More cooking from Isa Does It

I’ve been cooking quite a bit from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz lately. It’s such a great cookbook– awesome recipes and gorgeous photos mean I sit there flipping through it over and over all brainwashed like.

I couldn’t go past the Roasted Yellow Beet Salad with Warm Maple-Mustard Dressing, seeing as I bought a bunch of golden beetroot from the Coburg Farmers Market a few days before. The beets are roasted, so there’s no fussing there. The dressing is a simple maple mustard combo and instead of the pecans I went for the tempeh option. The tempeh was marinated in tamari, liquid smoke, thyme and red wine vinegar.  I’m really not a big fan of tempeh so I made sure I came close to incinerating it in the cast iron pan.  I like tempeh bacon but it has to to very thin and very very super burnt. For my salad greens I used baby spinach (I would have preferred a salad mix including rocket/arugula). I liked the simple dressing but I have to confess I’m not really a beetroot fan so I wouldn’t make this for myself.  I would probably make a big bowl if I was having people over but I’d use the pecans instead of tempeh:

golden beet salad
The Tofu Mushroom Stroganoff was super easy to make. A cashew-broth base is added to mushrooms, onions, garlic and tofu that have been cooked with some tomato paste, thyme and white wine.  I bought this wholemeal fettucine in Aldi and I found it a bit too heavy so next time I’ll use a different pasta. DeeW liked the sauce but not the ‘bits’. Husband doesn’t like anything with a cashew base and Arthur won’t eat mushrooms. This would have made a simple, tasty family meal if only the fussypants humans element were removed:

tofu mushroom stroganoff

I’ve been looking for a good quinoa recipe lately and the Smoky Incan Stew was perfect.  I finally got to open my little wee can of chipotles in adobe sauce.  This photo was taken the day after I made the stew, so you can see I could have done with a little more liquid but I’m a chunky-stew girl so this was just right for me:

smoky Incan stew

To finish off the tempeh I had in the fridge, I made the Tempeh Orzilla. This is another simple, easy to make recipe with a saucy part made with broth, white wine, onion, garlic and sundried tomatoes.  For the tempeh crumbles, I chopped them as finely as possible and burnt them as much as possible so they were crispy.  Unfortunately though I had to admit defeat: like leggings-as-pants, tempeh is just not for me. As much as I love the taste of various marinades and dressing, there’s still the texture to deal with.  So long tempeh (though I really want to try chickpea tempeh):

tempeh orzilla

The cookbook photo of the Cast Iron Stir Fry recipe results in a fair bit of drooling.  The sauce is made mostly with tamari, hoi sin and mirin.  Super simple and really delicious.  Instead of rice I used soba noodles and I left out the avocado and peanut sprinkle-over bit at the end:

cast iron stir fry

For breakfast one day, I made the Coconut French Toast.  It’s your basic French toast recipe but you dip the soaked bread slices in coconut before cooking. Arthur and I loved these but DeeW refused to try any as she’s not big on French toast and thinks toast should come out of a toaster (“that’s why it’s called toast”):

coconut French toast

The Marbled Banana Bread has been made a few times. This time, I did the marbling myself.  Arthur and DeeW tend to go a little overboard so the batter goes beyond the marbled stage in to the fully mixed stage:

marbled banana bread

Arthur and DeeW had friends over so I made the Jumbo Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies.  Guess what, these friends hate raisins so I had to eat their share. WAAAAAH:

jumbo oatmeal raisin cookies

I finally got around to making the Strawberry and Cream Bread Pudding.  I threw in some mixed frozen berries as I didn’t have enough strawberries. Plus it was the Fourth of July so I put in a little red, white and blue for my American readers. This pudding is super easy to make and involves briefly soaking some bread in a mixture of coconut milk, a non dairy milk (I used soy), cinnamon, vanilla and lemon juice.  I made half of the optional icing recipe.  Everybody loved this, except Husband who really dislikes coconut in desserts (but he eats coconut based Thai curries). Naturally, I valiantly ate his share:

Berries and cream bread pudding

I really love Isa Does It and count it as a top notch favourite.  Isa’s recipes are straightforward, entertaining and delicious. There’s no stop-yerrrr-fussin-boy fussiness about any of the recipes I’ve looked at and there are so many more dishes I still want to make. Aaand now you all have the voice of Toni Childs stuck in your brains.

The Long Forgotten what-I-ate

It seems ages since I’ve done a What I Ate post.  Either my meals seem too boring to blog about, or I blog about them separately if they’re from a cookbook or restaurant.  Then I don’t seem to end up with enough content for a blog post!  This time, I’ve gone through photos and I’ll try to remember everything I’ve had.

I’ve discovered a super quick and easy way to make cheeze sauce. Recipes like this are probably old news all over the place but I came up with this on a whim and wondered if I could make it in under two minutes. The downside is because it’s so quick and easy, I’ve been making mac and cheeze for myself far too often instead of something with loads of veg and a protein source.  For this cheeze sauce, I mix together the following (though you can do what you like with the measurements, I made this today and measured in case it helps people) 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1/2 tspn Dijon mustard, 1/8th tspn each of garlic powder and onion powder, 1tsp vegan margarine and 1tsp arrowroot for thickening.  Mix and microwave it for about 30 seconds, give it a stir, microwave for 30 seconds again then add a heap of nutritional yeast (I do about 1Tbs).  After I add the nutritional yeast it starts going all stringy-like. This makes a small individual portion size for pasta or as a cheeze sauce for veggies.


Here it is again, on another day, with toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs and various Italian style herbs:


Oven baked polenta (the polenta had been cooked the day before and chilled in the fridge) with tofu pieces coated in a mixture of walnut, nooch and panko:


I made the Red Lentil stew from The Oh She Glows Cookbook and will definitely make it again though I would ramp up the flavours a little more:


I found some mock duck in the freezer so I made a simple stir fry based on a Jamie Oliver recipe I found online.  It was quite basic though and boring to be honest, so I added some Chinese BBQ sauce.  It was okay but not something I’d make again.  I prefer my stir fries to have more of a sauce.  This was a bit too dry:


A carrot cake from one of my vegan cookbooks.  I can’t remember which one:

carrot cake

Finally, some roasted chickpeas.  I toss a drained and rinsed can of chickpeas with salt and nooch and roast them until crunchy:



I’m pleased to admit I am so over mac and cheese since taking those photos up there  🙂

Recipes from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson

When I first became vegan, I bought a load of cookbooks.  A book that everyone seemed to recommend was 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson.  It was one of the first cookbooks I bought, along with Robin’s Vegan Planet. Days later, more cookbooks arrived and from there I just kept on getting more books and finding myself more attracted to the cookbooks with photos.  Because of this, books without photos didn’t get much of a second glance.

This was a shame for such a packed-with-great-recipes cookbook like Vegan Planet:

Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson

I’ve recently made a vow to go back to the start of my vegan cookbook collection and start making lots of recipes from the first books I bought, photos or not. I bookmarked loads of recipes from Vegan Planet, though it’s with a bit of a heavy heart that I don’t think my family would go for anything I plan on making. I still have hope though, as there was a time when I never would have dreamed Arthur would be asking for roasted chickpeas and homemade tofu nuggets.

The first recipe I tried from Vegan Planet was a breakfast: the Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal with Slivered Almonds and Dried Cranberries. Very nice, but I forgot to take a photo.

I haven’t made an eggplant dish in a while but I wanted to make something different from my usual Italian/Greek style eggplant dishes.  I chose the Mahogany Eggplant recipe though it meant I had to go out and buy a vegan sake (Go-Shu from Dan Murphys). Garlic, ginger, shallots, chili, sake, tamari is pretty much all there is to it.

I made the Udon Shiitake Stir-Fry with Sake and Ginger, using portabellos instead of shiitake. I made this a couple of days after the Mahogany Eggplant recipe and because the ingredients were roughly the same, I ended up mixing the two together when I was really hungry and couldn’t decide which one I wanted to eat:

mahogan yeggplant udon

I made the Three Way Sesame Coated Tofu Strips with Spicy Broccoli. I didn’t have red pepper flakes so I used a little chilli paste along with some garlic.  I served this with some soba noodles that were added to the pan with the broccoli, chilli and garlic along with some baby spinach.  I love sesame flavours so I enjoyed this.  Who says vegans don’t get enough calcium:


The Chickpea and Eggplant Kibbeh sounded intriguing.  There’s a layer of bulghur-chickpea mix and a layer of cooked onion-eggplant-pine nuts, along with some spices.  I left out the allspice, leaving only the cinnamon (though I used half the amount specified) and cumin.  I wish the family ate this.  I liked it but if I made it again I’d try some different flavours:

chickpea eggplant kibbeh

Next up we have the Tuscan White Bean and Fennel Stew with Orange and Rosemary.  I was glad this recipe called for canned small white beans as I have a large stash of cannelini beans but haven’t really been using them.  Instead of chopping up the rosemary, I chose the lazy route and threw the sprigs in whole.  I was happy with this, though I’d probably cut down the orange zest next time:


The Molasses Bread with Walnuts and Raisins doesn’t call for blackstrap molasses which is all I had, so when I was making the batter I wasn’t sure how it would turn out given the stronger taste of blackstrap.  It was very blackstrappy tasting so next time I’ll use regular molasses or maybe treacle as my jar of treacle sits there doing nothing. I made another stupid mistake here, I had taken out my bread flour to make a loaf of bread when I saw this Molasses bread recipe.  The recipe calls for all purpose flour but I used the bread flour instead of swapping the all purpose for spelt flour.  It was late, I was tired!  I mixed some vegan butter with maple syrup and had it with the molasses bread:

molasses bread

Polenta is so hit and miss with me, mostly miss.  I made half a batch using the recipe for Baked Polenta (omitting the coriander/cilantro), put it in the fridge overnight then baked the next day. Another miss with the family so I am officially now polenta-free. I made the polenta along with the Walnut Crusted Celery Root (celeriac) and Millet Croquettes. The croquettes tasted good but they were incredibly delicate. I don’t know if baking would make them firmer, unfortunately the family didn’t appreciate them enough for me to want to try again in a hurry, but I’m not writing them off just yet.  The first photo shows the millet cooking with the celeriac:


There are many more recipes I’d like to try from Vegan Planet, but for now I’ll move on to another cookbook in my collection so they all get a fair go. I’ve enjoyed cooking from Vegan Planet and look forward to using it again soon.


Friends and Tea Parties

This past weekend, Arthur and DeeW had some friends visit. The boys had fun on their computers playing Minecraft and the girls hung out in DeeW’s bedroom. I asked Arthur and DeeW what snacks they wanted to serve their guests.  Arthur requested garlic bread.  Both DeeW and Arthur begged for fairy bread and some two-minute noodles for Arthur’s friend (that’s all his friend eats when he comes here).  I had been browsing vegan websites for packaged stuff I could buy to serve as I really didn’t want to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  I was very happy to learn that the Ho Mai yum cha entertainment packs were a) vegan and b) on sale from $13.80 down to $7. Just throw it all in the oven then serve out the moneybags, spring rolls and curry puffs. Phone photos:


I made the Maple Banana Bread from Dreena Burton’s Everyday Vegan (with spelt flour instead of kamut as kamut can be a little strong for some people).  I decided to use fancy little muffins/cake tins that have been in the pantry but never used.  I’m a sucker for cake and muffin tins in novelty or fancy shapes.

I also made chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I made these mini size.  Half were frosted with peppermint icing, the other half with crushed Oreos in the frosting for a cookies ‘n’ cream version.  I didn’t like them all that much but the guests did!

I finally pulled out the three-tier cake stand thingy that mum gave me a while ago.  She won it as a door prize somewhere and gave it to me. I’m glad I hung on to it!  Vegan fairy bread on the bottom.  One of our visitors made the choc chip biscuits on top:


I really like setting a table for children.  If I had more time, the table layout would have been a bit more over the top (ha!).  I love how they think a tiered cake stand is rooolly special. Next time I’ll get Arthur and DeeW to think up a theme for the table and we can make place cards and stuff like that.  Who says you need a birthday to have a partying table!  I’d love to fancy up my kitchen table every day, but that would mean de-cluttering the table every day.  Glancing over at the kitchen table now, it is covered with stuff: vase of flowers, DeeW’s rainbow Bandaloom thing and all the rubber bands, cups and mugs, a fruit bowl, fruit not in the bowl, DeeW’s Easter egg hunt basket, two board games, tea towels, containers without lids, a deck of cards, a money box, library books and DVDs.  I suppose that’s my cue to hit ‘publish’ now and go clean…

Recipes from Dreena Burton’s Let Them Eat Vegan! and Eat, Drink & Be Vegan!

Dreena Burton’s cookbooks rate highly among my favourites.  Dreena’s recipes are easy and delicious and I’m determined to use them more than ever.  See, I have an over abundance of vegan cookbooks because I have a slight vegan cookbook addiction problem.  This means that whenever I get a new book, the older ones get ignored. Not so with Dreena’s books, I still leaf through them regularly.

This past fortnight I made batches of muffins to freeze.  Arthur in particular is ALWAYS sniffing around the kitchen for snacks and often makes himself a peanut butter sandwich, which is what I want to move him away from.  So I decided to make a bunch of muffins for the freezer and defrost some overnight so there’s always a muffin kind of snack for him every few days.

First up were the BF Blueberry Muffins from Let Them Eat Vegan! (LTEV) where the BF stands for blueberry-free.  These can be made with or without the blueberries (just add blueberries to some of the batter). They turned out great, perfect for freezing and for keeping the “I’m hungreeeeeee” monster kiddies at bay:


Next up, also from Let Them Eat Vegan! were the Coconut Banana Muffins.  These also turned out fab.  I made them in a mini size because my muffin cups had been used for the blueberry muffins, which I cooked immediately before:


Of course, even though the intention was to freeze the muffins, a few got eaten just to make sure they were okay…

Every now and then I like to make something a bit more fancy for breakfast.  This week I made the Banana Pecan Rice Pudding Pie from (ED&BV).  This is made with pre-cooked brown rice and I had a batch in the freezer.  Other main ingredients include banana, coconut milk, brown rice syrup.  There’s a topping involving pecans but I chose not to make it. I also used a little less rice syrup.  I had the exact 2/3 cup of coconut milk that the recipe calls for but it was a carton of a coconut-rice milk.  I was all out of plant milk after that, otherwise I would have put a little more because I don’t think there was enough.  Still, it tasted pretty good and the bananas provided enough sweetness.  Next time I’ll make it without the rice syrup but with more banana and see how we go.  DeeW didn’t want any as she likes her rice plain. Preferably from Loving Hut. Surprisingly though, my rice-hating son ate it and said it was good:


I FINALLY made the Festive Chickpea Tart from LTEV.  I can see why this is often considered a favourite among Dreena fans. I chose to make it without the crust.  I thought about leaving out the cranberries, as I don’t go for sweetness in savoury recipes but I guess the cranberries add the festive touch so I put them in. I brushed the top with the oil-tamari mix but chose not to put walnuts on top as there were enough in the tart.  This is so simple to make, the hardest part is chopping the onions (I left out the celery) and cooking them first.  Everything goes in the food processor and you press it in to the pie base/dish. This is now one of my favourite savoury tarts, along with the rosemary gravy (which had thickened heaps the next day, as you can probably tell):



Next up is the Cashew Chive Spread from LTEV.  I halved this recipe as I am watching my fats and I knew I’d be the only one eating this.  I halved the cashews but forgot to halve the amount of fresh dill and lemon juice.  Not to worry, because I love the taste of lemon juice and dill! I had it on some Turkish bread with maple-balsamic tempeh, all squished in my sandwich press.  The sandwich looks terrible but tasted good:


Here’s the Moroccan Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew from LTEV.  Initially I wasn’t going to make the topping, which is dried figs drizzled with a little EVOO and roasted.  I’m glad I changed my mind!  The stew itself was full of flavour and proteiny goodness with the black beans, chickpeas and lentils.  I discovered I was all out of red lentils so I used green instead.  Red lentils would have been nicer but I was happy with the stew and the fig topping added a nice sweet touch.  I would probably leave the figs off next time, as I’m fine with the stew on its own:


From ED&BV I made the Peanut Butter Banana Tortillas.  I used sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter (this is a suggestion in the recipe and Arthur eats too much peanut butter as it is!). I used wholegrain wraps instead of tortillas and used my sandwich press instead of cooking in a frying pan.  Arthur liked these but DeeW didn’t.  If oooonly I could find recipes both children like that don’t involve the word Fry’s before it… anyway, I can see these nut/seed butter + banana tortillas being a bit of a dangerous thing when I have chocolate chips about.  I miiight have put choc chips inside the leftover piece and heated it up…


I tried the Veggie Sizzle Burritos from ED&BV.  Easy to make  but unfortunately I was the only one who liked them (the family don’t go for wrapy-burrito-type things.  I KNOW, right?) I took this photo before serving it up nicely with some salad.  That’s a bit of Cheezly on top, I had to be careful with the cheeze sprinkling because the family wouldn’t touch one with cheeze.  Without it, they at least took a bite:


Finally, here is the Cashew Ginger Tofu from ED&BV.  This tofu was fantastic.  I served mine on soba noodles with some salady stuff, stir fried zucchini and carrot and lots of fresh mint and coriander:


There are so many more of Dreena’s recipes that I have bookmarked so I will definitely be blogging about those in the future!