Friday, June 25, 2010

Baked treats from my mum

Last Saturday I gave birth to my daughter Holly, she is absolutely amazing & life with her is fantastic.  So far I am coping pretty well with the broken sleep but have had a lot of help - Greg has been home so has been cleaning & organising meals & my mum brought over a care package of baked treats for us & for when we have visitors.

From the Joy of Vegan Baking she made pineapple walnut bars & banana chocolate chip muffins - yum.

And just because she is super adorable, this is Holly (everytime I look at that wrap she is in I think of Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lemon, lentil & spinach soup

I bought a bunch of spinach at the market last weekend & decided that I wanted to make some sort of potato & spinach soup with it.  I came across this recipe & had a couple of lemons to use up so I thought it would be perfect.  Generally I don't like this style of soup, I usually only like pureed soups or chunky soups that have a tomatoey base but this did have a really nice flavour from the lemon.

The recipe is from & I followed it exactly except that I didn't add the lemon zest when serving.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
  • 3 potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 2 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch English spinach, leaves removed, washed, chopped
  • 2 lemons, rind finely grated, juiced 


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft. Add lentils, potatoes and stock. Bring to the boil. Use a slotted spoon to skim any residue from surface of soup.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Remove from heat. Add spinach, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Ladle into bowls. Top with lemon rind. Serve with bread.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I made a pineapple upside down cake using a recipe from Vegweb.  It was super quick, it literally took under 10 minutes from starting it to putting it in the oven, but I had some issues with the baking.  I took it out of the oven after 25 minutes when it looked perfectly golden brown, but when I inverted it on a plate it was completely uncooked inside so it went back in the oven for probably about another 20 or so minutes.  When I then read through the comments on the recipe it seems like a few other people had the same issue, not sure why?


  •     1 1/2 cups plain flour
  •     1 cup sugar (I would only use half a cup next time because it is a very sweet cake)
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1 cup pineapple juice/water (see below)
  •     1/3 cup oil (I used canola oil)
  •     1 tablespoon white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  •     1 can pineapple slices in unsweetened pineapple juice
  •     1/4 cup UNPACKED brown sugar (I would leave this out next time as it didn't caramelise like I   thought it would so seemed a bit unneccesary)


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  • Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Pour juice off can of pineapple into 1 cup measuring cup--it should be about 3/4 cup juice.   Add water to make 1 cup.  In a separate bowl, combine oil, vinegar and juice.
  • Place pineapple slices into the bottom of a 12 inch spring form pan.   Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Quickly mix wet ingredients into dry, stirring quickly to combine ingredients well and get out the big lumps.  Pour into pan on top of the pineapple/brown sugar mix.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  • Let cool and loosen sides of cake from pan.  Remove side ring and place serving plate on top.   Flip cake over onto serving plate and remove pan bottom.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Birthday Cake

Greg bought me a birthday cake from The Organic Food & Wine Deli for my birthday this week.  It is an orange & olive oil cake & is really dense & delicious.  The cake itself isn't super orange-y but the icing is quite citrusy.

28 Degraves Street
03 9654 5157

Sunday, June 6, 2010

East Brunswick Club - Weekend Breakfast

I caught up with a friend for dinner at East Brunswick Club recently & was a little bit excited to see that they are now doing breakfast from 12-4 on weekends.  For the vegan options they have The Vegan Basic ($10) which is sourdough toast with facon & scrambled tofu, the Vegan Big Breakfast ($15) which is sourdough toast, mushrooms, roasted tomato, spinach, scrambled tofu, facon, fauxsage & a hash brown.  They also have 3 different sorts of pancakes which are veganisable -
  • with maple syrup & ice cream 
  • with maple syrup, bacon & ice cream 
  • the 'Elvis' which I think consisted of something along the lines of peanut butter, banana, bacon, maple syrup & ice cream
I got the Vegan Basic & Greg got the Vegan Big Breakfast.  The scrambled tofu was made with silken tofu so it was much more what I remember the texture of scrambled eggs to be like than any other scrambled tofu I have tried before.  I am not sure about this, I liked it but didn't love it & was not a big fan of the toast that they use.  Greg, however, really enjoyed his breakfast & I tried his hash brown which was really good.
I am interested in going back & trying the pancakes because they did look pretty good.

280 Lygon Street
East Brunswick  
03 9388 9794

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mexican Soup

I made this soup one night this week which in my head was much better than the outcome.  It was ok & it was a good warming winter meal but not sure if I would make it again although I do like the idea of it.  Maybe if I roasted some tomatoes & blended them up to use as the base it would have been better.

Mexican Soup

  • 1 tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 800 mls water
  • 3 tsps vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • Heat olive oil in a big saucepan/stockpot & add onion.  Cook, stirring until cooked translucent & cooked through.
  • Add the chilli flakes & cumin, stirring for about 30 seconds
  • Add the tomatoes,stock powder & kidney beans
  • Simmer for around 30 minutes & allow to reduce 
  • Add salt & pepper to taste
I topped this with a simple salsa of diced avocado,  corn kernels, lime juice & salt & pepper & served with some cheesey quesadillas.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Coconut & Strawberry Sandwiches

I made the Coconut & Raspberry Sandwiches from the Vegan Indulgence cookbook a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't have raspberry jam so subbed strawberry & also made some with marmalade.  These are quite nice, the biscuit dough is a lot easier to work with than the melting moment dough so they were easier to shape & made lots (I think I got 19) but weren't so shortbready.  I am a big fan of these sort of sandwiched biscuits so will probably make these again.

1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy milk + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup custard powder
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup vegan margarine
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
3/4 cup shredded coconut
Raspberry jam (about 1/2 a jar) - I made some with strawberry & some with marmalade

Preheat oven to 160˚C/320˚F/Gas Mark 3. Line two biscuit trays with baking paper.
In a large bowl, beat margarine and sugar together until light and creamy. Carefully beat in vanilla soy milk.
In another bowl, sift flour and custard powder together. Fold into the margarine mixture until well combined.
Add coconut and mix through well. The mixture should be soft and slightly sticky, but you should be able to handle it without too much sticking to your hands.
Use two dessertspoons to form ovals of dough, about 5cm long. Place these on the baking tray, spaced out by about 5cm. Carefully flatten the ovals with the back of a flour-covered spoon to form a 1 cm thick slightly oval biscuit.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the biscuits begin to colour on their bases and are firm to the touch. Leave on the tray for another 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Beat margarine and icing sugar together until creamy and light. Fold in coconut until well combined. Chill in the fridge until the biscuits are cooled.

Putting it all together
Match up the biscuits to the most even pairs. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of coconut filling on all of the biscuits. Place 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the centre of the icing mixture on half of the biscuits. Carefully sandwich pairs together, using the edges of the coconut icing to join them together.
Keep in the fridge. These will keep for about a week.