Thursday, 27 September 2012

week 9

Ok, as I am a bit late posting, I thought I'd start by giving you Angelica's recipe for the vegan pasta as promised.
I've made no amendments as I didn't want to mess around with the goodness.   So here it is in all it's glory.
If I was to make this dish, I would substitute the olive oil with coconut oil.

Vegan spinach, pumpkin & pinenut ravioli
serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side or light meal



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bag of washed baby spinach
2 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil
Half a butternut pumpkin, chopped into cubes
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pinenuts


Preheat the oven to 150 degree
Place pumpkin in casserole dish and toss oil. 
Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven until soft and cooked through.
Heat a fry pan over medium heat. 
Add oil and 2 cloves of crushed garlic. 
Sauté garlic in oil for 2 or 3 minutes. 
Add spinach to the pan turn leaves in warm oil until they wilt. 
Season the wilted spinach with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Place the pumpkin, spinach and pinenuts in a food processor and wiz until combined. 
Set aside until the dough is ready.


200g white flour
150ml warm water
1 tblsp olive oil
Pinch of salt


Put the salt and flour in a large bowl and mix. 
Make a small circle in the middle and pour the water in a little at a time, mixing with a fork. 
Once combined, knead the mixture your hands until smooth. 
Wrap in glad wrap and let rest of 20 minutes. 
Once rested, cut the dough into 4 pieces and use a pasta maker to roll out the dough. I rolled it out to notch 5. 
Dust with flour and lay to rest while you repeat with all pieces. 
Cut circles out of the rolled pasta dough with a cookie cutter and place a teaspoon of filling into the center of each. Brush the edges with a little water and place another circle of dough on top. Pinch edges to seal. 


1 Brown Onion, diced
400g tinned Tomatos 
400g passata
1 tblsp olive oil
½ cup Fresh Basil
Pinch of powdered vegetable stock
Pinch of salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan
Add the onion and the vegetable stock and fry on a low heat. Do not brown the onion. 
Add the remainder of ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

Boil some water in a large pot.
Add in the ravioli and cook for about 5 minutes
Remove from heat once al dente and drain
Add in the sauce and serve. 

vegan cook off tasting plate
Now that's out of the way I will make a confession.  I have turned into a baking machine this past week.  It started off with a banana bread, then I experimented with a banana and mango bread, then I went somewhere I've wanted to go for a long time, and that was baking some cinnamon scrolls.  But not just any cinnamon scrolls, no, these were a much healthier alternative, with no oil added and with wholemeal flour.  Although I promised myself it would only be a treat, I couldn't help but scoff two down as soon as they were out of the oven.  What can I say, tasting is part of cooking :)

Cinnamon, pumpkin and apple rolls
makes 7 (odd number I know)


1 cup almond milk
1 yeast sachet
2 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup white plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS cinnamon powder
4 TBS pumpkin puree


1/4 cup apple sauce (homemade using stewed apples which I blended)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 TBS cinnamon


1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 TBS almond milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

coconut oil for greasing or baking paper


Heat almond milk in a small saucepan until tepid, add in yeast, stir and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin.  Pour in milk/yeast mixture and mix with your hands. Be gentle, try not to over mix.
The mixture will be sticky but don't worry.
Pour some plain white flour onto a clean surface and knead your dough.  Keep adding flour until you get a ball that holds together and is a little elastic.
Use a rolling pin to spread out your dough in as close to a rectangle as possible.  Don't make it to thin or else it will be hard to roll, about 1 cm thickness is good.
Spread the apple sauce on top and then add the mixed sugar and cinnamon.  Get as much coverage as possible.
Roll your dough from one end of the other.  Go slow so you don't end up with a broken mess!!
Slice into desired thickness, I did mine about 4 fingers width.
Place in a baking dish that's been greased with some coconut oil or lined with baking paper.  
Leave to rest either overnight or for at least 20 minutes.  This will cause the dough to rise.
Bake in a moderate pre-heated oven for about 25-30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before icing.
For icing, mix all ingredients together until you have a nice runny consistency.
Drizzle icing on top and serve stat!!

I don't just love these because they taste so damn good.  I also love them because they smell so good!  It makes the house feel welcoming and nurturing, hmmmmm......warm fuzzies all round :)

Now with my cake fix completed, I endeavoured to experiment more with gluten free recipes seeing that I will be going full steam ahead with that challenge in 4 days!!  YIKES!!
And what better way to experiment than with pizza!  
Definitely a favourite meal at our place, and we normally make our own using wholemeal lebanese bread and a range of toppings.  My daughters prefer pineapple, mushrooms and ham. The hubby loves lots of veges with chorizo or ham and I used to eat olives, basil and anchovies.
But now that I am on a plant based diet, I have to be honest, I've been avoiding it.  No cheese and no anchovies?  What's the point?
But, I do love mushrooms so here is my recipe for a gluten free "pizza" that's filling and full of vitamin B.
I got the idea for this recipe from a portuguese friend at work. Sometimes she brings polenta squares that she bakes and then eats with whatever side she makes.  It made me think about how well it would be as a pizza base because it holds it's shape really well and you can bake it, or just cook it on the stove and let it sit until it becomes solid.

Mushroom Pizza
serves 8 as a light meal



2 cups water
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 TBS coconut oil
1 cup of polenta


4 cups mushrooms of your choice, sliced
1/3 cup brown onion sliced
1 kale leaf torn into slices
3 TBS pine nuts toasted
1 TBS coconut oil
Pasta sauce*
handful fresh parsley/basil
salt and pepper to taste


Bring water to boil in a medium sized saucepan.  Once boiling, add oil and seasoning.
Pour in polenta in one thin stream whilst stirring.
Keep stirring for about 5 minutes or until the polenta is thick and creamy.  
Once cooked, pour your polenta into a square or rectangle pan that's lined with baking paper.
Use a spatula to evenly spread.  Don't use a wooden spoon, it won't work as polenta will get stuck to it.
Whack it in the fridge to harden (about 30 mins).
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and bake your polenta base for about 40 minutes.  Set aside.
Whilst there is still 15 minutes left of cooking time for the polenta base, heat oil in a frying pan, sauté onions and add mushrooms.  
I like mine soft so I usually put the cover on and let them sweat a bit.  Season with salt and pepper.
Add the kale and sauté until bright green.  Remove from heat.
Spread tomato sauce onto polenta base, sprinkle on your pine nuts and then arrange your mushrooms and kale over the pizza.
Cook in the hot oven for 15 minutes or until the kale starts toasting.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and enjoy.
You can substitute any topping on this recipe so go nuts!

*I used a basic pasta sauce for this, if you're rushed for time, you can use store bought or maybe some tomato paste sprinkled with some dried oregano.
Next time, I'll make a batch of Angelica's tomato sauce for sure.

This next recipe has more of an Indian flavour to it, thanks to the cumin seeds and turmeric.  I served it with some rice, lentils and quinoa for dinner, than I had a big bowl of it on it's own for lunch the next day.
It's a good meal to cook because the left overs taste better the next day after the flavours have had time to develop.
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it's super easy and you can use whatever vegetables are dying in your fridge as long as you have an eggplant as it's the main point of the dish.
This recipe was adapted from one I found in Mr. Wilkinson's favourite vegetables cookbook.  A lovely birthday present from miss Italy herself xx

Eggplant Casserole
serves 4 as a side or 2 on it's own


1 TBS coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 large eggplant cubed
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 brown onion diced
1 zucchini cubed
2 squash cubed
2 carrots cubed
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 TBS caster sugar
2 cups kale strips
1 lemon juiced
2 TBS continental parsley chopped


In a large heavy based saucepan, add your coconut oil and heat on medium heat.  Add your onions and garlic and sauté.
Add the rest of your vegetables except kale, and cook until eggplant is soft and a little mushy.  Add your tomatoes and sugar and cook until other vegies are soft but still have a little bite to them, and the sauce is a little reduced.  About 10 minutes.
Add your kale and lemon juice and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Take off heat, taste and adjust seasoning as required.  Stir in parsley.
Serve straight away and store left overs for tomorrow's lunch.

The next recipe is really good for those that are time poor and I usually have it for lunch at work because it requires minimum preparation.  It's also a go to meal on Mondays, when I'm exhausted and don't feel like cooking dinner for myself.  I normally make a big batch of brown rice a couple of times a week so that I can just make meals as I go.  This is a perfect example of a meal on the run for me.

Brown rice bowl with tofu and sesame
serves 1


1 cup of cooked brown rice
handful of mixed salad greens
1/4 cup cucumber julienne
1/4 cup carrot julienne
1 TBS coriander finely chopped
1 TBS tamari
1/2 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS sesame seeds
1/2 cup of firm tofu diced


Put your brown rice at the bottom of your bowl (hot or cold, up to you).
Add your vegetables, herbs and tofu.  Sprinkle on your sesame seeds and drizzle with oil and tamari.
Mix it all together and enjoy.
Can't get simpler than that!!
Feel free to add whatever vegetables your belly desires, steamed or raw broccoli go well in this, or any other asian style vegetable. 

The next gluten free recipe is rice pudding.  You know I can never finish without a dessert!!
Growing up in Peru, rice pudding was a popular dessert and I remember that it always made an appearance at birthday parties.  It was served on it's own with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or with a side of mazamorra morada which is a dessert made from purple corn and it is delicious. As a combination, it's killer.  Everytime a family member returns from Peru, they always bring sachets of instant mazamorra morada for us.
Eating rice pudding brings back warm memories of my family and my dad's rice pudding is the best.  Always creamy and sometimes he would add raisins which would turn into soft plump little pillows. 
Here's my recipe, and I topped it with some stewed pears and chia for some added sweetness.

Rice pudding with stewed pears
serves 2



1/3 cup arborio rice
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup water
1 cinnamon stick


2 medium sized pears
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1/2 TBS chia seeds


Put rice, water and cinnamon stick in a small heavy based sauce pan over medium heat.
Bring to the boil and cook until the water has nearly absorbed.  
Add the almond milk, turn heat to low and cover for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove lid, rice should be getting close to ready, stir gently and cook until liquid is reduced and rice is cooked and creamy.

Slice your pears, and place in small saucepan.  The pears won't be covered by the water but they will drop some liquid so don't despair.
Cook them on medium heat until soft and liquid has reduced by half.
Stir in your chia seeds and cook for a further few minutes or until mixture thickens slightly.
Remove from heat and stir in your vanilla extract.

Place your rice in glasses and layer with stewed pear.
Or you can just pop it in a bowl, top with pears and gobble it up!

OH my goodness, only 3 weeks to go! I can't believe it, I feel like I've only scratched the surface of my vegan journey and I feel that stopping at 12 weeks would really not be in my best interest.  I still have SO much more to learn about a plant based diet and living as cleanly as possible.  
Needless to say, I'm excited about the possibilities! 
I'm actually very excited about a couple of things, first of is that I was able to get a table at Quay restaurant at very short notice for next week, thanks to a certain crazy Indonesian goddess.  It's the boy's birthday and I'm going to surprise him (don't worry, he doesn't read my blog)!!
I know that they are pretty good catering to dietary restrictions so I'm waiting to hear back about what they say in regards to accommodating a vegan.  If it goes ahead, you can bet I will be photographing every dish so that I can share it with you.
You don't just get three chef hats for nothing, and it's rated number 29 restaurant in the world.  Not to mention that executive chef Peter Gilmore won chef of the year for 2012 in Australia.
Check out their amazing menu here.

I'm also excited because I'm doing a raw vegan workshop at the end of October at that little raw vegan cafe I told you about in a previous post, sadhana kitchen.
It's only for 3 hours but I imagine that I'll learn a lot and I'm really looking forward to the ebook that the chef, Maz Pugoy, is bringing out about embarking on a 14 day raw food adventure.  Yay!
So if there is any Sydney peeps out there who are interested, check out the above link for more details and I might see you there.

Next thing I'm excited (and terrified) about is that I'm embarking on a 3 day juice cleanse.  Yes, it's been a long time coming and I've been putting it off because I'm scared about not being able to actually munch and chew food but I think that if I'm going gluten free and then sugar free, I might as well start with a cleanse to get everything going.
I've had a look at some juices that are recommended by different sites and I think I have a few good ones to get me through and also give me the required nutrients I need to get through the day.

I've started experimenting with some and here's a cleansing tonic that I got from ecosalon.

Morning Liver Tonic

Cup of freshly boiled water
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
Juice of 1/2 lemon

And here's one that I think I'll have whilst on my cleanse, probably at night time as it feels nurturing and the blend of cinnamon and almond milk would be nice just before bed.
Thanks to the folks at Urban Remedy for the list of ingredients, I played around with the quantities and I think I found one I like, I also added some raw mesquite powder for added protein.

Urban Remedy ABC Dessert Smoothie

7 simple ingredients:

1. Almond milk
2. Coconut water
3. Filtered water
4. ABC nut butter*
5. Four dates
6. Raw cacao
7. Cinnamon

These are the quantities I like:

200 ml unsweetened almond milk
200 ml coconut water
1 TBS ABC nut butter
4 dates
1 tsp raw cacao
1 tsp raw mesquite powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend and serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
I didn't add any water but I imagine you could add more water to make it more filling.

So wish me luck on my cleanse, I'll be sure to fill you in on what happens on Wednesday night when it's all done and dusted.
I'm hoping I can carry it out, 3 days seems a long time but I'm confident that I'll get through it.......just!

Peas, love and mungbeans


Just a little update, I got a call from Quay restaurant and they've accepted my vegan challenge.  SO bloody excited! Can't wait to see what they come up with!

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