September 25, 2016 0

Lemon Meringue Tart

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 8

Lemon Tart

Spring has sprung (ok, kill me now for saying that) and people are going to start asking you to go outside and do stuff. DO NOT PANIC. Outside can be alright, as long as you have delicious treats to keep your mind off the fact you’re not inside watching Netflix. My Lemon Meringue Tart is the perfect outdoor companion but be warned: people will invite you outside more often just so you bring this bad boy along with you. Don’t blame me.

Lemon Tart

Ingredients 

Crust

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup macadamias
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup

Filling

  • 100g pack silken tofu
  • 3 large lemons, juice and grated rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon agar agar powder

Meringue

  • 1/3 cup chickpea juice (the less salt, the better)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (your local supermarket should have it)

Lemon Tart

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C and grease a rectangular, loose bottom tart pan (you can use round too).
  2. Pop the nuts in a ziplock bag and then wrap it in a tea-towel before going to town on those mofos with a rolling pin.
  3. Once the nuts are nicely crushed (quite fine but some little chunks are good), add them to a bowl.
  4. Melt together the coconut oil and agave syrup before adding to the bowl and mixing well
  5. Press the nut mixture into the base and sides of the tin.
  6. Using a sheet of baking paper, lay it over the crust and press down gently again to even out the crust.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until it’s deep golden brown. Allow to cool.
  8. While the crust is cooling, blend together the tofu, lemon juice, lemon rind, caster sugar, agar agar and turmeric until smooth.
  9. Transfer to a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat while stirring constantly.
  10. Once thickened, gently pour it into the crust. Stop when you nearly reach the brim as you don’t want it to overflow.
  11. Carefully transfer to the fridge to set.
  12. While the filling is setting, make your meringue!
  13. Using an electric mixer, whip the chickpea juice until it turns white.
  14. Add the caster sugar one teaspoon at a time before adding the xanthan gum.
  15. Keep whipping til you’ve got stiff, white peaks of meringue.
  16. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe swirls or dollops of meringue evenly over the top of the lemon filling.
  17. Using a cooking torch, run it evenly over the top of the meringue, back and forth until you achieve a nice, golden finish.

Lemon Tart

September 22, 2016 0

esmi Skin Minerals Foundation & Brush

Price: From $60 AUD

Where to Buy: www.esmi.com.au

esmi Mineral Foundation

I bloody love it when new vegan-friendly cosmetics brands holla at your girl to try out their products so I was stoked when esmi got in touch to take their Mineral Foundation and Foundation Brush for a spin.

I’m lucky enough to have had pretty chill skin for most of my life, so with the exception of a little dryness and the odd blemish, I don’t need to worry about my skin getting too heccaz on me but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to treat it right. esmi Mineral Foundation is formulated to be anti-acnegenic with an SPF 15 formula that hydrates, treats and protects the skin using a unique combo of ingredients like:

  • Hyaluronic Acid – keeps skin hella hydrated and plump
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B) – improves skin elasticity and improves tone and texture
  • Aloe Vera – soothes and rejuvenates with anti-aging benefits
  • Shea Butter – contains vitamins A and E plus essential fatty acids to moisturise with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits
  • Allantoin – a natural anti-irritant and skin protectant to smooth and promote cell replication

Oh, if you haven’t guess already it’s totally vegan and Australian made too!

esmi Mineral Foundation

Righto, let’s talk about what I think about the stuff, shall we? esmi recommend keeping 2 shades of their Mineral Foundation on hand to achieve your perfect colour match throughout the year so I went for the two lightest shades; I-II and II-III. Using the little palette, you can control the colour you like before applying to the skin with fingers or the Foundation Brush. The first time I just went ahead and used my fingers but fam, you’re gonna want to use the brush. And let’s talk about the brush! Obvs super cute with it’s gold and blue tones but maaaan that thing is soft AF, made from high quality, vegan dual-layered bristles to apply foundation quickly and effortlessly.

esmi Mineral Foundation

I really dig how easily this stuff glides onto the skin and also how nicely it was absorbed to leave a dope finish with build-able coverage. As soon as I stepped out of the house, I ran into a friend who commented on how beautiful my skin looked so that’s an automatic win right there! I’m pretty bad when it comes to not touching my face throughout the day but was pretty happy with how my skin looked after 8 hours at work, no complaints here!

esmi Mineral Foundation

If you’re looking for a good Australian foundation that doesn’t just give you a pretty face, check out esmi and their beautiful makeup.

 

esmi Mineral Foundation

What’s your fave vegan foundation? Let me know in the comments! 

September 19, 2016 0

No-Rice Stuffed Capsicums

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 4

Stuffed Capsicum

I love cooking as much as the next person but there comes a time when you simply cannot be effed to put in the hard yards to scrape together a decent meal. Stuffed capsicums are a perfect solution to that problemo because they take no time at all, look like you put in a bit of effort and they’re dope for using up all the bits and pieces you have left in the fridge.

What’s your quick and easy weeknight meal? Let me know in the comments!

Ingredients

  • 2 capsicums (any colour you like)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegan mince (I used Gardein but you could also use finely chopped tofu, tempeh or beans)
  • 1 cup pasta sauce (use your fave)
  • 1/3 shredded vegan cheese
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped

Stuffed Capsicum

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray or dish with baking paper.
  2. Chop the capsicums in half lengthways, trim off the core and scoop out the seeds before popping them in the dish.
  3. In a small frypan, heat the oil before throwing in the onion and garlic.
  4. Once the garlic and onion have started to brown it’s time to get that mince into the mix.
  5. Stir the mixture frequently for 5-10 minutes until it starts to darken and chuck in the pasta sauce.
  6. Keep on cookin’ for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Carefully spoon the mixture evenly into the capsicums before sprinkling with vegan cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese has melted nicely.
  9. Serve with salad or vegetables and enjoy!

Stuffed Capsicum

September 8, 2016 0

Roza’s Gourmet & Pesto Pasta Recipe

Price: From $9.50AUD

Where to Buy: www.rozas.com.au

Roza's

Sure, it’s fun to make your own sauces but sometimes we vegans do it out of necessity because there ain’t always a ready-made vegan sauce option nearby. That’s why I was hella stoked when I was asked to try Roza’s Gourmet, a range of chutneys, pestos and sauces made with all natural ingredients and zero artificial preservatives.

Roza’s Gourmet started in Brisbane in 1991 and has been around for 25 years. After Roza’s death, her daughter Jasmin took the wheel and has turned the company into a thriving business, using primarily local ingredients and manufacturing in Australia to keep jobs within the local community.

Roza's

Hot Lover is made from a selection of spicy ingredients like cayenne, habanero and curry powder but thanks to the addition of tomato paste and some other bits and bobs, it actually isn’t all that hot. You could chuck this stuff on just about any dish to give it a little kick and boost the flavour, I reckon it’d taste especially good spooned on top of a stir-fry!

I’m a chutney fiend so naturally I was stinging to take Roza’s Tomato Chutney for a spin. With all the usual suspects in the ingredients list like tomato, onion and brown sugar they’ve also kept it tradish with sultanas added to the mix. It’s a bloody good chutney, perfect to throw on your next sanga.

I love pesto but don’t make it as much as I could because you need SO. MUCH. BASIL and tbh I just can’t be bothered. Stacks of store-bought pesto contains dreaded parmesan but Roza’s have solved this dilemma by making a Dairy Free Pesto! Bursting with flavour and with a great consistency, I couldn’t wait to throw this stuff into a pasta dish so check out my Pesto & Pea Penne recipe.

Roza's

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

This quick and tasty weeknight meal makes it easy to be green!

Roza's

Ingredients

  • 400g penne pasta
  • 1 240mL jar Roza’s Dairy Free Pesto
  • 3 cups frozen peas, steamed
  • 1/3 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cook the penne pasta according to packet instructions until al dente, drain.
  2. Return the drained pasta to the pot and pour in the jar of Roza’s Dairy Free Pesto. Stir through over medium heat.
  3. Add the peas and olives to the pot and mix through evenly before removing from the heat.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan and spring onion, add salt and pepper to taste.

Roza's

Why You’ve Gotta Have It

If you love supporting family businesses, buying vegan products and making kick-ass meals, keep an eye out for Roza’s Gourmet Sauces next time you’re out shopping!

September 5, 2016 0

Bloody Good Banana Bread

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 8-10

Banana Bread

First things first: banana bread is cake that we call bread to make us all feel better about the fact that we’re eating it for breakfast. In saying that though, this version of BB is actually not that bad, so you don’t need to lie to yourself if you chomp down on it prior to 10am. Plus it’s gluten free and refined sugar free (you can really use whatever sweetener you like!)

Ingredients

  • 3 large, very ripe bananas (I’m talking black AF)
  • 1 cup nut milk (I used macadamia)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups GF plain flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (you could use melted coconut oil if that’s more your jam)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid stevia
  • Shaved almonds (optional)

Banana Bread

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line your loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Carefully peel the bananas, mash well in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the nut milk and apple cider vinegar before setting aside for 10 minutes).
  4. Chuck the GF plain flour, almond meal, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl and combine well.
  5. Add the milk mixture, canola oil and stevia to the mashed banana and mix well until combined.
  6. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix vigorously until a nice batter is formed. There will be some chunks and that’s ok.
  7. Carefully pour the batter into the lined loaf tin, smooth out the top and tap on the bench before scattering with shaved almonds.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Serve hot or cold!

Banana Bread

August 30, 2016 0

Epic Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

Serves 8-12

Choc PB Cake

My niece always says “Chels, you’re the best cooker of sweets” and while she’s not entirely correct, I can usually produce pretty dope results when I put the effort in. You can too with my monster Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake; a rich brownie-like cake covered with two types of fluffy frosting, teensy blocks and peanut butter cups made from dark, white and peanut butter chocolate (OMG).

If you don’t have moulds, use whatever chocolatey bits and pieces you can find to turn a simple cake into a baking masterpiece. It’s really not that hard to do but I threw that difficulty rating up there because mustering the time and effort to do it is half the battle. Worth it tho. Just look at the result…

Choc PB Cake

Ingredients

Mini Blocks

  • 125 vegan dark chocolate
  • 250 grams vegan white chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons powdered peanut butter

Mini Peanut Butter Cups

  • 250 grams vegan dark chocolate
  • 250 grams vegan white chocolate
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter

Cake

  • 3 cups soy milk
  • 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup vegan margarine
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Choc PB Cake

Method

  1. Make your chocolate blocks in advance by breaking up the dark chocolate and melting 30 seconds at a time in the microwave until melted, stirring well between each blast (if you have any other preferred method of melting chocolate feel free to do that).
  2. Gently spoon the dark chocolate into a silicone mini block mould (I got mine on eBAY), tapping gently on the bench before placing in the fridge to set.
  3. Repeat this process with the white chocolate however once you’ve added half to the mould, thoroughly mix the powdered peanut butter into the remaining white chocolate before adding to the mould and setting in the fridge.
  4. Now it’s time to make the mini peanut butter cups. Melt the dark chocolate as above, but this time spoon 1/2-1 teaspoon of the chocolate into the bottom of a small silicone chocolate mould (you can grab those online too).
  5. Do the same with the white chocolate, tap the moulds on the bench and place in the fridge.
  6. While the chocolate is setting, scoop your peanut butter into a piping bag and squeeze with your hands to soften.
  7. Remove the partially set chocolate from the fridge and using a small nozzle, squeeze a small amount of peanut butter into the middle of the base of the mould.
  8. Pour the remaining melted white and dark chocolate on the corresponding PB filled sections until filled to the top.
  9. Tap on the bench again and place in the fridge to set.
  10. Okay, time to get started on the actual cake.
  11. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line 3 26cm springform baking tins with baking paper.
  12. In a large bowl or jug, whisk together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar before setting aside.
  13. In an even larger bowl, sift together the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt before mixing through the caster sugar.
  14. Slowly pour the soy milk mixture into the dry mixture while stirring. Do the same with the vanilla extract and canola oil, mixing well until combined.
  15. Melt the dark chocolate bits/pieces and fold gently into the cake batter until well distributed.
  16. Evenly pour the batter into the tins (it should be about 2.5 cups of batter per tin). Tap gently on the bench and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  17. Allow to set in the tin for about an hour before very gently transferring to cooling racks (I keep the baking paper on the bottom to reduce the dents often made by the racks).
  18. While the cakes are cooling, get stuck into the peanut butter frosting by chucking the vegan margarine into the bowl of your electric mixer, mixing on medium-high until pale (about 2 minutes)
  19. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl in 1/2 cup increments, mixing for 20 seconds between each addition of icing sugar until light and fluffy.
  20. Now sift in the peanut butter powder and add the vanilla extract, mixing again until combined.
  21. Place the first cake on your cake plate, flat side down and dump a third of the PB frosting and spreading evenly on top.
  22. Gently place the second cake on top, flat side down and repeat the same process with the frosting.
  23. Now it’s time to place the final cake on top, flat side up and add the final lot of frosting, spreading nicely on top.
  24. Make the chocolate frosting using the same process as Step 18, subbing the PB powder for cocoa powder in Step 20.
  25. Add the chocolate frosting to a piping bag and pop in the fridge until you’re ready to decorate the cake.
  26. When you’re ready to decorate, grab all of your chocolate from the fridge and gently press out of their moulds and keeping them somewhere cool.
  27. Using a small, round piping tip, add nice dollops of icing to the top of the cake and gently adding mini blocks and PB cups until you’re happy with how it looks.
  28. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Choc PB Cake

August 25, 2016 0

Vegan Nail Extensions by Bio Sculpture

Price: From $50.00 AUD

Where to Get It: www.biosculpture.com.au

I’ma be straight up and say that my nails usually look ratchet and that’s mainly because I don’t treat ’em right. Years of biting my nails and cuticles have left them hella weak, brittle and short AF. When they’re short I don’t feel like painting them but painting them is the only way I can grow them, it’s a vicious cycle. Don’t believe me? Check out what my nails usually look like…

EVO Glueless Tips

I know, right? The thing is that I actually really love nail polish, so it sucks that I rarely have nails to paint. Like many of you, I’ve trawled the internet for vegan nail extensions but it’s so bloody hard to find a definitive answer, let alone a salon in my area with vegan-friendly polishes to round out the process, so I was pumped when The Nail Lounge in Sydney invited me to try their Bio Sculpture EVO Glueless Gel Tips.

The EVO Glueless Tip process is brand spankin’ new so I’m one of the first to get to try it out before it gets rolled out to other Bio Sculpture salons across the country. Unlike regular acrylics, the insanely strong EVO Oxygenating Base is used to adhere the acrylic tips instead of glue. Why is that so dope? Well, as you can imagine glueing stuff to your body doesn’t sound super chill and often leaves the nails damaged underneath. EVO’s Oxygenating base makes your nails healthier by regulating moisture and treating your nails to vitamins a and e in the process. Bio Sculpture’s EVO range is completely vegan and even medical grade!

EVO Glueless Tips

My nail technician finished off my look using Bio Sculpture Gel which of course is also vegan but also chip-free and freaking 5 star safety rated (that’s the highest you can get!) Like EVO, it cares for your nails while you wear it so you can feel even better about treating yourself to that mani. There’s not a lot these guys could do to make my hands not look like those of an 80 year old (srsly, why so wrinkly) but would you just check out the miracle they worked on my nails?! The only small neg is that one fell off about week after having them done, however I am going to chalk it up to the fact my pinky nail was so tiny to begin with, there wasn’t a lot to adhere to so I would fo sho go get this done again. I mean, just look at them…

EVO Glueless Tips

The Nail Lounge’s facilities are super clean and profesh looking which gave me the confidence that I wasn’t going to end up on a Today Tonight exposé of shonky salons. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and most importantly provide a kick-ass service so you know you’re getting treated right. They are a specialised Bio Sculpture salon so they know the products inside and out, pioneering the EVO Glueless Tip process.

EVO Glueless Tips

Services typically start at around $50 for a gel manicure and when the service is rolled out, around $90 for the EVO Glueless Tips. I know what you’re thinking and no, you don’t have to travel all the way to Surry Hills to get your nails did, check out the Bio Sculpture website and find a salon using Bio Sculpture products in your area!

August 17, 2016 2

Banana Choc Chip Cashew Ice Cream

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

Cashew Banana Ice Cream

If you managed to wrap your head around that bitch of a recipe title, wait til you wrap your mouth around what the recipe makes! The cashew base makes it soy free and when you throw in that banana and choc chip combo, Craig David wouldn’t be able to handle all that flavour. Now, I’ve been trying to chill a little on the sugar lately (dw fam, I’m not gonna go all IQS on your asses) so I sweetened this guy with stevia which you can tastea little bit, but feel free to use agave or maple syrup if it’s more your jam.

Hint: Make sure you leave plenty of time to cool the cashews!

Cashew Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 1/3 cups nut milk (I used a cashew and almond blend)
  • 2-3 tablespoons natural banana extract
  • Liquid stevia (enough to your liking)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Cashew Banana Ice Cream

Method

  1. Chuck the cashews in the saucepan and cover with water, bringing to the boil and keeping things going for about 20 minutes til they’re hella soft.
  2. Drain the cashews well before popping in a container and allowing to cool completely.
  3. Once cool, throw them in the blender and gradually turn the dial up to maximum blendage.
  4. Slowly pour in the nut milk and blend until the mixture is smooth AF, then add the banana extract and sweetener of your choice.
  5. Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze according to the instructions, adding the chocolate chips just towards the end of the process (if you don’t have an ice cream maker it should still work, just fold in the choc chips).
  6. Scrape the mixture out into a freezer-safe vessel and freeze until firm.
  7. Remove a short time before you’re ready to serve to allow the mixture to soften to a good consistency.

Cashew Banana Ice Cream

Tried this recipe or have a suggestion for another ice cream flavour you’d like a recipe for? Hit me up in the comments below!

August 8, 2016 1

Apple Pie Granola

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 4 cups

Apple Pie Granola

Crunchy granola is just about the only cereal-type thing you’ll get me near. When you add all the bits and pieces to make the damned thing taste like apple pie, well dayaaamn you’ve got me hooked! Easy enough to quickly whip up on Sunday for the week ahead but let’s be honest, it ain’t going to last beyond Tuesday (if that). If you had signed up to my newsletter you could have been making this for months now, don’t make the same mistake again by signing up here.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw macadamias
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sultanas

Apple Pie Granola

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Chuck the rolled oats into a large bowl and roughly chop the nuts before throwing them in too.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and stir through the mixture.
  4. Dice the apple into half centimetre cubes and throw into the bowl.
  5. Melt together the coconut oil and maple syrup either on the stove or in the microwave.
  6. Pour the liquid over the oat and nut mixture and mix thoroughly until well combined.
  7. Spread the mixture out evenly across the two trays, leaving bits a little clumped if you want some crunchy clusters.
  8. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, gently tossing the mixture with tongs every 10 minutes or so.
  9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the sultanas over the mixture before allowing to cool completely.
  10. Keep in a jar until ready to eat.

Apple Pie Granola

August 3, 2016 0

Treat Yo’self to Kester Black’s Summer Shades

Price: $20 AUD

Where to Buy: www.kesterblack.com

It may not seem like it with this frosty air but summer will be here before we know it and if you’re like me, winter can be a time where you kinda shrug off some of the fun beauty stuff for more important regimes like making sure your skin doesn’t dry out to some scaly, lizard-like thing.

Kester Black

Nothing kicks you back into gear more quickly than a bright new set of nail colours so when Kester Black sent me their new summer range to review I felt inspired to stop biting my fingers for a little minute and prep them for a makeover. You’ll have a bunch to choose from too, with 4 new shades ripe and ready for paintin’.

Kester Black

Take the colour of the sea with you wherever you go with Terrarium, the ultimate bright aqua to add the perfect pop of colour to your summer look. If the blue/green tones are your thing but you want to tone it down a little, you’ll bloody love Cumulus, a light and powdery blue to help cool you down when the heat is too much to bear. And what would summer be without a neon pink, huh? Barbie is just that, bright and bold for a powerful statement nail. Last but not least, I have to say my pick of the bunch is Blossom cos it’s hella pastel pink perfection in a bottle. I’m wearing it right now!

Kester Black

The thing I love most about Kester Black (okay, second most because their products are number 1) is that they’re committed to ethical beauty. Polishes are water permeable and five-free, meaning they don’t contain any weird junk that harms you or our environment and sustainable production methods like using recyclable materials and small batch manufacturing mean you’re not only getting quality stuff but you’re also being kinder to the planet while looking super duper fly. And of course Kester Black products are completely vegan and accredited by Choose Cruelty Free, Cruelty Free International and the Vegan Society. Pretty cool, huh?

So, if the cooler weather has left your nails feeling a little neglected, pick your fave shade (or two) and get paintin’!

Kester Black

Wanna win some Kester Black nail polish? Be sure to head on over to Instagram and enter Like a Vegan’s 6th Birthday ExtraVeganza for a chance at winning over $500 worth of vegan prizes!