A Big Plate O' Yum

I started off with this recipe but went off on my own tangent. It's roasted new potatoes, broccolini, mushrooms, red capsicum and onion sauteed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, crispy little spicy chickpeas, on a bed of barley that I cooked in vegetable stock, with not one, but two homemade sauces, zesty green goddess with green peppercorns, and roasted garlic aioli. It was so delicious.

And here's a pic of some recent Breton style crepes that I made. Buckwheat crepes filled with Tofurky smoked ham slices, tomato, wilted baby spinach, swiss brown mushrooms roasted with sliced onion, chopped spring onions, homemade swiss cheese style melt (a highly recommended recipe from this book), and cheddar Biocheese on top. Very yummy!

Sweet Things

I've had a lot of fun browsing through my photo folders for food pics to post on my shiny new food-dedicated blog. Here is a batch of cakes and other sweet things...

A Frangipane Tart with Pink Lady Apples adapted from a recipe in Vegan Pie in the Sky.

Served with a generous dollop of whipped cashew cream.

Lime Tart with gingernut crust served with cashew cream.

Carrot and Walnut Cake. The cream cheese style frosting is a vegan adaptation of this recipe and I highly recommend it. I add lemon juice and finely grated lemon rind when I use it to ice a carrot cake.

Here's the same frosting (minus the lemon), topping a Chocolate Carrot Cake with chocolate ganache.

You can never have too much chocolate cake. This is my favourite chocolate cake recipe of all time. Moist, rich and fudgy, but not too dense, and really delicious. It's a Chocolate and Almond Cake from Big Vegan, and the only modification I make is to use ground almonds instead of slivered in the batter, but as you can see, I've topped that generous heap of moussey chocolate frosting with toasted almonds for some crunch. Yum!

And last but not least, some lovely little Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache. Recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen.

Special Occasions

Here are some photos from various celebratory get-togethers. This is a Bastilla filled with spicy chickpeas, nuts and other goodies. I wish I could recall where I found the recipe!

I have made this Baked Almond Feta recipe many times, adapting it with different nuts and flavours. On this cheese platter, from left to right, I made tasty cashew cheddar, cheddar and chili, creamy almond walnut, and creamy chive. I also made French Onion dip and Cranberry and Red Onion Jam, and my friend Mark made Creamy Spinach and Spicy Red Bean dips too.

Another party platter! In the large ramekin is a Seitan Pate topped with cranberry jelly, and in the smaller ramekins from left to right, Muhammara, Spinach and Basil Pesto, Red Onion Relish, and a tangy goats cheese style dip.

Cashew-based Chili Con Queso.

Chickpea-Artichoke Bites with Rosemary Aioli. Recipe from Party Vegan.

Caramelised Onion and Walnut Tart.

A little of everything...

Have you ever made a chocolate tart from silken tofu? It is really quick and easy and absolutely delicious - no one will realise there's tofu lurking in there. There are lots of versions around; here's a basic recipe. I usually add some sweetener to the tofu mixture to counteract the bitterness of the dark chocolate; just some rice malt syrup or agave. I also like to mix it up by adding liqueurs and/or fruit. Here are a couple of versions I've made. Firstly, Chocolate, Cherry and Hazelnut Tart. A chocolate and toasted hazelnut crumb tart shell, Frangelico flavouring the mousse, and fresh cherries beneath the filling. I've decorated the tart with whipped cashew cream and chocolate dipped cherries.

And here is a strawberry version topped with lots of lovely vegan white chocolate.

Celebrating Mushrooms

I'm not sure that a week goes by without eating mushrooms in some form or other. One of my favourite mushroomy dishes is this Forestiere Sauce from Quick-Fix Vegan - it is so full of rich flavour. It's supposed to be served with seitan, but I'm not keen on the way seitan softens when you simmer it with a sauce, so I served my Forestiere Sauce with baked tofu instead. It would also be lovely spooned over a seitan cutlet just before serving.

I didn't follow the recipe to the letter, but my mushroom pies were inspired by these by the author of one of my favourite cookbooks, Caribbean Vegan. I served my little mushroom pies with grilled asparagus and an Italian lentil stew recipe from one of my other favourite cookbooks The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.

Mushroom pierogies served with dill sour cream. The pierogi dough recipe is from World Vegan Feast. I've also served these pierogies in a puddle of roasted beetroot soup topped with fried onions and sour cream.

Mushroom tart topped with grated Cheezly. Look how nicely my tart shell worked out!

Mushroom Pate on grainy toast topped with homemade tartar sauce. The pate recipe is from 1000 Vegan Recipes.

This omelette is my own recipe I've been experimenting with. I might post it on my blog soon. Here I've filled it with lovely fresh mushrooms that I've seared in a really hot cast iron pan. Topped with a blob of homemade aioli.

What's for Dinner?

Some photos of dinners past, starting with one of my favourites that I've made a few times now, Soft Tacos with Cauliflower. Cauliflower is amazingly versatile and roasts beautifully. For the taco on the right I used this recipe to make a spicy cauliflower "mince". For the taco on the left I roasted cauliflower with sliced onion, cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and olive oil, pouring in a little vegetable stock too. Both tacos are topped with salsa and homemade chipotle mayo.  I made the tortillas myself too!

There's a great recipe in 1000 Vegan Recipes for quick and easy seitan that you don't need to steam or poach before pan-frying. They're called Soy-tan cutlets (they contain tofu) and I love to crumb them and serve them with homemade Tonkatsu sauce and salad.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad. Recipe from Serious Eats.

I made my own egg roll wrappers - kind of like thin crepes - and filled them with lots of vegetables, tofu, split mung beans and rice noodles. I brushed them with oil and baked instead of fried them. They worked out nice and crispy!

This is a very quick and easy dinner option - Orange and Soy Glazed Tofu with Salad.

You steep some firm tofu slices in salted boiling water, pat dry, then crisp them up in a lightly oiled pan. Add orange juice and light soy sauce as well as a generous shake of nutritional yeast and some ground black pepper, then let it reduce for a bit, turning the tofu regularly. The orange juice thickens into a lovely sticky glaze. Set the tofu slices aside, then deglaze the pan with a little water and use the remaining sauce as dressing for the salad (it's also nice if you add a little drizzle of maple syrup). The salad is avocado, red onion, blood orange segments, cucumber and baby spinach.

Breakfast Time!

Sometimes I think that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. 99.9% of the time, I simply have tea and toast, and I love tea and toast, but sometimes I have fancier fare, and I usually photograph it...

Starting off with some sweet breakfast/brunch dishes, here's some homemade toasted muesli - so much nicer than bought varieties.

Let's face it, any time is pancake time...

When I make waffles, it's usually an extravagant affair involving multiple homemade sauces and toppings. In this case we have orange-cornmeal waffles with strawberries, citrus syrup, chocolate sauce and cashew cream, topped with toasted hazelnuts.  Another favourite is salted caramel sauce.

Rather more wholesome, homemade cashew-soy yogurt with blackberries.

Please excuse the atrocious photo - I was obviously eager to get down to the eating rather than taking pretty pics! I love a cooked breakfast but I have yet to have a decent vegan breakfast at any of the Adelaide cafes I've visited. I made this one day when friends visited for brunch. My version of Tofu Florentine: wilted spinach and toasted almonds over crispy pan-fried tofu, topped with hollandaise sauce (I'm pretty sure I used Bryanna Clark Grogan's hollandaise recipe). Along with homemade seitan sausages, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and homemade baked beans, served with toasted Turkish bread (and a non-homemade hash brown).

A couple of other breakfast recipes you can find elsewhere on my blog, my version of a tofu scramble, and a tofu poached "egg".

Lunchtime!

One of the best things about working from home is how much choice you have at lunchtime. No soggy sandwiches or greasy takeaway. I often just zap some homemade soup in the microwave, but if I have more time and energy, nothing beats a salad or sandwich. 

Sauteed field mushrooms, roast potato, tomato, onion and baby spinach with homemade chipotle mayonnaise on Turkish bread.

Homemade smokey seitan and salad on a crusty roll with a side of avocado potato salad.

A BLT made with Redwood fake bacon. Yum!

 Homemade chickpea seitan sausage with  loads  of sauce on a hotdog bun.

Homemade chickpea seitan sausage with loads of sauce on a hotdog bun.

Sometimes I make my own bread - like this majestic organic spelt loaf.

 Gorgeous, colourful salad with homemade wasabi mayo.

Gorgeous, colourful salad with homemade wasabi mayo.

Citrus salad with navel and blood oranges and ruby grapefruit.

Pizza...Who Needs Cheese?

Browsing my folders of food photos I found a few of the many pizzas of my past, and a bonus shot of some focaccias. I don't buy a lot of vegan cheese, mainly because it's expensive, but also because there aren't many varieties I really like (I must dedicate a blog post to commercial vegan cheese soon!), but there are lots of other ways to make your pizza tasty and delicious that don't involve copious amounts of grated cheese...

For example, topping your pizza with creamy homemade aioli once it's out of the oven, as I have with this mushroom pizza with a cornmeal crust. My aioli recipe is here.

I topped this potato and roasted fennel pizza with generous spoonfuls of homemade pesto.

Another roasted fennel pizza that I topped with a cheesy cashew cream sauce before baking.

Here's another topped with cheesy sauce. I use a squeezy bottle for exceptional cheesy coverage!

Sometimes I replace the traditional tomato sauce with a base of roasted, pureed eggplant enriched with roasted garlic, olive oil and ground almonds - just as rich as cheese, and twice as delicious. A base of cheesy white sauce is particularly yummy topped with potato and artichoke. With this pizza below, I used homemade pesto as a base, and topped with a small amount of homemade melty cheese (cheese recipe here).

I have to say though, putting aside all of these cheese alternatives, one of my favourite pizzas is from a local cafe which is simplicity itself. Just beautifully cooked and seasoned vegetables on a thin, crispy base, and lashings of good quality olive oil. I never miss the cheese.

As promised, a bonus focaccia shot (pizza's delicious cousin!). I use a recipe from The Bread Bible which always works out a treat.

Recent Baking Adventures

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Things have been a little busy 'round these parts, & rather stressful too. I find baking to be fantastic for stress relief, & it's so nice to be able to share the results. Regular posting activity will resume shortly, but meanwhile, here are a couple of my recent (vegan) baked offerings...

Cheesy Broccoli Tart with Almond Shortcrust Pastry

Cinnamon Coffee Cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking, with the addition of apples, & served with my own recipe for whipped cashew cream (that I'll be sharing on my blog soon!)

Recent Kitchen Adventures

For the last couple of months I've been having a lot of fun trying out vegan recipes & experimenting with my own creations (some of which are best not talked about). I've bought a few new vegan cookbooks too (my favourites so far are Vegan Diner & Veganomicon), & I have to say, compared with some of the books I bought in the 80s & 90s, vegan cooking has come a long way! I thought you might like to take a look at a chocolate tart I made recently.