Tuesday, 13 November 2012

it's been a while....

Wow, I have actually lost track of how long it's been......that's how long it's been.
To say that life has been busy is an understatement, however, being busy is good, and I think I rather be busy than standing still.  My boy always tell me I don't know how to relax, maybe that's true, but I like to think that I don't like to let an opportunity pass :)

I have a few little recipes, some raw, some cooked, mostly with no sugar as I am doing No-sugar-Vember at the moment.
Let me tell you, it's a struggle.  It's true, I love sugar, and although I don't actually eat much refined sugar, I do LOVE LOVE LOVE fruit.  
I did read somewhere, to my disappointment, that fruit is just sugar with fibre.  Agh, I hate that!!  It's like someone calling my bestie a mean name!  But, you can't go through life forgoing all the things you love.  That would be hell, and not really life at all.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, cherished, learned from, laughed at, and best of all, captured and stored as little snippets of your own movie, in photos, scents, tastes and memories.  
So here are a few of the 'treats' I came up with to get me through this sugar-free challenge.

Raw Vegan Tacos
Serves 4 


Walnut Meat

2 cups raw walnuts
2 Tbsp tamari
1/8 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil


Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just to mix. You want the mixture to resemble mince.  Don't over mix or you'll end up with mash.  I'm sure it'll still taste good though so no drama if you do.

Sour 'Cream'


1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or at least 2 hours
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 TBS unhulled tahini
5 Tbsp water (or up to you depending on how runny/thick you want it)


Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  If I had a vitamix or other high speed blender I'd definitely use that as it gives the smoothest consistency.  But I don't so I use my food processor.  Still tastes good :)

Raw Tomato Salsa


1 cup tomatoes cubed
1/2 cup red capsicum diced
1/2 cup yellow capsicum diced
1/2 cup cucumber diced
1/2 red onion diced
1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped 
1/2 lemon juiced
Rainbow chard stems chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently with lemon juice and seasoning. 



1 large avocado
1/2 lemon juiced
2 TBS fresh coriander chopped
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste


Place all ingredients in a blender (I only have a handheld so that's what I use), and blend until smooth.
You can mash it up if you prefer it chunky but I like mine smooth.



8 rainbow chard or spinach leaves
Washed and ends trimmed 

To eat, you simply lay it all out and assemble tacos to your liking.

If you don't already know that I love tacos, then consider yourself informed.  I love tacos. 
I you don't have walnuts at hand, you can make the following variation.  However, it's not raw, but if you don't care about that, then go get em'!

Mushroom Tacos
Serves 4

1 Guacamole Mix
1 Salsa Mix
1 Cabbage salad Mix
6 large field mushrooms
1 taco seasoning mix sachet
8 kale leaves (I used Tuscan Cabbage)

Mushroom Meat


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line a baking tray with baking paper and put aside.
Chop cleaned mushrooms into strips, place them in a bag with the contents
of the taco mix sachet (make sure you check ingredients so that you agree with what's in it).
Shake the hell out of it until it's all mixed in and mushroom pieces are coated.
Place coated mushroom strips on prepared baking tray and cook in oven for about 20 minutes, or until cooked and a little brown.

Cabbage salad


2 cups red cabbage
1 lemon juiced
sea salt 


Finely shred cabbage and mix with lemon juice and salt.

Now assemble, wrap and enjoy.

Sometimes you don't get a lot of time to whip up meals, that's why I like to be prepare and always have some cooked grains, or baked sweet potato or pumpkin in the fridge.  When times get busy, I pull out whatever is in the fridge, throw it all together and call it:

Leftovers Salad
Serves 1


1 cup red rice
1/2 cup baked/steamed sweet potato
1/3 cup avocado cubes
1/4 cup lentils
2 TBS coriander (or whatever herb you like)
1 TBS sunflower seeds
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1/2 TBS white wine vinegar
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste


Place mustard, oil, vinegar and seasoning in a screw top jar, shake it until it emulsifies.
Place all other ingredients in a bowl, pour over dressing and gently mix to combine.

Here's one with an Asian flavour.  

Enoki, tofu and Carrot salad 
serves 2


Enoki mushrooms (about a handful)
1 large carrot julienne
200g marinated tofu
1/3 cup fresh coriander chopped
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 TBS tamari
1/2 TBS sesame oil
Fresh chilli chopped(optional)


Slice your tofu into thin slices and add it to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
Toss gently to combine.

I served it with some grilled baby eggplant and mushrooms which I brushed with some tamari.
You can serve this with steamed fish if your family is not vegan.

Easy peasy!

And whilst we're on eggplant territory, I have to say that it is one tasty vegetable which is really simple to prepare.  Here's a little recipe I whipped up in less than 30 minutes.  Give it a go next time you're hungry and just can't wait! 

Eggplant, pumpkin and spinach stack
Serves 1 as a light meal


4 eggplant slices (1.5 cm thick)
handful of spinach, shredded
1/4 cup of pumpkin slices (0.5 cm thick)
1/2 TBS pine nuts
1/4 cup tomato pasta sauce


Heat up a non-stick frying pan.  Add your pumpkin slices and cover so that the heat and steam will cook them faster.
In another non-stick frying pan, add your eggplant slices and cook until brown on both sides (approx. 4 minutes each side).
Once you have some room in your pan, add the spinach leaves and cook until just wilted.
Heat up your pasta sauce.
Now assemble the stack.
Here's my order:
Eggplant, pumpkin, spinach. Repeat.
Top the whole lot with the pasta sauce and sprinkle the pine nuts on top.  You could add some nutritional yeast to give it a 'cheesy' taste if you like.
Super easy, fast, no oil added and good for you. 
If you don't have pumpkin, you can substitute with any other vegetable you have in your fridge.  Here's one I made with mushroom as the filling.  It felt like I was eating a burger.  I added a kale and sprout salad and some baked sweet potato and I had one very satisfying, low fat meal.

And I'll finish off with a soup.  Like tacos, I love soup too.  It's such a good way to pack as much vegetables as possible into your meal, it's comforting, and best of all, filling!!

Zucchini cream soup
Serves 2


1 cup spinach leaves
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley + 2 TBS 
2 cups zucchini chopped
1/4 cup brown onion
1/4 cup celery chopped
4 cups water
1 garlic clove
1/2 vegan stock cube
1 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)
2 TBS red capsicum diced
1 TBS pepitas
1 japanese pumpkin 


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
Wash your pumpkin thoroughly and cut in half.  Place them on prepared baking tray, skin side down, and place in oven. Approximately 30-40 minutes depending on oven. 
Meanwhile, Place zucchini, onion, garlic, stock cube, water and celery in a medium saucepan and cook gently until mixure begins to boil.  Reduce heat and cook at a simmer for another 10 minutes or until zucchini is soft.  Add spinach leaves and parsley and cook for a further 3 minutes.  If you need more water, add it.  I like my soup thick.
Blend soup until smooth.  I use a stick blender and just do it in the pot.
Once your pumpkin is cooked, remove from oven and scoop out seeds.  Keep scooping out the flesh until you get a hollow big enough to cradle some of your soup.
Ladle soup into your pumpkin bowl and sprinkle with some nutritional yeast, capsicum, parsley and pepitas.

NB Keep the scraped out flesh to make into pumpkin hummus or to add as butter to your sandwiches, or scoop into smoothies, or add to brozen bananas with some spices to make pumpkin ice cream!!
                     WASTE NOT WANT NOT

peas, love and mungbeans