Last Day of MoFo

Hi all, and thanks for sticking with me through my attempt at MoFo this year. Given that I chose to sign up last minute leaving little time for planning, I had pretty low expectations for myself to continue posting throughout the month. I decided to set myself a target of 3 posts per week, though even that I was skeptical about being able to make. Well, now we’ve arrived at the end of the month and I’ve basically done it – 3 posts a week (except for this short week, d’oh!)

So I didn’t really plan a post for today that could fit in with the theme, so instead I’m going to link you back to a couple of cookie recipes from last MoFo. Because for the holidays, you can’t go wrong with cookies.

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These are my great Nanna’s shortbread biscuits, veganised. You can find the recipe here. Along with gingerbread, shortbread always reminds me of Christmas. I love these dipped in dark chocolate with some sea salt, but I think some rosemary would be lovely too, or you could do what we did as kids and make little hollies out of red and green glace cherries.

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Last MoFo I also made these hazelnut choc chip cookies. Hazelnut and chocolate are a match made in heaven, and while they are not particularly festive themed I would never turn my nose up at them at any time of year. I used aquafaba in these, but as I said in the original post, I am not sure how much of a difference it made. Perhaps I should try them without and compare.

Aaaand that’s about all I have – I really need to get some more cookie recipes going! Happy MoFo everyone! I’ve really enjoyed being involved again, and as I do each year I’ve discovered a bunch of new awesome blogs/instagrams. It’s also been great having the motivation to post somewhat consistently again, and while I definitely won’t be doing 3 posts per week from here on out, I hope to continue somewhat regularly. Let’s hope for irregularly regular posts hey? Until next time…peace out MoFo’s!

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Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Yep, there was a time when I disliked avocado immensely. Weird, mushy, avocado. Can you believe it? Thankfully the times have changed – I can’t get enough of it these days and could happily have it at least once a day on toast. Ahhh nature’s butter. While my favourite is probably on toast with chilli, it is also the perfect side to pretty much every dish ever.

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This recipe is a tweaked version of one I posted about three years ago, back when I was living/travelling in a van and my photography was embarrassing. So today I bring to you an updated recipe with a little more stylish photos. Avo is still the main player in this dish, though it is hidden by cacao to bring you a rich and creamy dessert. It is quite thick, and I have seen some people do a similar thing but blend a banana into it or extra coconut cream which I suppose would create a lighter texture, I’m yet to try it though.

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Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse
(serves 2-3)

2 avocados
1/2 cup cacao
1/4 cup coconut cream
4 Tbsp maple syrup or other sweetener
1 Tbsp coconut oil, liquified
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more sweetener if desired, though keep in mind that the taste does settle overnight – I find the avocado flavour mellows completely with some time. Pour into serving glasses and chill in the fridge over night. Top with desired toppings e.g. berries, coconut, cacao nibs, choc chips, banana.

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Cookbooks

Today’s prompt is “show us your favourite cookbooks”. As no doubt many of you can relate, I have a LOT of cookbooks. Looking through them is a hobby of mine. For this reason, I like lots of photos. When I first went vegan about 8-10 years ago, veganism didn’t seem to have the popularity or momentum as it does now. A lot of the cookbooks I could get my hands on had very few colour photos – often just a centre spread. Now there are vegan cookbooks left right and centre, many with full colour photos for every recipe. What a time to be alive!

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Here is a photo of most, but not all, of my cookbooks. No, they aren’t usually organised by colour, but I felt like jazzing the photo up a bit. Looks cool right?

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Some older, some newer. A couple are my housemate’s, as she is also vegan. I’m lucky in that I live in a household of 6, where 2 are vegan and the other 4 are vegetarian. Wahoooo!

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Vegan with a Vengeance has to be on the faves list. As I’m sure for many others, it was the first vegan cookbook I bought, and I recall having to work quite hard to get it – not a lot of book stores were stocking much in the way of vegan cookbooks at the time, and either it wasn’t that easy to order them online or I wasn’t that savvy. Through this well-loved book (seriously, look at the edges!), Isa taught me how to scramble tofu, marinate tofu and bake without eggs.

Some of my faves have been scrambled tofu, “fronch” toast, spanakopita, pizza dough and basil-tofu ricotta, fettucine alfreda, marinated tofu and the ginger macadamia coconut carrot cake (which is ALWAYS a winner). There are still recipes that I haven’t had a crack at, so I should really make an effort to get to some of them. I made the raspberry blackout cake with ganache-y frosting this year for my bro’s birthday for the first time, and it was a massive hit. I owe a lot to Isa and her recipes!

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While we’re talking about Isa, let me mention Isa Does It – another household favourite. Every single thing I’ve made from this book, the Bear and I love. So many delicious recipes that are not time consuming. And lots of photos!

Some of our faves here have been the harira with eggplant and chickpeas, quinoa caesar salad, ranch salad with red potatoes and smoky chickpeas, pesto risotto with roasted zucchini, coconut chana saag, chikcpeas and escarole in white wine broth, roasty soba bowl with miso-tahini dressing, chandra malai kofta, rosemary choc chip cookies and norah’s lemon-lemon cookies. YUM.

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I’m cheating a little with the next two books that I’m sharing, as I’ve only recently acquired them and have not cooked from them yet. However, I have a good feeling about both of them. I already know that I love Miyoko – she has changed my world be teaching me how to culture cheese with her previous book Artisan Vegan Cheese, as well as make beautiful thick creamy yoghurt. Seriously, I owe it to her – prior to that my yoghurts were a mess of trying to thicken with agar agar and arrowroot and all kinds of stuff. Now I get awesome yoghurt with just three ingredients. It rocks.

I had had my eye on the Homemade Vegan Pantry for quite some time, and it finally came time when I could justify treating myself to ANOTHER cookbook. While I haven’t tried anything just yet, I’ve got plans for mayonnaise, mustard, worcestershire sauce, jams, stocks, pasta and more. Bring it on!

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And last, but certainly not least, I recently got the Smith & Daughters cookbook. Again, no chance to cook from it yet but oh boy do I have plans. I have never shared my eats from S&D here – I think because I am usually too quick to dive into the food to take snaps. The Bear and I went there just last weekend for our 7 year anniversary, and after eating the cheesy jalapeno dip we are dying to make it again at home. This book, like Shannon and Mo and their whole operation in general is so damn cool. The edges of the pages areeven all black. How cool is that?!

On the list to make first are the pan con tomate (catalan tomato bread), hot cheddar and pickled jalapeno dip, white truffle forest mushroom pate, jalapeno and corn fritters, chargrilled asparagus with romesco sauce and aioli, tacos, spicy ground chorizo, pasteles de cangrejo (crab cakes), paella, kale and leek bake, artichoke and chickpea salad, pan con chocolate (CHOCOLATE PATE!!!!) and the awesome cocktails at the back. I have no doubt that this will all be delicious.

As I said, my faves change from time to time and there are many other books that I love and could go on and on about all day, but I don’t want to bore you so I’ll just finish up right here. Peace out!

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Peanut Butter Brown Rice Bubble Bars

Again, this is me very loosely following this week’s theme. In actual fact, it’s another recipe I’ve had waiting for months and months for the chance to get onto the blog – how good MoFo has been for prompting me to get these neglected posts up at last. I’m squeezing it in under ‘memories’ as I guess this idea originally came from the memory of those rice bubble marshallow bars designed for kids lunchboxes. I was tempted to call them ‘rice krispies’ or ‘rice krispy treats’ as I’m pretty sure they are called in America, but it didn’t sound right. We ate ‘rice bubbles’ as children, so these are ‘rice bubble bars’. In Australia, the Kelloggs branded bars were called LCMs, and my brother and I very rarely got to have them (probably a good thing). I think they were reserved for special days like sports carnivals.

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I’ve made these a bit healthier than the originals, removing the marshmallows and using natural PB, rice malt syrup and coconut oil with brown rice bubbles instead. That’s not to say these are great for you – there’s still a good dose of sugar from the syrup, but hey, a little won’t hurt. Wink!

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Peanut Butter Brown Rice Bubble Bars
(makes approx 16 squares)

4 cups brown rice bubbles
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt

Topping
I cup dark choc chips
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Line a 20x20cm (8x8inch) pan with baking paper.

In a saucepan, heat peanut butter, rice malt syrup, coconut oil and salt over medium heat, stirring to combine. When the mixture is smooth and creamy and starts to simmer at the edges, turn off the heat and stir in vanilla.

Place rice bubbles in a large bowl. Pour peanut butter mixture over and stir to combine. Press into prepared tin and flatten with the back of a spoon. Put in the freezer to set.

To prepare the topping, heat chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler until melted. Remove base from freezer and pour chocolate over the top. Put in the fridge to set. If you can, wait 8-12 hours before cutting, as it can crumble a bit when you cut it too early, but if you’re desperate you can dig in as soon as the chocolate has set.

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Kiwi Banana Green Smoothie

I had intended to share a delicious creamy green spinach sauce that I often make to put on gnocchi, but I didn’t get around to making and photographing it. Instead, I opted for a fairly quick and easy green option so as not to miss out on today’s prompt – a simple smoothie. The combination of banana and kiwi fruit give a nice balance of sweet and sour, and it’s a nice liquidy one which is refreshing and easy to gulp down. So without further adieu…

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Kiwi Banana Green Smoothie
(serves 2)

1 banana
3 kiwi fruit
2 cups spinach
6 large fresh mint leaves
1 tsp spirulina (optional)
1 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
1 1/2 cups water
Handful of ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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Quick Pickled Red Onions

Today’s post was intended for the 17th, as I thought it could fit in with the “colour you rarely eat” theme due to the fact that I rarely eat hot pink foods. So let’s just pretend I posted it then okay? I’ve lost a little momentum over the past week, not helped by my laptop operating at a painfully slow pace (and starting to make internal ticking sounds). It can be hard to sit down and edit photos and build a post when it takes three times as long to get anything done, when it is already quite a time consuming process. Anyway, lets not waste any more time – on to the recipe…

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These are not lacto-fermented onions, rather a quick alternative. Fermenting is a pretty easy process once you get used to it, and the results are delicious and totally worth it. But sometimes you need pickled onions NOW and don’t have a couple of days to wait for them, like when you want to put them on your jackfruit tacos as per my post last week. They do have a very strong vinegar flavour compared with their lacto-fermented brothers because of the, well, vinegar they are soaked in, but I think they are tasty in their own right.

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Quick Pickled Red Onions

3-4 red onions (approx 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1 tsp sea salt

Peel and slice onions into thin rings or half rings. Place in a non-reactive bowl (glass, ceramic, etc).

Place vinegars, sugar and salt in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour liquid over onions and stir so that all onions are coated. Submerge as much of the onion as possible and leave to cool, stirring occasionally.

Once cool, transfer to sterilised jars. The onions can be eaten after an hour or so, but are best once they’ve been sitting for a while – 12-24 hours. Enjoy on tacos, nachos, sandwiches, hot dogs, baked potatoes, salads and more…the possibilities are endless!

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Lemon Saffron Yoghurt Cake with Lemon Yoghurt Glaze

I’m running with this week’s theme (rainbow week) pretty loosely – everything is a colour right? I had big plans for the multicoloured prompt to make a rainbow masterpiece, however as always happens midway through MoFo, I’ve been pressed for time, even with only been putting out a handful of posts per week. For the multicolour prompt, please refer back to my tacos from yesterday….they are quite bright. I suppose today’s lemon cake could fit in with the monochrome prompt from today as it is mostly yellow, with a golden orange crust….lets just roll with it okay?

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Now saffron is not something I cook with often, mainly because of the hefty price tag that comes with it. It’s certainly a sometimes food for me, but it does give a beautiful taste to whatever it touches. This would also be nice as a lemon yoghurt cake alone, but if you happen to have some lying around or can splash the cash, the saffron definitely gives it a lovely depth of flavour. This one is not super sweet, so it’s perfect as a tea cake. You could also just sift a little icing sugar over it in place of the glaze if you’d prefer, but I do like the tanginess of the glaze.

I also want to point out the beautiful plates that the cake is served on. These belonged to my great Grandma (mum’s mum’s mum). Apparently she used them daily way back when, though I don’t remember as I was only a little one and/or probably did not have the same appreciation of crockery as I do now. They are Mikasa Japanese stoneware (how I love Japanese stoneware!) and my Granny (mum’s mum) gifted them to me when I was last in Perth. So beautiful! Only one matching mug survived the years, so I will have to try to scout out some replacements. It feels really special to be able to use them just like my Grandma did 20-30 years ago. I hope they will continue to last so that I can pass them on to another generation one day.

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Lemon Saffron Yoghurt Cake with Lemon Yoghurt Glaze

3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/2 cup nuttelex (or other non dairy butter substitute)
1/2 cup non dairy yoghurt
2/3 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi carb soda
1/2 tsp salt

Glaze
1/4 cup non dairy yoghurt
1 1/4 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Pour milk into a saucepan. Rub the saffron between you fingertips to crush it a little and let drop into the milk. Heat over low heat until milk starts to bubble at the edges. Take off heat and set aside until completely cool.

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 20cm (8inch) springform pan.

Cream nuttelex and sugar together until it has light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat to combine. One by one, add yoghurt, saffron milk (when cool) and lemon juice and beat until well combined after each addition.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add wet mixture, and stir until just combined – don’t overmix. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 50-60 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the glaze, whisk together ingredients until smooth. Once cake is cool, pour glaze over the top.

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Jackfruit Tacos with Charred Corn, Cabbage and Lime Creme

It’s still International week in Vegan MoFo, and I’m popping today’s post under the favourite cuisine theme, although it could probably fit under holiday destination as well as I would certainly love to go to Mexico some day. Yep, I’m using one post to cover two days, ha! I have a few favourite cuisines, but Mexican is definitely up there and I have a particular fondness for tacos.

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I was a little late to the party with the savoury jackfruit thing (or even knowing what jackfruit was?!). It started popping up everywhere quite some time ago but I didn’t really have a crack at it until more recently. What was I doing? Think of all the delicious tacos I could have been eating! They are such great warm weather food – just looking at them makes me want to sit outside with a plate full of tacos and a cold beer.

As we make our way towards summer, you’ll know where to find me…

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Jackfruit Tacos with Charred Corn, Cabbage and Lime Creme
(makes about 10 tacos)

Jackfruit:
1 Tbsp oil
1 medium brown onion, cut into thin moons
2 x 560g cans young jackfruit in brine (NOT syrup)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 – 1tsp ancho chile powder
1 1/2 cups veg stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp veg worcestershire sauce

Lime creme:
1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/3 cup soy milk
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pickled jalapenos (optional)

10 tortillas
2 ears corn
2 cups finely sliced red cabbage
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

Optional toppings:
Pickled red onions
Fresh coriander
Hot sauce

Start by heating oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauteeing onion until softened. While this is happening, drain your jackfruit and remove any seeds. Slice the large chunks into smaller ones, cutting through the harder core. Some people like to discard the hard bits, but honestly with a bit of cooking they are absolutely fine so why waste that extra taco filling? Add spices and jackfruit and cook a further 2 minutes.

Whisk together stock, tomato paste, liquid smoke and worcestershire sauce and pour over jackfruit. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for approx 20-25 mins, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed and fruit is tender and comes apart easily. Use two forks or spatula to tear the jackfruit apart. It’s good to use immediately, but as a side note, I find it recooks really well too.

Meanwhile, grill your corn. You can do this on a grill or barbecue, however I did it quickly over the stove flame. Using metal tongs, hold the corn in the flame until it begins to blacken, turning to cook all sides. Careful as it tends to pop! Allow to cool, then cut kernels off the cob and place in a bowl. Add cabbage, lime juice and salt and mix to combine.

To make the lime creme, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick for your liking, add some water one tablespoon at a time.

Assemble tacos! Prepare your tortillas according to packet instructions. Put some jackfruit on each, top with corn/cabbage mix, drizzle over some lime creme and add any optional toppings. Delish!

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New Zealand Eats

This is another post that’s been waiting to see the light of day for far too long – almost 12 months in fact. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we took a little trip over to our neighbour New Zealand. We spent 2 1/2 weeks driving around the south island in a campervan. It felt good to be back on the road living the van life, albeit too short. While we did a bit of simple van cooking in that time, we of course did our fair share of eating out as well. Today I’m going to share some of those eats with you, because it fits in perfectly with this week’s international theme.

Before I go any further though, I must apologise for some of the photos that you are about to see. Unfortunately I decided to mess with my camera settings while we were over there, and I struggled to remember what I’d done/get it back to normal so a few of them are a little wacked. I also must apologise about the lack of detail that is to follow. I made some notes in my diary about each dish and our thoughts on them while we were there, but since it is now 2016, the old diary is no longer with us. Whoops.

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Our first stop was to the Shroom Room Cafe in Lyttelton, not too far out of Christchurch. Lyttelton was very sweet, and we were immediately attracted to the laid back vibe of the Shroom Room – from the name, to the retro crockery, to the rustic interior.

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We shared two dishes, above I think was the veggie hash stack. As I said, I don’t remember too much detail (can you blame me after 12 months?), but uhh….that’s what it looks like?

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I’m pretty sure this was a falafel burger. I do recall the bread being dense and tasty, but perhaps a little dry. Nothing a bit more sauce or avocado wouldn’t solve. The side salads were a little lacking in size and content – a few more slices of cucumber and some cherry tomatoes wouldn’t go astray.

shroomroom5The items we got were straight from the quite extensive display cabinet, but they also had a decent sized menu board to select from. We shared a banana milkshake from it which made us reminisce of our childhood and banana nesquik. I would have loved to come back and sample more from the menu, but it was a little out of the way of the rest of our journey, so I guess I’ll have to save it for next trip.

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While in Queenstown we visited the infamous Fergburger, which had constant queues out the door. Wanting to know what all the fuss was about, we took up spot in the line.There were two vegetarian burgers on offer – one falafel based and the other tofu. Having had our falafel hit at Shroom Room, we both opted for the Holier Than Thou – a tempered tofu with a spicy satay, coconut and coriander sauce, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, snow pea shoots and aioli which we were told could be made vegan. Unfortunately, that meant removing most of the sauces and being given replacements. I vaguely remember requesting some sort of chilli sauce, but I think it ended up being sweet chilli. The burger itself was kind of disappointing, likely due to the lack of flavours that were supposed to make it delicious.

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Obligatory chips.

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Old mate duck wanted in on the burger action.

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Next eat was Hell Pizza, who have a few locations around NZ. We had heard good things about them, so made an effort to visit them when passing through Invercargill.

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We got the Sinister – a pizza with refried beans, avocado, onion, salsa, jalapenos, capsicum and optional vegan cheese (which we went for). I was a little hesitant to go with the mexican style pizza, but I need not have worried. This was gosh darn delicious. I mean SO good. After eating this pizza, we talked about it for the rest of our trip, making loose plans to find another Hell Pizza to get our fix. Unfortunately it never happened (though we almost went for a 30+ minute detour on the way back to the airport to try and find another store before recognising that this was kind of crazy and not worth missing our flight home for….or was it?)

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We got some garlic bread too because, well, garlic bread, and were surprised to find it cut lengthways. It seemed like a wholemealy type loaf which was nice.

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The last meal to share with you was from Soul Food Organic in Wanaka. Soul Food is a little cafe slash health food store with a good range of veg options on offer. We stopped in for a quick lunch after a kayaking adventure on the lake. I can’t remember exactly what this was – some kind of vegan omelette crepe thing with tofu and maybe miso? It was the last one of it’s kind in the display cabinet and unfortunately I think the last of yesterday’s batch as after I got mine a whole bunch of fresh ones came out. It was nice but a little wilty.

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The Bear got a cream of asparagus soup which he was thrilled with because he loves it and I have never made it for him.

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I spotted this banana bean coconut ice cream in the freezer on the way out and had to give it a go as the retro style packaging was too cute. Good thing I did, as it was mighty fine. They do a range of flavours according to their website, including vanilla bean, chocolate, mango and toasted coconut caramel, though I only saw a couple of them. They apparently also do flavoured coconut milks – yummo!

I had a couple of dodgy photos from a place we stopped in at in Dunedin – I think it was Circadian Rhythm. It had some pretty average reviews but we decided to give it a shot anyway. Seemingly the reviews were quite accurate and the food was as disappointing as my shoddy photos and the service subpar, as many reviewers had noted. As I just looked it up to try to remember the name, I’ve discovered that it is now closed anyway (perhaps for the better?) so I will leave them off the post entirely and end on the high of delicious banana bean ice cream. Thanks Little Island!

Shroom Room
48 London St, Lyttelton
Open 7 days – 8am – 4pm

Fergburger
42 Shotover St, Queenstown
Open 7 days – 8.30am – 5am

Hell Pizza
2 Dee St, Invercargill (other locations available)
Sun – Thurs – 11.30am – 9pm
Fri – Sat – 11.30am – 10pm

Soul Food Organic
74 Ardmore St, Wanaka
Mon – Fri – 8am – 6pm
Sat – Sun – 8am – 4pm

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing

I’ve had today’s recipe ready to go for about the last….oh, I don’t know….4 months? Goes to show how much I had been neglecting this poor old blog prior to MoFo. Lucky for me, after signing up to MoFo and starting to panic about how on earth I would actually get some posts together, I realised that I could sneak this recipe in under the International Week theme, with it’s Lebanese flavours. Excellent (cue Mr Burns hands).

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This salad was actually inspired by one that my Aunty brought along to Christmas lunch one day – I believe it was from one of Ottelenghi’s books (why have I not got my hands on any of these yet?) Prior to this I’d never really given much thought to roasting cauliflower, but now it’s a hot favourite – we have it in salads, tacos, and occasionally even do a marinated and whole roasted cauli as the main meal. Say goodbye to steaming your cauliflower, because roasting gives it a beautiful nutty flavour which is out of this world. Hot damn!

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing

1 medium-large head of cauliflower
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sumac
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup loosely packed mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup raw or dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped

Dressing:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 200C, and line a tray with baking paper.

Cut cauliflower into small florets, and place in a bowl. Pour over olive oil and toss to coat.

In a small bowl, mix together sumac, cumin, coriander and salt. Pour over cauliflower and mix well to coat. Spread cauliflower out over prepared tray and place in oven for 20-25 mins, flipping once halfway. When done, the cauliflower should be slightly browned and have a nutty aroma.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. If too thick, add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning.

When cauliflower is done, remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add herbs, pomegranate and almonds and stir through. Drizzle dressing over and serve immediately – best served when the cauliflower is still warm.

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