ZB's Vegan Recipes

Here's where you can find some fun, tasty and generally pretty easy-to-make vegan (and often low GI) recipes. Enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday March 23, 2009

Yeah, so this whole blogging every day thing took a dive this week. My excuse: I've instituted a new exercise regime which means I go to the gym and pilates at 7 in the morning rather than the evening - but I haven't actually gotten the whole getting 8 hours sleep thing before getting up at 6am thing down yet, and have consequently been exhausted upon reaching home.

Additional to the lack of blogging, the whole new regime has meant that I haven't cooked much in the last week, eating mostly salad bowls for lunch and pawpaw salad from Green Palace for dinner most nights. Exciting! ... not...

Onto other business, now that I'm actually here.

This loldog caught my eye this week, and really describes that way I feel about all animals, not just companion animals. It's as close as possible as I can get to explain why I'm vegan - simply and complexly because I choose not to use another being's innocent life (say, for instance, via the research or food industries) purely to serve my own selfish "needs" (or more precisely, "wants").

Anyway, vegan rant off my chest, let's talk about food, shall we?

I made mini pizzas on either Thursday or Friday last week, and they went off pretty well, which I was very happy about.

I got a gluten free crust and spread it with some salsa left over from Tuesday's Mexican meal. I topped it with mushrooms, vegan pepperoni, green olives stuffed with garlic, and Cheezly mozzarella. I cooked it in a really hot oven (220 degrees Celcius) for 10 minutes, and then switched it to just the grill and was really happy to see that the Cheezly mozzarella melted impressively. I sprinkled the pizza with fresh lemon thyme, and fresh basil leaves from my garden.

I served the mini pizzas with a cos lettuce salad, with sprouts, nutritional yeast, pepitas, flaxseed oil and balsamic vinegar.

The weekend's foods were mostly made up of pasta (first in almost three weeks, was pretty happy with that) and Lebanese foods from Granpa's Lebanese in Hurstville.

Tonight's dinner was a revisiting of a great salad I made some time in October last year - a kindoflikecaesarsalad.

Creamy Ozymandias Dressing (it's not Alexander, but it is a bit fruity...)

  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon spelt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon capers liquid
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy cream cheese

Whizz everything up in a food processor until very smooth.

I marinated tempeh strips in a marinade of sweet soy sauce, pomegranate molasses, Braggs, tamari, umesu, garlic powder, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar and smoked paprika, then fried the bejesus out of them and left them to cool a little whilst I made the salad.

The greens for the salad were rocket, spinach and cos. I roughly chopped them and tossed them in half of the dressing. I added sliced pear, walnuts and the torn up tempeh strips. I drizzled a little extra of the dressing over the whole thing and then I nommed on down. Very very nice. Will definitely be making that salad more often. And I have leftovers for lunch, yay!

I've got a good week of menus planned out, and have a plan of actually sleeping for more than five hours each night, so should be back on the blogging horse from now on!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday March 17, 2009

Tonight it was a delicious not-really-raw-but-kind-of meal. Yesterday, March 16, was a write off due to making cakes all day, and getting takeaway all day. Today was a bit better, and dinner was definitely a win.

I have mentioned before my love of Mexican food. I could eat spicy beans and guacamole salsa and pickled chillies until the end of time. So tonight I thought I'd make some semi-raw Mexican style foods.

Clockwise from the back: beetroot, carrot and cumin salad; bean and nooch cheez; pico de gallo salsa; guacamole; pinto refried bean style dip. I used cos lettuce leaves as taco shells, and topped off the tasty tacos with bean sprouts.

The beetroot, carrot and cumin salad was fairly simple - grated beetroot and carrot, sprinkled with whole cumin seeds and the juice of half a lemon. Very fresh and bright to eat.

Bean and Nooch Cheez
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon umesu

Whizz all of the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavours to come together.

Pico de Gallo Salsa

  • 1 small red onion, chopped finely
  • 3 small tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 large red chilli, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt

Mix together all of the ingredients and set to one side for 15 minutes to let the flavours meld. The salt will draw out lovely liquid, which I like to sprinkle over my tacos after all of the different fillings have been piled on top of them.

I didn't get a decent photo of my guacamole, but my tried and true recipe is something along these lines: ripe ripe avocados, some minced garlic, some minced chilli, salt, lime and lemon juice, smush until smooth, and then set to one side for 30 minutes or so to let all of the flavours come together. No tomatoes, no coriander, no cumin, just lovely avocado singing out over beautiful aromatics.

Refried Beans Dip

  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 chipotles, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs

Whizz all of the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavours to come together.

Sexy close up of the finished dinner!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday March 15, 2009

Aaaand a delay occurred. This was mostly due to my having a rampaging social life this week, which was fun but did put a dent in my raw life and my blogging.

The missing meals:

Thursday March 12, 2009 - green smoothie; leftover coleslaw, rocket & spinach salad with walnuts & dressing, nashi pear; and takeaway from Green Palace (had a meeting with Charles, who runs naked espresso, that ran into my standard dinner time).
Friday March 13, 2009 - this was crazy carbs day. Raisin toast with peanut butter; giant salad & roasted vegetable roll; and dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Juju's for my friend Neibi's birthday.
Saturday March 14, 2009 - breakfast at naked espresso; lunch was rice paper rolls & chilli salad from Green Palace; and dinner was mall food - Tex Mex burrito - with my friend Phil, in between bands at the Monster Session gig at Manning Bar. Bands of my youth, there was much much dancing, pogoing, shimmying and feeling a little bit like I was at a school reunion.

Today was a lovely day, with breakfast at naked espresso (again, yes) followed by a second viewing of Watchmen with my friend Luke. After the movie, we popped over to Iku and I had a burger and a surprise blueberry muffin while we geeked out about the movie. If anyone's interested in going to see Watchmen on the big screen and wants company, I am so into seeing it again (and again, and again)!

I bought a new kitchen toy for making zucchini noodles which unfortunately was crap and a waste of $20. I should have just coughed up the cash for the mandolin. *sigh* But I was still happy to make the zucchini noodles the old fashioned way, with a sharp knife, some patience and a willingness to eat slightly thicker noodles. I was a bit wary of eating raw zucchini, so after I sliced it up I tossed the noodles in the juice of half a lemon and let them sit whilst I made the sauce.

I wanted to incorporate protein and creaminess into the tomato sauce, and ended up making a pesto-like thick sauce which was incredibly tasty (though a bit unattractive to look at).

Tomato-Pesto Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 large chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 small avocado, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 4 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Braggs

In a food processor, grind together the garlic, chilli, capers and almonds until they are broken down and combined. Add the rest of the ingredients, and process until thick and smooth.

I poured this into the bowl with the zucchini noodles and lemon juice, and mixed it all together and left it for another 15 minutes until serving.

I topped this with nooch for added ... noochiness...

I was really happy with this whole recipe, and am really glad that the zucchini noodles were so tasty!!

I got some red chard today, am looking forward to trying it in a green smoothie tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday March 11, 2009

Today was a stressed out, gah bastard day of working pain, why do I work again? kind of day.

Breakfast of green smoothie (parsley and kale with fruit is my favourite combination, not sure about the spinach with fruit combination though), lunch of spinach, rocket, sundried tomatoes, roast eggplant, walnuts, and my favourite dressing, and grapes.

Dinner was a story of major fail, that turned out not too badly, but was definitely not something I'd try again in the future.

I had marinated some tempeh in a marinade from the Candle Cafe cookbook, which was supposed to be a chipotle marinade with tomato paste, garlic, mustard, lemon juice etc. Unfortunately I put too much mustard in it, and it just tasted really unpleasantly of mustard. I put the tempeh in a baking tray in the oven, and tweaked the remaining marinade to something tasty to serve as a sauce with the tempeh.

I threw in garlic powder, onion flakes, oregano, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, Braggs, Worcestershire sauce, HP sauce, water, lime juice, pomegranate molasses, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar and two more chipotles...it finally came to something that would be okay, though slightly too heavy on the cayenne pepper, if I put something in it to soak up the hot.

So I decided to crumble the tempeh into the sauce, along with butter beans and some minced cabbage, and cooked them all in there. It finally turned into something okay, and when it had cooled for 10 minutes, was actually quite tasty.

But ugly.

But moreish.

It went really well with the simple coleslaw I made - cabbage, apple, spring onion, celery in a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, seasoning salt and pomegranate molasses.

I was proud of myself for sticking to my menu for this evening (though I had to tweak it a little due to aforementioned fail), because my day sucked and all I really wanted to eat was a giant tray of macncheez and Minton biscuits and more macncheez and possibly some peanut butter and chocolate. Thankfully, didn't have any of those in the house (except the makings for macncheez), and knew that it would just make me feel a bit shit. Yay beans, tempeh and cabbage!!

I think the plan for tomorrow night is going to be zucchini "noodles" with tomato sauce, so will see how that goes....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday March 10, 2009

I'm a little bit tiddly from dinner as I write this, so there's not going to be much of an update. Today was carb-tastic after breakfast (green smoothie), with Iku burger and sesame fudge tart for lunch, and dinner for a friend's birthday at a very authentic pizza place, where I had a gorgeous marinara pizza which was delicious.

I am feeling a bit heavy from the carbs, I have to say, so am looking forward to detoxing a little tomorrow with some tasty greens and fruits.

I don't have any photos of the foods consumed, so I'll instead entertain you with my new house decorations - prints of naughty semi-nude 1940s pinups!

I am slowly but surely decorating my house now that I've got the okay to put up pictures. I've been meaning to hang up these prints for the last three years, and they look as kitsch and fabulous as I thought they would. Having a great time.

And now, lots of water and then bed.

Until tomorrow, I wish you good eatings!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Monday March 9th, 2009

This morning I made and consumed my first ever green smoothie. I didn't take a photo, because, well, I forgot (I'm not brilliant in the mornings). The smoothie contained: frozen banana, peach & pear, parsley, baby kale, walnuts, flaxseed oil, orange juice and water. The kale didn't blend down, but the tiny flecks in the smoothie were fine. And it kept me full for the whole 5 hours until lunch (though it helped that I was busy in a cafe kitchen making vegan vanilla slice - very distracting).

Lunch was Guzman y Gomez, tasty taco goodness.

Dinner was ginormous, but I was very hungry and it was mostly made up of greens, so didn't feel too bad about it. I made what I call my "beans&greens" mixture, which I've used for soups and pies and now salads. It's a flexible recipe, calling for whatever mixture of beans/proteins and greens are available.

Tonight's salad:

I lightly steamed broccoli and asparagus, then plunged them into ice cold water so that they stopped cooking and retained their crunch. These were tossed with butter beans, leftover spicy tofu which I cubed, half a chilli, garlic stuffed green olives, spring onions, rocket, spinach and my favourite lemon-nooch dressing. Very tasty.

Dessert: green grapes and a nectarine.

I suspect tomorrow will include lunch from Iku and an unknown dinner, as I'm going out with a friend for her birthday. Possibly I will have pasta, just for fun!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday March 8, 2009

A great day was today. Fabulous foods, lovely friends, I got more pictures hung on my hallway wall (slightly naughty 1940s lovelies, fun times!) and it rained. Some of my very favourite things.

Lots of foods consumed today. Sunday is breakfast-at-naked-espresso day, so it's always a good day. In keeping with my lack-of-bread raw-when-possible eating habits (which are accidental, I swear, but which I'm really enjoying!), I got the Aussie Breakfast - smoked tofu, baked beans, roast tomato, spinach and mushrooms - sans the usual additions of toast and hash browns. Most yumcious!!

I spent a lot of money at my local organic foods store, laying in the veges and fruits I need for the next week's foods. Then went to the mall and got picture frames. Exciting stuff!!

(Argh the sodding Sam Neill "eat meat" ad is on in the background as I write this. Hate. Hate. Hate.)

Lunch was at Foodorama at Newtown, where I got the vegan lentil burger sans burger bun. Lentil patty, grated beetroot, grated carrot, sprouts, hummous...tasty goodness!! .... There may have also been potato fries, but they may also have been my imagination....

Dinner was fantabulous, much enjoyed. And here it is!

Zesty Coleslaw with Olive Lime Pate and Walnuts

I always forget how much I adore coleslaw, but the every time I make it I rediscover the crunch, the tartness, the sweetness, the mixture of flavours...(OMG the fucking advert is on AGAIN! Argh!)....where was I?

Yes. Anyway. How 'bout a recipe for delicious, healthy, brain boosting vegan coleslaw, what do you say?

Zesty Coleslaw

  • 1/2 large red chilli, minced
  • 1 cup celery, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup apple, grated
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • 2 cups cabbage (red or green), finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs
  • 1 teaspoon mild mustard

Mix the first six ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the last six ingredients. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, mix well, and set aside for 30 minutes before serving.

Olive Lime Pate

Not the sexiest dish on the planet, but my goodness, it was a damnably tasty dish....

  • 1/2 cup green olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 large red chilli, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups (1 can) cannellini beans
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed oil

Whizz the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes before serving.

I finished up my ridiculously tasty and filling meal with a great dessert of fresh fruit. Not the best photo, but what the hell. Dragonfruit (it's like eating perfume!!) and grapes.

Tomorrow I'm going to make my very first green smoothie, just to jump on the bandwagon!! I've got frozen banana, frozen peach, frozen pear, kale, parsley, baby spinach, flaxseeds, walnuts, flaxseed oil, oranges and limes to play with - I may also add some of the organic fair trade instant coffee to feed my caffeine addiction, see how it goes. So that should be fun! Monday is also the day that I cook sweets for naked espresso, so it's a very vegan food friendly day!!

Off to watch Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and then to bed.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday March 7, 2009

Today was a bit of a disappointment, food wise, during lunch, but then got better around dinner time.

Lunch was yum cha at Green Gourmet. Green Gourmet's yum cha is always a bit hit and miss, their service isn't brilliant, they always seem surprised when they're packed out, they never make enough food, and their wait staff have established wandering patterns that always seem to miss out my table - whichever one I choose. Thankfully I have no compunction in flailing my arms to catch the wait staff's attention - or crash tackling them, whichever seems to be the most effective at the time.

Combined with all of the above, today there were a young family sat next to us whose younger child had an ear splitting yell, and was dispensing it at great length and volume for the hour that we were there. So not the best of experiences, unfortunately.

I spent the day at my friend Phil's house. We watched a couple of episodes of Sledge Hammer and a couple of episodes of Jack of all Trades. Consequently my brain melted for most of this evening from the sheer ridiculous eccentricity of the shows. Sledge Hammer...well, you really have to see it to understand the extreme oddness. Phil had been told that Jack of all Trades, starring the fabulous Bruce Campbell and made as a companion series to Cleopatra 2525, was "as camp as an evening with Zsa Zsa Gabor." We definitely agreed with this opinion, and concluded that the whole show was very much "Carry On Campbell". Don't get me wrong, it's made of awesome, but it's definitely unvegan (ie made of cheese). Check out the title sequence for an idea of it's very unique appeal.

Anyhoo, it was very warm in Sydney today, and I didn't really want to cook, and I had some leftover carrot-almond pate, so I made a different flavour of sushi for dinner. I mixed organic hummous with the carrot-almond pate, and filled the rolls with that, avocado, cucumber, sprouts, spring onion, sliced chilli, spicy tofu, sundried tomatoes and roasted eggplant. Made the same dipping sauce as last time and nommed down. I love sundried tomato, tofu and avocado together, great flavour combination.

The mixture of hummous and carrot-almond pate was a bit wet, so the rolls weren't as easy to handle or sexy as they could be, but I think I managed to get a couple of good shots...


I'm taking a break from the scheduled food exploration/explanation to bring you a recommendation that you hie yourself down to your closest theatre wot shows those newfangled moving pictures and buy a ticket and then watch the Watchmen movie. Best thing you could do with your day, hands down.

Warning: This movie does contain graphic violence, graphic sex, graphic novel stylings and more graphic violence. It is complex and metaphysical and staggeringly physical. It is monumentally disturbing, like the source material.

I love Alan Moore's work, and am slowly reading my way through his back catalogue. When V for Vendetta was made into a film, I refused to see it because I love the graphic novel so very much. When I was finally forced into seeing it, I became as one with Alan Moore in his attitude towards film versions of his graphic novels: backing right off and wanting nothing to do with them. I mean, seriously, have you seen League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Jayzus. Godawful. And if you haven't seen it, don't see it to determine if it's really that bad. It's really that bad.

But V for Vendetta broke my heart and my spirit, so when I heard that Watchmen was being made (finally), I was not that excited - in fact, I was terrified that the filmmaker's would fuck it up. Then the first trailer came out, and it looked so much like the artwork of the graphic novel that I started to feel a bit better about it - until I remembered that V for Vendetta had promised the same thing.

But I kept hearing good things, and Wil Wheaton liked it, so I thought to myself, "Self," I thought, "Let's do this crazy thing. Let's watch the Watchmen" ('cos that joke never gets old...)

So, last night, on the opening weekend, I did just that. And for my tenacity in the face of what I thought was going to be a disappointment in some way, I was rewarded with the Star Trek trailer!!! I was very excited about that - so much so, that when the trailer was over, my friend next to me leaned over and said "So, do you need to change your underwear?" Heh.

Anyhoo. Watchmen. I really really really really really enjoyed it. There were some really violent bits that I couldn't watch, but that didn't take me out of the movie at all. I'm trying to figure out if I really liked it so much because it is ridiculously true to the source material, but I was with people who had never read the graphic novel who also really enjoyed it. I must note that really enjoying it includes feeling deeply disturbed by its' bleak and intensely dark (ie if you thought the Dark Knight was too dark, this blows the Dark Knight out of the water, dark-wise) view of a deeply flawed humanity.

So. Yes. Standouts. Visually stunning, and very close to the panels of the graphic novel. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a favourite of mine for his work in Supernatural (and also for being really ridiculously good looking), and he was absolutely perfect as the Comedian. Jackie Earle Haley was Rorsharch to a freaking tee, and really made the film for me. Patrick Wilson as Dan Dreiberg was pitch perfect, really emotionally the centre of the film for me.

And for those of you who haven't read the graphic novel, the above means a whole lot of nothing. But if you're looking for a film that has real impact visually, is bleak and dark with dashes of very human emotional humour, has great action blocks and lots of explosions, then Watchmen is absolutely the movie for you.

So, what are you doing playing in the sun? Get yourself to a cinema!!

And if this rambling review hasn't done it for you, check out Margaret and David's opinions from the At the Movies review.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thursday March 5, 2009

Well, today was a grumpy day of not enjoyable experiences at work. Thankfully, my experience in the kitchen making dinner was definitely enjoyable and the outcome was my favourite pseudo-raw meal thus far this week!!

Tonight I made nori rolls, based upon a recipe in the Vegan World Fusion Cuisine cookbook from Blossoming Lotus. Their recipe is titled Carpe Diem Carrot Almond Pate Nori Rolls. And here's a sexy picture of my version:

As always, I faffed about with the recipe and I'm glad I did, because this was ta-ay-sty!!

ZB's Almond-Carrot Nori Good Time Rolls

Carrot-Almond Pate

  • 1 cup almonds (soaked overnight)
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1.5 inch piece ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon umesu
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • nori sheets (about 6, depending on how much pate you use)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced lengthways
  • marinated tofu, sliced in lengths
  • sprouts

Carrot-Almond Pate

Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor, and process until as smooth as possible. Mine was still a little grainy, but that gave the "rice" feeling when eating the roll, so I quite liked that.

Making a nori roll

Lay the nori sheet flat on a dry surface. Spread about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the pate onto 2/3 of the sheet. Place the avocado, cucumber, spring onions, tofu and sprouts down the centre of the pate. Carefully roll from the filled end of the sheet. Moisten the unfilled 1/3 of the sheet and seal the roll.

Let the rolls sit for about 15 minutes. This lets the nori sheet adhere and soften enough to be easily sliceable.

Slice and consume!! I made a simple dipping sauce: equal amounts of tamari and Braggs, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a splash of apple cider vinegar, one large (not too hot) sliced chilli, and a sprinkling of sesame.


I know that I'm going to make this again, and often. I love nori rolls, but I've always found them too heavy. These ones are definitely not heavy, and they are so very very tasty and more-ish!! I recommend giving them a try!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Wednesday March 4, 2009

Today was a good day, foodwise. I got lunch from Iku, one of my favourite foods-dispensing shops. I love their various menus, and their lemon tart is the bestest dessert of bestest desserts everywhere throughout time and space. And I only exaggerate a little. Today I stayed fairly standard, and got the chilli Macro burger (tofu/rice patty, tahini sauce, dressing, greens, chilli sauce on a steamed spelt sourdough bun), with a side of salad (greens and chickpeas), with that bestest dessert, lemon tart, for sweety times!

I was at work, so I didn't get a photo. I do recommend eating at Iku if you find yourself near an outlet - yes, it's macrobiotic wholefood, but it's ultraubertastygoodfoods.

Dinner was a longwinded affair to make, but 2/3 worth it, with 1/3 still under consideration. I'm pretty sure I liked all of it, but am still contemplating.

So. The 1/3 that I'm not sure about....

Tempeh and White Bean "Sausage" Patties from Vegan with a Vengeance

They look pretty damned sexy, eh? I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, so these contain:

Tempeh; cannellini beans; garlic; fennel seeds; thyme; smoked paprika; nutmeg; tomato paste; Braggs; cayenne pepper and gluten free breadcrumbs.

These have a very strong tempeh taste, and are quite salty with a bit of bite. I'm not sure about them, I have some ideas to fiddle with them - less Braggs, more herbs, probably a little sweeter. But as with all of Isa's recipes, this is an easy and non-fail recipe.

My happy-making 2/3 was the salad. I kicked off by wanting to make a recipe called Tabbouleh Orientale from a little cookbook I have called energy foods. Of course, being me, I wandered off topic a little. And I'm glad I did, because it was made of supergood!

So, this had carrot, celery, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, finely chopped baby kale, garlic chives, mint, parsley and basil (more on which later). I dressed it in, yes, my favoured lemon-nooch dressing. It was NOMtastic!! I was worried that the kale would be tough or bitter, but it worked really well with its' earthy flavour, and added lots of tasty and nutrients. Yay!

Basil from my garden OMG!!

It was exciting to pluck something from my garden and then use it immediately in a wonderful salad. It's a small start, but it's still a start!

In non-vegan times, I bought pre-sale tickets for a MADNESS gig!! I think my head will explode when I see them live for the first time evah ZOMGBBQ!!1!one!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Tuesday March 3, 2009

Well, to misquote Billy Bragg's Waiting for the Great Leap Forward: "... ZB's optimism fell, At the first hurdle"...

Yup, I got takeaway tonight. My excuse being that I worked an extra long day and really could not be arsed, but that's not much of an excuse, now, is it?


However, out of the vegan takeaway options available, it was probably the most healthy. Also, it gives me a chance to talk about vegan-friendly eateries.

The "Hi I'm a vegan, can you cater for me?" conversation is dull and tiresome and frustrating and ultimately up to how convinced you can be by the person serving you. I really like Mexican food, because it's usually fairly easy to make the vegetarian options vegan by removing the (American influence) cheese and sour cream, as long as the beans don't have lard or cheese in them. And whilst there are a number of "trusted" Mexican places around Newtown, my favoured quick, cheap and very cheerful takeaway place is Guzman y Gomez.

These guys have lovely vegie options, with the best vegan choice being the soft vegie tacos - corn tortillas with black beans, onions, mushrooms, guacamole and pico de gallo salsa. I was greeted today by a sign saying "Tofu is Back!" which was very exiting - the tofu is tossed with spicy tomato sauce, and served in the corn tortillas instead of the onions and mushrooms. Three soft tacos for $10 - ka-ching, awesome value for dollars!!

So tonight's dinner was soft tacos with tofu, and a giant bowl of rocket and spinach with my (you guessed it) favourite lemony-noochy dressing. Followed it up with dried dates, raw almonds and grapes.


Tomorrow should be a better day, where I make White Bean and Tempeh Patties from Vegan with a Vengeance, and some sort of salady affair.

What's your favourite, or most accomodating, non-vegan eatery?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Monday March 2nd, 2009

I am very tired, and can't think of a witty title, so have decided that unless extreme inspiration strikes, the titles of the blog posts throughout March will be the day and date of the month. Bland, perhaps, but I like to think of it as a base flavour on which to layer the awesomeness of the day and foods consumed therein!!

Today was a good day - tiring, but good. Mondays are my day to make cakes and sweets, and do R&D, for naked espresso in Newtown. Today I made: Carrot Cake Bites from some leftover carrot cake and soy cream cheese - kind of like truffles with a heart of carroty cake goodness; Beesting cake; and version 0.4 of a vegan Vanilla Slice. I'm waiting to hear tomorrow as to whether the vanilla slice set properly - fingers crossed! Can you imagine going to a vegan cafe and getting a pie and a vanilla slice? It's too damned Aussie for words!! Heh.

Tonight I tried an almost raw dish. I took the inspiration from the Vegan World Fusion Cuisine cookbook from Blossoming Lotus - "Aiyah's Garden Living Corn Chowder" (forgive the ridiculous recipe title, just quoting here....)

This thick soup uses a base of corn, with avocado as a thickener, and a little zing from chilli. I changed up the recipe a little.

ZB's Almost Raw Thick Corn Soup


  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups corn
  • 1 cup avocado
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs
  • 1 inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pickled chilli, minced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped

Put all of the ingredients, bar the kidney beans and coriander, into a bowl and whizz with an immersion blender until thick and as smooth as possible.

Stir through the kidney beans and chopped coriander. Chill in the fridge and serve chilled.

As I have been doing all of the last week, I accompanied this meal with a ginormous salad.

I've been obsessing with the following salad dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Whisk the first four ingredients together until combined, and then whisk in the nutritional yeast. Pour over greens and raw nuts and NOM!!


All in all, very happy with my first almost-raw experience, and am looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Happy veganniversary to meeee!

I moved back to Sydney from five years in the Blue Mountains in December 2002. I was coming out of a long term relationship, I was distressed by the events and only just emerging repercussions of September 11, and I only had a few friends in Sydney.

Two of my friends invited me over to their house regularly to make dinner. They were both vegan, and one of them had harangued me for the past five years to move from vegetarianism to veganism. I had managed to avoid making that move, ignoring the animal liberation information he sent me, clinging to my cheese and eggs and yoghurt and honey. But making dinner in a vegan home, almost every Friday night, with laughter and love (and alcohol - let's not forget alcohol) and enthusiasm...that got me thinking.

Some time in March 2003, I bought two packets of haloumi, lots of fresh roma tomatoes, and fresh basil. I ate fried haloumi with sliced tomato, basil, olive oil and lemon juice for about three meals in a row. Then one night I went to sleep a vegetarian, and woke up a vegan.

There are many reasons for going vegan - ethical, environmental, health - and I can't remember that thoughts of any of them passed through my mind when I made the decision. I just knew that being vegan was the right thing for me. People ask me why I'm vegan, and I quite seriously reply "Because it's awesome!", and I mean that absolutely sincerely. I became vegan because it made me feel better than anything else had ever felt before.

I used to have arthritis, with my joints swelling painfully during winter or particularly damp or humid days. I haven't had that happen since I become vegan. I've stopped smoking, taken up a low GI diet, written and published a cookbook, run cooking classes, started working part time as a pastry chef for a vegan cafe, explored growing my own edible garden, and have grown into a desire to create food from scratch.

My veganism expresses itself mostly through food. I find food - the rituals of preparation, cooking, serving, sharing - an absorbing and positive experience, and want to share it with everyone that I can. It's a safe place to bring veganism to light, it's a great place to show the passion, inventiveness, joy and frankly awesomely tasty goodness of vegan food to others, and I believe that it helps people think differently about what and how they consume.

Six years ago, I became vegan for no reason other than it seemed like a good idea at the time. Six years on, I have grown into veganism being the definition of my experience of life, which I embrace and enjoy to the fullest.

As a celebration of my six year veganniversary, I'm going to spend the month of March exploring vegan food each and every day, and sharing that exploration with you. Some of my goals for this month:

To eat less takeaway food
To try more raw food
To try some recipes from my collection of vegan cookbooks
And to cook lots and have a great time!

I hope you can join me for this vegan meander through March! Please comment and suggest things I can try (savoury foods preferred)!!

Oh, and if you're not already, please consider going vegan for the month of March, and seeing where it takes you!