Way before I went vegan I used to love baking up sweet treats for myself and the family, one of our favourites was this super moist lemon cake that I made a few times. But after becoming vegan I pretty much stopped baking because I didn’t know how to make anything without using eggs. A few days ago I was seriously craving some sugar and was feeling inspired to finally hit the kitchen and try to veganise my lemon cake recipe. Spoiler alert: it was a huge hit with the fam :))
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup applesauce (I used a sweetened one)
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (~3 oranges)
1 cup olive oil
3 tsp lemon juice
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (~8 lemons)
250 g icing sugar
Grease and lightly flour bundt cake pan
Mix all cake ingredients in a cake mixer (you could do it my hand it’ll just take a while). The mixture will probably fizz up, don’t worry it’s normal. Keep mixing until the batter is smooth with no lumps
Transfer to the greased pan and bake at 150 C for about 45 mins to 1 hour. Check every 20 mins or so with a skewer, it’s done when the tester comes out clean
Meanwhile, mix the glaze ingredients together with a whisk and place it in a jug with a spout
Remove the cake from the oven and with a chopstick, or something of a similar size, poke holes into the cake making sure not to reach the bottom
Slowly pour about half of the glaze over the holes and let sit for 15 mins
Flip the cake onto a plate and gently remove from the pan
Pour the remaining glaze over the cake and let sit for another 15 mins then you’re done!
In our house, we LOVE ramen. Before we became vegan, there was a time when Max and I used to go and have ramens for lunch at least once every week. There was a little restaurant run by Japanese guys down the road from my office and they had a lunch special where you could get a huge bowl of ramen with gyozas and rice for something like $15 NZD. It was epic. And epic-ally delicious.
But not so healthy 😦 Max gained some fair amount of weight those days haha.
Anyway, I digress.
It has been really hard finding a good vegan ramen. We went to a few places but none really hit the spot. Then I came across a recipe from Serious Eats that just sounded too good not to try. I tried it but with some modifications to save time. The first time I made it, Max’s verdict was that I shouldn’t make it again because it took a lot of time and for that amount of time the taste was not matching up to it.
But I didn’t give up.
Since then, I’ve been trying different variations and trying to perfect it and make it better each time. The last time I made it was about a month ago and it was DELICIOUS. We all loved it and had seconds. And, it took less time.
Max especially requested that I made ramen today and I was more than happy to oblige 🙂 And this time, I recorded it all down on paper (or well, actually, on this blog) so next time we can repeat it exactly as it was this time around. Perfection. Max said he wanted to eat my ramen because he had ramen a few days ago for his work dinner, only it was not vegan (vegan fail!) and he did not like it. Can you believe it, after dinner today he told me that this vegan ramen tastes much, MUCH, nicer than the one he had a few days ago. WIN!! YUS. DELICIOUS, PERFECTION, VEGAN RAMEN: ACHIEVED!
For the sweet potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or other chilli powder)
pepper to taste
For the eggplant and stock
1 medium sized eggplant
1 medium onion
1 bulb of garlic
Some slices of ginger
6 spring onions
a small piece of dried kelp
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp mirin
For the crumbled tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika powder.
1 pack (approx 380g) extra firm tofu
For the tahini-miso paste
2 cloves finely diced garlic
3 Tbsp white miso paste
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp soy sauce
fried shiitake mushrooms (I used approximately 400g)
desired amount of ramen noodles
Step 1 – Roast the sweet potatoes
Cut 1 large sweet potato into cubes. Place in a large bowl.
Season with 1 Tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or any other chilli powder you have/prefer) and some pepper.
Mix the sweet potatoes so that it is coated well with oil and the seasoning.
Put into an oven tray lined with baking paper.
Roast in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes.
Flip and roast for another 5 minutes
Step 2 – Roast the veggies
Pierce 1 medium sized eggplant all around with a knife.
Cut 1 medium onion into half.
Separate one head of garlic into cloves and put it on a sheet of aluminium foil. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and wrap the foil up.
Put the eggplant, onion and garlic into the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius or until the onion is charred and the eggplant is cooked through and soft so that it has no resistance towards the stem or the base.
Remove the eggplant and wrap it foil. Set aside.
Set aside the onion and garlic too.
Step 3 – Make the stock
In a large pot (I used a Dutch Oven) add: the roasted onions, garlic, 6 sprigs of roughly chopped spring onions, a small piece of dried kelp, 6 dried shiitake mushrooms and a few slices of ginger.
Add in 4 cups of stock and 4 cups of hot water.
Bring it to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 1 hour.
After the 1 hour, strain the stock. Save the garlic cloves and discard the rest of the veggies. Set aside the garlic cloves for use later.
Add any juice from the roasted eggplant to the stock and then set the stock aside.
Step 4 – Make the crumbled tofu
In a large bowl, mix together 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, 2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast flakes, 1 tsp of cayenne pepper or chilli, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika powder.
Crumble in 1 pack of (approx 380g) extra firm tofu. Mix well.
Lay the tofu on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes, checking and turning the tofu every 15 minutes.
Step 5 – Make the eggplant topping
Take the roasted eggplant and scoop out the flesh into a bowl (you can also keep some of the skin if you like).
Add 1 Tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 tsp of mirin.
Mix well and set aside.
Step 6 – Make the sweet potato mixture to add to stock
Take the garlic gloves that you had set aside earlier, peel it, and put it into a blender.
Add 1/2 cup of the roasted sweet potatoes and 1 cup of stock to the blender.
Blend until smooth.
Step 7 – Fry the mushrooms
Slice the mushrooms and fry with a little bit of oil in a frying pan. Set aside.
Step 8 – Prepare the tahini-miso paste to add to stock
While the mushrooms are frying, begin to prepare the tahini-miso paste. Take a small bowl and add: 2 cloves of finely diced garlic, 3 Tbsp of white miso paste, 2 Tbsp of tahini and 2 Tbsp of soy sauce. Mix well to combine.
Step 9 – Heat the stock and add in the sweet potato mixture and tahini-miso paste
Start to heat the stock over low heat. Add in the sweet potato mixture and the tahini-miso paste. PS make sure the stock is not boiling (some bubbles are okay, but not a steady/rapid boil) otherwise the tahini will start to separate and get clumpy!
Stir to combine.
Step 10 – Blanch the bok choy and cook the ramen noodles
Wash and cut the bok choy vertically in half.
In a large pot over high heat, add in boiling water and then the bok choy.
Blanch the bok choy in the boiling water for approximately 1 minute then remove from the water.
Add the ramen noodles into the boiling water and cook according to the time on the packet. Drain.
Step 11: Putting it all together
In a bowl, first put the desired amount of noodles, then the bok choy, then laddle with the soup.
Add in the toppings: the sweet potatoes, fried mushrooms, crumbled tofu that we made and eggplant.
Dahl and veggies with rice, ah, perfect dish for cold Winter nights. Aaaaaand, according to Dr Gregor, lentils beat other beans in their antioxidant content, and they are good for heart health and for fighting cancer.
So, win for the lentils!
This dish is easy to make and makes enough for yummy leftovers the next day.
6 cloves of garlic and 1 chilli (chilli is optional), crushed or finely chopped
1 Tbsp of vegan butter (or normal butter, if you’re not vegan)
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of whole cumin
1 tomato, chopped
A generous pinch of garam masala
Coriander, chopped (optional)
Soak the split mung dal and toor dal in water for at least 1 hour
When ready to cook, drain and rinse the dals. Place the dals into a pot. Add the masoor dal into the pot.
Add 2 cups of hot water, 3 cups of stock, and 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder. Add the crushed ginger. Turn on the heat to medium and let it come to a boil.
Once it is boiling, add 1 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste), reduce the heat to low and let it continue to cook (you can partially cover it but keep checking as the dal tends to boil over).
Keep cooking until the lentils break down and are completely soft and smooth.
While the dal is cooking, prepare your other ingredients: slice the onions and crush the garlic and chilli.
Start making the ‘tadka’ (the tempered spices and oil) – in a frying pan, add the vegan butter and olive oil. Turn on heat to medium/low. Once the butter melts, add the cumin seeds and let it sputter just a bit. Then add in the onion and fry until the onions are soft and beginning to turn golden near the edges. Add in the garlic chilli paste and cook for a few seconds. Then add in the tomatoes and continue frying until the tomatoes are soft and breaking apart.
Add the tomatoes mixture into the pot of dal. Mix well and taste; adjust salt as necessary. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add garam masala.
Add chopped coriander, mix, and take the pot off the heat.
Enjoy with rice or roti alongside other vegetable curries.
I posted our favourite overnight chia seed pudding recipe a while back, which is Max’s absolute favourite weekday breakfast. BUT, I find that to be toooooooo cold to eat on a freezing cold Winter’s morning. Especially since we wake up when it is still dark outside!
So I went looking (experimenting) with different, warm, things that I could have for breakfast. And, BEHOLD, the most delicious, comforting, healthy and delectable breakfast recipe was created. Warm, creamy, soft oats topped with delicious, sweet blueberries and tarty raspberries, with chopped nuts and seeds to top it all off. It is heavenly! This is my favourite breakfast at the moment. I even feel like eating it on the weekends!
The warm oats and cold berries make a really, really nice combination and the textures added by the nuts….mmmmmm….just devine.
PS: I use frozen blueberries and raspberries because those are the ones I love but you can use any berries you like.
1/2 cup uncooked oats (I used organic, rolled oats)
1 cup boiling water
A splash of soy milk
1/4 tsp of honey, or to taste (optional)
1/3 cup raspberries
1/2 blue berries
1 small apple, or kiwifruit, or any other fruit of your choice (optional)
1/2 Tbsp of chia seeds (optional)
Nuts and seeds of your choice, chopped (I usually put a small handful of walnuts, 2 or 3 pecans, 10 almonds, a small handful of cashews and 1 brazil nut)
Put 1/2 cup oats into a small pot and add 1 cup boiling water.
Add 1/4 tsp of honey (or to taste), mix well, and put it on the stove over medium high heat.
Add the soy milk and bring it to a boil.
Once it begins to boil, lower the heat and let it continue to gently cook for 5 minutes. Mix it from time to time so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
While the oats are cooking, chop the nuts and apple/other fruit.
Once the oats are cooked to your liking (I like mine soft with a little bit of liquid still left in – 5 minutes is about perfect for that), take it out into a bowl, sprinkle chia seeds on top, pile on the frozen berries, apple or other fruit and nuts. Dig in and enjoy 🙂
Heat oil in a large pot on low/medium heat and add in a few popcorn kernels. Once there are little bubbles around the kernels add in the rest and toss to coat then close the lid
You might not hear much popping at the start but don’t worry. Toss the popcorn frequently to ensure all the kernels touch the bottom of the pot at some point. Don’t open it until the popping comes close to a stop
Transfer the popcorn to a large dish and season with salt
In a small saucepan add the butter, sugar and maple syrup. Stir until the butter has melted completely then add in the peanuts.
Drizzle “caramel” mixture over popcorn and mix it in
Today and the day before yesterday Shalveena has not been feeling very well. She was in a lot of pain; probably caused by inflammation. She thus had to temporarily yield her primary domain, the kitchen, for a few days. The following soup I cooked with the objective to reduce inflammation (Turmeric, Garlic, Cauliflower) and reduce pain (Ginger).
It is freaking COLD here! I read that a few days ago Melbourne was the coldest city in the world one morning! That is crazy cold.
Max has been leaving home at 7am, which means its still cold and dark outside and the sun is no where to be seen. He was sniffling and feeling under the weather so yesterday I offered to make whatever he wanted to eat. He said “Chickpea Soup”. So, here it is – chickpea soup for a cold Winter’s day. Its super easy and is made up mostly of pantry staples that I always have on hand anyway (actually, on that note, we only have 1 can of chickpeas left in the pantry after this and I forgot to buy it when going grocery shopping for the coming week….sigh).
This dish is super easy and quick to make, perfect for when you’re feeling a bit under the weather.
Optional toppings: spring onions, chilli, fried garlic
Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a medium pot. Add the onions and 1/2 tsp of rosemary and cook until the onions are soft.
Add the finely chopped garlic and cook for a few more seconds.
Add 1/2 tsp of thyme and 1 tsp of Italian herbs. Drain the chickpeas – save the liquid. Add the drained chickpeas and cook for approx 5 minutes.
Add the chickpea liquid and 2 cups of vegetable stock. Bring it to a boil, uncovered.
Once boiling, add bay leaves, carrots, mushrooms, dried basil, salt and chilli flakes. Reduce heat a bit so that it is gently boiling, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, uncover and mash the chickpeas (I don’t have a potato masher or immersion blender so I just do this part by hand using a spoon). Mash most of the chickpeas to make the soup nice and creamy but leave a few chickpeas whole for texture.
Taste and add more salt or herbs if needed. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and remove from heat.
If you like, you can fry the remaining garlic (the sliced ones) on a pan and use it as a topping. I did this and found that it adds a nice taste to the soup 🙂
Serve with a sprinkle of spring onions, fresh chilli and garlic (or any combination of those, or any other toppings that find your fancy).
Enjoy. You could eat this with crusty bread or by itself as a hearty soup.
We went to a German restaurant, which served Bavarian style dishes, a couple of weeks ago with some visiting friends. Unfortunately, it seems that Bavarian cuisine is a bit light on the vegetarian/vegan dishes, but when we asked which dishes were vegan/could be made vegan, we were surprised to hear that the potato salad was vegan. Ah?! No mayonnaise in it?? Yes, yes, yes! It appears that some German potato salads have no mayonnaise! Instead, it is made using vinegar and herbs.
The potato salad we got was creamy and a little tangy. It was really yum.
I decided to recreate it.
Of course, having no clue about German cuisine, I asked my friend Google for help. Sadly, though, it seems Google was a little bit lost when it came to finding German potato salad recipes without meat or animal products. (Yes, Max IS German, but he is not a big fan of German food – or so he tells me – and he has not much of an idea how to make it either!)
Luckily, I found this and this recipe, which I used as a reference point when making the salad. It turned out delicious and, you know what, it was super healthy (well, as far as potatoes go)!
7 small to medium sized potatoes (I used Nicola Yellow potatoes)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup hot water mixed with 3/4 tsp of vegetable stock powder
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 stalks of spring onion
A handful of parsley leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and let it boil (covered or uncovered – it doesn’t really matter, except that covered may cook earlier). Continue boiling until the potatoes are quite tender. For me, this took about 40 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, finely chop the green onions and parsley. Set aside.
Mix the vinegars and oil in a bowl. Set aside.
Once the potatoes are tender, turn off the heat and remove the potatoes from the pot. Wait a few minutes so that the potatoes have slightly cooled and can be handled safely. Don’t wait too long though, the potatoes need to still be hot enough so that they’ll absorb the liquids that we are going to add soon. Roughly chop the potatoes so that some of them are quartered and some are smaller. Put the chopped potatoes into a large bowl.
Add the vinegar/oil mix to the potatoes and mix well. In a small bowl, mix the 1/4 cup of hot water and the vegetable stock powder, and pour the mixture over the potatoes. Mix the potatoes well – at this stage, you can also mash a few of them if you like, to give the sauce more body.
Lastly, add the mustard, parsley, spring onions, salt & pepper to taste, and mix everything well. Serve or store in fridge for later. Enjoy 🙂
Today was one of those days. I felt tired of cooking all week and wanted to have something easy for dinner. It’s winter. It’s cold in our house. It was dark outside. It was a day for soup. But not just any soup, a soup that would require little time and work!
I also wanted to broaden our range of foods beyond just rice and pasta, and so I thought, hey, I have some frozen taro in the fridge, let’s use that! Instantly, what came to my mind was some yummy mutton soup with taro (or dalo as they call it back in Fiji). But alas, no mutton on a vegan lifestyle. And so I veganised the soup 🙂
I used our super healthy and yummy vegetable stock, which I always keep in the fridge for just such days. It turned out really tasty and was so easy to make. AND it is healthy and has no oil! AND it all comes together in just one pot. Win, win and win!
I used the vegetables that I had in my fridge, but this is a soup where you can easily substitute the veggies here for whatever you have on hand. I think some carrots would go nicely in this soup, but I didn’t have any today. Maybe you could also use some onions instead of onion powder. Feel free to play around with it and make it your own.