Archive for the ‘Vegetarian and vegan’ Category

Speedy salad

Posted on: January 17th, 2011 by admin No Comments

It was tricky to think of what to post for the first recipe of the new year.  Let’s start it off right with something healthy and enjoyable.  This recipe is supposed to be made in the food processor – making it one of the easiest salad recipes ever.  But we don’t have one, so it took a little longer to grate and chop things small, though it was well worth it.   A great recipe for summer days and perfect for winter with crusty bread.

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 apple (your favorite)
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 c parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 spring onions
  • Small knob of ginger
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2  c pumpkin seeds

All you do is whiz all the ingredients in a food processor a few times – it’s sooo easy.  It took me under 10 minutes to dice or grate everything which I don’t consider long at all.

This recipe comes from Kemi Nekvapil, an amazing chef from the UK, now in Australia.  Take a look at her Raw Kitchen, and look into taking some classes.

Cheers to a happy 2011!

Song for this recipe:

“Forever Young” Alphaville Forever Young - Forever Young

Sunday sweets – Lamingtons

Posted on: September 12th, 2010 by admin No Comments

Our talented friends Trish and Bev were here for a visit and made these lamingtons as a treat for us all to enjoy one rainy evening.  They are wonderful, the classic cake with a delicious chocolate icing all bundled up in coconut, vegan style.  What champs, if you want to make yourself some comfort treats, try these.

Vegan lamingtons

  • 1/2 c Nuttelex (vegan margarine) or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 c soy milk
  • 3 c icing sugar
  • 1/3 c cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp Nuttelex or oil
  • 1/3 c soy milk (or hot water)
  • dessicated coconut – maybe 2-3 cups

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease a square tin 20 x 20cm (8 x 8in).

Sift flour and baking powder together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix Nuttelex/oil and sugar until light and creamy (unless you are using oil, in which case it just gets mixed), add the vanilla and mix well.
Add the soy milk and flour alternately, mixing well in between. Add about a third of each at a time, starting with the soy milk, don’t overmix.
Spread the mixture in the cake tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a knife in the centre comes out clean.  Leave to cool overnight (or at least 4 hours).

To make the icing:

Prepare a dish full of dessicated coconut, and have a clean plate or two ready to put the iced lamingtons on.

Cut the cake into squares of your desired size. You can trim off the top of the cake if you like, it helps the icing soak in.  In a large bowl, sift together the icing sugar and cocoa.  In a saucepan, melt the margarine or oil and add the soy milk until quite warm (not boiling) and then turn off the heat. Water works fine too, instead of soy.  Add a bit of the liquid at a time into the icing sugar mixture, stirring well each time until you get a nice consistency (a bit runny, but not too liquid).
Take one of the cakes and dip each side into the icing, then coat this with the dessicated coconut. If you have a friend to help you assembly-line style it is really helpful!  It’s good to let the icing cool (in the fridge)  before eating. Mmm, delicious!


Posted on: June 10th, 2010 by admin 1 Comment

This week was Kel’s birthday, the youngest, and although I live on the opposite side of the planet I knew exactly what to make for dinner on her birthday.  Her favorite – a great lasagne.  Truth is I never really made one before- Beans always makes them, but being busy with work the task was up to me.  I asked Jamie, Ina, Stephanie, Nigella, and the Italian Mum’s that I work with and woh, out came the best lasagne I have had in a long time.

It’s quite easy to make- just a bit of prep time.  We like to add veggies and also have a layer or two of bechamel sauce.   For vegetarians, the meat can easily be substituted from crumbled firm tofu.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600g (1.3 lb) lean beef mince VEGETARIANS firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 400g (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 10 – 14 sheets lasagne pasta
  • a few large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Basic Bechamel sauce with parmesan (optional)
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 brown onion, halved, coarsely chopped
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 40g butter
  • 2 Tbsp plain flour
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Salt & ground white pepper

Bechamel sauce recipe below – if you’re using it, make it first!


For the lasagne:

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened.  Add the mince, and cook, stirring to break up the meat, for 5 minutes or until browned.

Put the pasta sheets on to boil- we’re just going to cook it for about 10 minutes- to soften it before baking- so keep your eye on it.  Just take it off the heat and drain the water after 10 min or soft.

Now add carrot, tomato paste, tomato and oregano to the mince mixture. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.


Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF). Lightly grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm square or rectangle baking dish. Arrange 2 pieces of pasta over base of dish. Spread one-third of the mince mixture over pasta. Top with one-third of the spinach. Top with pasta pieces.  Then a layer of bechamel sauce (if using) then more meat, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, spinach, pasta, bechamel,  meat, until you reach the top of the pan.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until cheese is golden and melted. Let it stand for 10-20 minutes (to set). Serve.

For the bechamel sauce:

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until gently foaming. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and begins to come away from side of pan. (When making a sauce that contains flour, it’s important to cook the flour. If you don’t the sauce will taste floury) Remove from heat.

Pour in half the milk gradually (otherwise the sauce will become lumpy), whisking constantly until mixture is smooth. Gradually add the remaining milk, whisking until smooth and combined. (If sauce becomes lumpy, strain through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to remove any lumps.)

Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Taste and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Recipe for bechemel sauce adapted from and the rest is ours.

Song for this recipe:

“Kelly watch the stars” – Air Air - Moon Safari - Kelly Watch the Stars

Spinach and feta Gözleme

Posted on: May 12th, 2010 by admin 4 Comments

Finally a not so sweet treat!  Gozleme is a tasty Turkish flat bread, often sold at markets around the world.  It’s a great snack easily heated up in the toaster at work and not too hard on the waistline.  There are quite a few filling options, but the most common (and our favorite) is spinach and feta.  Also you can just make the dough with flour, water and salt, which is probably more traditional than using yeast, but the recipes below is truly delicious.

  • 7g (1 sachet) instant dried yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 3 c plain flour
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 100g (3.5oz) baby spinach
  • 200g (7oz)  feta cheese, crumbled
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Combine 1 cup of warm water, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl. Stir and let stand in a warm, sunny place for 5 minutes or until bubbles form on the surface.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix to form a soft dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until elastic. Cut the dough into 4 and place on a greased baking tray. Cover with a clean tea towel. Stand in a warm, sunny place for 20 minutes or until dough roughly doubles in size.

Roll each piece into a 35cm x 45cm (13in x 17in) rectangle. Place one-quarter of spinach over half of each rectangle. Top with feta and season with salt and pepper. Fold dough over to enclose filling. Press edges together to seal.

Preheat a barbecue plate or heavy saucepan/griddle on medium-high heat. Brush one side of each gozleme with oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until nice brown spots start to appear. Brush uncooked side with remaining oil. Turn over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove to a serving plate. Cut gozleme into quarters and most important – serve with lemon wedges.

Recipe adapted and photo from

Happy St Pats – let’s make Colcannon

Posted on: March 17th, 2010 by admin No Comments

A side dish won’t come much more creamy and delicious and dangerous to the waistline than Colcannon. I think traditionally it is served around Halloween, but any time’s a good time for potatoes, cabbage and fat no?

  • 750g potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 bacon rashers (omit this vegetarians!)
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (be generous)

Boil the potatoes until they are tender, should be about 15 minutes.

While they are boiling fry the bacon rashers in a fry-pan and then remove them from the pan once cooked.  In the same pan- with the bacon fat- add the cabbage and onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is soft and slightly transparent.  Dice the bacon.

Drain the cooked potatoes and mash them with the milk and salt and pepper.  Now add the bacon, cabbage and onion to the mash and stir the whole thing together.

Make a little well in the mash, drop a pat of butter in there, a tiny sprinkle of parsley if you have it and serve immediately.  Particularly delicious with lamb shanks and spinach.

Like many traditional recipes, people variate them a lot.  People add parmesan, use kale instead of cabbage and add leek, carrot or spices, experiment as you wish.  Why not make some Irish soda bread too?

Recipe from: Ireland travel website!

Song for this recipe: ‘Harvest Home’ – Nommos

Mexican salad

Posted on: February 24th, 2010 by admin No Comments

Continuing on our theme of international salads, this wonderful Mexican style salad is really delicious as a side to maybe chicken and tortillas. We eat it as a meal and it is honestly the most perfect combination of flavors for a salad ever! And so healthy!



  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 c corn kernels (frozen or tinned)
  • 2 spring onions, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 red capsicum/bell pepper, diced
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Mix the oil, lime juice, honey and salt and pepper together in a little jar or bowl. Add all the other ingredients to a big bowl and toss with the dressing. Let the salad sit for a little while – an hour or so if you have time, for the flavors to develop.

Recipe copied from Papacitos Mexican restaurent, NYC.

Song for this recipe: “Mexican Mavis” – Boy & Bear Boy & Bear - Mexican Mavis - Mexican Mavis


Posted on: February 18th, 2010 by admin No Comments

One of my favorite salads of all time is fattoush, Lebanese bread salad. On a hot day when you don’t feel like a massive meal, fattoush is most definitely the answer. I first had it at Mecca Bah in Manuka, where they make theirs with large chunks of bread instead of the traditional pita. I think we just ordered it because my friend Kit and I enjoyed saying it so much, but it quickly became a favorite.



  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers
  • 2 radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 c flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 pita breads
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying


  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh sumac (a red spice, you should find it in the grocery store)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash the tomatoes and cucumber and chop into rough cubes. Mix together in a large bowl and add the sliced shallot, and the herbs. Season with a little sea salt and set aside.

To make the dressing add all the ingredients together in a jar and shake it up. Pour about half over the salad.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cut the pitas into quarters and then pop into the pan, in batches, turning, for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp and lightly golden. Once all the bread is fried, blot the excess oil with paper towel and break the bread into smaller pieces while adding to the salad.

Toss the whole thing and add more dressing if desired.

Song for this recipe: ‘Bird stealing bread’ – Iron and wine Iron & Wine - The Creek Drank the Cradle - Bird Stealing Bread