Sunday, February 27, 2011

30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge - recipe list and questions for vegans

I signed up to do the 30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge, running from 1st to 30th March. Unfortunately I will be doing the challenge alone - the rest of my household will be trying to be supportive and eat vegan meals with me when I cook at home. Initially we had all agreed to do the challenge together, but they backed down. Ah well.
I've been going through some of my recipe books, marking out recipes I'd like to try over the 30 days. I'm going to try to be a lot more organised about my cooking during March than I usually am. Inspired by The cookbook challenge post over at Gourmet Green Giraffe, I thought it would be a good idea to start a list of recipes I like the sound of so I can refer back or add to it over the month.

I'll start with the newest addition to my cookbook collection.

The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur - Kelly Peloza ( and

  • Fiesta Margarita Cookies
  • Soy Milk's Favourite Cookies 
  • Apricot Foldovers
  • Iced Caramel Cookies

The Vegan Scoop - Wheeler Del Torro
  • So many things in this book I want to make, but my ice cream maker died and is yet to be replaced...
 Vegan Yum Yum - Lauren Ulm (
  • Stuffed Banana Berry French Toast
  • Sweet Chilli Lime Tofu
  • Seitan Black Bean Corn Burgers
  • Miniature Napoleons with Eggplant Creme
  • Pad See Ew
  • Mini Blueberry Tarts with Lemon Cream

Viva Vegan - Terry Hope Romero (
  • Drunken Beans with Seitan Chorizo
  • Seitan Saltado
  • Creamy Potato Peanut Stew
  • Creamy Corn Crusted Tempeh Pot Pie
  • Shredded Seitan and Mushroom Empanadas

How It All Vegan - Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer (
  • Faux Eggs Benny
  • Sarah's Delicious Chilli
  • Savoury Shepherds Pie
  • Potato "Cheese" Perogies

Vegan With A Vengance - Isa Chandra Moskowitz (
  • "Fronch" Toast
  • Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata
  • Lemon Corn Waffles with Blueberry Sauce (OMG, these sound awesome!!!)
  • BBQ Pomegranate Tofu
  • Seitan Portobello Stroganoff
  • Revolutionary Spanish Omelet with Saffron and Roasted Pepper-Almond Sauce
I think the meals at home will be the easiest part of the 30 day challenge. Lunches at work however, I think will be where I will encounter the most hassle. I am not organised enough to make lunches to take to work every day. I work 55-65 hour weeks which really eats into my available food prep time, and I always find that when I think I have made enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day, someone in the house comes back for seconds or unexpected guests rock up... So at work I usually end up grabbing something in the food court at either QV or Melbourne Central. If I can manage a long enough lunch break I will duck in to either TOFWD or Chan House, but it is rare I will get enough time. And as much as I love the nuggets, I don't think Lord of the Fries for lunch every day is the healthiest idea...

Last week I tried asking a few of the food places at QV if they had vegan options, and got a lot of 'I don't know' responses, and 2 yes - for the veg soups at In a Rush, and for a veg salad with no dressing from the sandwich bar.
So I'm hoping for some advice on what to get for lunches in the city, what are some good options? What are usually safe bets as being vegan suitable? Are breads at sandwich bars usually safe? 

And if you have any of the above cookbooks and can recommend a particular recipe that you love and think I should try, please leave a comment below.

Finally for anyone else doing the 30 day challenge who may have come across my blog, check out this facebook group with a list of 'Ninja Vegan' products. I love that term!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I feel like I am really failing at this blog right now. I had all these plans to get back on track and catch up on all the places and dishes that have been exciting me of late but my plans all ended up in the toilet.
Most of my last week was taken up with study when work sent me off on a short course, along with a heavier than usual overtime load. It's been 9 years since I was at Uni (man I feel old saying that) so I am really out of practice. I had forgotten just how much energy intensive classroom learning takes out of you, let alone coming home to study as well. By Friday I was a delirious, sleep deprived mess, though thankfully I passed the certification exam at the end of it all. Actually the exam was a breeze, I kind of felt cheated - all that effort at study for a god damn multiple choice exam!?!?

I spend the weekend in Healesville, so that was a right off too... And so again my blog has been neglected. Then again for the last week, so has cooking... I just simply have not had time for any food preparation that takes more than 5 minutes effort. I still got requests for specific meals, but those requests went pretty much ignored.

The request I half listened to turned out to be one of the best easy meals I have made for a long time. I was asked to make Sloppy Joes. A simple request that I could have acquiesced with a quick trip to the shops. Instead I turned out a dish made from ingredients I had on hand that could cope with under 5 minutes of prep time. The Sloppy Joes turned into what became known as Lazy Meesas

Lazy Meesas makes 4 wraps

  • 1 can refried beans (I used Amy's own black beans with chilli)
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 200gram falafel, crumbled 
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tspn olive oil
  • Braggs (to taste)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • Hummus
  • 4 Bread wraps

  1. Oil a saucepan then combine the refried beans, canned tomatoes, felafel, garlic and braggs. Stir thoroughly and allow to heat.
  2. While the bean and falafel mix is heating, dice the 2 tomatoes and avocado. Combine.
  3. Take the bread wraps and spread some hummus down the the centre of each wrap.
  4. Spoon some bean mix over the hummus, and top with some diced tomato mix before rolling the wrap closed.

It's so basic, it hardly seemed worth a recipe, but it turned out really well, and has been requested twice again since!

A question to all you veg bloggers out there, how do you guys all stay so on top of your blogging so well? Do you write a post in one sitting, or over a few sessions? I think part of my issue is how long I spend writing a post. I'm constantly impressed by the quality of the blogs I read from Planet VegMel, and honestly feel that I'm not keeping mine up to scratch.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Strawberry And Star Anise Sorbet (raw/vegan)

I'm so far behind with my posts of late, it's rather embarrassing... Till this evening, anytime I sit down to write up a post, my work phone rings. I've still had time to cook, just not anything complex. Thankfully this evening has been a little quieter and I hope I will now be able to start catching up with a few quick, short posts.

Earlier in the week I made a batch of strawberry sorbet. The flavours of star anise and strawberry go together really well and I just love the smell of star anise so jump at any opportunity to use it. I've also found myself making more raw food of late, so rather than make a sorbet with a boiled sugar syrup to infuse the star anise quickly, I left the star anise to sit in lime juice for a few hours to infuse the flavour.

Star anise - it smells awesome and looks cool too

Strawberry and Star Anise sorbet:
This made about half a litre of sorbet.

  • 3 punnets of strawberries (750grams)
  • 2 limes
  • 3 star anise
  • 1/3 cup of agave (double this if you prefer a sweeter sorbet, I prefer mine a little tart)
  1. Zest and juice the limes, setting the zest aside for later.
  2. Crush the star anise a little bit and add to the lime juice. Leave this to sit covered for a few hours to infuse. I left mine for 4 hours. If you do not want to wait, gently heat the juice a little to reduce the infusing time.
  3. Remove the star anise from the lime juice. 
  4. Place strawberries, lime juice, zest and agave into a blender and puree. 
If you have an icecream maker, follow the makers instructions to churn your sorbet.
If like me you don't have one, you can get great textured sorbet by doing the following:
  • Pour the mix into a baking tray and place it in the freezer.
  • When mix is nearly frozen, scrape it back into the blender and blend till smooth. Pour the mix back into the tray and return it to the freezer. 
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times then scape the mix into a storage container and return to the freezer for a couple of hours before eating.