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The other day I went to a new hairdresser, just around the corner, for a cut and colour. While I was waiting for my colour to “cook”, I was offered a very yummy Greek biscuit, homemade by the mother of the owner (who was also cutting hair there). I asked whether it contained any dairy and she assured me no, it’s just orange juice and olive oil.

The biscotti were delicious, so I decided to make my own. A bit of googling I found this recipe from cookmegreek.blogspot.com.au. Sure enough, it’s mainly orange juice, olive oil and flour. You make the dough, bake it for a while until it looks like this… (below).

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Then you cut it up and bake it again for a while until the slices are golden brown. My loaf was a little crumbly when I cut it, and the biscotti were crumbly, but they were very tasty. I used wholemeal flour, as I usually do: I don’t know if that affected the crumbliness. I also used the half-and-half option in the recipe (half olive oil and half vegetable oil, rather than all olive oil).  These were fun to make and we all enjoyed eating them.

 

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I decided that it was time to have another go at making vegan pavlovas: individual pavlovas seemed easiest. This time I reduced my chickpea liquid the day before, as suggested in this recipe from The Blenderist which I followed.

I didn’t start with all the liquid from one can of chickpeas: in the past I’ve ended up with way too much meringe, so I only kept about 2/3rds of a can’s worth of liquid. Then, I forgot to measure the liquid before I reduced it, so I had to just guess when to stop: it’s possible I reduced it too far!  The net result was that I ended up with enough meringue for 3 individual pavlovas, as shown here. The kids got one each and my partner and I shared the third one: such parental sacrifice.  I tried to whip some coconut cream and it did thicken up a bit, but I have never had much luck getting very well-whipped coconut cream. (Do I give up too early, or is there some trick? Any advice gratefully received.) The pavlovas are topped with passionfruit pulp, kiwifruit and strawberries.

The pavlovas were a little flat, so these looked like a cross between pavlovas and pizzas!  We were more interested in how they tasted, and they tasted very nice. Due to the thinness of the base, I didn’t achieve the soft fluffiness that I remember from (egg-based) pavlovas of my childhood: my dream would be to produce a base which has a crispy shell and a mallowy fluffy centre. Perhaps if I had divided my meringue into two larger portions, I would have ended up with thicker bases and some fluffiness would have resulted?  I will try again someday, but meanwhile there’s always these pizzalovas to enjoy.

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This is a satisfying and very tasty curry: coconut chana saag from Isa Does It, also available online from the Guardian’s website. The traditional spinach is replaced by kale: I used tuscan kale. This is an easy recipe to make, and the only change I made was to leave out the cayenne pepper so that I could be sure child #1 would eat it. We’re getting into brown rice at the moment, but this would be good over basmati rice as well.

I’ve just noticed that this makes two orange-coloured kale-containing posts in a row. I’d better do something sweet for my next post (-:

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This soup comes from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook, and can be found on her website. In the book it is called On the mend spiced red lentil-kale soup. It was great for a cool evening and may even have helped child #1 get over her cold, maybe. Even though the soup was a bit spicy, with ingredients including chilli powder and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper, my kids seemed quite happy eating it. I had some leftover cooked quinoa, so I threw that in as well: with the quinoa and lentils together it was a really hearty meal. I’ll make this again.

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This burger from Plant Powered Families is yummy. Apparently sundried tomatoes contain umami, which gives the burgers an extra flavour punch. I always liked the nut burgers from Let Them Eat Vegan, but my kids found them a bit too solid. These burgers have cooked quinoa which give them a softer texture.  They held together well when cooking, but if you leave them on the pan too long then you might leave a bit behind when you flip them.

We ate them on hamburger rolls with tomato, lettuce, slow-cooked red onion, and some sauces. Simple, yet devastatingly effective. (Sadly, no onions are visible in the above photo, but I assure you that they were present.)

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I’ll definitely make these burgers again. They are good in sandwiches the next day too. I sliced mine in half for sandwiches, to make a thinner filling.

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My partner is an omnivore but is happy to cook vegan food for us all to eat. He has also bonded with Isa Does It, which has led to him expanding his repertoire considerably. Recently he cooked this yummy pesto-cauliflower pasta with breaded tofu. The pesto uses basil and coriander (cilantro) and tastes really fresh. The breaded tofu was fun too.

At the back of the photo you can see some beetroot, which I prepared because my partner said he’d been craving it. I roasted some beetroot in their skins and served them warm. Not the most natural pairing with this pasta dish, perhaps, but it was tasty.

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A couple of Sundays ago we went to the Marrickville Market. There’s lots going on at the markets and lots of food on offer. But my sister Leigh was on the lookout for the Vegan Toastie from Mister Toast. See it above, in all its splendour, and read the ingredients below. Mmmm, shiitake bacon (-:

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Thanks Mister Toast for offering this delicious vegan option.