April 16, 2014 0

Curry Spiced Popcorn

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

currypopcorn

OK I admit it, I’m a popcorn fiend! But why wouldn’t I be? It’s light, crispy and oh so easy to make, plus you can make it sweet, salty or a mixture of the two! These little popped corns no longer have to be viewed as a just treat for movie time or a children’s party snack, you can also create flavours that make them a classy and sophisticated delight. My Curry Spiced Popcorn recipe is flavoursome and packs a punch to spice up your next occasion.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Spray olive oil

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on high. To test it’s the right temperature, add a popcorn kernel and see if it starts spinning. If it does, you’re ready to go!
  2. Chuck in the popcorn kernels and add the lid before giving the pan a bit of a shake.
  3. Continue to shake the pan well every 15-20 seconds, use a tea towel to stop burning your hands.
  4. Once the kernels are popping rapidly, turn the heat down and continue to shake regularly until the popping slows right down.
  5. Remove from the heat.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, nutritional yeast, cumin seeds and salt.
  7. Spray the popcorn kernels with olive oil spray and evenly sprinkle the spice mixture over the top.
  8. Give the pan a good shake and serve immediately.
April 13, 2014 0

Cornbread

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

cornbread

If there’s one thing I know how to make, it’s a mean cornbread. Speaking of mean, I’m surprised I haven’t shared this recipe with you already, I’m such a fool but better late than never, huh? I like to make mine in Texas muffin tins to make individual serves however it’ll work just as well in a loaf tin if that tickles your fancy. My cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to any meal but is particularly bitchin’ with salads, soups and chilli.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease a Texas muffin tin with spray oil before dusting with plain flour.
  2. Whisk together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the polenta, plain flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Whisk the oil and caster sugar into the milk mixture and gradually add to the dry ingredients while stirring constantly.
  5. Evenly pour into 4 muffin holes and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the outside is golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin, serve warm.
April 10, 2014 0

Lime and Coconut Tart

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 8-10

limetart

As much as I wish the weather would cool down, it ain’t and so I feel like I can still get away with this no-bake Lime and Coconut number (let’s face it- you can probs have it all year round). The creamy coconut cream based filling is very light and soft but would also taste fabulous if you put it in the freezer and removed it shortly before serving. You’ll need to ensure the coconut cream cans are refrigerated overnight but what I like to do is always keep a few in the fridge so I’m always prepared should there be a dessert emergency. Try putting this one together for your next occasion and trust me, it’ll be a hit!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 packet Digestive biscuits (or similar)
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

Filling

  • 2 x 270mL cans coconut cream (I use Woolworths Select)
  • 1 tub vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated rind of 3 limes
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • Extra lime peel to serve

Method

  • Pop the coconut cream cans in the fridge, upside down for at least 24 hours.
  • Grease a tart pan well.
  • Chuck the Digestives and caster sugar in the food processor and blend before slowly adding the melted margarine.
  • Firmly press into the greased pan, up the sides as well.
  • Drain the liquid from the cans of coconut cream, you should be left with a lump of coconut cream in the bottom.
  • Throw the coconut cream into the bowl of an electric mixer  and whip for a minute or so before adding the cream cheese and icing sugar.
  • Add the vanilla extract, grated rind and lime juice and whip a little more.
  • Spread the filling evenly into the base and pop in the fridge (or freezer if that’s your jam) for at least 4 hours.
  • Add the decorative rind and serve.
April 6, 2014 0

Smoky Tempeh and Mushroom Burgers

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Makes 4

tempehburger

Most often in the vegan world we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to veggie burgers. I know that when I go to the supermarket I have at least 6 to choose from, and while some of them are pretty good for a quick bite, nothing beats a homemade burger. I prefer to make my own too because you can change the flavours to suit your taste, plus you know exactly what’s going into it. These tempeh and mushroom burgers are a real bloody treat – the tempeh and mushrooms work together to provide a “meaty” flavour and texture that isn’t dry or chewy.

Ingredients

  • 2 260g packets of tempeh
  • 1 cup stemmed and finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup gluten flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Buns, salad and mayonnaise to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Shred your tempeh with a grater or using the shredding attachment on your food processor.
  3. Chuck the tempeh into a large bowl with the mushroom, onion, garlic, basil and sesame seeds. Combine well before adding the liquid smoke, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Add in the gluten flour  and salt and pepper and combine well, the mixture will become a little more stringy and should stick together when formed into a ball.
  5. Mould into patties using a mould or making free form shapes.
  6. Place onto the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, the outside will be dark brown when cooked.
  7. Serve on a bun with salad and vegan mayo.
April 4, 2014 0

Sydney Vegan Festival

Vegan festivals aren’t a new concept but it’s so wicked to see new ones popping up as veganism grows in popularity. The newest kid on the block is the Sydney Vegan Festival and I went along on Saturday, 29th March to see just how SVF stacks up against the other festivals around.

svfstalls

Some of the food stalls.

A departure from the typical vegan festival setting, The Factory Theatre played host to Sydney Vegan Festival this year. This for me had several benefits; it was a gloomy day so being inside was handy, you were able to hear cooking demos a lot clearer and even though it was a small space, you could have two stages operating at once. The only real negative I could see was that because the main events were happening in two different spaces, it was easy not to venture out and explore all there was to offer.

Another difference was that this event wasn’t free like most other vegan festivals out there. Tickets were around fifty bucks which I thought was pretty reasonable but I can understand the frustration of those who perhaps wanted to go but weren’t able to justify the cost.

In terms of the food on offer there were some fantastic options but not as many as you would see at say, Cruelty Free Festival but there were some I hadn’t seen before! I wanted my friend to have her first Funky Pies experience however by the time we were ready to eat they had sold out (which I guess is a good sign). Instead we settled for dosa from In Lak’ech and dumplings from a mystery stall that in my hunger craze I forgot to write down.

Masala dosa and mystery dumplings.

Masala dosa and mystery dumplings.

Like other events, there were other stallholders too! Divine Infusions and Macbeth were there plus some animal charities like Sea Shepherd, Animal Liberation NSW and Animals Australia. There were also a bunch of musical acts like Brendan Maclean, Metcalfe and Chance Waters.

I think where Sydney Vegan Festival excelled over other vegan festivals was the calibre of speakers and artists. Not only did we have some bitchin’ Aussie presenters like Megan Young from Veggies and Me and Maz from Sadhana Kitchen but some of the most famous vegan chefs in the world like Black Metal Vegan Chef, Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The three top-billed presenters were all amazing, bringing enthusiasm and personality to the stage while they whipped up dishes that showed why they are so popular in the vegan world. They were wandering around the event too; having chats to fans, signing books and posing for photos. Some real legendary stuff right there. One criticism of the demos was that it would have been cool to have someone filming the cooking itself and projecting it onto a large screen so the audience could see what was being done.

Black Metal Vegan Chef growling up a storm.

Black Metal Vegan Chef growling up a storm.

Terry Hope Romero getting sassy.

Terry Hope Romero getting sassy.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz getting passionate about mac n cheese.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz getting passionate about mac n cheese.

All in all, for the inaugural event, I think the Sydney Vegan Festival was a success. I really look forward to seeing what they do with it next year; I would love to see more stalls, especially more food and perhaps a better layout for the event. I really don’t know how they can top the presenters but it would be cool to get Black Metal Vegan Chef, Terry and Isa back on board on a yearly basis but getting more Aussies on board would be awesome too!

March 30, 2014 0

Vanilla Sponge with Coconut Cream

Difficulty: Medium

Serves 6-8

spongecake

Sometimes a simple sponge is all you need to wow a crowd at a tea party or birthday event. This cake does exactly that with it’s light vanilla sponginess teamed with a lightly whipped yet decadent  coconut cream. If you’re feeling extra legendary you could smear a layer of berry jam between the two cake layers to really take things to the next level.

Ingredients

  • 3 x 270mL cans coconut cream (Woolworths Select works great for this recipe)
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar
  • Strawberries to serve

Method

  1. Start making the coconut cream by place the cans of coconut cream in the fridge, upside down. Leave them there overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to make your cake, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease two springform cake tins.
  3. Whisk together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside to curdle.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  5. Pour the canola oil,  2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and caster sugar into the  soy milk mixture and combine well.
  6. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until fully combined, some small lumps are ok.
  7. Pour the mixture evenly into the two baking tins and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool completely.
  9. To make the coconut cream, remove the cans from the fridge, open them slightly and drain off the liquid. You should be left with a large lump of coconut cream in the bottom of the cans.
  10. Spoon the cream into a large bowl, add the vanilla and sift in the icing sugar.
  11. Whip with an electric mixture or hand beater until the mixture resembles whipped cream.
  12. Flip one of the cakes upside down and liberally spread out a layer of coconut cream.
  13. Place the other cake upside down on top of the cream and apply another thicker layer of coconut cream.
  14. Add strawberries and serve.
March 25, 2014 2

A Chat with Terry Hope Romero

If you don’t know who Terry Hope Romero is, you must have been living under a block of tofu for the last 10+ years because she’s kind of a big deal in the vegan world. Those who do recognise the name will probably know her as Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s collaborator on Post Punk Kitchen as well as their subsequent books – Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Pie in the Sky and Veganomicon as well as her own cookbooks – Viva Vegan and Vegan Eats World.

Terry is Down Under as part of Sydney Vegan Festival and I was lucky enough to keep her up late from her home in NYC before she left, to talk about vegan cooking, Australia and of course – Vegemite.

THR1

Let’s start at the beginning, what was it that led     you to start cooking vegan?

I was cooking before I was vegan! Since probably before I was 12, I was always baking, cooking, reading cookbooks, that kind of stuff. After going vegetarian at 16 and years later vegan, I loved the challenge of transforming non-vegan recipes into vegan ones, and then later inventing all new recipes too.

What was the first thing you cooked where you were like “yeah, this is dope, I might be onto something”?

I’ve been making great food since I was a teen! So I have no idea, other than I must have liked something enough to keep making it. Again, I love both baking and cooking, so it could be mint chocolate chip cookies one day, peanut avocado sushi another, or veg paella or seitan tamales or so many other things.

It’s hard to believe that with your collection of amazing recipes that you would have any total culinary failures but can you recall any disaster dishes?

Sure, it happens to everybody. When working on the pie cookbook Vegan Pie in the Sky, I had a few requests to make a vegan version of “shoofly pie”, a regional favourite in Pennsylvania. It’s made with a ton of molasses and some eggs to hold it together. My first version had a whooping 2 ½ cups of molasses, and I didn’t get the binding replacement for eggs down. So while the pie looked nice, one slice in the entire thing just bled molasses all over the kitchen counter. It still tasted pretty good, and my friend Dave ate the entire thing.

Is there any recipe or dish that you’re yet to conquer?

Well I’m not out to make everything vegan…there are a lot of local weird meat-heavy things out there that I’m living my life just fine without a vegan substitute. There’s a lot of people out there working on making vegan meringue desserts. Not my thing, but more power to them if they want it.

Now, a lot of people would know you from your work with Isa Moskowitz on Post Punk Kitchen and subsequent collabs such as Vegan Cupcakes, Vegan Cookies, and Veganomicon. As well as your own books like Viva Vegan and Vegan Eats World . What do you think it is that made those books such a success?

They’re awesome books. We’re awesome. We’re fun and we like to make good food. We brought the world vegan cupcakes when there was a dearth of them…can you imagine a world before vegan cupcakes? Dark times indeed.

Are there any other vegan personalities that you’d love to collaborate with in the future?

No. Ha, seriously that’s top secret news! All shall be revealed in good time.

You’re heading out in March for the Vegan Festival in Sydney and some other events around the country, have you been to Australia before? What are you most looking forward to?

First time ever to Australia! It’s a little unreal and I’ve been so busy (finishing up a new book Salad Samurai for the spring, among other things!), I haven’t had a chance yet to plan. But I’ve been told to look out for all kinds of exciting and different twists on vegan cuisine. Time to make a list!

We have some pretty amazing vegan restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, any that you’ve heard about that you’re particularly looking forward to trying?

I have and I want them all!

Have you tried Vegemite yet?

Of course! I was gifted a wonderful jar of it when I was in the U.K. from @msmarmitelover (of the Supper Club Fan Group) and instantly became of fan of it smeared on vegan grilled cheese sandwiches.

What’s next for Terry? Got any exciting projects on the horizon? 

Yes! A new book, Salad Samurai, coming this spring! And lookout for a new season (season 2) of The Vegan Mashup also coming in the spring!

You can catch Terry Hope Romero along with a bunch of other dope vegan legends at the following events:
Wednesday, 26th March – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Saturday, 29th March – Sydney Vegan Festival, Sydney
Sunday, 30th March - Crowbar, Brisbane
For ticket and sideshow information check out the Sydney Vegan Festival website.

 

March 21, 2014 6

Divine Infusions Healing Balm and Tattoo Balm – Review and Giveaway

Price: From $10

Where to Buy: Divine Infusions + Tattoo Balm

divineinfusions

Hell-bent on finding a treatment for a wide range of healing applications? Divine Infusions Healing Balm may just be the thing you’re lookin’ for, buddy. This stuff is handmade, all-natural and doesn’t contain any junk like chemicals, petroleum and of course there’s not an animal product in sight.

So what does Healing Balm contain then? It’s a combination of natural oils, butters and macadamia wax, each providing their own awesome properties to the balm. Extra virgin coconut oil, for instance can moisturise and protect at the same time has having anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Whoa. Chamomile oil is an antiseptic, antibiotic, disinfectant and analgesic. For a full list of ingredients and how they contibute to Healing Balm’s awesomeness, click here.

If you’re wondering what this stuff can actually help with, the list is ongoing - burns, rashes, cuts, bites, cracked heels, nappy rash, irritations and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It can also be used to protect the skin of those who use their hands a lot such as gardeners, mechanics and musicians. Heck, you can even just use it as a hand cream or moisturiser if you want to as it can also strenghthen nails.

Divine Infusions sent me a tub of this stuff to try out and I was impressed. In a recent baking mishap (because I’m an idiot) I sustained several burns to my wrist and hand and have been applying Healing Balm daily to help aid the healing process. It’s still early days so I don’t know how badly it will scar but so far it has helped to soothe the skin and based on past injuries has definitely aided the healing process.

Divine Infusions also have balms for other uses as well. Their Tattoo Balm is perfect for prepping skin for fresh ink as well as helping to ensure your new body art. For any tattooists our there, it’s also great to use throughout the tattoo process! Gnarly. I haven’t had any work done for a while so I can’t tell you how it worked for me however next time I get a tattoo, I’ll be giving it a go.

Stay tuned to the Divine Infusions website for updates on where to buy. They’ll also have a stall set up at the Sydney Vegan Festival on the 29th of March.

You can follow Divine Infusions on Twitter and Facebook. Tattoo Balm has its own Twitter and Facebook too!

Want to try some of this awesome stuff? I have a tub of Healing Balm and a tub of Tattoo Balm to giveaway! Comment below with which one you want to try and why for your chance to win! Australian residents only, I’ll draw the winners on 28/03/2014.

March 15, 2014 0

Chunky Cashew and Basil Dip

Difficulty: Easy

Makes about 1 cup

cashewdip

 

Sometimes you need to whip up a cool snack in a matter of minutes and a dope way to do this is via a dip. You got some bread or crackers nearby and you’ve got yourself the perfect afternoon treat!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small chilli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Chuck all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until ingredients are combined but still chunky.
  2. Serve with your favourite bread or crackers.
March 9, 2014 0

Peri Peri Tofu Pizza

Difficulty: Medium

Serves 4

peripizza

Peri Peri sauce seems to be all the rage lately and since I have built up my chilli tolerance, I thought it was time I tried to make my own. The natural way to eat peri peri sauce seems to be atop a pizza with grilled tofu and vegetables so that’s what I made and it was fan-freakin-tastic. So much so that my meat-loving guests scoffed it down almost instantly!

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza base
  • 1/2 cup chillies, remove the stems (if you want a milder sauce, pick your chillies accordingly)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Handful of coriander
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (optional, this just gives it a creamier texture and takes away some of the heat)
  • 1 block high protein, firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste or pizza sauce
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated vegan cheese (I use a combination of Notzarella and Cheezly)

Method

  1. Prepare your pizza base and preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. To make the peri peri sauce, combine the chillies, garlic, coriander, olive oil and mayonnaise in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Leave in the fridge until needed.
  3. Thinly slice the tofu and grill until golden on either side, set aside.
  4. Spread the pizza sauce over the base and sprinkle a little of the vegan cheese on the base.
  5. Lay out the tofu and sprinkle over the capsicum and red onion.
  6. Add the rest of the cheese and cook in the oven until the cheese has completely melted.
  7. Remove from the oven and squeeze over a swirl of peri peri sauce before serving.