Shiitake Banh Mi, Chai Spice Snickerdoodles and Beefy Asparagus stir fry from ‘Isa Does It’

During the week I had to stop in at one of the big name supermarkets and through sheer luck (though I prefer to think of it as genius on my part), I learnt that for half an hour every day a big cart comes out loaded with assorted fruit and veg.  This cart was about to come out in the next two minutes. You can fill a plastic bag (the plastic bags you tear off for fruit/veg) with anything you want, all mixed up, for $4 per bag.  So the secret is to just stuff as much as you can in to a bag.  It must be tied properly with no holes before it can be taken to the checkouts.  The produce is all great quality, not the manky bits they want to throw away.  I got 5kg of lovely red capsicums for dirt cheap, which were $9.98/kg full price!  Even though I never buy much of my produce from the big supermarkets, instead preferring the much cheaper prices at Bigfields, my mum said that red capsicums at Bigfields were about $6 or $7 per kilo.  I also got 1kg of button mushrooms, the full price is $10.98/kg.  Check out my haul, all this cost $25!  And the 5kg of capsicums (mostly red) are included in that $25:


They also brought out a trolley filled with discounted bouquets, down to 50c each!


I took a heap of capsicums to my mum and sister.  We grilled them and I’ve frozen it all in batches:


This week I’ve been trying out a few more recipes from Isa Does It.  I’m loving this book and how the recipes really are easy to prepare. I made another batch of Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies and added some extra spelt flour and I didn’t use coconut sugar like last time. The cookies were still flat-ish but not pancake-cookie flat (like last time).  I took these to my parents and sister and they were a hit though I only used half the amount of rosemary again.  Arthur loves them, he says “they’re beyond good good”:


Next up was the Beefy Asparagus Stir Fry.  I’ve made this twice.  The first time I used a range of veggies (and no asparagus) with some mock duck served on brown rice:


Husband had a sample (without the mock meat as he really dislikes it) and said it was good, so I made it again with asparagus, snow peas and mushrooms served with rice noodles all mixed in.  My portion had chunks of soy nuggets. I didn’t have room in my wee kitchen to have the noodles put aside separately so I threw everything in the wok:


I love chai so the Chai Spice Snickerdoodles were going to be made pretty early on!  As usual, I made a couple of changes to the recipe.  I used spelt flour instead of all purpose flour and coconut sugar, which I prefer to bake with these days.  I added a little extra spelt flour.  Anyway, even with adding more flour and using my hands to mix up the dough as the recipe suggests, it was still too sticky with no hope of rolling walnut sized balls.  So I kept adding more spelt flour and eventually got to the point where I could juuust roll balls.  I didn’t want to add more spelt flour because it would have been an extra cup all up!  I’m quite certain I screwed something up, Isa’s recipes are always spot on and tested heaps.  I wonder if using the coconut sugar caused a problem, because the recipe says when you mix the wet ingredients with the sugar it ends up looking like applesauce.  Mine did not come to look like applesauce. When I tried flattening the walnut sized balls of dough in the spiced sugar, it was too hard for them to keep their shape when I’d try to move them.  In the end I just put blobs of dough straight on to the baking tray and sprinkled the spiced sugar on half of them.  I only made half of the batch spiced in case Arthur and DeeW didn’t like the chai flavours. If you make this recipe with spelt flour, please let me know how much extra, if any, you had to add!  If I make these again with spelt flour, I won’t use coconut sugar.  I think the coconut sugar is responsible for the spotty appearance as this also happened to my gingerbread recently.  I don’t know enough (anything really) about baking with coconut sugar.  Can you tell?


I’ve never tried a banh mi and certainly never made one.  I’ve never bought radishes either, I tried radish about twenty years ago and didn’t like it and just never thought about them since.  Isa’s recipe for the Shiitake Banh Mi calls for radishes which are tossed with cucumber, rice vinegar and agave nectar.  I used coconut nectar as we don’t have agave at home because Arthur is allergic to it.  For the mushrooms, I use regular button mushrooms thanks to the amazing veggie haul up there, so we can forget the ‘shiitake’ bit in the recipe title. For the almond-chili spread, I used cashew butter instead of almond and it tasted great.  I got some really nice bread, added a bunch of coriander (cilantro) and Vietnamese mint and totally stuffed my face:


I love carrot cake so today I made the carrot cake pancakes.  I’ve been making a lot of juice lately and decided to use the carrot pulp in this recipe, instead of grating it.  I followed the recipe exactly but the pancakes had that mooshyness inside even though I cooked them for a long time.  I don’t know if it was the pulp, it looked like verrrry finely grated carrot without much moisture.


So that’s what’s been going on in my kitchen this week.  The problem with buying that many veggies is that you have to use them up quickly!  Thank goodness for juicers.

[Apologies for the weird formatting in this post.  I have no idea what’s going on.]


10 thoughts on “Shiitake Banh Mi, Chai Spice Snickerdoodles and Beefy Asparagus stir fry from ‘Isa Does It’

  1. Oh my goodness, they look great! You’re right about Isa’s recipes being really reliable. I’ve never had one of hers go wrong – whether it’s from her books, her videos or PPK. As for those vegies…yes, I’d describe that as pure genius! What a bargain. I made a layered capsicum bake from Christmas dinner about 8 years ago, and the woman at the Coles checkout told me off for wasting so much money buying 5 capsicums. Of course, I wasn’t going to be buying ham or turkey, so I’m sure it was a lot cheaper than her Christmas dinner. I wish they’d had this plastic bag deal back then. 🙂

    • Ha! I’m not sure if more supermarkets do it, I guess people have to check their locals and see if a produce trolley comes out. My mum uses capsicums a lot and couldn’t believe her luck when I handed her a big bag 🙂 Your comment has made me wonder how much money I’m now saving with preparing vegan Christmas food!

  2. never heard of the plastic bag deal – how do you find out about it – luck or is there something to let you know that time? sounds like a bargain

    I have read about converting spelt to regular wheat but don’t remember the quantities (check dreena burton in Let them Eat Vegan – that might have been where I read how to do it – I know there were different quantities for both which never made sense to me – your cookies look geat – both batches and so do the pancakes but I have tried vegan pancakes and always found them a little mooshy inside – not sure why

    • I guess you have to call your local supermarkets and ask if they do the produce cart thing, though not everyone at the supermarket knew about it when I asked (btw it was Moonee Ponds Woolworths, go try your luck at 3:30!) . The pancakes recipe I always use is fro Vegan Brunch by Isa C.M., definitely not mooshy inside at all!

  3. Ooh, it’s been ages since I’ve gone to a supermarket and they’ve done one of those promotions. One of my locals used to occasionally do that on a Saturday morning, which was probably the only excitement of the supermarket expedition on those days.

    Not that I can complain too much – at one of the Big Two I got a bag of about 15 mangos for $3 this week, and 2+kg of mushrooms for $1 not all that long ago. I feel like I can get over my loathing of the Big Two if they’re having to sell things a) that I want and b) at a loss.

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