Music for your Mouth: Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers! Of course!

So many songs to choose from! I was going to go with something from their funky days, but I was browsing videos and remembered this one, which I love – gosh, all this music clip watching reminds me of staying up late/getting up early to watch Rage. And look at young Anthony, isn’t he cuuuute?!

It’s kind of hard to believe that Soul to Squeeze was recorded back in ’91. That’s 23 years ago! Where did the time go?! I always find it really strange when I hear the Chili Peppers on Gold 104 (the golden oldies radio station) – the songs seem so recent to me still.

I got to see the Chili pepper some years ago, I went along with my mum and brother. We were right up the front, and Mum got her elbows out and ‘moshed’ (don’t tell her that there wasn’t a mosh pit). But if there HAD been a mosh pit, this would be the perfect food to fuel your moshing. GREAT SEGUE!!!!

chillipeppersIn Australia, we don’t really call these peppers, however the Red Hot Chili Capsicums are not a band as far as I am aware. Yep, just googled it and did not find anything.

This was a good opportunity for me to make stuffed capsicums as I’ve never done them before, which is surprising because anybody will tell you that I love food stuffed with food. I thought these were pretty good for a first attempt, and a nice change from the usual tacos or burritos when going for Mexican flavours.

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Mexican Stuffed Capsicums
(makes 4)

4 red capsicums
1/2 cup uncooked rice (I used one of those rice barley blends)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely1/2 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup corn
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 cup black beans
2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Juice of 1/2 lime
Cayenne to taste
Salt to taste
Vegan cheese (optional)
Spring onions to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C.

Cook rice according to instructions. I’m sure you’ve all got your methods for cooking rice. I don’t, and I’m terrible at it.

Cut out tops from capsicums with a sharp knife, then remove seeds from inside. Set aside.

In a small pan, heat oil over medium heat and add onion. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute. Add smoked paprika, coriander and cumin and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds.

Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add corn, tomatoes, beans and cooked rice, and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients – fresh coriander, nutritional yeast, lime juice and salt.

Place capsicums in a baking dish, fill each one with mix, then grate some cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 mins, until capsicums are tender. Garnish with spring onions.

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Music for your Mouth: Blind Melon

I’m not going to muck around too much with today’s post, I only have a couple of minutes to upload it. So straight to the point, today’s Music for our Mouth comes to you from Blind Melon. And what have I made? A blind melon! Party on!

blindmelonI listened to a bit of Blind Melon when I was younger – the song at the bottom is probably their most well known and it’s pretty darn catchy. I had never seen the video clip before though – check it out! The beginning made me really sad (why do I always feel so much empathy for characters, even when I know they are just characters?) but the ending brought me joy! Seriously, I should start watching this every morning. Precious little bumble bees!

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Japanese Slipper

30ml Midori
30ml Cointreau
30ml lemon juice
Ice

Put Midori, Cointreau and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake it like a polaroid picture. Strain into glass and serve with a lemon garnish. Easy.

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Music for your Mouth: The Honeycombs

I’m going to be honest with you – I had never heard of the band the Honeycombs until I started researching more foody music. But I found them, and it gave me an excuse to make some honeycomb. The Honeycombs are a pop band from the 60s with catchy tunes and a groovy girl drummer. Yeah, I said groovy.

Unlike yesterday’s recipe, there is nothing healthy about this sweet. It is basically sugar with sugar, coated in sugar. But boy is it delicious! Plus it’s kind of like doing primary school science in the kitchen. Remember making volcanoes erupt with bicarb and vinegar lava? Or what we used to do as kids – go across the road to the park with those little eggs from inside Kinder Surprises. We would fill one half with vinegar and the other with bicarb and you would have to join them together REALLY QUICKLY and throw them up in the air before they exploded. If you timed it right they would explode in the air and we would all rejoice.

honeycombs3Honeycomb

1 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup glucose syrup
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp bicarb soda

Line some kind of vessel (I used a 27x18cm slice pan) with baking paper and set aside. Get baking soda ready by measuring it into a small bowl and ensuring there are no lumps. Grab a whisk and place it nearby.

Place the sugar, glucose syrup and agave nectar in a large pot and heat on medium. Don’t stir the mix while you do this, rather, try to poke it together with a wooden spoon to ensure the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, turn the heat up to high and bring mix to a boil.

Allow to bubble away until it turns golden in colour – if you have a candy thermometer, this should be around 150C.

Working quickly, take the pot off the heat, pour in bicarb soda and whisk together. The mixture will expand rapidly and become foamy. Quickly pour it into your prepared pan and then LEAVE ALONE. It is imperative that you do not touch at this point, or your honeycomb will deflate.

honeycombsAllow to cool for at 45 minutes to an hour.

Once set, break or cut into pieces.

honeycombs2And voila! Your very own bowl of honeycomb to do with what you please.

Obviously, I melted some chocolate and coated it all to made mini crunchie bites.

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Music for your Mouth: The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads remind me a lot of being in high school. A time when I was absorbing a LOT of music, much of it from before my time. The song at the bottom of this post was the first I ever heard from the band, and it got me interested enough to find some more tunes, which led me to some of their earlier, heavier stuff, such as the recommended blending song below. I’m pretty excited to spotlight this band, because they’re coming to Australia at the end of the year, and I’m going to see them! Yeehahhhh!

I guess this is kind of a strange dessert to match the Lemonheads – I don’t think they are really a raw dessert kind of band. Nevertheless, these tarts are a tasty treat. To be honest, I just thought it would be an easy lemon thing to make. I’m copping out already – on day two! Ahhhh…who cares, it is a delicious cop out at worst – I can live with that.

lemonheadsApart from setting time (and even then, they only really need about 45 mins), these are such a quick and simple dessert to whip up that is sure to impress any guests. The filling is super zesty and not too sweet, which is how I like my lemony desserts. The tarts have had the tick of approval from the Bear and the family, so they are definitely being added to the repertoire.

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A song for you to drown out the whizzing of the blender:

 

Raw Lemon Tarts
(makes 3 tarts, maybe 4 if you use smaller tins)

Base:
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup medjool dates, pits removed
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of pink himalayan salt

Filling:
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp agave nectar
Pinch of pink himalayan salt

Dash of turmeric for colour

Lemon zest and strawberry to garnish (optional)

Place pecans and walnuts in a blender or food processor and blend until they resemble coarse crumbs. Add dates, vanilla and salt and blend until the mixture holds together. Press into tart tins and put in the freezer to set.

Blend filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. The mixture should be pourable – add a little more coconut milk if necessary. Spread evenly amongst tart bases, then return to freezer to set.

Garnish with some extra lemon zest and strawberry.

lemonheads3As I said, this is the first Lemonheads song I ever heard, and it has always had a knack of sticking in my head for ages – I’m too much with myself, I wanna be someone else, I’m too much with myself, I wanna be someone else.

I love the little vocal harmony from Juliana Hatfield. The folky tune and smooth warm voice meant I could listen to it over and over and over. Sit back, relax and enjoy the delicious tunes.

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Music for your Mouth: Bread

It’s that special time of the year – Vegan MoFo is back, and so too am I for my second go at it. This year, my theme is Music for your Mouth (pretend you can see a spiffy banner which will hopefully be ready by tomorrow). Oooh, ahhhh!

Yes, Music for your Mouth – this month I’m dedicating all my posts to bands with food-y names. And what better way to start than with this classic – Bread!

No prizes for guessing what I made to match this band – a good old fashioned loaf of bread. Now this loaf of bread ain’t perfect, but since it’s MoFo, there’s no time for messing around so I’m going to post it anyway (this month will probably see a lot of ‘it’s not perfect but…’ from me). I wouldn’t really eat this bread as bread, as it is super dense – I think it is best suited to toast. It has a rich, dark, sweet flavour from the molasses, and lots of nuttiness from all the seeds. It reminds me of all the beautiful artisan loaves we used to get in Tasmania (in appearance at least!)

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Seeded Spelt Bread

500g spelt flour
300ml warm water
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 pack dry yeast (approx 7g
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil + extra for bowl
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Top:
2 Tbsp non dairy milk
1 tsp rolled oats
1 tsp pumpkin seeds
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds

Firstly, proof your yeast by dissolving molasses into water, adding yeast and setting aside for 5-10 mins. This is not totally necessary, but it’s fun watching the little explosions of yeast bubble to the surface.

In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Add the yeast mix along with the olive oil and stir as long as you can with a wooden spoon, then turn the dough out onto a floured bench top.

Start kneading away, adding flour if the dough is too wet or extra water if too dry. Knead for 10 minutes, then make into a ball. Get a clean bowl and swish some oil around in the bottom so that your dough doesn’t stick. Put your dough in the bowl, cover with a clean damp tea towel and set aside to rise for a couple of hours (I did two here).

Punch your dough, then knead again for another 2-3 minutes. Shape into a logish loaf shape, then place on a greased baking tray. With a sharp knife, do a couple of slashes along the top of the dough, so that you don’t have any explosions or deformations in the baking process. Set tray aside and allow dough to rise for another hour or so.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Brush dough with milk, then sprinkle seeds over the top. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you knock on it.

Allow to cool on rack before slicing.

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As I said, this bread totally works best as toast. It’s perfect for some avo, chilli and lemon on top. Nothing really beats the satisfaction of eating a slice of bread that you made by hand, it really feels wholesome or something.

Now please enjoy the sweet sounds of bread as you munch away on this.

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Sweet Leaf Living Foods at the Kuranda Night Markets

We have just gotten back from the Kuranda Night Markets, which happen once a month here in Kuranda. It was a bit quiet as apparently many of the locals (including some of the stall holders) had packed up to go to the Wallaby Creek music festival. Jealous…it sounded really beautiful but we want to go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and we can’t do everything. Nevertheless, we had a great time wandering the little stalls and chatting with the friendly locals.

Nestled in one of the corners of the markets is a lovely little café called Sweet Leaf Living Foods, which is a vegetarian/vegan café. They had some really delicious sounding dishes on offer, but we had to choose something. We decided to get two dishes and share them, as we both liked the sound of the same things. You’ll have to excuse the quality of the pictures, as I was in dim light and I’m no photographer. You get the idea of what’s going on…

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These were the absolutely AMAZING Raw Almond Falafels with Tahini Garlic Sauce ($8). These were really really really yummy. I don’t really know what else to say about them…Billy and I both loved them, and they were gone in no time!

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We also ordered the Thai Pumpkin Soup ($10), which was served with sourdough toast and topped with extra grated ginger. This soup was just bursting with flavour – it was sweet, yet balanced out by the warming ginger and Thai spices. It was possibly the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever had, and I’ve sure had a few.

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After such a delectable dinner, we couldn’t skip out on the desserts and I had been eyeing off this Raw Caramel Tart ($5.50) which we split. It was the perfect way to end the meal. The subtle caramel flavour was not too sweet or overbearing, nor was it too rich like raw desserts can be. It was spot on.

As well as a range of vegan mains, desserts and snacks, Sweet Leaf Living Foods also had various flavours of bliss balls, smoothies, juices and more. If you are up this way, don’t miss checking them out! The food, the service and the atmosphere were just beautiful.

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Sweet Leaf Living Foods
Shop 39
Original Kuranda Rainforest Markets
Therwine St
Wed-Sun 10am-3pm
(plus open until late the last Friday of each month for the night markets)

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Banana Breakfast Crumble

For the last week or so, we have been being extra frugal in preparation for our trip across to the Northern Territory. Petrol is not cheap and we have a long way to go in a short period of time. What this has meant for us is eating very basic food, and using what we have in our little stores. We’ve been having noodle and pasta dishes, stir fries, salads, and the odd soup. So far we’ve been doing pretty well.

The other day we stopped at a bakery in Innisfail to check out what they had. It was late in the arvo and they were starting to prepare to close. Before we’d even purchased anything, the man there asked us if we’d like some bananas – apparently one of the local growers drops bananas to them to make banana bread but they had plenty left over. He didn’t want to waste any, and so filled up a bag with them for us. How generous was that?

We had to use them pretty quickly as they don’t really do very well in the heat of the van. So the next two mornings, we had this breakfast that I invented from our cupboard stocks. It’s kind of reminiscent of a crumble, and was so yummy.

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Banana Breakfast Crumble
(serves 2)

2 bananas, sliced
1 tsp raw sugar or stevia
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Topping:

¾ cup oats
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp chia seeds
¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp stevia (or agave/maple syrup/sugar)
Pinch of salt

To make the topping, heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 3-5 minutes, until the oats are slightly toasted. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little (it will become a bit crisp and crunchy!)

For the bananas, heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle sweetener over the bananas, and add to the pan when hot. Cook for a couple of minutes on either side, until they start to get golden.

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Serve bananas in a bowl and top with oat mixture. This would probably be nice with a dollop of yoghurt too!

Hope you enjoy this one – we did!

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The next few days we are going to be making our way up to Cape Tribulation. I’m pretty sure we won’t have reception up there, unless we find some wifi, so I’m not really sure how I’m going to go for the last few days of MoFo. Hopefully I’ll get a couple more posts in…we’ll see!

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Farewell to my Bunny Baby

I’m interrupting this MoFo broadcast to post a tribute to my little bunny BB, who sadly passed away the other day.

BB was a surprise bunny, given to me as a gift to keep my housemate’s bunny Elkie company. They had a lovely life, munching our veggie garden, climbing the wood pile, lazing in the sun, and just generally being adventure bunnies.

When I left Tassie at the start of the year, we thought it best to keep the bunnies together, as they were best friends…one was never far from the other’s sight. Poor Elkie is all alone now…so sad.

We’re not really sure what happened, my housemate just found her in the yard, she han’t displayed any signs of anything being abnormal. My poor little bunny baby (yes, that’s what BB stands for).  I’m going to leave you with some photos of the little sweetie.

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Hopefully she’s living it up in the big veggie garden in the sky…

A Simple Salsa

This is a super quick post, as I think my laptop charger just blew and I don’t have much battery left. It’s a race against time!

I just wanted to share what we ended up doing with those Late July cornchips we got the other day. As we had a bunch of tomatoes left over from the markets (possibly back in Mackay even?!) starting to look a bit sorry for themselves in the heat of the van, we decided to make a simple salsa to accompany our chips.

This is how it turned out (excuse the dodgy pics)

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The corn chips were good – nice and crunchy and you could definitely taste the chili. Not sure they are something I could regularly justify spending $6 on, but definitely worth trying (and a bit fancier than your average corn chip).

The salsa recipe is super simple, but I’ll share it with you anyway. Ordinarily I’d add some fresh coriander, but we are being super frugal at the moment as our travel expenses are high.

Simple Salsa
(makes about 2 cups)

1 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp oil
3 large tomatoes, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
3/4 cup corn kernels
1 red chili, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp lime juice
Salt, to taste

Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat and add onion. Cook for a couple of minutes, until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, stirring frequently.

Add ground spices and chili, and sauté until fragrant, about another 30 seconds – 1 minute.

Add the capsicum and tomatoes – this should deglaze the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until tomatoes break down.

Add lime juice and corn, and cook for another couple of minutes until heated through. Season to taste. Serve and enjoy! We topped ours with some avocado mashed with lime juice, salt and pepper.

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We had plenty of leftovers, so the next day we had a salsa salad topped with avocado. This was so good, possibly even yummier than with chips the night before. I think Mexican style food always tastes better the next day though, must be the flavours all oozing into one another…mmmm….

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Townsville to Mission Beach

I’ve missed the last couple of days as we’ve been on the move and haven’t stayed in places with any reception. We are now just north of Mission Beach, which is about halfway between Townsville and Cairns.

But man oh man we’ve had an awesome two days.

Yesterday, after camping out at Balgal Beach, we woke up to some markets setting up around us. While they weren’t officially open, we managed to pick up a few veggies from one of the guys there, who grows all his produce locally at Rainbow Gardens.
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Next we headed up to Little Crystal Creek, which is in the Paluma National Park, not far north of Balgal. It was a short drive from the highway, and my goodness was it worth it. Check out the beauty we stumbled upon…(and crocodile free, too!)
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It was seriously just stunning. It’s unbelievable how many little beauties like this there are in this country.

After that we slowly made our way up to Digger’s Creek, passing through Tully and stopping for a chance to visit the Big Golden Gumboot.

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The Golden Gumboot pays homage to the ‘wet’ nature of the town, and the height of the gumboot (7.9M) represents the record rainfall for Tully, which was in 1950. Crazy huh? You can even go inside and climb the staircase to the top of the boot, hehe.

Today we got up early and started the day with a watermelon that we had been carrying around for a few days, waiting for the right time to eat. We actually picked this little baby up on the way to Townsville, when we saw a fruit and veg stall on the side of the road and stopped to take a look. When we got out, we realised this was not just any fruit and veg stall, it was surrounded by GIANT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES that we could take photos with. Hurrah!

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As the melon didn’t really fit in our tiny fridge, we decided it was best to eat it in the morning before the van heated up too much. It made a pretty good brekkie too!

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After filling our tummies we headed out to Mission Beach, which was a fairly short, but beautiful drive from where we had camped. We are now in croc AND cassowary country, and we saw countless signs warning us to drive carefully so as not to hit a cassowary. I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t see one, but also glad that none were playing too close to the road.

Mission Beach was stunning, and I think our first real ‘tropical’ beach that we’ve been to so far. The sand was so fine, the water crystal clear and the edge of the beach was lined with palm trees. And again, no crocs here! Wahooo. (only poison stingers and big stingrays, don’t worry).

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This picture doesn’t really even do it justice. It was just pristine and beautiful here!

We spent the morning walking the length of the beach and lazing around in the sun, before heading to town for a beer at the bar. In the afternoon, we simply went back to the beach, found a shady spot under some palms, and dozed and read books. Tough life hey? Of course now everything we own is covered in a layer of superfine sand, as you can never seem to get it all off. Oh well, I guess that’s the price you pay…

Tomorrow we should find out whether there is work for us in Townsville or not, and then we will be able to be a bit more sure of where we’re going – south back to Townsville or north to Cairns. It’s like waiting for a coin to land!

This wasn’t a very vegan MoFo-y post…there was a bit of food (and all local too!) but it has been more an update on my whereabouts….sorry! Tomorrow I promise to post something a bit more food-y. Hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend!

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