March 2, 2015 0

Cheesy Jalapeño Potatoes

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

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Sometimes you just gotta treat yoself to a big ol’ bowl of comfort food. The best thing about my cheesy jalapeño potatoes is that they’re not even that bad as far as comfort food goes; the potatoes are baked and the cheesy sauce is nut-based, plus they’ve got jalapeños which are totally a vegetable. They’re gluten and soy free too so just about anybody can tuck into this dish, which is great on its own or as a side (I had mine with hotdogs last night!)

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes, washed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (soy works best but use whatever you want)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup jalapeños (I just used the ones in the jar)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Par boil your potatoes before slicing into chunky wedges and laying out on the baking trays.
  3. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and allow to cook for 30 minutes, or until crispy and brown.
  4. Chuck the cashews, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and 1/4 cup jalapeños into a blender and whizz up until super smooth.
  5. Pour into a saucepan and over medium heat, stir until thickened. If you want it even thicker, you can add a little corn flour at this point.
  6. Remove the potatoes from the oven and sprinkle with salt.
  7. Serve with a drizzle of cheesy jalapeño sauce and a few extra jalapeños.
February 23, 2015 0

Vegan Bounty Bars

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 12

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Despite the fact I never really ate a lot of Bounty’s in my time as a non-vegan, I somehow felt desperate to make them over the weekend. Lucky I did though because these babies are outta sight! Your fave vegan chocolate provides the casing for the sweet, sweet, coconutty innards. Plus they’re soy and gluten free to boot!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • 250grams vegan chocolate (make sure it’s soy and/or gluten free if necessary)

Method

  1. In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil and caster sugar over a medium heat.
  2. Once melted, pour into a large bowl before adding the vanilla extract, almond milk and shredded coconut. Combine well.
  3. Pour the mixture into a small rectangular glass baking dish and press down firmly on top.
  4. Freeze for at least an hour before gently removing from the dish and cutting into 12 even pieces.
  5. Melt the chocolate and dip each bar gently to coat. Place on a tray lined with baking paper.
  6. Allow to set in the fridge before serving.
February 13, 2015 0

Inika Cosmetics

Price: From $25.00 AUD

Where to Buy: www.inika.com.au

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Inika Cosmetics have been on my radar for a while now as I reviewed their foundation over 4 years ago and loved it. Recently Inika sent through some more of their products to try and I’m stoked to report they’ve gotten even better!

Foundation is arguably the most important part of your beauty regime and Inika’s Mineral Foundation Powder (RRP $59.95 AUD) is friggin’ awesome. I’m always a bit wary of powder foundations but I’m genuinely impressed with the results. Coverage-wise it’s quite light but can be built up and while I would usually shy away from a powder with shimmer through it, I do really like it. Free of nasty fillers, this foundation also provides SPF 15 sun protection all while feeling like you’re wearing nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all (sorry, couldn’t resist that one). This foundation works best when used in conjunction with the Vegan Kabuki Brush (RRP $59.95 AUD), a super soft, smooth brush that I almost want to crawl inside of it and take a nap.

Admittedly I don’t use a great deal of eye shadow but I was still pumped to try Inika’s Mineral Eye Shadow. It was great to hear that the purity of the ingredients means that it can be used on sensitive eyes because sometimes my peepers can be a little fussy. The shade I sampled (Burnt Sienna) is a great shimmery bronze that glides on like nobody’s business with the help of the Vegan Eye Shadow Brush (RRP $29.00 AUD). You can even transform the powder into a liquid liner by simply mixing with a little water. Bitchin’!

Two-in-one products are always a winner and Inika’s Creme Colour (RRP $39.00 AUD) is certified organic and can be used on both lips and cheeks. I tried the shade Rosehip and while it wouldn’t be my colour of choice for my cheeks, the texture is great and I will definitely use it as a lip tint in the future. You can also build up the colour using a lip brush to turn it into a high-pigment lip colour.

Last but definitely not least, I tried the Ultimate Lip Balm (RRP $25.00 AUD). Full of essential oils like peppermint, coconut and sunflower, I’ve been using this stuff for weeks and absolutely adore it. You can use it on its own or apply over your favourite lip colour for a little extra moisture. The carnuba wax aids in maintaining the shape of the balm so it’s perfect for warm Australian summers.

Inika is certified organic by Australia’s Organic Food Chain meaning that products contain a minimum of 70-95% organic ingredients. They’re also 100% certified Halal and registered with the UK Vegan Society. All tubes, pots and brushes are made from recycled materials and the boxes are recyclable. So you know, all cool stuff going on here!

If you weren’t already dead keen on Inika, here’s a little more info from their website:

  • No petrochemicals, synthetic substances or mineral oils
  • No ingredients of animal origin
  • No talc or bismuth oxychloride
  • No parabens (Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Isobutylparaben and Propylparaben)
  • No harmful fillers
  • No genetically modified ingredients
  • No fragrances or colour components of non-organic or synthetic origin
  • No anti-microbial agents produced from non-organic sources
  • No chelating agents based on EDTA and its salts
  • No fatty chain source material of petrochemical origin
  • No sulphonation, ethoxylation or propoxylation
  • No alkyl sulphates (eg. sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium coco sulphate, ammonium lauryl sulphate)
  • No alkyl ether sulphates (eg. sodium laureth sulphate, ammonium laureth sulphate)
  • No polyethylene glycol (PEGS)
  • No polysorbates (eg. polysorbate 20)
  • No ethanolamides (eg. cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA)
  • No chemically synthesized sunscreens
  • No potentially harmful preservatives such as parabens and sodium benzoate
  • No gluten or lactose

It’s awesome to see another vegan make up brand absolutely smashing it. While the products are pricey, you’re getting a great quality product from a brand that cares about our animal friends, human friends and the planet.

February 9, 2015 1

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Difficulty: Easy

Makes approximately 40 cookies

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Valentine’s Day is this Saturday, guys! Whether you choo choo choose to celebrate it or not, we can all agree that any opportunity to eat treats is a gooden. These heart-shaped cookies are pretty basic but with a drizzle of colourful icing, they’re sure to make an impact on your crush. Anybody got Leonardo DiCaprio’s address? No? Okay, I guess I’ll eat them alone.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine (I used Nuttelex)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • Pink and red vegan food colouring

Method

  1. In an electric mixer, cream the vegan margarine and caster sugar before adding the soy milk and vanilla extract.
  2. With the mixer on low, sift in 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Once a dough is formed, remove from the bowl. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge. Cut in half and return the remaining dough to the fridge.
  6. Grab a piece of baking paper and sift some of the leftover flour onto it.
  7. Place the dough onto the baking paper, then cover with another piece of baking paper.
  8. Roll out to about .5cm within the sheets of baking paper before cutting your shapes and gently laying 2cm apart on the baking trays. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  9. Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the edges are golden. Remove and allow to cool completely.
  10. Make the icing by whisking together the icing, cornflour, vanilla and almond milk. Split the batch in half and add the food colouring to make one red icing and one pink.
  11. Using a piping bag with a very small hole, drizzle the cookies with the icing and allow to set completely before serving or packaging.
February 6, 2015 0

Mushroom & Asparagus Frittatas

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 12

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I’ve been making variations on these little guys for yonks but for the life of me can’t figure out why I haven’t shared the recipe until now, how rude! They’re bitchin’ for several reasons; you can eat them for any meal, you can eat them hot or cold, you can chuck whatever you want in them and they’re gluten free. Now if those aren’t enough reasons to get you to make one of my recipes then sheesh, I dunno what to do!

Ingredients

  • 12 stalks of asparagus, hard stalk removed and chopped, leaving the top aside
  • 7 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup of chopped vegan cheese (I used Vegusto for this one)
  • 600grams silken tofu
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dry mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a cupcake tray.
  2. Chuck all your veggies and vegan cheese in a bowl, leaving out some little bits for decoration.
  3. In a blender or food processor combine the remaining ingredients until very smooth.
  4. Stir through the vegetables and vegan cheese.
  5. Pour evenly into the cupcake tray and top each frittata with some asparagus, mushroom, onion and vegan cheese.
  6. Place in the oven for at least 30 minutes or until the top has completely set and the frittatas have slightly pulled away from the edges of the tin.
  7. For best results, allow the frittatas to cool completely before gently running a knife around the outside of each frittata and removing carefully.
  8. Reheat or serve cold!
February 3, 2015 0

Banana Nut Choc Pops

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 6

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Looking for a fun treat that’s a little bit naughty but a little bit nice? My Banana Nut Choc Pops are just what you need! They take about 5 minutes to prepare and after a couple of hours in the freezer, they’re ready to eat. They make a wicked substitute for ice cream as a dessert and if you only want a smidgen of chocolate, just dip the tip in chocolate instead of the whole banana. Little dudes will love making these too, so get those junior vegans in the kitchen!

Ingredients

  • 6 paddle pop sticks
  • 3 bananas
  • 300 grams vegan chocolate
  • 1/2 cup granulated peanuts

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Peel and cut each banana in half.
  3. Gently pop the stick in the flat bottom of the banana so it holds firm.
  4. Melt your chocolate in a saucepan or in the microwave before dipping and twirling each banana so it’s well covered.
  5. Lay on the baking tray and sprinkle with nuts.
  6. Freeze for at least two hours before serving.
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 1

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!