegan margarine and sprinkles are too!

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2/3 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 2/3  cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Filling

  • 1 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • Nuts and sprinkles (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Using the paddle attachment on your electric mixer, combine your vegan margarine and caster sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder and mix until a dough is formed.
  4. Scoop out a heaped tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place onto the baking tray and do the same with the remaining dough, placing about 2cm apart on the tray.
  5. Dip the back of a large spoon or the bottom of a glass into some caster sugar and gently press each ball of dough down til it’s about 1cm thick.
  6. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, the cookies will look like they’re not set but they will!
  7. Allow to cool completely on the tray.
  8. While the cookies are cooling, prepare your filling by adding the rest of your vegan margarine to the electric mixer bowl. With a whisk attachment, whip the margarine for a minute before sifting in the icing sugar.
  9. Once the mixture is pale, light and fluffy, add the vanilla extract.
  10. When your cookies have cooled completely, grab one cookie, turn it upside-down and spread a heaped teaspoon of filling onto it before sandwiching with another cookie. Press together so the frosting comes to the very edge.
  11. Roll each cookie in sprinkles or nuts and set aside.
July 3, 2014 0

Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 12

pbjblondies

Blondies don’t seem to be as much of a thing here as they are in the US but I simply don’t know why. They’re the perfect treat to whip up at a moment’s notice with stuff you probably already have in your kitchen. I added jam (or jelly) to this one to add a little extra somethin’ somethin’ but you can leave it out and they’ll be just as awesome.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 vegan margarine
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 10″x10″ baking tin.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the brown sugar and margarine.
  3. Add the peanut butter, vanilla and almond milk and blend before sifting in the flour and baking powder.
  4. Continue to mix until a dough is formed.
  5. Press the mixture evenly into the pan and spread the jam on top.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving.
June 30, 2014 0

Artichoke & Potato Soup

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Serves 4

artichokesoup

Making soup is so easy and this time of year is perfect for making large pots of soup and my secret is to make a batch over the weekend so my lunches for the week are sorted. Artichokes look amazing and were on sale at my local supermarket, so I decided to use them to make this light yet satisfying soup. Served with crusty bread, this is the perfect winter warmer.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 globe artichoke hearts (this video may help), chopped
  • 1 leek (white parts only), chopped
  • 4 French shallots (or a small brown onion), finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme, leaves only
  • 8 cups chicken style stock (vegetable will do fine)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil before adding the artichoke, leek, shallots and garlic.
  2. Once the leeks are translucent, add the potato, stock, herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. Allow to simmer until the potato is very soft, approximately half an hour.
  4. Blend using a stick blender or by carefully pouring into a blender. If you don’t mind little bits in your soup you can serve immediately but if you want a soup with no bits, strain before serving.
June 27, 2014 8

Smokey Vegan Chorizo

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Makes 6 Sausages 

chorizotaco

After much procrastination, I thought it was time to try my hand at my own vegan chorizo recipe. Gluten flour (or vital wheat gluten as it’s sometimes known) is the key ingredient here that gives this chorizo its meaty texture and you can adjust the amount of chilli and cayenne to suit the amount of bite you’re after. The final product has a great texture and can be used in a wide variety of recipes so stay tuned for plenty of ways to use these bitchin’ snags.

Note: Make sure your stock, tomato sauce and liquid smoke are soy free if you want soy free chorizo.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten flour

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mash up the kidney beans using a potato masher.
  2. Add the stock, tomato sauce, olive oil, liquid smoke, onion, garlic, mixed herbs, spices and seasonings.
  3. Throw in the gluten flour and knead until a good dough is formed. You’ll see the mixture is a little stringy, that’s the gluten flour doing its job!
  4. Divide the dough into six equal parts and roll each piece into a sausage shape.
  5. Tightly wrap in foil (like a Christmas cracker) and steam for 35 minutes.
  6. Pan fry, grill or bake as per your favourite recipe.
June 23, 2014 0

Bread & Butter Pudding

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 8-10

breadandbutter

This is one to add to the winter dessert rotation! I’ve never made a bread & butter pudding in my life but now that winter is setting in, I thought it might be time to give it a go. If you have made one before, you’ll notice this method is less than traditional but hey, I’m not the traditional type! You can whip this up while dinner is cooking and have it out of the oven once you’ve finished dinner.

Ingredients

Main Ingredients

  • 8 thick slices of white bread
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup demerara sugar

Custard

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Spread the vegan margarine on both sides of the bread and cut in half, lengthways.
  3. Place the bread pieces in a baking dish, shuffle them around to make them fit nice and snug.
  4. Add 2/3 of the sultanas to the dish, pushing some in between the pieces of bread.
  5. In a large saucepan, combine the caster sugar, plain flour, corn flour, cinnamon and lemon zest.
  6. Add the soy milk and vanilla extract, whisking constantly over medium-high heat until the mixture thickens.
  7. Once thick, pour the mixture evenly over the bread, making sure you get some between the slices of bread.
  8. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and remaining sultanas on top and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Serve warm.
June 19, 2014 5

Smith & Daughters

Address:175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Website: http://www.smithanddaughters.com/

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If you haven’t heard about Smith & Daughters, you must have been living under a rock because there’s been a lot of buzz since these guys came on the Melbourne restaurant scene a few months ago. Shannon and Mo invited me along to the opening a while back and although I wasn’t able to make it at the time, I vowed to get down to Melbourne this year to try them out. And try them out I did. Twice.

The decor is fabulous; a huge wall covered in vintage posters and photographs plus the now famous “EAT VEGAN” neon sign lights up the room. There’s plenty of indoor greenery as well but what S&D are now known for is the extensive collection of vintage salt and pepper shakers. These cute little table pals are so renowned that people have actually been stealing them (which is super slack, don’t do that!)

I usually don’t touch too much on the staff in my reviews but the staff at Smith & Daughters really do deserve a mention. They’re passionate, enthusiastic and incredibly attentive without being intrusive – my glass of water was never empty! Mo herself is often on the floor, chatting to customers and making much appreciated recommendations.

While the decor and staff are amazingly wicked, the food is what I really want to tell you about. The dinner menu has a Latin American flayva, with plenty of your Mexican classics like tamales, stuffed peppers and tacos as well as some stuff you may not see on your everyday vegan menu like corn fritters, queso dip and house-made chorizo!

We managed to sample a mammoth amount of food on the dinner menu the night we visited. First we had a selection of small plates; White Truffle Forest Mushroom Påte, Layered Queso Dip, Sorrulitos de Maiz and Tuna & Green Pea Croquettas and let me tell you, each of those guys were a taste sensation!

The påte was so smooth and spread beautifully over the bread it was served with. I often find truffle too overpowering but the balance of flavour with the mushroom was perfection.

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I honestly wasn’t expecting the dip to be as bitchin’ as it was. Unbelievably cheesy and creamy, with a layer of spicy black beans underneath. You may need some extra corn chips to finish this one off, because you won’t want to leave a drop behind.

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The corn fritters were lovely but definitely my least favourite of the four small plates we shared (I still ate them before I got to take a photo though!) They were a lovely accompaniment to a large selection of dishes but if you’re limiting yourself I would leave them off.

I’ve been searching far and wide for a croquette as good as the ones I had at Cha Ya in Tokyo and I think they may have met their match at Smith & Daughters. Although fried, they were fresh and light and wonderfully accompanied by a wedge of lemon and caper aioli.

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Somehow we then managed to make a small dent in some of the mains; Enchiladas, Albóndigas con Picada de Almendra and the Tacos con Ensalada.

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Out of the mains my favourite was the taco salad. It had a bit of everything; chorizo, lettuce, beans and topped with cashew cream in a tortilla basket. This was closely followed by the enchiladas which were stuffed with seitan and kale and covered in a trio of delicious sauces. The meatballs were also really tasty but my least favourite of the three, plus super filling so I ate less of them to leave room for dessert.

Despite the imminent food coma, we decided to share a dessert and settled on the Warm Spanish Donuts and boy am I glad we did! The were beautifully spiced and filled with quince which was a nice departure from your typical donut. My friends were most impressed with the dessert saying ” I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed something so much in my life!” and “I’d be happy if this quince was stuck in my teeth forever!”

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My recommendation for 2 people would be to order 2 small plates and one main or 5-6 small plates to share plus a dessert, of course! Accompanied by a couple of beautifully creative cocktails, our experience at Smith & Daughters was so awesome that we decided to book in for brunch a couple of days later.

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Brunch at Smith & Daughters is on Saturdays and Sundays only from 9am-3pm leaving you plenty of time to sleep in and still get your Latin American fix! There’s a wide selection of brunch cocktails so you can keep the party going from the night before or get it started for the night ahead. If daytime drinking ain’t your thing, there are also a bunch of great smoothies and juices as well as coffee with a selection of non-dairy milk options.

The brunch menu is much smaller than the dinner menu but still offers plenty of options to satisfy sweet or savoury inclinations. I was torn between the Burrito, Mexican Omelette and  Spanish French Toast but luckily with a table of four people I got to try all three of those.

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My friend had the burrito which was stuffed with all kinds of tasty things like seitan, beans and cashew cheese which was so tasty but not too overwhelming for breakfast. I opted for the Spanish French Toast which was the perfect size and texture, served warm with poached quince.

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I thought I had made the right decision until the Mexican Omelette arrived! The tofu based omelette didn’t have that eggy taste, the texture was incredible and was packed full of flavour. It’s served with little tortillas so you know you’re not in your average breakfast spot, plus it’s kind of like having tiny soft tacos for breakfast!

Smith & Daughters is such a welcome addition to an already bitchin’ Melbourne restaurant scene. This is definitely one to take your non-vegan amigos along to; the diverse range of flavours and textures will make even the biggest meat-eater weak at the knees for these just about perfect plates of food. The food is so amazing you’re going to want to eat it all but take some advice from from a food coma survivor, pace yourself or you won’t be able to walk out the door!