Curried shepherd’s pie

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We have been getting our organic fruit and veggies delivered from Lettuce Delivery for a couple weeks now and are totally loving it…except for the fact that we are now over run by potatoes…so many potatoes. About ten came with each delivery and we aren’t big potato eaters. Something had to be done…and I didn’t feel like baked wedges…hence the creation of the curried shepherd’s pie…loosely based on my mum’s delicious classic that she’s been making since I became vegetarian twelve years ago, but with a bit of a curry kick. This made eight servings and probably cost under ten dollars to make. That’s one economical sheph’s pie!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen Peas
1 large Carrot diced
1 medium zucchini diced
1 large Celery stalk, including leafy bits, diced
1 can of Chickpeas
1 Potato diced for the lentil/veg layer
4 potatoes chopped and boiled for top
1 sweet potato chopped and boiled for top
1 cup red Lentils
About 2-3 cups of water
1/2 TBS Dijon
1 TBS tomato sauce
1 TBS miso paste
1 TBS soy sauce
Good amount of Himalayan rock salt and cracked pepper
Tumeric
Cumin seeds
Coriander
Cinnamon
flour to thicken, I used chickpea flour

Rinse lentils and put in a big fry pan with water. Bring to a boil and then add the carrot and potato. Simmer until lentils are cooked and carrot and potato softened. Add more water if it’s too thick. Add the carrot, celery, zucchini, chickpeas, Dijon, miso, soy, tomato paste and spices. To be honest, I never measure anything and all the quantities are rough guesses. Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t be shy with the spices! Add flour in slowly and stir until it’s nice and creamy and a good consistency. Not too thick, not too runny. Pour into a casserole dish.

Roughly dice the four potatoes and sweet potato and boil until soft. Drain and mash. I added coconut butter, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to my mash.

Spread mash on top of lentil and veggies and top with breadcrumbs, black sesame seeds and nutritional yeast.

Bake at about 200 for fifteen minutes with foil and fifteen minutes without.

Serve with a salad and enjoy leftovers for days to come!!

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Fudgy carrot banana cake

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I made this carrot banana cake for a picnic at the park this weekend and it’s been getting better and better as it’s been sitting in the fridge. It’s very moist and almost a fudgy-like consistency.

Ingredients:

2 large carrots grated
2 large ripe bananas mashed
3 TBS flax meal + 1/3 cup rice milk mixed together and set aside to ‘gel’. This will be the binding agent
1/8 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
Dash of maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour (I used chickpea flour, any combo of flours will work though)
1/2 cup quick rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Handful of crushed walnuts

Combine the wet ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients. Mix together. Pour into a greased cake pan or loaf pan.
Bake at a low temp for about an hour.

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I highly recommend a cashew frosting made by blending a cup or so or soaked cashews + lemon juice + a couple medjool dates + vanilla + cinnamon!!

Dad’s favourite banana bread

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It’s been waaaaaaaaaaaay too long. I’ve just been super busy and not cooking anything that interesting…still yummy and healthy mind you, just nothing quite ‘blogable’.

Last night I came down with some sort of flu that I picked up from a little girl I was babysitting. I accidentally drank from a glass that she had licked and breathed into, so kind of my fault, but still really annoying.

All I could stomach all day was tea and fruit and I had a mad craving for banana bread so I crawled out of bed to quickly make this. Crawled back in while it was baking, and then out again to eat it!!

My Dad has coined this ‘the best banana bread ever’. He gets pretty excited about it when I make it when I’m at home in Van, and you have to get in quick if you want a peice! It’s super rustic, hearty, and just the perfect amount of sweetness. I added walnuts and cacao nibs. Pear chunks are good too!

Gluten free/Dairyfee/eggfree/sugarfree

Recipe:

Dry:

1 1/3 cups oats, slightly ground up
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1 TBS baking soda
Cinnamon
2 TBS flax meal

Wet:

1/4 cup coconut oil melted or veg oil
3 bananas mashed
Vanilla to taste
3/4 cup sweetener (brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, agave) I did mostly honey with some maple syrup
4 tablespoons rice milk or water

Mix the flax with the 4 tablespoons of rice milk and set aside. This will be the binding agent.

Mash the bananas and add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients.

Once the flax has formed a sort of gel,mix everything together and add extras of your choice. I added chia seeds, walnuts and cacao nibs!!

Bake for about 1 hour at 180 degrees in a greased loaf tin.

Enjoy!

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Creamy tahini vegetable porridge

Good morning all and a quick post to say that I have concocted one of my best porridge combos to date.
I just don’t feel complete without at least one serving of veg with my breakfast. Usually I have a green smoothie which has heaps of veg in it but on a cold rainy morning, porridge is usually where it’s at, so I like to get creative and add in veg where I can.

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Meet creamy tahini porridge with zucchini and carrot!!

1/4 cup oats
1/2-3/4 water/soy milk/what have you
Sprinkle of chia seeds
Sprinkle of ground flax seed
Sprinkle of coconut flakes
About 1/4 of a grated zuchini and 1/4 of a grated carrot
1/2 banana chopped
1 heaped tablespoon tahini
Sweetener to taste. I used some stevia, and a little honey
Drop of vanilla
1 scoop wheatgrass powder
Walnuts
Hemp seeds
Coconut sugar

Bring oats and water to a boil and turn down to low. Add a bit more water/milk and the grated veg and stir for a minute or so before adding the rest of the ingredients, saving the walnuts, hemp seeds and coconut sugar to sprinkle on top.

Don’t be freaked out about adding veg to your porridge! This almost tastes like carrot cake batter! It’s creamy and sweet with a perfect variety of textures.

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Raw beetroot frozen delight

Raw desserts are one of my favourite things in life…one of a very large list of favourite things, but it’s on there, somewhere after my brother and sister and before devouring a pound of fresh blueberries on a sunny Vancouver summers day.

Raw desserts are probably my favourite thing to create in the kitchen because like baking, you get a sweet delectable treat to enjoy but unlike baking, there is no exact science to it..infact, it’s quite the opposite. Crazy, mad science. When I am making a raw dessert I am like a mad scientist and you should probably steer clear of the kitchen because I will have taken over every inch of counter space, I will have used every available spoon and I will probably (accidentally) knock you out of the way or smack you with the spatula; there will be stray cashews strewn on the floor, coconut oil in my hair a smile on my face and billows of cinnamon filling the air.

And the result, after all of this, is a really big mess (that i’ll be hoping Ali will clean up) and an amazing dessert that will put a smile on your face, excite your taste buds and nourish your whole body.

Today I wanted to make something great. I had no idea what but I knew it was going to be good. I had some beetroots that needed to be used so I began by shredding those in the blender and decided I was going to make walnut beet mince to go over pasta. However sometime during the blending process I suddenly had a vision of sweet, silky beetroot mouse…so I ditched the walnuts and instead ended up adding to the blended beets, (about 11/2cups) an array of ingredients including, (these measurements are all estimates as I was definitely NOT in a measuring state of mind), the following:

-coconut oil, couple of heaped tablespoons
-banana, 1 small
-avocado, 1 small
-coconut cream, 1 heaped tablespoon
-lemon juice, good squirt
-vanilla extract, few drops
-coconut sugar, tablespoon or so
- honey, until it tastes sweet enough for your taste buds!
- cashews, handful (better if they are soaked)
-chia seeds, good sprinkle

I just kept adding, tasting, adding, tasting until it was was the most beautiful shade of pink you’ve ever seen and tasted like heaven.

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At which point I blended up a quick crust of:
-dates
-oatmeal
-coconut flakes
-walnuts
-coconut oil
-a couple more tablespoons of beets to keep with the pink theme

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I pressed the crust into my cake pan, poured the pink beet mouse on top and placed it in the freezer to set so it was firm but not totally frozen.

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The coconut whipped cream really finished it off beautifully and I would highly recommend it. To make coconut whipped cream you simply put a can of coconut milk in the fridge, or of your house is freezing like our is, you don’t even have to bother with that step. The cold makes the coconut cream separate from the coconut water and when you open the can the thick creamy bit will be on the top. Spoon that into your blender with sweetener of your choice, I used coconut sugar. And whatever else you like. I added some vanilla and lemon juice.

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The sprinkle of cinnamon and coconut flakes were not only pretty but added to the whole amazing taste experience.

This dessert will not only satisfy your sweet tooth but it will also serve your body in an amazing way…here are some of the health benefits of beetroot:
It contains a host of nutritional compounds like magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and calcium as well as small amounts of copper, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese, reduces blood pressure levels, aids blood flow to the brain and halts age-related ailments like dementia, amazing antioxidant and helps prevent the formation of cancerous tumors, detoxifies the liver and also cures diseases of the digestive system, widens blood vessels and reduces the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during physical activity, very good source of folic acid and lowers bad cholesterol level.

What’s not to love…it’s pink, delicious and good for every inch of your body!

On another note, I realise I haven’t been posting much at all and I also realised the other day that I’ve been writing the blog for over a year!! My life is so much different then it was a year ago on a lot of levels.
Then I was nannying four days a week and partying the other three days. I had lots of time most evenings after work to cook and then blog about it and lots of time on the weekends when I was too hungover to do anything but write about food.
Now i’m studying design four days a week in Newtown, so between the commute, the hours at school and homework I just don’t have the time to blog.
Also, i’ve slowly but surely grown out of my partying ways and am so much more in love with my life because of it. Where weekends were once about getting drunk sometimes thursday, definitely Friday, most likely Saturday and often Sunday; waking up with regrets, a pounding head, exhausted liver and rotting stomach. Days would be a struggle to get through and would usually consist of eating a bunch of random food to try and fill the empty feeling that the booze left in my stomach, laying on the beach (if the hangover wasn’t TOO bad), napping and then doing it all over again, and only feeling better when the first drink hit my blood stream.
Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, and I don’t regret it.
But I’m happier now. I’m happy to have quiet nights, drinking tea and (eating liver detoxifying beetroot cake), and then filling my weekend days with fulfilling activities, doing artwork, running, surfing, tennis, cooking (but being too busy to blog about it) gardening, feeling alive, feeling healthy, waking up with a clear mind and a happy liver and tummy that craves a green smoothie, not a greasy fry up and ibuprofen.
So, that’s why I haven’t been posting as much. I do however post all my food pics on my instagram henrileee (that’s three e’s) so feel free to follow me for daily pictures of healthy cruelty fee delights!!!

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I hope your day is beautiful!!

Vegan Lasagna with Alana

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Last night my friend Alana and I enjoyed a lovely Friday night in; complete with wine, lasagna cooking (and eating), and movies.
This is weird but I’ve never actually made a baked lasagna before. My mum used to make vegetarian lasagna all the time and it was one of my favourites but for some reason in the three years since I have lived out of home I’ve never made it myself. Also, Alana is a newly turned vegetarian (yipeee) and has been wanting to try a veg lasagna out. So that is why we set out on our lasagna making adventure…and it turned out so so well.
We didn’t have a recipe or anything when we set out for the ‘about life natural market place’ in Bondi, just a vision of a kick ass vegan lasagna. So we filled our baskets with random veggies and some other bits n pieces as we gawked at all the amazing looking food in that store.

lasagna ingredients:

-gluten free lasagna sheets (the ones you don’t have to pre-cook
-jar of tomato sauce with basil
-vegan tofutti sour cream
-cheesly vegan cheese
-rocket pesto
-spinach
-eggplant
-carrots
-zucchini’s
-sweet potatoes (orange and the purple ones)
-purple onion
-mushrooms

We began by pouring some wine (important part of lasagna making, not advised to omit), preheating the oven and then slicing up the carrots and sweet potatoes which we drizzled in olive oil, Himalayan rock salt and pepper and put in the oven while we prepared the rest which is as follows:

-slice the eggplant and onion and place in a covered fry pan on high heat with some oil and water and salt. Cook until eggplant is quite tender.

-mix about four big handfuls of spinach with tofutti sour cream and a few tablespoons of pesto in a big bowl. We also added some cilantro and salt and pepper.

-in a large baking tray pour some tomato sauce and then cover with lasagna sheets.

-layer 2: pre baked veggies and mushrooms

-layer 3: spinach layer

-layer 5: zucchini slices

-layer 4: more lasagna sheets

-layer 5: more tomato sauce, the eggplant and onion and crumbled vegan cheese

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The lasagna in progress!!

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All ready to bake!! It took about half an hour in a really toasty pre heated oven.

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The finished progress!!! Alana failed a bit on taking it of the pan nicely but presentation aside, sooooo tastyyyyyyyyyy!

I just had leftovers for breakfast and it was even better!!!!

Healthy Anzac biscuits

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In honour of Anzac Day I made a healthy raw version of the traditional Anzac biscuit which are usually loaded with butter, sugar and white flour. They turned out SOOOO goooooood and take about 5-10 minutes to throw together.

Ingredients:
1 cup of oats
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 TBS flax meal
1 cup almond flour
Cinnamon to taste
1 banana mashed (or just more honey would probably work, I wasn’t planning on adding the banana at all until I realised I only had a teeny bit of honey left. However the addition of the banana I think added to the yum factor)
2-3 TBS honey
1/4 cup coconut oil

Toast the oats, coconut and almond slivers lightly. Mix all ingredients together. Form into ball-ish shapes and refrigerate. Either eat them cold or heat them slightly under the griller. Either way they are amazing!

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I don’t know how similar the taste is to actual Anzac biscuits because I haven’t had one in years, but I DO know that these puppies are delicious and will serve your body well instead of dragging it down.

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Lest we forget the Anzacs <3

Ultimate chocolate cupcakes

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Vegan. Gluten free. Sugar free. The best thing you might ever put in your mouth.

These cupcakes prove in one bite that white sugar is simply unnecessary. They also smash any stereotypes that some people may have of what vegan baking is, and of what gluten free baking is.

There is this idea that if you’re vegan, you’re depriving yourself, that if you don’t eat sugar you can never have dessert, and if you’re gluten free then it may just be the end of the world.

I’ve been all of these things for quite sometime now, and I promise you, it’s not the end of the world, but a beginning of a whole new world really.

A world in which food becomes your fuel and your energy, your medicine, your defence against disease, your free card to longevity, a world where, free of artificial flavours, sodium and sugar, your taste buds come alive, a world where the planet doesn’t suffer because of your food choices and in a world of so much violence, promotes a little peace and love for our four legged inhabitants.
I’m passionate about this world, and I’m passionate about these cupcakes and everything that they stand for.
So please, make them, eat them, you’ll see what I mean…

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Makes 23 cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Wet ingredients:

2 cups non-dairy milk. I used rice milk
1 cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil or combo
1 cup mix of honey/agave syrup/maple syrup
4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Egg replacer equivalent to two eggs

Combine and set aside

Dry ingredients:

1 3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 3/4 cup cocoa
3 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS instant coffee granules

Mix well. Add wet to dry slowly. Whisk until very smooth. Spoon into a cupcake pan. Alternatively you could make it as a cake. I’d probably make two and stack them.

Bake for about twenty minutes, until firm-ish but not too firm! They will firm up as they cool, resulting in a fudgy, moist texture that is still fluffy and soft.

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For the icing I mixed up some natural peanut butter, cacao, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, corn starch and rice milk.

Let cool before icing.

Put in your mouth, enjoy.

Raw granola bars

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I found a really yummy sounding recipe for baked granola bars but for convenience and nutritional sake I decided to adapt the recipe to a raw version. They turned out amazing and we have been happily snacking on them all week!

Recipe:

Dry ingredients:

1 cup ground flax seeds
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup walnuts
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried banana
1/4 cup oats

Wet ingredients:

1 1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup dried apricots
4 TBS coconut oil
2-5 TBS honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/2 TBS vanilla

Pulse all the nuts in a food processor so thy are lightly chopped up. (You can sub for any other nuts or whatever so long as the wet/dry ratio is still close to the same) place all dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Blend the dates and apricots into a chunky paste and add to the dry ingredients along with the other wet ingredients. Mix until well combined and then take out about 1 1/2 cups and place in the blender. Blend this until a sticky ‘dough’ forms (this will hold the bars together). Place back in the bowl, combine and press into a lined shallow pan. Keep in the fridge and enjoy!

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Pasta times two

We went to our friend Georgia’s place on Friday night and she made us the yummiest pasta ever!!! So yummy I had to share it…here is the picture and recipe from the book Plenty by Ottolenghi:

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…and here is her amazing rendition

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It had the best creamy sort of texture, and the combo of the fried eggplant and fresh mango was epic. I highly recommend this if you want to impress people…She certainly impressed us!

Here is the recipe as I think the photo is too small to make out:

1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 crushed garlic
1/2 fresh red chilli chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Grated zest and juice of one lime
1 cup sunflower oil
2 eggplants cut into 3/4 inch dice
9 oz soba noodles
1 large ripe mango
1 2/3 cup chopped basil leaves
2 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 purple onion slices very thin

In a small saucepan warm vinegar, sugar and salt for one minute.
Remove from heat and add garlic, chilli, sesame oil. Allow to cool and then add lime juice and zest.

Heat sunflower oil in a large pan. Shallow fry the eggplant 3-4 batches at a time. Once golden brown remove to a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt and leave to drain.

Cook noodles in plenty of boiling salted water stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes until tender but al dente.

Drain and rinse under running cold water. Shake off excess water and then leave to dry on a dish towel.

In a large mixing bowl toss noodles with dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion.

Set aside for minimum thirty minutes. When ready to serve mix through the rest of the herbs and pile on plates or bowls.

While I’m on the subject of pasta, I made a HUGE pasta salad yesterday so that we could have dinner and leftovers for lunches for the week. It made just over five servings…I suppose if you’re feeding a family that is pretty standard, but for us that means a whole lotta pasta

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I used two cups of spelt pasta, about two cups of frozen peas, a cup of fresh corn, a red and a yellow capsicum, some olives, and a zucchini. We will have the pasta with rocket or lettuce as well but I couldn’t fit it in the bowl!

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For the dressing I just used the oil left in the olive container and mixed in about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, paprika, dill, salt and pepper and some mustard powder.

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Yum!!