Best Sandwich Ever and Marinated Eggplant

Best Sandwich Ever.

It’s a big call, and to be honest I’m not sure that what I’m about to share with you completely lives up to that title, HOWEVER, when the bear and I were living in our van we invented this sandwich and put it on high rotation. It therefore has fond memories for us both. We would often (not always) buy the eggplant pre-marinated, but we did also have an awesome cast iron grill pan that we liked to char eggplant and other things with. Then we’d hit up a park or nice spot, get out our little plates, sometimes even set up our little table and chairs and enjoy our lunch.

It’s nothing particularly fancy, but it works. It’s kind of antipasto in a sandwich – tangy and delicious. The sandwich has the following ingredients:

Bread of choice (we used some dumpster-dived bread – rye I think?)
Hummus
Marinated eggplant (recipe to follow)
Spinach
Sundried tomatoes
Basil (if you’re a bit fancy)

Salt and pepper

We did make versions of this sandwich with pesto, and it’s also delicious grilled with some vegan cheese.

sandwich1

Marinated Eggplant

1 medium eggplant
salt for sprinkling
oil for frying
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chilli, minced
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
salt
pepper

Cut top and base off the eggplant, then slice longways in 5mm pieces. Sprinkle salt over the eggplant and leave in a colander for 30 minutes or so to drain. Rinse and drain.

Heat some oil in a fry pan over medium heat and fry eggplant for a couple of minutes on either side, until slightly browned.

Mix together olive oil, garlic, chili, vinegar and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place eggplant in a small container and pour over marinate. If you can, marinate for 24 hours to allow the eggplant to soak up as much flavour as possible.

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tomatoweb

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Fritters with Sumac Yoghurt

Quick, easy and delicious.

Initially I had planned to go with the first thing that came to mind with this theme – a stir fry (classic!). But when thinking about my go-to easy week night meals of late, I realised that I more often turn to variations of vegetable fritters for something fast and delicious. A great way for using up those veggies on their last legs, welcome additions to veggie fritters include corn, spinach, carrots and crumbled broccoli – whatever’s going.

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The combination of sweet potatoes and sumac is a match made in heaven, and the fresh herbs and yoghurt just round the meal off. If you can’t be bothered with the yoghurt, they are just as yummy with a simple squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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Zucchini and Sweet Potato Fritters with Sumac Yoghurt
(makes about 15)

3 cups grated zucchini (about 2 large zucchinis)
2 cups grated sweet potato (about 1 medium sweet potato)
2 cloves garlic, minced
cup brown rice flour
2 tsp sumac
2 Tbsp flax meal + 6 Tbsp water
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp fresh mint, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oil for frying

Yoghurt:
cup vegan yoghurt (I used homemade cashew based yoghurt)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp sumac
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 Tbsp fresh mint, minced

In a small bowl, mix together flax meal and water, along with the oil and lemon juice and set aside.

Using a clean towel or your hands, squeeze as much liquid from the zucchini and sweet potato as possible. Don’t go crazy, just get as much out as you can. Place in a large bowl. Add flour, sumac, parsley, mint and lemon zest and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Add the flax mix to the large bowl and stir to combine. The mixture should be quite thick and ‘gluggy’.

Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat, and place spoonfuls of mixture into the pan, pressing them flat with the back of a fork. Cook for a couple of minutes, until golden, then flip and cook the other side.

For the yoghurt, simply stir all ingredients together. Voila! Dinner is served!

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broccoliweb

Sago Pudding – Two Ways

Recreate a meal from your childhood.

I like today’s theme, as it’s prompted me to start making a dish that I haven’t eaten in years, but always loved as a child. There’s something comforting about sago pudding – perhaps because of its simplicity, or maybe the fact that memories are linked to warm bowls of it for dessert on a cool winter’s night.

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Sago has such an interesting texture – I think we used to call it ‘frog’s eggs’, a name that likely came from dad (along with the charming ‘snot blocks’) and it may be one of those things that you either love or hate. I’m definitely a fan, and the bear is too – he was so excited when I wasn’t happy with my first set of photos and declared I would have to make it again. I’m glad somebody was able to see the positive.

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I could never pick which was my favourite – the milky one or the lemon one, both so delicious in their own right. The milky version was creamy and sweet, often laden with drizzles of golden syrup on top, but the lemon so zesty. Both were such a treat!

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Coconut Sago Pudding
(makes 2 large or 3 smaller serves)

½ cup sago (tapioca pearls)
1 ½ cup milk
1 ½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup agave or brown rice syrup
Pinch of salt
Toppings of choice – banana, toasted coconut, extra syrup

Cover sago with water and let sit for thirty minutes.

Drain any excess liquid and put the sago in a pot, along with remaining ingredients except for the toppings. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly to ensure the sago doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once boiled, turn down to a low simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until the sago pearls become translucent. Make sure you stir continuously to avoid sticking.

Remove from heat and serve warm or allow to cool. Top with some brown rice syrup, banana and toasted coconut for extra deliciousness.

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Lemon Sago
(makes 2 large or 3 small serves)

½ cup sago
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp rice bran syrup

Cover sago with water and let sit for thirty minutes.

Drain any excess liquid and put the sago in a pot, along with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly to ensure the sago doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once boiled, turn down to a low simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until the sago pearls become translucent. Make sure you stir continuously to avoid sticking.

Remove from heat and serve warm or allow to cool.

sago5a

 

Vegan MoFo 2015 – Buckwheat Pancakes with Blueberry Coulis

Good morning lovely readers, old and new! Welcome to the very first day of the vegan month of food! Who can believe it has already been a year since the last one? Goodness gracious me..

This year, things are going down a little differently. Rather than each participant choosing their own theme to stick to throughout the month, the MoFo team have posted a list of prompts for each day so that everybody participating is chatting about the same thing. I think this has definitely simplified things and perhaps made it easier for more folks to get on board. So without further adieu, today’s prompt:

Rise and Shine! It’s MoFo time! Tell us about your breakfast.

Now unless you closed your eyes for the title of this post or even skipped it entirely in a mad rush to get to the rest of this quality post, you’ll see that I’ve gone with a classic – pancakes. I don’t eat a hell of a lot of pancakes, as they have always seemed like a special occasion food because they always appeared for mother’s day or father’s day or christmas or birthdays. But seeing as though it is day one of MoFo, what the hell! 
 
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Hello sweet goodness! If only every day started like this…

If you’re like me and have some serious troubles with flipping pancakes, think about making smaller pikelet sized ones like this! I’ve never made such perfect looking pancakes in my life.

Buckwheat Pancakes with Blueberry Coulis
(makes 10-12 smaller pancakes)

1 ½ cups buckwheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup mashed banana
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 ½ cups non dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
Coconut oil for frying

Coulis:
1 ½ cups blueberries
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp agave
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp chia seeds (optional, for thickening)

For the pancakes, mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients (except for the oil). Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour the wet mix into it, stirring to combine.

Heat a fry pan over medium heat and melt a small amount of coconut oil in it. Scoop pancake batter into the pan – for these smaller pancakes I used a ¼ cup to measure it out. Allow to cook until bubbles have started to form and pop all over each pancake. Carefully flip them using a thin metal spatula and cook for a further couple of minutes, until golden. Continue with the remaining batter.

For the coulis, place blueberries, lemon juice and agave in a small pot and heat over medium low heat. Gently simmer for about 10 minutes, until the blueberries start to break apart. Mash some with a spoon so that they separate. I like to keep some chunk in mine, but if you prefer you can blend and strain the mix later.

Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla. Taste for sweetness and add more agave if necessary. For a thicker sauce, add 1 teaspoon of chia seeds, stir through and allow to sit for a couple of minutes.

Serve pancakes with coulis, fresh fruit, yoghurt, ice cream, or whatever you damn want.

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tomatoweb

Music for your Mouth MoFo Wrap Up

Hello! Hi! Hola!

I had a bit of an impromptu week and a half off after MoFo, just to catch my breath. But now I’m back, and with awesome news. Drum roll pleaaasseee…..I won a MoFie!

mofieHell yeah! Thanks MoFo judges, I certainly had fun and am glad you’ve enjoyed the sweet sweet tunes too. Head over to the official Vegan MoFo site to check out the full list of MoFie winners. Thank you to all my readers old and new and everybody who participated in MoFo and made it rockin’. See you next year!  \m/

And without further adieu, here is a pictorial summary of my thirty days of MoFo, following the theme of Music for your Mouth:

                              bread lemonheads honeycombs3

                              blindmelon2 chillipeppers pb3

                              chuckberry2 neutralmilk2 smashingpump1

                              vanillafudge marthamuffins infectedmush6

                               zombievanillaicee3 jello3

                              fionaapple4 spicegirls3 cake1

                              bananasplit hotchoc soup1

                              blondie3 thejam1 cream4

                              cherry1 orange1 saltnpepa1

                              peaches2 burrito2 custard2

30 days, hoooooly mackerel! This was only my second year MoFoing, but certainly my best effort to date. I can’t believe I managed a post every single day (take a good look folks, it may not ever happen again). I had tried to be organised this year to stay one step ahead of the game, but I did feel a little in the deep end, particularly towards the end of the month. There’s always something to aspire to and next year it will be to be even MORE organised. Ha!

Thanks for dropping by, stay tuned as we return to regular programming.

One more song to take us to the close. It isn’t an edible audio, but I think totally appropriate. Plus I was bummed I didn’t get to squeeze Freddy Mercury in anywhere else, so y’know…

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Custard

DAY 30!!!

Can you even believe it? What a month it’s been! Although I planned to attempt a recipe per day for the month, I never expected I would stay on top of it. But here I am – day 30 of 30. I am actually quite proud of my efforts.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with food and music this month, although it has also taken a bit out of me. I had thought with a tiny bit of pre-planning, the whole event would be a cinch. Not the case. There were definitely ups and downs, mini kitchen meltdowns and whole recipes thrown away. Not to mention the extra expenses involved – I didn’t see that one coming! Perhaps next year my theme will have to be cheap eats…But anyway, we made it. Hoorah! I think we all deserve a big pat on the back.

Not only have I had my own cooking fun, but I’ve also loved connecting up with the worldwide vegan community. I’ve kept up with many of the blogs I usually read, but also pretty much doubled my reader with brand new (to me) blogs from all over the place. I still haven’t quite made my way through the MoFo Around the World page, but will hopefully get a chance to over the next week or so. It’s been so nice meeting you all and I want to thank you all for the lovely comments you’ve been leaving.

In the next few days I’ll do a round up of sorts and reflect on the month just gone, but for now I have one last musical treat for you. CUSTARD! I’m bring it back to home base with these guys, who are an Australian band that formed in the ’90s. To be honest, I don’t really know how big the band was worldwide, but I remember a whole stack of songs from them from the ’90s – they are so catchy. The most popular, Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us) has such a catchy riff and was played a lot on Rage and I think even Triple J – if you haven’t heard it, give it a listen below.

custard2 This was one of the recipes that took me a few gos. I had never tried to bake soy custard before, and so firstly decided to attempt a custard mix using silken tofu. I used beautiful rhubarb from my mum and dad’s garden, however the custard didn’t quite cut it – was too spongy – and the crust was too thick.

custard3This time I just used the basic custard recipe from the custard powder box (check that you get a vegan brand as some have milk or egg in them), popped some berries in it (after running out of rhubarb) and chucked it in the oven. It turned out better than I expected. Probably could do with some more tweaking, but uh, it’s DAY 30 MoFo’s!!!

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Custard and Berry Tarts
(makes 6)

Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup nuttelex, cold
2 Tbsp icing sugar
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp ice water

Filling
1/4 cup custard powder
3 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups non-dairy milk

Handful of mixed berries – about 1/3 cup plus extra for topping

Mix flour, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Add nuttelex in small chunks, then rub together with your fingers until mix becomes like crumbs. Add water one tablespoon at a time until mixture can form a ball. Cover and chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 180C and grease six small tart tins. Separate dough into six balls. There may even be enough dough for a seventh, however I only had six tins so ya know. On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough out into a circle, about one centimetre thick. Press dough into tins, cutting off any extra. Make a couple of fork pricks in the bottom of each tart, then put some pastry weights on top of each and bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and remove pastry weights.

In a saucepan, stir together custard powder and sugar. Add a couple of tablespoons of milk and whisk into a thick paste. Add remaining milk slowly and put over medium heat. Stir continuously with a whisk as the mixture begins to thicken – it is amazing how quickly lumps form if you get a bit lax. Once mixture has thickened – about ten minutes – stir in vanilla. Remove from heat.

Place a couple of berries in the bottom of each tart shell. Distribute custard amongst tart shells, then return to oven for fifteen minutes, until custard sets.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the topping, I grabbed a few extra berries, one teaspoon of agave and a dash of vanilla and cooked down into a sort of coulis.

custard7Gotta love an inside shot. It reminds me of Peter Everett on Ready Stead Cook. My, how he loved to see food ooze.

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What the hey, it’s the last day, here’s another one!

Congratulations everyone, it’s been a blast! Peace ouuuwwwwttttt!

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: The Flying Burrito Brothers

Hands up if you can believe MoFo’s last day is tomorrow?! I know, last week I felt like I had been MoFo-ing forever, now it seems as though it’s disappeared so fast. What a month it’s been.

So uh, the Flying Burrito Brothers are a country rock band. Yeah, I’ve been waiting to drop this bomb on you! I’m going to share two videos with you at the bottom. The first one because you just have to watch Gram Parsons’ eyebrows. They are seriously hypnotising. Secondly, I’m playing their cover of Wild Horses because I love the song. Enjoy.

burrito2The burritos I’ve made to go with the band are inspired a little by the tofu asada burritos at Trippy Taco. Any Melbournite will know what I’m talking about – smoky tofu goodness. Thank you liquid smoke, you little beauty. I had never heard of this magic stuff prior to my vegan days, now it is my secret weapon. Love the stuff!

These were my favourite burritos I’ve ever made, and I even had the compliment that they were better than the Trippy Taco ones, however that may or may not have been to make me feel good. Sorry about the foil wrapping, I rarely use foil – and buy the recycled stuff when I do – but I just could not get this burrito to stay together for a photo. Once again, I overstuffed my burrito to the point of eruption. When will I learn?

Smoky Tofu Burritos
(Makes 2)

2 tortillas
250g firm tofu

1 Tbsp coconut oil

Marinade:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp liquid smoke
Juice of 1 orange
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
Dash of cinnamon

Salsa:
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 red onion, diced
1 green chili, finely chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/4 of a red capsicum, diced
1/4 of a green capsicum, diced
2 tsp lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh coriander
Salt to taste

Filling:
Basically whatever you want! I used:
Lettuce
Avocado
Vegan Cheese

First up, press your tofu good and well so it can absorb as much marinade as possible. I did the old fashioned way – with tea towels and a couple of phone books for a few hours. Once pressed, cut your tofu into cubes. Mix together all marinade ingredients and chuck the tofu in. Marinate for AT LEAST one hour, if not overnight.

To make the salsa, heat teaspoon of coconut oil over medium high heat and add onion and chili and saute until onion becomes translucent. Add capsicum and tomato and cook until tomato breaks down, about 5-10 mins.

Add lime juice, salt and coriander and stir through. Remove from heat and set aside.

To cook the tofu, heat tablespoon of coconut oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add tofu cubes and cook for about ten to fifteen minutes, turning occasionally, until just about all the edges are slightly crispy. Turn down heat to low and pour leftover marinade over the tofu, stirring so that it coats all the pieces. Remove from heat.

Assemble your burrito! I’m not going to tell you how to do this! Well okay, what I did was smoosh some avocado on, put some lettuce down, heap on some tofu, sprinkle on some cheese, and drip on some salsa. Wrap and stuff in mouth.

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Oh and just for fun, I’m sending this over to my friend Liz at I Spy Plum Pie for her new Meatless Monday linkup. Head over and check out the recipes starting to pool up over there!

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Peaches/The Moldy Peaches

Nothing moldy about these peaches! They did, due to the fact that it is not quite stone fruit season here, come from a can and we could assume that they were put there by a man…in a factory down townnnnnn. Yep. Uhuh.

I’m just doubling up bands now as an excuse to play multiple songs to ya. I can’t remember if I said this already, but when I started planning for MoFo I compiled a list of foodie bands, and I well exceeded the thirty I needed for the month. So wherever I can, I’m trying to squidge more in.

First up, Peaches – duh. But today I’m featuring a song by Peaches and Iggy Pop, because I love the dude, and also you get to watch a video of them fighting off zombies. Wins all round!

Secondly, the Moldy Peaches. I guess peaches are not so edible once they are mouldy, but they are still fun to listen to because Kimya Dawson is cute.

peaches2I had some leftover cherries from the cherry ripe balls I made the other night, so decided to team them up with some peaches for a classic crumble. It worked out EXTREMELY well, as I also had some leftover ginger ice cream from the other other night. My testers for this recipe – Mum, Dad and the Bear all loved it. I always love desserts in ramekins where you feel special for getting your own little pot of something.

peaches3Usually when I make a crumble, I just put the fruit, some lemon (sometimes) and spices together for the base – I personally don’t think it needs any more than that. I like my crumbles to be a bit tart and tangy rather than overly sweet – I leave the sweetness for the crumble topping. Because I used tinned and frozen fruit for this one though the fruit was quite juicy – hence adding the flour to thicken it up and create a saucier texture rather than a pool of liquid at the bottom. If you prefer a sweeter crumble, feel free to omit the lemon and add a sweetener.

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Peach and Cherry Crumbles
(makes 4)

2 cups peaches
2 cups cherries
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup flour

Topping:
1 cup oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3 Tbsp coconut oil, firm
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a large bowl, place peaches, cherries, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon and flour. Stir until well combined. Distribute mix amongst four ramekins.

In a small bowl, all ingredients except the coconut oil and vanilla, and stir well. Add coconut oil in small chunks, and vanilla, and stir through – I did this with my hands. Ensure all the oat mixture has gotten some moisture, if you need more oil, add it by the teaspoon.

Distribute crumble amongst ramekins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until top is golden and crispy.

Serve with ginger or vanilla ice cream, custard or non-dairy cream.

peaches4 peaches5Millions of peaches, peaches for me!

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Salt N Pepa

Yeah you all knew this day was coming. I actually developed my list of bands at the very start of MoFo, so I have been holding out on you all with this one. HOW COULD I NOT FEATURE SALT N PEPA?!?

saltnpepa1 I wasn’t particularly creative in what I would make for this one – I always intended to do salt and pepper tofu. I probably should have created more of a challenge, but hey, this is delicious (and it is too late in the month for big challenges). Plus, I have never had super great luck with it – I’ve only attempted it twice before and neither time I got it quite right (or I made a big mess of the ‘cubes’).

saltnpepa2So I’m pretty happy with this, and happy with my return to the grass backdrop. It reminds me of the pictures I took while we were living in the van, where the ground was our table. Haha. Anyway, doesn’t it just highlight the green spring onions so beautifully?!

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Salt and Pepper Tofu

250g firm silken tofu
4 Tbsp cornflour
1 Tbsp sea salt, powdered
1 Tbsp white pepper
Dash of chilli (optional – white pepper already gives it a little tingle)
1 spring onion
1 small chili
Coconut oil

Drain your tofu, and handling it carefully, cut it into cubes.

Mix cornflour, salt, pepper and chili on a plate.

Dredge each piece of tofu through the cornflour mix, ensuring each side gets covered.

Heat coconut oil until very hot. Depending on your tools and stuff, you might want to use a wok and one of those wire net thingos. I don’t have one, so I just used a small saucepan. I put enough coconut oil in the pot that would cover half a piece of tofu – maybe about a centimetre and a half? (Sorry, didn’t measure the quantity of oil I used – just put it in).

When the oil is very hot (you can test this by flicking a drop of water into it – it should sizzle and bubble rapidly), carefully place tofu into the oil, a couple of pieces at a time. Let it cook for a minute or so before carefully flipping it with a fork to cook the other half. Remove from oil once a slightly golden crust has formed – drain on paper towel.

Chop up spring onion and chili to serve.

These did not last long with the (cleanly shaven) Bear around. I literally got like three of them.

saltnpepa4Look how fast his hand is moving to his face! It’s just a blur!

saltnpepa5At least I know they got the seal of approval.

saltnpepa6How does one choose just one Salt N Pepa song to play? Yeah, gonna go with this one…so ’80s cool.

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Agent Orange/Orange Juice

Another double shot of tunes today with Agent Orange – a punky, surfy band from the late ’70s, and Orange Juice – a post-punk, Scottish band. It’s kind of strange to present to you a salad in association with a band whose namesake is a herbicide used during the Vietnam War, but I assure you there are no crop destroying chemicals in this dish.

It’s another throw together simple salad which is great to take along to a barbecue or put on the Christmas table. I have no idea about pomegranates. I had my first taste of them only a couple of years ago – my mum served one with breakfast on a special occasion – maybe Christmas? I have had one since then, not including this one. So I had no idea what I was doing when I was trying to select a ripe one, nor get the seeds out. What a strange strange fruit. I’ve been seeing them in so many recipes lately and I guess I just thought they would look pretty in a salad.

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Orange, Avocado and Pomegranate Salad

3 cups salad leaves – I used a mix of baby spinach and rocket
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 small navel oranges
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

Dressing:
Juice of half an orange
1 tsp orange zest
Juice of half a lime
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp agave nectar
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut your oranges into slices. It’s probably easier to slice them then cut the skin off – the first one I did I peeled first and then tried to slice it up – it was a juicy juicy mess.

Throw all salad ingredients in a bowl.

Put all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend to combine. Pour over salad.

Easy.

orange2

veganmofo