Sunday, 16 October 2016

Brown Lentil Dahl

Original recipe from NY Times. Dahl is an easy, tasty & healthy way to enjoy Indian cuisine. I love it paired with raita and saffron rice.

Brown Lentil Dahl


½ pound brown lentils (about 1 1/8 cups), washed
1 small onion, cut in half
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish


Combine the lentils, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and water in a medium soup pot or heavy saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Add salt to taste (under-salt slightly because you will be reducing the liquid), and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, until the lentils are falling apart tender and fragrant.
Remove the onion and garlic and discard.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the spices and stir as they sizzle for about 30 seconds, until very fragrant.
Add the beans with their liquid and cook, stirring and mashing with the back of a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, like refried beans.
Add salt to taste, once the mixture has reduced to the desired consistency.
Spoon onto plates and top each serving with a generous spoonful of yogurt and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.

Fried Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Original falafel recipe from Tori Avey.

Fried Falafel with Tahini Sauce


1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans - you must start with dry, do NOT substitute canned, they will not work!
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3-5 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted)
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground cardamom
Vegetable oil for frying (grapeseed, canola, and peanut oil work well)


Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water.
Let them soak overnight. They will double in size as they soak – you will have between 4 and 5 cups of beans after soaking.
Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans well.
Pour them into your food processor along with the chopped onion, garlic cloves, parsley, flour, salt, cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom.
Pulse all ingredients together until a rough, coarse meal forms.
Scrape the sides of the processor periodically and push the mixture down the sides.
Process till the mixture is somewhere between the texture of couscous and a paste.
Once the mixture reaches the desired consistency, pour it out into a bowl and use a fork to stir; this will make the texture more even throughout. Remove any large chickpea chunks that the processor missed.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Fill a skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches.
Heat the oil slowly over medium heat.
Meanwhile, form 2 Tbls of falafel mixture into round balls or slider-shaped patties using wet hands or a falafel scoop.
The balls will stick together loosely at first, but will bind nicely once they begin to fry.
Before frying my first batch of falafel, I like to fry a test one in the center of the pan.
If the oil is at the right temperature, it will take 2-3 minutes per side to brown (5-6 minutes total).
If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafels will not be fully cooked in the center. Cool the oil down slightly and try again.
When the oil is at the right temperature, fry the falafels in batches of 5-6 at a time till golden brown on both sides.
Once the falafels are fried, remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon.
Let them drain on paper towels.
Serve the falafels fresh and hot; they go best with a plate of hummus and topped with creamy tahini sauce.

Tahini Sauce


1/2 cup tahini paste
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1 tsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste


Whisk or process all ingredients adding a small amount of water and increase the water until you have the consistency you desire.

Coriander Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

I invented this when I had some left over quinoa and it was so delicious. Serves two as a side or one big piggy like me :)

Coriander Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing


1 cup cooked quinoa
2 carrots cut julienne or shredded
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, topped and tailed
1/4 cup wilted baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
Juice of one lime
1 tsp agave/sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp sesame oil


In a large bowl mix together the salad ingredients.
In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, agave, salt, chilli flakes and sesame oil.
Pour dressing over salad and toss well.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Vegan Products - September 2016

A few vegan products I've recently tried...

I've been wanting to try Vegan Magic (aka Vegan Bacon Grease) for the longest time but I couldn't think about what I would use it for. It's mainly coconut oil with some salt and flavorings to mimic pork fat but it wasn't as flavorsome as I'd hoped.
In the end I decided on southern collard greens. They were pretty good!

My husband discovered Ripple for me in Target - 100% vegan, pea based milk. They were really good, the milk is very creamy so perfect for tea & coffee! First real cup of tea I feel like I'v had since going vegan!

My BFF got these Marjon tofu crumbles I think at Publix. It was pretty good, we ended up using it for nachos :)

I was pretty excited about Ben & Jerry's "vegan" range of ice-creams. So far it's only four flavors and of that only one is gluten free so that's the one I chose. Fail, Ben & Jerry's, fail!It was pretty good but I still prefer the So Delicious range. I was dubious about the sugar being vegan - the response from B&Js below.

Whenever you move to a new place there's always the struggle to find good vegan GF bread!
I found these two. Little Northern Bakehouse and DeLands. I especially love the DeLands bread range, made excellent grilled cheese

Found a new Amy's meal to try! I especially love that they made the effort to find vegan cheese!

Found Two Brothers GF beer at a health store in Jacksonville, FL. It was pretty good, very like a pilsner. My favorite is still Greens but its just so expensive so the search goes on!

I had been craving baked beans on toast for a while and I can never seem to find any that are GF and vegan. Finally found this Walnut Acres one at a health store. So yum!

New brand of vegan wine...yay!!!! Natura Organic Wine's whole range is vegan which is great.

Primal Chocolate - found this Almond Sea Salt Dark Chocolate at Fresh Market, Jacksonville FL. It was a little bitter but pretty nice.

I like to buy dried beans because it's way cheaper and pretty easy. I thought this HamBeens  15 bean soup mix was just bean mix, I didn't realise it was a soup mix so when I saw the "ham flavored" soup package I did despair...until I read the ingredients. I couldn't find anything about it that wasn't GF or vegan so I called the company just to make sure and they confirmed all their products are animal product free! Here's a link to the recipe I used, although obviously I forgo the meat and added stock cause it was a bit bland without. Was so good my kids even wanted some!

My BFF found vegan cheese at Trader Joe's! Tasted pretty similar to Daiya honestly.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

I Love Nigella

My love for Nigella Lawson is definitely not a secret. I've loved her a very long time so when I turned vegan I spent a lot of time trying to veganize her recipes. Some of them work some of them don't but I never give up. For anyone who's ever watched her programs you'll know the utter food porn you're in store for plus the kitchen. Oh the kitchen! I covet everything in that woman's kitchen and the kitchen itself...

Her newest book Simply Nigella actually has a ton of vegan recipes! In fact to be precise I counted 65 vegan recipes (with vegan egg replacers) and 20 vegetarian recipes (but you could make them vegan by substituting the dairy). That's pretty amazing! And certainly a huge leap from her other cookbooks, of which I have all ;)

I'd like to mention some of the recipes I've been making from Simply Nigella and also below a list of other Nigella recipes that I've veganized in the past. A list I'm ever adding to!

Toasty Olive Oil Granola
This was delicious. I burned my first lot because I thought I knew better than Nigella Lawson how long they should be in there for. I was very wrong, I'm sorry I doubted her! My second batch turned out perfectly and I love eating it just as a snack!

Breakfast Bars 2.0
I'd been dying to make these but it took my a while to find GF corn flakes and I wanted to make sure I had all the ingredients for the first batch at least! OMG SO GOOD!

Warm Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Pomegranate Seeds
This was nice but a little bland so I added a spritz of lemon juice and it was delicious! The pomegranate seeds really work adding a bite of sweetness every now and then.

Roasted Radishes 
I didn't realise radishes tasted so much less bitter when roasted!

Pea and Broccoli Soup
I really liked this despite it's simplicity - I used mint sauce because I didn't have any mint tea bags but it was still very refreshing!

I made this the minute I bought the book came out because I had read it was a vegan chocolate cake and I was like whaa whaaaa? So I made it for my birthday...and promptly ate it :)

I have veganized the following recipes from Nigella Express - one of my favourite cookbooks and tv series... 

Darkest Chocolate Cake

This one come courtesy of  Nigella Lawon's "Dark and Sumptuous Chocolate Cake"newest book Simply Nigella. This is the first recipe I used because I was so excited about it and it's dark bitter chocolatey goodness...

Darkest Chocolate Cake


225 grams gf plain flour
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
75 grams cocoa
300 grams soft dark brown sugar
375 millilitres hot water from a recently boiled kettle
75 grams coconut oil (90ml)
1½ teaspoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon edible rose petals or flowers (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped pistachios (optional)


60 millilitres cold water
75 grams coconut butter (this is not the same as oil)
50 grams soft dark sugar
1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
1½ tablespoons cocoa
150 grams dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids, see Intro), finely chopped


You will need a 20cm/8in round springform cake tin.
Start with the icing, though first preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and pop in a baking sheet at the same time.
Put all of the icing ingredients except the chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, making sure everything’s dissolved.
Then turn off the heat – but leave the pan on the hob – then quickly add the finely chopped chocolate and swirl the pan so that it is all underwater, so to speak.
Leave for a minute, then whisk until you have a darkly glossy icing, and leave to cool.
Give the icing a stir with a spatula every now and again.
Line the bottom of your springform cake tin (you will need a good, leakproof one as this is a very wet batter) with baking parchment.
Put the flour, bicarb, salt and instant espresso and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix.
Mix together the sugar, water, coconut oil and vinegar until the coconut oil has melted, and stir into the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. Though do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done.
When it's ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out clean, apart from a few crumbs.
This is a fudgy cake and you don't want to overdo it.
Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin.
Turn to your icing, and give it a good stir with a spatula to check it is at the right consistency.
It needs to be runny enough to cover the cake, but thick enough to stay (mostly) on the top.
So pour over the unmoulded cake, and use a spatula to ease the icing to the edges, if needed.
If you wish to decorate, now is the time to do it.
In which case, sprinkle with rose petals and chopped pistachios or anything else that your heart desires; otherwise, leave it gleaming darkly and, indeed, sumptuously.
Leave to stand for 30 minutes for the icing to set before slicing into the cake.