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.
December 4, 2014 0

Vegan Christmas – Wrapped Up!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and if you’re like me, you had your Christmas shopping completed well before December. If you’re still searching for that perfect gift for the vegan (or non vegan) legends in your life, here are a few of my favourite things to get you through the festive season.

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For the stylish guy or gal, I recommend Matt & Nat accessories. Made from a high-quality, vegan leather with linings made from recycled bottles, you can find items for most budgets including a selection of tech accessories, handbags and wallets. Check out the Matt & Nat website for stockists.

Pamper the beauty and skincare lover with a gift from Sukin. Pick a selection of your own items (I love their rosehip oil) or purchase one of their pre-packaged skincare packs to pamper the ones you love this year. Check out the Sukin wesbsite to purchase or find stockists.

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For stocking stuffers, look no further than Kester Black for a great range of nail polishes and scented soaps. Perfect little treats to make anybody feel special. Check out the Kester Black website for stockists.

Inked up vegans will love the gift of Tattoo Balm, which is specially formulated with no artificial ingredients to take care of skin before and after tattooing. Check out the Tattoo Balm website for where to buy.

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For the new vegan or the vegan who has everything, how about a gift voucher or subscription to The Vegan Box?! Each month, your recipient will get a box of excellent, palm-oil free products plus they do gluten free boxes too. Find out more on The Vegan Box website.

If you’re looking for something awesome for the kids, give Green Toys a try. They make a fantastic range of eco-friendly toys made from recycled plastic and other environmentally friendly materials. Check out the Green Toys website for stockists.

December 1, 2014 0

Creamy Basil Pasta Salad

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 6

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Salads are the staple of any good Aussie Christmas meal and the ideal take-along dish. I’ve decided to add a twist to the classic pasta salad and add a creamy basil dressing plus a bunch of colourful veggies and a little pomegranate for an added summer touch. Don’t be afraid to stuff this one full of your favourite veggies, the more the merrier I say!

Ingredients

Pasta Salad

  • 500grams shell pasta
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
  • 1 pomegranate, deseeded
  • 1 yellow capsicum, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Creamy Pesto Dressing

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, firmly packed
  • Juice of half a lemon

Method

  1. Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions and drain, set aside until slightly cooled.
  2. Prepare the dressing by blending together the vegan mayo, basil and lemon juice. Stir through the pasta until well coated.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes, pomegranate, capsicum salt and pepper and mix through until evenly distributed.
  4. Allow to cool completely in the fridge before serving.
November 21, 2014 4

Holiday Roast w/ Apple Walnut Stuffing & Maple Glaze

Difficulty: Medium

Serves 4-6

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I’ve had a few store-bought vegan roasts in my time but this year I decided it was time to make my own holiday roast. Glazed with sweet maple and stuffed with my apple walnut stuffing, this dish is sure to impress vegans and non-vegans alike at the Christmas table. The best thing about it is that you can prepare it up to a week in advance and all you’re left to do is glaze and bake it on the day. I doubt you’ll have any leftovers however if you do, chuck a couple of slices on a sambo and you’ve got yourself one heck of a lunch there too. Christmas rules!

Ingredients

Apple Walnut Stuffing

  • 3 pieces wholemeal bread, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4-1/2 chicken-style stock (or vegetable)

Roast

  • 1/2 cup cooked butter beans
  • 1 cup chicken-style stock (or vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten flour

Maple Glaze

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method

  1. Start the stuffing by chucking the bread and apple in a medium bowl before melting the vegan margarine in a frypan.
  2. Once the vegan margarine has melted, throw in the onion, garlic, walnuts, fresh herbs and celery salt. Fry for about 5 minutes until the onion has softened.
  3. Add the contents of the frypan to the bowl of bread and apple, pour in the stock and mix well. Set aside.
  4. Put a large pot of water on the boil for steaming and start to prepare your roast.
  5. Puree the butter beans and 2 tablespoons of the stock and pop into a large bowl before adding the dried herbs, salt, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup and tomato sauce. Combine well.
  6. Add the gluten flour and mix with a fork until it all starts to come together. Once a dough has formed, get your hands in there and massage well until the dough becomes stringy.
  7. Roll into a ball and make a large dent in the middle. Fill it with the stuffing and close the dough to make a log. Pinch the edges to prevent the stuffing from escaping.
  8. Place the log onto a large piece of foil and roll tightly, twisting the ends together to encase the roast.
  9. Steam in a basket, covered for an hour and 10 minutes. The roast should be firm but spring back when you press it.
  10. At this point you can wrap the roast in foil and store in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
  11. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a baking tray.
  12. To make the glaze, whisk together the ingredients and brush onto the roast.
  13. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes, remove and reglaze then bake for a further 20 minutes.
  14. Serve with roasted vegetables and gravy.
November 17, 2014 0

Kester Black Update

Woohoo! Kester Black is the first all-Australian brand to receive the internationally recognised Cruelty Free Leaping Bunny Accreditation. You go, KB!

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If you’re not already familiar with Kester Black, let me bring you up to speed. KB nail polish comes in a range of awesome colours ranging from more traditional colours to bold hues and metallics plus they have recently moved into divine smelling soaps.

I have two fave colours ATM. The first is Acid, which is a fluorescent yellow perfect for summer and the second is Sugar Daddy, which is a metallic gold glitter from their collab with Trophy Wife. Together the two are the ultimate duo for the warmer months.

Kester Black products make the perfect stocking stuffers for Christmas or just the perfect pamper gift to treat your bad self for all the good junk you’ve done this year.

With this new accreditation under their belt, you can rest assured that our buddies at Kester Black are always vegan and always cruelty free.

Check out Kester Black’s website to shop their products.

November 13, 2014 0

Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallows

Difficulty: Medium

Makes 24

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Christmas is just around the corner so I thought it was time I got cracking on some Christmas recipes. First cab off the rank is a treat so damned delicious that you’ll want to eat it all year round! Light and fluffy peppermint marshmallow, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. Doesn’t get any more freakin’ festive than that, right?

These guys are gluten and soy free if you choose the right chocolate and candy canes too!

Ingredients

Marshmallow

  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon agar agar powder
  • 1 cup glucose syrup
  • 2 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint essence

Other ingredients

  • 300grams vegan dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup crushed vegan candy canes (I used Coles brand)

Method

  1. Prepare a standard loaf tin by sifting half of the icing sugar into the base.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water and agar agar powder over a low heat.
  3. When the agar agar has dissolved, add the glucose syrup and caster sugar. Stir constantly over a medium-high heat until it begins to boil.
  4. Once boiling, immediately pour the mixture into the bowl of your electric mixture. Mix on high for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture resembles beaten egg whites. Add the peppermint essence and continue to mix for a minute.
  5. Very quickly pour the mixture into the loaf tin and sift the remaining icing sugar on top. Allow to set for a few hours.
  6. Once set, gently tip out of the tin and cut into 24 even squares.
  7. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  8. Melt the chocolate and dip each marshmallow in, making sure it’s covered and place onto the baking tray. Sprinkle the crushed candy cane on top and place in the fridge to set.
  9. Once set, serve immediately.
November 11, 2014 0

Spaghetti Squash w/ Tomato & Cannellini Beans

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 2-4

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If you follow me on Twitter, you would know that I am a huge fan of spaghetti squash. It’s subtle flavour lends itself perfectly to so many dishes while its spaghetti-like texture magic! For years it has been near impossible to track down, except for rare occasions at the farmer’s market however this week I stumbled across a bunch in Coles (of all places!) Naturally I scooped one up and took it home and despite the warmer weather in Newcastle, thought I would bake my new squashy friend and fill it with delicious tomato and bean combo. Eat this as a low calorie meal or as an impressive side dish at your next dinner party.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons veganWorcestershire sauce
  • Vegan parmesan (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthways and scoop out the seeds and place face down (skin up) on the baking tray.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes until the skin has softened.
  4. While the spaghetti squash is baking, prepare your filling by heating some oil in a small saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic.
  5. Add the beans, tomato, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and bring to the boil.
  6. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for a further 15-2o minutes.
  7. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven, drizzle with oliver oil, cover in salt and pepper and fill with the tomato mixture.
  8. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan and serve.
November 5, 2014 0

Crispy Cajun Potatoes w/ Tangy Tomato Mayo

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 2

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Remember shaker fries? You’d get the fries and a little sachet of flavouring, chuck ‘em in a bag and shake it like a polaroid picture, resulting in crispy, potato-y, spiced goodness. I set out to make a more sophisticated version that you could serve up with your weekly meal or make a big batch for a dinner party. Either way, these spicy spuds are sure to satisfy.

The ingredients I used are all gluten free, however making sure yours are too if you want to ensure they are GF.

Ingredients

Potatoes

  • 12 miniature white potatoes
  • Spray olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Tangy Tomato Mayo

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Parboil your potatoes and cut them in half before laying them out on the baking tray and spraying with the olive oil.
  3. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking make your cajun seasoning by combining the cajun, paprika and salt in a small bowl.
  5. Make the tangy tomato mayo by whisking together the vegan mayonnaise, tomato sauce, garlic and mixed herbs.
  6. Once the potatoes are cooked, toss them in a medium bowl with the cajun seasoning until well coated.
  7. Serve immediately with a generous squeeze of tangy tomato mayo.