Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Baking

I love mince pies & since I missed out last year I decided to make my own this year & they were yum. I based them on a recipe for orange mince pies from All Recipes.

The recipe is this, it did call for an egg wash before baking but I have left that out:


  • 1 3/4 cups (255g) plain flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange rind
  • 1/4 cup iced water
  • 3/4 cup bottled fruit mince
  • icing sugar for dusting

Preparation method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the orange rind. Stir in enough iced water to make a soft dough. Knead dough on a flour surface for 1 minute or until smooth.
  3. Roll out to 5mm thick. Cut out approximately 18 x 7cm diameter circles, and 18 x 5cm circles, rerolling dough as needed.
  4. Line patty pan holes using the larger pastry circles. Fill each pastry cup with about 1 tablespoon of fruit mince. Top with smaller pastry circles, pinching circles together to seal the edges.
  5. Bake pies about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly on wire racks. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Easy & delicious.

I also decided to make the cookies & cream truffles from Fat Feminist Foodie to go in with a friends christmas present. I dipped mine in Sweet William white chocolate which worked really well. These are crazy easy & delicious, I gave my friend a bag of about 10 & she ate them all straight away!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cherry & Vanilla Jam

I decided to make some cherry & vanilla jam last week, stupidly on a 38 degree day because I wanted to take some to my mum on christmas day. This jam is the best jam EVER! Jam is actually really easy to make (although I do panic a bit about sterilising jars) & I think it is one of those things that is really impressive if you make it yourself.

This is the recipe I based my jam on from Not Quite Nigella:


  • 1kg jar of pitted sour cherries, drained (I used the jars of morello cherries you buy at Aldi)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cherry juice from the above jar
  • 800g caster sugar (this freaked me out & given that the cherries I bought were slightly sweetened I only used about 380gm of sugar)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Juice, zest and 4-5 seeds of 1 lemon (you are supposed to wrap the zest and seeds in a muslin pouch but I d not have muslin pouches ever on hand so I just peeled off thick strips of the lemon peel & added this as it was easy to pull out later)
  • 50 gram packet of Jamsetta
1. First of all, decide whether you like your jam to have whole fruit, pulverised fruit or a bit of both and treat the cherries accordingly. I like whole fruit only so I don’t do anything to the cherries but if you like a smoother jam, blend cherries in a blender (you can cut them up although it will be messy). Place cherries, juice, sugar, lemon juice and muslin wrapped seeds in a large, heavy based saucepan. Slit vanilla bean in half horizontally and scrape the seeds with a knife and place seeds in the saucepan along with the rest of the bean. Cook on medium to high heat for 30 minutes until it has reduced by about a quarter.
2. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until mixture reduces by a quarter. Meanwhile place 4 clean glass jars (I only got 2 jars out of this recipe) and the lids on a tray in a 200C/400F oven and bake for 10 minutes to sterlise them.

3. Remove the pouch of seeds and stir in the Jamsetta. Place a small saucer in the freezer. After 5-10 minutes take it out of the freezer and place a teaspoonful of the liquid onto the plate. Count to 30 seconds and then run your finger through the centre. If there is wrinkling or the line stays then it will set properly. If not, wash plate and place back in freezer and repeat every 3 minutes until the line holds.

4. Carefully ladle the jam (it will be very hot) into the jars. With rubber gloves screw the lid tightly and turn upside down for 5 minutes to create a seal. I also like to use the rubber gloves as you can wash down the sides of the jar if you’ve spilt a bit during the ladling process.

It looks good in the jar & tastes good straight from the jar

It is very tasty on toast

And it makes good jam drop biscuits!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas goodness

For Christmas we went to my mum's place for lunch, she was doing meat for all my omni family & roasted vegies. She is more than happy to always offer a vegan option for us, but I decided to make something to take along. I was going to make tofurkey, but given that we currently have Greg's mum with us who does not understand what vegan is I thought that might be a bit weird. So in the end I decided to make some small savoury tarts.

I made asparagus & white bean puree as well as pesto, 'ricotta' & tomato. These were so, so good!! The asparagus & white bean tarts were based on this recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. I followed the recipe exactly, except I used short crust pastry tart shells that I made & blind baked first. I also made my own pesto which was basil, garlic, raw cashews, olive oil, nooch & salt & pepper all blended together. I thought these would be my favourites, but the tomato ones were even better! I blind baked the tart shells, covered the bottoms with my pesto, filled them with ricotta & topped them with tomatoes. The ricotta was super easy & super delicious & will be in all my lasagnas from now on.

- 3/4 tub tofutti cream cheese
- package of firm tofu (I think around 300gm)
- 1/4 cup nooch

Blend it all together - easy! This was based on a recipe I found here on Yeah, that vegan shit.

Everyone LOVED these, it is always good to win omnis over with tasty vegan food.

So here are all my tarts ready to go in my mum's oven

One of my presents from Greg was icypole moulds. I am very excited to make banana & maple syrup smoothie icy poles, but last night he made some icy poles with soda water & cordial which were quite nice.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Press Club

I went to The Press Club for my work Christmas lunch today. We were trying to work out somewhere to go months ago & having read a review on Where's the Beef I had been looking forward to trying it so I suggested it, everyone was happy & off we went today.

When we first got there the waitress knew 2 of us were vegan & said that we could get a-la carte meals of spring vegetables or stuffed zucchini flowers or go for the 4 course kerasma where they bring out a variety of dishes. At this point, after essentially being offered a plate of vegies I was not too optimistic so we decided to go for the kerasma which proved to be the right decision. My meal was AMAZING! I didn't take photos but I should have because the food not only tasted amazing but looked amazing.

The 5 courses were:
  • Tomato tea, marinated olives, pickled cabbage
  • Steamed zucchini floweres with a watermelon & cherry tomato salad
  • Risoni with mushrooms & roasted capsicums - seriously simple & the best meal I have eaten in a long time
  • Spring vegetables with pine nuts, greek salad, cabbage salad & green beans in a tomato & breadcrumb sauce
  • Dessert tasting plate - this was enormous & the absolute highlight, it was: watermelon, orange & mint salad, mango sorbet, berry sorbet, greek donuts with an orange sugar syrup
There was heaps of food & it was well considered & the service was friendly & attentive despite how busy it was. The only issue was that it was quite noisy, but we were seated close to the kitchen & there were a lot of big groups there. I am definitely going back there again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I was sitting at work yesterday procrastinating & thinking about what to make for dinner & I checked my emails & had an email from vege2go saying that they are now doing vegan lasagne - perfect, dinner sorted! I dropped in on my way home & got 2 vegan lasagnes, potato salad & rocket explosion salad. The vegan lasagnes are $9.95 each & massive!! Greg had a whole one, but I had half & then the other half for lunch today. I really, really like it - it had thin layers of pumpkin (I think but it could have been sweet potato), spinach & zucchini & was topped with a creamy sauce. There wasn't heaps of vegies in it but I liked it regardless & sometimes that is what you want anyway!

This is Greg's plate with with a whole piece & mine with half a piece.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pumpkin risotto two ways

Continuing with my carb fest I made a pumpkin risotto last night because I had some pumpkin to use up. I wanted to make a baked risotto so I based my risotto on this recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. I have actually made that recipe before to the letter & it is delicious. I left out the tomatoes & herbs & added in roasted pumpkin & lots of fennel seeds. However given that my brain is not working so well at the moment as soon as I put the risotto in the oven & closed the door I realised I had used sushi rice rather than arborio rice but it still worked ok. Also, I should have added in the pumpkin later because it kind of turned to mush. I served it with a salad & it was quite nice but I am finding pumpkin super sweet at the moment.

I had heaps of risotto let over today so I made arancini. I shaped the risotto into balls, put a chunk of garlic & herb cheezly in the middle & rolled the balls in breadcrumbs mixed with nooch. I panfried these in a little bit of olive oil & then finished them off in the oven. I actually preferred the risotto this way & I had them with a salad of lettuce, roasted red capsicum, chickpeas & mango.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sausage Rolls

Much like Tahn, I read Miss Ts post on her recent house warming & decided that I wanted to make the much raved about sausage rolls from Where's the Beef. Also like Tahn, upon reading the recipe I was very skeptical looking at the ingredients that these would make for good sausage rolls. But I had most of the ingredients & thought that I should at least give them a go. When I had everyhting in the bowl & was mixing it together I said to Greg that I was very unsure & was not expecting big things - except that I was expecting to hate them. But, oh my, these are so good!!! Greg said that he could eat 10 (which I did not allow) & we happily ate them for lunch again today. These are also super easy, especially if you have a food processor. I am definitely making these again & passing on the recipe to others.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A new vegan

So recently I haven't been posting very much because basically I have been feeling like crap. I am currently 13 weeks pregnant & have pretty much felt like I have had a hangover for the last 2 months - not fun. Plus, I am having some weird food aversions & pretty much just want to eat toast for every meal. I am managing not too, but meals have still been a massive carb fest.

But on the other hand, it is pretty exciting to be making a little person. Especially one who will have been vegan from conception & will hopefully choose to be vegan when they can make that choice.

I have been trying to find out about vegan baby formula & have had very little luck so if anyone knows anything about this I would be most appreciative. Or if you know of any great vegan pregnancy/parenting resources (particularly Australian ones) please let me know!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I don't talk about issues much, but the Ksubi animal cruelty issue has really pissed me off. If you haven't heard about it there was an article in the Daily Telegraph here. Seriously, why would you think that it would be a good idea to use doves as props at a party & frighten & torture them? Fashion Hayley has mentioned the party a few times on her blog, which is where I read about it & it sounded hideous.

Ksubi in the past have also used live rats in runway shows so you have to wonder about a fashion label that has to resort to stunts using live animals to get media attention.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vegan Yum Yum Hurry Up Alfredo & Cupcakes

Today was quite busy in a good Sunday kind of way. I got up early & went for a walk, then went to Tom Phat for a delicious breakfast of scrambled tofu & then spent the afternoon at my mum's place. So by the time I got home I was looking for something quick to cook or dinner that would give me leftovers for lunch on Monday so decided to make this recipe from Vegan Yum Yum & added in some baby spinach. This is delicious! I have made it twice & don't know why I don't make it more often because it is crazy fast & easy & tasty. I have also used leftover sauce in a potato bake which is also a very good thing.

The best thing about visiting my mum is that I always get sent home with food. Today I got christmassy cupcakes which she made or me to take to work. I can't guarantee that they will all get to work though because they are really good!