Spicy Chickpea and Coleslaw Tacos

Duuuudes! I can’t believe it’s the last day of MoFo and I didn’t even catch up on my posts! I’m going to be defiant and keep posting my ones that were meant for the last days as they are done and I do want to share them with you. The last week or so I’ve found myself with very little time to post, and even less to read other peoples’ blogs so I do apologise for that, and hope that once MoFo is done I can belatedly catch up on some of the action.

Tacos VS Burritos. Where do you stand on this important issue?

Truth be told, I love them both. But as last MoFo I shared a burrito so this time I thought it was only fair to give tacos some time. I do like tacos because I feel that I can eat more of them in one sitting, whereas I can only stuff one burrito down without feeling like I’m going to puke. Plus they always look so fresh and colourful, and you get to see everything that’s in them straight off the bat.


I have to stress to you how easy these are to make. Most of it is down time, waiting for the chickpeas to cook – the rest is just throw it together. My kind of meal. And I’m so excited with the weather being the way it has been – warm nights just screams tacos and beers in evening sun.


I am also loving the colour of these – the chickpeas are so vibrant, particularly alongside purple cabbage and some fresh greenery. It’s a rainbow eater’s dream!


Spicy Chickpea and Coleslaw Tacos
(makes 10)

10 tortillas
Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Fresh lime wedges for serving
Hot sauce for serving (optional)
2 avocados, diced

3 cups cooked chickpeas
¼ cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander

3 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

3½ cups purple cabbage, shredded
2½ cups grated carrot
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp water
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 220C and line a baking tray with paper.

Place chickpeas in a bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients for the chickpeas, then pour into the bowl and stir until all combined. Pour out chickpeas onto the tray and spread into a single layer. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring with a spatula a couple of times along the way.

Meanwhile, prepare the coleslaw. In a small bowl, combine mayo, lime juice, water, salt and pepper. Mix up cabbage and carrot in a large bowl, then pour dressing over it and mix well to combine.

Cook tortillas according to directions – we used white corn tortillas and lightly pan fried them on either side. To assemble, place some chickpeas, coleslaw and avocado on each tortilla, then top with fresh coriander, a squeeze of lime juice and hot sauce.




Strawberry Watermelon and Basil Icy Poles

Another belated post, lets pretend that this was shared on Sunday okay?

Favourite herb or spice.

This was hard because I love lots of herbs and spices, but ultimately I decided to go with my original favourite herb. By original, I mean I think that basil was the first herb I ever became quite enamoured with in cooking. The smell of a fresh bunch is like nothing else! But what to share with you? I’ve already done multiple pesto recipes, so it was time to go down a different path. I’ve also made strawberry basil dehydrated fruit leather in the past, but with the warm weather coming back I thought it more appropriate to share something a little more suitable.

It’s been so exciting to see berries and watermelon start making more frequent appearances around the place. Oh yes, summer is coming! I am a big fan of the combination of strawberry and basil, and of watermelon and basil, so how could this go wrong? If it ain’t your jam though, mint makes a great substitute as well.


Strawberry, Watermelon and Basil Icy Poles
(makes 6)

1 punnet strawberries (250g), stems removed
450g watermelon, chopped into chunks
Approx 10 large basil leaves
2 Tbsp agave (optional)

Place strawberries, watermelon and agave (if using) in a blender and blend until smooth. Add basil leaves and pulse a few times. Pour evenly among icy pole moulds and place in freezer overnight.



Pearl Barley Risotto with Mushroom and Spinach

After a bit of a crazy weekend I didn’t get a chance to post the last few days, but had already prepared posts. I’m going to go ahead and share one tonight and hopefully a few tomorrow to catch up, as I’d like to get back on track for the last few days of MoFo.

It’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift outside your door! What are you going to make using the ingredients you have?

For a long time, pearl barley was one of those things I would buy and it would sit at the back of the cupboard forever, until that first time I tried it. The nutty, chewiness is what I love, and the reason I think it makes a perfect risotto. We also pretty much always have spinach and mushrooms, as they are boyfriend bear’s favourite breakfast constituents and we seem to have an abundance of lemons always from housemates’ parents or workmates or even the yard down the road that we sometimes sneak into.

So even though we’re edging away from the cold, snow-at-your-door weather (okay, so we never get snow at the door), this is the perfect thing to cook in that kind of weather. Also great about risotto is that you can pretty much cook it using anything you’ve got on hand – veggies, herbs, spices. It always seems to work out filling, hearty and generally delicious.

Also, I took the ingredients over to my parents’ house to cook and even my dog wanted in on the action –

barley risotto2b

She knows what’s good!

Pearl Barley Risotto with Mushroom and Spinach
(serves 4-6)

1 Tbsp oil
1 brown onion, diced finely
1 leek, sliced
250g mushrooms, sliced
3 cups baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups pearl barley
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups hot vegetable stock
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a pot over medium and add onion and leek, cooking for about five minutes until translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook a further couple of minutes. Add pearl barley and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.

Pour in white wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated, a couple of minutes. Now start to add stock, one ladle at a time, and allow to gently simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next ladle full. Continue to cook like this, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed.

Add lemon zest, juice, parsley, nutritional yeast and spinach and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with extra parsley.



Baba Ghanoush

Share your favourite cuisine.

Today was a tough one to settle on, as even after so many years on this planet I’m still not 100% sure what my favourite cuisine is. If you asked me as a child, I definitely would have said Italian. I loved pasta. Mexican was also up there. Since my tastes have developed (thank goodness), I enjoy newer favourites of Japanese, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Indian and Moroccan, to name a few.

But at the end of the day, the decision about what to make was influenced strongly by the supply of eggplants in my kitchen. And so I turn to Middle Eastern cuisine to bring you this simple version of baba ghanoush. I call it a simple version as instead of holding eggplants in a flame or under the grill to blister the skin, this is a kind of ‘express’ baba ghanoush for when you want the dip but without all the messy peeling and time spent standing over a burner. In skipping this part a little of the smoky flavour is lost, which is why I like to add a dash of liquid smoke – what a cheat!

Baba Ghanoush

2 medium eggplants
generous amount of salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp tahini
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
¼ cup flat leaf parsley
dash liquid smoke (optional)
olive oil for cooking and extra to drizzle on top

Peel eggplants and slice into inch thick rounds. Sprinkle with salt and leave in a colander to drain for about 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 280C and line a baking tray with paper. Lay eggplant on tray and brush with olive oil. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, flipping once. Remove from oven. From here, you can either use a blender or just a fork depending on what consistency you prefer. I like a little chunkiness, so I transfer the eggplant flesh to a bowl and mash with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.

To serve, top with olive oil and some fresh parsley (and with some pita chips!)



Hazelnut Choc Chip Cookies

I haven’t done much (read: any) experimenting with aquafaba until now, and I wouldn’t even say that this was very experimental, considering the meringue stuff that has been going on (SRSLY!). I did attempt a sponge cake in which I got to whip the aquafaba up and see it form peaks – a pretty amazing sight indeed. The sponge cake itself wasn’t what I had hoped, it was still dense rather than the light and fluffy I was going for. In these cookies, I had hoped the aquafaba would create this mad chewiness, but it didn’t happen to the extent I had intended. I don’t really think the aquafaba is even that necessary here. Regardless, these cookies are damn delicious.

What (insert well known person) would eat if they were vegan.

So who would I be feeding these delicious cookies to, you ask?

ZOMG! It’s Cookie Monster! Everyone knows Cookie Monster loves a good old choc chip cookie, but the addition of nuts suits his personality down to a T. I only hope he’s brought his cookie eating game cos we are getting pretty damn good and wolfing these babies down.


No seriously, blink and you will miss them.

Hazelnut Choc Chip Cookies
(makes about 28-32 cookies)

2/3 cup vegan butter
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup raw sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp chickpea juice
1 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ ts p baking powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
¾ tsp salt
¾ cup choc chips
½ cup hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 180, line a tray with baking paper. .

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars with electric beaters for a good couple of minutes. Add vanilla, chick juice and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients except for choc chips and hazelnuts. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine, before adding the rest along with the choc chips and hazelnuts and stirring to form a dough.

Taking heaps teaspoons, roll into balls then flatten into discs on the tray. Bake for 10-12 mins until bottoms slightly golden (on the shorter side for chewier cookies, longer for crispy). Allow to sit on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Nom nom nom nom…


Spiced Lentil Burgers

Edited to say: it looks like there has been some rearranging and not everyone is on the same page with the order of MoFo themes. Apparently Autumn equinox was moved to today to fit in with the correct timing (in some parts) but I hadn’t noticed. Because I haven’t done that post yet, I’m sticking with this one.

I almost wasn’t going to post this today, as I would have liked to have given it a little more thought and come up with a great relish and homemade bread rolls and all the rest of it. But it seems silly to miss a day of MoFo just because of these shortcomings – that’s not what it’s about (and the bear was teasing me for thinking about leaving it out). It’s the month to talk about vegan food, no matter what!

Fusion challenge!

When I think of today’s topic, for some reason I always think of noodles. I was determined to think of something other than noodles, and after getting past my initial roadblock I realised that much of what I cook could be considered somewhat of a fusion, so brought it back to this classic. I used some Indian inspired spices to compliment the lentil patty, and married it with some classic western food – the humble burger, oh yeahhh.

Below is the recipe for the patties themselves, you guys can work out the rest. In mine, I added cucumber, spinach and a quick chutney I whipped up but will not include here as it was not quite right (and I didn’t take measurements anyway) It had tomatoes, mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, garlic and asofatedia. I reckon it would work well with a raita as well.


Spiced Lentil Burgers
(makes 8 patties)

1½ cups dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
3 cups water
1 small onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups breadcrumbs or oats pulsed a few times to resemble crumbs
½ cup flax meal
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2-4 Tbsp water
¼ cup sesame seeds

Spray oil

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

Put lentils and 3 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 mins, until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Add remaining ingredients except water and sesame seeds and stir well to combine. The mixture should come together and be tacky, but you should still be able to pick up spoonfuls and shape with your hands. If too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the right consistency is reached. You don’t want the patties too dry or they will crack in the oven.

Spread sesame seeds on a flat plate, then take spoonfuls of mixture, roll into balls, thenn flatten into sesame seeds. Place each patty on the prepared tray and spray lightly with oil. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 mins, turning once, until lightly browned.

Eat on their own, or create into a burger with your favourite fillings.



Spring Pea and Mint Risotto

I’m having another kind of cheat day, in that I’m just re-posting an older recipe with a newer photo. Unfortunately I snapped this one a little too late in the day and I had lost most of the good light, so I was not particularly pleased. It will have to do though. I first posted this while we were in the van – we enjoyed it on the waterfront of a Queensland town from our little biodegradable camping bowls. What I wouldn’t give to be back there again!

Make a dish using all seasonal produce.

Okay, so it’s not ALL seasonal produce, but mostly. Unfortunately I had just harvested our snow peas a week or so ago and we had already munched them all, so I did not have home grown peas to add. Instead, I used sugar snap peas from the local fruit and veg market. The peas were not as plump and juicy which was disappointing. Our mint has also gone crazy in the past few weeks – it is growing wild through parts of the garden and the leaves are getting huge. I’ve been appreciating the joy of plucking a few leaves and steeping in hot water for fresh mint tea.

As I mentioned the first time round, this recipe is a veganised version of a Donna Hay one, that my mum picked out and made for me at her house one day. I enjoyed it so much that I have made it several times since.


Spring Pea and Mint Risotto
(serves 4-6)

2 cups fresh mint, roughly chopped
1tsp sea salt flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups hot veggie stock
3/4 cup frozen peas
200g sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed, blanched and halved
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbsp vegan butter
Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste
Tofutti cream cheese for serving
Snow pea tendrils for serving (optional)

Put the mint and sea salt in a mortar and pestle and pound until a rough paste forms. Add 1 Tbsp of the oil and stir to combine. Set aside.

Heat the other Tbsp of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the rice and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly before adding the wine and allowing it to cook off – approximately 2 more minutes.

Add the stock, 1 cup at a time, allowing each to absorb before adding the next, and cook, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked al dente.

Remove from heat and stir in mint mixture, yeast flakes, butter, snow peas, frozen peas and salt and pepper (to taste). Serve with a dollop of Tofutti, and if you like, drizzle with a little olive oil. Chuck on some snow pea tendrils too if you have them!


Nanna James’ Shortbread

Today is going to be quick and simple as it is sunny outside and the banana lounge is calling.

Veganise an old family recipe.

I recall as a child Nanna James’ shortbread, or at least versions of it cooked by other family members. I would help at Christmas time cut little tiny pieces of red and green glacé cherries and arrange them into little hollies on top – some of my favourite memories.

After the retro recipe theme of the other week, I stumbled across Nanna’s handwritten recipe in the back of her CWA cookbook.

I did not do anything to change the shortbread itself (other than convert measurements and use vegan butter, oh, and add a dash of vanilla). Of course Nanna’s shortbread did not have chocolate and sea salt on top, but I thought I’d zazz it up a bit for MoFo. The shortbread itself is not super sweet, so the chocolate is a nice addition. If that’s not your thing, just leave it out.

0M4A0542bI didn’t use cutters to shape these (obviously) as this is how we did it when I was little, unless we were rolling out Christmas shapes in which case you might see stars, hearts and trees. The little misshapen logs please me.


Nanna’s Shortbread
(makes about 24)

1½ cups vegan butter
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2½ cups flour
1 Tbsp cornflour
150g dark chocolate
Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 180C and line a tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with electric beaters. Add vanilla and beat to combine.

Add flour and cornflour, and rub with fingers until a dough is formed. Either roll out your dough and cut shapes if you swing that way, or simply mould little logs and place on the prepared tray. Use a fork to put a few pricks in the top.

Bake for approx 20 mins, or until slightly golden.

If using chocolate, melt chocolate over a double boiler and dip each shortbread in, then sprinkle with a little sea salt.



Crumbed Eggplant Bánh Mì

I’ve been kind of absent the past few days, I had hoped for a few more posts with good intentions of sharing some lamingtons with you. Unfortunately the time pressure meant that said lamingtons never saw the light of day. Oh well, some other time. But for now, today’s prompt:

Lunch on the go.

I am usually at work when I need to get lunch ‘on the go’, and there are two things I usually pick from to fit the bill – bánh mì (from one of the multiple places along Smith st) or sushi from Wabi Sabi Salon. My favourite place for bánh mì is Trang Bakery as they have a range of vegan options on offer. Unfortunately it is down the far end of Smith st to me, which means it can be a bit of a challenge to get to in my half hour lunch break. But as I do outreach work, I’m often driving from or back to the office and can stop at Trang on the way/back. My favourite bánh mì there is the tempura eggplant – it is the absolute bomb diggity.

So today, I’ve made my own eggplant bánh mì as an homage to Trang. This is certainly not something speedy to make (although if you had all the constituents made ahead it is quick to throw together) but it’s definitely something you can eat on the run. Well I can anyway.


At Trang Bakery, they put a colourful relish-like spread on the rolls in place of pâté, which is both mysterious and delicious. As I did not have the willpower to try and replicate it, I’ve created my bánh mìs with a mushroom pâté and a sriracha blended mayonnaise. I’m a big fan of all the extras – plenty of chilli, crushed peanuts and fried shallots. They also drizzle something out of a squeezie bottle on them at Trang which is a little sweet, and I suspect might be hoisin or a blend. I did some drizzling of my own of hoisin and it tasted great. It’s a keeper.


Try not to be alarmed by the great ingredients list – all the processes are simple, and only involve a little time. The most consuming activity is the battering of the eggplant, but once that’s out of the way it’s all smooth sailing.

Crumbed Eggplant Bánh Mì
(makes 4)

4 bread rolls
1 Lebanese cucumber
, julienned
¼ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
4 chillis, sliced (optional)

2 Tbsp crushed peanuts (optional)
2 Tbsp fried shallots (optional)
Hoisin sauce for drizzling

2 Japanese eggplants
1/3 cup cornflour
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
¾ cup soy milk
¼ cup flour
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper
Spray olive oil

Pickled veg:
½ cup carrot, julienned
½ cup daikon, julienned
½ cup warm water
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt

Mushroom Pâté:
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cups cremini mushrooms, diced
1 small onion, diced (about
¼ cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½  cup cashews, toasted
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Sriracha Mayonaisse:
¼ cup vegan mayonaiise
1 tbsp sriracha
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp soy sauce

For the eggplant:
Peel eggplants and slice them diagonally into rounds. Salt them and leave them in a colander over the sink for about 15 minutes to allow some of the liquid to drain. Rinse and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 220C and line a baking tray with paper. Place cornflour in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together soy milk, flour, garlic, onion, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper. In a third bowl, place the breadcrumbs. Take each piece of eggplant and coat with cornflour in the first bowl, before dredging it in the batter mixture and then coating in bread crumbs. Repeat with each piece, then spray with olive oil. Flip and spray the other side. Place in the oven for approx 30 minutes – flipping once – until lightly browned.

For the pickles:
Dissolve sugar in the warm water in a small bowl. Add rice wine vinegar, salt, carrot and daikon and submerge the vegetables. Set aside.

For the mayo:
In a small bowl, stir all ingredients together. Set aside.

For the pâté:
Heat sesame oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and saute for five minutes. Add garlic and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

To assemble:
Slice open bread rolls and spread pâté on the bottom and sriracha mayo on the top. Arrange eggplant on the bottom, followed by eggplant, pickled veg, coriander and chili. Sprinkle with fried shallots and peanuts if using, then drizzle with hoi sin sauce.



Raw Zucchini Pesto Pasta

What’s your favourite late summer food?

It’s been a little easier to remember what summer food is like after the last weekend of weather. A taste of warm sun rays have brought about the craving for fresh food and cold beers. There were a few things that I thought of sharing today, including barbecued veggie kebabs and rice paper rolls, but I decided to do another revamp of an old one, one that was a staple during our van year. And yes, we had a spiraliser in the van. What of it.


When I first started eating zucchini noodles, I was surprised at how much more filling they seemed when created in this shape. I’m sure I wouldn’t feel quite as satisfied from eating a whole zucchini. We have eaten many variations on this dish, usually with whatever’s on hand and sometimes going as far as to lightly saute them to heat them up (with satay sauce, mmm). Pretty versatile. This is a particularly easy one – perfect for those late summer nights when you just don’t want to deal with putting any extra heat in the kitchen.If you already have some pesto prepared, it comes together in a matter of minutes.


Raw Zucchini Pesto Pasta
(serves 2)

2 smallish/medium zucchinis
3 Tbsp pesto, like this, this or this!

1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp pepitas
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the ends off your zucchinis, and using a spiraliser, create noodles with them and place in a bowl.

Combine pesto and lemon juice, and mix through noodles. Taste for seasoning.

Separate noodles into two bowls, then top with cherry tomatoes and pepitas. Voila!