Monday, May 30, 2011

Mmm fried bread

I bought a 1/4 green cabbage at Woolies the other day because it was only 74c and I didn't quite know what to do with it until I saw this recipe for Spiced Cabbage Flatbreads on Allotment2Kitchen.

I didn't follow the recipe almost at all, but I was certainly inspired by it.
In mine, I put green cabbage, grated purple carrot and their greens, onion, minced garlic and minced ginger. Then I mixed up a peanut sauce out of peanut butter and soy sauce and mixed it through before making up the breads. I also had some tempeh (found it at Coles for about $4 yay!) so I made a sort of tempeh bacon with it (essentially soy sauce, malt vinegar, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper).
The filling was so good by itself without even the peanut sauce! I could eat it all day. The bread was surprisingly easy to make, and they didn't even fall apart like I thought it would. I was thinking next time I'll cook it in my sandwich press instead of frying in a pan - no oil and a time saver! I could do four at once, and cook both sides at the same time. Maybe it'll work! I also used wholemeal plain flour.

I divided the dough into 8, and we ate 3 each for dinner and one was leftover for lunch the next day. These are also pretty good cold! They would be perfect for an appetiser at a dinner party with friends, and could be made smaller again. Go nuts with the filling!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Beans beans the magical fruit

We've been eating lots of bean based main meals and lunches lately, sort of a subconcious way of saving a bit of money - beans are so cheap, and I always have dried beans in jars or cooked beans in the freezer which also makes it a very easy fallback. The only thing is, we've hardly been eating any vegetables (other than beans and onion)! So I went to hang out with my mum in the city on Saturday I ordered the most vege-full thing I could. Bring on the brocolli!
The first thing that started us on the bean frenzy was this: Black Beans in a Red Velvet Mole, on page 134-135 of Appetite for Reduction, my new favourite cookbook. I picked this one night because I had a surplus of black beans in the freezer, and the ingredients sounded so weird and wrong together. Chocolate, tomatoes and chilli? Cinnamon and oregano? Why not! So I made it, it smelled like a cake when it was bubbling away, and at the end it was rather delicious. I don't know if I'll rush to make it again, but it certainly wasn't bad in the slightest! I served it with roasted sweet potato on the side. And I also think Australian chilli powder is way hotter than American - I only put 2 tsp in plus some red chilli flakes and it was just hot enough without burning my mouth out.
Next on the list was the Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya on page 170-171 of Veganomicon. I obviously used black beans instead of white. I made this because I wanted to make risotto, but Nadine would be home late and risotto doesn't stay good for too long after you cook it. I'm sure Nadine wouldn't have minded, but that'll have to wait for another day! but anyway, this was so so good. I didn't have any tomato paste so I omitted it, I used brown rice and so had to cook it for a bit longer, and next time I make it (because I will) I'll put a bit more cayenne in it. I already doubled what it said in the recipe but it's still not much! This was really easy to eat, and was excellent for work lnuch the next day. Oh, and I didn't bake it - I don't think my casserole would be big enough, hahaha.
On Friday it was Nadine's turn in the kitchen - she made the Cincinatti Suburb Chilli on page 80 of Vegan on the Cheap. It was actually a bit similar to the Mole in that it also had cocoa powder in it! I love my bean chilli served on pasta so this was pretty damn good. We also added in some frozen corn kernels and a few cubes of frozen spinach because by this time I was getting a bit concerned about the lack of vegetable! The cheese sauce on top is from the same book, and I've made it a few times now.
No cows were harmed in the making of this toastie

This is a terrible picture, but there was leftover Cheese sauce so I had a cheese toastie in the morning for breakfast! I squeezed some yellow American mustard on it and some black pepper. This tasted like McDonalds - therefore would probably be amazing for a hangover breakfast! I'm going to have another one today but we have no bread so I'll need to run to the shops - I may also try to make some tempeh bacon to put in it. Could a toastie get any better??

So all in all, this week I'm pretty sure we've only needed to buy a million cans of diced tomatoes (we unfortunately have a smaller freezer now and I can't fit in any home cooked tomatoes :( ) and onions!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

We make a lot of everyday things from scratch at home, instead of purchasing at a shop. Some I have posted here on this blog: lip balm, deodorant, milk, bread, nut butter, (I couldn't find the deodorant entry!). But there are many more things I make regularly that haven't quite made it on here yet, but that I intend on eventually posting :)

We do this for a number of reasons. It saves us a helluva lot of money, it's healthier for us and the environment (no harsh chemicals), and it's surprisingly easy. And of course fun, because I am a nerd.
I am very happy Nadine has started to embrace her inner homemade nerd-dom! She decided one day that it would be fun to make laundry detergent, and reap the benefit of the fact that it costs a fraction of the price of the stuff we usually buy (Earth Choice).

I'll write the recipe here - she found it online somewhere, and I reckon it's pretty generic, but if it's yours give us a yell and I'll take it down.

Laundry Detergent
Makes enough for 160 washes


1.5L water
1 bar of soap, grated (you can use any kind, just the average size)
1/2 cup washing soda*
1/2 cup borax**

Combine water and grated soap in a saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until soap is dissolved.

Add the washing soda and borax and stir until thickened.

Pour into a 10L bucket or container with lid and fill with hot tap water and stir.

You can add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance if you like :) We used eucalyptus.

Use 1/4 cup per wash, or less if you like! We keep it in a plastic storage container, and decant it into a recycled Earth choice detergent bottle.

*Washing soda is sodium carbonate. you can buy it in crystal form at Woolworths but I think you can also get it as a powder. (1kg for $5)
**I found borax at Bunnings once for 1kg = $6. Nadine has recently seen borax at Woolies though.

Nadine says this detergent has made our clothes particularly soft! I hate to say this but I don't know because I don't do the laundry very often!

Birthday cupcakes :)

These are the cupcakes we made in replacement of the failed carrot cake cupcakes for my dad's birthday :) They are the chai latte cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and are pretty amazing! I topped them with a vanilla cream cheese (I used King Land Soy Cream Cheese) icing with dusted cinnamon and grated 85% dark chocolate.

The recipe for the icing in the book makes a fair bit more than I needed for the actual cupcakes (which Nadine baked by the way) so I ate the rest out of the bowl. And felt sick. Also pretty sure my teeth will fall out.
Without icing

We figured out my carrot cake cupcakes didn't work because there was too much liquid in it (all the oil came out and dripped through the paper ugh). One of the ingredients is yoghurt and I used my homemade stuff which has a fair bit more water in it than store bought stuff. Ypghurt is also in the chai cupcakes but Nadine drained off the water and strained even more water out of the yoghurt and look! They turned out perfect.

Or maybe Nadine can just bake cupcakes and I can't!
Piping icing is messy. My piping bag is quite ancient and it sort of leaked out. I used a large star shaped nozzle.

Dammit now I want more.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Some interesting produce and souvlaki

Nadine definately knows how to make me happy :) She got me these purple carrots from woolies as a present. Yes I don't get jewellery or chocolates, I get carrots. And it's awesome.

I am actually growing carrots like these (pictured under chicken wire in background) but they aren't ready yet, and only 3 have survived. And I think my ones are orange on the inside, but these from woolies are white on the inside. They also taste like parsnip. In a good way.

I unfortunately decided to use them in some carrot cake cupcakes. Unfortunate because the cupcakes failed miserably. They still taste good so we are going to turn them into a pudding which I'll post later if it's worth it!
The other night I really wanted souvlaki. I am unsure if I've ever actually eaten real souvlaki before but I wanted it anyway. Souvlaki is a greek dish made from lamb chicken or beef, on a skewer. But I obviously didn't  use any of those meats, or put it on a skewer, I made up some seitan instead! I tried to make some seitan using okara but the whole thing fell to pieces in the saucepan, which sucked, so I went back to the recipe for 'simple simmered seitan' in Vegan on the Cheap which of course worked perfectly, since I've made  it a million times.

So, I cooked up the seitan, and sliced half of the recipe into strips (the rest went in the freezer). In a container went half a cup of red wine, a few teaspoons of dried oregano, 1 tsp smoked paprika and some black pepper. I put in the seitan strips, and filled the container with some of the simmering broth to cover the pieces. Shook it up a bit and left it there til dinner, maybe 1 hour?

Meanwhile I made up tzatsiki sauce. 1 cup plain soy yoghurt, 1 small lebanese cucumber diced, zest from half a lemon and juice from half a lemon. There is supposed to be garlic in it but I ran out. Also, I squeezed the cucucmber bits in a paper towel because I didn't want runny tzatsiki. It worked.
I fried up the seitan slices until they were browned and a bit crisp on the outside and ate it all in a multigrain wrap with the tzatsiki and some diced tomato and red onion.

It was so so good.

The only thing is it made the wrap turn into mush (gonna go the skewer route next time) and I wanted to eat more. But if I consumed any more gluten I may have ended up with a stomach ache! There can be too much of a good thing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dangerous Nuts Part 1: Bunya Nut Pikelets

Could you get any more Australian?

So why do I call them dangerous? Well, there is a few reasons.

1.If you sit under a bunya pine while it's in season, you may die. The cones are as big as your head (or bigger!) and can weigh upwards of 10kg. Don't try it. I noticed a tree in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens when I was there last that had a makeshift fence around to stop people having their picnics under it.

2.They can explode. Wear eye protection and stand back if you cook them on a bbq.

3.While trying to pry open a shell on a raw one with a hammer I nearly bashed my finger off.

4.While trying to cut open the shell on a soaked one I nearly chopped off a nipple with the handles of my secateurs. I don't know how, all I know is that it hurt like a motherf*cker. I hope I didn't do any lasting damage!

Okay, so bunya nuts are about as much of a pain in the ass to peel as chestnuts, but not quite. At least these ones stay whole. I looked up all sorts of ways to do it online, but they all sounded hard. One guy said to go outside and hit them with a mallet to crack the shells. I don't have an outside and I don't have a mallet. I could have boiled them whole and then peeled off the shells (with difficulty) afterwards but all my pots and pans were dirty and I couldn't be bothered. I could have roasted them, but I was afraid they'd explode and catch fire because I couldn't split them a little first.

So in the end I decided to soak them overnight in a bowl of cold water, figuring the shells would soften:
And in the morning the shells were indeed soft, so I could hit them a little bit gentler with a hammer than if they were raw-raw:
You can see the cracks in it. A bunya nut has a pointed end and a round end. At the pointed end there are 3 'seams'. Hit the hammer on one of them. The seams will crack and you can peel it.

I decided the hammer freaked me out too much as it was getting too close to my thumbs, so I dug out my secateurs (yes they are rusty and old and under-used and covered in WD-40 and potting mix but did I ever say my kitchen was sanitary?) and decided to just slice off the skins. Use them like a nut cracker first to split the seams (this was way easier than it was with the hammer) and then slice down toward the round end until you can force off the shell.
At this stage the nut can sort of be popped out. You don't have to struggle with pulling off the rest of the skin.

It may come out with a layer of brown stuff on it, like a shelled peanut:
I took it off. Dunno if you have to, I just did.

Now for the cooking. Once you have your desired amount of bunya nuts peeled, give them a bit of a rinse, especially if you used disgusting dirty tools like I did. Mmm WD-40, my favourite!

Then put them into a dry frying pan and cook, as if you were pan roasting cashews to make cashew butter:
Bits will go black and brown and they will smell nice. I had a lid over them for most of it because I didn't have a clean stirring spoon either (I know, I'm a slob) so I could just shake them around. I was also still scared of them exploding in my face (this is unlikely to happen!).

Once they are all browned like in the above picture, put them on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to finely chop like so:
You could just eat them whole too if you like, but this time I decided I wanted to put them in pikelets! Hence the chopping.

I ran a search on google for vegan pikelets as I have never made them before, and found this recipe on The Year of the Vegan which sounded perfect as I had some soft tofu in the fridge I needed to use before it turned yellow.

So I made the recipe exactly as it says except I used wholemeal flour, and didn't have any maple syrup so I used 1 tbsp of rice syrup instead. And at the end of all the whisking, I folded in half a cup of the chopped bunya nuts, and cooked as normal.
I spread vegan marg on them, sprinkled a few extra chopped nuts on top and drizzled them with a good amount of rice syrup. Yum.

(It took me so long to make them all they were cold by the time I got to eat them. But that's ok, they taste better cold and I'm pretty sure pikelets are meant to be eaten cold).

So to wrap up this god awful long entry, what do they taste like??

Well, like nuts, I guess. I want to say they taste like pine nuts (hur, hur!) but I'm not sure what they are like. They have also been compared to chestnuts, and I have to say that's probably the closest thing I can think of too. They have a different texture, quite soft (though that's probably because I soaked them) and were a nice addition to the humble pikelet. Now I have to think of what to do with the rest!! I bought a ½ kilo. Stay tuned for Dangerous Nuts Part 2 :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mmm Chocolate

I bought myself some new cookbooks for my birthday (cuz I totally need more cookbooks...) and they arrived yesterday!

And today was more of the ming numbing sameness as it has been for the last month or so so I was really hankering for a sugary sweet treat when I got home and Nadine had made me cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! these are the Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcakes, which she chose because it didn't have icing and she didn't need to make soymilk for it (we had run out). These are rich rich chocolately cupcakes with a hint of cayenne with cinnamon and cocoa sprinkled on top with icing sugar. It's made with coconut milk (hence the not needing to make more soy) which made it even richer.

Yum. Exactly what I wanted! She even put them in little paper cups :)

You Know You Hate Your Job When...You wish it was you who had the flat tyre on the way in, not your supervisor. Ha.

The cupcakes fixed it all though!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More wheat berries!

(Excuse my scaly wrinkled finger print-less old lady hands! The camera kept shaking and I couldn't get a clear closeup! I suppose I could have cut it out. Oh well.)

Anyway, I love wheat berries, which is what that picture is of, obviously. I've only got about 1/4 cup left so I need to get some more! You know when you eat something and you feel like you've just done something good for your body? That's a wheat berry. (Except, obviously, if you're wheat or gluten intolerant. I'm sorry.)

Anyway, I made the Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl (whew!) from Oh She Glows, for dinner tonight since it sounded so good, and I needed an excuse to buy some more tahini. I had to make some substitutions: used wheat instead of spelt (barley would be awesome, too), used brussels sprouts instead of kale, and chickpeas instead of lentils. I also used garlic chives instead of parsley as my plant still isn't up to scratch.
Such a colourful happy dish!

It's really quite quick to throw together, once you have prepped the wheat and chickpeas. It'd be faster if you used a tin of chickpeas but I don't really like them, and the dried kind is cheaper by miles.

We both loved it (Nadine went back for seconds!) but I found that the tomatoes and lemon juice's acidity hurt my mouth quite a bit. But I am strong and chewed through it! It's very fresh tasting, and I hope it picks me up a little. I don't like being under the weather!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pasta with Cream of Sweet Potato Sauce

I am so, so glad this week is over. Work has been torture. We haven't stopped weeding for weeks now. I don't think we are a maitenance team any more. We are the zombie team who weeds. There are holes worn through all of our gloves (I even wear two pairs at a time because I'm allergic to the plastic in the outside pair!), none of us have any fingerprints left. I even wrote a poem, one day in the monotony!

Emma's fingers, cracked, and bleeding.
Too much weeding.
Too much weeding.

On the upside it's been glorious weather and sitting outside in the sun has been lovely. (Except I'm now permanently attached to a 45 litre bucket. There are two ways to sit: upturned, or on the rim. Upturned hurts my back. On the rim hurts my legs. If I tried to weed these monstrosities standing up, both my legs and back would hurt! Can't win! Haha.)

Anyway, now that the weeding has ceased for the weekend (right back to it on Monday!) I can relax and enjoy some gin with lime, and some nice soft couch sitting while watching the Eurovision Song Contest. Hell, yes.

To the food! Because that IS what this blog is about, not weeds.

Last night I made a simple pasta meal, adapted from the Complete Vegetarian Barbecue Cookbook by Susan Geishopf-Hadler. One day I will actually have a barbecue, and can barbecue things. But this time I just used a frying pan.

Pasta with cream of sweet potato sauce
Serves 6


1 tbsp coconut oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 birdseye chillies, chopped
1 kg sweet potato, diced small
500mL soy milk

2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 tbsp wholemeal flour
pinch of nutmeg
black pepper
500g pasta of choice
Put garlic, onion, chilli and sweet potato in a frying pan with the coconut oil. Cook until sweet potato is soft. You may need to deglaze with water every now and then, unless you have a non stick pan.

Transfer to a food processor (unless your processor is as big as your kitchen sink, you'll need to do it in batches) and blend with ½ cup of the soy milk. Set aside in a bowl.

Start cooking pasta about here.

In a medium saucepan, melt the vegan margarine. Whisk in the flour, and then slowly stir in the remaining soy milk. Stir in the nutmeg and as much black pepper as you like. Cook until slightly thickened.

Stir in the sweet potato mixture. Add some water if it's too thick for you.
Serve on top of cooked pasta :) I fried up some red capsicum as a garnish. Something green would have been nice! Maybe some scattered chives? :)
This meal cost us $1.20 per serve.
It was pretty good, we always like a bit of sweet potato. I don't think I can eat this dish more than twice though, so I've kept the remainder of the sauce to make a lasagne today or tomorrow.
Somehow this meal created dishes up to the ceiling! (Pretty sure there was already some there though). So now I have to spend all day doing them in my postage stamp sized sink. Oh well! Later today I intend on doing some more training for the half marathon (I am already getting fitter! It's awesome), and digging up my lemon grass.
(As an afterthought, I find I edit my posts a lot. Typos, etc. Does that mean the entry comes up in your reading whatsit five million times? If so, sorry!!! I'm trying hard not to need to edit any more!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ginormous farmer's market vegetable stew

I spent my Sunday listening to records and fiddling about the house. I love watching the needle touch down.

It was lovely until the neighbour decided to deafen me and everyone in Perth with her doof doof. Oh well, I played records all day yesterday too :)
This is today's farmer's markets haul. From bottom left clockwise: the best bananas in the world, 1/4 jap pumpkin, celery, kale, brazil nuts, bunya nuts (no idea of what to do with these yet!), parsnip, turnips and potato.

Almost all of the above turned into a gigantic stew!
Serves 6 (big)

400g turnips
700g potatoes
200g carrot
600g pumpkin
250g parsnip
250g celery (about 4 stalks), sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans
500g brown onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp whole peppercorns, crushed or cracked
1 thyme stem left whole
2cm long stem of rosemary left whole
3 bay leaves
2 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
8 cups weak chicken style stock (or water)
125g short pasta (any shape!)
The method is very simple, as with all stew/soup type dealies.

First, I peeled things that needed peeling (I peel parsnips because we find the skin bitter, and I peeled the larger turnip but left the skin on the smaller one as per the Internet's reccomendations).

Chop everything into large chunks, try to keep the size uniform.

Put everything into a large stock pot, except the pasta shapes and cooked kidney beans. (As you can see, mine was ALMOST too small. [5L] I could have used a smaller potato or something!)

Give it a gentle stir, so as not to overflow the pot, unless yours is ginormous.

Bring pot to a boil, then turn down and simmer for half an hour.

(At this point I turned it off and left it for about an hour while I went to pick Nadine up from work, so if you don't need to leave it just check to see if the vegetables are cooked.)

The pumpkin will be falling apart - this is good. If you want your pumpkin chunks to stay whole, don't put them in at the beginning.

I found that it was too watery still, so I thickened it with a bit of cornflour. This is optional.

Bring back to a boil and add the pasta and beans. Cook until pasta is ready (about as long as the packet says!) Cooking the pasta in it also helps to thicken the gravy!

Serve and enjoy! I served ours with some sauteed kale and silverbeet, but feel free to go for bread or something.

This was so hearty and flavourful. If you aren't into spicy, cut down the pepper to half. It was very peppery, just how I like it! The herbs were light enough for us to be able to taste each different vegetable, which was good. I liked how the pumpkin turned into mush and spread through the whole thing, making it soupy. 

For something that I just made up on the spot, I'm quite happy with the results! I think this is the first time I've had turnips cooked properly. Last time I tried they were pretty thick and raw haha. I like them. I'll probably buy more next week and do something different.

This would be awesome to chuck in a slow cooker to come home to after work! Unfortunately I don't have one. One day I will, when I have more storage!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

More noodly lunch

Today I was cruelly reminded of Saturday kiddie sports. I mapped out a seemingly simple 10km route using to get it nice and accurate, and at about 5km there is a sports field belonging to some college which is fine, EXCEPT the damn psycho parents were parked all along the footpath, road, and everywhere in between. So the screeching kids and screaming parents and whistles and HUGE GIGANTIC 4WD VEHICLES made me get lost and I ended up only doing just under 7km.

But oh well, it was still a fair chunk! And I finished in 1 hour 5 mins so I got faster at walking, hooray. I may yet fit 22km in 3 hours. Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to do 10km on my bike, on a different route! Do kids play sport on Sundays? Either way there's a nice steep hill in that route so I wouldn't be able to get my bike up it. I might go to the farmer's markets the long way. I haven't been there in ages.
The other night I accidentally intercepted Bob on the way to the loo and put her in a little tent Nadine got from her work for free. She disagreed. It's a bit funny that we were wathcing Shrek on telly at the time and that grey thing she's murdering? A donkey. Haha.

And now for a little bit of food!
In my previous entry, I mentioned a black bean and sweet potato salad I made. We ate in on Thursday night as a cold salad on the side of a pile of sauteed silverbeet in vegan margarine and some grileld tofu with a soy sauce and red wine vinegar marinade. I did end up buying a lime and squeezed some juice over it. It was pretty good, but the flavours seemed to dissipate as time went on. I had it for lunch the next day and had to fight to taste the garlic. Next time I'll make a proper sort of dressing.
Anyhow, I kept the marinade from the tofu and used it in this stir fry noodle bowl I made myself for lunch today, after my walk. It's basically a huge pile of noodles, 1 sliced carrot, a big handful of cashew nuts, a big handful of shredded red cabbage (is there any other kind?), sesame seeds, garlic, ginger and chilli.

Mmmm looking at that braised cabbage thing is making me want to make it again. Maybe red cabbage is in season and therefore will be cheap at the markets tomorrow. Hmm.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A day of cooking

I couldn't go to work again today because my car is yes, still broken. And unfortunately my previous assessment of it not costing too much has changed.

So today I decided to cook up food for the week! Mostly as a way to relax, and also to try and make some food without buying anything. It worked :) I even cleaned my oven, organised the crockery cupboard and did all the dishes!

The above picture is tomorrow nights dinner and Friday's lunch. I was inspired to make it after seeing this recipe for Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad on Oh She Glows. I changed it up a bit to suit what I had, and I sort of mated it with another salad on her blog.

I roasted together 1 diced small sweet potato, 1 large onion and a whole thing of garlic for about 1/2 an hour. I defrosted two can's worth of black beans that I cooked up last week. Meanwhile I was cooking 1 cup of dry wheat berries in 3 cups of water (this took about 40 mins). When it was all done I put the sweet potato, onion, black beans and wheat in a bowl and squeezed out the garlic cloves and mixed it together well.

It's really delicious just like that without any spices or dressing, but I might go with some lime juice tomorrow, and maybe some fresh herbs. I have all sorts in the garden right now. Wheat berries are awesome, by the way. I've never used them before, but now I may never cook rice again! Nah, kidding since rice doesn't take as long! But they are chewy and sort of pop in your mouth. And taste really really good.
I made up some whole wheat pastry on Monday, intending to make these little pies that afternoon but got distracted, so they had to wait until today. Last week I made a large pie with the same filling (red lentils, mushroom gravy, broad beans, peas, tofu) and I made too much filling so I froze it to use for little ones. I think these ones are better than my original 'family' pie! Maybe it's the pastry/filling ratio. I made 6, had two for lunch and froze the other 4 to have as emergency lunches in case I forget to make enough dinner for leftovers.
At the same time I made dinner for tonight and lunch for tomorrow! It's essentially a chana masala type dish. I threw together in my awesome red frypan rescued from mum's house: 1 sliced onion, 4 cloves garlic, 3cm ginger, 1 can's worth of frozen chickpeas, 1 pkt frozen tofu, 1 small carrot, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 400g can crushed tomatoes, 1 tbsp garam masala, 2 tsp coriander seed ground, 1 tsp chilli powder and black pepper.

And so now I'll be doing the dishes I made by cooking while waiting for the mechanic to tell me my stupid car is ready to be picked up.

On the upside, all I have to do all week now is turn on the microwave.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Unexpected day off work...

...For a crappy reason - even though last week the thermostat was replaced, my car continues to overheat! Very sad. So I had to take it in to a mechanic today to get fixed. Which means I can't get to work (I looked up public transport - I'd have to get the bus at 4:15am. Ha.) Fortunately it isn't going to cost too much. I'll still be being extra thrifty for the next few weeks though! Not working today lost me a bit! Oh well. Hopefully this time it stays fixed.

Anyway so we had some out of state friends over for dinner last night. We had delicious delicious curry which I keep meaning to post but the pictures look crap, I've made it about 5 times it's so fabulous! Drank a few drinks - scotch and soda, and gin and water and lime. (We have to force ourselves to drink the bottle shop we already have before buying more wine!!) and afterwards we played trivial pursuit, and Nadine beat us all down with shame. She literally knows everything.

So since today I was off work, I could make whatever I wanted for lunch. I was reading this post at the tropical vegan, and thought the first one looked particularly delicious, so I made something similar! When I was in highschool, I used to come straight home from school and make some spicy 2 minute noodles and grate about two cows' worth of cheese into it so it all melted and turned into a gluggy noodle cake/soup mess.

Yes I was feral. This is a much better idea!
I had all the ingredients already (noodles leftover from the rice paper rolls I made the other day). I grated half a sweet potato, finely chopped half an onion, a clove of garlic and a fair few frozen peas into a frypan with a tiny bit of rice bran oil. Cooked until it all softens (smells really good) and I put the preared bean thread noodles into the pan and tossed it all with a sauce made from peanut butter, vegetarian oyster sauce and some water, and then served with some sesame oil. Yum. Served the both of us.
I was so stressed about my car dying again that I dreamed about the engine exploding, I actually slept-walked (got up and put on Nadines old doc martens thinking they were running shoes - I only woke up because they were the hard ones and felt funny.) Ugh. So I decided some biscuits were in order, and thought these shortbread on Tea and Simpatico sounded lovely. I followed the recipe exactly except used wholemeal flour and three tea bags of chai tea. They were sooooo good. We had them with a cup of vanilla green tea :)

By the way, it totally hailed this afternoon.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Training Begins, Homemade Sausages and Scones!

Nadine stretches woo!
We started training for our half marathon last week, really. We accidentally walked 10km! We thought the distance would be about 6km but it took us 2 hours to get there and back, so we looked it up and it was actually ten. No wonder our legs hurt. But today we did just a short one - 5km walking with sporadic jogging to break up the monotony. I just bought two cheapie pedometers, so hopefully it makes it a little easier to see exactly how far we are going. Google maps isn't really accurate enough for my liking!
Like my stretchy pants? I love them. About $10 at Target, they are SO COMFY and prevent chafing - important in a 21km walk. They come in all different lengths. I got one pair in full length and one in 3/4.
After lunch we wanted to go to have coffee somewhere but the place had closed up for the day so we came back home and I made some fluffy white scones and coffee! (To celebrate the royal nuptials hahahaha). I made them as traditional as I could - bought white self raising flour and everything! I used this recipe I found on the BBC. Unfortunately it barely makes 4 scones, but that's probably a good thing as scones don't really reheat well. We had them with jam and some cashew cream I had leftover from the Panna Cotta I made yesterday. I'm not too fussed on the cashew cream - I wanted to make the 'clotted cream' I found on this entry by Oh She Glows (which inspired me to make scones to celebrate the wedding in the first place) but I couldn't find Tofutti cream cheese (or any other vegan kind) at woolies (and the shop I would otherwise get it from was closed) so I couldn't. Next time.
I have a three level steamer! It certainly comes in handy.
I decided to make some sausages for dinner! I found the recipe yonks ago on Vegan Dad's blog and have always wanted to make them (but I am lazy and keep buying the sanitarium ones which are good). I doubled the recipe and made about 8 or 9 I think. I could have made them smaller, they were a bit giant!
I also didn't mash the beans enough (I used black beans) and I thought they would be ruined but they weren't at all. Though next time I am pureeing them in the food processor first. Yes it looks like a poo.
I also didn't put enough herbs in, but trial and error! They were still delicious. We made mashed sweet potatoes (with rosemary), and steamed brussels sprouts, carrots, peas and corn with lemon and pepper and garlic. Yum. I didn't think as far ahead as sauce though! Gravy would have been good.