Archive for November, 2008

Vegan Pad Thai

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This recipe is a nice fast one for a lazy night in when you aren’t up for cooking a feast. (or when you are already worn out from cooking cupcakes all afternoon!)


Brooklyn Pad Thai
(Vegan with a Vengeance)

450g rice noodles

For the sauce:
6 tablespoons tamari
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons chilli sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate or lime juice

For the pad Thai:
6 tablespoons ground nut oil (we just used vegetable oil)
450g tofu drained and pressed and cut into small triangles
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemongrass, finely chopped
125 g bean sprouts
8 spring onions. sliced
2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
50g chopped roasted peanuts
4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
Lime wedges for serving.

Prepare the rice noodles according to the directions on the packet.

Mix together the ingredients for the sauce.
Preheat a large nonstick frypan or wok over moderate-high heat, then quickly add the tofu. Stir fry for for 4 – 5 minutes, until the tofu is crisp on the outside. Remove from pan and set aside.


Pour 2 tablespoons more of the oil into the pan, add the garlic and lemongrass, stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the sauce and when it starts to bubble, add the noodles. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add the tofu, bean sprouts, spring onions, chillies, and peanuts. Stir for 30 more seconds.



Transfer to two serving plates and garnish with coriander and lime wedges.



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Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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During the week we bought ourselves a little treat: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
I have been very excited about this cookbook, being a huge Veganomicon fan, today wasn’t the first time we have tried one of these recipes, but it’s the first time trying one of these recipes when we own the book so that is a little special in itself. I am a lover of carrot cake so it was natural that this would be our first mission.. we weren’t disappointed! (I love you Isa & Terry!)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely grated carrots
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup nuttelex
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


FOR THE CAKES: Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin time with 12 cupcake liners. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together sugar, vegetable oil, yogurt and vanilla. Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices) and mix until smooth. Fold in carrot, walnuts and raisins.



Spray the cupcake liners with non stick baking spray. Fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake for 26 – 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted through the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool.



FOR THE FROSTING: Cream together nuttelex, and cream cheese until just combined. Use a handheld mixer to whip while adding the confectioners sugar in half cup batches. Mix until smooth and creamy, then mix in the vanilla.


Once cakes are fully cooled top generously with cream cheese frosting and top with a crushed walnuts.


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Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls (vegan)

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We have had this recipe a few times. In my old meat eating life I used to really love Japanese food, so sushi is one of the things I really get a hankering for now and then. This recipe is the first in the Veganomicon cookbook and we originally made it as part of a vegan yum cha feast, these days we have it on its own, it is the perfect Sunday lunch!


Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls


For the sushi rice:
1 cup sushi rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (this is not the same as regular vinegar)
1 teaspoon sugar

For the spicy tempeh filling:
1/2 package tempeh
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon hot chile sesame oil
4 sheets nori seaweed
1 teapsoon wasabi (optional)
1 scallion, sliced lengthways in narrow strips
1 avocado, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

Wasabi and Soy sauce to serve

In a heavy bottomed pot, combine the rice and 1 1/4 cups cold water. Turn the heat to high, bring the water to the boil and stir the rice just once. Lowe the heat to low, cover the pot and steam the rice for 20 – 22 minutes. Empty the hot rice into a large glass or plastic bowl. Sprinkle with the rice vinegar an sugar, folding the rice gently with a spoon. The rice should be moist and have a very mild vinegar flavour. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool for 10 – 15 minutes. When rice is slightly warmer than room temperature, it’s ready to work with.


While the rice is cooling, prepare the filling by steaming the tempeh. Allow the tempeh to cool for 10 minutes, chop into small cubes, and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the mayonnaise and chile sesame oil and mash until chunky.


Fill a shallow cup with about 1/3 cup of water and a tablespoon of rice vinegar, and keep near your sushi workstation. Follow these steps to the perfect nori roll:

1.   Place the nori sheet on the bamboo mat. With wet hands, take a snowball shaped handful of rice, about a cups worth. Gently pat onto the bottom two thirds of your nori sheet. The layer of rice should be less than 1/3 inch thick


2.   Place a small amount of filling across the centre of your rice. Lay them horizontally in a straight line. The less filling the easier the sushi will be to roll. Aim for about 1 1/2 teaspoons of tempeh and 3 strips of avocado.



3.   Using the mat, rently roll up that sushi starting from the rice topped end; try to keep your grip relatively tight for a firm roll. When you’ve reached the seaweed only end, pat gently with a little bit of vinegar water to seal the roll.

4.   Slice your roll into 1 inch pieces with a sharp serrated knife.


We serve with soy sauce and wasabi (and actually we also spread a thin layer of wasabi on the rice before we add the tempeh! We like it hot!



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Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-fry (vegan)

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There was some contention in the foodie household this evening about this recipe. I loved this dish, it was a lovely, light, tropical meal (perfect for summer!), but the bare-chested chef felt it was a little too sweet. I do generally have quite a sweet tooth so I guess that is why I liked it so much, but I think even if you don’t have too much of a sweet tooth it is still a really great dish, there is such great contrast between the sweetness of the fruit and the spicyness of the chili and the crunch of nuts.. I have to say that I am really loving quinoa at the moment, and the great thing about cheffy not liking it is that I get it for lunch tomorrow!!!

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-fry

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

4 ounces cashews, raw and unsalted
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1 hot red chile, sliced into very thin rounds
1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced in thin shreds
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
10 ounces fresh pineapple, cut into bite sized chunks
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable stock
1 tablespoon mirin
Lime wedges for garnish






For the quinoa: Combine the quinoa, juice, water and soy sauce in a medium sized pot. Cover, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Stir a few times, lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 12 – 14 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa appears plumped and slightly translucent. Uncover, fluff and let cool.

For the stir-fry: Use a large frypan or wok. Have all your ingredients pre-chopped and in reach. Place the cashews in the dry pan and heat over low heat, stirring them, until lightly toasted (4 to 5 minutes).


Remove the cashews from the pan, raise the heat to medium and add the peanut oil, scallions and garlic, when the garlic starts to sizzle, add the sliced chili and ginger.


Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add the bell pepper and peas. Stir-fry for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the bell pepper is softened and the peas are bright green.


Add the basil and mint, and stir for another minute before adding the pineapple and quinoa.


Combine the soy sauce, vegetable stock and miri. Pour over the quinoa mixture. Stir until the mixture is coated. Continue to stir-fry for 10 minutes (it helps to use two spoons/spatulas to scoop the quinoa around). Serve with lime wedges.



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Vegan Vegetable Stew with Pesto

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This dish is somewhere between a soup and a stew. It is choc full of vegetable goodness and is super delicious. I just love it!

Farm Stand Vegetable Stew with Basil Pesto
(Vegan Planet)


For the Stew:
2 ears corn
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion leek, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium sized zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch half moons

For the Pesto (there is a recipe for pesto in the book too but this is our own version, if you want you can just use store bought)
Fresh basil (1/4 bunch)
40g pine nuts
2 tablespoons ground linseed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper


For the pesto: Toast the pine nuts in a non stick pan, over medium heat, stirring occassionally, until browned.


Grind the basil, oil and salt in a mortar and pestle until it is a paste, add pine nuts and linseed and grind until pesto is at desired consistency.



For the Stew: Cut the kernels from the corn and set aside.


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion leek, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, green beans, tomatoes, stock and salt and pepper and bring to the boil.


Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.


Add the zucchini, yellow squash and corn kernels and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, adding mores stock if the stew becomes too dry. When ready to serve, remove from the heat and stir in the pesto.


We serve this with pita bread, baked in the oven until crispy.


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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

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This recipe was such a pleasant surprise.. I always feel a mix of anxiousness and excitement when we try a new recipe, never quite sure how it will turn out and hoping so much that it turns into another favourite dish. Tonight we tried something new from the Vegan Planet cookbook and it was so good that it has shot to the top of my favourites list. We modified the recipe a little because we didn’t have all the ingredients but I will explain that as I go along.

Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie
(Vegan Planet)


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped (we – as always – used leek instead)
1 carrot, chopped
2 cups button mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce
1 cup basic vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
3 frozen veggie burgers, thawed chopped or crumbled (here, we used 1 can chick peas, 1 can kidney beans, 1/4 cup urid dahl lentils)
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/3 cup ground walnuts
1/4 teaspoon sweet hungarian paprika
3 cups mashed potatoes (mashed with Nuttelex)




Prehead the oven to 180°C. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add the onion leek and carrot, cover, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.


Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tamari, stock, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. If you are using beans instead of vegie burgers, add them now. Stir in the cornstartch mixture to thicken slightly.


Spoon the mixture into a lightly oiled baking dish. Stir in the peas and walnuts (and vegie burgers if you are using them instead of the beans).


Spread the mashed potatoes over the top.


Sprinkle with the paprika and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake until the potatoes are hot and bubbly and the top is golden brown – about 30 minutes. Serve Hot.


This is such a great comfort dish, it is so warming and hearty. Perfect for winter time and so delicious, I am really happy with this one!


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Fudgy Wudgy Vegan Brownies

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It looks like Sunday is going to become baking day in the foodie household and it is fast becoming my favourite day of the week! This weekend we made Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Raspberry Brownies. The recipe (another Veganomicon wonder) called for Blueberries but we weren’t able to get any so instead we substituted for raspberries. It was a fabulous brownie! Reliving it is making me crave that chocolatey goodness!


Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies


2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (We didn’t have choc chips so we used a Whittakers block – our new fav vegan choccie!)
250g blueberry spreadable fruit (we used raspberry)
3/4 cup soy milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (we use Green & Blacks – fair trade & organic)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries (or raspberries!!)




Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Melt the 2/3 cup of chocolate chips, reserving the other 1/2 cup. To melt, heat a small pan of water over high heat until boiling.


Place another small pan on top of that and place the chocolate in that one. Stir continuously until chocolate is melted. (Chocolate can also be melted in the microwave).


In a large mixing bowl combine the blueberry raspberry spread, soy milk, sugar, canola oil and extracts. Mix until no large lumps are visible.



Sift in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.



Stir until well mixed, then mix in the melted chocolate as well.




Fold in the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate and fresh blueberries raspberries.




Spread the batter in the baking pan and bake for 35 minutes. It will be squooshy in the middle (or fudgy wudgy depending on who you ask) and oh so lovely! The book suggests serving it with vanilla icecream (they have a fabulous vegan recipe in the book but we haven’t tried this yet.. we are saving that for another day!) but we ate it on its lonesome and it was fantastic as is they are a little rich, but I think that has more to do with the use of raspberries than anything else. I suspect the blueberries make it a little more subtle.



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