IMG_2694

It’s been a while between posts: I’ll blame the school holidays. We went camping for a few days with some friends and a small tribe of children. Other parents were experts with the campfire, and lots of delicious baked vegetables were consumed.

Now that we’re home, I decided to try some baked potatoes with homemade baked beans. I bought medium-sized white-skinned potatoes and followed these instructions. I cooked the potatoes for about 55 minutes and they turned out really well: soft and fluffy inside, just a little crispy outside.

For the beans I took this recipe from Vegan Sparkles as the starting point, but I skipped the sundried tomatoes, used 2 x 400g tins tomatoes, 2 x 400g tins borlotti beans, 2 chopped-up vine tomatoes and one large brown onion. I doubled all the herbs and spices except cayenne, which I omitted (too hot for my kids) and replaced with about 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder. I added plenty of salt and cracked black pepper, and some fresh oregano and kale from the garden. (A couple of leaves of kale, chopped finely with some herbs, and the kids don’t know they’re eating kale! Child #2 calls this kale surprise.)

As you can see, we were liberal with the grated vegan cheese on top. This was a hearty and tasty meal, which we all enjoyed. I think the fresh oregano really worked well with the tomato and cumin.

IMG_2617

I had quite a bit of leftover peanut sauce from the gado-gado recipe. So I fried some firm tofu in peanut oil, then put aside under alfoil to keep warm while I lightly fried some brocollini and snow peas, which I had chopped into bite-sized pieces. Then I added the peanut sauce, which resembled very thick peanut butter, and about 3/4 of a cup of water to thin the sauce down. Once the sauce was thinner and smoother, I reintroduced the tofu and left it on the heat for about 5 minutes.

We ate this over white rice and it was very tasty.

IMG_2614

For Christmas I received a copy of Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney. This book is full of vegan recipes inspired by the author’s travels through India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. Lots of the recipes look great, though several involve ingredients that I don’t normally have in the house or see in the supermarket.  I’m sure that with a bit more effort I could source them.

The first recipe that I chose to cook from this book was gado-gado.  This is an Indonesian salad, smothered with a tasty and mildly spicy peanut sauce. There are lots of parts to this dish which have to be prepared separately: boil the potatoes, blanch some of the other vegetables, prepare the tempeh, cook the red onion (which was supposed to be crispier but I ran out of time). So, it’s a little fiddly but because it’s a salad, there’s no need for anything to be warm: you can just prepare each bit and then put it aside until everything is ready.

The recipe (which is available online) called for bean sprouts but I couldn’t find any, and the recipe doesn’t ask for rice but I made a little rice as a base. My husband and I both really enjoyed this meal. I’ve found that the leftover peanut sauce (which is quite thick after refridgeration) makes a decent sandwich spread, with left-over soy tempeh, tomato and lettuce. A spicy change for lunch!

 

IMG_2610

I needed a beetroot recently but had to buy a bunch of three. I roasted the remaining beetroot and used most of it to make a big batch of Minimalist Baker’s roasted beetroot hummus. I used about half the lemon zest suggested by the recipe (because I only had one lemon and was making a double batch). I believe that it’s fine to freeze hummus so I’ve got half of this beautiful stuff in the freezer, and have been enjoying the other half on crackers and as a sandwich spread. What a gorgeous colour!

IMG_2548

This is the  “luxurious tomato-basil pasta” recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook. The recipe is available online here (with the author’s permission… I checked). Just remember to soak the cashews the night before, and you’ve got a very quick and easy meal. The tomato-cashew sauce really is creamy and luxurious, with fresh basil for flavour and chopped leafy greens (spinach) for taste and good-for-you-ness. I’ll definitely make this again.

img_2592

We had a half-watermelon in the fridge recently that really needed eating, but noone in the house seemed that interested in eating it. It was still summer here in Sydney (this is about a week ago) but autumn was closing in. As a last summer hurrah, I decided to turn the watermelon into a frozen treat.

Some quick googling revealed that this is very easy: just freeze the watermelon and then blend it up, possibly with a little lime juice. (I used the juice of half a lime.) My blender didn’t find this particularly easy, but I kept tamping down on the watermelon chunks and eventually the mixture was pretty smooth.  The process is so simple that a recipe is probably unnecessary, but as a guide I used this recipe from thethingswellmake. I didn’t add any sweetener, I don’t think it’s necessary (the recipe suggests possibly adding honey, but as a vegan I don’t eat honey).

We all enjoyed this refreshing sorbet…. next time I might add a little mint, I think that would be nice.

IMG_2584.JPG

I’ve made tofu scramble many times, but this is the first time I’ve ever made a chickpea scramble. I used this Mexican Chickpea Scramble recipe from Fettle Vegan. I didn’t have any cabbage in the house, but I added some chopped-up choy sum for extra leafy-green goodness.

I served this up for dinner, along with home-made Lincolnshire seitan sausage, baked beans and peas. The scramble was tasty and filling. Maybe I still prefer scrambled tofu, but I will definitely make chickpea scramble again.