Friday, October 29, 2010

More homemade ravioli

A week or so ago I cooked up some pumpkin and spinach (I think I used silverbeet) mush to put inside ravioli and promptly froze it. I finally decided to make the actual ravioli the other day, and since I still had some of those beetroot left from the farmers market I juiced it and used the juice in place of water in Bryanna Clark Grogan's homemade pasta recipe. It totally worked =D I've been wanting to make bright purple pasta since forever, so this was the perfect oppurtunity.
Also, I made the pasta out of whole meal flour, but I think next time I'll go 70% whole meal/30% white or half and half - it didn't hold together quite as well as usual. Though that also could have been influenced by the chopped herbs I added to the dough - I think I didn't chop them small enough.

Anyway, the beetroot did add a slight beetroot taste to it but not enough to not match the rest of the dish. I was worried it wouldn't 'go' with the tomato sauce or even the pumpkin filling, but it was fine.

Because it was all whole meal flour it took a fair bit longer to cook than normal too. But that's ok :)

We just had it with herbed bread and a basic tomato sauce. Pretty much the same one I always make except I used tinned tomatoes because my wirst was still hurting yesterday! Unfortunately it feels better so I think I'll be going to work this weekend ;)

I still have almost a litre of the pumpkin/silverbeet mixture so I think I'll make some more ravioli soon. Maybe green? or orange? I have heaps of carrots to use...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monster Salad and cake

I don't tend to like salads very much. I love potato salad and pasta salads though, nice big bowls of carby goodness! When I go out to a restaurant for dinner, I usually assume that a salad will be the only vegan option - usually even salads aren't a vegan option, they are either covered in eggy milky mayonaise, creamy dressings, cheese, or pieces of decomposing cows, chickens, pigs and or ducks! Who puts meat in a freaking salad? Don't even get me started on the other vegetarian options so loaded with cheese you'll have a heart attack just looking at it...!

ANYWAY, today I was planting some beetroot seeds in the garden (I planted some a few weeks ago just before the rains came so I think they rotted before they sprouted) and I noticed 1 radish was ready to be eaten, and that I had millions more butter beans since yesterday! So I harvested it all and wanted to eat it. There's no better way to eat freshly picked radishes and beans than raw, so I decided to make it into a salad.

And damn was it GOOD!

The massive bowl full includes: kale, a large handful of butter beans, 1 sliced spring onion, 1 cob of fresh corn stripped of it's kernels (best way to eat corn!), the 1 tiny radish, 1 tomato, the leaves of the radish, 1 tbsp avocado oil, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and some black pepper.

Argh I just remembered I was going to put some fresh parsley and basil leaves in it too but I forgot. It was still delicious without them though! The avocado oil and corn mix really well.

I was struggling to finish it by the end, but I managed :)

Since it'll be summer soon, I'm going to try and eat raw at least once a week, or every lunch or something like that. There's nothing quite as refreshing (except perhaps a mojito in Spain) and if I keep getting beans, this type of salad will come up often :)

Yesterday I had a bit of an accident while riding to tafe on my bike! I thought I would make it over this tiny little gutter (actually I knew I wouldn't make it but went anyway) and I hit it at the wrong angle and completely stacked it on the concrete! I've ended up with a twisted wrist, bruised shoulder bones, bleeding knee and bruised swollen ankle. What a freakin pain the the ass!

I still made it to school and all the way home on my bike though which is good. Apart from the falling, it felt really good to ride all the way. I've been trying to ride to school a few times lately, but it's mostly failed. The first time I tried I nearly fainted and died (time of month = very low iron levels), the next time I got too hot and ended up with a little bit of heat on and so forth. But this time I just kept going! (There's a huge big hill, but once you get over it it's all downhill from there!) So falling and hurting myself has ruined my endeavour to ride to school every day this week. I'll have to start again next Tuesday. Argh!

SO I decided to stay home from school today (I think driving would hurt my shoulder) and I baked myself a big ass banana cake.

I have used this recipe maybe 4 or 5 times now and it's still amazingly good. Everyone I've served it to loves it. I don't even like cake! Or bananas! I found it somewhere on the internet. It's a pretty basic recipe that I have tweaked a tiny bit.

Vegan Banana Cake
Serves 8 (or 2 pigs like us!)


2 cups whole meal flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raw sugar (this time I used about 1/2 cup raw vanilla sugar* and filled the rest up with dextrose**)
1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil (this is the type that tastes like coconut)
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla essense


In one bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda.

In another bowl, whisk or beat the sugar and oil together. Mash in the bananas and add the water and vanilla. Stir well.

Plonk the dry ingredients into the wet ones and stir until combined. (Mixture may be quite thick - every time I've made this I've used a different type of oil. This one is the best so far.) Pour into a lightly greased springform cake pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, in an oven at 180 degrees C.

Let cool for minute and serve!

Sometimes I make up a 'cream cheese' icing using tofutti better than cream cheese, or simply sprinkle icing sugar (powdered sugar) on top. It doesn't need any topping at all unless you feel like it :) The cream cheese one is the nicest, though, but my local supermarket stopped carrying tofutti, which is probabaly a good thing...

*When I buy vanilla beans to use the seeds I just put the pods in a jar of sugar. It will taste of vanilla almost instantly!
**I'm trying to use up the last of my dextrose because I want to use real sugar again...or stevia or something. Dextrose is a bit too processed for my liking. I'll have to research it a bit more I think!

I had this a little while after my monster salad with a cup of freshly brewed Italian plunger coffee with a glob of So Good Vanilla Bliss ice cream in it :) I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I like it with cakes and muffins and cookies etc. I also usually drink it black with no sugar but my lovely Nadine bought me the ice cream last night when I was in my invalid state :) Aawww <3

Monday, October 25, 2010

A pictorial update of my garden - busy busy :)

Sweet basil - is very very healthy and happy right now :)

Soy bean flowers! Aren't they adorable?

Most amazing thing I've ever seen - huge angry wasp diving straight for a huge caterpillar on my soybeans that I didn't even see. It laid it's eggs in it. That is a beneficial.

First beans of a season :) They were tasty.

First purple climbing beans will be ready soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fruit of the month!

I always like to try a new fruit or vegetable every now and then, and now that I work at a fruit shop with a pretty good variety of exotics, I can just pick something up!

This one is called a Wax Jambu (or jambo as the sign at work spelled it ;)) and it is the fruit of a species of Lilly Pilly (Syzigium samarangense). This website has a little bit of information about it.

I have eaten other types of lilly pilly fruit in the past, and liked them, so I just had to buy these and try :) (For some reason the first search that came up was a vegan website lol).

The wax jambu is like eating a star fruit (or carambola) but without the acid. It's freakin delicious, and today if I get to work early I'm going to buy more. One for every day of the week!

The neighbours have lined their fence with small-leaved lilly pillys (second link) and they just went into flower, which means - fruit! Their trees happen to be dropping over MY fence therefore they are up for grabs. Unfortunately, I think the possums have gotten to the blossoms...they have stripped the other neighbours avocado tree of it's flowers, and the other neighbours mango tree of it's flowers (me = very sad) so it wouldn't surprise me if the lilly pilly flowers are gone too.

So worth the $8.99/kg price ticket. It's not that expensive - they barely weigh anything.

I knwo of a few quandong trees in a public space that I may be able to get fruit off, least I'm sure I can gather the fruits that have fallen to the ground. Muaha.

I had this randomly delicious meal for lunch today. I wasn't expecting it to taste so good :) It's basically brown rice, Fry's Chicken Nuggets, and sautee'd kale, beetroot stems, sliced ginger and garlic with vegan butter and a blob of vegan tom yum soup paste. I drizzled soy sauce over the top, but may have put too much because it was a bit salty...I even managed to get in a bit of weights work while I was waiting for the rice to cook! Not much, but it was something. I've been quite slack lately. Usually only managing a couple of sun salutes in the mornings, which is better than nothing I suppose.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chocolate chip cookies + new kitty :)

I tried to make choclate chip cookies today :)
As you can see they are really more like choclate chip cakes! Delicious, but not cookies! It might be the applesauce I used instead of half the is the recipe anyway :)

Chocolate chip cookies cakes
Makes about 26


1 cup flour (I used wholemeal)
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup oat bran
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I used grapeseed)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (Woolworths home brand is the only one I can find with no added sugar)
3/4 cup dextrose (or 3/4 cup sugar, I just have dextrose to use at the moment)
3/4 cup dextrose + 1 tbsp molasses (or 3/4 cup brown sugar)
Seeds of one vanilla bean
2 tbsp flaxeeds, ground and mixed with 4 - 6 tbsp hot water
1 cup chocolate chips of choice (I used 150g packet of Sweet William milk chocolate chips)

First, grind your flaxseeds and mix them with the water. I use a mortar and pestle, good arm work out! Haha. Set aside to thicken.

Mix flour, oat bran, wheat germ, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl beat together the oil, applesauce, sugars and vanilla bean seeds. Add in flax egg.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture into the oil mixture. Once combine stir through your chocolate chips.

Set oven to 200 degrees celcius. Drop tablespoon sized blobs of cookie dough on a baking tray that is either greased or has baking paper on it. Flatten them down with your fingers or a fork (fingers works better). Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool on the tray for a while, then transfer them to a wire cooking rack or plate to finish. If you try to move them while they're still hot, a) you'll burn yourself and b) they'll fall apart!

While not exactly what I wanted, they still taste damn good :) I've eaten about 6 already and now I feel sick. Surprise surprise! I really shouldn't bake when I am at home alone :)

We got our second cat a couple of weeks ago! She's so tiny, but apparently she is 3 years old. Her name is Charlee (that was her name from her previous owners, who I think had to surrender her because they could no longer look after her). She loves to play with catnip filled toys and toys in general, and likes to sleep on our bellies at night.

She and Bob have had their fair share of tiffs so far (I came home one day to find Charlee had missing chunks of fur on the back of her neck!) but they are getting used to each other. There's a bit of hissing but it's lessening haha. They even both sat on our bed this morning at the same time!

Bob likes to get in my way. She's getting a bit fat. We'd feed her less but she eats Charlee's food as well :S

Charlee likes to watch me update my blog :)

It's extremely windy today. Beautiful clear blue skies and lots of sun, but very very windy. The neighbours tree snapped just before. It's pretty tall and thin. It's some type of melaleuca. I should go get my washing in before it ends up in Perth.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lemon-scented myrtle

These are the freshly picked leaves (the top one is dried) of a lemon scented myrtle or Backhousia citriodora. Crush them between your fingers and smell the strong lemon scent it's name describes!

I have been drinking infused lemon myrtle leaves for ages, bought from the supermarket in packets! I never knew it just grew...on trees :S silly me. Anyway, I'll never buy it again. All you do is pick a few leaves (I usually use two or three per cup) crush them up and put in your tea infuser or teapot as you would regular tea leaves, and infuse until it's as strong as you like! I now know of a few big trees I can sneak some leaves off discreetly...however, when I have a house with a yard, the first tree I'll plant will be a Backhousia citriodora, unless one happens to already be there!

I always drank this because I liked the taste. I didn't know of the health benefits it also has! This website explains well.

It apparently helps relieve cramps, spasms, headaches and fevers, strengthen the immune system and fight cellulite, of all things! You can have it as a tea hot or cold, crush it and add to foods as a dried herb for a lemony flavour...I especially like the adding to your water bottle suggestion. Plain water gets boring.

I usually just leave the leaves out on a shelf and use them as I want them. I could put them into an air tight container once they are fully dry but I never bother, though I might now as it's getting hotter and more humid.

My garden is thriving...

...after the straight week of lovely rain we've had!

It amuses me, this rain phenomenon. There has been a loooongg drought here for the past few years (I'm not sure how I'd put a number on it) but this year (and the year before last) our wet season is a wet season again.

When it rains here it bloody pours, and keep pouring until the sky runs out! Floods everywhere, a fair amount of destruction, wondering whether the end of your street is under water and you'll be able to get to work or not..! For me, this year was tame. I didn't once have to call work to say I couldn't drive through the gushing water! (Though if I had I would have been quite ashamed - a lady I work with had to drive for 2.5 hours to make it to work on time, in a 4wd, through flood water. Yes.) However, the year before last I was living in another flat (though in the same suburb) and a dam or creek or river broke it's banks in the sheer amount of rain that we were having! I wasn't home, but my flatmates car got filled with water and actually floated away. Ha. Lucky I wasn't home because my car would have floated away too! (The neighbour was saved by an old fridge that was under the block of units that had floated/crashed through his fence and lodged itself over the stairs by his front door!

Anyway enough about that stuff. The point was that the garden loved the fresh water.

Butter beans and their flowers are growing strongly!
I am so excited to have my own vegetables. It's going to be a tiny but productive little garden plot.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kebab sticks with peanut sauce

This is one of the best meals I have made lately. Basically kebab sticks with eggplant, button mushrooms, asparagus and tempeh. Serve it on top of rice with peanut sauce! We also drank a glass of rose wine with it too. Instead of actual tempeh, I bought this tofu-tempeh which was 80% tofu and 20% tempeh. We don't realllly like tempeh (hate it haha, It's revolting) so I thought this would be nice as a transition to help get used to it. It's not too tempeh-y but still has some of the health benefits that tofu alone doesn't have.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cheap cheap produce

Because I now have a job (woe! jk) that usually involves working Sundays (good thing = extra pay) I don't get to go to the farmer's market as often. I suppose I could go before I start work (market 6am, work 9am...) but I usually don't have the energy. So I go on my sundays off :) (Though I will probably start going before work starts. I need to get off my lazy ass.)

Anyway! Last Sunday I went, and I got a little excited about this bunch of beetroot.

This thing weighs a freaking ton and is about as big as two of my head. I was struggling to hold it up for the photo!

It cost me $3! 3!!! That's amazing. Loose beetroot (ie: without the tops, sold singly) usually costs from $4-$5 a kilo. I always bought those in the past because I was unaware that you could eat the tops (headsmack) and thus thought it would be a waste.

Except, now I don't know what to do with them. I was intending to juice most of it with carrots (yummm) but it's literally been pissing down with rain for a week and it's really not juice weather.

So now there are giant beetroots in my fridge waiting for me to use them. I am sure I will think of something :)

Also at the markets I went a bit crazy with the leafy greens. I bought a kohl rabi that had huge leaves, the beetroot greens of course, also a silverbeet and a bunch of kale (a different kind that I hadn't tried before - I prefer the curly leaved variety but it's still good). AND some dandelion greens because I like them. My fridge is full to bursting - luckily I can chuck it all in pretty much anything I cook because it all wilts down to pretty much nothing. I've been eating whole wheat pasta with sauteed random greens for lunches lately. It tastes good to me, and that's what matters.

The nicest thing about this market is that everything is organic - and works out to be so damn cheap! I literally filled an empty fridge for $23. That's one hour's work on a Sunday for me.

Go to your local farmer's market (they are everywhere - even in the middle of the city) to buy your fresh fruit and vegetables - it costs so much less than going to a supermarket, and the people probably picked it that morning or the day before - it hasn't been in cold storage for months before ending up in your fridge and on your plate.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So busy, everything breaks at once!

It's been a while! Our internet was down for over a week. It's amazing how much we depend on technology. We were pretty much lost, ha. 

I made a few yummies, mostly cheap re runs like bean curries and lentils and rice etc, as I found out I get paid fornightly and it leaves me without money for ages but that's okay.